Our first reading today described the tragedy of Achan. After the wonder of Divine help in the conquest of Jericho, surely everyone would have been in awe of the power of the one true God.- the wonder of what he was able to do in giving the nation a dramatic victory.
One man, Achan, did not, he was self-centred, his mind focused on personal gain, an early example of the spirit of Judas Iscariot. The family of Achan must have been party to hiding the spoil he took from Jericho so they all paid the penalty. This is a challenging message for us! From the Psalms, natural Israel sings, “Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!” [106 v.3]
Then in Isaiah ch. 11 our hearts and minds were lifted up by the picture of Eden restored – by the “branch” from “the stump of Jesse” the father of David – and how this “shall bear fruit.” [v.1] And what a wondrous fruit was the result! It revealed to men and women “… the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.” [v.2] The more we ‘know’ of the LORD – the more we are filled with “fear” in the sense of awe!
This will lead to that wondrous promised time for those whose minds ‘eat’ of this “fruit”! They will be there when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”[v.9]
Our readings were fittingly completed by the last (3rd) chapter of Paul’s 2nd letter to the Thessalonians. Paul asks them to “pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honoured, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men.” [v.1,2]
Finally, let us take into our hearts and minds – Paul’s petition – surely made from his heart! It was; “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” [v.5]
The more we seek the Lord the more that spirit of “steadfastness” will develop and we will “not grow weary in doing good.” [v.13] The people, entering the promised land learnt this the hard way, what a lesson Achan’s failure was to them!
Paul ends his epistle by saying/praying, “may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way … The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”
Let us pray that “the Lord will direct (y)our hearts” so that, as he told the Thessalonians “you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [2 v.14] at his coming – and how close are we to that time now!
By Bro D.Caudery
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