Two passages caught my eye tonight. One from the old testament and one from the new. And I have marked in bold the verse in each that I found critical to my contemplation tonight:
“Then you answered me, ‘We have sinned against the Lord . We ourselves will go up and fight, just as the Lord our God commanded us.’ And every one of you fastened on his weapons of war and thought it easy to go up into the hill country. And the Lord said to me, ‘Say to them, Do not go up or fight, for I am not in your midst, lest you be defeated before your enemies.’ So I spoke to you, and you would not listen; but you rebelled against the command of the Lord and presumptuously went up into the hill country. Then the Amorites who lived in that hill country came out against you and chased you as bees do and beat you down in Seir as far as Hormah. And you returned and wept before the Lord , but the Lord did not listen to your voice or give ear to you.
Deuteronomy 1:41-45 ESV
On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
Mark 11:12-14 ESV
In the passage in Deuteronomy, we see that even though they “wept before the Lord” that the Lord didn’t listen. And we see that when the Lord found the fig tree with no figs that He cursed it.
These two passages immediately bring to mind the passage in Hebrews 12 about Esau:
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
Hebrews 12:14-17 ESV
And this passage from Isaiah:
Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near.
Isaiah 55:6 NLT
What a fearful thought, to be “too late” — to not be prepared and ready when the time comes. Just consider the imagery in Matthew 25 on this topic:
“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’ “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
Matthew 25:1-13 NLT
I have a large cross that I carried walking the roads on several Good Fridays years ago that simply reads in blood red letters “ARE U READY” on a black cross that I would strap to my back and carry across town. It sits at the end of my driveway so that passersby might see it and contemplate the importance of NOW of TODAY.
I wonder how many days I ignore that message on the cross as I pass by it because I have become familiar with it sitting at the end of my driveway?
I wonder how many of us Christians have become shamefully ignorant of the importance of today’s opportunities to live in fear and trembling and awe and wonder of our mighty God who saves?
“ARE U READY” I should ask myself!!!
We should each ask ourselves what have I done purposefully and intentionally and sacrificial and joyful today that glorified and lifted up the name of Jesus so that He might draw all to Himself?
The beauty is that we have the opportunity right now to confess our sins, to believe upon Jesus Christ who not only died on the cross, but rose from the dead and sits at the right hand of God offering us mercy, forgiveness, and renewal to follow in The Way and to be conformed to the image and nature and character of God by ther power of the Holy Spirit!
Lord, light that fire in our hearts that you will never let go out. Overcome our shortcomings by the all sufficient power of the Blood of the Lamb. Finish this mighty work you have started in us, and prove yourself and the power of your name by leading us along the path that has our anointing oil overflowing and the fruit of your Holy Spirit rose ands abundant in the branches of our lives. Amen.