Old Testament: Isaiah 62:6-65:25
Isaiah 62:6-65:25 Saving Grapes
Chap. 62:6-12 Yahweh is speaking about the plans He has for His people in New Jerusalem during the Millennium in this chapter.
Chap. 63 Verses 1-6 speak of God’s judgment. The Battle Hymn of the Republic echoes these verses. The remainder of the chapter reminds Israel that there is mercy even in judgment.
Chap. 64 This is a prayer similar to one Israel might pray during the Tribulation (“the time of Jacob’s Trouble,” Jer. 30:7).
Verse 6 is one of the most descriptive of our sins. Even our “righteous” deeds are like “filthy rags” (KJV). The filthy rags are even more gross than you might expect. They are a women’s menstrual clothing, literally “garments of times.” The Bible tells it like it is. Even our best acts are not worth anything to God. Our only standing before God is through Christ. This is also true of believers. Our only righteous acts are done in the power of the Spirit through faith in Christ.
Chap. 65 In verses 8-16 a remnant of Israel is described. They will be saved. The rest of the nation will be destroyed. McGee points out that there will be a remnant of the church that will be raptured. The rest of the church, an organization, will be judged along with the rest of the world and Israel in the seven-year Tribulation. I asked a fella one time to come to church. He said he didn’t believe in “organized religion.” I said, “that’s OK, our church isn’t very organized.” It seems to be the unorganized church that is the true church in the age we are living in.
Verses 17-25 describe the new heavens and the new earth following the thousand year kingdom of Christ. This will be Heaven. It will last for eternity. The wolf, lamb, and lion will all get along together (v. 25).
New Testament: Philippians 2:19-3:3
Philippians 2:19-3:3 Dog-gone
Paul is hoping to send Timothy, his trusted companion, to help the Philippians but first will send Epaphroditus (vv. 19 – 24). Epaphroditus has worked himself sick in the ministry but recently has recovered (vv. 25-29). Where are the men like Paul, Timothy, and Ephaphroditus in our age today?
The theme of Philippians is joy (cf. joy in Phil. 1:4, 25; 2:2, 17-18 ; 4:1 and “rejoice” in Phil. 1:18, 26; 2:16-18,28; 3:1, 3 ; 4:4, 10). Paul reminds the Philippians again to rejoice in verse 1. He enjoys reminding them to have joy. Commericals must be repeated many times before an audience catches the message. Companies pay a lot of money to repeat the same ad. Then when you want a product like theirs, hopefully their product’s name will jump into your head. Paul repeats his message that the Christian life is a life of joy and Christians should be joyful. It is a “safeguard” for the Christian life, it ensures that a believer is staying close to Christ.
Paul doesn’t like dogs (v. 2). The expositor A.W. Pink actually didn’t like dogs and his bias was shown in his commentaries. God probably does like dogs but they were not considered a very noble animal in the Israel of Paul’s day. He uses dogs as a metaphor for the Judaizers who would rob the Christians of that time of their liberty and freedom in Christ. Beware, bad theology does the same today. Any theology that adds “works” to grace can rob you of your relationship with Christ. Any good pastor today would be enraged by any false teacher who would add “works” to choosing Christ for salvation. Beware, also, adding works done in the “flesh” to sanctification. Col. 2:6 states that we should live the Christian life the same way we began it, by trusting Christ in faith.
Psalm 73:1-28 All You Need Is Yah A Wisdom Psalm by Asaph
Proverbs 24:13-14 Nuts And Honey
Did you know that honey is really good for you? Well, if you don’t eat too much of it, that is (cf. Prov. 25:27). If you eat too much of it, you’ll gain weight. And you might even vomit it (cf. Prov. 25:16). So don’t go nuts eating honey (cf Nut And Honey commercial).
Jonathan, the son of the first king of Israel, was energized by just having a taste of honey (cf. 1 Sam. 14:27). In fact, if you eat a little pollen found in the area in which you live, it can greatly help with the effects of your allergies. So a little bit of honey can be good for you (v. 13).
On the other hand, you can learn practical knowledge, aka wisdom, to your heart’s content. It will make you a happy person (v. 14a), you will prosper (v. 14b), and you will not be depressed (v. 14c).
The morale: don’t go nuts eating honey but you can go nuts about wisdom.
(By the way, nuts are also good for your health and your heart, cf. Prov. 4:23.)
Choose Life: Scripture: Philippians 2:29 NASB “Pass Da Joy”
“Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard. . . ” Philippians 2:29 NASB
There’s an old joke about pastors only working one hour a week because that’s the only time a lot of people ever see him. Haha. Many pastors are goof-offs. So are many missionaries. But many also work very hard.
Paul told the Philippians about one of his co-workers who had almost worked himself to death for the Lord (Phil. 2:27). They were to respect him and hold him in “high regard” (v. 29). If you have a good pastor who really teaches the Bible you should let him know even if it’s not Pastor Appreciation Day.
The book of Philippians says a lot about joy. Paul tells the Philippians they should receive his cohort, Epaphroditus, with joy.
Do you have a minster who feeds you the Word? Show him respect and share some joy with him (cf. Gal. 6:6; Heb. 13:7).
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Pastors really don’t need much to feel like they’re appreciated. Of course, on the other hand, it doesn’t take a lot of criticism to discourage them. That is not to say that you shouldn’t ever criticize them (cf. Prov. 17:10). But be sure “to speak the truth in love” (cf. Eph. 4:15). Better yet, pump him up. If you have a good pastor, he really cares about you, your spiritual growth and your church. We are even commanded in Scripture to encourage them, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you” (Heb. 13:17).
What can you do to cheer up your pastor today?
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: Saving Grapes