“Declaring the end from the beginning”
Our readings today all provoke some challenging thoughts. First we read Hannah’s impassioned prayer leading her to tell Eli the priest, “I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD” (1 Samuel 1:15). Such is human nature that we usually only do this when there is some real crisis. Hannah proves herself to be a very spiritual woman and tomorrow we will read her marvellous prayer of gratitude, “My heart exults in the LORD” (2:1). Is that our experience?
Do we really count our blessings? What qualifies as a blessing? Food for thought.
God’s message through Isaiah is very challenging, “I am God and there is no other, I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning … I will accomplish all my purpose” (46:9,10).
This pronouncement was followed by the statement, “Listen to me you stubborn of heart, you who are far from righteousness” (verse 12). Sadly God could equally say that today – not only to the world – but to most if not all of those who claim to be Christian.
The third chapter of Revelation gives us three illustrations of the ultimate purpose of God in Christ’s messages to three different churches. The message to Sardis said there were “still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments [of righteousness – see chapter 7:13,14; Isaiah 61:10) and they will walk before me in white, for they are worthy” (verse 4).
He commends those in Philadelphia for their “patient endurance” and as a result of this says, “I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on earth” (verse 10). Believers over the centuries have experienced severe times of trial, but many scriptures make it clear that an ultimate “time” is coming!
He reproves the believers in Laodicea for their attitude! “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked” (verse 17) adding, “Those whom I love I reprove and discipline” (verse 19). And, what is the personal part of the “end” that God declared from the beginning? Verse 21 tells us, “The one who conquers (AV, overcomes) I will grant him to sit with me on my throne …”
May he love us and may we accept any “discipline” he sees necessary so that we are counted “worthy”.