And the street of the city was pure gold.
South of Cairo, travelers can walk about seven miles to a harbor on Lake Qarun. This little stretch of roadway has the distinction of being the oldest paved road in the world. People have been treading it for 4,600 years. It’s one of several ancient roads that still exist and conjure up feelings of wonder. Think of the Silk Road that traversed Asia, the Appian Way outside Rome, and the Inca Road system that linked South America and created an empire. Civilization needs roadways, and some of them are breathtakingly beautiful and even enchanting.
But none of these roads are as beautiful, enduring, breathtaking, or dazzling as the golden boulevard that links the neighborhoods of New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21:18, we’re told that the entire city is constructed of “pure gold, like clear glass.” Verse 21 adds, “And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”
Those are visual terms, and the Lord revealed this information so we can begin to picture heaven in advance and anticipate its glories. If you’re taking to the road today, look at that black asphalt beneath your tires and compare it with the glory to be revealed. Your heart will glisten.
What wonderful visions of beauty, what glorious scenes shall unfold; / And what dazzling splendors surround me, when I walk up the streets of gold.
From the anonymous hymn “When I Walk Up the Streets of Gold”
My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD.
Joe Beam described what he thought his first moments in heaven might be like. “I’ll see angels of all kinds, godly people singing, and the Loving Light streaming from the throne. Somewhere, sometime, in that introduction to the home of God, I expect to hear an angel call my name. He’ll know me, though I won’t yet know him. ‘Joe. Good to see you here. Welcome home.’”
When we study the biblical descriptions of heaven, we realize such a scene isn’t far-fetched, and Joe’s eagerness for heaven is healthy. Heaven is a precious place, and we should anticipate it to the utmost. On weary days, it can energize us. Amid anxiety, it can console us. In sickness, it provides an anchor of hope. In poverty, it reminds us of our coming wealth.
The Bible tells us to look forward to His coming (2 Peter 3:14) and to long for His courts (Psalm 84:2). One day, we’ll hear an angel call our name and say—“Good to see you here. Welcome home!”
I would not give one moment of heaven for all the joy and riches of the world, even if it lasted for thousands and thousands of years.
I will remember the works of the LORD; surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
We are a forgetful people. In the heat of an argument, we forget a friend’s kindness and focus on their faults. When the devastation of a financial loss occurs, we forget God’s previous provision. Worry crowds out trust because they cannot co-exist. The way to shrink our worry is to meditate on God’s character and truth.
What we allow our minds to ruminate on affects our thoughts, actions, and emotions. We are creatures of habit, and cycles of worry are difficult to break. One of the best antidotes to worry is a journal. Whether your journal is a list of ways God has provided for you or a rant over the concern crowding your mind, the worry antidote occurs when you read back over your journal—months or even years later. God’s sustenance of you through the valleys and mountain peaks of your days will become evident. There is nothing more powerful than meditating on His Word and promises and seeing them fulfilled in our lives. Pray that He gives us the eyes to see and the mind to remember all He has done for us.
We tend to be preoccupied by our problems when we have a heightened sense of vulnerability and a diminished sense of power. Today, see each problem as an invitation to prayer.
There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish.
A mother’s day is full of small tasks like making sandwiches and packing lunches while juggling tight schedules and finicky eaters. Children seldom say “Thank you” for their crackers, cheese, apple slices, and yogurt; and it’s natural for us to sometimes resent the onslaught of small, daily duties that come our way.
But Colossians 3:23 says, “…whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” Imagine packing that lunch for Christ! That’s what happened when the mother packed the lad’s lunch in John 6, and it’s a lesson about our Lord’s ability to bless our small chores. A 1902 publication contained a prayer written by a woman named Olive Kimball, and perhaps it’s just the word you need today:
Dear Father, as we realize that we can do but little, may that thought never discourage us, but may we eagerly do whatever our hands find to do. Help us to realize that life is made up of nameless little things, and that true happiness only comes to those who find comfort and contentment in the doing of life’s smallest duties … Wilt, Thou, oh God, bless the ministry of small things if done in the Master’s Name. Amen.
Faithfulness in the small things will lead to blessing in the big things.
Warren W. Wiersbe, in The Bumps Are What You Climb On
But deliver us from the evil one.
The defining act in the history of the Jews is the Exodus. God delivered the descendants of Jacob from the oppression of the Egyptian Pharaoh: “Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them” (Psalm 22:4). The word deliverance became a defining biblical idea for God’s saving acts of His people in both the Old and the New Testament.
Just as God delivered the Jews from Pharaoh’s kingdom, so God delivers those who trust in Jesus from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God (Colossians 1:13-14). When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “But deliver us from the evil one,” He was likely speaking against the backdrop of God being the deliverer of His people. In the New Testament, that idea is affirmed by the apostles in terms of eternal security: Satan will do what he can to prevent us from reaching God’s eternal kingdom but God “will deliver [us] from every evil work and preserve [us] for His heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:18).
In Christ you are protected from every temporal and eternal desire of “the evil one” to harm you: “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer” (2 Samuel 22:2).
There is no devil in the first two chapters of the Bible and no devil in the last two chapters. Thank God for a Book that disposes of the devil!