Scripture Focus: 2 Chronicles 19.4-7
4 Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and turned them back to the LORD, the God of their ancestors. 5 He appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. 6 He told them, “Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for mere mortals but for the LORD, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. 7 Now let the fear of the LORD be on you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.”
The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Reflection: Justice Brings Joy — Joy of Advent
By John Tillman
Part of the joy of Christ’s first Advent was the promise of justice and judgment on evil. (Luke 1.46-55) Christ’s second Advent holds the final fulfillment of this promise. Just a portion of Christ’s coming judgment is depicted by John as a censer full of burning coals from Heaven’s altar being hurled to the earth.
The anticipatory joy of Advent was always intended by the ancient church to remember the arrival of Jesus, the baby in the manger, and rehearse the arrival of Jesus, the conquering King of the Universe.
Eschatology is the “theology of last things” and deals with questions of final judgment of the earth and the final destiny of humanity. A Christian eschatology should be filled with hope and joy. However, it’s possible for eschatology to put so much hope in the future day of the Lord that it has no hope left for today. It is possible for eschatology to be joyless in the present because the only joy it acknowledges is the joy of the finally fulfilled future.
In 2019 we wrote this about Eschatology and Justice:
Some eschatology…forsakes our responsibility to work and be concerned for the Earth of today. This line of thought claims that there is no need to uphold environmental concerns and care for the Earth, for God will make a new one, and there is no need to work for justice on the Earth, for final justice at the end of time is all that matters and is up to God….
Such hopeless hope and joyless joy! We should not neglect wiping away the tears of our neighbors by quoting a scripture that God will wipe away tears in the future.
Would we leave a mess for our master to clean up on his return? Would we expect an earthly parent to be pleased with this kind of neglect? Would we bury the tasks of righteousness and justice in the ground and dig them up, undeveloped and unimproved, to hand back to Christ when he comes? (Matthew 25.14-30) Would we expect his approval if we did so?
Justice brings joy. There is joy to be found today in being God-empowered agents of his kingdom coming on the earth. (John 3.25-30) May we greet his coming joyfully as faithful forerunners who have prepared the way for him. Let him find us faithfully at work sowing the gospel, establishing righteousness, and distributing a harvest of justice.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
I will call upon God, and the Lord will deliver me.
In the evening, in the morning, and at noonday, I will complain and lament, and he will hear my voice.
He will bring me safely back… God, who is enthroned of old, will hear me. — Psalm 55.17
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.
2 Chronicles 19-20 (Listen – 8:09)
Revelation 8 (Listen – 2:15)
This Weekend’s Readings
2 Chronicles 21 (Listen – 3:25), Revelation 9 (Listen – 3:30)
2 Chronicles 22-23 (Listen – 6:51), Revelation 10 (Listen – 1:59)
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We are not being unfaithful to the gospel when we work for justice. We are embodying the gospel…