"Prepare to meet thy God" (Amos 4:12).
You may have seen the road signs of old that bore the words of the prophet to Israel. Not as many of them seem to line the highways these days, but a rusted, leaning version still occasionally beckons to travelers with the suggestion/warning that we ready ourselves for encounter with our Maker.
I've thought a lot about preparation in the last few days as much of our nation experienced extremes of weather. Particularly, I've wondered about generations of old that did not possess the advantage of meteorology. For most of human history, people did not know what was coming in terms of weather, at least to the degree of awareness we now enjoy. Thus, an exceptionally bitter cold front could descend unawares, wreaking havoc on the unprepared. In our area, hurricanes might arrive in the dead of night (they always seem to strike most severely in the darkness), with no announcement or warning. One can only imagine the fearfulness of such an experience, along with the shell shock of a violent and unexpected storm's aftermath.
Thankfully, we will not meet God without announcement or warning. Creation bears witness to the truth, as does the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the church of God. Moreover, our Lord works in the hearts of all to bear witness to His existence and to our accountability. We must therefore prepare. We must be ready. For the unbeliever, this involves being enrobed in the righteousness of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. For the believer, this involves the recognition of having been enrobed, and and the ongoing determination to "look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). Christ ever and always comprises the primary component of preparation. We come unto God by Him, and we continue in God by Him. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (Colossians 2:6).
We must encourage the unbeliever to make ready for encounter with God through the only hope of deliverance "from the wrath to come" - "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (I Thessalonians 1:10; Acts 16:31). We must encourage each other to a Christ-focused and saturated life of devotion to God in order that we might "not be ashamed before Him at His coming"' (I John 2:28). Indeed, one can only imagine the sorrow we would know upon first glance at nail-pierced Hands and Feet if we have failed to consistently seek His glory, will, and purposes during our earthly lifetime. We must be ready, whether in initial flight into the Savior's safe haven, or by abiding therein through a life that seeks the honor of Christ through the presence and power of Christ. Our Lord announces, promises, and warns that we will "meet thy God." He also provides our preparation and readiness. Thus do we look unto the Author and Finisher in the hope of faith and faithfulness...
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing."
(II Timothy 4:7-8).
Weekly Memory Verse
Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.