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God Shakes What Cannot Last

Hebrews 12:26-27
At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, 'Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.' The words 'once more' indicate the removing of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that what cannot be shaken may remain. (NIVUK)

When God met Moses on Sinai, it was a terrifying experience for His people. The mountain shook and the people shook with fear. They understood, deep down, that God was pride-shatteringly powerful and holy; they were utterly vulnerable in their weakness and unholiness. About a thousand years later, the prophet Haggai said that there was more shaking to come: "This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.'" (Haggai 2:6)

That shaking, also prophesied in Isaiah 13:10 and 34:4, will be not just of a mountain or trembling hearts, but of the whole earth with the planets and stars. It is the ultimate shake-up of the universe when Jesus comes to wind up the cosmos as we know it and make a new geophysical universe which will not be spoiled by sin. Jesus confirmed the prophesies as pointing to a real event, in Mark 13:26-19: "But in those days, following that distress, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens."

Although we assume that the universe, the world and all we see around us are permanent, they are only temporary. The final event in history will remove them. The Bible talks about God shaking His people too. Amos 9:9 says, "For I will give the command, and I will shake the house of Israel among all the nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, and not a pebble will reach the ground." The proud say, "Nothing will shake me; I'll always be happy and never have trouble." (Psalm 10:6) But the Lord is already disturbing those who claim they can never be shaken. However, those who trust in the Lord will never be shaken: Psalm 62:1-2 say, "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken."

This promised shaking should help us to focus our lives on what will last. 2 Peter 3:11-12 says, "Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat." C T Studd, the English cricketer and then missionary to China, India and Africa wrote, "Only one life 'twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last." Is that how you live?

Eternal Father. Thank You for the security I find in You and for providing for me. Forgive me for holding tightly onto what cannot last, and failing to live for You. Please help me to focus on what will bring You pleasure, the work and worship which will last for eternity. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams