Friday 12 September 2014

"... AMONG THOSE WITH WHOM HE IS PLEASED" Bible Reading Thoughts for Sept 10th


            Once again our 2nd Kings chapter is an account of depraved worship in Jerusalem, but it ends on an encouraging note, the wicked king Ahaz dies – but the new king will be his son Hezekiah. How is it that he shows himself to be godly, after such a father? It is reasonable to think that his mother must have been a worthy woman – surely a lesson for today.
            Ezekiel’s chapter 6 is another message of God’s anger against the godlessness of idol worship, with the LORD saying, “Thus will I spend my fury upon them. And you shall know that I am the LORD when their slain lie among their idols.” [v.12,13]  A prophet today would bring the same message to our world.  
But, in contrast, what a pleasure for uplifting meditation is our chapter (2) in Luke with its’ account of the birth of our Lord. We read the well-known account of “the angel of the Lord” appearing to the “shepherds out in the field.” Are his words too familiar to us?  Imagine you were one of the shepherds.  “… behold I bring you good news of great joy for unto you is born … a saviour who is Christ (Messiah) the Lord.” [v.10,11}  The angel is then joined by “a heavenly host” who sing words often sung at Christmas, but the original English version of the words, so familiar to us, is wrong.  The angels did not sing “peace on earth” but, as modern versions correctly translate the Greek, “Glory to God in the highest , and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.”
            May we be among those who experience this in our hearts, especially as our world is experiencing, as we will read the words of Jesus in ch. 21, “distress of nations in perplexity” and “people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world.” [v.25,26]. Genuinely faithful believers will have his encouragement  echoing in their minds, “Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” [v.28] 
People are not yet fainting with fear, but when that time comes the Lord’s coming will surely be near and he will be wonderfully “among those with whom he is pleased”   May we all, by his mercy, be among all those who “raise their heads”, but, as a hymn, by Islip Collyer, we sing expresses it, ‘we make the answer now.’       

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