Two people will be working together. One will disappear and the other will be left behind. Men and women will be eating and sleeping and going about their business. Some will be gone in an instant and others left behind. How about you? Would you go or could you be left behind?
2 Chronicles 34-36
Could You Be Left Behind?
2 Chronicles 34-36:
Mercy … but Then Judgment
In chapter 34 Josiah had become king at the ripe old age of 8, but what a king he was! Verse 3 says that he began to seek the Lord in the eighth year of his reign. He would have been just 16 years old. By the age of 20 he was putting a stop to idolatry. Next he began clearing out the temple and getting ready to reinstate the proper temple worship. In the process Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord.
Several things struck me about all of this. First, the Word of God was not being taught. People were just doing whatever seemed right to them. The second thing was Josiah’s response to the Word when he heard it. He tore his clothes, a statement of intense mourning and repentance. He was repenting, not just for himself, but for the nation as a whole, because he realized just how far they had departed from the truth. He understood that they were under God’s judgment because of it.
So he sent Hilkiah and a group of men to meet with a prophetess named Huldah to seek further direction from the Lord. She reassured him that God had seen his righteous response to all of this and his willingness to humble himself and obey. So while judgment was coming, He would grant the nation a reprieve. In fact, it wouldn’t happen in Josiah’s lifetime. But after his death and by the close of 2 Chronicles, Jerusalem would be destroyed and the remaining people carried off to Babylon where they would remain in captivity for 70 years.
God is Withholding His Judgment Today
Today, much like in Josiah’s time, God is withholding His final judgment from the earth because of His faithful people, the Church! But one day …
… in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Cor. 15.52-53).
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thess. 4.16-17).
One day, perhaps very soon, all those who have put their faith and trust in Christ for salvation will be gone, and God’s righteous judgment on mankind’s rebellion will begin.
That night two people will be asleep in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding flour together at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. (Lk. 17.34-35 NLT).
Which one will you be?
It’s in the Son
1 John 5.1-5, 10-13:
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
God wants you to know (v.13). But notice eternal life is “in His Son” (v. 11). It’s not in any church. It’s not in sacraments. It’s not in good works, somehow being good enough, hoping our good deeds outweigh our bad. It’s not by “getting our ducks in a row” or attending church or keeping a certain set of rules or being baptized. It’s in the Son.
Are you “in the Son”? Have you come to the place where you understand that you can do nothing to save yourself … that you are a sinner in need of a Savior … and there is only One … Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
If not, cry out to Him. Confess your sins to Him and ask for His forgiveness and cleansing (1 Jn. 1.9). Admit your need. Ask Him to be the Lord of your life (Rom. 10.9-10). When you do, Romans 10.13 says, “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
Saved from the Tribulation, saved from your sins, saved from an eternity spent separated from God.
Then find a good Bible teaching church and take advantage of all the resources and help God offers you for a new life. He is the God of new beginnings.
Today’s Other Readings:
I’m always amazed at how often our various readings fit together. Verse 5 says:
“For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.”
We’ve seen so many evidences of that, especially in our Old Testament readings. God was quick to extend mercy when even the most wicked of kings repented. And He does the same for people today!
Be Merciful as He is Merciful!
Verse 13, “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.”
Galatians 6.7-10 says:
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt. 5.7). Our mercy is not what makes us righteous in God’s eyes. Only the blood of Christ which covers our sins can make us righteous, but God desires that those of us who belong to Him and have been saved from an eternity without Him would also be a blessing to others. We are to be imitators of God as His dear children (Eph. 5.1]).
The Power of a Gift Given with Right Motives
Verse 14 says, “A gift in secret pacifies anger, and a bribe behind the back, strong wrath.”
The word bribe used here makes it a little confusing, but this verse is talking about the power of a gift if given with the right attitude. Matthew Henry in his commentary gives the example of Jacob’s gifts to Esau and Abigail’s gifts to David after her husband Laban had foolishly and rudely insulted him.
Matthew Henry goes on to say, “… but, if it be a bribe to pervert justice, that is so scandalous that those who are fond of it are ashamed of it.” Instead, the gift spoken of in verse 14 is an acknowledgement of wrong doing given to make things right.
It does not take the place of communication, including an apology and a request for forgiveness, but might accompany it. Look at Abigail’s response.
Now when Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground. So she fell at his feet and said. “On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be! And please let your maidservant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your maidservant. Please, let not my lord regard this scoundrel Nabal. For as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him! But I, your maidservant, did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent. Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, since the Lord has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now then, let your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal. And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant. For the Lord will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord fights the battles of the Lord, and evil is not found in you throughout your days (1 Samuel 25.23-28 NKJV).
What a great passage to study when we need to go and seek forgiveness! Notice Abigail’s humility, repeatedly calling David, “my lord.” Notice, also, her willingness to take full responsibility for what happened and her appeal to David’s good character.
An Eternal Perspective
Yesterday we talked about Paul’s desire to finish well. In today’s reading he was leaving Ephesus for the last time. He was focused on returning to Jerusalem even though he knew it might not go well for him there. He was able to go in spite of that knowledge because he had an eternal perspective. He understood that he was created to bring God glory and to fulfill God’s purpose for his life. He knew that whatever he might suffer in this life could not be compared to the rewards of heaven!
Do you have that kind of eternal perspective? Take some time a think about what Jesus Christ has done for you by forgiving you and making you His child. Make a list of the blessings in your life. Does it cause you to be truly thankful … to want to love Him … serve Him … obey Him … in spite of the difficulties it may bring into your life?
In the next few days, we’ll look at how to love your enemies, how to live and grow in our anti-Christian culture, what to do when you feel like your purse has a hole in it, and the biblical grounds for divorce. Be sure to sign up so you won’t miss any of these upcoming posts.
While these are fictionalized versions of what the last days might be like, they are good reads. Like all good books, there are great truths to be taken away.
In this classic about the last days and the first of the Left Behind series, an airborne Boeing 747 is headed to London when, without any warning, passengers mysteriously disappear from their seats. Terror and chaos slowly spread not only through the plane but also worldwide as unusual events continue to unfold. For those who have been left behind, the apocalypse has just begun.
Joel Rosenberg’s books are always exciting and written from his scholarship about Jewish history and Bible prophecy.
In this series, Jon Bennett is a top Wall Street strategist turned senior White House advisor. But nothing has prepared him for the terror that he will face in this three-part political action thriller by Joel Rosenberg. Bennett and his CIA partner Erin McCoy fight to keep the world safe, a peace process on track, and understand the events of the last days.
As book 3 begins Russia’s richest oil baron has been killed and Moscow suddenly teeters on the verge of political chaos. Tehran races to complete its nuclear arsenal. Washington finds herself dangerously divided from her European allies. A new evil looms on the horizon. A dictator is rising in Russia. Iran is feverishly building nuclear weapons. A new axis of evil is emerging, led by Moscow and Tehran. Jon Bennett and Erin McCoy find themselves facing the most chilling question of their lives: is the world rushing to the brink of an apocalypse prophesied more than 2,500 years ago?
Happy reading! I couldn’t put these down once I got started!
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