Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Man Of Sorrows Wondrous Name"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 16:3 – And in the morning, "It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening." You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. (ESV)
Recently, we had a high-pressure weather system over the United Kingdom. It is a good time to set our barometers when there is a reliable, consistent pressure over the mainland.
I understand that mercury barometers are highly collectable. I can remember the old mercury one with a tiny scale that we had at school in the 1960s. These days, ordinary folk have neither the time, money, nor the space for an expensive antique barometer. So, I find out the upcoming weather and sometimes the air pressure from a forecast map for the day from my computer or mobile phone.
If the air pressure is 1050 millibars, then we are in for a serious heat wave. If it is 950 millibars, we are in for stormy weather. Usually, 970 millibars will bring winds and rain, and hot, sunny weather arrives with anything more than 1020 millibars.
Jesus used the illustration of the signs of the sky as a measure of what was happening with the weather — an everyday experience in a rural setting. He used this image to highlight and contrast the unwillingness of the contemporary religious cliques — Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees — to recognize the signs of the kingdom of God that were displayed and self-evident in His ministry.
Recently, I found myself too tired to care about anything but rest. The mess that I had just let go of was beyond my capacity to engage with because it was a step too far. The next day, when I was rested and physically restored, I cleared it all up.
However, this episode of extreme tiredness made me think about my dialogue with God. If I am too tired to talk with God, maybe I need to sleep — and I believe that that is fine with God! However, when not exhausted, if I have not bothered to talk with God, and I rush off into the day, am I not unlike those leaders: ignoring the signs?
When through His grace, I remember to look to Jesus, God quietens and restores my soul and prods me to see the signs of the kingdom, as I am prepared to give Jesus the time and lordship over me.
If there is no space for dialogue with God in the day and the lack does not prompt a longing in our hearts and souls, what does that say about our relationship with Jesus?
We all need to identify the signs in our own lives. Are we only slightly bothered or "souled out" to allow Jesus' kingdom to reign in us? If so, it's time to make space for dialogue with God.
Prayer: Lord, we are truly sorry for not bending the knee to see the signs. You watch over us, waiting for us to identify the signs of Your lack in us. We rejoice in Your love, mercy, and grace, in and through the love of Jesus. Amen.