Bible reading for Dec 10.
2 Chronicles 10.
"So the king did not listen to the people, for it was a turn of affairs brought about by God that the LORD might fulfill his word..." (10:15)
THE BOYS IN THE HOOD did not give Rehoboam very good advice! And there you have it -- the problem with the world is that young people have stopped listening to the advice of old people and are yielding to peer influence... Oh, sorry, I got ahead of myself! This account, also recorded in 1 Kings 12, is not merely about youthful folly. It tells us that Rehoboam's foolish decision which split the nation was a "turn of affairs brought about by God that the Lord might fulfill his word." God ordains and uses the freely-made choices of people -- whether they make good decisions or bad decisions -- in order to advance his own purposes and glory, and judgment. People are still responsible for their choices. That being said, young people do need to listen to the advice of older, wiser men and women (Prov 20:28-29). Do you have older mentors who help guide you in making life decisions?
"Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen." (1:7)
IT'S ABOUT JESUS. First of all, the book is not "Revelations" (plural), but "the revelation of Jesus Christ" (v 1), hence we call it "Revelation". It's about how history will culminate in the visible, glorious, universal reign of our Lord Jesus. It is apocalyptic literature, meaning that it involves visionary and symbolic language. That's not to say everything about Revelation is symbolic, but there is use of symbolism. Bible scholars differ on what those symbols represent. We are promised, however, a blessing when we read or hear the words of this book (v 3). It was written by the aged Apostle John in the mid-90s AD. He's in exile on the isle of Patmos and will address this book to the seven churches near his home church at Ephesus. He writes about the state of the church and about future events. Disclosure: I'm a futurist in my approach to Revelation, meaning that I believe the events recorded after chapter 3 are yet in the future, rather than having been fulfilled in the first centuries or in church history. For more information refer to Tom Constable's notes on this chapter in the NET Bible.
THE GLORY OF CHRIST. Lest we think the Bible presents Jesus merely as "meek and mild", John is powerfully reminded that his risen and ascended Lord Jesus reigns in glory. There's no high-fiving when Jesus appears to him. And yet... Jesus then stoops to touch John and tells him not to fear. I think we must always keep in mind both the terror and the tenderness of our Lord. He is both Lion and Lamb (5:5-6). People on earth will call on the mountains and rocks, saying, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb" (6:16). As believers we are eternally loved by him and freed from our sins by his blood (v 5), and by his blood alone. But this does not change Christ in his holy character. By his grace it is we who are changed in relation to him!
REFLECT. One theme in common with both of today's readings is that God is guiding history in accordance with his word and toward his appointed goal. Rehoboam freely chose to listen to the bad advice of his peers, and so God's word was fulfilled, albeit in a seemingly natural, all-too-human way. In Revelation we will see God's plan come to fulfillment in a very visible, supernatural, cosmic way. The saying is true: "History is his story." Are you resting in God's sovereign goodness today? Have you been cleansed with the blood of Christ that you may not suffer eternal judgment? Do you delight in the Lord Jesus both in his gentleness and in his holy power?
Image credit. Photo of text from Revelation (chapter 10) in P47 from the third century, courtesy Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (csntm.org). This papyrus manuscript is housed in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.