“Father forgive …”
What a heart moving set of readings we have today. In Numbers 14 we read of the tragic failure of faith of the people in the wilderness – how they reacted to the report of ten of the twelve spies which had investigated the promised land: the opposition looked to be too great! Surely their minds should have had abundant faith because of the wonders of their experience in leaving Egypt!
What an object lesson this is for those who have seen – or heard first-hand about – the events in the Holy Land over the last 100 years, for prophecies have been fulfilled before our eyes.
We then read Proverbs 10 and tried to absorb its many inspired sayings into our hearts and succeed in the challenging task of putting them into practice.
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely” (verse 9)
“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life” (verse 11).
“The wise lay up knowledge … Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life” (verses 14,17).
Let us redouble our efforts to do these things – with our feet ever more firmly “on the path to life” eternal.
As this world’s ways of living becomes more godless may we realise, ever more clearly, that
“The way of the LORD is a stronghold to the blameless” (verse 29).
Finally we read Luke 23. May we not become too familiar with reading the account of the arrest, trial and crucifixion of our Lord so that it fails to really move our hearts. If we had watched the scene of Jesus on the cross – what feelings? The jealous religious leaders had succeeded in removing him.
Would we have simply thought – no more wonderful healings? As we meditate on this we see that it needed the wonder of his crucifixion – before his resurrection – to stir human hearts to their depths. How many would have remembered his cry,
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (verse 34).
We were not there – but if we had been – we would have been surely swept along with the attitude of the scoffers! We all need the “father” to “forgive” us.
But one man had faith, one with him on the cross, he asked,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”.
The reply of Jesus is memorable – but we must punctuate it in the right way.
“Truly, I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise” (verse 43).
May we hear him saying the same to us – because we put into practice what we are reading in Proverbs – and know that “the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7) will be when the earth again becomes like the garden of Eden.