Daily Readings & Thought for June 22nd. “YOU SAY I AM RICH …”
We continue reading the thought challenging last book in the Bible – the message of Jesus given through his disciple John. We are fascinated by how much of it includes detailed allusions to the Old Testament, for instance our reading today of Isaiah 47 (note v.3,8 and 9 onwards) is about the pride and fall of Babylon. We will see as we read
Revelation that passages such as Ch. 18 v.5-8, 20 &c have a close parallel with what we read in Isaiah. Those who study it deeply perceive a close resemblance between the original Babylon and a latter day spiritual Babylon.
Revelation ch. 3 contains the final 3 letters to the different churches; some think they can see parallels in the history of the life of the church; the final letter having an application to Christianity in these last days. It seems applicable! Jesus condemns the last named community of believers at Laodicea for being “lukewarm” (v.16) and says, because you are “neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth”.
They do not see themselves as Jesus sees them. He tells then, “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and need nothing ….” They do not realize that they, in Christ’s sight, “are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.” That is in a spiritual sense of course.
This reminds us of the scribes and Pharisees Jesus often reproved as he walked around Israel. Remember his comments about a Pharisee’s self-righteousness in praying in the Temple? See Luke 18 v.11-12. Jesus counsels the Laodiceans to “buy from me gold, refined by fire that you may be rich, and white garments …” (v.18)
Pure gold is the equivalent of pure faith – and it is God’s word, constantly and prayerfully used, that creates the essential foundation of true belief that leads to the gold of pure and sure faith. Jesus tells the Laodiceans, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door; I will come into him … I will grant him (or her) to sit with me on my throne …” [20,21] Unimaginable “riches” indeed!
We are prompted to see parallels in the last message in the Old Testament, “Who can endure the day of his coming… for he is like a refiner’s fire … he will purify the sons of Levi (the priesthood) and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.” (Malachi 3 v.2,3)
Our Revelation chapter ends by telling us, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” That is the essential reason why we must all feed our mind on God’s word every day.