Monday, January 28, 2008

McCheyne Reading Plan: January 28

Disclaimer: In posting these thoughts, questions, and ramblings I feel it wise to give a disclaimer. There are many people that are far more knowledgeable and gifted in expositing the Word of God than I. These thoughts are not intended to be in-depth analysis of the text. They are thoughts. They are questions. They are ramblings. It will be a display of what God is teaching me through His Word. In depth study will be done at a different time. It is also good to know the author's goal. 1) To be accountable in reading through Scripture. 2) To share these thoughts with others. Possibly for someone else's edification; possibly for my own. 3) To glorify God through His Word. 4) To spur one another on in taking up Scripture and reading! So without further ado, here are today's readings:

Matthew 17:

That must have been a phenomenal thing to see Jesus in his glory. I wonder how they knew it was Moses and Elijah. Name tags? Did they hear Jesus referring to them by name? What language did they speak? What did they talk about? So, many questions none of them of much significance.

I wonder why Peter was never given an answer to his request. He was wanting to build tents for each of them. I notice that he asks, "If you wish" and also refers to him as Lord. So, even though he is making three tents it is not as if he is saying Moses, Elijah, and Jesus are on the same plain. He is still referring to Jesus as Master and he asks him the question not Moses and Elijah.

That would have been very terrifying, but I wonder why they were so shocked. Did they not already see this as something really significant because Jesus is kind of glowing? Oh, that the voice of God would make me tremble as it did these men!

How did John the Bapitst "restore all things"?

After reading the story of the Demon-Possessed Boy I find myself wishing I had never heard charismatic watered down preaching. It seems to close my eyes to the text. I find myself reading things like this with their lens...knowing they are most often wrong, I go the other way and end up being blind to the meaning of the text. Lord, help me see what you are saying here. I bet there is something cultural here that I do not understand. I do not think that Jesus is literally saying that becasue we believe enough we can move stuff like mountains. He is speaking figuratively, but yet does the principle stand? What is to be said of "nothing will be impossible for you". I want to have biblical faith. I do not want to have a stick in the mud anti-supernatural faith, nor do I want to be a chicken-clucking charismatic. Lord, help me to see and live the balance.

I think this temple tax might be something that helps us in debates concerning our freedoms. Did Jesus have to pay tax? Of course not. He is free. Did he pay tax not to give offense? Yes. Should we sometimes not use our freedom so as not to give offense? Yes. Does his paying taxes cause him to deny the gospel and slip into legalism? No. We have much to learn here.

Acts 17:

I wonder why the Jews gave Paul a hearing for three straight Sabbaths. It is also significant that what Paul used was not fancy rhetoric or even rabbinical writings. Paul reasoned with them "from the Scriptures".

"These men who have turned the world upside down"...what a stirring statement. Is it my pride that wants to follow suit or is it a holy ambition? Lord, if the world be turned upside down let it be for the sake of and glory of Jesus Christ. May he be the only boast of the generation that is "turned upside down".

v.9 Did Jason bribe them?

How are the Jews of Berea more noble? 1) Received the word with eagerness 2) examined the Scriptures daily. There is much to be said about this. They received the word. They did so with eagerness. They examined the Scriptures. And they did so on a day to day basis. Their passion for truth is astounding.

Is my spirit provoked in a city full of idols?

v.21 in some way sounds like us in America. We spend all of our times searching for novelty. May the gospel penetrate this culture as well. Lord, help us to "teach strange things" and not be irrelevant by our undiscerning pursuit of relevancy.

It's not as if the Athenians are actually worshipping the living God. They are "worshipping" an unknown God...and Paul sees this as a bridge to preach the gospel.

Paul starts his gospel "presentation" with teaching on Creation. Would they have readily believed this? Probably not. I notice throughout this section that the God that Paul is proclaiming is a massive contrast to the gods that they were so passionately worshipping.

I think the full meaning of verse 27 escapes me.

Paul also bridges with common things in their culture. But notice what he uses is "morally neutral". It's not as if Paul goes to the sex temples or engages in idolatry with them. He uses morally neutral things that can bridge the gap.

Repentance is a command. v30

Is it significant that Paul only speaks of this unknown God and does not refer to Jesus by name but merely describes Him?

Genesis 19:

I lost an angel somewhere. Earlier there were three now two. Where did the third go?

v.5 has always astonished me at the audacity of these men to make such a request. It beautifully shows the depth of our depravity (although I am sure that even these men were restrained from being as wicked as possible).

Lot's solution has always bothered me as well. Rather than having them sleep with his angelic guest he offers his daughters. Yet even this does not appease them. They want the angels.

Before I chide the sons-in-laws for thinking Lot was jesting, I have to confess I see myself in these men. I am so turned away from emotionalism that sometimes I would not listen to such a "prophecy". Again, as I prayed earlier--I need balance and growth in this.

I wonder if men that are so passionate about preserving man's "free will" (that's in quotation marks because it is typically a misunderstanding of true biblical freedom) see these men as being dishonoring and unloving to Lot and his family. I can see myself again here. If the Lord had not "seized me" with his mercy and brought me "outside the city", I would still be in my sin. I am glad that the Lord's mercy is so powerful that it changes me and keeps me from treasuring my sin and causes me to delight in Christ.

I think there is a type in Lot escaping to this city of refuge. I am jogging my memory but I think this is spoken of somewhere else in a more profound way.

What would sulfur and fire rain have been like?

Why a pillar of salt? Is this literal? Does this stem from the destruction? Those are not as significant as the message of this text. We must never look back after the Lord has delivered us. I would not go so far as to make this a type of those that "lose their salvation", yet I do believe we need to heed the warning.

It looks like Lot ended up moving out of Zoar and living in the hills, even though at first he made the request not to.

Esther 1:

v4 Kings of earth even in all their splendor are exhaustible in 180 days. It will take the Lord all of eternity to "show the riches of his royal glory and the splendor and pomp of his greatness."

I wonder was Queen Vashti only lovely to look at because the king was "merry with wine".

It's pretty neat that the King's consul (even though not acting the most merciful) is thinking through the ramifications of his decision. If he lets her get away with this it will have adverse affects. We as leaders should always think through the outcome of our decisions. Our disobedience has a counter effect on others as well as ourselves.

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