Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Living in Laodicea

"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: 
'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold I stand at the door and knock...."

Revelation 3:14-20

Photo courtesy Erik Thorson 2013

Laodicea was one of three famous cities of the Lycas River valley. Six miles to the north of it lay Hieropolis, a city boasting hot springs and thermal baths. Ten miles to the east lay Colossae, known for its pure, cold springs.

Laodicea had to have its water piped from a spring five miles away. The water was so heavy with minerals it slowly clogged the pipes. By the time it reached the city, it was tepid. The foul, lukewarm was nauseating. Early readers of Revelation would have made the instant connection to Jesus' threat to spit (literally, "vomit") it out of His mouth.

It was a wealthy city, however, so rich that when it was destroyed by an earthquake in 60 A.D., the citizens turned down Roman aid and rebuilt it themselves. Laodicea was famous for the black cloth produced from the beautiful wool from its sheep. The citizens were proud of their black clothing, but Jesus saw them as naked and advised them to be clothed in the white clothes of His righteousness.

The city was also situated near the quarry from which came a powder used to make salve for eye ailments. Jesus saw their blindness and told them to anoint their eyes with the salve He offered in order to restore their sight.

This letter to Laodicea is especially poignant because God was talking to the church there. His own people were blind, naked, poor, and tepid.

This breaks my heart.

I have so many times been all these things. I have been too full of the world's cares to see my emptiness, too blind with duty to see my nakedness, too busy with the temporal to have time for the eternal.

Thank God He loves me enough to reprove me. Today He stands waiting at the door of our hearts. I can't help but wonder, How did it get closed? I didn't mean for it to happen. I don't know when it happened.

I just know He stands, He knocks, and He waits.

Come, Lord Jesus. Come.

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