Bible reading for April 7 -- 8
Apr 7 -- Proverbs 25 and 1 Thessalonians 4
Apr 8 -- Proverbs 26 and 1 Thessalonians 5
"It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out." (Proverbs 25:2)
THE GLORY OF KINGS (ch 25). The chapters that follow make up another collection of Solomon's proverbs, put together during the reign of King Hezekiah (726--697 BC). It begins with a series of sayings about kings and rulers, then moves on to proverbs about inter-personal relationships, such as with neighbors, friends, and spouses. The Bible assumes a worldview where there is authority and hiearchy. In the postmodern world we have not abandoned that view totally, it's just that it has been individualized. Each person is autonomous, a king to himself. "No one ever dispenses with authority -- one only relocates it" (John Warwick Montgomery). Further, fools are described in this chapter as those who seek their own glory, full of empty boasts, living in self-indulgence rather than exercising self-control. Taking personal vengeance is seen as the action of a fool (vv 21-22; cf Rom 12:20).
THE FOLLY OF FOOLS (ch 26). Note the repetition of the words, fools and folly, in this chapter. We see two seemingly contradictory statements about "answering fools" (vv 4-5). This highlights the nature of wisdom in that there are times, and ways, to answer a fool and to not answer a fool. We should not answer if it lowers us to their level of folly. But we should give answer if a timely rebuke can help them see their error and pride. Wisdom is knowing the proper time and manner. The fool and his folly are often revealed by what they say, whether it comes in the form of lies, boasting, quarrelling, slander, or gossip. Paul echoes this same principle in Ephesians 4:29-32. This chapter also deals with the sluggard.
"For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first." (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
THE RETURN OF THE KING (ch 4). This passage describes "the rapture", or the "catching up" of believers in the air to meet Christ at the beginning of the tribulation. Other scholars see this as Jesus' second coming at the end of the tribulation period, and the picture is that of the followers of Christ being called out to meet the King in order to accompany him victoriously back to earth. Either way this event will occur exactly as described, and I for one believe it will be at the beginning of the tribulation period. We see the teaching of Jesus in Luke 17, for example, that his second coming, will be preceded by a period of normalcy: eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting, and building (Lu 17:27-28). That does not sound like Christ's appearing at the end of a tribulation period, but rather, at the beginning. Noah and Lot are the examples given. They were taken away (snatched away, raptured) before judgment was poured out. And when the life is gone out of a body (the world), then the vultures gather there to feast (Luke 17:37). This is also reflected in the fifth chapter of 1 Thessalonians: "While people are saying, 'There is peace and security,' then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape" (5:3). The final day of the Lord will be a seven year period of judgment upon the earth. Read more about the different views of the rapture here.
THE DAY OF THE LORD (ch 5). The day of the Lord is a period ("day" used in the sense of period) of judgment poured out upon the world. As always throughout the Scripture the return of the Lord is not meant as a topic of speculation, but as a call to preparation. Whether we go through that final tribulation or not, all Christians will be called to endure some tribulation in this world (John 16:33). And the promised second coming of Jesus is given to us as a bright hope and a reason that we should walk in the light as he himself is in the light. We are to be ready, prayerful, watchful, alert, pursuing holiness, and seeking the kingdom of our Lord Jesus, who is returning in glory, the high King over all kings.
Image credit: New Line Cinema. About this newsletter: I post three times a week on my Bible reading, 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. Another resource I recommend is the NET Bible with its excellent notes at netbible.org.