Todays readings.. Ruth 3&4, Isaiah 45, Revelation 1&2
“HOLD FAST TILL I COME”
Today we started reading the thought-challenging last book of the Bible; but before we endeavour to extract some meaningful thoughts from it we reflect on the sequel to the life of Ruth.
Ruth’s faithfulness to her widowed mother-in-law led to her coming to Bethlehem. The heart-stirring sequel to this little book is how she ended up being the grandmother of Jesse who became the father of David. [ch. 4 v.17]
Our ch. 45 in Isaiah is largely about the folly of the “idols” humans make and “carry about … and keep praying to a god that cannot save” [v.20] So many in these days, have “idols” they carry about and which constantly occupy their attention – but they can only communicate with fellow mortals – not with the immortal God and his redeeming Son!
Verse 15 is interesting – and challenging! “Truly, you are a God who hides himself….” Because of this faith is the essential foundation principal in our lives, faith would not be necessary if it was undeniably evident that a Creator existed; the time is coming when he will reveal himself, represented by his immortalised Son! And then unbelievers will be “put to shame and confounded …” [v.16]
Then v. 18 proclaims, “thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it … he formed it to be inhabited!” And how wonderfully it provides for the needs of its inhabitants – as long as they cultivate it wisely.
We now come to Revelation. The symbols in the opening chapters are made plain to us: letters are sent to 7 different churches. These can be taken as representing all the different types of churches that existed then – and have done so ever since! Each letter starts, “I know your works“ We must absorb the significance of this? The churches are called “lampstands” [1 v.20] and John “saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man …” [1 v.12,13] Jesus was – and still is – there in spirit with all groups of believers.
The 7 letters all start – “I know your works“! Let us humbly take into our hearts and minds, that our Saviour now has the power to know all. He does not see one of these 7 communities as being a perfect church. It has been of great value to believers in every century to consider which of the messages apply to them and their community.
As one example we take the letter to Thyatira. “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.” [v.18.19] What a wonderful commendation – if it was a letter to us! But the next verse shows they are not perfect, there is a member who is “teaching and seducing my servants …” [v.20]
Jesus says, ” I gave her time to repent, but she refuses …” [v.21] Finally, we ponder v.24 “But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching … Only hold fast what you have until I come.” [v24,25] Let us all make sure we are holding fast the true teaching – till he comes.