Old Testament: Isaiah 60:1-62:5
Isaiah 60:1-62:5 New Jerusalem
Chap. 60 The Bible mentions a literal thousand year rule of Christ on David’s throne on earth before eternity (cf. Rev. 20:4-6). This is Isaiah’s description of it in the Old Testament. It is obviously Heaven on earth.
Chap. 61 Verses 1- 2a describe Jesus’ first coming. Verses 2b- 3 describe His second coming. The rest of the chapter describes the Jews’ joy in the renewing of Israel after the literal seven year Tribulation. Jesus stood up in the Temple and read verse 1 and 2 to show He was indeed, the Messiah (cf. Luke 4:18-19).
Chap. 62:1-5 Why would God waste all these pages of Scripture describing something that won’t happen? There are some Christians who don’t believe that there is a future for Israel. They remind me of the Jews who won’t read the Prophets because they don’t believe what is in them. What a gorgeous, wonderful place the new Jerusalem will be!
New Testament: Philippians 1:27-2:18
Philippians 1:27-2:18 We Can Work It Out
Paul would like to see unity in the body (v. 27). If the picture of the early church in the gospels seems different than the churches you’ve experienced, it’s because they are. They were dynamic fellowships. They had problems and struggles but the Holy Spirit was present in most of them and it wasn’t forced. Their unity would be a rebuke to those who were attacking or mocking them (v. 28).
How you ever seen “evangelists” on TV tell you how you should be increasing in wealth and prestige? They don’t have verse 29 in their Bibles. The Philippians were not only believers and church attenders but they also suffered together (v. 29). Their suffering was for God’s glory and moved His kingdom forward. Their model was Paul (v. 30).
They were supposed to take care of themselves but they were also supposed to take care of others in the body (v. 4). They were not supposed to be selfish or conceited but they were to model themselves after Christ who condescended to come to earth and serve human beings (v. 3, 5-6). He was still God but no one would hardly be able to tell since He took the form of a human being (v. 6-8). Because of His obedience and humility, God raised Him above all else (vv. 8-11, cf. James 4:6-7, 1 Pet. 5:5).
Salvation is broken into three parts: justification when we first trust Christ (Eph. 2:8-9), sanctification when we grow in holiness (here is vv. 12-13), and glorification when we actually enter Heaven and take on a new body (Rom. 5:9-10; 13:11). If we have chosen to trust Christ, our salvation is sure. But we are still here on earth and our walk needs to be renewed every day. Someday we will be saved from the presence of sin but right now we are saved from the penalty of sin and need to struggle against the power of sin.
Verses 12-13 explain how that happens. We have to “work out” our salvation in the fear of God (v. 12). But we need to know that God is working inside of us while we are working things out (v. 13). When we were unbelievers, we did not have the capability to defeat sin. Now it is our duty. This used to be discussed in church all the time. Now we are “tolerant.”
Verse 14 says we should do all things without “grumbling or complaining” (RSV) but certainly it doesn’t mean that. It may be an allusion to the Israelites grumbling over God’s will in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:10). It may also be the opposite of giving thanks. How many commands do you know that are repeated at least three times in Scripture (Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:17; 1 Thess. 5:18)? We are always to be thankful to God no matter what our circumstances or trials in life.
The reason is so that we can be “blameless and innocent” and so that it will be recognized that we are related to God. That kind of behavior will really stand out in a “crooked and perverse” society like we live in today (v. 15; cf. Matt. 5:16).
All ministers would like to know that they are having some good effect amongst their flock. Paul asks the Philippians to “hold fast” to the “word of life” so that he will know he is blessing lives.
Paul knows that he could be sacrificed at any time for the gospel and describes himself as a “drink offering” poured out on their sacrifice of faith. That leads to his “joy,” one of the themes of Philippians (v. 17). Paul urges the Philippians to share their joy with him (v. 18).
Psalm 72:1-20 From Sea To Shining Sea A Royal Messianic Psalm by David
Proverbs 24:11-12 A Soul Man
There is an interesting passage in Ezekiel (cf. Ezek. 3:16-21). Well, it’s interesting to me and it should be interesting to you, too. God told the prophet Ezekiel that if he hadn’t told the people about Him that their blood would be on his hands! Ouch!
Well, don’t get your panties in a wad . . . yet. This passage was specific to Ezekiel. He was officially the “watchman” over Israel. He had a greater responsibility than anyone else in Israel at the time. His job was to watch out for all the souls in Israel. He was the only one in the nation that God had called who had that particular office.
However, . . . this passage should impress you that you have a responsibility to tell people about the salvation that Jesus provided through the sacrifice of His life. Jesus died in the place of all sinners who place their trust in Him (cf. John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Acts 4:12; 1 Pet. 3:18). He is the Way to Heaven (cf. John 14:6).
Everyone is responsible for trusting Christ during the period of their lifetime. Think of life as a probation period for eternity (though also check out Bema Me Up, Scotty!, cf. v. 12d).
Go tell people!
In our verses for today, it is evident that we are commanded to call out to those who are stumbling toward Hell (v. 11). You are responsible to help them (v. 12)! God sees whether you are trying to help them (hough I’m not trying to drop a guilt trip or anything on you).
How many people do you brush by every day that you don’t even try to steer them toward God? You don’t have to give them the entire “Roman Road” and full description of salvation (cf. right-hand side of my home page Spiritual Rants and The Gospel). But when was the last time you talked to anyone about God? Bringing someone to Christ always begins with just trying to broach a conversation about Him.
Talk to someone about God soon. You can be a watchman, then, just like the prophet Ezekiel. You can help to save souls. Then you can be a Soul Man.
You’ll be blessed if you do!
Choose Life: Scripture: Philippians 2:14 NASB “Ugh!”
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing . . . ” Philippians 2:14 NASB
Are you a complainer (“grumbling” is “complaining” in LB, NLT, NIV84)? I am. In fact, I hate that this verse is in the Bible. Now there’s something else I have to work on! Ugh!
I don’t think this means that you can’t complain at a restaurant when your food isn’t made right or submissively drink your Starbucks if it’s made wrong (they’re usually very nice about remaking it, free ad). It means you shouldn’t complain to God all the time and have a bad disposition most of the time (see blog Idiot Rule).
The first verse I taught my kids was Matt. 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.” Can you imagine a world like that? That’s the way the Millennium will be.
The Scripture commands us, at least three times, to thank God for everything (Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:17; 1 Thes. 5:18). To give thanks doesn’t mean we should be ecstatic when tragedy strikes but it does mean that we can thank God for it and not complain. Paul certainly knew how to deal with suffering (cf. 2 Cor. 11:23-27).
What do you want to grumble about today?
Give thanks instead!
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
What are you grumpy about today? Can you turn your disposition around and thank God for your circumstances? See if you can reverse engineer your thoughts so that your feelings conform to God’s viewpoint on your situation. Can you rearrange your thoughts so you can give thanks for whatever is going on in your life?
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: We Can Work It Out