Today’s thought “All the people were attentive” (November 20)

We have three interesting and challenging readings today. Nehemiah describes how “all the people were attentive” (8:3) when the books of Moses were read to them. They answered, “‘Amen, Amen,’ lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD” (verse 6). They were told, “this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (verse 10).

This is the strength we will need as our world falls apart as is prophesied in Joel. Chapter 3 starts by asking us to

“behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land” (verses 1,2).

It is evident we live “at that time” for the Lord has restored the fortunes of his people in our days – and the “divided up” Holy Land is a bone of contention – and trigger – for impending events,.

God particularly intends to

“judge all the surrounding nations” (verse 12) “for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon are darkened …” (verses 14,15)

and a few years ago we have seen the ‘blood moons’ on four Jewish Holy Days (Passover and Tabernacles). Significant events have occurred in the past in such years, or the next. Eclipses occur only during an eclipse season, when the Sun appears to pass near either node of the Moon’s orbit. There will be 230 lunar eclipses in the 21st century (2000–2100): 87 penumbral, 58 partial and 85 total.

Total lunar eclipse on January 21, 2019 (45910439045) (cropped).jpg
The eclipse seen from Oria, Italy, at 5:43 UTC, January 21, at the end of totality

A total lunar eclipse occurred on January 21, 2019 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). For observers in the Americas, the eclipse took place between the evening of Sunday, January 20 and the early morning hours of Monday, January 21. For observers in Europe and Africa, the eclipse occurred during the morning of January 21. The Moon was near its perigee on January 21 and as such can be described as a “supermoon“. {Wikipedia on the January 2019 lunar eclipse}

How close are we to the time when,

“The LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. So you shall know that I am the LORD …” (verses 16,17)?

2 Thessalonians 3 is a sequel to the first two chapters; it is a petition for faith in view of the coming evils they described. It starts with a prayer

“that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honoured …”

– and so it has been – but is so no longer. May we be even more “attentive” to that word that

“we may be delivered from wicked and evil men” (verse 2),

fully realizing, as Paul then states,

“the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil … May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (verses 3,5)

because we continued to be genuinely “attentive” to his word.

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