Monday, 23 June 2014

TFTD - 23 June 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

23 June 2014

1 Samuel 2
Isaiah 48
Revelation 5; 6

“THEN SUDDENLY … ”

Our readings today are particularly interesting.  Yesterday, our first reading, 1 Samuel 1, sees the birth of Samuel. We have read of the ups and downs of the era of the Judges ­ but now come to Samuel as the final all wise Judge, a type of Christ, that God works through to lay the foundation for the era of the Kings beginning with Saul and David.

Isaiah’s prophecies are bringing us toward the end of the era of the Kings, the LORD is frustrated with the attitudes of his people ­ as he must be with the ‘christian’ world today.  Today’s chapter [Isaiah 48] starts, “Hear this, O house of Jacob who are called by the name of Israel … who swear by the name of the LORD … but not in truth and right”.  God tells the prophet of “things I declared of old … then suddenly I did them and they came to pass” [Isaiah 48:3]

We think of the initial promises to Abraham, the deliverance from Egypt, the initial fulfilment of the promises to David ­ we will read in 1 Samuel in coming weeks; but this week in Isaiah we will read the detailed prophecies God gave him about the Messiah.   Although the Jewish scribes must have known these, they had ‘tunnel vision’ as to what they expected the Messiah to do, the message of the explicit prophecy in Isaiah 53 was ‘lost’ because of the pre-conceived notions in their minds. Is there a lesson in this for us? Have we pre-conceived notions?

Our readings in Revelation complete the dramas in today’s chapters.  While often  in symbolic language, they frequently included phrases, even sentences from Isaiah and other prophets, compare for example, today’s Revelation 6:15-16 with Isaiah 2:10,19, of events when “the great day of their wrath has come.”

Revelation is not all symbolic language, especially of how the time of God’s wrath is followed by a “new song”. “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created …. You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” [Revelation 4:11; 5:9]

What a wonderful vision.   But first it is vital we acknowledge that our world today is in near total spiritual darkness ­ “then suddenly” God will act.  The increasing turmoil in all the nations surrounding God’s ‘Holy Land’ is ominous!  The last verse of our Revelation reading asks us a question “who can stand?” in “the great day of their wrath”? Are you effectively building up your faith ­ so you can? Read and reflect on God’s word every day.
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- DC


Thought for the Day

23 June 2014

"Life in the truth must be contemplative. This does not mean that we must become either philosophers or monks, but if we are to develop character we must do some thinking and studying. The outstanding characteristic of the godly man is that "his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law does he meditate day and night." (Psalm 1:2)"

- Elwyn Humphreys
Meditation and Study (1951)
1 Samuel 2:18
"But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod"

This is in total sad contrast with the verses before which outline how that whilst being in the role of the priests instead of serving and ministering to God and the people, Eli's sons were serving themselves. There is huge exhortation in this for us, are we truly ministering and serving God in the ecclesia, or ourselves?  Who are we putting 1st in our lives?

It's interesting to note in this chapter and chapter 3, there is a contrast to these men (sons of Eli) who served self and the repeated phrase of Samuel being a child, ministering before the LORD, and grew in the LORD.

We are reminded of our Masters words:
"And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 18:3)