The Year of the Lord’s Favour – (The Glory of Zion continued)
Again from Derek Kidner. “Although the term the ‘Servant of the Lord’ is absent from this song … it seems artificial to make the ‘me’ of v. 1 a new speaker. Our Lord saw his mission revealed as clearly in this song as in the others (cf. Luke 4:17-21; 7:220; and we may notice in this Spirit-endued (11:2; 42:1) and anointed one, a blending of therms that relate to the Servant and the Messianic King.”
The Easter we have just celebrated focuses our minds, as they should be focused daily, on the One whom John saw in Revelation 1:12-18. Here we see something of the majesty of our Lord Jesus to whom we look and to whom we owe our love and allegiance.
The Victory of God
This last of the Seven trumpets, as G. B. Caird wrote, “… is a jubilant fanfare, proclaiming the enthronement of the King of kings.” God has never been anything else than King of kings but here visibly and finally has “assumed (his) full power and entered on (his) reign.”
In verses 1-6 of chapter 12 the birth of Messiah is represented. The woman, representing God’s people escapes “to a place prepared for her by God. To those whose eyes are fixed only on what is seen and temporal the church is a vulnerable human society, utterly exposed to the attacks of Caesar; but to those with eyes to see what is unseen and eternal the church is inviolate to the assaults of Satan himself.” (Caird)
We, and all those who suffer for the Name of Jesus, wait for the day that God has appointed. Let us wait with patience and faithfulness.
The Glory of Zion
Of this chapter and of the one that follows Derek Kidner wrote: “These glowing exultant chapters depict blessings that transcend the old order and even, in places, the Christians era itself; but the language is that of the OT ordinances and of the literal Jerusalem – it will need translating into terms of the ‘Jerusalem above’ (cf. Gal 4:26). Also Rev 21 draws freely on ch. 60 for its picture of the radiant city from heaven; and the interpretation of that vision (of which more than one view is possible) must affect that of the present prophecy. The view taken here is that the return of dispersed Israelites to Jerusalem is made the model of a far greater movement, the world-wide inflow of converts into the church, and that the vision repeatedly looks beyond this to the end, the state of ultimate glory.”
Paul’s words to the Colossians in chapter 3:1 are “… set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God…” That is where our future lies.
This world, where the evil one appears to offer so much to those who listen to him, is doomed to pass away. God’s children wisely set their hearts on things above.
God’s Sovereign Purposes
Revelation 10:1 – 11:14
There is a great deal in this passage that cannot be addressed in this short consideration.
Of this interruption between the 6th and 7th Trumpets G. R. Beasley-Murray wrote: “The primary purpose of this interruption in the story is … First, a solemn declaration is made of the certainty and nearness of the end when the seventh trumpet is sounded …; secondly, John’s commission to prophesy is freshly affirmed and even extended (he is to prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings), and thirdly, the task of the church in the time of tribulation is made plain, namely to bear witness to Christ before the opponents of the gospel. Here for the first time the figure of the antichrist appears (11:7) and the dual nature of the last tribulation becomes apparent, namely judgments of God upon those who oppose him and war against the church by the followers of antichrist”.
We are to take heart that whatever opposition is mounted against God and his people, (and the world is not short of it today) it is not a final challenge to the sovereign purposes of God. Our hope is in Him and in nothing, or no one, else
“Tyre had a longer reach than even Babylon; her traders were known from the Indian Ocean to the English Channel. Revelation 17 and 18 combine the OT oracles on Tyre and Babylon for the composite picture of the world as seducer and oppressor, over against the city of God” (D. Kidner)
Earth’s proud empires all pass away. Only God and His purposes endure. Never be intimidated by secular power.
This chapter begins a section that runs through to 27:13 and is sometimes called the ‘Isaiah Apocalypse’.
Verses 1-13 carry words of judgement with verse 6 giving the reason. Verses 14-16 speak of praise that is to come; while verses 17-23 speak of cosmic judgement, “for the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before its elders – with great glory.”
We await that final day as it is described in Revelation 21 and 22.
Enroute to Jerusalem
This passage deals with the closing phase of Paul’s ministry at this time around the Aegean Sea. He leaves Ephesus and goes to Macedonia spending some time in Corinth and probably writing his letter to the Romans.
He returns to Troas where the remarkable story of the restoration of Eutychus takes place.
A facetious remark might be, “keep sermons short unless you have a Paul around”. But seriously, we see the evidence of God’s power with Paul both in the restoration of that young man, and in the hunger for God’s word in those who were present in that upstairs room. May we too be hungry for His truth.
The passage set for reading today is divided up in the NIV as 1:2-4 Habakkuk’s Complaint; 1:5-11; The Lord’s Answer; and 1:12-2:1 Habakkuk’s Second Complaint.
“Habakkuk was probably a contemporary of Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Nahum, and possibly Joel”. He sits in that juncture of history where Assyria was in rapid decline, Babylon was in the ascendancy, and Israel was on its way to captivity in Babylon.
Our passage for today should be read with thoughtfulness and prayer. God will vindicate His Name and His people though nations will come and go under the judgement of God.
Our world is a world under judgement, judgement which will have an ultimate and final expression. 1 Peter 2:11-12 gives counsel as to the way we are to operate at this point in God’s dealing with our world.
Habakkuk’s resolve in 2:1 is a stance we too might well adopt.
On the Way to the Cross
This account shows wonderfully the great love of the Lord Jesus.
Before him is the prospect of his own agonizing death as God’s Lamb to take away the sin of the world. But that momentous prospect, with all that it will entail, does not block his ears to the cry of just one single blind beggar. Both truths, or both expressions of the one truth, rightly draw our praise and thanksgiving. He cares eternally.
Sinfulness Does Not Go Unpunished
“… the book of Nahum tells us in very straight terms that evil will be punished. It warns us about our own sin, and it encourages us when we are oppressed by great evils by reminding us that God will have the last word. We need this message bringing home to us at times when our persecutors ‘increase like the locusts’, or on the other hand, at times when we think we are getting away with behaviour which is not strictly honouring to God. The book may have a limited scope, but its message is a vital one.” (M. Butterworth)
It is worth reading Revelation 20:11-15 as a New Testament equivalent.
Entering the Kingdom of Heaven
Who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Thank God that what is absolutely impossible for sinful human beings is possible with God. Only by His undeserved mercy and grace can any of us be saved. Thanks be to God, He does save those who call upon Him.
Fallen is Virgin Israel
The opening words of this chapter are dramatic.
Israel (the Northern Kingdom) had ascended to its greatest national achievement in the initial half of the 8th century BC. The mood was confident but the foundations were crumbling. “There are those who turn justice into bitterness, and cast righteousness to the ground”, consequently God warms that He will judge the nation.
Right living and caring for those in need were part of the calling that God had given to His people. Their failure to practise genuine loving concern for others would bring God’s judgement.
The command to love others as we love ourselves is a call from God to emulate His love for us in caring for others. Let’s seek to do it in the situation in which we live.
“Remember that when you leave this earth you can take with you nothing that you have received – only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice, and courage” Francis of Assisi
God the Seeker
Jesus welcomed sinners then and welcomes now. I both parables God is the seeker. This is both our greatest personal encouragement and our calling to follow His example.
The Earth is the Lord’s
God is the Creator King. Majesty and strength are His. Earth is the product of His creative will and power. It will continue as long as He determines.
We were given the task of caring for this part of His creation. Our record is not good and large numbers own no loyalty to the Creator King.
There are at least three things that we who seek to honour the Creator King can do.
1. We can acknowledge daily that we live in an environment that He has provided for us
2. We can do what we can to seek the good of the creation and act as faithful stewards.
3. We can acknowledge God our Creator King, trust in the provision He has made for our redemption in the Lord Jesus, and seek by His Holy Spirit to live in obedience to his commands the principal one being to love one another.