December 2, Reading 1 – 2 Chronicles 32

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

When hard and terrible times came, Hezekiah joined Isaiah in prayer, and the Lord answered and delivered His people. When God tested Hezekiah, Hezekiah, just like us, failed the test. Jesus did not fail! Look again at what Jesus said when tested in Luke 4:1-13.

SJA Notes

“After these things and these acts of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them for himself.”

Is this an experience we might have had?

After choosing wisdom, seeking the Lord and putting Him first, hardship and trouble come knocking!

Why does this happen?

Peter speaks directly to us, as this passage in Chronicles would have spoken to the returning exiles (and does to us as well),

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”

Sennacherib and those around him mocked the Lord, they ridiculed the king, they sought to sow fear and uncertainty amongst God’s people.

Today, much the same is happening. Those in the world around us seek to undermine God and His word, they seek to tear down the church, the people of God, living stone by living stone.

What does Peter have to say about this? He continues,

“But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”

We are to rejoice! As hard-won as the practice will be, we are to rejoice.

And Hezekiah helps us with this, words that are echoed throughout all of scripture,

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.”

* Father God Above,

Praise Your Name! For You are with us, to help us and to fight our battles.

All glory be to You, Holy God of Israel. For You have saved us from the bands of death, saved us into life, and life to the full!

Thank You that Your word encourages us to rejoice as we suffer, because You, in the person of the Son, suffered – And we share in this suffering as Your people.

Please help us Lord God, please help us in the hard times, the trouble and dismay – We cast our cares on You, knowing and resting in Your solid and true love for us.

Amen.

December 2, Reading 2 – Ezekiel 48

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

Ezekiel ends his prophecies with a section that recalls the division of the land of Palestine under Joshua. God will give His people an eternal inheritance, a real inheritance, a place on the new earth. The LORD is there! Hallelujah!

SJA Notes

* God of Light, please shine Your word on our hearts today.

“And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The LORD Is There.”

While most of today’s passage is taken up with specific allotments of God’s people, this final sentence encapsulates all of Ezekiel.

Because like the rest of God’s word, the book of Ezekiel stirs within us the hope of glory.

THE LORD IS THERE

What depth of love and mercy, of grace and favour can be found in this name.

There is none of the corruption we see us humanity falling into time and again throughout history and in our world today.

Instead, this is a city of absolute rock-solid hope.

A better world. A better place. A better country.

Are we resting our own hope in this most-precious truth?

* Father God in Heaven,

Thank You for the hope of the new heavenly city that we read of throughout Your word.

Thank You that the name of this city is that YOU ARE THERE.

We long for Your return Lord God.

Please fit us for glory.

Amen.

December 2, Reading 3 – 1 John 2:18-29

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

Talk over with someone else what it means today to deny that Jesus is the Christ. Can you give examples from our society in Australia today? In John’s day these were people who were inside the perimeter of the Church.

SJA Notes

“Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.”

John has a clear picture of the One True God, Three Persons – And he continues to point us to the reality of what this means.

No one who denies the Son has the Father.

Have you ever met anyone who believes that Jesus is important but not God?

John is writing to christians that they might be warned of this false teaching, this deception.

And it is a very confronting truth that John speaks here – That those who deny the Son do not have the Father, are not in Him.

This is for them to wrestle with, and prayerfully to break through the lies to see … But for those of us who know the truth (as John speaks about), it is for us to stand guard against this false doctrine, and to point those who believe in lies such as this to Jesus.

Because Jesus is the answer. He always is.

* God Almighty,

Thank You for this letter from John. May You teach us much from it, as often as we read and dwell on it.

Please help us to stand for Your truth, to be found in You.

Help us to clearly confess You, to confess the Son and abide in the Father.

Amen.