“WICKEDNESS BURNS LIKE A FIRE”
Isaiah has a blunt and challenging message for his people in today’s 7th chapter of his prophecy – it is rather in contrast to the positive picture we read in Joshua ch. 19 where the people cross the Jordan into the promised land. Isaiah says, “For wickedness burns like a fire” [v.18] and “Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts the land is scorched, and the people are like fuel for the fire…” [v.19]
We sense that this is a poetic picture that can also be applied to God’s judgments that will soon come on this earth where “wickedness” has been burning “like a fire” to blot out anything that is genuinely godly! The time is surely coming – and soon – when God will act.
Our ch. 5 in 1st Thessalonians has several parallel thoughts. Paul had already made them “fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” [v.2] This evidently means that the world will have no awareness that the Lord is about to act – and today it has almost totally lost consciousness that there is a Creator.
Since 1939 we have lived through wars in many parts of the world, but today, the only war, if you can call it a war, is conflict between some Islamic factions north east of Israel: the Islamic concept of the Creator is very fictional, there appears to be no “fear” toward him: there is spiritual “darkness” in them and throughout the world.
Paul tells the Thessalonians, and us, that those who really know God’s word know, says Paul, that they “are not in darkness … for that day to surprise you…” [v.4] and “since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love” – and then he adds, “and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” [v.8]
A “helmet” protects our head – our mind – so essential when everyone else is losing theirs – using it for useless purposes. Paul told the Ephesians to “take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” [6 v.17] Back in Thessalonians, the next verse (9) inspires by telling us, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Our world is “destined to wrath” because it abounds with “wickedness” that “burns like fire“! Our responsibility, as Paul told the Thessalonians, is to “encourage one another and build one another up” [v.11] and to “encouragethe fainthearted” [v.14] and “pray without ceasing.” [v.17]
By Bro D.Caudery
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