Have you ever been ill-prepared for a sudden event? The Bible warns that many will be caught off guard by one of the most pivotal events in human history.
The nation of Israel is under constant threat from its enemies.
To protect itself, over the years Israel has installed several state-of-the-art missile and rocket interceptor systems. Since 2011, the Iron Dome missile defense system has provided an umbrella of protection from short-range rockets fired in the south by Hamas in Gaza and in the north by Hezbollah in Lebanon.
On Nov. 9, Israel’s new Arrow 3 interceptor (part of its Arrow Weapon System) made its first-ever interception of a long-range ballistic missile fired from Yemen. Quite a feat, considering intercepting a rocket is like hitting a bullet with another bullet—in outer space!
The underground layer features sensors to detect underground tunneling activity. It even extends into the Mediterranean Sea to detect underwater activity. The fence is equipped with motion sensors, surveillance cameras, remote-controlled machine guns, robots, drones and uncrewed ground vehicles.
If all that wasn’t sufficient, Israeli intelligence agencies rank among the world’s finest in intercepting and thwarting terror attacks before they occur. This system, considered nearly impenetrable, kept Israel safe for years.
But the security fence had one weakness.
Lulled into a false sense of security
Israelis felt so secure that they felt comfortable holding a music party for peace only 3 miles from the Gaza border. However, on Oct. 7, when the festivities were in full swing, the partygoers suddenly came under attack by Hamas terrorists shouting, Allahu Akbar (“God is great”). The terrorists proceeded to commit unspeakable atrocities.
Before Oct. 7, Israel had been under the impression that Hamas was not ready for a direct fight. Meanwhile, Hamas commanders had been planning a massive attack for months, perhaps even years.
The Oct. 7 attacks shattered all sense of security for the tiny nation. It was the worst one-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.
Hamas fighters simultaneously breached the security fence at 29 points, allowing vehicles to transport a vast number of fighters into Israeli territory. Not only that, terrorists also paraglided over the wall and came ashore via the sea.
The low-tech assault on the world’s most sophisticated security system sent shock waves through Israel. Having gunmen stream across the border has left a mark on the nation’s consciousness, and many are now asking, How could this have happened?
It really comes down to this: While Hamas was preparing for battle, Israel was not.
With an overreliance on technology, the Israelis had only a few soldiers stationed around Gaza on this religious holy day, and Hamas was able to enter with minimal resistance.
Israel’s lack of vigilance and false sense of security revealed its most significant weakness—complacency.
Complacency is the dominant attitude of our times
The Pharisees went to Jesus to ask when the Kingdom of God would come (Luke 17:20). Jesus began to teach them that the Kingdom would come suddenly. But, even then, they would not recognize it, as they did not recognize Him, the King of that Kingdom in their very midst (verses 21-24).
If they did not recognize Jesus, how would they recognize the Kingdom He represented?
Jesus likened the days before His return to the days of Noah or the days of Lot, when impending destruction caught people off guard.Our world faces the same problem. This world does not know who Jesus is. Though many profess His name, they believe in a counterfeit Jesus. Many believe Jesus was just a good man, like Confucius or Buddha, or only a great Jewish prophet. (To learn more, read “Is Your ‘Jesus’ the True Jesus?”)
Jesus likened the days before His return to the days of Noah or the days of Lot, when impending destruction caught people off guard. He warned that in the end time, people will eat, drink, marry, buy, sell, build and plant right up to Christ’s return (verses 26-30).
In other words, people will go about their business unaware, as though everything were normal.
They will be complacent. They won’t be watching the signs around them and will be totally focused on their activities and willingly ignorant of their deficiencies.
For insight on how to be watchful, read “Discerning the Signs of the Times.”
Distraction causes complacency
The cares of this life can cause us to become complacent about the most important thing—our spiritual relationship with God. Jesus warned that “the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things” can suffocate our relationship with God (Mark 4:19). Luke’s account includes the “pleasures of life” (Luke 8:14).
Focusing solely on our education, work commitments, earning a living, paying the bills, paying the rent or the mortgage, our social engagements and entertainment can be so consuming that there’s no room left for God.
To overcome complacency, a Christian must prioritize the Kingdom of God above all else. Christ told us, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” and “all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
To learn more about prioritizing God’s Kingdom in your life, read “What Is the Meaning of Matthew 6:33?”
Complacency comes when we misplace trust
Ancient Israelites forsook God and placed their trust in other things (Jeremiah 2:13). God warned in advance that if this happened, the “high and fortified walls” they trusted in would come down (Deuteronomy 28:52).
In ancient times, people trusted their physical walls to protect them from their enemies. But modern-day walls are different from those ancient walls. Today, the walls we trust are our military forces, nuclear arsenal, technology, science, politicians or ourselves. Sometimes, we simply trust that all things will remain as they are (2 Peter 3:4).
Just as ancient Israel didn’t learn to trust in God, the nations of modern Israel are repeating the same mistake.
The prosperity and safety currently enjoyed by the modern descendants of the tribes of Israel are an illusion. Our nations are drowning in sins and have forsaken God. As such, evils are multiplying.
Oct. 7 should serve as a wake-up call about how quickly events can change. We may be seeing the early signs of the events that will culminate in Jesus Christ’s return.
It is time to overcome complacency. Now is the time to be awake, watchful and vigilant.