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WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 02, 2020

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz.  Today’s verses are Revelation 7:9-10 where the Apostle John tells us,

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”


THE REAL PICTURE…GET THE PICTURE?

Can you picture who is going to win the election this year? There is a lot at stake. We’ve been talking about it for the last three to four months, trying to prepare God’s people for the results no matter who wins. And that’s the devotional point to be made today. Everyone is trying to envision what things will look like on November 4th.  What if “our person” wins? What if he or she loses? I imagine that one will not be rosier than reality, and the other might not be as bleak as projected. On the other hand, maybe things will in fact be greater than one could imagine, or more dire than predicted. We’ll see.

The problem with our prognostications is that they often forget that God has already painted a picture that envisions a future beyond our expectations and imaginations. It’s greater than the best “e pluribus unum” that any nation could devise. In fact, it unifies people of all nations, ethnicities, and languages in a way no law or policy ever could. You see, what God wants you to envision is your future with Him by faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ on your behalf.

In the Bible there are two major events that depict the unity of humanity. One is the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. The people of that time were unifying around a compelling idea. They were a people of one language with one project and one purpose, ultimately seeking to do something magnificent, but their way with sinful pride. They even dedicated their work to making a name for themselves (Genesis 11:4). They sought to live life on their terms rather than to worship the Lord who gave them life, to live their lives to glorify Him, and to serve others in His Name. Their rebellion was unifying, but it was a toxic togetherness. The text says that God himself smashed their unity for their own good (Genesis 11:7-8). Wow! We need to understand that sinful human beings can unify around the wrong things. And that unity can drive us away from God. Yes, it can drive us to momentary human heights, but they will eventually come crashing down under the weight of our sin and God’s judgment. That is a chaotic and catastrophic picture.

Then there’s another picture painted for us in Acts 2. It’s a unity that holds. It’s a unity enjoyed partially now, but it will come to fruition in the picture of our text from Revelation 7. In Acts 2:5-11, Peter speaks about the “mighty works of God” and people from nations around the world hear these words in their own language. Unlike the Tower of Babel, God creates a unifying message centered in His gracious work for all people in the person of Jesus. Christ’s cross and resurrection are the center of a diversity that holds. God’s work through the Good News of His Gospel received through His gifts of the Word and Sacraments binds us first to Him by grace through faith, and then it also holds us together with the bonds of His love to us and through us to one another. What a wonderful picture!

So, that’s the point today. Even if all the “right” people win tomorrow, there’s no human policy or provision in this world that can ultimately hold us together. Give thanks, then, if this election simply maintains our earthly freedoms and returns our culture to civility. But never think that our earthly elections can do what only the love of God in Jesus Christ can do. When all is said and done, Revelation 7 is the real picture that holds us together. Acts 2 explains the means to that glorious end as it calls us to repent of our sin and put our faith in Jesus alone (see Acts 2:38-39). So even if the whole world were to unite around a common human goal or purpose, it wouldn’t ultimately  matter. And it wouldn’t last if it failed to see Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  Whatever happens this election, don’t forget the big picture of Revelation 7 for that’s the real and enduring future for those in Christ. Get the picture?

PRAYER – Dear Lord Jesus, we pray for wisdom this election. We pray that through all of the political blather, we would have the wisdom to protect the free proclamation of the truths of the Bible for life and salvation for all. No matter what happens, may we be faithful to Your calling and eager to be gathered around Your throne when that time comes. AMEN.

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