"God's Word is Living & Active!" ~ Hebrews 4:12
Isaiah 45:11-48:11 ~ Ephesians 4:1-16 ~ Psalm 68:19-35 ~ Proverbs 24:3-4
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Old Testament – In yesterday and today’s Isaiah chapter 45 readings we read about King Cyrus of Persia! Verse 13 says this about Cyrus in today’s readings: “I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide all his actions. He will restore my city and free my captive people–and not for a reward! I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken!” The interesting thing to note here is that Cyrus was not Jewish – he was a Gentile ruler who was raised up for the purpose of freeing the Israelite captives from exile in Babylon and allowing them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. In yesterday’s readings in chapter 45 verse 1 Cyrus was even referred to as “God’s anointed.” This is the only place in the Bible where a Gentile ruler is said to be anointed. It’s also very interesting to note that Isaiah is calling Cyrus by name some 150 years before Cyrus ruled! Isaiah prophesied from 740 to 681 B.C. and Cyrus ruled from 559 to 530 B.C. Some Bible commentaries suggest that Cyrus read these prophesies of Isaiah during his reign and was so moved by them that he decided to indeed fulfill them. In any case, Cyrus played a pivotal role in our spiritual history – allowing the promise of Abraham’s many descendants to continue to the fulfillment of the coming Messiah in Jesus!
Isaiah chapter 45 verses 22 & 23 are powerful and foreshadow Jesus’ ministry here on earth: “Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other. I have sworn by my own name, and I will never go back on my word: Every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will confess allegiance to my name.” These verses are also foreshadowing of the book of Revelation that we will read later this year. We read Paul quoting these verses to describe Jesus in Romans 14:11 and Philippians 2:10-11.
Bible.org’s commentary on today’s readings in Isaiah titled “The Lord’s Superiority to the gods of Babylon” is at this link.
Below is an image from Isaiah 46:4 from today’s readings:
New Testament – Great teachings from Paul today about unity in the body of Christ! Chapter 4 verses 4 through 6 are beautiful – “We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future. There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and there is only one God and Father, who is over us all and in us all and living through us all.”
Verses 14 and 15 I think are so important for each of us to meditate upon: “Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” The thing that these verses remind me of is that indeed at some point we are all “children” in our faith. When we are new to Christianity we are certainly children who need others to lead us, disciple us, and help show us the way. And I guess as I think about this, we should always be like children before God – but I don’t think we should always be children before humans. Because if we remain as children before humans, then we are at risk of “forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has cleverly lied to us and make the lie sound like the truth.”
Bible.org’s commentary on today’s readings in Ephesians titled “The Calling and the Conduct of the Christian” is at this link.
Below is a great image from Ephesians 4:3 from today’s readings –
Psalms – Today in Psalm 68 verse 20 we read – “Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.”
Proverbs – Proverbs 23 verses 3 and 4 can be looked at literally or metaphorically – “A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.”
Below is the famous Dutch Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh’s “The White House at Night” from the year 1890:
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2 NIV
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