Make Your Face Shine On Us, that We May Be Saved

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JEREMIAH 14:11-16:15 | 1 THESSALONIANS 2:9-3:13 | PSALM 80:1-19 | PROVERBS 25:1-5

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Jeremiah’s prophecies are not pleasant ones; for the most part, they speak to the wrath of God that is to come upon the children of Israel.  But when he is not being a mouthpiece to the Lord, Jeremiah’s pleads for his people as well.  And this is what the Lord says in response:

“If you repent, I will restore you
that you may serve me;
if you utter worthy, not worthless, words,
you will be my spokesman.
Let this people turn to you,
but you must not turn to them.
20 I will make you a wall to this people,
a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you
but will not overcome you,
for I am with you
to rescue and save you,”
declares the LORD.
21 “I will save you from the hands of the wicked
and deliver you from the grasp of the cruel.”

And in line with this, this is also what the Lord promises to Israel, as per Jeremiah’s account: 14 “However, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ 15 but it will be said, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their ancestors.

This is a promise to hold on to, wouldn’t you say?

Turning next to our reading of Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, we find Paul commending his readers—new members of the Christian faith, mostly non-Jews—for their great faith in the word of the Lord as it has been preached to them by Paul and his colleagues. 

Paul mentions here the damage that his Jewish brethren have attempted to do by way of discouraging the new believers.

He says:  14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last. 

Does this not have shades of the same sentiment that we see in Jeremiah’s words where God’s wrath is inevitable at times?

The church in Thessalonica is dear to Paul, and he speaks affectionately of them, and to them.  He says:  19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy. 

And he ends this part of the letter with these loving words of encouragement:  11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.

Turning now to our Psalm for the day, we find another one authored by Asaph.  There is a haunting refrain throughout the psalm which speaks to the great petition of the people of Israel.  The Psalmist says:

19 Restore us, LORD God Almighty;
   make your face shine on us,
   that we may be saved.

Finally, a couple of verses from the book of Proverbs, authored by Solomon, the wise king of Israel:

4 Remove the dross from the silver,
and a silversmith can produce a vessel;

5 remove wicked officials from the king’s presence,
and his throne will be established through righteousness.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.  Amen.

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