I am using One Year Bible Online for my daily Bible study. For today, One Year Bible Online links here. I have found that by writing this daily blog of what I see when I read these scriptures, I get more out of them. I hope that by posting these ruminations others may get some benefit as well. In order to make that possible I read the passages and write my thoughts a day in advance. If you have any thoughts or comments regarding these verses or what I have written about them, please post them.
Today’s passage clearly applies to the rise of Alexander the Great and the division of his empire into four kingdoms. It tells of the rise of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his fall. He gave himself the name Epiphanes, which means “God manifest”. Despite his successes in battle, he died of disease and with his death the Seleucid Empire entered into decline. This passage reminds us that no matter how powerful a human ruler may appear, God is in control of history and has determined the time of their power, from beginning to end.
John wrote in order that we might not sin, but he told us that if we do sin, we have one who will intercede on our behalf with God. Those who truly know God will obey His commandments. We can show our love for God by obeying His word and living as Jesus did. The message of Christ is not exactly a new one, yet it is new. We cannot live in the light (see yesterday’s blog for the importance of living in the light) if we hate any of our fellow believers. If we are truly living in the light we will love all of our fellow believers and not do anything that will cause them to stumble.
Just as important as loving our fellow believers is having God’s love within us. We cannot love this world and have God’s love within us. This world offers only physical pleasure and pride in our accomplishments. The things of this world will fade away and are fading away. Instead of loving this world let us love God and do what is pleasing to Him.
I will take my troubles to the Lord. He alone will answer my prayers. I will not rely on liars and deceitful people in order to find peace. I know that only God can be trusted, only those who rely fully on God truly desire peace. I will spend my time with those who love God because that is the path to knowing and following His will for me.
Ultimately the cause of all fighting is greed (James made the same point in his letter as well). The only path to true prosperity (which may have nothing to do with material wealth) is trusting in God. If we trust God and follow His will we will have riches beyond measure (most of which money cannot buy). It is foolish to trust solely our own understanding of a situation. If we wish to find the wise path, we will seek counsel from others.