Week 37 Day 1
Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
2 Thess. 1:8-9 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.
The context for this verse was a suffering and persecuted church. Those who opposed the gospel were brutally attacking the church. This reminder that God is the final judge was not intended to be a celebration of the destruction of non-believers, but rather an encouragement to not become embittered and to leave justice in the hands of God. This does not reverse the Lord’s commands to love those who persecute you. They were not to delight in final destruction or to harbor anger and rage at those who opposed them. Instead, they were to pray for them to turn to Christ and to love them as they had opportunity to do so in practical ways. Yet, in the face of their terrible suffering and the severe injustice they experienced, they were to keep the end in view. God is just. Injustice will not finally win the day. If the unjust do not turn to Christ, they will finally and fully experience the fruits of their choices. Even though they may control the legal system or live in a privileged state in the present, no one escapes justice in the end. Either they obey the gospel and Christ takes the weight of their sin on himself, thus satisfying God’s justice, or they refuse to obey the gospel and they take the weight of their sins on themselves. This is a comforting truth. This is a terrifying truth. It is comforting as you look around at the vast amount of injustice that is seemingly going unpunished in the world. When the powerful prey on the weak and the wicked destroy the lives of the righteous, it can cause one to question the justice of God. But we can be comforted by the fact that justice will finally win the day. Not comforted in the destruction of the unjust, but comforted in the victory of the just God. There are few things that cause more anger and anxiety than to see and experience injustice. The sense of helplessness and hopelessness can be profound. But God is our help and our hope and he will bring justice. He intends for us to work for and pray for justice now, but we do not have to become hopeless when, in spite of our efforts, injustice seems to prevail. This comforting truth is also a terrifying truth. Christ our Savior will return as the judge of all the earth. Those who do not obey the gospel will experience his justice personally. It is easy to think about the legendary “unjust” getting their due, such as the Hitlers of history. But it is more difficult to imagine the more “normal” people around us who reject the gospel experiencing the justice of God in their lives. But if we are to take the Scriptures and the Gospel seriously, we must imagine just that.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.