Our devotion yesterday began in a dark and empty church (watch it here).
In today's New Testament reading (1 Thessalonians 5), Paul reminds us that we are not in darkness. We know that Jesus is going to come back. We know that he did not "appoint [choose] us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." That knowledge leads us to live with self-control. Through your Bible reading today, "put on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet."
Sadly, self-control does not describe God's people at the time of the Judges. Not only was there no "self-control," there was no "king-control." Notice the refrain in these appendices to the book of Judges: "In those days Israel had no king." The darkness of the sinful nature reveals itself in Micah and then in the Danites as they look out for themselves. Read the first appendix, Judges 17-18.
Who will rescue us from this darkness of the sinful nature that resides in all of us? Or as Paul asks in Romans 7, "Who will rescue me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24)
Find comfort and peace in this marvelous promise with which Paul closes 1 Thessalonians 5: "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it."
What is the shortest verse in the Bible? I grew up knowing it was John 11:35. "Jesus wept." But that is in English. In the Greek original, the shortest verse is actually 1 Thessalonians 5:16, "Rejoice always." Sixteen Greek letters in John 11:35, but only 14 Greek letters in 1 Thessalonians 5:16.
These short verses are related. Jesus wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus.
- Because Jesus came down into this world of tears to take our place,
- Because he showed in his human nature that he understands our sorrows,
- Because Jesus showed by the resurrection of Lazarus that he is victor even over death...
We have reason to rejoice always!