Daily Scripture readings for February, set #19:
“The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name” (Isa 49:1). The concept in this text reminds me of similar texts like Psalm 139:16 and Romans 9:10-12. Regardless of whether we think it “fair,” the Lord clearly determines things about us before we are even born.
True identity is not found in action or status, but in the heart. “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man” (Prov 27:19).
“And the curtain of the temple was torn in two” (Luke 23:45). Obviously this is significant. But what exactly does it signify? Our recent readings in Hebrews 8-9 indicate that the tearing of the temple curtain demonstrates, at the very least, the passing away of the old covenant and inauguration of the new. I mean, seriously… the more I read God’s word the more I see the old vs new covenants as a central, if not THE central, theme of the Bible as a whole.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb 11:6). Those who would defend Christianity with reason and apologetics must ultimately acknowledge this truth, as must those who attack Christianity with accusations that it is unprovable.
Daily Scripture readings for February, set #20:
The standard view among evangelicals regarding the “end times” and our future salvation usually involves some kind of final destruction of the earth, as if God’s plan is to take Christians “away to Heaven” and basically just torch the rest of his good creation. I’ve been realizing lately how general unbiblical this view is, but today’s reading in Isaiah 51 has given me reason to reconsider this “the earth will be torched” view. “For the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed “ (Isa 51:6).
The word “justice” is thrown around a lot these days. Political, social, economical… there are many areas where justice is called for or appealed to. And yet, I don’t hear God mentioned in these conversations as often as “justice” on its own is mentioned, and this even from believers. “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely” (Prov 28:5).
“And he was looking for the kingdom of God” (Luke 23:51). What did this mean for Joseph of Arimathea? What would it mean for us today, to look for the Kingdom of God?
“By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones” (Heb 11:22). Man, I gotta say, Joseph had a pretty crazy run at things. Getting sold into slavery, getting put in charge of Potiphar’s house and then getting thrown in prison, being put in charge of all of Egypt… Joseph had a ton going on in his life. And then, in the “hall of faith” chapter in Hebrews, Joseph is mentioned because he referenced the Exodus and gave some directions about his bones. What the… ?