We have a mentally absorbing set of readings today. They are most spiritually stimulating – and challenging!. In Chronicles ch. 29 we read of the ascension to the throne of Hezekiah – and in the “first month” he opened up the Temple and ordered the Levites to begin a process of thoroughly cleansing it ready for use. We think of the return of our Lord to reign. We cannot begin to imagine how his reign will start – but it is certain it will be utterly awesome! Surely he will waste no time in setting in train events to cleanse the world of all its’ present filth!
In Acts ch. 8 we read of the dramatic conversion of Saul, soon to be called Paul. As he nears Damascus he hears the voice of Jesus! Will we hear his voice – at his return? How? The gospels tell us, “… the powers in the heavens will be shaken … then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory … then he will send out the angels and gather his elect …” [Mark 13 v.25-27]
When Paul hears his voice he is taken into Damascus – blind! Ananias, ” a disciple at Damascus” [v.10] is told to find Saul! He objects, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints … ” [v.13], but he is told, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” [v.15]
‘Food’ for our serious meditation here! What is it to “carry” Christ’s “name”? Do we do that? Is this not to represent Christ in some way? Did not Jesus set an example! “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” [John 14 v.9] So whoever sees us, sees ….? Food for our deepest meditation!
This takes us to our final thought today in Daniel ch. 9 and this prophet’s remarkable prayer. It is one of the most detailed in Scripture. A particular highlight for us is v.15. “O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day …”
That word “name” – has the sense of making a reputation. The aim of many people today, especially politicians, is to make a ‘name’ for themselves! Most ‘names’ are increasingly ungodly! In utter contrast – our aim must be to make sure we “carry” Christ’s “name” – following, to at least some degree, in the footsteps of Paul as he fulfilled the role the Master destined for him – “to carry my name before the Gentiles ….”