What a thought challenging set of readings we have today! First, in 1 Chronicles (20 & 21) we saw the failure of David to maintain his spiritual vision and integrity. We have to put these chapters alongside chapters 11 & 12 in 2nd Samuel to get the full picture of the interaction of events after “David remained in Jerusalem.” [20 v.1] This was the time when he committed his sin with Bathsheba – a lesson for us to never relax our work for the Lord.
David became momentarily a ‘Satan’, as the Apostle Peter did (Mark 8 v.33) David had the inclination to ‘boast’ of how many people were under his rule; let us beware ourselves of any inclination to list and boast of what we have achieved. The word ‘Satan’ means ‘adversary, as it is sometimes translated. (see 1 Kings 11 v.14,23,25 – where it occurs 3 times, but is always translated as ‘adversary’ – it illustrates the failures of Solomon in his old age. We must never relax our commitment to the Lord, even in our old age, lest we do things that are ‘adverse’ to his will.
Ezekiel (ch. 31) is a message to “say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his multitude: ‘Whom are you like in your greatness?’ ” [v.2] Assyria is used as an illustration of a nation which has boasted of its greatness, but God will “surely deal with it as its wickedness deserves. I have cast it out.” [v.11] Assyria had destroyed the northern kingdom of the 10 tribes – now it is to go into oblivion – the true God was not acknowledged! Soon it would be Egypt’s turn! A modern example could be the British Empire, so extensive, until 75 years ago when I was young – but now virtually no more. Is it significant that most of its churches are now closed? How lacking, of any meaningful form of Christianity, the whole world has become. Many generations have now passed since the Bible was widely possessed and read. There is very little genuine spirituality anywhere in the world today.
Then we came to read the first 2 chapters of Ephesians – they are truly inspirational if we read them carefully! Paul makes many points, a vital one is that the Ephesians “once lived in the passions of the flesh … and were by nature (because of this) children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” [2 v.3] All mankind, more than ever today, deserves ‘God’s wrath.’ But Paul writes to the believers at Ephesus, words which we pray apply to us today! “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…” [2 v.4,5]
We are “alive” – the rest of the world is “dead” – in God’s eyes – and as long as we stay “alive” he will “in the coming ages … show the immeasurable riches of his grace” [v.7] How close are we now to the start of “the coming ages”!? Let us stay “alive … with Christ” – spiritually – until he come.