January 2

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“Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one” (Psalms 2:1-2 NLT).

From: January 2, 2019

PRAYING AND PREACHING THE WORD

The Spirit inspired David to write these verses concerning the futility of the world’s kingdoms conspiring against the Lord and against His “anointed one” (מָשִׁיחַ, mashiyach), which is the Messiah, the Christ. Centuries later, the Spirit inspired the early Christians to pray these verses back to God after Peter and John had been jailed and warned by the Sanhedrin to stop teaching in the name of Jesus. In their prayer, they identified Pilate and Herod along with the Gentiles and Jewish leaders as conspiring against the Lord’s anointed one, Jesus, just as the Spirit had revealed to David (Acts 4:23-31). When they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken and they went out and preached the Word boldly.
 
PRAYER: Lord, help us not only to read and hear Your Word, but also to pray it and preach it. And not just in dry understanding, but empowered by the Spirit, so that we and those around us are shaken by Your presence. And let us not be afraid when the world’s kings and nations conspire and prepare for battle, knowing that their plans are futile, but Yours are perfect and eternal. Now, send us out again with Your Word and Spirit, in the name of Your Anointed One, Jesus, we pray. Amen.

“The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness” (Genesis 3:6-7 NLT).

From: January 2, 2018

Genesis 3 tells the story of what the poet, John Milton called, “Paradise Lost.” For Adam and Eve gave in to the three-fold temptation of eating the forbidden fruit. Notice the three observations that Eve makes of the forbidden fruit: 1) It was “beautiful” to the eyes, 2) it looked like it would taste “delicious,” and 3) the serpent had promised it would make her wise “like God.” At the very “moment” of eating the fruit, humanity’s innocence was lost and so was paradise.
 
The apostle John recognized this three-fold weakness of humanity. He wrote, “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world” (1 John 2:16).
 
Yet, Jesus Christ, as the “second Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45-49), has overcome this three-fold temptation (see Matt. 4:1-11). So, that when we are found in Christ, we are overcomers too (1 John 5:5).

“And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26 NKJV).

From: January 2, 2017

After Adam and Eve’s firstborn son, Cain, slew their son, Abel, they must have despaired of ever seeing the son of promise (see Gen. 3:15) being born to them. Cain’s fratricide had essentially denied them both of their sons. Yet, God “appointed” another son to be born to Eve, and she named him Seth. And to Seth a son was born that he named “Enosh.” The name “Enosh” means “man,” as in “mankind” or “human.” It was to this line, the line of Seth and Enosh, that the promised Messiah would someday be born, who also would be called the “Son of Man” (In Aramaic, “Bar-Enosh,” see Daniel 7:13). And it was this line of Enosh that “began to call on the name of the Lord” in prayer and worship. The doctrines of the creation and of the fall have been introduced, and now the doctrine of salvation begins to unfold. The Bible covers many topics, but it is primarily a love story of God’s redemption of humanity (“enosh”) through His Son Jesus, the Son of Man (“Bar-Enosh”). The entire Old Testament is preparation for this promised Son that would be revealed in the New. Look for Him on every page. Christ and the gospel are the lens through which the Bible is rightly understood. Finding Him there, we join those who call on the Name of the Lord.

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15 ESV)

From: January 2, 2016

Even within the curse of sin, God gave a promise. Some have called Gen. 3:15 the “protoevangelium,” the “first good news,” because it speaks of an “offspring” of the woman that will “bruise” the head of the serpent. That this promised “offspring” or literally, “seed,” will come through the woman foreshadows the virgin birth of Christ, as women have no “seed.” That this one should be bruised of the serpent (or Satan), points to his suffering on the cross. But that the serpent’s head shall be bruised of him, points to his ultimate victory over evil through the resurrection. God removed humanity from the garden because of their sin, but He left them with a promise that one of their descendants would save them from their sin. In Christ, God has kept that promise.

“…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son’” (Matthew 2:15b NKJV)

From: January 2, 2015

Some have asked why are there four gospels? The answer is uncertain, but clearly, each gospel has a unique perspective and purpose. Matthew shows us Jesus the King, Mark describes Him as Servant, Luke sees the Man, and John leads us to worship Jesus as God. In our Matthew reading today there are many references to “fulfilled” prophecies. Matthew is the most concerned to point these out to us. He clearly wrote to a Jewish audience and wanted to give them confidence that Jesus was the true Messiah and the rightful born King in the line of David. The lineage Matthew records in chapter one is to establish legal right to the throne through His adoptive father, Joseph (Whereas, Luke records Mary’s lineage, establishing Jesus’ biological connection to the house of David). In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is presented as a child living in a house in Bethlehem to which Magi bring Him gifts fit for a king (While in Luke, He is a lowly infant born in a manger). In Matthew 2:15, he quotes from the prophet Hosea (Hos.11:1) explaining His connection to Egypt. In Matthew chapter two alone there are four Messianic prophecies mentioned to point out how Christ fulfilled them.
Why did Matthew write His gospel? I believe the Spirit inspired him to organize his gospel, so that we might see Jesus as the One who fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy to be recognized as the Christ, the Son of David, the Son God and the King of Kings.

“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Proverbs 1:7)

From: January 2, 2014

The one who reads and studies Proverbs is promised wisdom. What is the foundation of this understanding? The fear of the Lord. In Matthew 10:28, Jesus said not to fear those who can only kill the body, but instead to fear the One who can send both body and soul to hell. For those who have received Jesus, the fear of judgment and hell is removed. Yet, the fear of God’s holy displeasure is not. As His children we want to please the Father. We “fear” (respect, honor) Him so much that we do not want to leave any sin unconfessed. The fool however, has not learned this healthy fear.