You know I often have trouble with focus. Bright light and a lot of movement will cause me a bit of grief as well. Both things can make reading difficult and both often contribute to headaches that can be very distracting, but there is one thing that these circumstances will not change; a need to be in God’s Word. Today that began with 2 Peter.
In very few words Peter spoke of the coming of the Lord. He warned of what to expect.
2 Peter 3:3-4 (ESV) 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
Peter also explains that there is a reason for everything in God’s plan.
2 Peter 3:8-9 (ESV) 8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
But how can we know this if we do not seek the truth for ourselves.?It is not enough to listen to someone else or even read a book relying on someone else’s interpretation. We must spend time in the word.
This really hit home for me a week or so ago. I was having a discussion with my daughter, and Peter reminded me of this in chapter 3 of his second letter today as well.
A couple weeks ago Caroline and I were discussing something serious, (I cannot remember exactly the topic today, but it was important then), and I replied to something she said. When I finished I asked her what she thought I said and she answered. I explained that was not my intent, and tried again with a similar result. The third time we were successful.
Now Caroline and I got 3 chances to complete the communication. But think of your favorite preacher on Sunday. He may repeat important stuff a couple times, but you may get distracted by a cough or a sneeze or a baby and you cannot raise your hand and ask him to clarify his point. You cannot say “Hey preacher, is this what you meant?” But if you are in the Word you can go home and work it out by yourself or with your spouse or with a friend or two.
If you have a group to get together with you can discuss the things you stumble over in your personal study. The Word tells us that we are better off with more than ourselves.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV) 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
I also like Peter’s example in Chapter 3.
Understand so You are not Deceived
I like, beginning in verse 15 where Peter speaks of Paul’s writings and cautions the importance in growing in the knowledge of God.
2 Peter 3:15-18 (ESV) And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
This is the close to his letter. The last thing he leaves us with. He adds credence to Paul’s equivalent to scriptures of other apostles and the old testament and cautions how important it is to understand these things about God so others cannot deceive you.
How can we serve God if we do not know Him well enough to discern truth from deception?
Do Not be Deceived
As I considered that this morning I got pulled into several passages that gave warning.
Deuteronomy 17:18-20 (ESV) 18 “And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Jude 1:17-23 (ESV) 17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
Ephesians 6:10-12 (ESV) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
What awesome power we have in God’s Word.
I am so thankful that despite everything the Holy Spirit gives me a desire to be in the Word. He fills me with a need to study and to share. The strange thing that still amazes me is that I often start with one thought and finish in a place that I did not intend. Today was one of those days.
I am so thankful for all that Christ Jesus did for me. His love and mercy blows my mind. Every day I am surprised by something new. Today I know this.
The Word of God and prayer are like living water and oxygen. I need both to live. Take either away for too long and the first thing that sets in is confusion. The second is a desperation for anything to fill the void left by their absence. It requires diligence. I need more than one gallon a week of water and though I cannot see it I need oxygen every moment of the day.
I give thanks to God for all His provision including this desire to know Him and draw near to Him.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your Holy Word. Father thank you for filling my heart with a desire to be near you and providing the path to achieve that. Father I pray that that those who struggle or are being deceived might call on you today that they too might be lead out of darkness into the light. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.