Lessons for the wise

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever (Daniel 12:2-3Open Link in New Window).

Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand (Daniel 12:10Open Link in New Window).

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:35-36Open Link in New Window).

All of these passages refer to eternity. The wise will be purified and awake to eternal life. The wicked will awake to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel talks about how the wicked will not understand. Certainly Jesus’ teaching is hard to understand. He tells us to love our enemies. This is not an easy pill to swallow. When I think of people who have really hurt me or offended me, I want nothing to do with them. I’d rather avoid them, much less do good to them. Yet the wise will understand the purification process. They see that the heavenly Father is generous to the ungrateful and merciful to the wicked. And that we, too, who have received mercy, must also show mercy. That’s wisdom.

Of course God knows that He is asking a hard thing of us. But he makes no apologies for doing so. Instead He gave us an example of doing it Himself, through His Son Jesus on the cross. Forgiveness and mercy … sometimes it’s so hard! They require humility and trust. It takes humility to submit to God’s ways. It also takes trusting God as our deliverer and provider and defender and avenger. Both are required to obey Him to love our enemies. God alone can give us that love in our hearts.

When the Son of Man returns in all His splendor, will He find faith on earth? Will He find people who walk by faith and are merciful as their Father is merciful?

God, would You increase the love in my heart? Help me to be humble before You and to trust in You. I want to love my enemies by obeying You in faith. God, I want to be wise. Lord, I surrender. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. I bow down before You, Lord. I submit to Your ways and Your commands. Help me to love my enemies and those who hurt me. Thank You, Lord Jesus. I trust in You.

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