I was never a Boy Scout. My older brother was. I always thought the uniform and the mess kit and the other stuff was really cool. Not being much of a “belonger” myself, I nevertheless saw the attraction of a group taking on a certain identity and being bound by common bonds. And they had that really cool motto: “Be Prepared.”
In the 1908 “Scouting for Boys” handbook, Lieutenant General Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement expounded that motto by saying it meant in full: “Be Prepared in Mind by having disciplined yourself to be obedient to every order, and also by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.”
I have no idea if Baden-Powell consciously took his ideas from Biblical principles. But all 4 of our passages for today – Isaiah 66–Jeremiah 1; Psalm 121; James 5:1–6 and Luke 22:3–13 share something of the preparedness theme.
We’ll talk about that today on Through the Word in 2020. I’m Reid Ferguson.
When God called Jeremiah to be a prophet, He prepared him for the fact that he would face plenty of opposition. He’d be warning God’s people of impending judgment in the face of the amazing revival they were in the midst of. Psalm 121 is one of 15 Psalms carrying the title “A Song of Ascents.” These were Psalms recited especially in preparing the hearts of the worshiper in going up to the Temple at Feast times. James 5 is crafted to prepare the Christian heart and mind to meet God in the final day. And these all reflect the heart of Jesus as He was preparing Himself and His disciples not just for the Passover, but for His betrayal and impending murder.
Like Jeremiah in his day, Christians today need to be prepared. We should not be shocked that we will face not just indifference to our testimony and calling men and women to faith in and fidelity to Jesus Christ as Lord – but outright opposition. We have no “right” to be unopposed or even persecuted in God’s economy.
And how we need to actually prepare our own hearts and minds for genuine and fruitful worship each week. Merely stumbling into Church without any forethought or preparation in terms of purposefully honoring Christ as Lord publicly – and with rejoicing and thanksgiving – turns worship into a mere spectator sport. It neither honors Him rightly, nor truly feeds or encourages our own souls or those we worship with.
And then, when is the last time we gave serious thought to being prepared to face our God in death or Christ’s return. Are you ready Christian? What will you say should He ask why you should enter into the glory of Christ? Is your heart settled that it is because the righteousness of Christ has become yours by faith, and your sins have been fully atoned for in His blood?
I pray your heart is so prepared to meet Him in joy.
And then look again at our Savior. Still preparing. Still seeing to all the details of the moment, even while His own suffering is at hand. Fully aware that His passion is about to commence, He demonstrates how service to God is not curtailed in the least. He will eat with them. Wash their feet. Teach them still. And He and the Father had already prepared to send the Spirit to them when the time was right. How He modeled His trust in the Father by being unhurried, fretful or dismayed. Though He knows the Cross is just before Him.
He, was prepared.
He had made Himself ready.
And He has made full preparation for you and me in His Word, His Spirit, His Church and His promises.
If we look to Him and Him alone, we are truly prepared for anything.
God willing, we’ll be back again Monday.