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:
One thing I found significant in this narrative is not what IS there but what is not. Perhaps I am missing another place in Scripture, but in this account I see nothing of Noah preaching to people. Usually when I have heard the story told it involves Noah telling people what God is going to do and them laughing. Therefore, it seems more just that God gave them a chance to repent and they did not.
The truth of the matter is that God would be completely just in blotting out the whole earth again. Now certainly we know that He promises to not do that. But if it were not for the promise and His mercy He would certainly be just to blot out everything once again.
Verse 21 is another example that "all" doesn't always mean every single one.
Why does my prayer life so often struggle? Do I not believe the beautiful promises in verse 7-11? Lord, help me to trust that you delight in giving good gifts to your children. I pray Lord for a passion to earnestly pray for others and for your glory. As John Piper encouraged us a couple of days ago, help me to pray globally as well.
There is much to be said to our contemporary mass evangelism strategies in v. 13-14. What is the broad gate? We know it is wide and easy. And we know it leads to destruction. And it seems to be where the majority are going through. Are we foolish for telling sinners that salvation is "easy"? Are we leading them through the broad gate? Jesus said that his yoke was "easy" and his burden "light", did he not? What then is this broad gate? The narrow gate we know is hard, but it leads to life, and few find it. Is it possible that the "difficulty" of finding the narrow gate is the same "impossibility" of salvation? Is it possible that finding the narrow gate only comes from a regenerate heart?
Verse 23. It is more significant that Jesus knows me than that I know Jesus.
I want to build my house on the rock.
Can verse 10 be said of me? Do I set my heart to study the Law of the LORD? (Certainly that would be more than the Law now, and would include the whole counsel of God). Do I do it? Do I teach it?
Artaxerxes fears the wrath of God. But certainly this is not the trembling at the word that Isaiah 66:2 speaks of. It is not accompanied with repentance. It is trembling at God as if he were but another "god". It seems to me as if he is making sure all of his bases are covered. Nonetheless, the Lord uses him to lavish grace upon the people of Israel.
I wonder, do we still see the mighty God moving the hearts of kings? Do we often thank the man or thank the God that moves the man? What is this steadfast love of which Ezra speaks? Is it none other than the call to preach and teach His Word? Do I see my calling as such?
I wonder if the Jewish people were bored with this history lesson? Certainly it would have been very little new information. Is Stephen trying to gain common ground?
What a sharp turn in verse 51. "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you." Ouch! Stephen does not mince any words. A man before the people that hold his life in their hands ought not talk this way. Yet Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit.
They accuse Stephen of blasphemy but are doing so themselves by their rejection of Jesus.
It seems that being full of the Holy Spirit means being full of mercy and grace that is accompanied with boldness. What powerful effect this must have had on "a young man named Saul".