Daily Readings & Thought for August 13th. “FOR WHOEVER IS ASHAMED”
We live in a world in which most people do not want to feel ashamed of anything. Lawyers grow rich out of the efforts of some to camouflage over their failures and wrongdoing. But there can be no effective camouflage before God – so we must not be influenced by the attitudes that surround us.
We read today how Jesus had a wide audience “the crowds with his disciples” when “he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it … what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” [Mark 8 v.34-37]
Those who fail to put God first in their thinking will not know they have forfeited their life, that is their hope of eternal life, until – it is too late! We must not miss the vital point Jesus makes, “For whoever is ashamed of me … “ Jesus will also “be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father …”
The words of Solomon have heart searching parallels with the words of Jesus. Look at the words he used in his prayer to God as he dedicated the marvellous Temple. We read today of the ark being brought from the Tabernacle and put in “its place in the inner sanctuary of the house (Temple) in the Most Holy Place.” [1 Kings 8 v.6}.
“Then Solomon stood before the altar of the L:ORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven.” [v.22] There follows a remarkable prayer: it is far more than a prayer of praise.
What we need to note most of all are his references to the attitudes of the hearts of those praying – and God’s awareness of this. As “you listen to the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray …” [v.30] “forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways – for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind” [v.39] “… if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart” [v.48]
In finishing his prayer he tells the people “The LORD our God be with us as he was with our fathers. May he not leave or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways …” [v.57,58], telling the people, “Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God …” [v.61]
Those with such a heart will never feel “ashamed” of confessing their belief and faith. Let us shine as lights in the darkness of this world and in word and deed “may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” [1 Peter 2 v.9]