In this fast paced, electronic age we live in, most of us send text messages every day. In fact, many people send dozens of text messages rather than speak in person or make a call. It’s hard to believe that text messaging has been around since the mid 1990’s. In 1995 the average American sent 0.4 text messages per month. By the year 2000 the average American sent 35 text messages per month. Today the average American teenager sends more than 3,000 text messages per month and the number is increasing. Young adults aren’t far behind, and even many older adults have embraced some form of texting as the preferred way of communicating. There are also other interesting facts associated with electronic communication. For instance, a study done at the University of London found that constant emailing and text-messaging reduces mental capability up to 15 points on an IQ test. This negative effect is similar to missing a night’s sleep, and nearly three times more than the effect of smoking pot. So we can only wonder, what more does the future hold, and what innovations in communication will our children experience in their lifetime and what will be the subsequent impact on their life?
Our personal lives reflect whether or not we have embraced new ideas and technology that can make our daily lives easier or our work production more efficient, or whether we live in a way that resists these new methods and continue to do what we are used to and comfortable with. The older we get the more our spiritual lives reflect whether or not we have allowed the enlightening truth of God’s Word to help us keep up with the changes that occur in our lives or whether we are live in the past and rely on the experiences we may have had years ago. It is always a joy to be around an elderly person who has practiced living in the light of God’s Word, but an elderly person who is bitter toward God depicts a sad way to live the last days of life. The Bible provides for us the means by which we can keep our spiritual lives up to speed. We do not have to allow the complexities of 21st Century life to overwhelm us and cause us to live spiritual lives which become full of emptiness and bitterness.
The prophet Isaiah spoke to the children of Israel who seemed to have the same dilemma in their time. Isaiah 8:18-22, “I and the children the Lord has given me serve as signs and warnings to Israel from the Lord of heaven’s armies who dwells in his Temple on Mount Zion. Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead? Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.” The culture around the Israelites looked to mediums who claimed to communicate with the dead, and as a result many of God’s people were doing the same thing.
Today many people, including Christians, often rely on consultants, therapists, horoscopes, advice columnists, friends, self-help books, and the Internet for advice. Not unlike the Israelites, people often consult God last. They think they can figure things out because they have been taught that if you study something well enough, and work hard enough, you can find a solution. Sometimes people act as if a problem is too big for God or that He is not powerful enough to handle it, or maybe the problem is too small for God because He is too busy or He doesn’t care enough. Both of these lines of reasoning are lies from Satan. According to Isaiah the result of the Israelites not looking to God for answers was that they had no light, they were distressed, hungry and lost, and as a result they become enraged. They cursed both the government and God. All they were able to perceive was distress, darkness, fear and gloom. Does this sound familiar? In American society today many people suffer from depression, uncontrolled anger, being mad at God and the government, feeling totally at a loss to know what to do, and having a constant feeling of hopelessness.
In the midst of all this God was about to make an amazing statement to His people. He was saying to them that even though they had not been faithful to Him, He would remain faithful to them. Even though they chose to wander in darkness, He would turn the light on for them. Isaiah 9:1-2, “Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land … will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles… will be filled with glory. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” Isaiah’s answer to the problems of the people was to point them to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.
It is no different for people of the 21st Century. We need to use eyes of faith to see beyond the present darkness to God’s promised future light. God will rule in the hearts and minds of those who come to Him in repentance and faith. God is completing His purposes on earth to redeem Israel and His church. He wants us to live under His authority and experience life in the light of His Word He has provided, while He finishes His work. As believers, our choice is whether we will seek light from all the false sources that we are surrounded by, or choose to commit ourselves to trusting in Him for the light we need to walk into the future.