Wednesday

20 September 2017

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief” (v. 10)

Psalm: Psalm 86


Background

For the Early Church the expectant and fearful longing for the return of Jesus as judge and ruler resolves into a way of living that is to be 'prepared and ready'. Some in those early days lived in daily expectation of the end times and when this did not materialise they were confused and disturbed. Peter reassures them. God's time scale is different from our own. If God is slower in returning than was expected it is because God wants them to have plenty of time to put things right. God will come though, unexpectedly like a thief. This is an extraordinary image, as a thief invades your personal space and rendering you both vulnerable and exposed. Our boundaries of self are challenged, our precious castle of self is to be conquered. It is bad enough when visitors are coming to your house and you feel a pressure to clear and clean and prepare. We cannot keep the thief that is coming out of our domain, for they dissolve the elements! All we can do is live 'prepared and ready'.

There is something uncomfortable about God! Psalm 139 speaks of a God who hems us is in. The write asks, 'Where can I escape from this awesome presence?' (Psalm 139:7) If God were not loving and the one who creates us with compassion this knowledge, 'too wonderful for us' (Psalm 139:6), would imprison us. There is this sense of being trapped when the thief who comes. If the thief were anyone else, this invasion would be a violation. But the one who comes, for whom one day is as a thousand years, knows us as 'beloved'. God will come in God's own time, and all we can do is joyfully accept God's sovereign will, and live prepared and ready.


To Ponder

  • If Jesus were to return this day, would you be ready?
  • How does the promise of God's presence make you feel?


Bible notes author: The Revd Dr Mark Wakelin

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