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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson

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December 2014

Daily Bible thoughts 772: Thursday 18th December 2014:

 Isaiah 58

‘’You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.’’ (4b)

There is nothing wrong with fasting. It is part of the normal Christian life. Jesus showed this in His ‘Sermon on the Mount’, saying, ‘’When you fast…’’ (Matthew 6:16). There is no ‘if’ about it; it’s ‘when’. (See also Matthew 6: 2 and 5. Jesus expected His disciples to give, pray and fast. If you want to look at this subject more deeply, I suggest reading John Piper’s excellent book, ‘A hunger for God.’)

However, there is a way of fasting that is totally wrong and Isaiah 58 points this out. Someone who fasts can ‘’seem eager’’ (2b) spiritually, and we may be impressed with their intensity. It as ‘’as if’’ they were very saintly. But God has ‘x-ray’ vision and sees past the appearance of things. ‘’ When you strive to be a spiritual person, you fight the constant battle of ‘’ritual versus reality.’’ It is much easier to go through the external activities of religion than it is to love God from your heart and let that love touch the lives of others.’’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.488. Here are three ways in which your fasting can be ineffective:

  • If you do not turn from your sin. God had been calling again and again to His people through Isaiah; pleading with them to repent. The majority would not. You cannot expect fasting, important as it is, to cut any ice with heaven while you are holding on to your favourite sins. Psalm 66:18 provides an important comment on the whole subject.
  • If you still continue to do it your way (3b, 13). This is closely related to the above point. If you go to church on a Sunday (or give yourself to some other special set aside time to seek God), but return home to live as you did before, going your own way and doing your own will, don’t expect any prayer and fasting to bring about the desired change in your circumstances. It doesn’t work like that. Without submission to the Lordship of God you are merely going through an empty religious ritual. Fasting was intended to be a means of self-humbling before God. ‘’The orthodox faith was popular in Judah at that time, and people enjoyed learning the Word and even participating in fasts (vv.2-3). But when the services were over, the worshippers went back to exploiting people and pleasing themselves.’’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.488.
  • If you do not care about issues of injustice in the world and take appropriate action; serving the poor and needy as you have opportunity.

‘’The kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground.’’ The Message.

That is all negative. However there is a way in which we can be ‘’heard on high’’ as we pray and fast. We should not miss this point. Those who genuinely seek God with fasting, turning from their sinful ways and their own wilful paths; serving all around them who need their help; such people will experience immense blessing from God (6-14). As Wiersbe says, your life can become a ‘’watered garden, not a dismal swamp.’’

Prayer: I choose not to give up on fasting, but to give up on sin and self-pleasing.

Daily Bible thoughts 771: Wednesday 17th December 2014:

 Isaiah 57:14-21

This short passage preaches the gospel. It declares that there can be ‘’peace’’ (19) for both Jews and Gentiles. These are words picked up by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:17. He sees them as applying to the preaching of the good news by Jesus through the church. It’s a message of peace with God made possible by Jesus; and peace with all others who have peace with their Creator through Christ. They are united in Him, in His church: built into ‘’a holy temple in the Lord’’ (Ephesians 2:21). This ‘temple’ is made up of people who are reconciled to God and to each other.

But these verses in Isaiah 57 also imply that not everyone will experience God’s peace. You can’t stay ‘’wicked’’ (20, 21) and enjoy it. Spiritual healing and ‘’comfort’’ (18) are for those who repent. As someone said, ‘’The gospel is bad news before it is good news’’. The bad news is that we are born under the judgment of God because of our sin, and if we do not turn away from wrong we cannot be saved.

Here are two complementary truths about God that seem paradoxical: He is transcendent (15a). He is ‘’the high and lofty One’’ who is so far above us He is beyond our reach. Yet He is also immanent (15b). He is close to us; closer even than breathing. And it is possible for a humbly repentant person to have a close and intimate relationship with Him. Such a person who is truly sorry for his or her sins can know God.

By the time Paul quoted verse 19, something significant had taken place. Jesus had been crucified, and the cross makes all the difference!

‘’There is a way for man to rise to that sublime abode; an offering and a sacrifice, A Holy Spirit’s energies; an Advocate with God.’’

Prayer: Thank you Jesus that you made a way where there was no way.

Daily Bible thoughts 770: Tuesday 16th December 2014:

 Psalm 110

This is a Messianic psalm. David wrote it to celebrate the enthronement of a King who was yet to come. Though he did not know who this King was, he saw Him as superior to himself and called Him ‘’Lord’’ (1). Jesus and the New Testament writers understood that he was referring to the Christ, the anointed One, the Messiah (Mark 12:35-37; Acts 2:34-35; Hebrews 1:13). This King will also be ‘’a priest’’ (4). Melchizedek was both priest and king, and so he was a ‘type’, foreshadowing Christ (Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7). This psalm speaks of:

The Messiah’s triumphant rule:

  • Extending out from ‘’Zion’’ (i.e. Jerusalem) to affect the ‘’whole earth’’ (2a, 6). This surely is the story of the spread of Christ’s Kingdom since the day of Pentecost?
  • Not defeated by enemies, even though enemies there will be (2b). In truth, it often looks like the enemies have the upper hand, but they do not. However the ‘game’ looks now, we know the ‘final score’. Jesus now ‘rules’ ‘’in the midst’’ of them.
  • Ultimately overcoming all evil (5, 6). Also note the ‘’until’’ in (1). The ‘’footstool’’ is a metaphor for dominion over one’s enemies (1 Corinthians 15:25; Ephesians 1:22). The Ascended Lord Jesus is going to see every last enemy put down (1 Corinthians 15:25-28). Verses 5-7 have images reminiscent of John’s vision of the final battle in which the Lord Jesus will overcome all the ungodly forces united against Him (Revelation 19:11-21).

The Messiah’s willing troops: The battle is the Lord’s. It is ‘’your day of battle’’ (3a). As someone said, ‘We are fighting from victory and not for victory. The decisive battle has already been fought and won at the cross. Nevertheless, the struggle is real and fierce and calls for a willing army. There is still blood being spilled on the battlefield; there are still casualties. So how willing are we? The soldiers of the King above all kings must be:

  • Willing to serve: prepared to give their lives away to God and to others;
  • Willing to sacrifice: Soldiers in this war must give up the desire for comfort, ease and a quiet life. There is no place in the army for ‘chocolate soldiers’ who melt in the heat of battle;
  • Willing to suffer: life in the trenches cannot be expected to be easy;
  • Willing to die: Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: ‘’When Jesus bids a man come and follow Him, He bids him come and die.’’ There’s more than one way to die. You can’t march out with God without first dying to self. But this war, even though it is already won, may require the ultimate sacrifice. Every Christ follower needs to face and accept the truth that it is a dangerous thing to be a Christian in this hostile world.

The original Hebrew text of (3) is difficult to translate. It is not clear who is ‘’Arrayed in holy majesty’’. If it’s the King, then His youth will be renewed, even as the dawn gives rise to ‘’dew’’ each morning. But if it refers to the soldiers, then they are the ones whose youth will be renewed and who are as abundant as the dew. They will be resourced to serve their King.

Reading this psalm we can be filled with hope. It says to us that in the midst of thick, oppressive darkness and terrible opposition we are right to eagerly anticipate the triumph of Christ’s Kingdom. Prayer: I am grateful to know the final score before the final whistle. It is clear from your Word that Jesus wins in the end, and we win with Him.

Daily Bible thoughts 769: Monday 15th December 2014:

Ephesians 2: 11-22

As I read this, I am reminded that when God called Abraham, it was so that through him and his descendants the whole world would be blessed (Genesis 12: 1-3). That blessing has now come to us.

The people to whom God gives new life, be they Jews or Gentiles, are being built into a new society, the church, in which Jesus Christ has primacy (20b). This ‘’holy temple in the Lord’’ (21) is built on the Scriptures of Old and New Testaments (20a) and is indwelt by the Spirit. It is made up of people who were once estranged from each other but who now find their focus of unity in Jesus (14-16).

If today’s passage can be thought of as a painting, I believe verse 13 is the nail (or hook) on which it hangs. The entire section may be summed up in these words: ‘’But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.’’ Before conversion we Gentile Christians experienced a ‘double estrangement’:

a.) We were estranged from the Jewish people and their privileges (11, 12, 19a; see Romans 9:1-5). We were at a distance from the revelation of God they had that enabled them to know something about Him and relate to Him: ‘’Now because of Christ – dying that death, shedding that blood – you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything. The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance…Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody…That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone.’’ The Message;

b.) More importantly however, we were estranged from God Himself. But through Jesus; through His cross (16, 18) we have access to God. I understand that in the Temple, there was a sign that told the Gentiles to keep out of the court of the Jews, on pain of death. That is all now resolved in Christ (14).

The ‘’He’’ in (17) refers to the Lord Jesus. Post-resurrection, He came to people and ‘’preached peace’’ to them. After His ascension, He continued this preaching ministry in and through the church. In fact, this ministry continues today. There is a double-peace for the double-estrangement. Through Jesus’ sacrifice we can have peace with God, and peace with every other person in Christ. There is a ‘’Consequently’’ (19) to the saving work of Christ: ‘’God is building a home. He’s using us all – irrespective of how we got here – in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day – a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.’’ The Message.

Prayer: Thank you Lord that through Jesus’ sacrifice I have a relationship with you, and I have been brought into a big family with brothers and sisters all over the world. Thank you for this undeserved privilege.

Daily Bible thoughts 768: Friday 12th December 2014

Ephesians 2:1-10
We have to remember that when Paul wrote his letters he did not use chapter or verse divisions. These were added later to help us find our way around the Bible. So Paul’s flow of thought continues on from what we have seen at the end of chapter 1. The power available to the church is essentially the same power that lifted Jesus out of a graveyard and placed Him on the throne of the universe. That is some strength, and our first encounter with it occurred when God sovereignly and graciously moved in our lives to bring us to life out of a state of spiritual death. We actually shared Christ’s resurrection, and that is one way of looking at Christian conversion (John 5:24). We ‘’were dead’’ (1, 5) but that is now past tense. God ‘’made us alive with Christ…raised us up with Christ…’’ (5, 6). The ‘’But God’’ at the heart of this passage has been called ‘’a mighty adversative’’. The big change hinges on this. God has graciously and mercifully and lovingly and kindly stepped in to rescue us from our spiritual enemies (4, 5, 7, and 8). Mercy and grace have been defined like this: ‘’God, in His mercy, does not give us what we do deserve; and God, in His grace, gives us what we do not deserve.’’ Everyone who belongs to Christ can truthfully say, ‘I am what I am by the grace of God. I was stone cold dead and deserved to stay dead. But the Lord came to my tomb, just like He turned up at Lazarus’s, and He called me out into life and daylight.’ (You will see how Paul hammers the point that it is God’s ‘’grace’’ that lies behind this miracle.)
So who are these spiritual enemies who hold us in a vice-like grip until Jesus rescues us? They are the world, the flesh (i.e. the sinful nature) and the devil. All three are mentioned in ( 1-3). I heard a story about a robbery that took place involving three people. During the day, one of them managed to secrete himself away inside the target premises. At night, when everyone else had gone home, he just opened the door and let his two accomplices in, and together they made off with the valuables! Sin is an ‘inside job’. The sinful nature, on the inside, opens up the entryway when the devil comes knocking, using the world as bait. We are sinners by nature and practice, and therefore we are spiritually dead in the sense of Ephesians 4: 18: ‘’separated from the life of God’’. Sin brings death. We are born in sin, and what we are by nature we quickly become by choice. So we need to be rescued by God because only He can provide a resurrection, and nothing other than resurrection life will do. So, we can say:
• We have evacuated the grave with Jesus
• We are enthroned with Jesus (6). Just think, if we are in Jesus and sharing His throne, the devil and all demonic powers are beneath our feet too (1:21ff.)
• We are exhibits for Jesus (7), displaying the kindness of God. It’s interesting that the ‘’we are God’s workmanship’’ of (10) literally means God’s ‘masterpieces’; we are His works of art. The painting does not glorify itself. People admire the painting but rightly give all the credit and praise to the artist.
What a remarkable change in our personal situations. When you live under the strong influence of the world, the flesh and the devil, you live a ‘’dead’’ life of sin, and so you are under the ‘’wrath’’ of God (3b). You are destined to face His judgment and condemnation. But what a difference the mercy and grace of God make. When God intervenes, your entire trajectory changes. You no longer ‘follow’ the ‘’ways of this world’’ (2), which are really the ways of the devil and the flesh (2, 3). Rather, you move in a whole new direction which is set for you by God Himself (10).

Prayer: Lord I marvel at your grace in my life. It truly is ‘amazing.’

Daily Bible thoughts 767: Thursday 11th December 2014:

Isaiah 57:1-13

Although we know that we all have to die, we still sometimes wonder why certain people die; or why they seem, from our perspective, to die prematurely. So here is an interesting angle: do we ever consider what God has taken them from or is sparing them from? Do we pause to think about where He is taking them to? We can be more aware of our loss than their gain (1, 2; see Philippians 1:21-23). These words flow on from words about the ‘blind’ religious leaders, and we need to think about them in that context: ‘’They all look after themselves, grabbing whatever’s not nailed down. ‘’Come,’’ they say,’’let’s have a party. Let’s go out and get drunk!’’ And tomorrow, more of the same: ‘’Let’s live it up!’’ Meanwhile, right-living people die and no one gives them a thought.’’ The Message. You can see that godly people were being removed from a situation that would grieve their souls (see 2 Peter 2:7). They were also being spared many ‘’evil’’ experiences that were to befall a people who were under God’s judgment (3-13); a people who, in the main, had turned to other gods. They had adopted many of the evil, idolatrous practices of the Canaanites, the original inhabitants of the land. A lot of these religious practices involved sexual fertility rites, which were conducted under oaks and other spreading trees (5). Their spiritual adultery showed up in sexual immorality.

Our ‘idols’ may not be images and statues of the ‘’Molech’’ (9) variety. However, if we give ourselves in any way to that which is not God, we will suffer. There will be unwanted consequences. Calvin said that our hearts are idol making factories.Here are four good reasons not to worship other gods:

  • There will be a negative impact on your children (5). Some people literally sacrificed their children to Molech. Some Bible scholars think these verses relate to the reign of King Manasseh of Judah. It was under his reign that Isaiah died. Manasseh was the wicked son of the godly Hezekiah. He persecuted the innocent (2 Kings 21:16) and even sacrificed his own son in the fire (2 Kings 21:6). But there are more ways than one to sacrifice your children. When we set them a bad example by bowing down to the gods of this age we are in danger of leading them down the road to Hell. What do our young ones see us living for? Yes, it is a challenging question!
  • You will have a deeply unsatisfying and frustrating life, even as you try to cram it full with meaning (10). You will live to the soundtrack of ‘’I can’t get no satisfaction’’, whether or not you care to admit it. ‘’You wear yourselves out trying the new and the different, and never see what a waste it all is. You’ve always found strength for the latest fad, never got tired of trying new religions.’’ The Message.
  • There will be the judgment of God upon your works. ‘’Who talked you into the pursuit of this nonsense, leaving me high and dry, forgetting you ever knew me? Because I don’t yell and make a scene do you think I don’t exist? I’ll go over, detail by detail, all your ‘righteous’ attempts at religion, and expose the absurdity of it all.’’ The Message. Because God had ‘’long been silent’’ (11) – that is, He had withheld His judgment, the people had ceased to fear Him. But the truth is that we will all face judgment, and the godly and ungodly will face divergent destinies (13b). You can’t be ‘saved’ if you trust in a false god.
  • You will find your gods fail you when you most need them. They will not; cannot answer prayer (13a). ‘’Go ahead, cry for help to your collection of no-gods: A good wind will blow them away. They’re smoke, nothing but smoke.’’ The Message.

Prayer: Thank you that to be with Jesus is better by far. Help us to believe it.

 

 

Daily Bible thoughts 766: Wednesday 10th December 2014:

 Isaiah 56

‘Beat you to the prayer meeting!’ What God says is important is important! Two things stand out in this chapter as particularly vital:

  • The Sabbath: Although we are not under the law, the Sabbath principle remains an important one for believers now. On this subject I can recommend an excellent book by Pete Scazzero entitled ‘Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.’ God has built into the order of the universe the need for margin in our lives. Without this we will try to cram too much in, and our health will suffer.
  • Prayer: In fact, we could say corporate prayer – the prayer meeting: ‘’…and give them joy in my house of prayer.’’ (7). Because many Christians do not correlate joy and prayer in their thinking, the prayer meeting remains ‘the Cinderella of the church’, as one writer dubbed it. It is unloved, unappreciated and neglected. But what joys await us in God’s ‘’house of prayer’’. Some of them are intimated in this chapter:
  •  The joy of acceptance (3, 6). We Gentile ‘’Foreigners’’ have been ‘’brought near through the blood of Christ’’ (Ephesians 2:13). Because Jesus is our ‘Burnt Offering’; our ‘Sacrifice’ (7), we are ‘’accepted in the Beloved’’ (Ephesians 1:6).
  • The joy of holiness (7a). Between the ages of 17 and 18, because of a house move, I travelled to school every day of the week on the bus, and I liked to go upstairs for the better view. Of course, that was where smoking was permitted. Although I was not a smoker myself, my coat wreaked of tobacco smoke. As we live in this world, even though we try to avoid its filthy, sinful pollution, this is the atmosphere that encircles us; the air we breathe. In some ways we are touched by it. But in prayer we inhale the clean fresh air of God’s Holy presence. It’s like being at the peak of a high mountain where the air is so pure. In holiness there is true pleasure. Compare this with Israel’s blind guides who were seeking their pleasures in fleeting things; in poor and pale substitutes. You might say they weren’t just sitting amid the smokers; they were themselves smoking! God had much better things for them on His ‘’holy mountain’’ ; in His ‘’house of prayer’’. But this they rejected, to their own ruin, and that of their people. It is a part of the church’s very identity to be a temple of prayer.
  • The joy of praying people into the Kingdom (7b, 8). We Gentiles have been joined to believing Jews in the House of God. But the Lord has still more to gather ‘’besides those already gathered’’. We can know the joy of partnering with God to pray them in.
  • The joy of knowledge and understanding (10, 11). There is insight and perspective given to those who seek the Lord. Israel’s ‘’watchmen’’ missed out on this. They were playing when they should have been praying. The need for praying leaders in the church will never go out of date. What joy it is to us when God imparts His wisdom and revelation. If you stay in the smoky atmosphere on top of the bus and never climb prayer mountain your vision will inevitably remain foggy.

The ‘’house of prayer’’ belongs to God, but He calls us to it. Real and lasting joy cannot be divorced from prayer. I have reached a point in my life where I cannot conceive of the joyful life apart from having prayer at the heart of everything. God-centredness and joy go together.

Prayer: Lord pour upon us the Spirit of prayer so that we want to come to your ‘’holy mountain’’.

Daily Bible thoughts 765: Tuesday 9th December 2014:

 Isaiah 55: 8-13

‘Let it snow…’ (And let it rain too!) God doesn’t think or work as we do. He is God, so His thoughts and ways are inevitably ‘’higher’’ than ours (8, 9): ‘’As the heavens are higher than the earth’’. So the question is, ‘How will these high thoughts and ways come down to affect us at ‘ground-level’? The answer is, ‘By means of God’s ‘’word’’ ‘(10, 11). His ‘’thoughts’’ and ‘’ways’’ are revealed in His Word. That Word is like ‘’the rain and the snow’’ which falls ‘’down from heaven’’ and is productive in this world, causing growth and fruitfulness. It may seem to be wasted, but it isn’t.There is a huge, indeed immeasurable, gulf between God’s infinite Mind, and our puny, finite minds. How can that be bridged? By means of God’s refreshing Word. The Bible doesn’t tell us everything there is to know, but it does reveal everything God wants us to know; all that we need to know in order to be saved by Him.

So, we can be encouraged by these thoughts:

  • God’s prophetic Word is effective: God was going to restore the exiled captives among His people (12, 13). He had said this again and again through Isaiah. What He had said, that He would do. In fact, from our perspective we can say ‘This He has done!’ In these verses we can also catch a glimpse of the ultimate coming of God’s Kingdom, and this He will do. God’s speaking and His working cannot be separated; His Word is as good as His act.
  • God’s written Word is effective: It is like rain and snow falling on our hearts, changing the inner (and outer) landscape, making us fruitful and beautiful. People don’t always like rain and snow, and as God’s Word falls on us it can sometimes feel like being caught in unpleasant weather. But His Word goes to work on us and changes us – even when we are not aware of anything much happening.
  • God’s preached Word is effective: Generations of preachers have drawn strength from these words. They have visited this well; this oasis in the wilderness and found refreshment. How many times have we heard these words quoted in prayer meetings? They are true. We can count on them. We may not see results from our preaching. Or, we may not see all possible results. But results there will be if we are preaching God’s Word and not using a ‘snow machine’. It’s got to be the real thing.

‘’Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, Doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, so will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.’’ The Message.

Prayer: How I thank you Lord that your Word is ‘’living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates…it judges…’’ (Hebrews 4:12). Thank you that it works effectively in our lives to change us into the likeness of Christ.

Daily Bible thoughts 764: Monday 8th December 2014:

 Isaiah 55:1-7

‘’Come…Listen…Seek…’’ Verse 2 poses a relevant question: ‘’Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?’’ The Message. This has relevance for every day of the year, but it seems especially pertinent as we approach another Christmas. The festive round of over-indulging on drink, food and presents is about to begin. Come 2nd January, people will find that they are no more satisfied than they were last year, or any other. The binge will once more lead to the same disappointing results: feeling flat, fat, and broke (and even in debt.) And all through the year we give our time and efforts to things that cannot fill the inner void. ‘’ Why be content with that which is not real food, which does not truly satisfy? The question is addressed to the Jewish exiles in Babylon, who were becoming complacent; they were getting comfortable in Babylon. And the Lord asks them: Are you really satisfied with the things Babylon has to offer? Is this all you were created for?’’ Tom Hale: The Applied Old Testament Commentary, pages 1058, 1059.In this passage God calls His people to find their deep, true satisfaction in Him alone. The words, originally addressed to the exiles in Babylon as we have seen, have relevance to us today. We are called away from obsession with things that do not fulfil to a profound God-centeredness. The invitation says:

  • ‘’Come…’’ (1). Four times in the first verse you read this word. God calls us to come to Him, and our spiritual hunger and thirst will be freely The cost to God was incalculable (Isaiah 53), but the gift to you and me is free. As you read these words in Isaiah, you may also call to mind the words of Jesus (John 4: 10, 13, 14; 7:37-39; Revelation 22:17; John 6:35). What Jesus said must have had a significant Old Testament resonance in the ears of those who heard Him. When God appeared on earth in human form He was still saying ‘’Come’’. It’s been pointed out though that it is hard to give spiritual blessings to those who don’t want them; to give the good news of the gospel to those who are disinterested. There must be ‘thirst’. ‘’Hey there! All who are thirsty, come to the water! Are you penniless? Come anyway-buy and eat! Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk. Buy without money-everything’s free!’’ The Message.
  • ‘’Listen…’’ (2b, 3a). See also ‘’Give ear’’ and ‘’hear’’. If we come to God we must also listen to Him, if we are to benefit from being near Him. We have to ‘apply’ ourselves to His truth (as we saw a couple of days ago). ‘’Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words.’’ The Message.
  • ‘’Seek…’’ (6, 7; see Jeremiah 29:13, 14). A life of going hard after God begins with repentance and continues down that road. It is not enough to deeply desire God’s blessings; we have to also want to progress in His ways. There is wonderful promise here for the truly repentant. But there is also an urgency; a warning that the ‘door of the ark’ will not always be open. There is a day of opportunity that will pass. So, now is the time to seek the Lord.

If we come to God, listen to Him and seek Him, turning from all He shows us to be wrong, He will make our lives ‘missional’ (5). He will attract people to Himself through us (see Titus 2:9, 10). Ultimately, the promise to David is worked out in Jesus (3; see Acts 13:34), who will bring people from all nations to Himself through the witness of His people (Matthew 28:19.)

Prayer: Lord God, I very much want to take you up on your invitation. So I come to you in order to hear your voice and obey. Please help me to do so.

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