Sunday 2 February 2014

TFTD - 01 February 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

01 February 2014

Exodus 5; 6
Psalms 58; 59
Romans 10; 11


As a sequel to our thoughts yesterday we now note how our readings in Romans also refer to Israel in Egypt and God's continuing purpose with them. Paul writes, "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, 'For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth'" [Romans 9:17]

It was not that the actual name of God, Yahweh, should be proclaimed, but that the reputation of Israel's God in bringing them out of Egypt, with a remarkable display of power, would be widely known and feared. We will see repeated evidence of this in our readings in coming weeks and months.

There are different reactions to this. The reaction hoped for, is that people will want to come and work and serve Israel's God - as the only real God. Now look at what Paul goes on to write in Romans 10, expressing his dismay that the Israelites in his day "have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge" [Romans 10:2] What does that mean?

Recall what we read in Job at the end of December. God accuses Job of darkening "counsel by words without knowledge" [Job 38:2]. Job confesses, "I have uttered what I did not understand, things to wonderful for me which I did not know … I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you" [Job 42:3-5]

So Paul in Romans 10 says to the Jews, "being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness" [Romans 10:3] This is "the righteousness based on faith" [Romans 10:6]. This is "having the eyes of your hearts enlightened" [Ephesians 1:18] So we see the Jews, although having a zeal for God, did not have a "knowledge" of God. Think of that as a 'knowing' of God which results in developing a true relationship with our prayers to him coming from our heart with a sense of awe. Understanding this we can then read Romans 10:8-13 with a humble mind, and God will be seen as "bestowing his riches on all who call upon him" [Romans 10:12] These are wonderful compared to man's riches. What are God's riches? Meditate on the final 4 verses of Romans 11, "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!"
- DC

Thought for the Day

01 February 2014

"We are all subjected in our everyday lives to tests which will show if we will be loyal to Jesus under all circumstances. Persecutions may at some time be added to these. Tests of whatever kind are not pleasant but we must remember when undergoing them that our Lord has been tested, tempted in every way that we are. We serve a Master not only of infinite power but of infinite understanding."

- W.L. Bedwell
The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia

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