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Thursday, November 1, 2007

 Morning farmview (Click on photo to enlarge)
An early morning view behind our house (click on photo to enlarge)

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"A History Lesson"
"The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through His messengers again and again, because He had pity on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked God's messengers, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against His people and there was no remedy" (2 Chronicles 36:15,16).
Yesterday afternoon Brooksyne and I took our usual long walk on the trail across from our house.  As we started out we heard a loud motor  and quickly saw a combine and its operator, who was preparing to harvest the large field of soybeans we've been accustomed to seeing for the past few months. By the time we walked back a row along the perimeter had been harvested and we were able to walk around the field as the combine continued harvesting the soybeans. It was another beautiful autumn day and there are few things as invigorating as a walk in a freshly harvested field!
As we were nearing home we reached a high point in the field so we stopped and took in a panoramic view of a distant mountain ridge across the Susquehanna River. I considered taking a photo but it was the kind of view that is very difficult to capture (at least with the equipment I have.) It got me to thinking that we, as God's people, need a panoramic view of God's dealings with man. Today let me share a history lesson as we take a look at an event from some 2,600 years ago.
I don't suppose 2 Chronicles 36 would be among your favorite passages of Scripture. Nevertheless it is a solemn record of the fall of Judah and the onset of the Babylonian Captivity.  It records the final three Kings in Judah who did "evil in the eyes of the Lord." It's not a pretty picture and without a doubt the people of the land endured grave consequences as a result of having wicked rulers in combination with their own personal wickedness.
The daily text expresses two characteristics of our unchangeable God:
1) His pity:
"Because He had pity on His people and on His dwelling place" He sent word to them through His messengers again and again. God continues to have pity on His people. Pity is an expression of His mercy, one of His immutable attributes. Jesus uses the Parable of the Tenants in the New Testament to illustrate this attribute when He speaks of the landowner who sent servants on his behalf but they were rejected, beaten and killed, even his own son (Mk. 12:1-12).
"But they mocked God's messengers, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets."  Today
faithful messengers continue to express God's truth in many local churches, in print, on radio, through television and on the internet.   Indeed God's Word has been and is being preached "again and again." And today, as then, so many persistently mock God's messengers, despise His words and scoff at His prophets. Today the hatred for Christ and His people is growing at a fevered pitch.
2) His wrath: The second characteristic of God is not one that is often discussed and it may even challenge your theological "comfort zone." The text states "The wrath of the LORD was aroused against His people." I doubt if God's wrath is something we think about much when we are praising God, but throughout the Holy Scriptures this aspect of God's character is consistently revealed. It is a part of His altogether holy nature.
Theologian A.W. Pink writes, "The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin."
The passage ends with a phrase that greatly intrigues me, "and there was no remedy." There came a point when it's as if God essentially said "enough is enough."  We see this at other times in the Bible such as the flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. We also witness the unfolding of God's wrath as temporal earthly kingdoms fall such as recorded in Daniel 5. We will one day see it at the culmination of the age.
Where is America, as it is being weighed in the balance of God's holy vindication, or any other country for that matter? When will it be determined by God that there is no remedy?  Surely only God knows, but we must all be numbered among those the Scripture calls a "remnant" (see 2 Chronicles 36:20). I plan to write more on this tomorrow.
Be encouraged, as part of God's holy remnant, and stay faithful!
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  As Paul wrote a prayer to the Thessalonians believers we also pray for our Daily Encouragement readers:

"May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ."  May they not be swayed by sin or its fall-out but remain steady as they are numbered in the remnant of God's faithful servants.  Amen.

The challenge of ministry is expressed in this visual.

Harvested field
I took another long walk across the newly harvested field last night after dark and again early this morning. There is something very rejuvenating about such a walk! However typically the field will soon be fertilized (meaning tons of manure will be spread on it) and then a cover crop will be seeded to help with erosion and it is also beneficial in retaining the nutrients. This will we go back to using the trail, of course!

Entire text of 2 Chronicles 36

AW Pink is a theologian who lived in the early part of the last century. My favorite book of his is "The Attributes Of God" which is available for reading online. Today's quote comes from that book.

Doris High has a beautiful selection of sunrise photos with accompanying Scripture on a recent photo blog post.

Today's suggested music:
"Be Still And Know" (Audio)
"Blessed Assurance" (Audio)
"Give Me Jesus" (Audio)
"It Is Well With My Soul" (Video)

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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