Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2018.01.16 Devotional Gleanings

Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children... Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
Genesis 32:11, 24-26
Up until this point, Jacob saw himself as the primary obtainer of his blessings and Esau as his primary danger. He was wrong on both counts. God's phyiscal "answer" to Jacob's prayer was to keep him up all night, exhaust him, and debilitate him. It is by grace that we obtain any blessing. And, it is also God with whom, primarily, we must wrestle in our lives... a wrestling survivable only in Christ!

And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that
    ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive,
    And hearing they may hear and not understand;
    Lest they should turn,
    And their sins be forgiven them.’ ”
Mark 4:11-12
The plainness of the parables exposed that lack of understanding comes not from the complexity of the material but from hardness of heart. The clarity of Scripture is a precious doctrine, regained in the Reformation; but, let us acknowledge what it means about our minds and hearts, and let us ever be pleading with the Lord for light and life to overcome our dullness and deadness.

Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.”
Mark 4:24
The Savior teaches us to put effort into meditating upon the Scriptures.

And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
Mark 4:41
Though they knew Him yet but a little, we can learn much from these disciples who knew at least enough to fear the Lord Jesus rightly with the fear of God.

What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.
Romans 3:1-2
How great is the history of God's mercy to the nations that billions now possess what was the chief blessing of the Jews! There is no greater worldwide mercy-mission than the translation of the Scriptures into the tongues in which they are still lacking; and, it is a great spurning of God's mercy if we fail to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest those Scriptures.

As it is written:
    “There is none righteous, no, not one;
          There is none who understands;
    There is none who seeks after God.
          They have all turned aside;
    They have together become unprofitable;
    There is none who does good, no, not one.”
          “Their throat is an open tomb;
    With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
    “The poison of asps is under their lips”;
          “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
          “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
          Destruction and misery are in their ways;
          And the way of peace they have not known.”
          “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Romans 3:10-18
Let the myth of good people die here. Let the myth of bad things (even the judgment of Hell) happening to good people die here.

But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
Romans 4:5
In Christ the righteous, God justifies the ungodly. That truth which, by its illogic, has scandalized the Papists for 500 years, has also--by that same illogic--delighted believers since Adam began to hope in the seed of his wife.

Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
Romans 4:16-17
God made dirt into man and commanded light to exist. Scripture stirs sinners up to faith in the promise of Christ by pointing to Genesis 1-2 as literal, historical record.

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