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Part of the FBCS 2010 Read Through the Bible Project: Enter the Story. Join the Song.

Living With the Goal In View

1 Thessalonians 1   Isaiah 11-13   Psalm 112

“They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain” (Isaiah 11:9). Isaiah envisions God’s kingdom  . . . the psalmist considers the characteristics of those who fear the Lord . . . Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy give thanks for the Thessalonians, who are “an example to all the believers” . . . Today’s readings lead us to consider the nature of God’s kingdom and the character of those who inhabit that kingdom.

“The wolf shall live with the lamb” (Isaiah 11:6). So it will be when Messiah comes and the earth is “full of the knowledge of the Lord” (v.9). All creation redeemed and restored. No more of the disorder, danger, and desire to hurt and destroy that we name “natural.” In their place? Justice, peace, and joy. And harmony. As all nations inquire of the One upon whom “the spirit of the Lord” rests (v.2). This is the goal of the story. This is the reality toward which all is heading. This is the nature of God’s rule. Which leads to a question: What are the characteristics of those who look forward to being part of God’s glorious kingdom? Well.

“They are gracious, merciful, and righteous” (Psalm 112:4). They are generous and just (v.5,9). And “they are not afraid of evil tidings” because they are “secure in the Lord” (v.7). And to this the example of the Thessalonians adds that they give themselves to works of faith, labors of love, and steadfastness of hope in Jesus (v.3). And they are ever joyfully receptive to God’s word (v.6). Or, as the psalmist articulates this, they “fear the Lord” and “greatly delight in his commands” (Psalm 112:1). Quite a collection of traits, these. And far removed from the manner in which we often live. You and I will do well to reflect carefully — and with receptivity — upon these characteristics, asking God to transform us into people fit for his kingdom. Are we living with the goal in view? May it be so. Amen.

“The kingdom of God is justice and peace
and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Come, Lord, and open in us
the gates of your kingdom.”
— Sung Prayer of the Taize community

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