Matthew 8:29 “Have You come here to torment us before the time?”

Observation: As Jesus passed a cemetery, two demon-possessed men confronted him. They were so crazed that locals avoided that section of road.  The demons within these men instantly recognized the Savior; they knew His authority, and they knew their own destiny as demonstrated by their loud cry,  “Have You come here to torment us before the time?”  Before what time? Those demons knew their place, and they thought they could occupy it for a little longer, but they also knew a time was coming when all would change. In an age to come there would be a season of judgment, when the fruit of our lives will be ripe, and we will have our rewards based upon what we have done with the claims of Christ.

Application: No conceivable thought is more terrifying than to look into the future and know we are doomed to hear, “Depart from Me!” (Matt. 7:23). This is what the demons dreaded, for they knew full well it was deserved. Their objection was not over their destination, but over His timing; their end seemed to come sooner than they had assumed. They had been confident that the Son of God would delay a bit longer. 

What goes through my mind as I think about these two sorry demons? “You’ll get yours! You deserve whatever God has in store for you! How can you be so blind, so stupid?” But somewhere between “blind” and “stupid,” the tumble of thoughts slows a bit as the idea intrudes that I, too, have been as they were. I know my destiny; it is a wedding banquet.

But as good as all that is, I sometimes struggle over the timing of destiny’s fulfillment. That struggle is rooted in only one thing: reluctance to fully abandon pursuits other than Him. I want to teeter on the edge of sin, seeing how many ways my heart can be divided while casting one eye nervously toward the eastern sky, planning against all odds to instantly abandon worldly pursuits when I see Him beginning to split the heavens. But here’s the problem: when He comes, He’ll be really quick about it. First Corinthians 15:52 says in a moment, in an eye’s twinkling, everything will be changed. He won’t be on a slow amble past the cemetery next time; rather, He will come for His bride quicker than a blink. Will my response be any different from the demons’, “Lord, have You come here . . .  before the time?”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your timing is perfect, and it is unknowable. I repent, Lord, of every scrap of unfinished heart business, every tendency to linger over habits and patterns of life that keep me from wholehearted pursuit of You. Stir zeal for You, O Lord, for You alone.