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Showing posts from December 15, 2015

The Punishment of the Serpent

The Punishment of the Serpent
Genesis 3:14–15

The serpent’s punishment has three aspects: (1) consignment to crawling on its belly, (2) the eating of dust “all the days of your life” (v. 14), and (3) its ultimate destruction by the wounded “seed” of the woman (v. 15). Several elements in the oracle echo the temptation (3:1–5). “Cursed” (ʾārûr) is another wordplay on the earlier “crafty” (ʿārûm; cf. 3:1). Both verses describe the serpent’s distinction within the animal world. Ill-use of his shrewdness resulted in divine censure. “Eating” dust reflects Eve’s temptation to “eat” of the tree and the couple’s subsequent fall by eating. Also the retaliation of the woman’s seed over against the viper’s offspring (v. 15) answers the snake’s first triumph. His triumph will not be the last word.

Mathews, K. A. Genesis 1-11:26. Vol. 1A. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996. Print. The New American Commentary.

Remain in Me and I in You

Remain in Me and I in You
John 15:4

The first sentence of v. 4 can be taken in one of three ways; all of them make sense. (1) Conditional: ‘If you remain in me, I will remain in you’ (which is the assumption of the niv’s rendering). Read in this way, the believer’s perseverance in remaining in Jesus is the occasional cause, not the ultimate cause, of Jesus’ remaining in the believer (cf. 8:31–32; 15:9–11). (2) Comparison: ‘Remain in me, as I remain in you’ (the Greek allows this: the second clause has no verb, but simply ‘and I in you’). The thought is coherent enough; the ‘and’ (as opposed to ‘as’) is mildly surprising. In the context of the threats on both sides of the verse, it is indefensible to take the ‘I in you’ as an absolute promise regardless of the perseverance or fickleness of the ostensible believer. (3) Mutual imperative: ‘Let us both remain in each other’, ‘Let there be mutual indwelling’. Again, however, the syntax is strange: the strong second person imperative i…

The Royal Law

The Royal Law

The alternatives are clear. Love is right. Favoritism is sin. James was optimistic; the “if-clause,” if you really keep the royal law, was written in Greek in such a way that an obedient response was anticipated. The “royal law” was given in Leviticus 19:18 and affirmed by Christ (Matt. 22:39): Love your neighbor as yourself. The law is royal or regal (basilikon, from basileus,“king”) because it is decreed by the King of kings, is fit for a king, and is considered the king of laws. The phrase reflects the Latin lex regia known throughout the Roman Empire. Obedience to this law, nonpreferential love, is the answer to the evident disobedience to God’s Law, prejudicial favoritism.

Blue, J. Ronald. “James.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 824. Print.

Gabriel Announces Christ’s Birth

Gabriel Announces Christ’s Birth
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

The New King James Version (Lk 1:26-33). Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

December 15

Now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love
1 Cor. 13:13 (R.V.)
Love is the greatest thing that God can give us: for Himself is Love; and it is the greatest thing we can give to God: for it will give ourselves, and carry with it all that is ours.

Jeremy Taylor

Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.

Connect the Testaments

December 15: After the Storm
Jeremiah 29:1–30:24; Romans 6:1–14; Proverbs 20:13–30

As we blink and squint in the light that emerges after a storm, we marvel that the sun was there all along and we just couldn’t see it. The same is true during times of difficulty. When we’re in pain or worried, it seems impossible to find God, but in retrospect, it always seems obvious: God was there all along.
Jeremiah prophesied to God’s people about their unraveling. The people heard words from Jeremiah’s mouth that must have seemed hopeless and full of despair. But in Jeremiah 29, we catch a glimpse of the light that comes after: “Build houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and father sons and daughters … and multiply there, and you must not be few” (Jer 29:5–6).
Even in exile, God will continue to guide His people. Because of their sins, they have endured (and lost) war and have been driven away from the land that God gave them; but God remains with them nonethe…

My Utmost for His Highest

December 15th
Approved unto God

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15.

If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle until you can. If you do not, someone will be the poorer all the days of his life. Struggle to re-express some truth of God to yourself, and God will use that expression to someone else. Go through the wine press of God where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle to get expression experimentally, then there will come a time when that expression will become the very wine of strengthening to someone else; but if you say lazily—‘I am not going to struggle to express this thing for myself, I will borrow what I say,’ the expression will not only be of no use to you, but of no use to anyone. Try to re-state to yourself what you implicitly feel to be God’s truth, and you give God a chance to pass it on to someone else through you.
Always make a practice of provoking your…

Morning and Evening

Morning, December 15      Go To Evening Reading
         “Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.”  — Ruth 1:14
Both of them had an affection for Naomi, and therefore set out with her upon her return to the land of Judah. But the hour of test came; Naomi most unselfishly set before each of them the trials which awaited them, and bade them if they cared for ease and comfort to return to their Moabitish friends. At first both of them declared that they would cast in their lot with the Lord’s people; but upon still further consideration Orpah with much grief and a respectful kiss left her mother in law, and her people, and her God, and went back to her idolatrous friends, while Ruth with all her heart gave herself up to the God of her mother in law. It is one thing to love the ways of the Lord when all is fair, and quite another to cleave to them under all discouragements and difficulties. The kiss of outward profession is very cheap and easy, but the practical cleaving …