What Cannot Be Shaken

Those acquainted with Bible prophecy can’t help wondering if we are coming into the fulfillment of “end time” events. Clearly there is a great shaking throughout the earth, in every domain—meteorology, tectonics, politics, economics, health care, religion, communication, international relations, social connection. You can fill in anything I may have left out.

Our world has changed dramatically in just a few short months. But what feels sudden to most of us is the result of pressure that has been building up gradually for a long time. Apply whatever metaphor suits you—the balloon has popped, the trigger was pulled, the iceberg was struck, the pin was pulled from the grenade.

We wonder if all the (relatively) small explosions will culminate in the scenario Jesus describes:

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:25-27).

Even the planets, the sun and the stars will be in uproar as we move toward Christ’s appearing. We are not given to know the timing of his return, but we recognize the signs that it is coming closer.

The writer to the Hebrews reminded the first century believers of God’s shaking Mount Sinai as he revealed his power and his Law to Moses. He declared, “This is the same God who now speaks from heaven.” There was no place to run and hide from his majestic and powerful voice on that mountain, “so what chance is there for us to escape if we turn our backs on God and refuse to hear his warnings as he speaks from heaven?” (Heb. 12:25).

The writer continues with this reference to the prophet Haggai, “Once and for all I will not only shake the systems of the world, but also the unseen powers in the heavenly realm!” (v. 26). It is clear that the Spirit is not just referring to nations, tectonic plates or hurricanes, but to every worldly, human-centered system and structure that demons employ to intimidate and manipulate people in opposition to the Lord.

His shaking will topple all of the spiritual principalities behind these systems. He will destroy both the puppets and the puppeteers.

The passage concludes with, “This phrase ‘once and for all’ clearly indicates the final removal of things that are shaking, that is, the old order, so only what is unshakable will remain” (Heb. 12:27).

Do you see that? Only what is unshakable will remain. There will be complete stability and strength. We should seek to understand what, in God’s view, are these unshakable things.

The best place to start is with the love of God, agape. His love is the greatest thing, the force that never fails when every other force is taken away (1 Cor. 13:8).

Vertically, God’s love for his people is absolutely solid. Recalling the days of Noah, when God promised never to allow the floodwaters to fill the earth, Isaiah writes,

“’Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:10).

This promise relates to those who are in covenant with him, who will not be shaken from that bond, no matter what happens. It is for those who have put trust in his unfailing love, not for those who stubbornly resist him.

David said, “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Ps. 15:8). Another psalm compares those who trust in him to Mount Zion, “which cannot be shaken but endures forever” (Ps. 125:1). And still another, “Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken” (Ps. 62:6).

In other words, in response to his love, we trust in him completely, and have our house built upon a rock (Matt. 7:24). While all around us is shaking, we find peace, strength, and stability for our souls.

But God doesn’t want us to sit around on his promises. Instead, he says “having done all…stand”. We must use our life energy to promote God’s unshakable values and purposes. David, in Psalm 15, spells out the lifestyle of people God considers unshakable. They:

  • do what is righteous
  • speak the truth from their heart
  • utter no slander
  • do no wrong to a neighbor
  • cast no slurs on others
  • despise evil
  • honor those who fear the Lord
  • keep an oath even when it hurts
  • lend money to the poor without interest
  • do not accept a bribe 

That’s a challenging, comprehensive list of attitudes and behaviors that reinforce God’s firm foundation of love and trust in our lives. It is a sturdy set of moral absolutes that stabilize us–if we choose to apply them–in a relativistic culture that is toppling moral absolutes faster than it is toppling statues.

As anachronistic as it may seem, let’s choose to follow this way of living and being. Opening our hearts to receive God’s perfect love. Putting all our trust in the one who can hold us together when all is falling apart. Extending his faithful love to the other humans around us. Doing the right thing whether others are watching or not.

This is how we stay safe and sound, sheltered and grounded by our God, unshakable.

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