The range of readings we have today are more than usually thought provoking. Firstly we read of Hezekiah, one of the most dedicated and righteous kings to reign in Jerusalem – but God tested him by allowing “a time of trouble” – but he remained faithful. When he “prayed because of this and cried to heaven … the LORD sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land.” [2 Chron. 30 v.20,21]
However, as we read on, we see ” Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. Therefore wrath came upon him … But Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart …” [v.25,26] A vital lesson for us – to humbly appreciate and make return for the privilege of the wonder of the fellowship we develop with our Saviour – and increasingly so – as surely – the “time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time” that we read in Daniel 12 v.1 is approaching. The “nation” referred to – is Israel.
We are in awe of the words that come next! “But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine … and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever” Verse 4 tells us “the words” are sealed “until the time of the end” when “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” A remarkable description of our world today.
Paul worked hard to “turn many to righteousness” as we read in Acts ch. 13 today. First he gave them a history lesson (from v.16). He highlighted how God “raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ [v.22] An example to them – and also to us! Paul appealed to “those among you who fear God,” saying “to us has been sent the message of this salvation.” [v.26]
Do we “fear” God – especially in this increasing “time of trouble, such as never has been” the like of which has never existed before! Paul said, “the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'” [v.47] The message has now reached “the ends of the earth” Has it really penetrated our hearts? God’s message must achieve more than an intellectual acknowledgement in our minds – otherwise we will not endure the “time of trouble, such as never has been” David Caudery