Tag: judgment is coming

The conclusion: Fear God!

Scripture reading for July 14th: Ecclesiastes 7-12

The quest of Solomon to find meaning is played out every day in our world.  People are going to and fro seeking pleasure, wisdom, meaning and purpose in life under the sun.  They are trying wine, women, sports, building, materialism, and fame to find happiness and fulfillment. Many laugh and appear to have fun, but they have found no meaning.   Many are in bondage to sins of the flesh and are miserable.  That elusive fulfillment can only be found in God Himself!

Solomon told us that the day of death was better than the day of birth.   Death will come to every man and their works will stand judgment.  This should give us motivation for righteous living here and now!   There was not a righteous man who did what is right and never sinned. (Ecclesiastes 7:10; Romans 3:23)  Solomon found that God had made men upright, but that men in their folly had gone in search of many schemes!  (Ecclesiastes 7:29)

“The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11)  No one really knows the future or what it holds.  Accidents can come suddenly and death can snatch us from this life without warning!   “As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.” (Ecclesiastes 9:12)

“The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails–given by one Shepherd.  Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.  Of the making of many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.  Now all has been heard; her is the conclusion of the matter:  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or bad.” (Ecclesiastes 12:11-13)  Let the fear of the Lord and obedience to His commands drive your life.  It is the beginning of all wisdom.  These are wise words given by our Shepherd to be pondered and applied!  True meaning will come at Christ’s judgment seat when every deed is judged!

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Mighty to Save!

Scripture reading for September 25th: Zephaniah 1-3

“The great day of the Lord is near–near and coming quickly.  Listen!  The cry  on the day of the Lord will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there. . . Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath.  In the fire of His jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for He will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth.” (Zephaniah 1:14, 18)

Zephaniah was raised up during the time of Josiah, a godly king of Judah who led in a revival.  (2nd Chronicles 34:1-7)  Josiah cleansed the temple and the land of idols and repaired the temple.  However, this revival was shallow and did not deter God’s people from their complacency and half-hearted worship.  Zephaniah was given an end-time message of coming judgment for the wicked on the ‘day of the Lord’. This day would come suddenly with no time to escape.  It would come to all who live on the earth! (Revelation 22:12-13)

“Gather together, gather together, O shameful nation, before the appointed time arrives and that day sweeps on like chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord comes upon you, before the day of the Lord’s wrath comes upon you.  Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands.  Seek righteousness, seek humility: perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.” (Zephaniah 2:1-3)  The remedy for this coming day of wrath was to gather together as God’s people and humbly seek Him!  It sounds so simple and yet is so profound.  God gives grace to the humble but opposes the proud.  (1st Peter 5:5)

“Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel!  Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem!  For the Lord has taken away your punishment, He has turned back your enemy.  The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;  never again will you fear any harm. . .The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:14-15,17)  These are some of the most encouraging and comforting words in the Old Testament.  God answers prayer and does for His people what they cannot do!  He saves us with His mighty love!

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Valley of Vision

Scripture reading for July 23rd: Isaiah 21-23

The oracle in Isaiah 22 concerns the “Valley of Vision”.  According to ancient sources, this was an early name for Jerusalem because it was situated on a hill that offered a view of the surrounding countryside and the valley all the way down to the Dead Sea, some 3600 feet below.  Another reason for this name could be associated with God’s Temple and His manifest presence there behind the veil in the Holy of Holies.  Isaiah’s vision, was not one of joy and delight, but one of coming judgment because of the pride and arrogance of God’s people.

Isaiah saw a vision of a city in tumult without leadership.  Their leaders had been captured while fleeing to escape an enemy that was still far away.  Isaiah wept bitterly because of the destruction of his people. (Isaiah 22:2-4)  He saw the day of the Lord’s judgment on the city, it’s walls battered down and it’s defenses stripped away.  People were busy trying to defend and store up water for the siege, but they forgot to call on the Lord.  (Isaiah 22:8-11)  Instead of weeping and fasting and seeking God, they were caught up in revelry and a party atmosphere with a grabbing of pleasure for the moment before the trouble came!  “Let us eat and drink,” you say, “for tomorrow we die!” (Isaiah 22:13b)

God also warned the steward of the palace, Shebna, that he would also be removed.  God was going to take hold of him and hurl him away.  He thought himself a mighty man, but God would throw him out like a ball.  (Isaiah 22:17-19)  God is really in control of all authority and can change leadership in an instant in response to the needs and plans of His heart.  Man may look mighty, but God is mightier!

This oracle is instructive for us today.  As we read the word of God, we can see that judgment is not far off and that God has said that Christ will come suddenly.  (Matthew 24:42-44)  Some will be caught unprepared.  Others will have the attitude of Jerusalem’s residents, grabbing pleasure while they can or frantically trying to prepare without calling on the Lord!  God warns us to make preparations under His guidance and to be working and watching when He comes.  (Matthew 24:45-46)  He truly loves each person and offers mercy and escape to those who will respond and live by faith.

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