Every significant event in history has been according to the “will of the LORD” bringing about things that are “good” or things that are “bad”. This is sometimes the case with seemingly insignificant events. In 1 Samuel 9, donkeys belonging to a Benjamite become lost and the owner’s son, Saul, is sent to look for them. In the end he ‘chances’ to meet Samuel. “Before Saul came, the LORD had revealed to Samuel” (verse 15) that Saul would come “and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people, Israel” (verse 16).

Despite God’s displeasure with Israel they never ceased to be His people. And so it has been throughout history. The chapter ends with Samuel taking Saul aside saying, “stop here yourself for awhile, that I may make known to you the word of God”.

Today we have the written word of God – how often do we prayerfully turn aside to absorb its message as a “lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns …” (1 Peter 1:19).

How remarkable is Isaiah 53. It is so clearly a forecast of the life and death of the Lord Jesus that some think it must have been added after the time of Christ! But when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered they were silenced. The chapter starts, “Who has believed what they heard …?” And that is still the question! Who believes what was written and has been preserved till today?

Our last reading today in Revelation is about “seven plagues … the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished” (15:1). An angel is heard to say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgements … It is what they deserve” (16:5,6). We read of “demonic spirits … who go abroad to the kings (leaders) of the whole world to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty” (verse 14). “And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon” (verse 16). Christ is returning without warning, “like a thief” (verse 15). The word ‘Armageddon’ has fascinated people, especially moviemakers, with the sense that disaster is looming.

As in the days of Samuel, God arranged for the people to have what they wanted and deserved, so our world will get what it deserves, “… and the cities of the nations fell … to make (them) drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath” (verse 19). Frightening! Look back on our recent thoughts – remember to whom it was said – “I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world”.