Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 23

OT: Isaiah 41:17-43:13

I'm really tired tonight, so I'm going to be doing well to get the basic gist of this passage:

41:17-20--God tells of how He will provide the thirsty with water in order to reveal Himself to His people.

41:21-24--God talks about the uselessness of idols.

41: 25-42:9--God prophecies a time when He will send a powerful servant. Much of this prophecy has been applied to Jesus:

"A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice" (3).

I've heard this verse used to describe Jesus' nature. Also, verses 6-7 seem particularly applicable:

""I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,

to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness."

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm not an expert at OT verse application, but that does really seem to describe Jesus to me.

42:10-13--Praise for God.

42:14-25--Bad news for those who wouldn't turn to God.

43:1-7--Good news for those who do turn to God.

43: 8-13--Seems to center around the sovereignty of God.

That's a really rough outline, but just writing it helped me to focus what little energy I had on the actual words of the passage.

Ephesians 2:1-22

It appears from today's reading that Paul is talking to at least a partially Gentile audience, whereas in Galatians, he was talking primarily to Jews. There were several references to Gentiles being brought to God through Jesus (11-13, 17-21). My favorite verse along those lines is verse 19: "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household." I love that image of reconciliation, and I love the idea, stated earlier, that Christ "himself is our peace" (14).

My favorite verse in this section, though, is Ephesians 2:10, which says, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." I still remember the first time that this verse was drawn to my attention. I was a teenager in an all-student Bible study, and a boy about five years younger than me pointed this verse out and noted that God even prepares our good works for us. His point was that we could not take credit for anything we do; it's all from God. Since then, I have grown to love the snapshot of our identity that is found in this verse. Who are we? God's workmanship. What is our purpose? To do good works. What good works? The ones that God prepared in advance for us. There is something so comforting about that passage to me. I guess I love to see my life as part of a divine plan, and in my heart, I long to give myself over to something bigger than me. And so I especially love the idea that all the good that I do is in fulfillment of God's plan for me, that He, in fact, prepared those good works in advance for me.

Psalm 67:1-7

A short and simple praise song.

Proverbs 23:29-35

Whoa! That's a lot of proverbs for this reading plan! They all center around drunkenness, which is probably why they are all grouped together.

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