Are they in a good place? Have you prepared others? Have you provided backup for others to turn to? Have you prayed over them?
This morning’s reading speaks to Jesus’ words…
Jesus Prays for His Disciples
1After Jesus finished saying this, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your Son, so that the Son may give glory to you. 2For you gave him authority over all people, so that he might give eternal life to all those you gave him. 3And eternal life means to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, whom you sent. 4I have shown your glory on earth; I have finished the work you gave me to do. 5Father! Give me glory in your presence now, the same glory I had with you before the world was made.
–from John 17
When you are going to move on have you or will you make sure that things are transitioned? Do you care about the remnant? Do you have compassion for them? Make sure to pray for them!
The 144,000 People of Israel
1After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds so that no wind should blow on the earth or the sea or against any tree. 2And I saw another angel coming up from the east with the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels to whom God had given the power to damage the earth and the sea. 3The angel said, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees, until we mark the servants of our God with a seal on their foreheads.” 4And I was told that the number of those who were marked with God’s seal on their foreheads was 144,000. They were from the twelve tribes of Israel, 5-8twelve thousand from each tribe: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.
The Enormous Crowd
9After this I looked, and there was an enormous crowd—no one could count all the people! They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood in front of the throne and of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. 10They called out in a loud voice: “Salvation comes from our God, who sits on the throne, and from the Lamb!” 11All the angels stood around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures. Then they threw themselves face downward in front of the throne and worshiped God, 12saying, “Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might belong to our God forever and ever! Amen!”
13One of the elders asked me, “Who are these people dressed in white robes, and where do they come from?” 14“I don’t know, sir. You do,” I answered. He said to me, “These are the people who have come safely through the terrible persecution. They have washed their robes and made them white with the blood of the Lamb. 15That is why they stand before God’s throne and serve him day and night in his temple. He who sits on the throne will protect them with his presence. 16Never again will they hunger or thirst; neither sun nor any scorching heat will burn them, 17because the Lamb, who is in the center of the throne, will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
–from Revelation 7
Where do you stand? Where will you stand? What do you believe? How will you live? What is at the center of your life? Who leads, guides, directs, instructs you? Do you have faith? Do you believe? Do you think you know it all? Do you think you understand it all? Are you that proud to believe you know better or best? Are you humbled by God? Are you living with a humble heart?
The Speeches of Elihu
1Because Job was convinced of his own innocence, the three men gave up trying to answer him. 2But a bystander named Elihu could not control his anger any longer, because Job was justifying himself and blaming God. (Elihu was the son of Barakel, a descendant of Buz, and belonged to the clan of Ram.) 3He was also angry with Job’s three friends. They could not find any way to answer Job, and this made it appear that God was in the wrong. 4Because Elihu was the youngest one there, he had waited until everyone finished speaking. 5When he saw that the three men could not answer Job, he was angry 6and began to speak.
I am young, and you are old, so I was afraid to tell you what I think. 7I told myself that you ought to speak, that you older men should share your wisdom. 8But it is the spirit of Almighty God that comes to us and gives us wisdom. 9It is not growing old that makes us wise or helps us to know what is right. 10So now I want you to listen to me; let me tell you what I think. 11I listened patiently while you were speaking and waited while you searched for wise phrases. 12I paid close attention and heard you fail; you have not disproved what Job has said. 13How can you claim you have discovered wisdom? God must answer Job, for you have failed. 14Job was speaking to you, not to me, but I would never answer the way you did. 15Words have failed them, Job; they have no answer for you. 16Shall I go on waiting when they are silent? They stand there with nothing more to say. 17No, I will give my own answer now and tell you what I think. 18I can hardly wait to speak. I can’t hold back the words. 19If I don’t get a chance to speak, I will burst like a wineskin full of new wine. 20I can’t stand it; I have to speak. 21I will not take sides in this debate; I am not going to flatter anyone. 22I don’t know how to flatter, and God would quickly punish me if I did.
–from Job 32
Let’s all turn back to God! Let’s allow Jesus to bring healing, restoration, and forgiveness not only into our lives, but for it to flow through our lives! Let’s live a life of grace! Check your heart! What are your true intentions and motivations? What are you really trying to accomplish? Are you trying to do what is right?
A Call to Repentance
1Listen, people of Israel, to this funeral song which I sing over you:
2Virgin Israel has fallen, Never to rise again! She lies abandoned on the ground, And no one helps her up. 3The Sovereign Lord says, “A city in Israel sends out a thousand soldiers, but only a hundred return; another city sends out a hundred, but only ten come back.” 4The Lord says to the people of Israel, “Come to me, and you will live. 5Do not go to Beersheba to worship. Do not try to find me at Bethel—Bethel will come to nothing. Do not go to Gilgal—her people are doomed to exile.” 6Go to the Lord, and you will live. If you do not go, he will sweep down like fire on the people of Israel. The fire will burn up the people of Bethel, and no one will be able to put it out. 7You are doomed, you that twist justice and cheat people out of their rights! 8The Lord made the stars, the Pleiades and Orion. He turns darkness into daylight and day into night. He calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the earth. His name is the Lord. 9He brings destruction on the mighty and their strongholds. 10You people hate anyone who challenges injustice and speaks the whole truth in court. 11You have oppressed the poor and robbed them of their grain. And so you will not live in the fine stone houses you build or drink wine from the beautiful vineyards you plant. 12I know how terrible your sins are and how many crimes you have committed. You persecute good people, take bribes, and prevent the poor from getting justice in the courts. 13And so, keeping quiet in such evil times is the smart thing to do! 14Make it your aim to do what is right, not what is evil, so that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty really will be with you, as you claim he is. 15Hate what is evil, love what is right, and see that justice prevails in the courts. Perhaps the Lord will be merciful to the people of this nation who are still left alive. 16And so the Sovereign Lord Almighty says, “There will be wailing and cries of sorrow in the city streets. Even farmers will be called to mourn the dead along with those who are paid to mourn. 17There will be wailing in all the vineyards. All this will take place because I am coming to punish you.” The Lord has spoken. 18How terrible it will be for you who long for the day of the Lord! What good will that day do you? For you it will be a day of darkness and not of light. 19It will be like someone who runs from a lion and meets a bear! Or like someone who comes home and puts his hand on the wall—only to be bitten by a snake! 20The day of the Lord will bring darkness and not light; it will be a day of gloom, without any brightness. 21The Lord says, “I hate your religious festivals; I cannot stand them! 22When you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; I will not accept the animals you have fattened to bring me as offerings. 23Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your harps. 24Instead, let justice flow like a stream, and righteousness like a river that never goes dry.
25“People of Israel, I did not demand sacrifices and offerings during those forty years that I led you through the desert. 26But now, because you have worshiped images of Sakkuth, your king god, and of Kaiwan, your star god, you will have to carry those images 27when I take you into exile in a land beyond Damascus,” says the Lord, whose name is Almighty God.
–from Amos 5
So let’s do what is right! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, nobody goes to the Father except through Him! So let’s choose life! Let’s choose Love! So that we can be on the winning side with God!
The Destruction of Israel
1How terrible it will be for you that have such an easy life in Zion and for you that feel safe in Samaria—you great leaders of this great nation Israel, you to whom the people go for help! 2Go and look at the city of Calneh. Then go on to the great city of Hamath and on down to the Philistine city of Gath. Were they any better than the kingdoms of Judah and Israel? Was their territory larger than yours? 3You refuse to admit that a day of disaster is coming, but what you do only brings that day closer. 4How terrible it will be for you that stretch out on your luxurious couches, feasting on veal and lamb! 5You like to compose songs, as David did, and play them on harps. 6You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest perfumes, but you do not mourn over the ruin of Israel. 7So you will be the first to go into exile. Your feasts and banquets will come to an end. 8The Sovereign Lord Almighty has given this solemn warning: “I hate the pride of the people of Israel; I despise their luxurious mansions. I will give their capital city and everything in it to the enemy.” 9If there are ten men left in a family, they will die. 10The dead man’s relative, the one in charge of the funeral, will take the body out of the house. The relative will call to whoever is still left in the house, “Is anyone else there with you?” The person will answer, “No!” Then the relative will say, “Be quiet! We must be careful not even to mention the Lord’s name.” 11When the Lord gives the command, houses large and small will be smashed to pieces. 12Do horses gallop on rocks? Does anyone plow the sea with oxen? Yet you have turned justice into poison, and right into wrong. 13You brag about capturing the town of Lodebar. You boast, “We were strong enough to take Karnaim.” 14The Lord God Almighty himself says, “People of Israel, I am going to send a foreign army to occupy your country. It will oppress you from Hamath Pass in the north to the Brook of the Arabah in the south.”
–from Amos 6