This intriguing account, structured chiastically, tells how God disinherits and scatters peoples across the earth and assigned members of His divine council to govern each nation (cf. Dt 32:8-9, ESV) — before taking Israel as His special inheritance (cf. the Call of Abraham in Genesis 12f.) to establish His Kingdom.
In Psalm 82, God (Elohim, singular) stands in the divine assembly of elohim (plural)– lesser, created, divine/spiritual beings. At least some of these elohim are condemned by God for not exercising justice when governing the nations. They were supposed to govern justly concerning the poor, needy, fatherless, powerless – but they didn’t do their job. Therefore God says these disobedient elohim will die like mortals. Then the Psalmist prays that the LORD manifests His justice over all the nations – for they’re all, ultimately, the LORD’s inheritance.
In this account, Paul and his companions are prevented from traveling to certain areas in Asia. Instead, through a dream, they are directed to the Roman colony, Philippi, in the region of Macdeonia. There, apparently, the Gospel is spread for the first time in Europe. They meet Lydia, a God-fearing woman of some means. She becomes a believer and puts her faith into action.
The fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge and wisdom. We must acknowledge that we creatures lack the knowledge and wisdom of the Creator. Thus, it only makes sense to follow the Creator of life’s instructions for life. We are to trust in the LORD entirely and exclusively, not in our feeble understanding. In everything we do, we are to submit to Him, and He will make our paths straight (morally). Let us not rely on our own moral compass and ethical judgments, for it is the LORD who is the ultimate Judge.
In this angelic rescue, Peter is passive; God is active. Echoing language and themes of Passover, the account emphasizes human recognition of divine rescue. Being a witness for Christ may result in persecution and even death. But God is able to preserve us for His purpose – if He so chooses — Just as He did at the First Passover. Let’s not be surprised if/when He does
Research suggests that the modern conception of freedom — our most cherished value — is almost purely negative (i.e., freedom *from* constraints). The Truth of Jesus gives (negative) freedom *from* sin and (positive) freedom *to* fulfill our original purpose — right relationship with God. Though our culture often co-opts His words, His is the Truth that truly “will set you free.”
Children resemble their parents; Children of God must resemble their Heavenly Father. We must have a distinctive family resemblance — that sets us apart from the world. We must strive to be holy as He is holy. We must be the salt of the earth, and light of the world.
We cannot conform to our culture; We have to be distinct, set apart — holy. In doing so, we will be the salt of the earth that prevents moral decay and adds Christian flavor. And we’ll be the light of the world that dispels darkness and attracts others to the light of Christ — bringing glory to our Heavenly Father, the King
In the last of the traditional ‘Seven Last Words’ of Jesus from the cross, Christ quotes the first half of Psalm 31:5. This good ole Jewish song had become a good ole Jewish (bedtime) prayer. Just as Jews would pray this prayer, trusting their Heavenly Father to awaken them from sleep, Jesus also prays this prayer, trusting the Heavenly Father to awaken Him from death (cf. Lk 9:22, 18:31-33).
This popular prophecy of Isaiah (8th century BC) foretells of a Suffering Servant whose substitutionary, atoning death would heal the broken relationship between God and His people. In the NT, Jesus is identified as this messianic figure who was humbled before being exalted…