Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Have you learned from the ant?

I just got off the phone with a relative who is in a financial predicament. It could have been prevented if they had only “considered the ways of the ant” and saved some of their income.

The Bible encourages preparing for the future. Proverbs 21:20 says, “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”

Of course, saving for ourselves must be kept in balance. Yes, God “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment,” we are told in 1 Timothy 6, but we’re reminded of that provision in the context of being generous toward others. Furthermore, in James, we’re warned against presuming on the future. That provides yet another needed balance to our savings efforts.

But save we should. In fact, the Bible encourages us to save by pointing us to the most humble of insects, the ant. Proverbs 6:6-8 says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”

Hmm. Have you and I considered the ways of the ant? Before you flick a pesky ant off your picnic table, at least stop to admire his preparation and determination in providing for the future. He just might be doing a better job than we are.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Road to Emmaus

"Jesus explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." Luke 24:27

Can you imagine this two hour walk to Emmaus? Jesus Christ is teaching a crash course through the entire Old Testament, and the way it all pointed to Him.

This text challenged me, so I opened my Old Testament and began to wander through it. I imagined what I would have heard, had I been walking along from Jerusalem to Emmaus.

Here is a rapid look at the ways Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was pictured and prophesied in each book of the Old Testament:

•Genesis – He is the prophesied seed who will crush the serpent’s head. Like Abraham called to sacrifice his only son, so God the Father actually did sacrifice His only Son! Like Joseph, Christ is the brother betrayed by His kinsmen, whose betrayal will lead to their deliverance. Like Joseph, Christ is conspired against and sold for silver, condemned though he is innocent, and raised from humiliation to glory by the power of God.
•Exodus – Jesus is the great “I AM”; He is the Passover Lamb whose blood protects His people from the angel of death and the wrath of God; He is manna from heaven and water from the rock;
•Leviticus – Christ is our high priest. He is the Holy of Holies – in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead.
•Numbers – He is the great hope in whom all can safely put their trust; He is the bronze serpent lifted up in the wilderness.
•Deuteronomy – He is the Lord our God; He is the city of refuge where criminals may run for protection;
•Joshua – Christ is Yeshua – Yahweh is salvation. He is the champion over every enemy that stands in the way of God’s people;
•Judges – He is the angel of God, empowering the weak and pursuing the wandering; He is the perfection of grace and patience toward His wandering people; He is the ultimate Prophet, Priest and King.
•Ruth – He is the Kindsman-Redeemer, the wealthy landowner who redeems His gentile bride from hopeless poverty; placing her in the family line of royalty; giving her the right to everything of His vast estate;
•I and II Samuel– He is the name of the Lord, in whose strength young men of faith conquer enemies and slay giants; His dynasty will be permanent and He will sit upon the throne of David.
•Kings and Chronicles – He is the sovereign King behind and above all kingdoms, both pagan and God-fearing;
•Ezra – He is the keeper of divine promise to Israel and the hand that liberates His people from bondage;
•Nehemiah – He is the re-builder of broken lives and the restorer of broken fellowship;
•Esther – He is the sovereign Lord behind the scenes, outsmarting the evil one and seeing that His remnant remain, whispering into the ear of a young queen that for such a time as this, she has been crowned.
•Job – Job acknowledges a Redeemer and cries out for a Mediator, Christ is the majestic One who rides upon the wind and commands the lightning; He is the Lord of mystery who does not explain life, but reveals He is sovereign over all of life; He is the Redeemer, the Mediator and our Advocate.
•Psalms – He is the rock of refuge, the Shepherd of the sheep, the tower of shelter, the chief Cornerstone;
•Proverbs – He is everlasting wisdom; divine counsel for those who accept His invitation to turn aside and listen;
•Ecclesiastes – He is eternal satisfaction over every earthly desire; He is the One to be remembered in the days our youth;
•Song of Solomon – He is the Bridegroom who pursues His bride, stopping at nothing until she is safely in His arms;
•Isaiah – He is Emmanuel, the suffering Savior, the One crushed for our iniquities and the coming Prince of Peace whose strong shoulder will one day bear the governments of the world;
•Jeremiah – He is the branch of righteousness who brings justice and equity; He is the promised One who will write a new covenant on the hearts of His people;
•Lamentations – He is the father who disciplines the sons He loves;
•Ezekiel – He is resurrection power, breathing life into dry bones and bringing life from death; He is the faithful leader re-gathering His wandering flock;
•Daniel – He is the stone, cut without hands, rejected by kingdoms, yet smiting the false image and filling the earth with His glory; He is the one whose Kingdom will not end;
•Hosea – He is the faithful husband of the faithless wife;
•Joel – He is the hope of His people, the strength of the children of Israel;
•Amos – He is the wrath of God against oppressors; He is the promise of vineyards and gardens where His children will one day rest;
•Obadiah – He ascends Mount Zion as the deliverer who judges the kingdoms of this world and inaugurates His own everlasting reign;
•Jonah – He is the fulfillment of the sign that after three days and three nights, the Son of Man will come forth vindicating the righteousness of God and resurrection power;
•Micah – He is the One who pardons our iniquities; who does not retain His anger forever; who delights in unchanging love; He is the one who treads our iniquities under His feet; who casts all our sins into the depths of the sea;
•Nahum – He is slow to anger and great in power; of Him the mountains quake and the hills dissolve, yet He is a safe haven for all who hide in Him;
•Habakkuk – He is radiant like sunlight; whose strength makes our feet like the hinds feet, and makes us walk on high places;
•Zephaniah – He is the One who will gather those who grieve and those who are lame and those who are outcast; He is the One who will turn their shame and despair into everlasting praise;
•Haggai – He is the victorious Lord of hosts who will shake the heavens and the earth as He overthrows the nations of this world; He is the One who will wear His chosen people as jewels around His omnipotent fingers;
•Zechariah – He stands with His redeemed on the Mount of Olives; His holiness will be praised, even by the inscriptions on the bells of horses’ bridles as they gallop through the city of His glory – “Holy to the Lord” will be their praise for the Messiah;
•Malachi – He is the divine Refiner, sitting over the melting pot of His universe, purifying His chosen people as silver and gold; He is the great King, who does not change; and for all those who believe in Him, He will one day rise with healing in His wings!