I don’t know if I have ever actually finished my annual reading plan on the last day of the year (after all, my reading plan says I should have finished it five days ago). But Christmas and end of year activities have pretty much disrupted routine for the past week or so.
Thus, here I sit, on the last day of the year, on the last day of the decade, and hover over the last readings of 2019.
Revelation 22 providing me a glimpse of the hope that is ours through the provision and promise of God.
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
(Revelation 22:20 ESV)
John’s gospel asking me, three times, if I love the Lord Jesus. And then reminding me that beyond the confession of my love, the Master asks me to demonstrate that love by walking in the way He has chosen for me, doing what He’s asked me to do, regardless of the path, or tasks, He has chosen for anyone else.
When Peter saw [John], he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
(John 21:21-22 ESV)
And then, there’s Malachi. The last of the prophets. The last word for centuries to sustain a people awaiting Messiah and struggling to live faithfully in light of His coming. (Sound familiar?) And, for me, it brings together the promise of Revelation 22 and the pleading of John 21 with a prodding in Malachi 3.
“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. And thereby put Me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
(Malachi 3:10 ESV)
“Put Me to the test,” says the LORD of hosts.
They were back in the land. But they were still playing in the world.
They were again going to the temple. But, at best, only half-heartedly. Not regularly. Not purposefully. Not offering the fullness of their firstfruits or the best of their sacrifices. Not really worried that history might somehow repeat itself if they persisted in on-going disobedience.
Though they were living in the reality of the fulfillment of God’s promises made in the past, and hoping in His promises for the future, they just couldn’t muster it up to trust Him wholeheartedly by believing His promises concerning their present.
And so, God says to them, “Put Me to the test.”
See if the abundant life really isn’t found in honoring Me first. See if ain’t so that, when you seek first the kingdom of God, everything you need will be provided (Matt. 6:33). Prove it true, that I really will show Myself faithful to those who are faithful (2Sam 22:26 CSB); that My grace really is sufficient (2Cor. 12:9); and that, in Me, you really are more than conquerors (Rom. 8:37). And test the gospel and know that it truly is the power of God for salvation–past, present, and future–to everyone who believes because the righteous really can live by faith (Rom 1:16-17).
I’m coming soon. You follow Me.
So try me in this, that in following Me you will know, even now, the windows of heaven opened up and blessings poured down . . . regardless of what’s going on in your world. Because I have overcome the world (Jn. 16:33).
Not a bad thing to be chewing on as we wrap up another year and anticipate yet a new one. As we look back on a decade, of which some life events couldn’t have been imagined ten years ago, and look towards the next ten years knowing that, despite our best plans, we really don’t know what’s in front of us.
Except that we have a sure promise. “Surely I am coming soon!”
Except that we have His steady pleading, “You follow Me!”
And that, if we quiet ourselves and listen, we can hear His soft prodding, “Put Me to the test! Go ahead! See if living for Me, in light of My imminent return, isn’t, in fact, the best way to do life, and life to the full.”
By Your grace. For Your glory.