Holy God, sovereign, faithful, and generous in mercy, I wait in eager anticipation of Your word to me today.
Read Matthew 24:32-44
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Your family—its generations, your relatives, your hopes for future generations—are all wonderful blessings from God. It’s your privilege to ask God’s blessing on them frequently.
Jesus’ warnings to his disciples to be ready for his return mirror those given to the Israelites in the desert. The Israelites needed to learn to be ready, trusting and open to God’s work in their lives, rather than close-minded, diffident and resisting Moses’ leadership. It took them 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and learning to trust God for the basic necessities–food, water, clothing, shelter, and protection from their enemies. Jesus warns of a similar learning experience for the generation that awaits his return (34).
The second coming of Christ has provoked endless speculation and numerous eschatological (the doctrine of the last things) timetables, distracting believers from the work of sharing the good news of Jesus and living in witness and service to a needy world. Of course, it is important that we have a strong confidence and expectation in Jesus’ return. So much of his teaching focuses on his coming in triumph to judge the nations and restore Israel. But the key message of the second coming, like that of the testing in the wilderness, is to be ready now. Eschatology, ethics and the Exodus are all related. We are saved to serve. Our freedom from the slavery of sin, like the Israelites’ freedom from the slavery of Egypt, allows us enter into relationship with the living God.
The disciples did not understand all that Jesus taught them until he explained it on the Emmaus road, in the light of his death and resurrection. We are often slow to understand what God is saying, and even slower to obey. The temptations in the wilderness, like the message of Jesus’ return, encourage us to be ready, and warn us to put our lives right today.
What lessons has God taught you in the past, and what are you looking forward to learning in the future? How are you preparing—and prepared—for Jesus’ return?
Lord, often I try to avoid learning the lessons You are teaching me. Forgive me and help me live well as I await Your return.
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