I heard a preacher tell a story about how he and his wife had been burgled, sadly not for the first time I think. He said, ‘Wouldn’t it have been nice if those thieves had popped round the day before, saying that they’d be calling the next day, and giving some idea of their time of arrival? We’d have been there to welcome them. We’d have had the kettle on…!’ Point taken. Burglars don’t operate in such a convenient manner.
I remember a quiet Wednesday afternoon some years ago. I had only been out of the house for a short time, collecting my daughter from her primary school. On returning home, I discovered that we had been visited by some criminals (or a criminal). Up until then it had been a peaceful day off! Now our quiet day was dramatically disturbed. It was totally unexpected. We were not ready for our uninvited ‘visitors’.
Paul says that the ‘’day of the Lord’’ will come unexpectedly ‘’like a thief in the night’’ (2) as far as unbelievers are concerned. It will take them by surprise. It will be a day of judgment (9).
But this will not be the case for believers. We belong to ‘’the day’’ and to ‘’the light’’ (5). We have the revelation of God’s Word. ‘’We do not belong to the night or to the darkness’’ (5b). So then we should be different to the rest of the people in the world. We’re in the know. We are aware of what is going to happen – at least to some degree (Luke 21:25-28).
The world will be caught by surprise, but believers should be on the tiptoe of expectancy.
(By the way, note that verses 10, 11 sum up 4:13-18).
If we believe that Jesus is going to come back to this world, this conviction will have some extremely practical implications for our lives now. Paul spells some of them out in 1 Thessalonians 5, and we will go on to consider them in the next couple of studies.
Prayer: Lord, help me to live as a ‘son of the day’ and make the most of the light you have given me