Our Old Testament chapters are largely factual in content. Joshua (ch. 11) details Israel’s conquests in the northern part of the land of their inheritance. The text details all that the ‘kings’ Joshua conquered – we rather see these as ‘mayors’ of these cities. It is interesting that verse 22 tells us that “only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod did some remain.” It is intriguing that this is the area of the so-called ‘Gaza strip’ today. Is it not part, in some circumstances at least, of the will of God, to allow some situations to exist to test the genuineness of our faith?
In Isaiah ch. 15 we read of “an oracle concerning Moab” an area which forms part of today’s Jordan: this chapter needs to be read in conjunction with ch. 16: together they only amount to 23 verses. Ch. 16 ends by telling us “the glory of Moab will be brought into contempt … those who remain will be very few and feeble.” And so it has been, the people in the area have never been significant enemies of Israel: today’s situation is interesting.
The second letter of Paul to Timothy is the last he wrote, it is written from Rome where he was a prisoner. Paul’s convictions are now absolute – not that they were lacking before ! He boldly declares, “I thank God whom I serve … with a clear conscience” [v.3] Central to his conscience and strength of mind and source of encouragement is Timothy. He tells him, how “I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy.” [v.4]
The mainspring for Paul’s joy is Timothy’s “sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” [v.5] Do we talk and think of faith ‘dwelling‘ in us? How valuable is the example of dedicated sisters.
Paul sees ‘faith‘ as taking up residence in our heart. How unstable are those in which this does not happen – or is only fitful at best. Paul declares, “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. ” [v.12] May we ourselves say, “I am convinced” that the Lord is guarding me – and I am strengthened by being regularly among those who are also “convinced.”
How close is “that Day” now? How inspiring – and challenging – is Paul’s declaration to Timothy! He tells him, ” there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day” and then he adds, ” and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” [ch. 4 v.8] The “appearing” of Jesus changed the lives of all who “loved” him, and ever since, has changed the lives of those who were built up bythe inspired records about him and other men and women who were inspired by God and his Son.
May we each, in faith say, “I am convinced …” and declare with Paul, ” Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord … will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” [2 Tim. 4 v.8] and “continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” [1 Tim.2 v.15]
By Bro D.Caudery
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