Some messages stand the test of time:
When the time came for Mattathias to die, he said to his sons: “Arrogance and scorn have now grown strong; it is a time of disaster and violent wrath. Therefore, my children, be zealous for the law and give your lives for the covenant of our ancestors.
“Remember the deeds that our ancestors did in their times, and you shall win great honor and an everlasting name. Was not Abraham found faithful in trial, and it was credited to him as righteousness? Joseph, when in distress, kept the commandment, and he became master of Egypt. Phinehas our ancestor, for his burning zeal, received the covenant of an everlasting priesthood. Joshua, for executing his commission, became a judge in Israel. Caleb, for bearing witness before the assembly, received an inheritance in the land. David, for his loyalty, received as a heritage a throne of eternal kingship. Elijah, for his burning zeal for the law, was taken up to heaven. Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael, for their faith, were saved from the fire. Daniel, for his innocence, was delivered from the mouths of lions. And so, consider this from generation to generation, that none who hope in Heaven shall fail in strength.
Do not fear the words of sinners, for their glory ends in corruption and worms. Today exalted, tomorrow not to be found, they have returned to dust, their schemes have perished. Children! be courageous and strong in keeping the law, for by it you shall be honored.
1 Maccabees 2:49-64
Thousands of years later, the same advice is pertinent to me and my son. “Arrogance and scorn have now grown strong; it is a time of disaster and violent wrath.” No one can argue that these are our times too.
There are so many pitfalls in life. So many people and things pulling you in different directions, and often pulling away from God. Promises of glory and happiness and immediate gratification. “Today exalted” but “tomorrow not to be found.”
It is easy to give in. So hard to be courageous and strong in keeping God’s law. As I read about the faithfulness, zeal, innocence, obedience and loyalty of some of the “greats” from the Bible, my eyes keep going back to the same line: “And so, consider this from generation to generation, that none who hope in Heaven shall fail in strength.”
So many of the Bible’s teachings are really so simple — it is we who make them complicated.
My hope is in you and in your salvation. I ask you to help me here on earth. Please provide me with sufficient grace. Please provide me with sufficient faith, zeal, innocence, obedience, and loyalty. Grant me the courage that I may be steadfast despite all of the pulls and promises of today. It is my tomorrow that I want to focus on. My hope in heaven.
One thought on “Hope in Heaven”
Thank you again, Patty! I know for me there were times when things have gotten so hard. And some of those times I can only say that my faith remained through the grace of God. As I read over this scripture I was focusing on all the words that describe what kept so many on the path to eternal life with Christ. Zeal, loyalty, faithful, innocence, courage, strong, hope, obedience. As much as I wish I could say I had all those, or most of those, or some of those, or even just a couple of those, sometimes only one. Obedience. This is the one that seemed to get me through. I sometimes behaved in ways because I only knew I was “supposed to”. I wasn’t always sure why or how or even because I was hopeful. I just did it because I was told to. And I thank God for that. So, when all you have is obedience, it’s just enough to get you through which then leads you to all that other good stuff! Zeal, courage, strength, hope – Eternal Life! when God says to pray – pray! When God says to praise Him – Sing! When God says to feed the poor – make a meal for a shelter. When God says to care for the sick – visit them. When God says to help the lonely – smile!
Dear Lord, I’m sorry for those times when I was weak, when I questioned my faith, when I was lazy, when I didn’t trust, when I was afraid, Thank you Lord for not letting go, for keeping a leash on me when I had no idea what I was doing! Please keep reminding me to be a Nike sneaker and to JUST DO IT!
Thank you for returning the zeal, loyalty, faith, innocence, courage, strength, hope and obedience you command of me so that I may be rewarded with eternal life with You!