This passage oozes with the notion of predestination. That’s a “churchy” word meaning different things to different people. Known as a Christian doctrine for some denominations, it has been debated by theologians for centuries. Basically, it means that God has figured everything out ahead of time, knows what’s going to happen in our lives, and there is nothing we can do to change it. Does that give you assurance or scare you just a little bit?
In terms of our salvation, however, this can be a bit unnerving. What if God didn’t “choose” me to be saved? I have a hard time believing that some people of faith would not be saved because they weren’t “predestined.” After all, Jesus commanded us to evangelize and make new disciples. Why would he do that if it was already predestined who would be saved?
God wants us to enjoy life, not trudge through each day just going through the motions. We often set unrealistic expectations on ourselves for what we can accomplish in a day and end up feeling like we failed. Here we’re told that God has given us the work we are to do. What is that work for you?
If we’re focusing on what God wants, and we already know that his timing is perfect, then our day should go exactly like it should. If we are enjoying the life God has given us, living it to please him, then we have accomplished something very great. There are plenty of people who don’t have this connection to God and are not feeling fulfilled.
Reading about Jesus’ final hours can be an emotional encounter, especially when we put ourselves in the scene. We’ve been walking with Jesus to the cross, and today we arrive. Seeing it dramatized is also a very powerful way to remember. I’ll never forget the car ride home in silence after our family watched Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” when it first came out in theatres.
Sometimes we want to rush ahead to what happens next, but the first disciples didn’t know this was only the beginning of the miracle of all miracles. Let’s stay where we are in this moment, seeing our Savior’s sacrifice of love.
The Preacher asks for prayer and then gives a benediction to close out his letter of teaching. What a great display of what praying for each other looks like! We shouldn’t be afraid to ask for prayer. God didn’t intend for us to have to suffer alone. We should be bombarding heaven with prayers for our brothers and sisters in Christ. I don’t know about you, but when someone asks me to pray for them, I feel honored and privileged. Too often we keep our suffering silent. Why is that? Are we ashamed we don’t have it all figured out?
This benediction or blessing is so full of richness and truth. I can just imagine the Preacher extending his arms as he delivers this key address summing up the themes of his sermon: God is the God of peace; God’s power is great; Jesus is our Shepherd and cares for us; God will give us what we need to accomplish his will; and we are to honor God to bring him glory.
Jehu is taking his job very seriously. While I’m not a fan of killing people, I am a fan of following God’s command. Sometimes God calls us to do things we feel unprepared to accomplish. In Jehu’s case, he had been prepared as an army commander. Death is not foreign to him.
Jehu has been very methodical in his elimination of Ahab’s family. Of course, he had to take out the king first to have authority. The queen would be next because of her approval rating with the people. Now it was time for Ahab’s family. I don’t know about you, but I was surprised to learn Ahab had seventy children tucked safely away. Seventy! Let that number sink in a bit.