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Today's thought

“Foreboding of what is coming on the world”

(March 29)

Foreboding is not a word we use much these days, the dictionary says it means – ‘have a premonition of something evil or harmful’. Jesus used it (as translated by the ESV) in our reading today (Luke 21:26) in forecasting, just before he returned, “distress of nations in perplexity … people fainting with fear and foreboding of what is coming on the world”.

In my younger days there was always a good degree of optimism of even better times that lay ahead because of the new inventions in many areas. This was not just in the things we buy for our homes, but the better fertilisers and great productivity in many areas. Clever scientists and inventers were making life better and better – and when Communism collapsed as the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 it seemed the world was entering a new golden era of peace and prosperity. How dramatically the scene has changed! There is an increasingly uncertain sound about the future; a multitude of voices ‘twitter’ their concerns and lack of solutions. We saw some comparison in this as we read Numbers 11 today.

The Israelites had had a wonderful and miraculous deliverance from captivity in Egypt. There was a “honeymoon” period at Mount Sinai and a special tabernacle was built using the gold they had taken from the Egyptians. Then “manna”, the bread from heaven, was provided as their staple food.

But today’s chapter starts, “And the people complained about their misfortunes … oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions …” (verses 1,4,5). Compare that to today! Few have anything to genuinely complain about! Yet are they really happy and content?

Two hundred years ago nearly everyone believed in a Creator as the source of all blessings, 100 years ago, the majority of people still believed but today the big majority have turned their backs on the God of the Bible, man is now his own ‘god’. Soon we will read what happened to the faithless Israelites in the wilderness and we are starting to see a parallel to this in our days – with its sense of “foreboding of what is coming on the world”.

Finally in today’s chapter in Proverbs there is valuable advice, “Keep my commandments and live … call insight your intimate friend” (verses 1,4). Let us have increasing “insight” into the ways and purpose of God and “ponder the path of our feet” each day. May we walk “the path of the righteous” and then we will not be full of “foreboding of what is coming on the world”?

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