We face the same danger as believers have throughout the history of Christianity, the danger of being influenced by the thinking of this present age. At present, society has marginalized God, thus inviting a philosophy of despair. It has arrived: we are cosmic accidents; life has no greater purpose than experience in this moment. Albert Camus spoke of “the purposeless absurdity of life.”
Solomon, too, when “his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God” (1Ki 11:4), said, “All is vanity and pursuit of the wind” (Ecc 1:14; 2:17 JND). Earlier, when he was training his sons, however, he said, “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more . . .” (Pro 4:18). Different from the wicked, who stumble in darkness (v 19), the righteous live in the sunrise. The light grows clearer; their steps become surer; their hope shines brighter; their direction and purpose are evident.
God is! Enoch’s days were no less difficult for him than ours are for us, yet he pleased God. The anchor for such living is faith that “God is” (Heb 11:6). This embraces not only God’s existence, but His constancy. He lives to fulfill His purpose, keep His promises, and bless His people.
Righteousness rules! The vocabulary of a younger generation uses this word, “rules,” to denote the ultimate, the best. Solomon was training his sons to recognize that the best in life is to live by the wisdom that the Creator has built into all that exists. Such righteous living “rules”!
Lordship lives! Paul’s imprisonment, his opponents’ boldness, the Philippians’ difficulties, and his imminent demise did not dim his will to rejoice. In telling them, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, rejoice,” Paul discloses his own rule of life. The sovereign Lord, Who controls every circumstance, “is at hand,” aware, available, and responsive.
Heaven hears! The glory days were long gone. The people questioned the profitability of serving God. No doubt they despised the day of small things. But the Lord was listening to a small remnant who feared Him, encouraged one another, and enjoyed Him. The details of their faithfulness were written in a book of remembrance before the Lord. To them, “the Sun of righteousness” will arise (Mal 3:14-16; 4:2).
Christ is coming! The mythological god of Corinth, Sysiphus suffered a futile existence because of his defiance. He continually rolled a huge stone up a hill. When it neared the top, it rolled back to the bottom. But for believers who lived with the certainty of the “last trump,” all they did to uphold the honor of the Lord in the assembly had eternal significance. “Your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1Co 15:58).
“Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine!” The sun is rising! Despite Egypt’s surrounding darkness, we have light in our dwellings. The articles that follow will reinforce this in our thinking!