How Much Do We Long for the Kingdom of God?
Paul Niehoff (Australia)
Sometimes, during normal times (although, at present, these are not normal times), life can be reasonably comfortable. We can have enough food, somewhere to live, a job that can be satisfying, family and friends. When thought about, all of these can be a great blessing. But when we look deeply into many aspects of today’s world, we will find that many things are not as they could be, or should be. And when we compare today’s world with what God has promised, we will see a dramatic difference. This world, at its best, still falls way short of the ideal.
One of the titles of Jesus Christ is Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Some examples when He protected Israel are at the Red Sea and in the time of Hezekiah. The Israelites did not have to fight, but God fought for them and destroyed their enemies. In the future, God will fight against the armies of Gog when they come to invade the unprotected cities of Israel. It will be at a time when Israel is living safely (Ezekiel 38:11, 21-23). Again, God will protect Israel without them having to fight.
When we look at today’s situation, well over half of all discretionary spending of the US federal budget goes to the military. Considering the rest of the world, there are wars in progress in parts of the Middle East, Asia and Africa, as well as in other regions. Millions of people are being killed, impoverished or displaced from their homes due to these ongoing wars. A situation that desperately needs changing and in God’s Kingdom, there will be no need for any military or the expenses incurred. Think of how that money could be used more effectively for the benefit of people rather than killing them.
Another of God’s names is “I am the LORD who heals you” (Exodus 15:26). God makes many promises for healing, and Ezekiel 47:12 states that in the Kingdom of God, the leaves of the trees beside the river will be for medicine. He also tells us that no one will be sick anymore. He has made many promises that when people obey Him, there will be health benefits for them.
Again, looking at today’s situation, the total US spending on Medicare and health by the federal government exceeds even military spending. Interestingly, over 60% of personal bankruptcies in the US are caused by medical expenses. The US has the highest medical costs in the world, but nowhere near the best outcomes. In God’s Kingdom, most, if not all, of these expenses will be eliminated. Deuteronomy 28:21-22 reveals some health curses that will be upon those who will not obey Him. The first curse listed in these verses is most appropriate for today. “The LORD will make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land you are going to possess” (verse 21). The alternative reading for plague is pestilence.
Another situation we can consider is food supplies. As has been shown by a few far-sighted farmers, this world could feed around ten billion people. There are many promises that in God’s Kingdom, there will be great abundance. In Ezekiel 36:27-30 we read about God’s promise of abundance when people finally obey Him. Notice that He says that He will “call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you” (verse 29). He also says that “you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations” (verse 30).
However, the problems we have today that interrupt food supplies include war, measures taken to fight the coronavirus, locust plagues, droughts, floods, wildfires and other hazards. Due to the current situation, there are difficulties in the distribution of food. Because of the closing down of sporting events, conferences, hotels and restaurants and schools, and even a shortage of labour, farmers either cannot harvest their crops or have lost many of their markets making farming unprofitable. On the other side of the coin, food banks desperately need more food but are unable to obtain sufficient quantities to distribute to the needy.
There are many other areas in this world that fall short of God’s ways or even go diametrically opposite them. An example is education where there are too many cases, especially in sex education, that anything goes. While totally ignoring God’s purpose for marriage and family. We can also think of the ungodly concept of the evolution theory. The education system also tries to rewrite history regarding the belief in the Bible of the original settlers and statesmen of the US, due to a liberal, non-Christian agenda.
Again, in sport and entertainment, violence is very common. Films glorifying war are very popular and, depending in what country films are made, the hero in one film may very well be fighting the hero in another film. In the Kingdom of God, no one in sport or entertainment will be idolized. God will have the glory. But there will still be joy and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).
As for politics and government, there will no longer be elections where each candidate is trying to show they are best for the job. Government will be for the benefit of all people, not for the glory or financial gain of elected officials.
I will not mention business or justice but I’m sure we understand that often times, these are not in accordance with God’s commandments or statutes.
So, ever since Adam and Eve took the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, this world has been a mixture of human goodness and evil, neither of which is acceptable to God. But His desire for us is to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). This is totally acceptable to God, and when we do this, we will all have a deep longing for the Kingdom of God.