Daily Readings and Thought for November 1st. “GOOD NEWS OF PEACE”
We first read today in 2 Chron. Ch. 30, about the great Passover that King Hezekiah organised; he sent letters to the ten northern tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh in particular: most “mocked” [v.10] but “some … humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem.” [v.11], Soon these tribes were to be taken into captivity, probably a youthful Ezekiel was among them.
Then in ch. 10 of Daniel, the now aged prophet is with “Cyrus king of Persia” [v.1] who had overcome the Babylonians. Daniel has a “vision” and “had understanding” and “was mourning for three weeks.” [v.2] and then “one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, “O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.”[v.18,19]. Let us develop the same spirit. There follows revelations to him which challenged his (and our) understanding, especially about “the time of the end” in Daniel’s last 2 chapters.
Our chapter 10 in Acts gives us the thought challenging experience of Peter, of a vision which led him to travel to Caesarea and meet with “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man” [v.22]who had, “about the ninth hour of the day … a vision, an angel of God” [v.3] telling him to “send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter.” [v.5] Peter also has a vision, and, when Cornelius’ messengers arrive, he interprets his vision as meaning he should go with them to see this Roman Centurion..
Cornelius had developed the habit praying and was astonished, he tells Peter, when “a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.” [v.30,31] “Now therefore we are all here, in the presence of God, to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” [v.33]. So Peter tells him all about “the good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all)” [v.36]
We meditate on the nature of that “peace” in the circumstances then – and now! Each of Paul’s letters starts with, “Grace to you and peace”! This is surely peace of mind in knowing what is true, in a world in which God’s truth is now virtually unknown! As we read 7 of Paul’s letters in the 2nd half of this month, let us absorb his use of the word ”peace” and the nature of the “good news” he describes to his readers!