Daily Readings & Thought for June 1st. “HOLD FAST TO THE HOPE SET BEFORE US”
Our generation, more than ever before, struggles to have any long term hope and vision of the future! The way ahead looks increasingly uncertain making the warning of Jesus about attitudes in the last days more and more evident, “Watch yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap … stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things …” [Luke 21 v.34-36]
All 3 of our readings today contain lessons that are in some way relevant. Joshua (ch. 18) reprimands 7 of the 12 tribes for making no progress in settling in the land, “How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?” [v.3] How many are baptised (in a sense crossing the Jordan) but then make no real progress?
The LORD gives Isaiah (ch. 24) an awesome word picture of his ultimate dismay, anger and actions toward a world that “lies defiled under its inhabitants’ so that “a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt” [v.5,6] This creates a time when “all joy has grown dark” [v.11] and “its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again.”[v.20]
And so “on that day the LORD will punish the host of heaven”[v.21], that is, all who have enjoyed prominence and did what the people wanted, leading them astray, morally and in every other way. All will be “ashamed, for the LORD of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders” [v.23] This time is beyond our imagining! How wonderful to be an elder!
In Hebrews “the unchangeable character of his (God’s) purpose” [6 v.17] is emphasized and Paul’s “desire (that) each one of you … show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish …” [v.11] like the 7 tribes Joshua reprimanded; but instead have “full assurance.”.
Let us more than ever desire to read and meditate on God’s word to help us fully develop that “assurance” – only there will we find “strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us” [v.18]
Hebrews ch. 7 stresses that Jesus is our High Priest and “he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” [v.25] We all need the “intercession” of Jesus to help us to “hold fast” and increase our clear vision through constantly reading in the divine word of “the hope set before us.”