Do you get it done? Do you keep going till it is finished? Do you make sure it is complete? Do you only go part way? Do you leave things partially done? Do you reflect on where you are to consider what is left to do? Is there anything getting in the way of completing the work you have to do? No excuses! No avoidance! Let’s finish strong! Let’s finish the race! Let’s get it done!
Today’s reading speaks to finishing…
The Death of Jesus
(Matthew 27.45-56; Mark 15.33-41; Luke 23.44-49)
28Jesus knew that by now everything had been completed; and in order to make the scripture come true, he said, “I am thirsty.”
29A bowl was there, full of cheap wine; so a sponge was soaked in the wine, put on a stalk of hyssop, and lifted up to his lips. 30Jesus drank the wine and said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Jesus’ Side Is Pierced
31Then the Jewish authorities asked Pilate to allow them to break the legs of the men who had been crucified, and to take the bodies down from the crosses. They requested this because it was Friday, and they did not want the bodies to stay on the crosses on the Sabbath, since the coming Sabbath was especially holy. 32So the soldiers went and broke the legs of the first man and then of the other man who had been crucified with Jesus. 33But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they did not break his legs. 34One of the soldiers, however, plunged his spear into Jesus’ side, and at once blood and water poured out. ( 35The one who saw this happen has spoken of it, so that you also may believe. What he said is true, and he knows that he speaks the truth.) 36This was done to make the scripture come true: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37And there is another scripture that says, “People will look at him whom they pierced.”
–from John 19
He did it the way it was supposed to be! He did it in His own timing! He did it for God’s glory!
Today’s reading speaks to how nobody could enter till the angels were finished…
The Angels with the Last Plagues
1Then I saw in the sky another mysterious sight, great and amazing. There were seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last ones, because they are the final expression of God’s anger. 2Then I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire. I also saw those who had won the victory over the beast and its image and over the one whose name is represented by a number. They were standing by the sea of glass, holding harps that God had given them 3and singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: “Lord God Almighty, how great and wonderful are your deeds! King of the nations, how right and true are your ways! 4Who will not stand in awe of you, Lord? Who will refuse to declare your greatness? You alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship you, because your just actions are seen by all.” 5After this I saw the temple in heaven open, with the Sacred Tent in it. 6The seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, dressed in clean shining linen and with gold bands tied around their chests. 7Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven gold bowls full of the anger of God, who lives forever and ever. 8The temple was filled with smoke from the glory and power of God, and no one could go into the temple until the seven plagues brought by the seven angels had come to an end.
–from Revelation 15
God is in control! Nothing surprises Him! What will we choose to do? How will we choose to live? How will we choose to respond? What will it take for us to turn back to Him? What will it take for us to learn through our experiences? When will we listen to Him?
1The storm makes my heart beat wildly. 2Listen, all of you, to the voice of God, to the thunder that comes from his mouth. 3He sends the lightning across the sky, from one end of the earth to the other. 4Then the roar of his voice is heard, the majestic sound of thunder, and all the while the lightning flashes. 5At God’s command amazing things happen, wonderful things that we can’t understand. 6He commands snow to fall on the earth, and sends torrents of drenching rain. 7He brings our work to a stop; he shows us what he can do. 8The wild animals go to their dens. 9The storm winds come from the south, and the biting cold from the north. 10The breath of God freezes the waters, and turns them to solid ice. 11Lightning flashes from the clouds, 12as they move at God’s will. They do all that God commands, everywhere throughout the world. 13God sends rain to water the earth; he may send it to punish us, or to show us his favor. 14Pause a moment, Job, and listen; consider the wonderful things God does. 15Do you know how God gives the command and makes lightning flash from the clouds? 16Do you know how clouds float in the sky, the work of God’s amazing skill? 17No, you can only suffer in the heat when the south wind oppresses the land. 18Can you help God stretch out the sky and make it as hard as polished metal? 19Teach us what to say to God; our minds are blank; we have nothing to say. 20I won’t ask to speak with God; why should I give him a chance to destroy me? 21And now the light in the sky is dazzling, too bright for us to look at it; and the sky has been swept clean by the wind. 22A golden glow is seen in the north, and the glory of God fills us with awe. 23God’s power is so great that we cannot come near him; he is righteous and just in his dealings with us. 24No wonder, then, that everyone is awed by him, and that he ignores those who claim to be wise.
–from Job 37
Will you keep speaking to God? Will you trusting in Him? Will allow Him to lead you and guide you? Will you allow Him to provide you wisdom and direction? Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith! Trust in God!
1This is the message that the Lord revealed to the prophet Habakkuk.
Habakkuk Complains of Injustice
2O Lord, how long must I call for help before you listen, before you save us from violence? 3Why do you make me see such trouble? How can you stand to look on such wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are all around me, and there is fighting and quarreling everywhere. 4The law is weak and useless, and justice is never done. Evil people get the better of the righteous, and so justice is perverted.
The Lord’s Reply
5Then the Lord said to his people, “Keep watching the nations around you, and you will be astonished at what you see. I am going to do something that you will not believe when you hear about it. 6I am bringing the Babylonians to power, those fierce, restless people. They are marching out across the world to conquer other lands. 7They spread fear and terror, and in their pride they are a law to themselves.
8“Their horses are faster than leopards, fiercer than hungry wolves. Their cavalry troops come riding from distant lands; their horses paw the ground. They come swooping down like eagles attacking their prey. 9“Their armies advance in violent conquest, and everyone is terrified as they approach. Their captives are as numerous as grains of sand. 10They treat kings with contempt and laugh at high officials. No fortress can stop them—they pile up earth against it and capture it. 11Then they sweep on like the wind and are gone, these men whose power is their god.”
Habakkuk Complains to the Lord Again
12Lord, from the very beginning you are God. You are my God, holy and eternal. Lord, my God and protector, you have chosen the Babylonians and made them strong so that they can punish us. 13But how can you stand these treacherous, evil men? Your eyes are too holy to look at evil, and you cannot stand the sight of people doing wrong. So why are you silent while they destroy people who are more righteous than they are? 14How can you treat people like fish or like a swarm of insects that have no ruler to direct them? 15The Babylonians catch people with hooks, as though they were fish. They drag them off in nets and shout for joy over their catch! 16They even worship their nets and offer sacrifices to them, because their nets provide them with the best of everything. 17Are they going to use their swords forever and keep on destroying nations without mercy?
–from Habakkuk 1
God’s timing is perfect! So let’s be patient! Let’s not grow weary in doing what is good, for at the right time we will reap a harvest as long as we don’t give up!
The Lord’s Answer to Habakkuk
1I will climb my watchtower and wait to see what the Lord will tell me to say and what answer he will give to my complaint. 2The Lord gave me this answer: “Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance. 3Put it in writing, because it is not yet time for it to come true. But the time is coming quickly, and what I show you will come true. It may seem slow in coming, but wait for it; it will certainly take place, and it will not be delayed. 4And this is the message: ‘Those who are evil will not survive, but those who are righteous will live because they are faithful to God.’”
Doom on the Unrighteous
5Wealth is deceitful. Greedy people are proud and restless—like death itself they are never satisfied. That is why they conquer nation after nation for themselves. 6The conquered people will taunt their conquerors and show their scorn for them. They will say, “You take what isn’t yours, but you are doomed! How long will you go on getting rich by forcing your debtors to pay up?” 7But before you know it, you that have conquered others will be in debt yourselves and be forced to pay interest. Enemies will come and make you tremble. They will plunder you! 8You have plundered the people of many nations, but now those who have survived will plunder you because of the murders you have committed and because of your violence against the people of the world and its cities. 9You are doomed! You have made your family rich with what you took by violence, and have tried to make your own home safe from harm and danger! 10But your schemes have brought shame on your family; by destroying many nations you have only brought ruin on yourself. 11Even the stones of the walls cry out against you, and the rafters echo the cry. 12You are doomed! You founded a city on crime and built it up by murder. 13The nations you conquered wore themselves out in useless labor, and all they have built goes up in flames. The Lord Almighty has done this. 14But the earth will be as full of the knowledge of the Lord’s glory as the seas are full of water. 15You are doomed! In your fury you humiliated and disgraced your neighbors; you made them stagger as though they were drunk. 16You in turn will be covered with shame instead of honor. You yourself will drink and stagger. The Lord will make you drink your own cup of punishment, and your honor will be turned to disgrace. 17You have cut down the forests of Lebanon; now you will be cut down. You killed its animals; now animals will terrify you. This will happen because of the murders you have committed and because of your violence against the people of the world and its cities. 18What’s the use of an idol? It is only something that a human being has made, and it tells you nothing but lies. What good does it do for its maker to trust it—a god that can’t even talk! 19You are doomed! You say to a piece of wood, “Wake up!” or to a block of stone, “Get up!” Can an idol reveal anything to you? It may be covered with silver and gold, but there is no life in it. 20The Lord is in his holy Temple; let everyone on earth be silent in his presence.
–from Habakkuk 2
Wait for it! God’s Word never returns void! Take time to hear from Him! Trust Him with all your heart, mind, and strength! He is mighty to save! He is just! Put your trust in Him!
A Prayer of Habakkuk
1This is a prayer of the prophet Habakkuk: 2O Lord, I have heard of what you have done, and I am filled with awe. Now do again in our times the great deeds you used to do. Be merciful, even when you are angry. 3God is coming again from Edom; the holy God is coming from the hills of Paran. His splendor covers the heavens, and the earth is full of his praise. 4He comes with the brightness of lightning; light flashes from his hand, there where his power is hidden. 5He sends disease before him and commands death to follow him. 6When he stops, the earth shakes; at his glance the nations tremble. The eternal mountains are shattered; the everlasting hills sink down, the hills where he walked in ancient times. 7I saw the people of Cushan afraid and the people of Midian tremble. 8Was it the rivers that made you angry, Lord? Was it the sea that made you furious? You rode upon the clouds; the storm cloud was your chariot, as you brought victory to your people. 9You got ready to use your bow, ready to shoot your arrows. Your lightning split open the earth. 10When the mountains saw you, they trembled; water poured down from the skies. The waters under the earth roared, and their waves rose high. 11At the flash of your speeding arrows and the gleam of your shining spear, the sun and the moon stood still. 12You marched across the earth in anger; in fury you trampled the nations. 13You went out to save your people, to save your chosen king. You struck down the leader of the wicked and completely destroyed his followers. 14Your arrows pierced the commander of his army when it came like a storm to scatter us, gloating like those who secretly oppress the poor. 15You trampled the sea with your horses, and the mighty waters foamed. 16I hear all this, and I tremble; my lips quiver with fear. My body goes limp, and my feet stumble beneath me. I will quietly wait for the time to come when God will punish those who attack us. 17Even though the fig trees have no fruit and no grapes grow on the vines, even though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no grain, even though the sheep all die and the cattle stalls are empty, 18I will still be joyful and glad, because the Lord God is my savior. 19The Sovereign Lord gives me strength. He makes me sure-footed as a deer and keeps me safe on the mountains.
–from Habakkuk 3