Todays readings.. Nehemiah 4, Joel 1, 1 Thessalonians 5
THEN SUDDEN DESTRUCTION WILL COME”
Today we completed reading Paul’s First letter to the Thessalonians. On several occasions the opening verses of Ch. 5 have been applied to situations in my lifetime. “You yourselves are fully aware”, writes Paul, “that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night; when people are saying ‘there is peace and security’ then sudden destruction will come …” [v.2,3]
A big example of this occurred when I was just a child. The British P M returned from an urgent meeting with the German leader Adolf Hitler. They had made a peace treaty and he returned waving the treaty and saying ‘It is peace in our time.” Within months Hitler broke the agreement and there was all out war in Europe for the next 6 years and something like 12 million died – and probably as many or more than that were injured, maimed for life!
Our focus of attention since 1948 has been the Middle East with the establishment of the nation of Israel. War repeatedly broke out in earlier years; “Peace” agreements of a sort were made but do not last.
Today world leaders more than ever believe there just has to be peace, but they are unable to make any real progress toward an assured peace situation, especially in the current ISIS/Syria situation. Notice that the verses in Thessalonians are not saying when there IS peace, but when they are saying “Peace” and there is some belief in it and the threat of destruction easing; but it does not cease.
Paul is pointing forward to a particular event, an ultimate “day of the Lord” the climax of the ages of human rule on this earth! Many of the Old Testament prophets we caused to write about this climax – and we will see how Paul writes more about this in his second letter to the Thessalonians.
There is to be an utterly awesome climax “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 v.7,8] .
The key verse in today’s chapter for genuine believers is v.4, “But you are not in darkness brothers for that day to surprise you like a thief”. That surely is the day when “sudden destruction will come.” Verses 8 to 10 are ones we should memorise. We must all ask ourselves whether we have really “put on the breastplate of faith.”