September 25 I Wednesday
Song of Solomon 6-8
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.’” —Luke 16:25
There once were two men, one rich and the other poor. The rich man lived in luxury and was dressed in purple and fine linens. The poor man was named Lazarus, who was a sick and crippled beggar. These two men stand at the opposite ends of almost every spectrum we can think of: one is to be admired, by and large, while the other is to be disdained; one is to be greeted every time we meet him but the other is to be ignored when we pass him by; one is invited to all the parties as the
other is invited nowhere; one has got everything and the other seems to have nothing.
Yet, what both men could not escape was death and one day, these two men died. What happened now, we cannot know by any form of observation nor can we know with any certainty by speculation. We may only know this by revelation, if God revealed these insights to us. We find the fate of the beggar: he “was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22, NKJV). “Abraham’s bosom” is a very unusual expression; Abraham was the father of the nation of Israel and “Abraham’s bosom” is the idea of being brought into intimacy, safety and protection—a picture of heaven. Although the word “heaven” is never used, we are intended to understand this is what is being depicted.
We find the fate of the rich man: he was brought to “Hades, where he was in torment” (Luke 16:23). “Hades” is another word used in the Bible to describe “hell.” While we may not like to discuss hell, we cannot ignore the fact that hell is real because the Bible talks about it. This is why the assurance of our salvation has to be settled before death.
Lazarus goes to heaven while the rich man goes to hell. Jesus shared this story to teach that there are values in this life we cannot carry into the next life. The all-important thing is that we live this life with the value of eternity—our relationship with God.
God responds to the cry for mercy whenever He hears it—in the heart of any man, woman, boy and girl in any condition and anywhere—except hell. When the rich man was in hell, it was too late for him, as Abraham says: “between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us” (Luke 16:26). Do we have assurance of a relationship with God that when we die, we will be found in Abraham’s bosom?
Prayer: God of Abraham, I ask You to shift my life to an eternal perspective, focusing on my relationship with You rather than on the temporary things of this world. Thank You, Lord.