Thursday, August 31, 2017

Exchanging Riches for Our Soul

22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. (Matthew 19:22)

Thoughts: Would that this man would have given up everything than his own soul.  Jesus once asked, "What would you give in exchange for your soul?"  Apparently this young man was willing to give his trinkets in exchange for his soul.  He may have had a lot of trinkets, maybe lots of houses and lands- but he was not willing to give them up. Would that he would have taken two or three steps and turned around and come back to Jesus.  Some make no time for Jesus- there time is for their work or for their play or for their stuff.  Some make no room for Him in their lives- kicking Him to the manger of their lives.  The Rich Young Ruler listened to Jesus a little bit, respected His advice, but would not act on the advice.  He believed the teaching of Jesus was true enough because the young man was sad.  But his sadness was more remorse and not repentance.  Our call is not just to learn Jesus' teaching, but to practice it. 

Prayer: Lord, help me to honor you above all riches and all things.  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Pursuit of Perfection

20“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:20-21)

Thoughts: The people who rationalize, "Jesus doesn't really want us to sell everything" have missed the point.  The point is, if your possessions possess you, get rid of them.  If alcohol possesses you- get rid of it.  If anything owns you besides God, stop it.
      But the point here was the Rich Young Ruler wanted to be perfect, but he didn't want to do everything it takes to be perfect.  Truth is, none of us is perfect.  All of us sin and fall short of the glory of God.
           Jesus was indeed elevating the need to give to the poor in order to have treasure in heaven.  He was also lifting up the idea that we are to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. But no one is perfect.  The pursuit of perfection is not the same as the pursuit of happiness or peace.
       These days people talk about the legalism of the right- and there is.  You can't be conservative enough for some.  But there is also the legalism of the left-- you can't be liberal enough.  The lines for being part of the club (on either side) are getting more and more extreme, and grace and mercy are hard to find.  The political correct speech and litmus tests are burdensome. 
    Jesus came to fight against the legalistic, false sense of good, and rigid layer on layer of qualifications for what is considered right.  The man wanted to be perfect, but couldn't get there on his own.  That would have been okay if he had asked Jesus for grace and mercy instead of just walking away sad.  

Prayer: Lord, you alone are perfect.  May your grace and mercy abide with me.  But also help me to be gracious and merciful to others.  

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Covetous Means Lacking

17“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18“Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “ ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19honor your father and mother,’c and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’d ”
20“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”  (Matthew 19:17-20)

Thoughts: The man knew something was missing.  Jesus knew it too.  Perhaps we think on the surface that we are decent people who don't steal, have affairs, lie continually, and we honor our parents and love our neighbors.  The man was discontent because of the one sin he continually committed- the sin of greed or covetousness.  In our culture we may feel that we are supposed to covet that neighbor's car, or house, or the fancy clothes or gourmet food.  Covetousness always leaves a hole in our heart indicating that we are lacking.  In fact the very definition of covetousness is we want something more and we are never satisfied.  In America the sense of entitlement has become an epidemic, and it is fueled by a lack of contentment and peace.  People who are envious or covetous have little peace but lots of unrest. We cannot find peace with God, neighbor or even ourselves when our hearts are full of covetousness.  Let us seek God's peace. 

Prayer: Lord, let me not lack your love or lack faith in you.  

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Commands Jesus Confirms

18“Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “ ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19honor your father and mother,’c and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’d ” (Matthew 19:18-19)

Thoughts: Which of the commandments are we to keep to gain eternal life?  These are all the commandments regarding love of neighbor, the second table of the Ten Commandments.  For those who say that Jesus came to abolish the Law, Jesus reaffirmed the Law here specifically.  Holiness still has a place in Jesus' thought and in heaven.  Heaven is a holy place where evil toward others is not allowed.  To get to heaven we need to repent of doing these things.  But in the end, it is not stopping such things or even repenting that saves us.  No one keeps these perfectly. The Rich Young Ruler says he has "kept these things" but he has still not truly kept them.  He has not given to the poor and has let greed control him.  He cannot give up his wealth and as such he has broken the commandment to love his neighbor as himself. But he also broke other commands.  Greed certainly steals from others, but it can be indirectly involved in the death of others.  Greed or covetousness (which was not mentioned with these but is implied in all of them) can also cause us to lie to keep what we have or even to withhold from parents in honor of ourselves. The problem is that we feel better about ourselves than we really are.  We can easily get smug, thinking we are better than we are.  The Rich Young Ruler was better than most.  He gave sincere effort to being good, but perfection- the one thing that we lack- is always missing without grace.  

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your commands that have eternal meaning . Help me to rely on your grace to follow them and to be forgiven when I have failed.  

Sunday, August 27, 2017

What Good Thing

16Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:16,17)

Thoughts: The question asked was a bit backwards.  The Rich Young Ruler was looking for a good thing to do.  Jesus said to enter into life he must keep the commandments.   The problem is that no on can keep the commandments- not even this very moral person.  There is only one good- and no one is perfect.
     Religion wants to do things  to earn their way to heaven.  But the way of Christ is the way of belief not works.  It is by grace that we are able to enter life.  

Prayer: Lord, let me rest on your goodness instead of my potential good acts.  

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Good Teacher

17“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. (Matthew 19:17)

Thoughts: Jesus was asking this rich young ruler basically- who makes the rules?  Who decides what is good?  One person can decide something good and another may disagree.  But God is the ultimate decider of what is right.  He has the right to make the rules and give directions- because good is defined by our Maker, and by one who can be consistent and healthy to the way things are made.  The Bible talks a good deal about God is faithfully good and we are not.  We all sin.  Every Bible character- every hero or heroine has flaws and makes mistakes.
    Jesus is basically saying, to be careful who you call "good."  But He was subtly claiming goodness and divinity.  Jesus is the good teacher who can tell us what is good and lead us into goodness.  

Prayer: Good teacher, Hep me to listen and follow your goodness. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

What Good Must I Do

Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" (Matthew 19:16)

Thoughts: Here was a young man and a religious ruler according to Luke.  He probably was a synagogue ruler or he could have been on the larger religious ruling body (the Great Council) of the Sanhedrin.  He comes respectfully- not trying to trap Jesus.  Mark says that he falls on his knees before Jesus and calls him teacher.
     It appears that he believed he was a good man and had deserved eternal life.  This is the problem with so many.  They think they have earned eternal life by teaching a Sunday School class, or coming to church.  They begin to think they are entitled to eternal life- but it is always a gift not a claim.  Doing good will never assure you of eternal life- for there is always one area (in this case love of riches) that kept the man unworthy.  None of us deserve heaven by our good.  We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. As one drop of poison can ruin a whole cup of water, so one sin can ruin an otherwise good life.  To ignore whatever sin keeps us away from God comes from our pride.  He was asking "what good" but believing he had already done the good.  The confidence we have for gaining eternal life is not in doing but in believing and the assurance of our hope by the Holy Spirit. 

Prayer: Lord, may I be assured by your hope of my eternal life. Give me grace to live with confidence and hope.  

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jesus Blesses

15When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. (Matthew 19:15)

Thoughts: Jesus broke the barrier of touch.  In the Old Testament Isaac touched Jacob when he blessed him (Genesis 27:21) and Jacob blessed his grandsons by placing his hands on their heads (48:13-14).  Most of the recorded instances of Jesus' healing involved his touch.  Thus the song, "He Touched Me and Made Me Whole."
     In our day a teacher rarely hugs or touches a student out of fear of such things being misinterpreted.  Anything good can be corrupted even blessing others.  But Jesus does not let fear of misinterpretation or even abuse of the good keep him from showing kindness and blessing to others.  There is something personal that happens even in a handshake or a pat on the back or a blessing on the head.  The "My space" idea is intersected out of kindness and blessing.  

Prayer: Lord, may your love touch me and bless me. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Let the Children Come to Jesus

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:14)

Thoughts: This is a general principle that Jesus is giving- it is not just a one time deal.  He gives a thought that goes beyond this situation- "the kingdom heaven belongs to such as these."  That is the humble, helpless, powerless, poor. Earthly kingdoms may belong to the rich, powerful, beautiful, and athletic.  But the heavenly kingdom is available to any who humble themselves before God.  You cannot be a part of the kingdom unless you humble yourself like a little child.
    The secondary principle is that we should do all we can to smooth the way for children to come to Jesus.  We should not hinder or try to stop them.  In fact, when children want to do anything but what is really important- like worship their Creator- we are called to remind them of who is important.  The disciples of Christ may not make things easy for children to come, but when they hinder them, they are not answering their call from Christ.  Children should really be a priority for the disciples of Christ.  This means that we should be willing to sacrifice our comfort for children to come to Jesus- the future of the faith and of these particular children.  

Prayer: Lord, help me to care for children more than I do.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Let the Children Come to Jesus

13Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. (Matthew 19:13) 

Thoughts: People brought their little children to Jesus because children were precious to them, and God's blessing is the best blessing they could get.  In our secular society, we forget that God is able to bless and help us.  We may think that education, or money, or power/politics are the only blessings.  We may value the kiss of a politician or a coach more than the blessing of God.  But these blessings mean little without real hope or meaning or purpose to live.  God brings us strength in the tough times.  He also came to give us the abundant life and joy- and most would like that for their children.  The people believed Jesus, who healed and helped many, could bless their kids.
     But the disciples rebuked the people.  Perhaps they thought Jesus was too important to mess with little children.  Perhaps because it was a burden on them.  Maybe it was an inconvenience for them to stop their work in order for Jesus to mess with children.  Children, after all, could not do anything FOR the cause. They didn't know how to do networking or give connections.  The children could not give for the disciples or Jesus to get food.  The children were helpless and were a burden, and it was inconvenient for Jesus to stop His busy schedule to meet with them.
     Of course, Jesus rebuked them.  Jesus values us even when we are not productive or working for Him.  He values a little child.  He also values the very old- even if all they can do is sit and pray- or even just sit.
     Parents need to really value making sure their children come to Jesus.  In a secular world this is de-valued.  Sometimes the disciples of Jesus still get in the way, but you should do all you can to value Jesus' blessing on your children.  The people didn't give up when the disciples said no.  They didn't complain or whine.  They just waited, and Jesus made a way.  If you want to bring your children to Jesus, He will make a way for you to do that.  

Prayer: Lord help me to value your blessing above all others- for yours is an eternal and mighty blessing.  

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Heavens are Telling the Glory of God

1The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4Yet their voiceb goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth. (Psalm 19:1-6)

Thoughts: The course and circuit of the sun was interrupted where I lived today with a total solar eclipse.  It lasted about three hours in partiality and two and a half minutes in totality.  But the heavens poured forth speech.  This is what they said, God is amazing.  He is creative yet purposeful.  He says the sun may be covered up for a time but darkness does not win.  All the expectations of normalcy in the day changed.  It grew dark at midday.  We could see Venus at 2:30 PM.  The animals calmed down or flew back to their nests to rest for the very short evening.  The crickets chirped at midday.  People stood agape or said "Wow" out loud at the diamond ring effect of the solar eclipse.  All the horizons turned orange.  No one needed a loud announcer to tell us that this is amazing, and that God is amazing.  We would do well to listen to the great God. 

Prayer: Lord, as you pour forth speech in creation, give me ears to hear.  

Shadow reflections of the eclipse through leaves on the sidewalk.  

Crowd gathered to worship and give thanks to God in the eclipse 8/21/17. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Biggest Eclipse- a Prediction From Jesus

DEVOTION 17- The Biggest Prediction of an Eclipse- from Jesus

For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.29“Immediately after the distress of those days “ ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.b 30“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earthc will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.d 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24:27, 29-31)

Thoughts: Jesus quotes from Isaiah 13's passage about an eclipse.  He speaks of the sun being darkened and the moon turning black- just like an eclipse.  Then He speaks of the sign of the Son of Man appearing in heaven.  The sign of the Son of Man is the cross.  It is a fairly common thing to see a cross right after the moon appears to move away from the sun.
      It is interesting that He mentions the ability of all peoples on earth being able to see Him at once. In the ancient world this would be impossible.  How could people in China see Jesus come back in Jerusalem?  In this same speech Jesus says, "Just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes into the west so will the coming of the Son of Man be" (Mt. 24:27).  The ability for every eye to see Christ has not always been available.  But thanks to cable TV and the internet and smartphones, every eye is able to see Him when He comes.
      It makes sense that if Jesus comes back in power and glory He would not come back in a corner.  Jesus may not come back in this eclipse.  But do not simply discount it either.  He can come back whenever He wishes.  Our task is to love Him with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.  If we do this, we will be ready to see Him.  As we spread that love to our neighbors it also enables us to be ready for Him.

Prayer: Come Lord Jesus.  Come as the moon comes, as the sun comes.  Come and bring refreshing coolness and hope.  

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Thoughts on the Eclipse- and trivia too

I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; (Revelation 6:12)

Thoughts: An total solar eclipse is a fairly rare occurrence, but it is always a call to wake up to God.  Below is some thoughts and trivia about the Great American eclipse as seen from Chapin, SC just north of Columbia- one of the places where the total eclipse lasts the longest on the east coast. 

1) Interesting things that happen during an eclipse:
    A. There is a sunset glow on every horizon.
    B. Look for the diamond ring glow right when the sun disappears or appears.
    C. Animals may go to sleep.  The rooster may crow when the sun comes back.
    D. It gets cooler- about 20 degrees cooler in some places (from day to night temperatures).
    E. You should be able to see stars and planets in midday.
    F. Right before a total eclipse you should be able to see shadow bands- snake like figures- especially
        on white concrete or sheets.
   G. Weird projections on the ground from leaves- the leaves serve as pin-hole projectors.
   H. Bailey’s beads- pearls of sunlight shining around edge of the moon’s mountains/valleys-reddish
   I. Corona rainbows- when it is really cloudy or when it has just rained- tiny rainbows on the corona.

   J. Our view from Chapin.  The partial eclipse should barely begin at 1:05 and should continue til 3:00
  K. The total eclipse in Chapin begins about 2:39 and lasts 2 minutes 39 seconds in an area 71 miles.
  L.  This may be the most viewed event ever, and the most viewed eclipse ever thanks to the population   
       and the amount of cameras, social media, internet and TV access.  2 billion+ may watch live.
  M. It is estimated that between 547,000 and 2.1 million will come to SC to see this.  SC is the closest
       state to view the totality for 90 million people on the east coast.
  N.  The shadow of the moon (umbra) that makes the eclipse will be travelling about 1467 mph.

O. Do not look at the partial eclipse with your naked eye.  The church glasses are NASA approved.
P. You may only look at the eclipse without glasses when it is total (2:40- 2:43).
Q. There are pinhole projectors you can make and look at the projection of the eclipse.
R. While we may not have enough glasses for everyone-remember you can share! 
S.  Apple says you will not damage your phone lenses without a filter.  But it may not show up well.
T. If you are too busy taking pictures you may miss the 360 degree sunset or shadow bands. 

8/20- The Death of Jesus in an Eclipse

33At noon, 34And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). (Mark 15:33)

45From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land46About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,c lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)
51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection ande went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:45, 51-54)

44It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon,45for the sun eclipsed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”e When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:44-45)

Thoughts: Some say that the darkness at the crucifixion could not be a solar eclipse because total eclipses only last about seven minutes.  But a partial eclipse can easily last three hours. NASA says that there were eight total solar eclipses between 26 and 36 AD.
     However, Jesus died at Passover which requires a full moon, while  solar eclipse requires a new moon.  However, there could be two causes of the darkness- dark clouds combined with a lunar eclipse.  Astronomers say that there was a lunar eclipse in Jerusalem April 3, 33 AD.  There also was a large earthquake that day.  The ancients not only followed signs in the stars when a special person was born (like the star of Bethlehem and the wise men), but also darkness was seen as a sign that a great person has died.
        The darkness at the crucifixion should not be seen as just an astronomical phenomenon that just happened at the crucifixion.  It was God trying to speak to us and wake us up.

Prayer; Lord, let me listen in the darkness and light to you.  

Earthquakes and Eclipses

 4On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 5You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquakea in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.
6On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. 7It will be a unique day—a day known only to the Lord—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.
8On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter.
9The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name. (Zechariah 14:4-9)

Thoughts: The United States Geological Society (USGS) has indicated that eclipses cause very high tides because of the alignment of earth, moon, and sun.  This also affects tectonic plates and can trigger earthquakes.  USGS suggests that during an eclipse an earthquake is 3x more likely to happen.
     Zechariah, Micah, Isaiah Amos, and Jesus (Mt 24) all combine earthquakes and the darkening of the sun.  The Mount of Olives is in the middle of an earthquake fault.  Tradition says that the Messiah will come back and split the Mt. of Olives in two.  Jesus left from the Mt. of Olives (Acts 1:9-12) and says he will come back in the same way- with angels, glory and power.  Perhaps Jesus refers to Zechariah.
        When God comes things are shaken up and are not normal.  So when things aren't normal- as in an earthquake- they remind us to look to God.

Prayer: Help me to lift up my head to yur glory.

(Kobe Japan post earthquake)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Prophets in Darkness

“As for the prophets
who lead my people astray,
they proclaim ‘peace’
if they have something to eat,
but prepare to wage war against anyone
who refuses to feed them.
6Therefore night will come over you, without visions,
and darkness, without divination.
The sun will set for the prophets,
and the day will go dark for them.
7The seers will be ashamed
and the diviners disgraced.
They will all cover their faces
because there is no answer from God.”
8But as for me, I am filled with power,
with the Spirit of the Lord,
and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression,
to Israel his sin.  (Micah 3:5-8- especially 6)

Thoughts: Micah's eclipse occurred on June 5, 716.  Micah calls for people to see God's power in the eclipse as a reminder that He is still around.  We may think God disappears  (as the sun disappears behind the moon).  The darkness at day is a symbol that their prophets are blind and in darkness.  God has stopped answering their prayers because they have turned away from God.  There are always people who will always say "It's okay" no matter what.  They proclaimed peace when the invaders were at the door.  The real prophets, like Micah and Isaiah, are willing to tell the people that they are  wrong when the people do not want to hear it.  The people want to hear it will all be okay.
    An eclipse is a reminder that life changes, and we continue to have the need to wake up to God.

Prayer: Lord, help me to listen to you and turn to you.  Hear my prayer.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Joel's Eclipse Calls Us to Turn from Darkness to Light

1Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy hill.
Let all who live in the land tremble,
for the day of the Lord is coming.
It is close at hand—
2a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and blackness.
Like dawn spreading across the mountains
a large and mighty army comes,
such as never was in ancient times
nor ever will be in ages to come.
10Before them the earth shakes,
the heavens tremble,
the sun and moon are darkened,
and the stars no longer shine.
12“Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning."13Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love,
30I will show wonders in the heavens
and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
32And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved; (Joel 2)

Thoughts: Joel is not dated, but this eclipse referred to in Joel 2 could have been the great eclipse predicted by Thales 5/28/785.  This eclipse actually stopped a huge battle between the Lydians and Medians.  When they saw the darkness they stopped fighting.
      Joel was talking about locusts coming on the land, along with darkness and earthquakes.  It could be that the locusts were so many that they blocked out the sun, but it seems to be referring to an eclipse because the moon seems to turn to blood.  The blood red appearance of the moon or sun are often associated with eclipses.
The day of the Lord is the day God comes.  For those who refuse God and run away from His will, it is good to run away from Him.  For those who long to hear and see Him the presence of God is a wonderful thing. What Joel asks us to do is to return to Him- not on the surface, but in our hearts.  The signs, plagues and even miracles of the Bible were all meant to turn people back to God.  All who call on God will be saved.  The eclipse goes from darkness to light, and God calls us to leave darkness and go into the light of God's hope.

Prayer: Lord, help me to see you at work in the world.  Let me turn to you with all my heart.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

An Eclipse as a Symbol of Displeasure

6You have rejected me,” declares the Lord.
“You keep on backsliding.
So I will reach out and destroy you;
I am tired of holding back.
7I will winnow them with a winnowing fork
at the city gates of the land.
I will bring bereavement and destruction on my people,
for they have not changed their ways.
8I will make their widows more numerous
than the sand of the sea.
At midday I will bring a destroyer
against the mothers of their young men;
suddenly I will bring down on them
anguish and terror.
9The mother of seven will grow faint
and breathe her last.
Her sun will set while it is still day;
she will be disgraced and humiliated.
I will put the survivors to the sword
before their enemies,” (Jeremiah 15:6-9)

Thoughts:  There was an eclipse in Jeremiah's day- September 30, 610 BC.  After this very visible sign disaster after disaster came on the land and people.
The next year (609), the good King Josiah died when he fought against the Egyptians as they went out to fight Babylon.  In 605 Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem for not paying him tribute.  It was then that Daniel and many of the leaders were deported to Babylon.  3/16/597 Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and a second deportation took place . Then in July/August 586 Jerusalem was again conquered and the first Temple destroyed in utter fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophecy.
     There is typical Jeremian poetry here.  Once Jeremiah put a yoke on his shoulders to indicate the servitude of the people to Babylon.  Here he speaks of the destroyer coming at midday (vs. 8) as the moon covered the sun at midday.  He used a visible physical symbol (an eclipse) to indicate something more.  The mother's sun will set at midday- indicating that her energy and time will fade when her children are killed.  Though Jeremiah gave foreboding prophecy, no one listened.  They rejected God, gave into immorality, completely forgot the Sabbath, went after other gods and backslid away from God (vss. 6 &7).  They believed nothing bad would happen to them for they had the Temple there..  There are things God puts in our lives to remind us that we need Him and we should come back to Him with our whole hearts.  The beauty and awe of an eclipse should cause us to pause.  James Fennimore Cooper said, "Never have I beheld such a spectacle which so plainly manifested the majesty of the Creator, or so forcibly taught the lesson of humility to men."*

Prayer: Lord, help me to be able to enjoy your majesty when I see the eclipse and appreciate my need for humility before you.  Give me eyes to see. 

*Thanks to The State Newspaper via Gaie McLeod for this quote on the eclipse.