Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 August 2021 Luke 24:29.

Luke 24:29.     But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

And then, once again, it is Sunday; the day we gather to worship our wonderful God, be it in physical or technological togetherness, the important thing being that we are in corporate worship in one form or another on the Lord’s Day. Now, the Lord is anxiously awaiting His praise and thanksgiving, so please let’s not tarry and open with a wonderful hymn written by the Anglican Scottish priest Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847) some weeks before he died from tuberculosis. 

Apparently in 1818, ‘he underwent a great spiritual change, which shaped and influenced the whole of his after life, the immediate cause being the illness and death of a brother clergyman. Lyte says of him:- “He died happy under the belief that though he had deeply erred, there was One whose death and sufferings would atone for his delinquencies, and be accepted for all that he had incurred”; and concerning himself he adds:- “I was greatly affected by the whole matter, and brought to look at life and its issue with a different eye than before; and I began to study my Bible, and preach in another manner than I had previously done”.’ 

It seems the dying priest ‘convinced Lyte that both had earlier been mistaken in not having taken the Epistles of St. Paul “in their plain and literal sense.” So, he began to preach ‘following the example of four or five local clergymen whom he had previously laughed at and considered “enthusiastic rhapsodists.’ Ah mih people, life certainly takes us through changes we never expect! And the accumulation of all that led to the writing of the marvellous hymn ‘Abide with Me.’ So let’s sing these powerful, encouraging and uplifting words in all sincerity and truth, in good soulful gospel fashion. (smile) 

‘Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide; When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me. Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away; Change and decay in all around I see— O Thou who changest not, abide with me. I need Thy presence every passing hour; What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r? 

Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be? Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me. I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless; Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness; Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still, if Thou abide with me. Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes; Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies; Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.’ 

Ah friends, if you have the thoughts expressed in that hymn, filling your hearts and souls, then you can’t go wrong in this life! The author just captures all that Jesus is: He is the light in the darkness; the helper who never leaves, when others do; the help of the helpless; the One that changes not; only through His grace can we foil Satan’s attacks; the guide and fortress of His people. And don’t forget that with faith in Him we fear no foe, troubles don’t bother us, and tears have no bitterness. Therefore the grave and death hold no power over us, for Christ has won the victory! And once He abides in us, and we in Him, life nor death can ever separate us! 

Wow my faithful brethren! The hymn is just a chronicle of the benefits we enjoy when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour! So, who, knowing all that, would still refuse to enthusiastically answer His knock on the door of their hearts eh? Unfortunately, a lot of people foolishly do it. But we are not giving up on them, we will continue to preach His word and live the kind of life that He died for us to have; be good examples of His mercy and compassion. 

And isn’t it interesting to find that the verse of scripture which most likely influenced the title of the hymn is not one where Jesus is inviting someone to abide in or with Him, but rather the two travellers along the road to Emmaus inviting Jesus, not knowing who He was, to abide with them at the end of a day’s journey. The Good Book tells us that along the way: ‘And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he (Jesus) expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.’ (Luke 24:27) And the scholars explain that verse: ‘24:27. The entire Old Testament is indispensable for a grounded grasp of the identity and significance of Jesus.’ 

But getting back to the Good Book: ‘And they drew nigh (near) unto the village, whither they went: and he (Jesus) made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.’ (Luke 24:28-29) It’s interesting to wonder if Jesus would have kept on walking in the darkness of the unsafe Palestine road, if the two disciples had not insisted He tarried with them. 

Although it would not have really mattered, for as Bruh David declares in Psalm 139 – The everlasting presence and power of God. ‘Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee (is not dark to thee); but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.’ (Ps. 139:12) Yes friends, as far as God is concerned, everything is light, there is no darkness whatsoever, so walking in what we consider darkness would have been no problem to Jesus. 

And I want to end by just highlighting two other instances in the Good Book of insistence on tarrying, or abiding. The first is right at the beginning, where two angels visit Lot in Sodom, and ‘with his face bowed to the ground, he said, Behold, now my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night (spend the night) … And they said, Nay, but we will abide in the street (open plaza) all night. And he pressed upon them greatly (urged them); and they turned in unto him, and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.’ (Gen. 19:1-3). 

I guess that instance and Abraham’s in Gen. 18:1-3, caused the author of Hebrews to pen this line: ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.’ (Heb. 12:2) Yes my brethren, we must always be courteous to strangers, for we know not what importance they might eventually have in our lives. 

And the second instance of insistent tarrying is found in Acts after the woman Lydia is baptized by Bruh Paul. The Good Book tells it thus: ‘And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought (begged) us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.’ (Acts 16:15) 

We can then end with these words of Jesus on the subject of abiding. ‘If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto (for) you’ (John 15:7) That means, if my teaching abides in you, and controls your thoughts and movements, guides and inspires you, then your prayers will surely be answered. That goes for us in these modern times also my brethren. Much LOVE!

…abiding is extremely important…especially where Jesus is concerned…                                                                                                                    

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