A Gruesome Invitation

“Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, shouting to the vultures flying high in the sky: “Come! Gather together for the great banquet God has prepared. Come and eat the flesh of kings, generals, and strong warriors; of horses and their riders; and of all humanity, both free and slave, small and great.”
Revelation‬ ‭19:17-18‬ ‭NLT

The scene before John in his vision paused. There was a stillness hanging in the air, with a growing sense of impending doom. The angel was clear to see, illuminated by the sun, and he was gathering the vultures. Carrion eaters, with the ability to spy out and find dead bodies of all types. Keen eyes that could spot a meal from miles away. But on the upcoming occasion, they wouldn’t have to seek out their next meal. It would be laid before them. Food beyond their highest expectations. But sadly, the flesh they would gorge on would be human. Before them would be many dead people.

We’re told in the vision that there would be royalty, senior members of the armies, the soldiers, and many more civilians caught up in the conflict, regardless of their status in life. The coming war was to be no respecter of persons. Presumably, all the combatants were unaware of their fate. They would be looking around and seeing their fellow soldiers. The leaders would be oozing with self-confidence, their battle plans in place. We’re invincible, would be the mood. Morale would be high. If only that angel would stop bothering us, would be the thought. It won’t be us lying dead on the battle field, they confidently declare. I wonder if any of them had any doubts creeping into their minds? But they would have dismissed them. After all, they think, we killed the Son of God before. We’ll do it again.

The arrogance of mankind can be breathtaking in its extremes. We see it from all parts of society. The business leader, claiming supremacy in the market place. The politicians boasting about their electoral successes. The general about his wartime exploits. But none stopping to think about what God said in Psalm 2. We read, “But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury. Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities— for his anger flares up in an instant.….” (Psalms‬ ‭2:4-5, 10-12‬)

As far as us pilgrims are concerned, we take comfort in what God said to his prophet in Isaiah 45:23, “I have sworn by my own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on my word: Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to me”. And in Philippians 2:9-11, “Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honour and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”. Not one of God’s enemies stopped to think that one day they would be lying prostrate before God, whether dead or alive, declaring the Lordship of Christ.

The day that Armageddon comes is still before us. We pilgrims may be caught up in it, but we hope we won’t. Back to what God promised in Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand”. We see the heart of Jesus in Luke 19:41-42, “But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes.”” It breaks God’s heart to finally declare His judgement over the sin and wickedness infecting Planet Earth. Especially as His only Son died for His creation.

Sombrely, we pilgrims once again bow before our God. With grateful and worshipping hearts. Declaring our love for the One who cares for us.

Dear Lord. Thank You for Your many promises of love and care, that we read in Your Word. In worship we hallow Your name today. Amen.

Sins Piled High

“Then I heard another voice calling from heaven, “Come away from her, my people. Do not take part in her sins, or you will be punished with her. For her sins are piled as high as heaven, and God remembers her evil deeds. Do to her as she has done to others. Double her penalty for all her evil deeds. She brewed a cup of terror for others, so brew twice as much for her.”
Revelation‬ ‭18:4-6‬ ‭NLT

In John’s vision, the frantic outpouring of plagues has been replaced by what is more like an overview. We’ve been through the trees, looking at the detail, but now we’re getting a drone shot, as it were, of the wood, providing a summary of the impact of what has happened. God’s people are warned to keep away from the world system. It is so corrupted by wickedness, that the sins are piled up to the point that they reach Heaven. This is a time of retribution for the disgraceful way God’s people have been treated, with the “voice calling from Heaven” proposing that the punishment should be double that committed by the world and its “evil deeds”

Should we pilgrims separate ourselves from the world system around us, as the voice from Heaven implied? Should we all join a monastery or convent? Swapping our everyday clothes for those worn by monks or nuns? Spending our lives without TV, cars, and shops, instead growing our own food and spending our spare time in prayer within the monastery grounds? Although there is some merit in such a life style, I don’t believe it is for everyone, by a huge margin. In His wonderful prayer in John 17, Jesus prayed, “I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do.” (John‬ ‭17:14-16‬). The Apostle James, Jesus’ half-brother, expressed very strongly the dichotomy between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world. He said, “You adulterers! Don’t you realise that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.” (James‬ ‭4:4).

But coming back to our verse today, where the voice from Heaven entreated God’s people not to get caught up in the world system and its sins. Jesus taught that there is a way to live in the world but not be a part of it. We can do so by putting our service to God at the highest priority. We extend God’s love and grace to the sinful world around us, sharing the Gospel through our acts of service, selflessly expending our lives and resources on those most in need. But in the process we make sure that we don’t become corrupted by those we serve. We must objectively discern where the dangers lie and keep well away.

Practically, we avoid anything that would corrupt our Godly way of life. So instead of walking through a red light district, we take the long way round. Instead of channel hopping the TV, we selectively choose the channels that will not offend. Instead of getting caught up in the office gossip we walk away. We stay away from all sorts of temptation. As someone once said, we cannot stop birds from flying over our heads, but we can stop them from nesting in our hair. We discern the dangers of temptation and act accordingly.

James didn’t imply that we should cut ourselves off from the world around us. He exhorted us not to become friends of the world, being sucked into the world systems and cultures, to the extent that we start to become absorbed into everything the world gets involved in, and particularly its sin. By taking a step back and discerning what the world systems are about, we will be able to keep ourselves in the sweet spot of a relationship with God.

The old Apostle John wrote in his first epistle, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” (1 John‬ ‭2:15-17‬). Wise words indeed.

As we are seeing in this chapter in Revelation, the world system will not end well. Let’s diligently ensure that we don’t go down with it.

Dear Father. Please help us to be strong, with a resolve to stand against all the temptations that come our way in the worldly system around us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Blast of Heat

“Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, causing it to scorch everyone with its fire. Everyone was burned by this blast of heat, and they cursed the name of God, who had control over all these plagues. They did not repent of their sins and turn to God and give him glory.”
Revelation‬ ‭16:8-9‬ ‭NLT

The fourth angel appears in John’s vision. And his bowl contains a substance that causes the sun to generate more heat than it would normally, with devastating consequences affecting the remaining  people present on Planet Earth. We occasionally experience solar flares from the sun, but this will be far greater. It will be as though someone has poured a flammable substance on a fire that is already burning, causing an immediate increase in flames and heat. Mankind experienced scorching and burning, and responded in an interesting way – “they cursed the name of God”. In the outpouring of this plague of burning, people acknowledge God as the initiator of all the plagues and suffering they were experiencing. And they cursed Him. But then the thought occurred to me this morning – people are very good at acknowledging and cursing God in today’s society as well. They blaspheme Him. Insurance companies refer to natural disasters as “Acts of God”. But a repentant response to a natural disaster is not the norm. A more usual response is anger and defiance, or just a plain lack of concern. And things haven’t changed in these times of John’s vision.

We have here an enigma. God’s judgements are being meted out on the world. People everywhere know God is the Initiator. And yet they fail to make the connection between God’s judgement for wickedness and sin, and their culpability. They fail to realise, or choose to ignore the fact, that if they repented, they would assure themselves a place in Heaven, secure in God’s presence.

Here in the UK, the purchase of cigarettes involves a cardboard container printed with images of what will happen to a smoker’s body, if they continue with their habit. Graphic pictures of dirty teeth and receding gums. Illustrations showing what a smoker’s lungs look like. Yet, such warnings seem to have little effect on most smokers, who continue to puff away. Is there a mindset here that is convinced that the events described by the pictures will not happen to them? Or is there a “can’t be bothered” attitude prevailing? Perhaps in these End Times, people know who God is, they know why the judgements are being dispensed, they know what they can do to assure their post-first death future, and yet they refuse, instead responding with anger and defiance. They prefer to live their lives of sin.

But before we pilgrims adopt the moral high ground, we should pause. Are we not just the same? Don’t we still behave in similar ways? Just one more glass won’t hurt. Nobody will know if I’m speeding. It won’t really matter if I visit that website. It’s called sin. Pure and simple. When we compromise our behaviour, there can then be a “slippery slope effect” where what we do and think starts off in small ways but then leads to stuff that’s way bigger. Before we get caught in this trap, we must soften our hearts and ask ourselves the time-honoured question – “What Would Jesus Do”? And fall to our knees once again, before our merciful and loving Heavenly Father.

Father God. We thank You for Your forgiveness and love. Such grace is freely available to those who turn to You. Amen.

The Incense Burner

“Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great amount of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people as an offering on the gold altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out. Then the angel filled the incense burner with fire from the altar and threw it down upon the earth; and thunder crashed, lightning flashed, and there was a terrible earthquake.”
Revelation‬ ‭8:3-5‬ ‭NLT

Something significant happened when the incense burner collided with Planet Earth. We are not told in John’s vision the extent of the devastation but the thunder, lightning and the earthquake would have been yet something else to be endured by the remaining inhabitants, those still alive on earth. But in what way was it significant?

To me, the symbolism was of the holiness of Heaven colliding with the sin and wickedness present on Earth. The incense burner held two things of significance, which were God’s incense, and the prayers of the saints. And they were poured out on the altar as an offering to God. But the angel then took fire from the altar and filled up the incense burner, before hurling it through the spiritual dimension of Heaven to the Earthly dimension below. Did those still alive on earth at that time see something hit their surroundings; perhaps they thought it was a meteorite or asteroid, as some might assume? Or was there just another apparently natural event that once again caused much devastation? Of course, we don’t know, but John’s vision was clear. The Bible does tell us that Heavenly events can have an earthly impact. For example, in Luke 10:18 Jesus said that He saw satan fall from Heaven like lightning.

Perhaps the fire confirmed what John the Baptist had prophetically said about Jesus some time before, which we read in Matthew 3:11, “I baptise with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Fire purifies. Fire cleanses. Perhaps on this occasion fire represents yet another judgement from God in response to the wickedness found on Earth. 

And the message was clear – sin can in no way prevail when it encounters holiness. An electrical storm of celestial proportions was followed by a “terrible earthquake“. Did the remaining inhabitants on earth rationalise the seemingly natural disaster to make it fit their entrenched belief system? Or did they at last realise that they were experiencing the consequences of their sins and wickedness? 

In these verses located between the judgements of the seven seals and the seven trumpets, we pause and consider how devastating sin really is and how it breaks God’s heart to see His creation behave in sinful and wicked ways.

Father God. On our knees before You today we confess our sins and pray for Your forgiveness. Your kindness, love and compassion knows no bounds. We are so grateful. Amen.

Telling Lies

“So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbours the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. ‭‭
Ephesians‬ ‭4:25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In this verse Paul highlights a seemingly-eternal human trait – the telling of lies. What’s the problem with lies, some might say. After all, telling the truth to someone can protect them from unnecessary worry or pain. Surely a “white lie” can be justified? Should I really tell a loved one the truth that they are suffering from an incurable condition? Wouldn’t a lie instead be the best way? Didn’t Paul really mean that we shouldn’t tell lies to excuse our bad behaviour or hurt someone? Difficult questions, but Paul writing through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, unequivocally stated that we must tell the truth. Lies must stop. Jesus warned us that lies originate with the devil, who He referred to as the father of lies. The words of Jesus were recorded in John 8:44 when addressing the people in the Temple, “For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies”. So perhaps Paul was pointing out the truth that lies are of the devil. The situation is simple – truth comes from God, lies come from the devil. 

So what does today’s pilgrim do about telling lies? Why do we tell lies in the first place? Some people seem to tell lies by default, to the extent that they seem unable to separate lies from truth. There is obviously an attraction to tell a lie if we can see it will get us off the hook for some misdemeanour. Or there might be an opportunity to gain a reward by lying. Some people will tell lies to make themselves look better than they really are, driven by some insecurity or other emotional problem. There are many reasons for why we feel the temptation to tell a lie. But in the end we have a choice. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want us to tell lies. He wants the truth.

There is a way to tell the truth in everything, because if there wasn’t God would have said so. We read earlier in this chapter in Ephesians, “Instead, we will speak the truth in love,….”. That’s the key – God’s love flowing through us will help us find the right words and deliver truths the right way. With God in our lives there is no reason to tell lies. 

Paul finally reminded his readers about unity in the body, the church. And that is one thing which hasn’t changed over the years. Lies and deception will undermine and destroy the love that binds together our churches in unity. Jesus felt so strongly about the importance of truth, that He prefixed many a parable or teaching by the words “I tell you the truth“. Or, in the old King James version, “Verily, verily, I say unto you“. In John 14:6, Jesus affirmed that in fact He was the Truth. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life…”. So telling the truth is rather important don’t we think? We plod on in our pilgrimage the Jesus way, the way of truth.

Worldliness

“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.”
‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:17-19‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

Strong words from Paul. He presented to his friends the inviolable requirement that they had to change the way they live. No more living in a worldly way. No more going with the flow. No more following the crowd. Obviously his friends in Ephesus were once steeped in worldliness and he points out that living in this way was futile. It would lead nowhere other than to death and destruction. Paul’s observations of living life the Gentile way involved having hard hearts, insensitivity, sensuality, impurity and greed. Strong words indeed. The problem the Gentiles had was that they didn’t know any better. They had no moral compass. They had no appreciation of sin and its consequences. If it felt right they did it, regardless of what might happen. 

Here we are in the 21st Century and Paul’s analysis seems just as relevant today as it was in his day. Nothing has changed. In fact things may even seem to have got worse. Human nature has not been changed by the intervening years, by the improvements in “civilisation”, by the embracing of technologies totally beyond the thinking of the Ephesian Christians. We look around us at the behaviour of worldly people – take just the war in Ukraine as an example of futile thinking, of greed, of hard hearts. Our depressing analysis of human nature today won’t change the reality of the sort of world in which we live. But as Christians we must double our efforts to show those around us that there is a better way. Jesus came to this world bringing His Kingdom, a counter-cultural new way of living. Living God’s way, not the way of human nature dominated by “futile thinking”. And so today we reach out to Jesus and pray. We pray for those around us. We pray for divine appointments. We share our message of hope with our families, our communities. And we pray for our governments, that God will penetrate the dark thinking, the sinful ways, showing them that there is a better way. God’s way.

Living In Sin

“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.”
Ephesians‬ ‭2:1-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Paul starts the second chapter of his Epistle, looking back at what his readers, entitled the Ephesian church, used to be like. He pointed out that they “used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil”. And he continued, pointing out the status and work of the devil and his demonic resources. He rounds up these three verses by exposing the fallen state of mankind, with no one escaping their lot in life, being “subject to God’s anger”. But how did it all come to this? As we know, it all started in a garden in an episode that must have broken God’s heart. When the devil exposed his strategy and through his temptation led the first couple into sin. And so the door opened, allowing sin to enter the world, infecting every human being who has ever lived. Everyone follows “the passionate desires and inclinations of [their] sinful nature”. Paul chose his words carefully, he didn’t use the excuse “the devil made me do it”, as some try to do.

It can be hard to get over to godless people the fact that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “But I’m a good person” is a response often heard. “I pay my taxes”, “I try to help others”, “I give money to charity”, and so on, are reasons for the “good person” response. But four words in the verses above expose the real issue – “refuse to obey God”. Sin is all about rebellion to God. Notice that living in sin is a choice and is not inevitable. We can choose to be obedient to God, a choice that starts at a place called Calvary.

We live in a world infected by a sin pandemic. As Paul said, the word “All” implies that everyone catches this disease, and it is inescapably fatal. No ICU or Nightingale hospital will save us from the consequences of our disease. And there is no vaccine other than that supplied by God through His grace.

In our earthly pilgrimage, we journey in an atmosphere of sin. Temptations often and unrelentingly crop up, trying to draw us away from the right paths into the mud and mire of all sorts of transgressions. But God is always there to help us. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, we read, “ The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” What a faithful, loving and gracious God we serve!

But we have a Heavenly Father who loves us too much to leave us at the end of verse 3 – there’s more to come in the next verses in Chapter 2.

Ferreting

“I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house, 
and liars will not stay in my presence. 
My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked 
and free the city of the Lord from their grip.
Psalms‬ ‭101:7-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Removing the wicked from amongst us is a wonderful idea. After all, we would all like to live in a Godly and sin-free environment. We would all like to eliminate anti-social behaviour in our communities. Or drugs, or drunkenness, or ….. But how do we do that? The statute book in our societies lists what we should and shouldn’t do. Misdemeanours are treated according to their severity, and some miscreants end up without their liberty. Police forces do their best to uphold the law of the land. But who are the wicked the Psalmist was writing about? If we read through this Psalm, we find words describing people, including “vile”, “vulgar”, “perverse”, “evil”, “slander”, “conceit”, “pride”, “deceivers”, “liars” and “wicked”. Hang on a minute, though, I can’t somehow see a policeman arresting someone with any of these qualities. They need to be translated into something tangible that the person can be arrested for. Some crime defined by our laws. But here’s the thing – only God can see the thoughts in a person’s mind and so only he knows how to “ferret out the wicked“. Only He has that right.

Jesus taught about wheat and weeds in a parable in which the farmer planted good seed but the enemy, the devil, came along and scattered weeds. When the wheat and weeds started growing, the farm workers suggested to the farmer that they go into the field and pull up the weeds, leaving the wheat. But the farmer stopped them, because of the potential for damaging the growing wheat. We then read in Matthew 13 that Jesus said, “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” In other words Jesus was saying that there will come a time of judgement one day and the qualities of the “wicked”, the “weeds” in the parable, will be exposed and consequently dealt with then. 

Back in Psalm 101, the Psalmist’s intentions of achieving purity among the inhabitants of God’s city was a noble one. One that at least superficially sounds like a good idea. But then the thought crosses our minds – do we suffer from any of the qualities of the wicked? Have we never had a proud thought? Have we never gossiped about a neighbour? Have we never …? And before we know it, the application of the Psalmist’s “daily task” would soon result in no-one left in God’s city. We wouldn’t be eligible for citizenship in God’s city either. 

But there’s a tremendous section of Scripture in Romans 3. We read, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. So there we have it. Although none of us can meet God’s standard of righteousness, we can nevertheless have the right to live in God’s presence, in His city, through the blood of Jesus. Through His grace and mercy. Too good to be true? Too good not to be true.

Light and Care

“Send me Your light and Your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You dwell. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise You with the lyre, O God, my God.” Psalms‬ ‭43:3-4‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

Have you ever been somewhere where there are no street lamps, even close by? No cities lighting the sky in the distance? Not a glimmer of light anywhere? With a clear sky overnight the visual presentation of celestial bodies is breathtaking – there are just so many of them. But if the stars are obscured by clouds it can be a scary place, because literally you cannot see your hand in front of your face. Spiritual darkness is a bit like that too. With a view of the spiritual Heavens, God is visible and tangible. Blessing us with His presence. Communicating Spirit to spirit. But when obscured by the clouds of our rebellion and sins, God isn’t visible to us anymore, and our prayers bounce off the cloud’s underbelly, falling back to our lips answered.

The Psalmist prayed that God would lead him through His light, dispensing His faithful care in the process, revealing through the spiritual gloom His presence and His home. The Psalmist knew that once there He would find joy, delight and a place of praise. It doesn’t get better than that!

Today, O Lord, I pray that through the light of Your Word, with a thankful heart because of Your faithful care, I would find You dwelling in my heart where I can praise and worship You. Amen.

The Great Assembly

I have not kept the good news of Your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about Your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of Your unfailing love and faithfulness.

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭40:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

David, the Psalmist behind Psalm 40, never hid his relationship with his loving Heavenly Father from the people around him. He always communicated things about God – His justice, faithfulness, saving power, unfailing love – to those around him in the “great assembly”, as we can see from this verse. These were things about God that he had experienced through a life spent close to God. That is not to say he was perfect and never sinned (Bathsheba?) or made mistakes but his heart was after God all his life. And so, David told people around him all the things he knew about God. He was a natural evangelist.

As a Christian I have a story to tell. Through the things God has done for me, my faith in Him has grown. I have experienced His grace and mercy, His love and kindness, His faithfulness even when I haven’t been faithful. He has put a hope for the future in my heart so real and pressing that it is bursting out to inform others.

But this “great assembly”. Is it the church we attend? It could be, but God’s heart is for the lost. Luke records this verse in his Gospel, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent” – Luke 15:7. C.S Lewis said, “The salvation of a single soul is more important than the production or preservation of all the epics and tragedies in the world“. So the “great assembly” consists of our friends, family, and community, not just the church we attend. We may not be Billy Grahams, speaking to thousands in one rally after another. But I am, as the quotation from J.T.Hiles says, “a beggar telling another beggar where to find bread“. 

So, like David, we must take every opportunity to tell others the “good news” about God. May we never be guilty of keeping it to ourselves.