Our Old Testament readings are long and rather involved today. In 2 Kings ch. 2 we saw the drama of Elijah being taken away in “chariots of fire” [v.11] from Elisha who succeeds him. Where he goes is not clear, but later a letter comes from him, see 2 Chron. 21 v.12.
Jeremiah ch. 50 is a long chapter about the fate of Babylon – the nation that had destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. The prophets’ message is “Flee from the midst of Babylon” [v.8] In v.12 it is prophesied, “Behold, she shall be the last of the nations.” We are intrigued that Babylon is a translation of the Hebrew word ‘Babel’! We know how it figures prominently in the symbolic language of the Bible’s last book, Revelation!
“Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.” [Rev.18 v.10] The whole world appears to follow the worship of Babel today! A final judgement is surely coming because of the worlds’ utter godlessness. Is the “single hour” just about upon us?
In the light of this, the point Paul made in today’s ch. 10 of 1st Corinthians jumped out at us. He observes that details of God’s judgements “were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” [v.11] The whole of the words God inspired have been written down for that reason! We ignore them at our peril.
The next point Paul makes should be implanted on our memory, ” Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” [v.12,13]
Meditate on how appropriate these words are for us today. There are many forms of temptation around us. According to our particular personality, some are stronger than others – but this is certainly the time of the latter day Babel. Let’s recall Isaiah’s words, ” Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes” [5 v.21] Let us be wise in the words that “were written down for our instruction” – they open up “the way of escape” for those that constantly feed their minds on them; they alone really believe and therefore know – in their hearts – that “God is faithful.”