Daily Readings and Thought for November 18th. “THEN SUDDEN DESTRUCTION WILL COME”
Today we completed reading Paul’s First letter to the Thessalonians. On several occasions the opening verses of Ch. 5 have been applied to situations in my lifetime. “You yourselves are fully aware”, writes Paul, “that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night; when people are saying ‘there is peace and security’ then sudden destruction will come …” [v.2,3]
A big example of this occurred in 1939. The British P M returned from an urgent meeting with the German leader Adolf Hitler. They had made a peace treaty and he returned waving the treaty and saying ‘It is peace in our time.” Within months Hitler broke the agreement and there was all out war in Europe for the next 6 years and something like 12 million died – and probably as many or more that were injured, maimed for life!
Our focus of attention since then has been the Middle East with the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948. War has repeatedly broken out; “Peace” agreements of a sort have been made but do not last. Today world leaders more than ever believe there just has to be peace, but they are unable to make any real progress toward it. Notice that the verses are not saying when there IS peace, but when they are saying “Peace” and there is a promise of safety and the threat of destruction ceasing; but it does not cease.
Paul is pointing forward to a particular event, an ultimate “day of the Lord” the climax of the ages of human rule on this earth! Many of the Old Testament prophets write about this climax and Paul writes more about this in his second letter to the Thessalonians and the utterly awesome climax “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 v.7,8] . The key verse in today’s chapter for believers is v.4, “But you are not in darkness brothers for that day to surprise you like a thief”. Verses 8 to 10 are ones we should memorise. We must all ask ourselves whether we have really “put on the breastplate of faith.”