From his morning devotional study: David Niednagel, Pastor and Teacher, Evansville, IN. David uses the S.O.A.P. method for his morning study time: study, observe, apply, pray.
Determining when the Lord returns
2 Peter 3:8
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. ESV
The scoffers ignore threats of judgment day because they say God does not intervene in human affairs and judge evil people. Even in our day, many people don’t believe in God because they cant understand how a good and powerful God could allow so much suffering and pain. It is a legitimate question. All of us have wondered why we don’t see God answer prayers and remove evil people – like Stalin, Hitler, and many others. Peter answers that God will act, but He is being patient, so people can have time to repent before it is too late. All of us reading this passage are grateful for His patience! But with our gratitude, we tend to focus on ourselves, and not the certain judgment that will come upon every person that has not trusted in Christ. For the most part, we don’t pray for them, and we don’t plead with people to repent. When we do share the gospel, we focus on God’s love and neglect the warnings of judgment to those who don’t repent and believe in Him.
If there is coming judgment, (and it certainly is!) “what sort of people ought we be?” (:11) Peter says we should live “in holiness and godliness” – continually aware that we belong to Him and are set apart for Him, and not let ourselves get caught up in hobbies, work, recreation, like others, or at least not for the same reasons. And, we must be proclaiming the same message that Peter is – that a day of judgment is coming. We not only wait for His return but we can actually hasten it. Really? How can we hasten the day of the LORD’s return?
By proclaiming the gospel and being instrumental in many people coming to faith in Christ. The Father knows those He has chosen, and when we do our part to reach them, the Father will send the Lord Jesus back to finish up all human history. He will “break the scroll”. (Rev 5:1-5)
Lord Jesus, I can read and write about these things, but I still get pulled every day to give my time and attention to lesser things. And I don’t know what to do about it. I’m sure it would be worse if I were not reading Your Word every day, but I call on You to help burn it in my brain and my heart. And help me find opportunities to share the gospel with people who need it. Help me take more initiative. Help me remember that not only is nothing better than life with You, there is nothing worse than life without You now and eternal judgment too. Amen