November 21, 2015

Sovereignty, Warnings, and Salvation

2 Kings 8:1–9:29, Mark 16:1–20, Proverbs 6:28–35

Connecting the passages I’m given to read is not always easy. Sometimes they connect to other passages not given. When this is the case, still I write the impressions God gives me for the day.

In 2 Kings, Elisha is talking to the woman whose son he had restored to life. He says, “Arise, and depart with your household, and sojourn wherever you can, for the Lord has called for a famine, and it will come upon the land for seven years.” (2 Kings 8:1)

The story goes on to tell more about the woman, but this verse strikes me. I live in an area where oil has been a major factor in the economy. However, the price of oil has dropped drastically and it has drastically affected all those employed in anything related to the oil industry. Thousands have lost their jobs, including senior engineers and those who thought their livelihood was secure. This verse says that the Lord called for a famine in that land. Could it be that the Lord called for a drop in oil prices as well? I know He is sovereign over all things!

My husband worked for an engineering company doing mostly oil-related contracts. A few months ago he decided to resign and work on contract. Because of his skill and reputation, he has been in demand even though so many others are out of work. We are thankful to God. Today, I feel like the woman in this verse must have felt when God spoke to her through His prophet these words of warning and protection. We have also been blessed in this current ‘famine’ that has decimated many companies and put many people out of work.

Yet the Bible also speaks with warnings. In Proverbs 6, Solomon’s warnings are about adultery, but as yesterday, I seen that this warning could concern any sin. We humans, even those who follow Christ, have a tendency to think that we can get away with sin because we are invincible, and because we are forgiven and God’s grace will keep us out of trouble and protect us from consequences. However, Solomon warns: “Can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?” (Proverbs 6:28)

This is a rhetorical question. Obviously he says those who think they can escape the consequences of sin are fooling themselves. Those consequences may not come immediately, but they will come, regardless of the confidence any sinner has in their own invincibility, even in his own security because of faith. God cannot be mocked, something I’ve realized through my own experiences.

In the NT reading, my eyes and thoughts are turned toward Jesus. The words are familiar, yet God uses them to bless me. He takes my focus off my own life and mistakes and puts it on the One who died for me, and who rose from the dead so that I might have life.

Jesus had been crucified. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. They entering the tomb and saw a man sitting there, dressed in a white robe. Obviously they were alarmed. But the man (angel) said, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” (Mark 16:1, 5–7)

Did they believe those words? Probably they did because they eventually told the others — who didn’t believe their words, at least at first. Jesus appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

This is another warning: if someone tells you about the risen Christ and you will not believe them, the best you can hope for is a rebuke from Jesus. The worst is that He leaves you in your unbelief and you perish in your sin.

For me, the next thing Jesus said is vital. I have a responsibility to be one of those who goes and tells other about the risen Christ because He said to His disciples and to me: “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:14–16)

Because I care that people not be condemned, and because I want to obey the Lord, I send the good news into all the world through the worldwide web and pray that some who read it will believe in Jesus Christ and receive forgiveness and eternal life.

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