Old Testament: Isaiah 43:14-45:10
Isaiah 43:14-45:10 Cyrus-ly
Chap. 43:14-28 Babylon will be brought down but that is not cause for Israel to gloat (cf. Prov. 24:7). Jesus is the King of Israel (v. 14-15). In the Millennium, Israel is to forget the “former things” (v. 18), that is, all their former sins. Paul said he forgot the things that were behind him (Phil. 3: 13).
One of the greatest verses on forgiveness is v. 25. God forgets our sins for His “own sake.” If he forgets our sins, shouldn’t we? We also forget others’ sins but beware lest we be hurt again by them.
Chap. 44 Verse 6 states that God is the first and the last. Revelation says the same thing about Jesus (Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13).
Verse 9 -20 warns of idolatry. How dumb is it to make something and then worship it? I hate to say it but we all do it. I think it’s to escape God and with my limited knowledge of psychology, it would seem that when we make any kind of idol we are really worshipping ourselves (“projection,” “transference”?). We are afraid to come clean before our all-loving God.
Verses 24-28 indicates Jerusalem will be rebuilt. This was prophesied 150 years before it happened!
Chap. 45:1-10 King Cyrus of Persia is actually first mentioned in the last verse of chap. 44. His exact name is given about 200 years before his birth! Why would God do that? It was so it would be seen how accurate Isaiah was so the Israelites would realize how accurate his prophecies were. Then they would know how accurate his prophecies were concerning the Messiah who would be born 700 years in the future!
Strangely, he is dubbed as God’s “Anointed” (v. 1). In the last verse of the last chapter, he is referred to as a “shepherd” (Isa. 44:28). He is a foreshadowing of Christ. McGee calls him a “gentile Messiah of Israel.” Cyrus was responsible for the Israelites going back to Jerusalem (cf. Ezra 1:2).
New Testament: Ephesians 3:1-22
Ephesians 3:1-22 A Man With A Plan
Paul was writing from a prison in Rome (v. 1). Sometimes God has to slow us down to do what He wants us to do. Paul might not have written one of the greatest writings in the history of the world if he hadn’t been stuck in prison. “Stewardship” in verse 2 is “dispensation” in the King James. The word oikodomia literally means, “responsibility of management, management of a household,” as defined by the foremost Biblical Greek dictionary Bauer, Dauer, Arndt and Gingrich. Oikos means “house” and nomos means “law.” It is the house law. He derives our English word “economy” from it. Some theologians have taken the term to refer to various periods of time wherein God expects different things from people during those times. (Though salvation is always the same throughout the Bible, either looking forward to Christ or looking backward.) Most prominently, there is a change between our Old Testament and the New Testament. Obviously, no one sacrifices cows today, even the Jews! So there is a change.
This was all a mystery to the Jews (cf. v. 4-5). A mystery is something that was not understood in the Old Testament but has been revealed in the New Testament. That is the theme of this chapter. The Jews did not have any idea that the Gentiles would be a part of God’s believing people. But this is what Paul is revealing. A totally new way that God is dealing with His own in the church era.
Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles (Eph. 3:7-8, cf. Rom. 11:13; 15:15-16;1 Tim. 2:7). He was responsible for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles during this era of the church or “dispensation” (v. 9, the word is again, oikodomia and translated “administration” NASB, NIV, HCSB; “plan” ESV). The “plan” or “administration” was that the Gentiles would be part of God’s fellowship of believers throughout time. This is unique for this “dispensation” though some Gentiles had converted to Judaism in the Old Testament (see 2 Kings 17:25-28 for an example).
Paul is so excited about his mission and the message that God has given him that he bows down (v. 14) and prays a magnificent prayer of praise (vv. 15-21). It is a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s love and his hope that the Ephesians would be able to comprehend it (v. 16-19).
God is able to do more than we can imagine or anything we could ask for (v. 2o). Paul finishes with a flourish of praise (v. 21).
Psalm 68:1-18 March Of The Monarch, Part 1 A Song Of Yahweh’s Kingship by David
Proverbs 24:1-2 The Purpose Of Life
Here’s what’s important in life: your relationship with Jesus. And nothing else.
I watched a movie recently about a writer who worked for a well-known magazine. He wanted to write an article about an older author whom he idolized. The writer accompanied the author on a book promotion tour. He lived with him during the tour and observed everything he could about the author.
The author warned the writer not to emulate him. It turned out to be good advice. The author later committed suicide. He obviously didn’t understand the purpose of life.
As verse 2 says that the minds of the evil men mentioned in verse 1 will devise violence. The technical biblical definition of an evil person is an unbeliever. Ultimately, those who are not emulating Jesus are stirring up trouble.
One of the worst types of violence is murder. Suicide is murder of self.
If in despair, choose life. It is within your reach. It is Jesus. He is the Way, and Truth, and the Life (cf. John 14:6).
He is the only way to find God. He is the only One that will help you find purpose in life.
The purpose of life is to serve Him.
Choose Life: Scripture: Ephesians 3:20 NASB “Imagine”
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” Ephesians 3:20 NASB
It was tough to have to pick between Isa. 43:25 today or Eph. 3:20. So, if you get a chance, read Isa. 43:25 (cf. Ps. 103:12). It is about how God has erased our sins for His own sake. What a great thought. We think he forgives our sins for our sake but He does it for Himself. The reason is that He wants to have a love relationship with us. What a great thought. In fact, it is almost unfathomable.
That leads us to Eph. 3:20. Have you ever thought that you were so snowed over in life that even God couldn’t help us? Think again, Kemosabe.
Paul says that God is able to do “far more” than anything we could ask him for or even pass through our feeble, little minds.
Ask Him for something today that goes beyond your imagination. But ask according to His will or He won’t be able to do it (cf. 1 John 5:14-15).
Don’t ask for just a new, shiny red wagon or anything like that (though you could). Ask for something according to His will that furthers His kingdom.
It will be far more exciting.
Ask Him for something today.
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Sometimes I am in a scrape that seems so bad that I can’t imagine a way out. Even though I’ve given the problem over to God, I still try to figure a solution myself. I am usually surprised that God can come up with a resolution and it’s something I haven’t even thought of! What a surprise! God’s infinite intelligence has trumped my feeble brain again.
If we trust God for wisdom (cf. James 1:5, and we should!) then we shouldn’t be surprised that He can solve our dilemmas a lot better than we can.
Can you rest in that today, that God’s solutions are better than ours?
The purpose of the Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: A Man With A Plan