Years and years ago I heeded the advice that if you have kids in the house and you want time to be alone, you need to be awake when they are asleep. That’s been hard to do this week with a two-year-old in the midst who has inherited the “morning gene” that runs in the Corak family. But a bit of insomnia this morning has afforded some extended quiet time and an opportunity to wrap up my reading plan AND put a few thoughts down.
It doesn’t always happen, but I like finishing up my reading plan before Christmas–and Christmas Eve seems especially appropriate. The eve of our celebration of a new beginning seems a good time to be reminded of how things end.
Christmas focuses us on the beginning. The birth of a child. The first glimpse of Deity incarnate. The introduction of a Savior. The fresh reminder of the breadth and length and height and depth of God’s love–that He would send His only Son to redeem us and reconcile us to Himself.
And with this new birth beginning on the horizon, I reflect on how my readings have concluded.
First, Job is vindicated before his friends while being humbled before his God. Though he may have spoken what was right about God (Job 42:8), he learned a thing or two about how one must speak to God. He had rashly “uttered what I did not understand” and pontificated on “things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” And while God in His grace restores the fortunes of Job, it is not before Job humbles himself and repents (Job 42:3-6).
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
(1Corinthians 13:12 ESV)
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
(James 4:10 ESV)
And thus, a reminder to humble myself. I can read the Bible, I can think I know a thing or two about God and His program, but when all is said and done what I know is but a shadow of who God is and what is to come.
Then, through Malachi, the LORD asks the tough questions. He calls out vain acts of worship which fail to acknowledge the holiness of the One being worshiped. And so, God promises a Messenger who will come as a “refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD” (Mal. 3:3). And their names will be found in a book and they will be gathered to Himself.
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed His name. “They shall be Mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up My treasured possession, . . . For behold, the day is coming . . .”
(Malachi 3:16-17a, 4:1a ESV)
A reminder to be real. To beware of worshiping my God with my lips while my heart is far from Him. To worship in Spirit and truth.
Next, John concludes his gospel with Jesus revealing Himself again to His disciples. Manifesting again His power as He directs them to a great catch of fish. Demonstrating again His desire to abide with them as He makes breakfast and breaks bread with them around a morning fire (and “they knew it was the Lord”). And then, through His conversation with Peter, calling His disciples again to give themselves fully to serving their Master.
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to Him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” . . . And after saying this He said to him, “Follow me.”
(John 21:17, 19b ESV)
A reminder, in light of His great love, and by His grace and power, to faithfully keep on keepin’ on in the calling He’s given me.
Finally this morning, as I read Revelation 21 and 22, I beheld the Bride, the wife of the Lamb. That glorious city comprised of those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. And God is in their midst, dwelling among them. Thus, no need for a temple, “for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” And, no need for a sun nor a moon to shine on them, “for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
What’s more, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will worship Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.
(Revelation 22:3-4 ESV)
We will see His face. And we will worship Him. That’s how it ends . . . though it never ends.
And so we know the end from the beginning. We know the end because of the beginning. Confident in what will be because of what has been. His second coming anticipated with assurance because His first coming was realized by faith.
Our Savior has come. O come let us adore Him!
Our King will return. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
Because of His grace. For His glory.