Today’s readings.. (2 Chronicles 29), (Daniel 9), (Acts 9)
What a remarkable set of heart stirring readings we have today, accounts of individuals with whom and through whom God can and did work. First, in 2 Chron. 29 we have the account of when the good king Hezekiah became king and his instant action beginning in the first month of his reign to restore the Temple and rededicate worship in it and how he inspired “all who were of a willing heart.” [v.31] to bring offerings, “and they sang praises with gladness and they bowed down and worshipped.” [v.30]. It is a chapter to be read with imagination of the event – that foreshadows – a far greater future event .
In Daniel ch. 9, the aged prophet is now living in the era of King Darius, he is deeply grieved as he “perceived in the books … according of the word of the LORD to Jeremiah “ [v.2] that 70 years must pass “before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem.”
Most of the chapter is his impassioned prayer, a great example for us, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him … To us, O LORD, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness…[v.4,8,9] The angel Gabriel comes to him, “saying, “O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved.” [v.22,23] What will the angels say to the ‘elect’ as they gather them? How soon? When they (we) “meet the Lord in the air” [see I Thess, 4 v.17]
Our ‘feast’ of thoughts continued in Acts 9 with the dramatic conversion of Saul – soon to be referred to as Paul. His first action was to be baptised. His preaching then astonished the Jews. Immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” Then Paul “increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.” [v.20-22] And us. How, is our strength increasing? How zealous are we in “proving” the things which we claim to believe? Surely Paul became “greatly loved” for his zeal and total commitment – and we must look at ourselves, look into our own hearts. May the angels gather us because we “are greatly loved.”