In Times of Shaking (Christians Being Tested)

In Times of Shaking
Robert Wurtz II

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:25–29 NKJV)

The book of Hebrews was written at a time when Israel was about to go through the greatest shaking in its history. Everything the Jews had known was about to be shaken; their religion, their way of life, their security, their personal peace, their occupations, etc. In fact, the Romans were about to destroy Jerusalem completely. Not even the Temple, the place where Jews journeyed from around the world to worship God will be spared. Moreover, the Romans carved a menorah into one of their gates as a reminder of how they completely annihilated Herod’s Temple. Once they threw it down, and burned everything that was flammable, the soldiers plowed the Temple Mount like a farmer tills his field. 

The Romans will leave no continuity between the Jews former way of life and their future life. We know this event as the first Jewish revolt of 70 A.D. For most Jews their lives were already in a state of flux. Jesus Christ came on the scene around 30 A.D. challenging the Jews sincerely held religious beliefs. Prior to that time, a new order within Judaism known as the Zealots began terrorizing the Romans and strong-arming the people. They held to the “sold rule of God” doctrine. While trying to throw off Roman rule, they caused so much trouble that Vespasian was ordered to Jerusalem to handle the problem. When the people refused to cooperate, the Romans besieged the city as we have already discussed.

I have often wondered how the believing Jews went forward in their faith. Everything was changing (shaking), to the point that many lost everything (family, friends, possessions, careers, reputation, etc.). When it was all said and done, some Christians fell away. These times tested peoples’ faith and experience in God. Some frauds were discovered. They went out from the assembly because they were not of the assembly. This is what John tells us. They went out that it might be revealed that they were not all of us.

A Modern Shaking 

In the 21st century we are experiencing shaking as well. We have it on a global, national, and local level. Families are being shaken; churches are being shaken; and Christians are being shaken. Moreover, relationships are being shaken. Life events are also shaking us. Why? That the things which cannot be shaken may remain. The shaking reveals what cannot be shaken. It is a test. It seems that God is determined to destroy everything within our lives and within the kingdom of God that is not of Him. Only the things that God establishes cannot be moved. The works of men are to be shaken off as unprofitable and unholy. 

Sometimes we try to hold things together that God is trying to take apart. Nostalgia, sentimentality, tradition, all have a way of causing us to hold on to things that God may be “shaking off.” We prop things up because we like them, but many things have no place in the kingdom. God shakes our lives until we are willing to let them go. A wise man once said, “Sometimes when we won’t move — God will move us.” 

Winds of Change

People generally resist change unless it is something related to popular culture (pop culture). Some change comes, and we have no say in the matter. For example, in 2015 four people passed away that regularly attended our outreach church services. Six people passed who at one time or another attended an advanced Bible class I taught. Those are ten people who I will never get to minister to again — this side of heaven. I lost my mother to cancer; an uncle to diabetes; a former co-worker to a gun shot; and several other family members and friends. All total, seventeen people I know passed away this year. That is a gaping hole in my life. That is radical change. That is significant shaking. 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.

The time would fail to tell of everything that was shaken this year. Nevertheless, grace is the one thing that we cannot afford to live without. The writer tells us, let us have grace. When the world is changing, and terrorists seem to be running rampant everywhere; let us have grace. When politics threaten to undermine the foundations of the government and the churches; let us have grace. When we look up and seventeen friends and family have passed away; let us have grace. When our lives are changed to the point that we don’t recognize them anymore; let us have grace. 

 Serving Acceptably During the Shaking

We need grace if we are to ever serve God acceptably under conditions that we never expected to be in. Some Christians have watched their whole lives turn upside down. If we are depending on something or someone that’s now gone, what can we do? Let us have grace. Only God can empower us to continue in His will in a way that is well pleasing to Him — when everything around us seems to have shaken apart. God has a very special grace that is tailor made for our situation. 

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