Todays readings.. Nehemiah 3, Hosea 13, 1 Thessalonians 1&2
As Paul and his companions travelled to bring the message of Christ their reception was different in each place. We have had the same experience ourselves. What is very pleasing is that in countries in which we did not expect to have much if any success in teaching the truth about the Bible, some progress has, most remarkably been made. We think of Nepal, then of Bangladesh, then Cambodia and now there is some response to our efforts to spread the truth of God’s word, even in Iran, time will tell, how much.
Today we are reading Paul’s letters to the believers in Thessalonica and noted his comments in the first chapter that “they received the word in much affliction” [v.6], also how they “became an example … for not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere” [v.7,8] No wonder Paul is so enthusiastic in what he writes!
In the 2nd chapter he recalls; “we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict … we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery … nor with a pretext for greed …” [v.2,4,5]. It is tragic that so often the motive in preaching has been wrong and those with the wrong motive God will judge. Those with the right motive accept Paul’s call to “walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” [v.12]
Finally, we noted the point he made at the end of the 1st chapter – that we “wait for his son from heaven … Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” This reminded us of what we read in Hosea today, the fate of those who have no time for God, ”they shall be like the morning mist or like the dew that goes early away… or like smoke from a window” [13 v.3] to become no more, not even to know they ever existed.
We must each ask ourselves, ‘What does God find when he tests my heart?’