How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
It seems as though people have always had “bucket lists.” In ancient times a man put together a list of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was like a travel guide for the wealthy, of things needed to be seen before they died. Things have not changed much. People still have their wish lists of the sites they hope to see before they are too old to enjoy them. Of all the beautiful things we could see I don’t imagine anything more amazing than seeing a person who has come to our rescue. Imagine being abandoned on a remote island and seeing a Helicopter, or being held captive by an assailant and seeing the prison doors burst open and police have come or being under siege by an enemy and the cavalry has appeared. Of all the beautiful sites their are to see none can compare to seeing the one who has come to set us free.
Isaiah speaks of the beauty of one who will go forth with the message of hope for a lost world. The person who will risk their own comfort in order to bring the message of salvation to others. Think back to the one who shared Christ with you. How thankful are you that they were willing to risk relationship to bring you the message of Christ. Paul spoke of being in debt to the whole world because of what Christ had done for him. He felt the only way to pay the debt was to tell everyone he could about the salvation that was found in Jesus.
I think it is time we saw ourselves as those who have been given the key to rescue men and women from captivity. We need to be willing to take risks and bring the message of Christ to others. Once a person receives Christ they will see the beauty in the message we declare.
“For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”
A few years ago, I was in Serbia speaking at a conference for some of the local churches. On the last day of our trip, we were invited by one of the pastors to visit a Gypsy village, where he had been ministering to the families for some time. Upon arriving, we broke up into groups, and began visiting some of the homes of the sick, and gathering with many of the children. After about an hour, a woman from a nearby town approached us. She stood out to us because she was wearing a beautiful purple dress with a purple overcoat. One of the other pastors approached her; she asked him who we were and what we were doing here. He responded that we were from America, and had come to Serbia to teach the Bible and share Christ. Her response was quite shocking. She said, “I meant what are you doing in the Gypsy’s village. No one cares about the Gypsies.” We were a little shocked by her statement, but began to share with her that Jesus loved all people, even those who were despised by the world. She made a decision to receive Christ that day because of His love for those whom no one else cared.
The world has always been filled with “Samaritans”. Even today, there is no shortage of people about whom no one seems to care. People, whose lifestyle has isolated them from society. It is important to keep in mind that Jesus was always drawn to those who the world rejected. Two thousand years later, and Jesus still “must go through Samaria.” He wants to use us, His church, to reach them with His love.
Keep your eyes open; there is a world out there in need of Christ. A world filled with neglected, even rejected people, who Jesus loves and died for.
“That we may buy the poor for silver, And the needy for a pair of sandals— Even sell the bad wheat?”
Because of sin, conditions in the nation of Israel had become so bad people were essentially, selling themselves to have their basic needs met. Men, women, and children were involved in deplorable acts for pennies. Amos figuratively describes a person who had sold themselves for a pair of shoes. I have often been struck by how little some people value themselves. Their self worth is so low, they will sell themselves to the first person who will give them the time of day. I think it might do us good to consider the value God places upon us.
You are not a byproduct of random chance that could be reproduced in a laboratory, with a few dollars worth of parts from the local hardware store. You are a highly valued work of the creative genius of God. In fact, you are the height of His creation, far above any thing else He made, for you were created in the very image of God. So important are you, that the Bible declares you were purchased by God. Peter explains, the purchase price was not perishable things like silver and gold, but you were bought with the life of the Son of God. God gave up what He could not replace to purchase you for Himself. You are not a sale item, to be given away at a bargain basement price, to the first person who will look your way. Don’t settle for ungodly relationships or get get involved in harmful practices, because you are simply worth way too much for that.
“The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him . . .”
Proverbs 31 is a section of Scripture most often taught at women’s conferences or retreats, because it goes to great length describing a virtuous woman. A more careful look will reveal this passage was actually instructions to the King, by his mother. It was her attempt to teach him how to find a godly wife. We find not only the characteristics that a virtuous woman ought to pursue, but also the traits a godly man should be looking for in a wife.
Each year a variety of media outlets declare their list of most attractive woman on the planet. In each case, it is the physical characteristics that are focused upon, without mention of true character. The king’s mother reminds him of the need to look beyond the surface, at true beauty.
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”
I have always been struck by the fact that, in her 70′s, Sarah was still considered beautiful by the king of Egypt. Thinking she was the sister of Abraham, he pursued a relationship with her. Years later, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter declares Sarah’s true beauty. He describes her as being chaste, gentle and one who feared the Lord (1Peter 3:1-6). While physical beauty is the first thing we notice in another, character and godliness are the traits that will last.
Men need to be careful not to be drawn to a women’s passing beauty, while ignoring true godliness. Women need to be careful not to rate their beauty above things that really matter in the kingdom of God. All the lighting, camera angles, and airbrushing cannot replace godliness or true virtue. Let’s not look at the latest fashion magazine as a mirror, but to the Word of God, so we become people who fear the Lord.