Today’s readings… (1 Samuel 9), (Isaiah 53), (Revelation 15), (Revelation 16)
    Behind every significant event in history has been the “will of the LORD” bringing about things that are “good” or things that are “bad” – more often the latter.
This is even sometimes the case with seemingly insignificant events!  In our reading of 1 Samuel 9, donkeys belonging to a Benjamite become lost and the owner’s son, Saul is sent to look for them and in the end up ‘chances’ to meet up with Samuel.  “Before Saul came, the LORD had revealed to Samuel” [v.15] that Saul would come “and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people, Israel.” [v.16]
    Despite God’s displeasure with them they never ceased to be “his people” – and so it has been throughout history.  The chapter ends with Samuel taking Saul aside saying, “stop here yourself for awhile, that I may make known to you the word of God.”   
Today we have the written word of God – how often do we prayerfully turn aside to absorb its message in its fullness as a “lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns …”[1 Peter 1 v.19] This world is a dark place – and it’s getting darker every year!
    How remarkable is the 53rd chapter in Isaiah, clearly a forecast of the life and death of our Lord so that many in recent generations had become convinced it must have be added during or after the time of Christ!  But when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered they were silenced.  The chapter starts, “Who has believed what they heard …?” And that is still the question!  Who believes what was written and has been preserved and now made available in every language.
    Our last reading today – Revelation – is about “seven plagues … the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.” [15 v.1]  An angel is heard to say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgements …It is what they deserve!” [16 v.5,6]
    We read of “demonic spirits … who go abroad to the kings (leaders) of the whole world to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.” [v.14] “And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” [v.16] Christ is returning without warning, “like a thief” [v.15]
     The word ‘Armageddon’ has fascinated people, especially moviemakers, in recent years – in their inner being many sense disaster is looming.  
As in the days of Samuel, God arranged for the people to have what they wanted – and deserved, so our world will get what it deserves, “… and the cities of the nations fell … to make (them) drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath” [v.19] Frightening!  Look back on our recent thoughts – remember to whom it was said – “I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world”