Ecclesiastes 8:9-17 – Good versus Evil

Read Ecclesiastes 8:9-17

Solomon’s laments are familiar to us. We have more than likely at some time in our life wondered why the people who lie, cheat, and do wicked things are alive and well, and even prosperous. Yet, our reward for doing good and striving to be more like Jesus has left us being abused by society while stretching every cent to pay the bills.

The evil one’s plan is masterful. He’s trying to make the grass look greener over on the other side, the wicked side. If we are experiencing oppression for our faith or just hearing of others going through such ridicule, the lures of the evil one can be enticing. That’s why it’s so important to stand firmly on the truth of God’s word.

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Malachi 4:1-6 – Judgment Day

Read Malachi 4:1-6

This is the last chapter of the Old Testament. That fact alone gives me goosebumps as I write this reflection. There will be a huge gap of time (400 years or so) between this writing and the New Testament. The people would have to wait a long time to see some of these prophecies fulfilled.

This prophecy would have given the faithful hope for the future. Like today, there were those obedient to God and his decrees in Malachi’s day. The unfaithful probably turned the other way and ignored Malachi altogether, in denial of their coming peril. People still refuse to listen to God’s word. This prophecy is no exception.

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2 Peter 3:8-13 – God’s Timing

Read 2 Peter 3:8-13

Have you ever heard someone say, “God’s timing is perfect”? I did, just today. It’s a phrase we like to use when God seems slow in answering our prayers. Peter calls out that big old elephant in the room for us. He starts out by explaining that God’s clock works differently than ours. “A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.”

Is that a helpful reminder for you? Are you waiting on God for something big in your life to happen? It seems like we are always waiting for something, whether it’s a job promotion, finding the right house to move into, getting pregnant, getting married, being able to retire and start living life the way you want. What is it for you? When we welcome God and expect him to move in these life events, we can trust he is working out the “best” solution for us. Could that be why one of the gifts of the spirit is “patience”? We must continue to wait.

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2 Peter 2:4-10 – Who God Spares

Read 2 Peter 2:4-10

This text clearly warns about the judgment in store for those false teachers Peter spoke of in our last reading.  If God doesn’t spare the angels, you can bet he’s not going to spare the false teachers. Those folks who try so hard to lead us astray and confuse us with worldly values are being likened to the corrupt people of Noah’s day and the immoral people that surrounded Lot. God will judge sin, and the unrepentant sinner cannot escape.

God loves us all, but he spares only the righteous. Peter gives us examples that illustrate how God has dealt with the ungodly in the past. Amidst the destruction, God has always spared those who stay true to him, like Noah and Lot. God knows the heart of his people. These men were not sinless, but they put their trust in God.

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1 Peter 4:1-6 – When Suffering is Better

Read 1 Peter 4:1-6

None of us looks forward to suffering. However, when we suffer on account of our faith in Christ, it is so much better than the alternative of being lost in our sin. Our suffering will not last forever, but our future with Christ never ends. If we chose to stay stuck in our sin, carousing with our friends like we used to, we would miss out on the great inheritance Jesus is preparing for us.

When we live for God, Peter tells us we’ll need to expect suffering, just like Jesus did. This isn’t the only passage in the Bible that warns us about suffering and staying strong. I appreciate that we are told up front what to expect. Nobody can claim to be surprised when we encounter suffering.

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