Today’s readings.. (1 Samuel 19), (Isaiah 63), (Matthew 8)

Isaiah writes, “I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us … [6 v.7] It is good as well as necessary that we think positively about the attitude of God to his creation.  We can – and must – sometimes think of his anger with the constant failures of his chosen people Israel.  However, at the same time we balance this in seeing his times of great mercy despite their sinfulness.
We have read in Samuel of his acceptance of their demands to have a king to be like other nations.  We now see events unfolding to produce the inspirational person of David a “man after God’s own heart.”  These things, writes Paul were “written in former days … for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” [Rom 15 v.4]
God’s “great goodness” is “according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love,” writes Isaiah [v.7]  Compassion is a wonderful part of that love.  But then Isaiah comments on the times when the people “rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit: therefore he turned to be their enemy” [v.10]
God’s spirit is ever present on this earth.  Solomon, in his God given wisdom perceived that “a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths.” [Prov.5 v.21].  God’s prophets experienced times of despair as they saw the godlessness of most of the people.  Isaiah concludes today’s chapter on a despairing note, “we have become like those over whom you have never ruled, like those who are not called by your name.”   This country, like others, has become like this, the churches no longer make any meaningful stand against the flood of ungodliness, many are nearly empty.
As a result, the day is getting nearer when earlier verses in the chapter will have their ultimate application at the return of Christ, when, acting for God he will say, “I have trodden the winepress alone … I trod them in my anger … for the day of vengeance was in my heart …” [v.3,4]
As we will soon see the world around us in these last days experiencing this – let us remember “the abundance of his steadfast love” [v.7] and that “in all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them” [v.9]  Let us so keep our minds on the Lord that we are among the elect “his angels … will gather” [Matt 24 v.31] on God’s ultimate “day of vengeance.”

 

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