Reading 1 - Job 29
"Job 29 is a significant [chapter], because it is here that Job makes his crucial error. In his desperation to prove that he is a righteous man, he neglects the role of God in his life -- he fails to acknowledge that it is God who has set him up as a pillar in his ecclesia. He resents the loss of his prosperity and reputation. He claims that God has brought him so low that he can do nothing more in his community. But this is untrue.
"He speaks of the time 'when the Almighty was with me', but his mistake is in assuming that God has ever left! He laments that men no longer respect him, but he forgets that in God's eyes, he has not changed! 'You are still the same person,' says God, 'And there is no reason why you cannot still lead a productive life.'
"This is the hardest step for Job to take --- to accept that God speaks the truth. And surely we know how he feels. Similar disappointments and trials have arisen in our own lives. We have lost things that we worked hard for; we have not received things that we needed; we have been misunderstood, misrepresented, humiliated. But we cannot afford to dwell on the past.
"For if our own expectations have gone unfulfilled; if we do not achieve some of the goals that we had hoped for, we must learn to let them go, instead of striving vainly for them as if they are ours by right.
"We proclaim the righteousness of God when we resign ourselves to our current circumstances and submit to the life that He has decided we must have. And if, at some stage, we find ourselves in a position of responsibility and authority, guiding the congregation and assisting our brethren and sisters, let us praise God for this privileged role. For if we do not, we will repeat the sin of Job and Moses, in claiming that it is by our own power that we have brought water from the rock" (David Burke).
Reading 2 - Zec 6:10,11
"Take silver and gold from the exiles... who have arrived from Babylon. Go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak" (Zec 6:10,11).
This silver and this gold were constituents of the crown which Zechariah placed upon Joshua. Joshua is a representative of Jesus Christ, and the events concerning him as recorded by Zechariah are prophetic of our Saviour. Joshua was a priest who succeeded in his work of leading the people of God in building God's temple. Therefore he received a crown -- but a crown reserved only to be worn by kings. We can see in this transaction a preview of the time when Jesus, our High Priest, will become King as well.
And at this time, we are assured, we shall have the opportunity to become "kings and priests" also (Rev 5:9). Our promotion to such an estate will be upon the principles which this silver and gold represent: the silver being the redemption which is in Christ Jesus by the mercy of God, and the gold the proving of our professed faith by our character and actions (1Pe 1:7).
In the New Testament, different crowns figure very prominently; but they are all in truth the same crown. In the consideration of these crowns we can see the hand of God working through His Son to help us in attaining to His Kingdom. The victory of Christ over sin has opened for us the way of life:
"Be though faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev 2:10).
"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him" (James 1:12).
In Jesus Christ we have an Advocate with the Father, a man who can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, and an intercessor through whom we may pray to our Father. It is because of this that we may be accounted righteous before God-
"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day. And not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (2Ti 4:8).
Thus, only through Christ can we attain to a glorious immortality:
"And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" (1Pe 5:4)
A crown of life, a crown of righteousness and a crown of glory -- here is the reward set before us: an immortal life based upon righteous principles, and the privilege of serving with Christ as kings and priests in the kingdom which he will establish upon the earth -- a Kingdom that will break in pieces and consume all the Babylons and Persias and Russias and Americas of this present time.
Reading 3 - Rev 4:8
"Day and night they never stop saying: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come' " (Rev 4:8).
"We never love God enough. That is what we must constantly work on. Pray and strive for a love for God of such drive and intensity that it will never rest until it has cleared from your life everything that is in the slightest way out of harmony with God -- negative and positive. That is, right down to every empty thought, every wasted moment of time. The Cherubim cease not day and night to worship and praise God in holiness. This doesn't mean they just stand still and sing. It means that every moment of their lives, every activity, every thought -- is intense with love and service to God. That is the ideal. We can, and must, get a lot closer to that ideal than most ever dreamed of. At least, we must recognize it, and how far we fall short of it, and never rest in our striving toward it" (GV Growcott).
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY: That is, "Most holy". The "Most Holy" typified the immortal state which Christ figuratively entered at his resurrection (Heb 10:19,20). It is the state of complete union with the Father (John 17: 21), which we can only attain unto when clothed upon with His nature (2Pe 1: 4; Rom 5:1,2). The four living creatures proclaim that they have attained unto that state.