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He Is Ransom

From the writing of Psalm 55

He ransoms me and keeps me safe

    from the battle waged against me,

    though many still oppose me.

19 

God, who has ruled forever,

    will hear me and humble them. Interlude

For my enemies refuse to change their ways;

    they do not fear God.

He which is enemies who dwell over me from the battle which is waged against the inner and outer being of who I am in spirit and in physical bodies through men and God still have oppositions against the Father and the good of men which includes in me

God, who has ruled authorities over nations and worldwide forever,

    will hear me in his works he has shown many and performed though his servants and humble them. Interlude

For my enemies refuse to change their ways;

    they do not fear God. The draw pleasure in the wrongs they do in being servants of the world and unruly sin not in a faith walk with God living a godly rule

What Does Psalm 55:6 Mean? ►

I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.

Psalm 55:6(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

David is the author of Psalm 55, and he bemoans the shocking fact that his own familiar friend, whom he loved and trusted, betrayed him. A trusted companion, with whom David had enjoyed hours of sweet fellowship turned on him and was unimaginably disloyal. David and his bosom companion had spent much time together, in one another’s company. They had communed together, fellowshiped together, and walked together in the house of God. No wonder David’s heart was in such anguish.

It was not simply a difference of opinion that cause these two friends to go their separate ways. It was not life’s circumstances that had caused them to be detached from the close bond that had anchored them together in spirit. This was not a parting of the ways, due to the ebb and flow of life, that so often happens when circumstances dictate that two kindred spirits are separated from one another. 

This was a deliberate, premeditated betrayal of a trusted friend, that caused David to cry out, “My heart is in anguish within me. The terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling has come upon me. Horror has overwhelmed me.” It is no surprise that David cried out in great dismay and deep distress, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.”

This man of God longed that he could escape the terrible situation and distressing betrayal of his beloved friend. So shocking was this soul-mate’s disloyalty that David would have fled to the desert to find solace. I wonder if David’s thoughts travelled back to the wilderness wanderings of the children of Israel, when God provided the comfort and strength his forefathers needed, as they trudged around the desert for 40 years.

I wonder if his thoughts travelled back to the ark of Noah, after the grueling experience of the flood, when a little dove was released through the window of the ark and was the only bird that brought comfort and hope back to Noah and his family, as they waited for the waters of judgement to subside. Perhaps David’s mind retreated to the sacrificial offering of two turtledoves that Israel was commanded to perform, on certain high days and holy days. 

I wonder if David considered the dove as a symbol of peace, as he reflected on the Spirit of God, Who brooded over the dark waters, in the beginning, and brought order out of chaos… as God spoke the world into being and sustained His creation by the might of His power. I wonder if David had an understanding that the dove would become the most familiar symbol of God’s sustaining power, grace, and comfort in the body of Christ.. or if at that moment he simply saw a little dove, fluttering into his courtyard.

I wonder if David knew that the Psalm that he was writing was Messianic. I wonder if he knew it was a signpost that points us to Jesus, and His familiar friend and beloved disciple – Judas Iscariot, who would betray the Lord of Glory for thirty pieces of silver. I wonder if David knew that the Psalm he was writing in his deep distress would be a peculiar pointer to great David’s greater Son – God’s Anointed Saviour, Who would be despised and rejected of men – a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief – so that the fallen race of man could be redeemed by faith.

David wanted to run away from the dire circumstances that caused such deep despair. He wanted to flee far from the person who had caused him such anguish of heart. He wanted the horrors of life that surrounded him, at that time, to be removed far away… but David had to learn that you can’t run away from the circumstances of life, you can’t escape from those that would do you harm, you can’t live in this world and be free from trials and tribulations, you can’t fly away to a deserted place and be at rest, for we live in a fallen world, we inhabit a fallen body and we live among a fallen race of fallen creatures.

No! The only place to run is into the arms of Jesus. The only escape is to be positioned in Christ, by faith, and empowered by His Holy Spirit. The only way to be at rest is to abide in Christ and to have Him abiding in us, every moment of the day – as we walk in spirit and truth, as we trust in the Lord with all our heart, as we keep self nailed to the cross, and as we die to self and live for Him.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/psalm-55-6

For turning to the deform world to the vision of God is like turning to a pastor and saying do you know God? Knowing that a Pastor needs a specific calling and guide and guidance. To be trained with the knowledge to speak brave in the word of God you can not just claim to be a pastor or healer it needs proof of the assessment and assignment that was given

Then once you have provided your case and showed your proof against you to state your case your claim and your theory without any of that you have no validation of theory, and case or even your own story you’re trying to share with other in point run to the father and claim his gift of love In who he is in all he does and in his walk in faith beside God in honor of God and respect of love he showed by sending us his son to that of the cross

Be Happy With The Happy Weep With The Sorrowful

VERSE OF THE DAY

Romans 12:15 (New Living Translation)

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Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

Be at joy and happy in the bliss of joy with others who are joyful and cry in sorrows with those who weep love and support each other

15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and aweep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but acondescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own bconceits.

QUESTION

What does it mean to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15)?

ANSWER

In Romans 12:1–2 Paul explains believers’ responsibilities to present their bodies to God as a living and holy sacrifice, to be transformed by the renewing of the mind, and to avoid being conformed to the world. One specific way we express the transformation of a renewed mind is to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). God is great in mercy, and He intends for us to live lives that reflect that mercy. Believers should walk humbly, not thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought (Romans 12:3), in part because we are all members of the body of Christ. In a sense, we are all part of each other (Romans 12:4–5)—we are family.

God has given believers various ways to express His grace to others (some call these “gifts” or “spiritual gifts”), and Paul explains how we should carefully and faithfully express His grace to each other, using the tools God has provided (Romans 12:6–8). There are some ways we can express grace uniquely—we may have certain gifts, skills, or tools that someone else might not. But then there are ways that we are all expected to express His grace to others, and Paul discusses some of those in Romans 12:9 and following, all the way through the end of Romans 15.

One way that we express God’s grace to each other is identified in Romans 12:15—we rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Paul adds an instruction that we be of the same mind with each other (Romans 12:16). If a brother or sister is rejoicing over something wonderful that has happened, we should share in that joy. We are members of the same body—we are family. We should take joy in that which brings our brothers and sisters joy.

Conversely, we need to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). There are times of sadness or heartbreak. There are times of grief, and when others are encountering those difficult times, we can come alongside them and share that burden with them. Consider how in 1 Thessalonians 4:13–17 Paul explains that, when a loved one who is in Christ dies, he or she will one day be resurrected, and we will be together with the Lord. Because of that truth, we don’t need to grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Still, there is grief. And when a brother or sister encounters grief, we shouldn’t tell him or her to “get over it” or even remind the grieving one that he or she should always rejoice (1 Thessalonians 5:16). On the contrary, Paul helps us understand we should be devoted to one another in brotherly love (Romans 12:10), and we need to weep with those who weep. While it is certainly true that we should always rejoice and that we don’t ever have a hopeless grief, we need to express grace and love and weep with those who weep.

Perhaps one of the most beautiful examples of weeping with those who weep is found in the shortest verse in the Bible—“Jesus wept” (John 11:35). When Lazarus died, Jesus traveled to Bethany with the intention of raising him from the dead. Given Christ’s knowledge, it would seem there was no reason for Him to grieve, but when He was around those who were stricken with grief, Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” (John 11:33), and He wept. In the same way, even though we know that God always designs a positive outcome for those who love Him (Romans 8:28), it is still right for us to share the burden of grief and help each other through the pains of life. To weep with those who weep is part of being family in the body of Christ.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Letter to the Romans: New International Commentary on the New Testament by Douglas J. Moo

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Romans 12:15

by Grant | Feb 6, 2014 | Romans | 0 comments

Read Introduction to Romans

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

This verse deals with the subject of Christian empathy, not sympathy. Sympathy is subjective emotionalism, whereas empathy is the ability to objectively relate to another person’s situation. Empathy is the ability to identify with people in their problems. To love with empathy is to put oneself in the place of another. It is the ability to project oneself into the needs of another person.

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice,

When we are jealous of another’s success, we cannot rejoice with him because we are in the business of comparing ourselves as being more favorable than he is. A loving person takes pleasure in another’s success. It is more difficult to emphasize with a person’s joys than his sorrows; in the first case the other person needs us, and in the other case he does not.

1 Co 12:26, And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

2 Co 2:3, My joy is the joy of you all.

weep with those who weep.

A hard heart has no compassion for those who sorrow. A loving person is not glad at the calamity of others.

Jn 11:35, Jesus wept.

PRINCIPLE:

The true Christian cannot be selfishly indifferent to others.

APPLICATION:

Both rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep are indications of Christian love. Envy and rivalry do not emphasize with others because those sins are self-centered. That attitude is “me against the world.” True biblical attitude is other centered.

« Romans 12:14

Romans 12:16 »

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

We are not alone. God has given us each other to live our lives for him and get us back home to him. Along the way, we want to share each others burdens, soar on each others joys, and love each others hurts. There is no such thing as a solo Christian.

My Prayer…

Loving Father, lead me to the people today who need their burdens lifted and their joys shared. Let me be your presence in the world of your children today. This I ask in Jesus name. Amen.

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

While misery may love company, grief tends to make us withdraw and hide. Let’s remember those who have lost loved ones, especially this time of year. Let them know how you valued their loved one and miss him or her, too. Please keep these folks in your prayers and in your social plans, as well. In addition, make this a season of true joy — affirm others by rejoicing in their blessings.

My Prayer…

Holy God and comforting Father, please give me eyes to see and a heart to offer loving care to those around me who are grieving. During this special time of year, please use me to be a blessing to those in sorrow. In addition, dear God, help me to also encourage and support the joy of those who are rejoicing around me. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.

Scriptural Commentary

(or Inspired Babbling)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Romans 12:15-17

“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.”

Romans 12:15-17

I think that Paul gives us some excellent, inspired advice here about how God would like us to behave.  God’s suggestions for us here will lead us to being kinder and making the world a better place.  They will also help us learn to be happier and more satisfied with life and ourselves. 🙂  … You don’t get better advice than that.

The first verse seems to be basically asking us to have empathy for other people… to understand their emotion and to feel with them.  I think that is an important lesson in life: to understand how to step outside ourselves and to see from other people’s perspectives.  It is *so* easy to be selfish and only look at how things affect us.  But if we take the step, and try to see how other people experience life, and how it feels to be in their shoes, it gives us a chance to learn to be more compassionate, more caring… to understand other people and know how to help them and get along with them.

The second verse goes further and asks us to think of each other as equals… of those other perspectives as important and as in need of expression as our own.  We’re asked not to base our judgements on income, social status, title, or power… or anything else that makes us feel above each other.  As we learn to see from the perspective of the poor and other “low” places as seen by society, and if we avoid assuming that people are in a certain position because of being less wise or less intelligent… or less anything, we’ll learn a lot more about them, and ourselves, and how we can get along and help each other.

The last verse asks us not to perpetuate evil… not to get “revenge” for being treated badly, and not to lash out even when someone else started it.  We’re also asked to be honest… not just in our estimation, kind of skirting around the edge of the lie and being vague… but to be completely honest, from the perspective of everyone.

Today, let’s take this advice to heart.  Let’s work on understanding other people, and on thinking of them as equals.  Let’s promote goodness and honesty even when we encounter otherwise.  Let’s make the world brighter. 🙂

What does Romans 12:15 mean?

Of all people, Christians should be masters of empathy, according to Paul. He commands those who are in Christ to be submissive to each other even in our emotions. Nothing communicates sincere love and concern for another person more powerfully than recognizing and joining in their highs and lows. We show love by empathizing with their seasons of celebration and allowing ourselves to feel broken with them in their seasons of heartache.

Jesus Himself powerfully modeled this in John 11:33–35. He was deeply moved and wept with Mary and the others after Lazarus had died. Jesus knew He would raise Lazarus from dead, but that did not keep Him from joining in the sadness of those experiencing the loss.

Saved believers have been shown great grace by God (Romans 3:23–24), who experienced our temptations and suffering (Hebrews 4:15–16). Just as Christians, who have been shown great mercy, ought to be merciful to others (Romans 11:30–31; Ephesians 4:32), so too should they reflect God’s empathy through compassion for others.

Context Summary

Romans 12:9–21 is a list of numerous brief, bullet-pointed commands. Taken together, they paint a picture of what the living-sacrifice Christian life should look like. The unifying theme of the list is setting ourselves aside, to effectively love and serve the Lord, each other, and even our enemies. We must serve with enthusiasm and focus, mastering our emotions to rejoice in our future and be patient in our present. We must refuse to sink to evil’s level in taking revenge and instead overcome evil by doing good to those who harm us.

Chapter Summary

In Romans 12, Paul describes the worship of our God as becoming living sacrifices to our God, giving up seeking what we want from life and learning to know and serve what God wants. That begins with using our spiritual gifts to serve each other in the church. Paul’s list of commands describes a lifestyle of setting ourselves aside. Our goal as Christians is to love and lift each other up. We must focus our expectation on eternity and wait with patience and prayer for our Father to provide. We must refuse to sink to evil’s level, giving good to those who harm us instead of revenge

I Don’t Know When I’ll Die

Genesis 27:2

New Living Translation

2 “I am an old man now,” Isaac said, “and I don’t know when I may die.

As isaaac stated in the Bible though he was old he said it just right we never know when we’ll die God only knows our numbered days, hours, timing we don’t our days are shortly numbered we could go anytime some may be old some may be young some maybe right away only God knows why and when for sometimes what we think is the way God is planning things it actually doesn’t always go as planned leaving question like why? or Who? Then we don’t always understand purposes of God’s plan because what we believed to be did not go the way we saw

Genesis 27:2

And he said, behold, now I am old
(See Gill on Genesis 27:1): I know not the day of my death;
how soon it will be; everyone knows he must die, but the day and hour he knows not, neither young nor old; and though young men may promise themselves many days and years, an old man cannot, but must or should live in the constant expectation of death.

Genesis Chapter 27

Genesis 27 – Jacob Deceptively Gains the Blessing of Isaac

A. Rebekah and Jacob plot to deceive Isaac.

1. (1-4) Isaac’s deathbed request to Esau.

Now it came to pass, when Isaac was old and his eyes were so dim that he could not see, that he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.” And he answered him, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Behold now, I am old. I do not know the day of my death. Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me. And make me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.”

a. Now it came to pass, when Isaac was old: Isaac believed his time had come to die, and this was his way of settling his affairs, sort of a last will and testament. His old age was evident in his weakened eyesight (his eyes were so dim that he could not see).

i. Isaac was old, but perhaps not near death. Martin Luther calculated Isaac’s age to be 137 at this point; he lived to be 180. Isaac lived 43 more years.

b. Make me savory food, such as I love: Isaac asked for food, but he seemed to mostly glory in Esau’s power as a manly hunter. We later find that he actually could not taste the difference between what Esau hunted in the field and what his wife Rebekah could prepare from the flock. It wasn’t the taste of the food that attracted him, but how he prized the thought of Esau as a mighty hunter.

c. That my soul may bless you before I die: Strangely, Isaac insisted on giving the blessing to Esau, the one whom God did not choose (Genesis 25:23), who despised his birthright, and who married pagan wives. It seems Isaac rejected godly thinking and spiritual wisdom, and instead thought only of food and common, man-centered ideas of might.

i. In the willfulness of his old age, he was determined to pass on the blessing to Esau, despite what the LORD had said and what the boys had shown in their lives. The fact Isaac tried to dispense the blessing secretly showed he knew what he wanted to do was wrong. Sadly, in this house, no one trusted anyone else.

2. (5-10) Rebekah advises Jacob to deceive his father Isaac.

Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt game and to bring it. So Rebekah spoke to Jacob her son, saying, “Indeed I heard your father speak to Esau your brother, saying, Bring me game and make savory food for me, that I may eat it and bless you in the presence of the LORD before my death.’ Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you. Go now to the flock and bring me from there two choice kids of the goats, and I will make savory food from them for your father, such as he loves. Then you shall take it to your father, that he may eat it, and that he may bless you before his death.”

a. Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to Esau: The account here does not specifically tell us that Rebekah spied upon Isaac and Esau in some inappropriate sense. The feeling that this was scheming and spying is here, but it is possible that she casually overheard this important conversation. When Esau went to the field to hunt, Rebekah was ready with her plan.

b. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you: Instead of trusting God to fulfill what He had promised in Genesis 25:23, Rebekah used manipulative scheming to accomplish what she thought was God’s plan – and, likely, also her preference.

i. “Good men have gone very wrong when they have thought of aiding in the fulfillment of promises and prophecies. See how Rebecca erred in trying to get the promised blessing for Jacob. We had better leave the Lord’s decrees in the Lord’s hands.” (Spurgeon)

c. I will make savory food from them for your father, such as he loves: Rebekah knew her husband well enough to know that he couldn’t tell the difference between what she prepared and what Esau might bring home from hunting.

3. (11-17) Preparations are made for Jacob’s deceptive attempt to steal the blessing.

And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth-skinned man. Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be a deceiver to him; and I shall bring a curse on myself and not a blessing.” But his mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me.” And he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and his mother made savory food, such as his father loved. Then Rebekah took the choice clothes of her elder son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. And she put the skins of the kids of the goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. Then she gave the savory food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.

a. Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be a deceiver to him: Jacob, true to his name (trickster or scoundrel), was happy to go along with this plan. His only concern was if it would succeed.

i. When we are willing to abandon the question of right and wrong, and when our only concern is what works, we agree with the modern idea of pragmatism, as many in the church do today.

b. He went and got them and brought them to his mother: Once Jacob overcame his fear of getting caught in his deception, he was ready to carry it out. Rebekah manipulated both Isaac and Jacob, but Jacob was willing to be manipulated.

c. His father… Rebekah… Esau… Jacob: Significantly, at this point, each person in this drama acted in man-centered wisdom and energy, not according to divine or spiritual wisdom and energy. Even Esau, in agreeing to Isaac’s plan to give him the birthright, disregarded his previous promise to allow Jacob to have the birthright.

i. All four of them – Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Esau – did not trust each other. Worse yet, they did not trust the Lord. Each one of them schemed and plotted against each other and against God. “The whole story reflects no credit upon any of the persons concerned” (Spurgeon).

ii. The worst aspect of this all is they seem to regard the blessing as magical, as something detached from God’s wisdom and will. But in giving the blessing, the most Isaac could do was to recognize God’s call and blessing on Jacob. Only God could truly bestow the blessing. Esau could receive the blessing from Isaac a hundred times, but it only mattered if God in heaven honored it.

B. Jacob receives the blessing that Isaac intended for Esau.

1. (18-27a) Jacob lies to his father, pretending to be Esau.

So he went to his father and said, “My father.’ And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn; I have done just as you told me; please arise, sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” And he said, “Because the LORD your God brought it to me.” Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.” So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him. Then he said, “Are you really my son Esau?” He said, “I am.” He said, “Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s game, so that my soul may bless you.” So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near now and kiss me, my son.” And he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his clothing,

a. I am Esau your firstborn: Sometimes it is difficult to discern a lie, and whether a statement is sin or not comes back to the question of intent; but other times it is not difficult at all, and here Jacob clearly lied to his father.

b. Because the LORD your God brought it to me: Jacob, the scoundrel, did not hesitate to give credit to God as part of his deception.

i. Jacob could do this, because his only concern was for what worked. Since he (rightly) knew that God wanted him to have the birthright, he justified any lie or other sin he committed in the pursuit of the birthright. He likely did so telling himself that it was all for a righteous cause.

ii. Jacob probably used the promise and calling of God as an excuse for sin; he justified it to himself by saying his sinful conduct acted towards the fulfillment of the promise of God.

c. Are you really my son Esau: Even under repeated questioning, Jacob stayed confirmed in his lie. Partially, Jacob took advantage of his father’s good nature. Isaac probably would not believe that his Jacob would lie to him so repeatedly.

2. (27b-29) The blessing is given to Jacob.

And blessed him and said:

“Surely, the smell of my son
Is like the smell of a field
Which the LORD has blessed.
Therefore may God give you
Of the dew of heaven,
Of the fatness of the earth,
And plenty of grain and wine.
Let peoples serve you,
And nations bow down to you.
Be master over your brethren,
And let your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
And blessed be those who bless you!”

a. And blessed him: Isaac blessed Jacob as the spiritual head of the family. Isaac had the right (not Ishmael) to pass on this blessing related to the covenant of Abraham. The son (Jacob or Esau) who received this blessing was able to pass it on to his descendants.

b. May God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth: The words of the blessing were filled with pictures of the LORD’s rich bounty, and they echoed some of the words of the covenant God made with Abraham.

c. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you: Again, it is important to see it wasn’t the bestowal of these words upon Jacob that made him blessed. Instead, Jacob was blessed because God chose him long before (Genesis 25:23). What mattered was that God said the older shall serve the younger (back in Genesis 25:23), not that Isaac said be master over your brethren.

i. “The point is that the sovereign will of God is done, in spite of our or any other person’s opposition to it.” (Boice)

C. Esau discovers Jacob’s deception.

1. (30-32) Esau returns to his father with food from the hunt.

Now it happened, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. He also had made savory food, and brought it to his father, and said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that your soul may bless me.” And his father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” So he said, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.”

a. As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob: The timing of each aspect of this story makes it all the more dramatic. As soon as Jacob received the blessing and left his father’s presence, Esau his brother came in from his hunting.

b. That your soul may bless me: We picture Esau hunting, returning, and preparing the food with pleasure. He would receive the blessing from his father and all the material benefits that went with it.

c. Who are you: This question may have seemed strange to Esau, but he remembered that his father was old and couldn’t see well. Esau probably first thought this was a simple mistake.

2. (33) Isaac understands what Jacob did.

Then Isaac trembled exceedingly, and said, “Who? Where is the one who hunted game and brought it to me? I ate all of it before you came, and I have blessed him—and indeed he shall be blessed.”

a. Isaac trembled exceedingly: Isaac began to shake convulsively. This phrase is very strong. He was overcome with a deep sense that something had gone wrong in his plan to bless Esau instead of Jacob.

i. This phrase could be translated, “Isaac trembled most excessively with a great trembling” (Morris).

b. Isaac trembled exceedingly: Isaac was troubled, because he knew he had tried to work against the plan God revealed in Genesis 25:23 – and God had beaten him. At this moment, Isaac realized he would always lose when he tried to resist God’s will, even when he didn’t like God’s will. And he came to learn that despite his arrogance against God’s will, God’s will was glorious.

i. Later, in Hebrews 11:20, it says By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. Isaac’s faith was demonstrated after his attempt to redirect the will of God was destroyed and he said of Jacob, “and indeed he shall be blessed.”

ii. “As soon as Isaac perceives that he has been wrong in wishing to bless Esau he does not persist in it. He will give Esau such a blessing as he may, but he does not think for a moment of retracting what he has done — he feels that the hand of God was in it. What is more, he tells his son, ‘He is blessed, yea, and shall be blessed.’” (Spurgeon)

3. (34-38) Esau’s reaction to the blessing given to Jacob.

When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me—me also, O my father!” But he said, “Your brother came with deceit and has taken away your blessing.” And Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!” And he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” Then Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Indeed I have made him your master, and all his brethren I have given to him as servants; with grain and wine I have sustained him. What shall I do now for you, my son?” And Esau said to his father, “Have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me—me also, O my father!” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.

a. He cried with an exceedingly great and bitter cry: This is about the strongest description possible to describe the depth of Esau’s horror upon learning that Jacob had used deception to “take” the birthright.

b. Bless me; me also, O my father: Esau repeated this agonized plea. Yet we understand that Esau valued his father’s blessing mainly in material terms. He did not value the blessing’s spiritual value.

c. He took away my birthright: Both Isaac and Esau were grieved when they understood what Jacob did, and now Esau was concerned about the birthright. Previously (in Genesis 25:32-34), he was willing to sell his birthright for a bowl of stew, and he despised his birthright. Now, he wanted the material and social advantages of the birthright.

i. When he saw it as a spiritual birthright, Esau did not value the birthright; but now that he saw it in material and political terms, he wanted it.

d. For he has supplanted me these two times: Esau failed to take responsibility for the fact that in the first of the two times he referred to, Esau actually despised his birthright (Genesis 25:34), selling it to Jacob for a bowl of stew. In the first of the two times, Esau could not truly say that Jacob took away my birthright. Esau gave it away, and God was Lord over the birthright anyway.

e. Esau lifted up his voice and wept: Esau’s tears were the tears of frustrated selfishness, not of regret for his own sin and despising of his birthright.

i. Hebrews 12 uses the occasion of Esau as a warning: Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears (Hebrews 12:15-17).

4. (39-40) Isaac gives a limited blessing to Esau.

Then Isaac his father answered and said to him:

“Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth,
And of the dew of heaven from above.
By your sword you shall live,
And you shall serve your brother;
And it shall come to pass, when you become restless,
That you shall break his yoke from your neck.”

a. Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth: These words of Isaac sound more like a curse than a blessing. Yet, in fact, Esau ended up being a blessed man. Many years later when he met Jacob again, he could say the blessed words I have enough, my brother (Genesis 33:9).

i. Barnhouse (and others) indicate the blessing Isaac bestowed on Esau actually said, “your dwelling shall be from the fatness of the earth”; that is, Esau and his descendants would be live as nomads in mostly wilderness lands.

b. By your sword you shall live: Whatever blessings and security Esau might enjoy, it would come as he skillfully wielded his sword. His life would not be easy, though it could be blessed.

c. You shall serve your brother: Esau would be under Jacob, but not forever. The promise also was that Esau would break his yoke from your neck – that he would not forever serve or be under his brother Jacob.

5. (41-42) Esau’s anger.

So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” And the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said to him, “Surely your brother Esau comforts himself concerning you by intending to kill you.”

a. So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing: Esau’s hatred rose against Jacob for many reasons, but mostly it was out of pride and envy. Pride, in that his brother would be preferred before him in regard to the covenant. Envy, in that his brother would enjoy greater prosperity.

b. Then I will kill my brother Jacob: Esau’s somewhat spiritual concern for the blessing of his father quickly disappeared in a bitter hatred of Jacob, a bitter hatred that also had murderous intent. Esau planned to kill Jacob as soon as Isaac died, and this was a comfort to Esau (Esau comforts himself).

i. Revenge is a comforting thought to those who feel they have been wronged like Esau, but things would not work out as Esau had hoped or planned. He vowed to kill his brother after the death of his father, thinking it was soon (the days of mourning for my father are at hand), yet Isaac lived much longer, perhaps another 43 years.

ii. Perhaps Esau was going to test just how blessed Jacob was. His intention may have been to kill him in an attempt to defeat God’s revealed will regarding the birthright.

6. (43-46) Rebekah makes plans for Jacob to flee.

“Now therefore, my son, obey my voice: arise, flee to my brother Laban in Haran. And stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turns away, until your brother’s anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him; then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereaved also of you both in one day?” And Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth; if Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth, like these who are the daughters of the land, what good will my life be to me?”

a. Stay with him a few days: The few days Jacob was to stay with Laban and Rebekah’s family in Haran turned out to be more than 20 years. Yet God would fulfill His purpose in all of it.

b. If Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth, like these who are the daughters of the land, what good will my life be to me: Rebekah successfully manipulated Isaac into telling Jacob to leave. This saved his life, but it is likely that this mother never saw her son again.

i. “Rebekah’s diplomatic victory was complete; but she would never see her son again.” (Kidner)

ii. In this tragic story, everyone lost. Each of the main characters – Isaac, Rebekah, Esau, and Jacob – schemed and maneuvered in human wisdom and energy, rejecting God’s word and wisdom. Nevertheless, God still accomplished His purpose. The tragedy was that each of the participants suffered, because they insisted on working against God’s word and wisdom.

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

What does Genesis 27:2 mean? [ See verse text ]

Isaac, now quite old, has summoned Esau. He calls out to him, and Esau lets him know that he is present. This response is necessary because, as the previous verse explains, Isaac’s eyes are dim and he can no longer see.

Now Isaac launches into a prepared speech for Esau, beginning with the reality that he is old and he could die at any time. We will learn that Isaac’s intention is to pass on his blessing to Esau before it’s too late.

This is the kind of statement that probably should have been made in the presence of both sons. However, Isaac and his wife Rebekah suffer from overt favoritism when it comes to their sons (Genesis 25:28). Isaac probably assumes that if Rebekah knows what is about to happen, she will find some way to interfere. As it turns out, this is absolutely true.

It’s also possible, but not stated, that Isaac knows that Esau has sold his birthright to Jacob, and this is an attempt to bless Esau without letting that mistake interfere (Genesis 25:29–34). This motivation is not stated in Scripture, however.

Context Summary

Genesis 27:1–29 describes how the Abrahamic family blessing came to second-born Jacob, instead of his firstborn brother, Esau. Isaac intends to give the blessing to his favored son, Esau. Rebekah commands Jacob to impersonate Esau, instead, in order to get the blessing for himself. Isaac almost catches on but is convinced by the smell of Esau on Jacob’s borrowed clothes, and the hairy, Esau-like goat’s skin on Jacob’s hands. Isaac gives to Jacob the future-defining blessing of God.

Chapter Context

Isaac’s plan to pass the family blessing on to his favorite son, Esau, is thwarted by the deception of Isaac’s wife Rebekah, and his other son Jacob. Old and blind, Isaac fails to recognize that the man claiming to be Esau is actually Jacob in a clever disguise. His prayer of blessing for wealth and rule over his brothers will remain valid though it is given under false pretense. Esau will be left with a blessing that sounds like a curse and a plan to murder his brother. Jacob will be forced to run for his life.

Life Is Meaningless Without God

VERSE OF THE DAY

Acts 20:24 (New Living Translation)

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But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

Our live are worthless without the law of the lord he offers the relationship and give us each a plan he tells us to speak his name to others sharing the good news of his work in our lives each of us is born with an assignment and given purpose

I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

Acts 20:24

Related Topics: Jesus, God, Grace, Lord, Life, Finish, Race, All Topics…

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

How important is grace? Paul said that telling about that grace was more important to him than his life! In fact, that was his life after his conversion to Jesus!

My Prayer…

Almighty God, Holy Father, thank you for your lavish grace demonstrated and fully expressed in sending Jesus to die for me. As your child, and in thanks to your sacrificial gift, I pledge to you my life, my love, and my all. Through Jesus. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.

What does Acts 20:24 mean?

In Miletus, Paul is speaking with the elders of the Ephesian church. He has already told them that the Holy Spirit compels him to return to Jerusalem even though persecution awaits him there. Here, he explains why he is so willing to obey.

Paul doesn’t know what will happen in Jerusalem other than imprisonment. In the past, however, he did not turn away from conflict if he thought it would serve Jesus’ purposes—in Ephesus, he tried to preach the gospel to a mob that had formed in opposition to his work and taken two of his companions (Acts 19:30). In Jerusalem, he will try to share his faith in Jesus, both with the mob that attacks him and with the Sanhedrin (Acts 21:37—22:21). Later, he will boldly tell his story to Herod Agrippa II and Bernice (Acts 26:1–32).

Paul also explains his dedication in his letters. He believes his discipline will result in a lasting reward—the salvation of others (1 Corinthians 9:22–27). He knows his life is fragile, and he’s already been stoned once (Acts 14:19), but he dedicates that fragility to show others Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:7–12). Later, he will tell Timothy he is a drink offering, poured out for others (2 Timothy 4:6).

The ministry Jesus gave Paul is to bring Jesus’ offering of forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God to the Gentiles, to kings and rulers, and to the Jews (Acts 9:15). This is the gospel—the “good news”—of the grace that God offers sinners: that Jesus came, took accountability for our sins, died in our place, and rose glorified so that we, too, may be resurrected, glorified, and cleansed of our sins. To Paul, his life is nothing compared to the mission of sharing this message.

Context Summary

In Acts 20:17–27, Paul begins his farewell to the elders of Ephesus. He and his team leave Troas and sail to Miletus, south of Ephesus, where Paul requests the Ephesian elders meet him. He reminds them how he served with dedication and self-sacrifice, and he also relays disturbing news. When he gets to Jerusalem, he will be imprisoned, and they will never see him again. Next, he will challenge them to protect their church from false teachers and to emulate his humble leadership (Acts 20:28–35).

Chapter Summary

Acts 20 finishes Paul’s third missionary journey. He leaves Ephesus after three years and travels to Macedonia and Corinth. Threats from the Corinthian Jews send him and his team back to Macedonia and Troas. In Troas, Paul gives a very long sermon and raises Eutychus from the dead after he falls—both asleep and out a window. In Miletus, Paul meets with the Ephesian elders. He reminds them to beware of false teachers and tells them he is going to be imprisoned and will not see them again. After a tearful farewell, he boards a ship for Judea

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Acts 20:24 – KJV

Encourage One Another

Hebrews 3:13-19

New Living Translation

13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. 14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. 15 Remember what it says:

“Today when you hear his voice,
    don’t harden your hearts
    as Israel did when they rebelled.”[a]

16 And who was it who rebelled against God, even though they heard his voice? Wasn’t it the people Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And who made God angry for forty years? Wasn’t it the people who sinned, whose corpses lay in the wilderness? 18 And to whom was God speaking when he took an oath that they would never enter his rest? Wasn’t it the people who disobeyed him? 19 So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest.

But encourage each other every day, while you still have something called “today. Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change. We have the honor of sharing in all that Christ has if we continue until the end to have the sure faith we had in the beginning. That’s why the Spirit said,

“If you hear God’s voice today, don’t be stubborn as in the past when you turned against God.” Who were those who heard God’s voice and turned against him? It was all the people Moses led out of Egypt. And who was God angry with for 40 years? He was angry with those who sinned. And their dead bodies were left in the desert. And which people was God talking to when he promised that they would never enter his place of rest? He was talking to those who did not obey him. So we see that they were not allowed to enter and have God’s rest, because they did not believe. Challenging one another in loyalty of Gods law and love in humble god fearing ways

Hebrews Chapter 3

Hebrews 3 – Jesus, Superior to Moses

A. Considering Jesus.

1. (1a) Therefore: who we are in light of the previous paragraphs.

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling,

a. Therefore: From the previous chapter, we are left with the picture of Jesus as our heavenly High Priest. Since this is true, it teaches something about who we are. Understanding who we are in light of who Jesus is and what He did is essential for a healthy Christian life. It keeps us from the same depths of discouragement the Hebrew Christians faced.

b. Holy brethren: This is who we are because Jesus regards us as such, because our heavenly, holy High Priest is not ashamed to call them brethren. (Hebrews 2:11) It should bless and encourage us that Jesus calls us His holy brethren.

c. Partakers of the heavenly calling: Because Jesus is committed to bringing many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10), we are partners in His heavenly calling. This should bless and encourage us to press on, even through times of difficulty and trial.

2. (1b) Therefore: what we are to do in light of the previous paragraphs.

Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,

a. Consider the Apostle: We don’t often apply this word to Jesus, but He is our Apostle. The ancient Greek word translated apostle really means something like ambassador. In this sense, Jesus is the Father’s ultimate ambassador (Hebrews 1:1-2). God the Father had to send a message of love that was so important He sent it through Christ Jesus.

i. The ancient Greek word translated consider is katanoein: “It does not mean simply to look at or to notice a thing. Anyone can look at a thing or even notice it without really seeing it. The word means to fix the attention on something in such a way that its inner meaning, the lesson it is designed to teach, may be learned.” (Barclay) The same word is used in Luke 12:24 (Consider the ravens). It is an earnest appeal to look, to learn, and to understand.

ii. The message is plain: consider this. Consider that God loves you so much He sent the ultimate Messenger, Christ Jesus. Consider also how important it is for you to pay attention to God’s ultimate Apostle, who is Christ Jesus.

iii. God also chose His original, authoritative “ambassadors” for the church. These are what we think of as the original twelve apostles. God still chooses ambassadors in a less authoritative sense, and there is a sense in which we are all ambassadors for God. Yet surely, Jesus was and is the Father’s ultimate ambassador.

b. Consider the… High Priest: Jesus is the One who supremely represents us before the Father, and who represents the Father to us. God cares for us so much that He put the ultimate mediator, the ultimate High Priest, between Himself and sinful man.

i. The message is plain: consider this. Consider that God loves you so much to give you such a great High Priest. Consider that if such a great High Priest is given to us, we must honor and submit to this High Priest, who is Christ Jesus.

c. Of our confession: Jesus is the ambassador and the mediator of our confession. Christianity is a confession made with both the mouth and with the life (Matthew 10:32, Romans 10:9).

i. The word “confession” means, “to say the same thing.” When we confess our sin, we “say the same” about it that God does. In regard to salvation, all Christians “say the same thing” about their need for salvation and God’s provision in Jesus.

3. (2) Consider Jesus as faithful in His duties before the Father.

Who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.

a. Who was faithful: When we consider the past faithfulness of Jesus, it makes us understand that He will continue to be faithful. And as He was faithful to God the Father (Him who appointed Him), so He will be faithful to us. This should bless and encourage us.

b. As Moses also was faithful in all His house: Moses showed an amazing faithfulness in his ministry; but Jesus showed a perfect faithfulness – surpassing even that of Moses.

B. Jesus, superior to Moses.

1. (3a) Jesus has received more glory than Moses did.

For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses,

a. Moses: Moses received much glory from God. This is seen in his shining face after spending time with God (Exodus 34:29-35), in his justification before Miriam and Aaron (Numbers 12:6-8), and before the sons of Korah (Numbers 16).

b. For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses did: But Jesus received far more glory from the Father, at His baptism (Matthew 3:16-17), at His transfiguration (Mark 9:7), and at His resurrection (Acts 2:26-27 and Acts 2:31-33).

2. (3b-6) Moses the servant, Jesus the Son.

Inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

a. Inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house: Moses was a member of the household of God but Jesus is the creator of that house, worthy of greater glory.

i. According to Morris, the ancient Rabbis considered Moses to be the greatest man ever, greater than the angels. The writer to the Hebrews does nothing to criticize Moses, but he looks at Moses in his proper relation to Jesus.

b. Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant… but Christ as a Son over His own house: Moses was a faithful servant, but he was never called a Son in the way Jesus is. This shows that Jesus is greater than Moses.

c. Whose house we are if we hold fast: We are a part of Jesus’ household if we hold fast. The writer to the Hebrews is encouraging those who felt like turning back, helping them to hold fast by explaining the benefits of continuing on with Jesus.

i. True commitment to Jesus is demonstrated over the long term, not just in an initial burst. We trust that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

ii. Whose house we are: 1 Peter 2:4-5 says we are being built up a spiritual house. God has a work to build through His people, even as one might build a house.

C. The application of the fact of Jesus’ superiority to Moses.

1. (7-11) A quotation from Psalm 95:7-11 and its relevance.

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
In the day of trial in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
And saw My works forty years.
Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.’
So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’”

a. Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: The Spirit of God (speaking through His Word) told us that Jesus the Messiah is much greater than Moses. This truth should lead someone to action, and now the writer to the Hebrews will encourage those actions.

b. Do not harden your hearts: If those who followed Moses were responsible to surrender unto, to trust in, and to persevere in following God’s leader, we are much more responsible to do the same with a greater leader, Jesus the Messiah.

i. The point is clear. As the Holy Spirit speaks, we must hear His voice and not allow our hearts to become hardened. We hear the Spirit speak in the Scriptures, in the heart of His people, in those He draws to salvation, and by His works.

ii. Just as the Spirit speaks in many ways, there are also several ways we can harden our heart.

· Some harden their hearts by relapsing into their old indifference.

· Some harden their hearts by unbelief.

· Some harden their hearts by asking for more signs.

· Some harden their hearts by presuming upon the mercy of God.

c. Today: There is urgency to the voice of the Holy Spirit. He never prompts us to get right with God tomorrow, or to trust in yesterday – the Holy Spirit only moves us to act today.

i. The Holy Spirit tells us today because it is a genuine invitation. We know that the Holy Spirit really wants us to come to Jesus because He says, “today.” If someone asks me to come over their house for dinner but they give no day or time, I know it isn’t a firm invitation yet. But when they say, “Come over on this day at this time,” I know it is a firm invitation, that they want me to come, that they are ready for me to come, and that it will be prepared for my coming. The Holy Spirit gives you a time for His invitation – today.

ii. Charles Spurgeon pointed out one reason why the Holy Spirit is so urgent: “Besides, he waits to execute his favourite office of a Comforter, and he cannot comfort an ungodly soul, he cannot comfort those who harden their hearts. Comfort for unbelievers would be their destruction. As he delights to be the Comforter, and has been sent forth from the Father to act specially in that capacity, that he may comfort the people of God, he watches with longing eyes for broken hearts and contrite spirits, that he may apply the balm of Gilead and heal their wounds.”

iii. We must also have great urgency about today. “Select the strongest man you know, and suppose that everything in reference to your eternal welfare is to depend upon whether he lives to see the next year. With what anxiety would you hear of his illness, how concerned you would be about his health? Well, sinner, your salvation is risked by you upon your own life, is that any more secure?” (Spurgeon)

d. As in the rebellion, in the day of trial: The day of trial refers first to the trial at Meribah (Numbers 20:1-13). More generally it speaks of Israel’s refusal to trust and enter the Promised Land during the Exodus (Numbers 13:30-14:10). God did not accept their unbelief and He condemned that generation of unbelief to die in the wilderness (Numbers 14:22-23 and 14:28-32).

i. This only makes sense because there is some continuity in God’s work among His people through the centuries. We can learn from the mistakes of God’s ancient people.

e. And saw My works forty years: Because of their unbelief, the people of Israel faced judgment which culminated after forty years. This warning in Hebrews was written about forty years after the Jews’ initial rejection of Jesus. God’s wrath was quickly coming upon the Jewish people who rejected Jesus, and would culminate with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.

f. Therefore I was angry with that generation: God’s anger was kindled against that generation on account of their unbelief. They refused to trust God for the great things He promised, and they were unwilling to continue in trust. Therefore the could not enter the rest God had appointed for them, the Land of Canaan.

2. (12-15) Beware: Don’t be like the generation that perished in the wilderness.

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said:

“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

a. Lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief: This is strong language, but we often underestimate the terrible nature of our unbelief. Refusing to believe God is a serious sin because it shows an evil heart and a departing from the living God.

i. “Unbelief is not inability to understand, but unwillingness to trust… it is the will, not the intelligence, that is involved.” (Newell)

ii. One can truly believe God, yet be occasionally troubled by doubts. There is a doubt that wants God’s promise but is weak in faith at the moment. Unbelief isn’t weakness of faith; it sets itself in opposition to faith.

iii. “The great sin of not believing in the Lord Jesus Christ is often spoken of very lightly and in a very trifling spirit, as though it were scarcely any sin at all; yet, according to my text, and, indeed, according to the whole tenor of the Scriptures, unbelief is the giving of God the lie, and what can be worse?” (Spurgeon)

iv. “Hearken, O unbeliever, you have said, ‘I cannot believe,’ but it would be more honest if you had said, ‘I will not believe.’ The mischief lies there. Your unbelief is your fault, not your misfortune. It is a disease, but it is also a crime: it is a terrible source of misery to you, but it is justly so, for it is an atrocious offense against the God of truth.” (Spurgeon)

v. “Did I not hear some one say, ‘Ah, sir, I have been trying to believe for years.’ Terrible words! They make the case still worse. Imagine that after I had made a statement, a man should declare that he did not believe me, in fact, he could not believe me though he would like to do so. I should feel aggrieved certainly; but it would make matters worse if he added, ‘In fact I have been for years trying to believe you, and I cannot do it.’ What does he mean by that? What can he mean but that I am so incorrigibly false, and such a confirmed liar, that though he would like to give me some credit, he really cannot do it? With all the effort he can make in my favour, he finds it quite beyond his power to believe me? Now, a man who says, ‘I have been trying to believe in God,’ in reality says just that with regard to the Most High.” (Spurgeon)

vi. The living God: “This divine title is of supreme significance, and shows that God’s character is the same to believers as to all else.” (Griffith-Thomas)

b. Exhort one another daily: If we will strengthen our faith and avoid the ruin of unbelief, we must be around other Christians who will exhort – that is, seriously encourage us. This shows our responsibility to both give exhortation and to receive exhortation, and to exhort one another daily. It is an easy thing to judge and criticize, but that is not exhortation.

i. If you are out of fellowship altogether, you can’t you exhort or be exhorted. When we are out of fellowship there is much less around us to keep us from becoming hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

ii. Some think that Jesus’ command to not bother with the speck in our brother’s eye while we have a log in our own (Matthew 7:5) indicates that we should not exhort one another daily. Yet Jesus told us to first deal with our log in our own eye, but then to go and deal with the speck in our brother’s eye. He did not tell us to ignore their speck, only to deal with it in proper order.

iii. This emphasis on the importance of fellowship stands in the face of society’s thinking. A United States survey found that more than 78% of the general public and 70% of churchgoing people believed that “you can be a good Christian without attending church.” (Roof and McKinney)

iv. “You are to watch over your brethren, to exhort one another daily, especially you who are officers of the church, or who are elderly and experienced. Be upon the watch lest any of your brethren in the church should gradually backslide, or lest any in the congregation should harden into a condition of settled unbelief, and perish in their sin. He who bids you take heed to yourself, would not have you settle down into a selfish care for yourself alone, lest you should become like Cain, who even dared to say to the Lord himself, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’” (Spurgeon)

c. Lest any of you become hardened: Christians must be vigilant against hardness of heart. That hidden sin you indulge in – none suspect you of it because you hide it well. You deceive yourself, believing that it really does little harm. You can always ask forgiveness later. You can always die to self and surrender to Jesus in coming months or years. What you cannot see or sense is that your hidden sin hardens your heart. As your heart becomes harder you become less and less sensitive to your sin. You become more and more distant from Jesus. And your spiritual danger grows every day.

d. The deceitfulness of sin: The sin of unbelief has its root in deceit and its flower is marked by hardness (lest any of you be hardened). Unbelief and sin are deceitful because when we don’t believe God, we don’t stop believing – we simply start believing in a lie.

i. One great danger of sin is its deceitfulness. If it came with full revelation, full exposure of all its consequences, it would be unattractive – but the nature of sin is deceitfulness.

ii. From the very beginning, much of the power of sin lies in its deceitfulness.

· Sin is deceitful in the way that it comes to us.

· Sin is deceitful in what it promises us.

· Sin is deceitful in what it calls itself.

· Sin is deceitful in the excuses it makes, both before and after the sin.

e. Partakers of Christ: Believers – those who turn from sin and self and put their life’s trust in Jesus – are gloriously called partakers of Christ.

i. Partakers of Christ – this is the whole picture. Partakers of His obedience, partakers of His suffering, partakers of His death, partakers of His resurrection, partakers of His victory, partakers of His plan, partakers of His power, partakers of His ministry of intercession, partakers of His work, partakers of His glory, partakers of His destiny. Saying “Partakers of Christ” says it all.

ii. There are many ways that the believer’s union with Jesus is described:

· Like a stone cemented to its foundation.

· Like a vine connected to its branches.

· Like a wife married to her husband.

f. Do not harden your hearts: We often say our hearts become hard because of what others or circumstances do to us. But the fact is that we harden our own hearts in response to what happens to us.

3. (16-19) It isn’t enough to make a good beginning.

For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

a. For who, having heard, rebelled? As a nation, Israel made a good beginning. After all, it took a lot of faith to cross the Red Sea. Yet all of that first generation perished in the wilderness, except for the two men of faith – Joshua and Caleb.

i. Think of their great privilege:

· They saw the ten plagues come upon Egypt.

· They had great revelation from God.

· They had received great patience from God.

· They received great mercy.

b. They would not enter His rest: 11 times in Hebrews chapters 3 and 4, the Book of Hebrews speaks of entering rest. That rest will be deeply detailed in the next chapter. But here, the key to entering rest is revealed: belief.

c. So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief: One might be tempted to think the key to entering rest is obedience, especially from Hebrews 3:18: to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? But the disobedience mentioned in Hebrews 3:18 is an outgrowth of the unbelief mentioned in Hebrews 3:19. The unbelief came first, then the disobedience.

i. It was unbelief and not something else that kept them out of Canaan:

· Their sin did not keep them out of Canaan.

· Lack of evidence did not keep them out of Canaan.

· Lack of encouragement did not keep them out of Canaan.

· Difficult circumstances did not keep them out of Canaan.

ii. In a New Testament context, our belief centers on the superiority of Jesus Christ, the truth of who He is (fully God and fully man) and His atoning work for us as a faithful High Priest (as in Hebrews 2:17). When we trust in these things, making them the “food” of our souls, we enter into God’s rest.

d. They could not enter in: Israel’s great failure was to persevere in faith. After crossing much of the wilderness trusting in God, and after seeing so many reasons to trust in Him, they end up falling short – because they did not persevere in faith in God and His promise.

i. Jesus reminded us in the parable of the soils with the seeds cast on stony ground and among thorns that it is not enough to make a good beginning, real belief perseveres to the end. It is wonderful to make a good start, but how we finish is even more important than how we start.

ii. C.S. Lewis speaks to the difficulty of persistence (from a tempting demon’s fictional perspective): “The Enemy has guarded him from you through the first great wave of temptations. But, if only he can be kept alive, you have time itself for you ally. The long, dull monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather. You see, it is so hard for these creatures to persevere. The routine of adversity, the gradual decay of youthful loves and youthful hopes, the quiet despair (hardly felt as pain) of ever overcoming the chronic temptations with which we have again and again defeated them, the drabness which we create in their lives and inarticulate resentment with which we teach them to respond to it — all this provides admirable opportunities of wearing out a soul by attrition. If, on the other hand, the middle years from prosperous, our position is even stronger. Prosperity knits a man to the World. He fells that he is ‘finding his place in it’ while really it is finding its place in him… That is why we must often wish long life to our patients; seventy years is not a day too much for the difficult task of unraveling their souls from Heaven and building up a firm attachment to the earth.” (The Screwtape Letters)

iii. If we enter in to God’s rest then the coming years will only increase our trust and reliance on Jesus. If by unbelief we fail to enter in, then the coming years will only gradually draw us away from a passionate, trusting relationship with Jesus.

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

Categories: General Letters New Testament

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Encourage One Another Daily

Hebrews 3:12-19

Key Verse 3:14

“We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.”

Look at verse 14. There is controversy regarding verses like this that seem to have words such as “if” in the middle of them making salvation conditional, as if to say that we share in Christ only if we hold firmly to the our confidence or confession of faith in him. What is the word of God telling us? Is it telling us that one is saved by faith in Christ and comes to share in Christ, but only if one keeps on holding to one’s conviction? The real question is, what plays the greater role in our lives, God’s sovereignty which pours out grace into our lives and saves us for good, or our free will which is equally granted by God and affects all our decisions in life, especially decisions to hold up our end of keeping up with our salvation? So here is something to think about when we come across such verses in the Bible as verse 14. There seems to always be two truths running through the Bible at the same time, one is that God is sovereign, and two is that man is a responsible person with a free will. And it is only when the balance of truth is maintained between these two that can keep us from errors. We should not stress God’s divine sovereignty such that we exclude our own responsibility before God. And we should not stress our own responsibility before God such that we ignore or deny God’s sovereignty. The problem is we like extremes and those in history who stress God’s sovereignty have made the error of believing that if a sinner had received Christ, then whatever he or she does after that, and whatever their life is like afterwards, he cannot perish. On the other hand, those who have stressed human responsibility and the free will have gone as far as denying the efficacy of the completed works of Christ when they say that a sinner’s eventual salvation status depends on his good works and faithfulness. But the truth is that Scripture (Philippians 2:12; 2 Peter 1:5-12) teaches us that salvation calls us to exercise our human responsibility as we live in the grace of our Lord Jesus in obedience to his word and his will in our lives. So if we go back to verse 14, we see that we have a responsibility before God, to hold firmly to our confidence and conviction in Christ Jesus as we share in him all that he has blessed us with through his grace. Now that that is out of the way, let us look at this passage and see what it says.

In verse 12, the apostle says to these struggling Hebrew Christians: “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart.” Then he defines the worst case of a sinful unbelieving heart when he says, “A heart that turns away from the living God.” And that’s apparently what many of them were struggling with— the sin of unbelief— that would eventually cause them to turn away from, and abandon the living God— Jesus Christ. He had showed them an elaborate example from their own history of the results of what abandoning their faith in Christ Jesus would entail. God Almighty didn’t spare their ancestors when they abandoned God in their unbelief. He swore they wouldn’t enter his rest. In other words, they wouldn’t be allowed into the promised land. But apparently, the sin of unbelief isn’t a trivial problem that could be dealt with in one example from the past. It’s such a grave problem that the apostle continued addressing it to reveal its seriousness and its dire consequences.

Read verse 13. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” There is no prayer that a true Christian needs more often than “Lord, protect my heart from being hardened” and, “Lord, don’t let me be deceived by my own sin”. We have faith, but our faith needs to be strengthened and it needs to grow, otherwise it falters and weakens and falls prey to the enemies of our faith. That’s why the apostle admonishes them and us in verse 12 saying: “See to it” as a warning that you don’t find your faith being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Yes, we have faith and it’s the most precious thing which the Lord our God had given to us. So it must be passionately guarded without fail. Without it we are nothing but human beings born in this world, enslaved by its ways and desires, and soon to die in it, only to face God’s judgment.

But with faith in Christ, we are the very children of God, those the Lord Jesus suffered and died to redeem from this world, who have been given an inheritance in his kingdom. Our faith in Christ is what distinguishes us from all other people in this world. It doesn’t make us any better than them because what we are and who we are is entirely based on the grace of our Lord. But it is our faith in him that makes us belong to him, and gives us purpose and hope and a calling to live by a different paradigm. It’s a faith worth fighting for, and keeping close to our hearts. We cannot afford to let down our guard even a moment. But as much as we struggle in prayer to be strong in the faith, and to mature in it, this is a fight Christians cannot fight alone. We surely need God’s help. But the author also has very good advice for us as a church.

Look again at verse 13. He says, “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today”. Often, “Today” is used as the time of God’s favor, the time when the opportunity is there. The apostle here uses the word daily and today in the same sentence because of how urgent this exhortation is for you and me— that we encourage one another daily. He calls us to encourage each other daily. In regards to what? In regards to our faith in Christ Jesus; in regards to our love for him; our walk with him; our devotion to him; our service to him; our wholehearted commitment to him, and to the hope we have in his promises. In regards to the glorious truths found in his words that speak of his Glory and his Kingdom. And to encourage one another especially in regards to our faith— a faith deeply rooted and firmly grounded in him. The Holy Spirit tells us to do that daily— to encourage one another daily with such things. We have a duty, a responsibility, an obligation towards one another to encourage each other’s faith. As Christians we know and should know how to do that! [We don’t have to tell what usually discourages the spirit and dampens the faith of others. Complaining and godless chatter, unruly behavior and stubborn pride— such things do not encourage anyone’s faith but rather discourage.]

Why? Look again at verse 13. He says, “So that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness”. We are God’s children with the Spirit of God, but we are also flesh and are subject to this world’s temptations. And they come in many shapes forms and sizes. When temptation turns to sin, and sin is conceived in the heart (James 1:15), it corrupts the heart and works its deception until it has destroyed what faith there is in that heart. It happened to the Israelites in the desert as the apostle recounts to his readers. It can happen to us. How does sin corrupt your heart and reduce faith to unbelief? David was a man after God’s own heart, a man of faith. One time when he saw a married woman bathing, rather than fleeing the temptation, he had her brought to his house to enjoyed her. Sin deceived him in convincing him that it was his absolute privilege as king. When sin isn’t dealt with it is justified and that hardens the heart. With a hardened heart, sin deceived him even more to cover up his sin by using the woman’s own husband. When that scheme didn’t work, David’s heart was so hardened by then that this shepherd was willing to kill him, a faithful soldier in his army in order to cover up his own sin. It does not mean that he stopped believing in God, but it does mean that sin hardened him not to listen to the voice of truth and to follow evil. If he had not eventually repented, David would have been lost in his unbelief like any other godless man. Surely sin’s deceitfulness hardens our hearts to the point of unbelief, until we stop listening to the word of God and the Holy Spirit’s convictions; we refuse to repent and to let go of the sin that has made us its captive. Today many are hardened by unbelief, even though they appear to be godly doing godly things. Today idols cause them to sin and then rob them of their faith. We must hold to our faith in Christ at any cost. We must never stop listening to God’s voice of truth, in humility of heart.

Look how urgent is the apostle’s exhortation to us again that he now repeats it in verse 14. Read verse 14. “We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” He’s already said the same thing in verse 6 when he said: “Hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.” Now once again he talks about holding onto “the confidence we had at first”. This “confidence we had at first” is better translated as “our original conviction”. Here there are two things to consider very carefully. First, what we share in Christ. And second, our original conviction in him. And the two are so closely related. We have to ask ourselves what is it that we share in Christ that compels us to hold so tightly to our original conviction? Or what is the original conviction so strong in our hearts, that has brought us all such an inheritance in Christ worth holding onto?

To begin with, as Christians it is our original conviction (confidence) that we are condemned sinners whose souls are hopelessly lost, and whose hearts are beyond cure. It is our conviction that God in his mercy had promised and fulfilled his promise to send us a Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ to save us from our sins and to restore us to our Father God. It is our original conviction that Jesus took upon himself our sins on the cross where he crucified our flesh in himself, and in his death and resurrection has also raised us up with him to a new life— justified, sanctified and glorified in him. This is our original conviction in Christ Jesus— our absolute confidence from the start to the end! Our original conviction is the conviction we had the moment Christ became real to us, and his gospel came alive in our personal lives, and the Holy Spirit came to live within us marking our new birth in him. Our original conviction is one of the most important events in our lives. It is the memory of divine grace and mercy, a memory of unmerited favor. It is a grace in our lives that cannot be forgotten or ignored.

The original conviction is also the time the Christian receives his or her share in Christ Jesus. Of course the author is talking about owning Christ, meaning that we share in Christ and he owns us and we own him. But the wording “share in Christ” also lends us a universe of meaning. Our original conviction of him made us partakers of him, that is, partakers of his life everlasting and all the privileges that only those in him are privileged to share. We are joined to him. We love him and are loved by him. Nothing will ever harm us in heaven or on earth. We are members of his body, of his flesh and bones, the very heart of his very heart. We are joint heirs with him. Whatever we are here and now, whatever our situation, rich or poor, weak or strong, successful or unsuccessful, we are the ones who share in Christ, and that’s our reality! The author tells us, exhorts us, commands us, “to hold firmly till the end” the original conviction “we had at first”. How foolish it would be to let go of the gold in order to take hold of the dust. And this is what some do at times— let go of the gold to pick up some dirt. We share in Christ! We have a conviction of him. We should stay the course to the end.  

Therefore once again the apostle repeats the central point of his quotation from the psalm 95 in verse 15. We talked about this in detail last time. When God speaks, we should not harden our hearts but instead respond in faith. Why does God speak to us? Because our hearts are naturally hard and need to be softened. And so God speaks to us to soften our hearts. When God speaks to our hearts and we acknowledge our sins; When he speaks to us and we recognize the voice of merciful Father; When he speaks and we taste the joy of his fellowship; When God speaks and we see the face of our dear Savior, he who came to forgive our sins, to wash our feet, to shed his blood, all for our salvation, how can our hard hearts but soften to him! hankfully It is such things we hear that lead us to faith and prayer, to repentance and worship, to love and the hope of heaven. These are the things that make the heart tender toward God and toward each other.

Read verses 16-19. First of all let’s be clear of whom is the Holy Spirit speaking? Who are these people? They were the very people to whom God sent his servant Moses to rescue from slavery in Egypt. God had seen their misery and heard their cry for deliverance and had brought them out of a meaningless life of slavery and delivered them to a new life in freedom to worship and to serve God. These were the very people who had witnessed more than any other people the power and presence of God among them— for forty years during their journeys in the wilderness. Many of them had heard God’s voice, received his word and had made a covenant with him to obey God. But the Holy Spirit tells us that the majority of them “perished” in the wilderness and never experienced God’s rest— the promise of entering Canaan. It was tragic that a people delivered from slavery for a promise never got a taste of that promise. And why? Because they provoked God to anger. And God had good reason to be angry with them.

In verses 16-19, we see four descriptions of the people that provoked God to such anger that he swore they would never enter into his rest. The apostle tells us that these people “heard and rebelled”. He also described them as “those who sinned”, as well as “those who disobeyed”. Finally he pinpoints the root of their problem when he says “because of their unbelief”. God had given them every opportunity to worship and honor and serve him. But looking at these descriptions, in every way they had hardened their heart and spurned him. The apostle says that they “heard and rebelled”. What had they heard? They heard what we have all heard, the gospel of God’s grace and truth preached to them with Christ at its center as Savior Lord. But they rebelled and took for themselves idols to worship rather than the King of glory. Don’t some of God’s people today do the same when they abandon Christ for their idols of money and pleasure! We can say of them too that they “heard and rebelled”.

The apostle also tells us that these people sinned and disobeyed. Many of them sinned by committing acts of immorality that would even shame the pagans. And they disobeyed when they acted against the will of God. They were like those who in the pride of heart do their own thing even when they know what the word of God says. Sadly there are many Christians who are under the illusion that their independent acts of free will are non-consequential. But in truth they are blatant acts of disobedience to God who wants us to live according to his word. Finally the author mentions the root of sin from which all other sins emerge and proliferate— unbelief. Because of unbelief, he says they lost everything, even what was once promised them. Unbelief or lack of faith is a great sin.

As for unbelief in Christ Jesus himself, let me tell you what he Bible says. The Bible tells us that faith in Christ Jesus is the way of salvation for all people. And so, all people are lost through unbelief. There is no sin of men that is greater than the sin of unbelief in Christ Jesus our Lord. As he was promising his disciples the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus himself told us of the primary work of the Holy Spirit. He said: “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me.” (John 16:8-9) And sure enough when the Holy Spirit came, his primary work has been a work of conviction of men’s hearts regarding sin, righteousness and judgment. But here, we’re only concerned with guilt in regard to sin. All men are guilty of sin until they put their faith in Christ Jesus. It has been the Holy Spirit’s work to challenge the hearts of all people to put their faith in Jesus. He convicts them of their guilt in regard to sin. He impresses upon them the truth that that are guilty of sin before God, and that only the Son of God Jesus Christ can save them from their sins and cleanse their souls. The Holy Spirit convicts them to believe in Jesus, to put their faith in his blood shed for them on the cross, and to escape God’s judgment. Those who remain in their unbelief remain in their sin, and it’s the greatest sin one commits against God, because Jesus is God’s greatest gift to humanity, so that no one has any excuse.

But the convicting work of the Holy Spirit does not absolve us from our responsibility to preach the gospel and to teach the word of God and to proclaim the name of our Lord. As the apostle says elsewhere: “For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Romans 10:13-15) As our passage opens with the words of encouraging one another daily, as important as it is that we encourage each other in faith so that our hearts may not be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness, it is equally important that we encourage one another to proclaim the gospel to our generation so that many may find salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. May God help us be active workers in his mission field suffering for his glory until we find our final rest in him. Amen. Read our key verse again, verse 14.

What does Hebrews 3:13 mean?

This passage is a warning to Christian believers not to allow stubbornness, sin, or a lack of faith to rob them of God’s promised blessings. The nation of Israel suffered when it failed to “hold fast,” and spent forty years wandering in the desert. So too can a Christian suffer when they lack trust and faith in God.

One key to avoiding this pitfall is the influence of other Christian believers. One of the great benefits of healthy church relationships is loving correction. Having a meaningful, personal relationship with other Christians means “watching each other’s back.” This means warning our brothers and sisters in Christ when they are being pulled away into sin and helping them to resist temptation and error. The author’s urgency is highlighted by using the phrase “as long as it is called ‘today.'” This, in more modern terms, could be stated as “do it while you still can.”

The New Testament often explains that sin is deceptive, destructive, and deadly (2 Timothy 3:13; Titus 3:3). It can also create a spiritual callous, making us less sensitive to our own sin (1 Timothy 4:2). Fellow Christians should love each other enough to “exhort,” meaning “encourage, uplift, or challenge” each other when it comes to living a righteous life.

Context Summary

Hebrews 3:7–14 uses the example of Israel’s forty years in the wilderness (Numbers 13—14) as a warning. This is directed at Christians who fail to ”hold fast” their faith in God during persecution. Israel was saved from Egypt, as believers are saved from eternal death through salvation. Israel was offered the Promised Land, as believers are promised victory through our spiritual inheritance. Israel lost faith and didn’t trust God against the ”giants” of Canaan, as believers can be tempted to lose faith in the face of persecution. The ancient Israelites were not sent back to Egypt, just as God does not revoke the salvation of Christian believers. However, both can expect hardship and a loss of fellowship if they fail to trust in God.

Chapter Summary

Hebrews chapter 3 uses a reference to Israel’s wandering in the desert from the story of the Exodus. In this incident, the nation of Israel came to the border of the Promised Land and then lost confidence in God. Rather than trusting Him, most of the people gave up hope. As a result, only a tiny remnant of the nation was allowed to enter into Canaan. This chapter explains that Jesus Christ is superior to Moses and all of Moses’ accomplishments. Christians, therefore, need to encourage each other to fully trust in God, in order to see fulfillment of His promises

What does Hebrews 3:14 mean?

The context of this passage is set up by quotations from Psalm 95. That passage warns Israel not to fall into the same error as they did in the desert after the Exodus. When Israel failed to trust in God, they were disciplined with forty years of wandering, and most of that generation lost the opportunity to see victory in the Promised Land. In the same way, the writer of Hebrews is warning Christians not to forfeit their spiritual blessings by failing to “hold fast” their faith and obedience to God (Hebrews 3:6).

With that idea in mind, the author states that those who do maintain their trust and obedience “have come to share” in Christ. This is from the Greek word metochoi, which is translated as “share,” or “partakers.” This is the same term, with the same basic meaning, as used in Hebrews 3:1. If we are faithful, we can share in the partnership Christ offers to us (Revelation 2:26–27). If we do not, and we fall into sin through an evil heart (Hebrews 3:12), then the same discipline which came to Israel in the desert is waiting for us, instead.

Context Summary

Hebrews 3:7–14 uses the example of Israel’s forty years in the wilderness (Numbers 13—14) as a warning. This is directed at Christians who fail to ”hold fast” their faith in God during persecution. Israel was saved from Egypt, as believers are saved from eternal death through salvation. Israel was offered the Promised Land, as believers are promised victory through our spiritual inheritance. Israel lost faith and didn’t trust God against the ”giants” of Canaan, as believers can be tempted to lose faith in the face of persecution. The ancient Israelites were not sent back to Egypt, just as God does not revoke the salvation of Christian believers. However, both can expect hardship and a loss of fellowship if they fail to trust in God.

Chapter Summary

Hebrews chapter 3 uses a reference to Israel’s wandering in the desert from the story of the Exodus. In this incident, the nation of Israel came to the border of the Promised Land and then lost confidence in God. Rather than trusting Him, most of the people gave up hope. As a result, only a tiny remnant of the nation was allowed to enter into Canaan. This chapter explains that Jesus Christ is superior to Moses and all of Moses’ accomplishments. Christians, therefore, need to encourage each other to fully trust in God, in order to see fulfillment of His promises

What does Hebrews 3:15 mean?

Verses 12 through 14 brought a very direct application of Psalm 95 to the discussion. Israel suffered discipline in the wilderness because the people acted in a faithless, stubborn way. The author of Hebrews has warned his readers not to make the same mistake due to their own sin. In fact, he commands Christians to exhort (encourage, challenge) each other to avoid such things. Here, he puts an exclamation point on his use of the Psalm by repeating the first verse quoted, Psalm 95:7.

The use of the term “today,” both in Hebrews and in the Old Testament, is meant to be a call for urgency. This is not a topic to be taken lightly, or put off until some other time. The nation of Israel failed to “hold fast” to their trust in God (Hebrews 3:6), and it cost them dearly. They were not cast off by God—just as the Christians this letter is written to are not at risk of losing their salvation—but they were denied their inheritance due to their stubbornness.

Context Summary

Hebrews 3:15–19 ties several of the previous sections together. Using four primary forms of spiritual error, the author shows why Israel was disciplined by God. This discipline meant a loss of the Promised Land—not a parallel to salvation, but to spiritual rewards. Rebellion, sin, defiance, and faithlessness were all present in the nation of Israel, and that generation was denied their potential victory. Christians are warned, in this chapter, to avoid these mistakes so they don’t forfeit their own spiritual inheritance.

Chapter Summary

Hebrews chapter 3 uses a reference to Israel’s wandering in the desert from the story of the Exodus. In this incident, the nation of Israel came to the border of the Promised Land and then lost confidence in God. Rather than trusting Him, most of the people gave up hope. As a result, only a tiny remnant of the nation was allowed to enter into Canaan. This chapter explains that Jesus Christ is superior to Moses and all of Moses’ accomplishments. Christians, therefore, need to encourage each other to fully trust in God, in order to see fulfillment of His promises.

What does Hebrews 3:16 mean?

Verses 16 through 18 use a series of rhetorical questions—sentences which are framed as questions, but are really meant as definite statements. These are used to prove the author’s main point, which is that believers who fail to trust in God risk losing their spiritual blessings. Just as Israel suffered forty years of wandering when they were faithless, so too can a Christian suffer instead of obtaining the “Promised Land” of God’s inheritance. This is not a matter of salvation, but of fellowship, and yet it is still deadly serious.

This verse also shows that the Bible’s authors understood the use of generalities. The words say “all” in reference to those who left Egypt. However, a major aspect of the story was the faithfulness of Joshua and Caleb, and the fact that the younger members of Israel would live to enter Canaan. The point, however, fits the rhetoric. This is similar to how we might say, “nobody shops at that store anymore” when business is extremely poor. The point is not literalism, but effect, and would have been well understood by the Jewish readers of this letter.

This verse also gives one of the four major types of spiritual failure which can invite divine discipline. The first, given here, is rebellion. This is from the Greek word parepikranan, and it most literally means to “provoke.” These are those moments when we respond to God in a way which even other human beings would consider obnoxious or immature. Complaining, selfishness, carelessness, and so forth are all forms of rebellion.

Context Summary

Hebrews 3:15–19 ties several of the previous sections together. Using four primary forms of spiritual error, the author shows why Israel was disciplined by God. This discipline meant a loss of the Promised Land—not a parallel to salvation, but to spiritual rewards. Rebellion, sin, defiance, and faithlessness were all present in the nation of Israel, and that generation was denied their potential victory. Christians are warned, in this chapter, to avoid these mistakes so they don’t forfeit their own spiritual inheritance.

Chapter Summary

Hebrews chapter 3 uses a reference to Israel’s wandering in the desert from the story of the Exodus. In this incident, the nation of Israel came to the border of the Promised Land and then lost confidence in God. Rather than trusting Him, most of the people gave up hope. As a result, only a tiny remnant of the nation was allowed to enter into Canaan. This chapter explains that Jesus Christ is superior to Moses and all of Moses’ accomplishments. Christians, therefore, need to encourage each other to fully trust in God, in order to see fulfillment of His promises

What does Hebrews 3:17 mean?

This verse, along with verses 16 and 18, uses rhetorical questions to close up the author’s point about sin and discipline. Israel was forced to wander in the desert for forty years due to their sin. This caused an entire generation to lose out on entering the Promised Land. In this chapter, the author has made the argument that Christians are subject to the same dangers, if they fail to “hold fast,” making the same errors as the people of Israel did. These verses remind the reader that it was due to Israel’s sin that they were forced to wander.

The prior verse introduced the first of four ways in which our spiritual failures can disrupt our fellowship with God. The first was rebellion. Here, the main concern is simply referred to as “sin,” from the Greek hamartēsasin. In this particular context, the term has more to do with our actions than anything else. The connection is fairly clear, as this verse connects “sin” with the death of the body—physical for physical. Of course, what we do with our bodies is a reflection of what we think and believe. And, it demonstrates the extent to which we see God as the ultimate authority in our lives.

Context Summary

Hebrews 3:15–19 ties several of the previous sections together. Using four primary forms of spiritual error, the author shows why Israel was disciplined by God. This discipline meant a loss of the Promised Land—not a parallel to salvation, but to spiritual rewards. Rebellion, sin, defiance, and faithlessness were all present in the nation of Israel, and that generation was denied their potential victory. Christians are warned, in this chapter, to avoid these mistakes so they don’t forfeit their own spiritual inheritance.

Chapter Summary

Hebrews chapter 3 uses a reference to Israel’s wandering in the desert from the story of the Exodus. In this incident, the nation of Israel came to the border of the Promised Land and then lost confidence in God. Rather than trusting Him, most of the people gave up hope. As a result, only a tiny remnant of the nation was allowed to enter into Canaan. This chapter explains that Jesus Christ is superior to Moses and all of Moses’ accomplishments. Christians, therefore, need to encourage each other to fully trust in God, in order to see fulfillment of His promises.

What does Hebrews 3:18 mean?

Verse 16 mentioned rebellion as one of the ways in which our spiritual failures can result in a loss of fellowship with God. Verse 17 used the term “sin” as a more generic reference to our physical behaviors. Here, the third of four such problems is given: defiance. This is apeithēsasin in Greek, a word carrying a strong flavor of stubbornness and refusal. This, in other words, covers those moments when our sinful natures take on the form of a toddler: stamping our feet and saying, “no!”

The context of these warnings is that of Psalm 95: Israel suffered for decades without entering the Promised Land, because they were stubborn and rebellious towards God. When faced with something difficult, they failed to “hold fast” to their faith (Hebrews 3:6). Christians face the same risk. The author of Hebrews is warning believers to guard their lives (Hebrews 3:12), and to lovingly encourage each other (Hebrews 3:13), to avoid this discipline.

Context Summary

Hebrews 3:15–19 ties several of the previous sections together. Using four primary forms of spiritual error, the author shows why Israel was disciplined by God. This discipline meant a loss of the Promised Land—not a parallel to salvation, but to spiritual rewards. Rebellion, sin, defiance, and faithlessness were all present in the nation of Israel, and that generation was denied their potential victory. Christians are warned, in this chapter, to avoid these mistakes so they don’t forfeit their own spiritual inheritance.

Chapter Summary

Hebrews chapter 3 uses a reference to Israel’s wandering in the desert from the story of the Exodus. In this incident, the nation of Israel came to the border of the Promised Land and then lost confidence in God. Rather than trusting Him, most of the people gave up hope. As a result, only a tiny remnant of the nation was allowed to enter into Canaan. This chapter explains that Jesus Christ is superior to Moses and all of Moses’ accomplishments. Christians, therefore, need to encourage each other to fully trust in God, in order to see fulfillment of His promises

What does Hebrews 3:19 mean?

This is the last of the four ways in which spiritual failure can cause us to miss out on blessings from God. The context is that of Israel and her wandering in the desert. Despite common use, the Promised Land is not meant to be a symbol of heaven in the Bible—there was still war, work, and strife in Canaan. Salvation, in the story of Israel, was her liberation from Egypt. God did not send the rebellious people back to slavery. He will not let a saved Christian fall into eternal damnation. However, He will discipline a Christian who exhibits spiritual failures with a loss of their spiritual inheritance.

Prior verses used the example of Israel to point out the errors of rebellion, sin, and defiance. Here, “faithlessness” is mentioned. This is from the Greek term apistian. As used in the Bible, it is applied to those who lack faith entirely, those who have a weak trust in God, and those who fail to maintain trust. When Israel saw the “giants” of Canaan, they “chickened out” on God, and demonstrated this kind of “unbelief.”

Hebrews was originally written to Jewish Christians suffering under persecution. There would have been a strong temptation to “chicken out” and revert back to Judaism, or otherwise compromise their faith. However, this apistian risks discipline from God. The spiritual inheritance we are promised—something separate from our eternally secure salvation—is contingent on our being willing to “hold fast” to our faith (Hebrews 3:6). Faithlessness makes pleasing God impossible (Hebrews 11:6).

Context Summary

Hebrews 3:15–19 ties several of the previous sections together. Using four primary forms of spiritual error, the author shows why Israel was disciplined by God. This discipline meant a loss of the Promised Land—not a parallel to salvation, but to spiritual rewards. Rebellion, sin, defiance, and faithlessness were all present in the nation of Israel, and that generation was denied their potential victory. Christians are warned, in this chapter, to avoid these mistakes so they don’t forfeit their own spiritual inheritance.

Chapter Summary

Hebrews chapter 3 uses a reference to Israel’s wandering in the desert from the story of the Exodus. In this incident, the nation of Israel came to the border of the Promised Land and then lost confidence in God. Rather than trusting Him, most of the people gave up hope. As a result, only a tiny remnant of the nation was allowed to enter into Canaan. This chapter explains that Jesus Christ is superior to Moses and all of Moses’ accomplishments. Christians, therefore, need to encourage each other to fully trust in God, in order to see fulfillment of His promises

What does Hebrews chapter 3 mean?

Hebrews chapter 3 makes an important shift in topic. The first two chapters were mostly about how Jesus Christ is superior to angels. In particular, the fact that Jesus Christ is fully human is what allows Him to be our ultimate example, High Priest, and the “Captain” of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10). Here, the subject turns to explain how Jesus is also superior to Old Testament figures such as Moses.

According to this chapter, Moses’ works were important, but don’t compare to those of Jesus. Like a house, Moses was a created thing. Jesus, as the “builder” of all things, including the house, is worth far more glory and honor (Hebrews 3:3). Moses pointed to great things which God would do, but Jesus Christ actually did those great things (Hebrews 3:5). Moses was a powerful and faithful servant in the household of God, but Jesus is the Son in the house of God (Hebrews 3:6).

Driving that analogy home, the author of Hebrews gives the next warning to Christians. He uses the incident of Israel’s failure to trust God, which resulted in their wandering the desert for forty years (Hebrews 3:7–12). Numbers chapter 13 and 14 describe how Israel came to the border of the Promised Land and then lost faith. Instead of trusting God for victory, they doubted that they could defeat the “giants” of Canaan. As a result, God disciplined the nation of Israel. All but a tiny remnant of that nation would wander the desert until they died, never seeing the ultimate victory God had offered.

This kind of doubt does not imply a loss of salvation. The context is Israel’s experience following the story of the Exodus. In the book of Exodus, “salvation” is represented by the Passover escape from Egypt. God did not send Israel back to the Egyptians when they doubted. Instead, He withheld from them the victory of entering the Promised Land. For the same reason, Canaan cannot be seen as a metaphor for heaven, here. There were still battles to fight and struggles to experience, even for those who held to their faith. In context, this warning is not about a loss of salvation, but rather a loss of fellowship, reward, and our “spiritual inheritance” which occurs when we doubt God’s Word.

This reflects a similar idea as the warning given in Hebrews 2:1–4. God’s message regarding our salvation cannot be neglected without consequences. In the same way, our trust in His word and His message cannot be set aside without there being a price to pay.

Book Summary

The book of Hebrews is meant to challenge, encourage, and empower Christian believers. According to this letter, Jesus Christ is superior to all other prophets and all other claims to truth. Since God has given us Christ, we ought to listen to what He says and not move backwards. The consequences of ignoring God are dire. Hebrews is important for drawing on many portions of the Old Testament in making a case that Christ is the ultimate and perfect expression of God’s plan for mankind. This book presents some tough ideas about the Christian faith, a fact the author makes specific note of.

Chapter Context

In chapters 1 and 2, the author of Hebrews showed that Jesus was not an angel. In fact, Jesus’ role as Messiah required Him to be fully human. Starting in chapter 3, the author will explain how Jesus is also superior to various Old Testament characters such as Moses. This will help to set the stage for later references to Christ’s superiority. Part of the warning in this chapter extends into chapter 4. Namely, that Christians who doubt God’s promises risk missing out on the victories He has in store for us

His One And Only Son

VERSE OF THE DAY

John 3:17 (New Living Translation)

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God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

When God thought through his plans he knew the only thing that could save mankind was the sacrifice of his son to save all his children us out of love he didn’t come to condemn us or judge us but to save and love us through salvation and love by his son Jesus Christ

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

What Does John 3:17 Mean? ►

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:17(ESV)

Verse Thoughts

So many believers are living under condemnation. So many see God as an angry God with a big stick, watching our every movement with a frown on His face – waiting in anticipation for us to do something wrong, so that He can punish us.

If only believers would take what the word of God says literally and BELIEVE what it says – so many would not be living their lives under condemnation but would be rejoicing in the Lord…for God did NOT send His Son into the world in order to condemn the world, but to SAVE the world – through Christ.

It was out of love and not cruelty that God sent His only begotten Son into the world to die for the sin of the world – and once a sinner believes this simple truth he is immediately saved and is NOT condemned. But how many believers continue to live the life under condemnation – simply because they do not read God’s word or believe what they read.

1 second of 15 seconds

Let us read, mark, learn and inwardly digest God’s Word – and then believe what He says.

My Prayer

Thank You Lord for the Bible and for the truth that it contains. Guide me into all truth I pray- knowing that all I need for salvation and sanctification is contained within the pages of Scripture, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/john-3-17

John 3:17 Meaning of I Did Not Come to Condemn the World

Oct 4, 2020 by Editor in Chief

John 3:17
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Explanation and Commentary of John 3:17

Coming on the tails of the most memorized Bible verse in the Western world (Jn 3:16), this verse tells us something important about the way Christ viewed his own mission. He was not here to condemn the world. One obvious reason is that the world is already condemned (Jn 3:36). Just like in the days of Noah, there is sure destruction for sin and sinfulness from a holy and righteous God, whose character does not allow for any other position towards injustice, perversion, and rebelliousness which so permeates the world in its fallen state. And just like the mercy of God for his elect, Noah and his family, God has set aside the Church to be objects of mercy. Just like he instructed Noah to build an ark, he has sent his one and only Son to save those who would believe. Not to push the metaphor too far; just like Noah and his family had to choose to get on the boat, those who would be saved must put their faith in Jesus to save them from the “wrath to come” (1 Thes 1:10).

This is more merciful than most people ever grasp because in our sinful nature, we just cannot accept that what we are doing is wrong and offensive to the Creator for objective moral reasons. Even regenerate Christians are not able to grasp it because we still are so influenced by our flesh, but to grasp it is truly a key to joy, thankfulness, and a perspective that will drive us to follow the God who has saved us. Praise him for his grace and mercy towards us, and trade all you possess to buy the field with the treasure (Mt 13:44). He’s more worth more than we are capable of knowing.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of John 3:17

#1 “For…”
The verse comes as a result of the previous, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). That one came as a result of what preceded it, a conversation with Nicodemus about regeneration before one can see the kingdom of God, and about the fact that the Son of Man must be lifted up and believed on.

#2 “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,”
Jesus Christ was indeed sent by his Father in heaven, but it was not for the purpose of condemning the world. While all the Old Testament prophets probably hoped to draw sinners back to God, most of their ministries served as ministries of condemnation, as an aspect of the accountability for God’s people who will not be able to claim they had not been warned (Ez 2:7).

#3 “but to save the world…”
Rather, Jesus’s ministry was to “seek and save what was lost” (Lk 19:10), to “announce the year of the Lord’s favor,” and to “set the captives free” (Lk 4:18).

#4 “…through him.”
Jesus would not only preach the message of the gospel of the kingdom but would be the message. Only through his death on the cross for us could the wrath of God for sin be satisfied. Consequently, anyone who believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.

Bible Study on John 3:17

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:17

Related Topics: God, Son, Jesus, Salvation, All Topics…

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

God is not the big Scrooge in the sky, critically looking down on his flawed children waiting to condemn those who mess up. Instead, he saw how broken, flawed, and messed up we were and entered our world to save it… to save us. God’s purpose in sending Jesus is our life and our salvation.

My Prayer…

Heavenly Father, deliver me from the sin that entangles my actions and pollutes my heart. Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me through your Holy Spirit. Thank you for your forgiveness and grace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.

What does John 3:17 mean?

Verse 17 is a peaceful footnote to John 3:16. Jesus came for the purpose of saving people, not condemning them. Verse 18 explains that this is because those who do not believe are “condemned already.” According to the Bible, God doesn’t want to see anyone destroyed (Ezekiel 18:23–32). Rather, He would prefer that everyone be saved (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4). However, He will give us the dignity of our choices.

This salvation is offered to “the world,” a phrase this verse uses three times. This is from the Greek word kosmos, which sometimes refers to the God-hating system of human society. In this context, however, it means “all people.” The meanings overlap in this case, since the people Christ died for were—and are—sinners who are separated from Him (Romans 5:12).

This verse also reiterates the idea that salvation is through Christ—and nothing else. The offer of salvation is for everyone, but only those who accept it will actually be saved.

Context Summary

John 3:16–21 begins with the most easily recognized portion of any holy book on Earth: John 3:16. This is a one-sentence summary of the entire gospel. Still, the verses which follow are just as critical for understanding the Christian message. Christ wasn’t sent to judge the world, but to bring salvation. This is an expression of God’s incredible love. However, those who do not believe in Jesus Christ are condemned in the eyes of God. Human preference for sin causes many to choose darkness over the Light.

Chapter Summary

John chapter 3 is one of the most important in the entire gospel. Many crucial ideas are explained in this passage, including the role of Jesus as Savior. After the loud, public commotion at the temple, John transitions to a quiet, nighttime discussion. These verses make it clear that Christ—and Christ alone—is the means of salvation for the entire world. This text also states that those who reject Jesus are rejecting God

Being Born Into New Life

We as believers even at non believers all have been given life and an opportunity for a relationship of everlasting life and pure love in spiritual birth and salvation by The death of Jesus Christ we are children of God saved by the son Jesus Christ

John Chapter 3

John 3 – The New Birth

“If we were asked to read to a dying man who did not know the gospel, we should probably select this chapter as the most suitable one for such an occasion; and what is good for dying men is good for us all, for that is what we are; and how soon we may be actually at the gates of death, none of us can tell.” (Spurgeon)

A. Nicodemus and the new birth.

1. (1-3) Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night.

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

a. Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: Nicodemus was one of those impressed by Jesus’ signs (John 2:23), and a member of the ruling Sanhedrin. He was religious (of the Pharisees), educated (Nicodemus is a Greek name), influential (a ruler), and earnest enough to come by night. Nicodemus came to Jesus as a representative of all men (John 2:23-25), and in a sense he represented what is highest and best in men.

b. This man came to Jesus by night: Perhaps Nicodemus came by night because he was timid, or perhaps he wanted an uninterrupted interview with Jesus.

c. We know that You are a teacher come from God: It is difficult to know if Nicodemus spoke of himself, of the Sanhedrin, or of popular opinion. “It is possible, however, that oidamen, we know, signifies no more than, it is known, it is generally acknowledged and allowed, that thou art a teacher come from God.” (Clarke)

d. No one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him: We understand the sense in which Nicodemus meant this, but his statement was not entirely true. The Bible tells us that deceivers and false prophets can sometimes perform remarkable signs (2 Thessalonians 2:9 and Revelation 13:13-14).

e. Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God: Jesus’ reply to Nicodemus shattered the Jewish assumption that their racial identity – their old birth – assured them a place in God’s Kingdom. Jesus made it plain that a man’s first birth does not assure him of the kingdom; only being born again gives this assurance.

i. It was taught widely among the Jews at that time that since they descended from Abraham, they were automatically assured of heaven. In fact, some Rabbis taught that Abraham stood watch at the gate of hell, just to make sure that none of his descendants accidentally wandered in there.

ii. Most Jews of that time looked for the Messiah to bring in a new world, in which Israel and the Jewish people would be pre-eminent. But Jesus came to bring new life, in which He would be preeminent.

iii. Nicodemus addressed Jesus as a rabbi and teacher; Jesus responded to him as the one who announced new life. “Our Lord replies, It is not learning, but life that is wanted for in the Messiah’s Kingdom; and life must begin by birth.” (Alford)

f. Born again: The ancient Greek word translated again (anothen) can be also translated “from above.” This is the sense in which John used this word in John 3:31 and in John 19:11 and 19:23. Either way, the meaning is essentially the same. To be born from above is to be born again.

i. “The word rendered ‘anew’ might equally be translated by ‘from above’. Both senses are true, and in the Johannine manner it is likely that we should understand both here.” (Morris)

ii. Essentially, this means to have new life. A theological term for this is regeneration. It isn’t simply a moral or religious reform, but the bringing of new life. “To belong to the heavenly kingdom, one must be born into it.” (Tenney)

iii. Jesus clearly said that without this – that unless one is born again – he cannot enter or be part of (see) the kingdom of God. Moral or religious reform isn’t enough. One must be born again.

iv. This isn’t something that we can do to ourselves. If Jesus had said, “Unless you are washed, you cannot see the kingdom of God” then we might think, “I can wash myself.” A man might wash himself; but he could never birth himself.

v. “All over the New Testament this idea of rebirth, re-creation occurs.” (Barclay)

· 1 Peter speaks of being born anew by God’s great mercy (1 Peter 1:3).

· 1 Peter speaks of being born anew from an imperishable seed (1 Peter 1:22-23).

· James speaks of God bringing us forth by the word of truth (James 1:18).

· Titus speaks to us of the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5).

· Romans speaks of dying with Jesus and rising anew (Romans 6:1-11).

· 1 Corinthians speaks of new believers as new-born babes (1 Corinthians 3:1-2).

· 2 Corinthians speaks of us being a new creation in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).

· Galatians says that in Jesus we are a new creation (Galatians 6:15).

· Ephesians says the new man is created after God in righteousness (Ephesians 4:22-24).

· Hebrews says that at the beginning of our Christian life we are like children (Hebrews 5:12-14).

2. (4) Nicodemus answers: How can this be?

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

a. How can a man be born when he is old? Nicodemus’ reply may not have been out of ignorance, but from thinking that Jesus meant a moral reformation. His question may be “How can you teach an old dog new tricks?” One way or another, Nicodemus clearly did not understand Jesus or the truth about the new birth.

i. “Had our Lord said: ‘Every Gentile must be born again,’ he would have understood.” (Dods)

b. How can a man be born when he is old? In His description of new birth, Jesus recalled a familiar theme from Old Testament promises of the New Covenant (Deuteronomy 30:1-6, Jeremiah 23:1-8, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Jeremiah 32:37-41, Ezekiel 11:16-20, Ezekiel 36:16-28, Ezekiel 37:11-14, 37:21-28). These passages essentially made three promises in the New Covenant:

· The gathering of Israel.

· The cleansing and spiritual transformation of God’s people.

· The reign of the Messiah over Israel and the whole world.

i. In Jesus’ day, the common teaching among the Jewish people was that the first two aspects of the New Covenant had been fulfilled. They saw Israel gathered – at least in part – after the Babylonian exile. They saw strong spiritual movements like the Pharisees, which they believed fulfilled the promise of spiritual transformation. All they waited for was the reign of the Messiah.

ii. That’s why Jesus’ statement about the new birth was so strange to Nicodemus. He thought that the Jewish people already had it; they certainly weren’t looking for it. They only looked for a triumphant Messiah.

3. (5-8) Jesus explains the new birth.

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

a. Most assuredly… you must be born again: Jesus was emphatic in saying that man does not need reformation, but a radical conversion by the Spirit of God. We must be born of water and the Spirit.

i. “In verse 3 Jesus has spoken of ‘seeing’ the kingdom of God, whereas here He speaks of ‘entering’ it. There is probably no great difference of meaning.” (Morris)

ii. Most assuredly: “The words add solemnity to and underline the truth of what follows. The modern expressions, ‘In truth I tell you’, ‘Believe me when I say’, ‘I do assure you’, convey the meaning.” (Tasker)

iii. Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God: If a nation passed a law that said no one could live there except those who were born in that nation, and someone wanted to live there who was not born there.

· It wouldn’t matter if he took a name that was common in that nation.

· It wouldn’t matter if he spoke the language.

· It wouldn’t matter if he observed some of the customs.

· It wouldn’t matter if he dressed like those in that nation.

· It wouldn’t matter if he practiced some of the religious traditions of that nation.

· It wouldn’t matter if his parents were born in that nation.

· It wouldn’t matter if his children were born there.

· It wouldn’t matter if he had many friends in that nation.

· All that would matter was if he was actually born there.

iv. “A man may cast away many vices, forsake many lusts in which he indulged, and conquer evil habits, but no man in the world can make himself to be born of God; though he should struggle never so much, he could never accomplish what is beyond his power. And, mark you, if he could make himself to be born again, still he would not enter heaven, because there is another point in the condition which he would have violated — ‘unless a man be born of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” (Spurgeon)

b. You must be born of water: We know from John 3:10 that whatever being born of water was, it should have been familiar to Nicodemus from the Old Testament.

i. Some have thought born of water means to be baptized. Water here may represent baptism, but there is no real Old Testament foundation for this.

ii. Some have thought that born of water refers to our physical birth, since we come forth from a sack of water. This approach is more attractive, but doesn’t it simply state the obvious? However, it does make a good parallel with the idea of that which is born of the flesh in John 3:6.

iii. Some have thought that born of water means to be born again by the Word of God. In other passages of Scripture, water represents the Word, as we are washed by the water of the word (Ephesians 5:26).

iv. Some have thought that born of water means to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, the living water of John 7:38-39.

v. Some have thought that born of water means to receive the water of cleansing prophesied in Ezekiel 36:25-28 as part of the New Covenant. This is the approach has the most weight (though it is a tough call), because of its firm connections to Old Testament prophecy – which Jesus says Nicodemus should have know to understand these things.

c. That which is born of the flesh is flesh: Without the new birth of the Spirit, the flesh taints all works of righteousness. Yet, everything that a Spirit-led man does can be pleasing to God.

i. “In this flesh is included every part of that which is born after the ordinary method of generation: even the spirit of man, which, receptive as it is of the Spirit of God, is yet in the natural birth dead, sunk in trespasses and sins.” (Alford)

d. Do not marvel that I said to you, “You must be born again”: Again, Nicodemus did marvel at this statement, because he – like most all Jews of his time – believed they already had the inner transformation promised in the New Covenant. Jesus wants him to take hold of the fact that he does not have it, and must be born again.

i. We should not forget whom Jesus said this to. Nicodemus was a religious leader, a Pharisee, an educated man, and an earnest man. By all outward appearance, he was already transformed unto God – yet he was not.

ii. “These solemn words for ever exclude the possibility of salvation by human merit. Man’s nature is so gripped by sin that an activity of the very Spirit of God is a necessity of he is to be associated with God’s kingdom.” (Morris)

e. The wind blows where it wishes: Jesus’ idea to Nicodemus was “You don’t understand everything about the wind, but you see its effects. That is just how it is with the birth of the Spirit.” Jesus wanted Nicodemus to know that he didn’t have to understand everything about the new birth before he experienced it.

i. Since we can’t control the Spirit, “It should lead us to be very tender and jealous in our conduct towards the Holy Ghost, so that we do not grieve him and cause him to depart from us.” (Spurgeon)

4. (9-13) Jesus responds to the question “how can these things be?”

Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.”

a. How can these things be? Nicodemus was confused. He was so set in his thinking that the new birth has already happened to him and all of faithful Israel, that he had a hard time thinking differently. Jesus had to keep explaining.

b. Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Jesus chided Nicodemus for not being aware of the need and the promise of the new birth, because these were plainly laid out in the Old Testament. Nicodemus knew these passages well, but believed that they had been fulfilled in regard to the new birth. He should have known better.

i. Are you the teacher of Israel: “Nicodemus’s exact position in the theological circles of Israel is not defined, but the language suggests that he was a very important person. Jesus implies that as the outstanding teacher of the nation, Nicodemus should have been familiar with the teaching of the new birth.” (Tenney)

c. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? A simple look at earthly things – like the illustrations Jesus used, and even a look at his own life – should have made the point plain to Nicodemus. If he could not see that he needed this spiritual transformation, what more could Jesus tell him?

d. No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven: Jesus “makes it clear that He can speak authoritatively about things in heaven, though no one else can.” (Morris)

i. “In short, we have here the basis in Christ’s own words of the statement in the prologue that the Word was in the beginning with God, and became flesh to be a light to men.” (Dods)

ii. No one has ascended to heaven: “This seems a figurative expression for, No man hath known the mysteries of the kingdom of God; as in Deuteronomy 30:12; Psalm 73:17; Proverbs 30:4; Romans 11:34. And the expression is founded upon this generally received maxim: That to be perfectly acquainted with the concerns of a place, it is necessary for a person to be on the spot.” (Clarke)

5. (14-15) Jesus and the brazen serpent.

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

a. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness: Jesus made a remarkable statement, explaining that the serpent of Numbers 21:4-9 was a picture of the Messiah and His work.

i. Serpents are often used as pictures of evil in the Bible (Genesis 3:1-5 and Revelation 12:9). However, Moses’ serpent in Numbers 21 was made of bronze, and bronze is a metal associated with judgment in the Bible, because bronze is with fire, a picture of judgment.

ii. So, a bronze serpent does speak of sin, but of sin judged. In the same way Jesus, who knew no sin became sin for us on the cross, and our sin was judged in Him. A bronze serpent is a picture of sin judged and dealt with.

iii. We would have wanted to diminish our sense of sin, and put the image of a man up on the pole. Our image of man might represent “both good and bad” in man. But a serpent is more apparently sinful, and shows us our true nature and true need of salvation.

iv. In addition, if the serpent lay horizontally on the vertical pole, it is easy to see how this also was a visual representation of the cross. However, many traditions show the serpent being wrapped around the pole, and this is the source for the ancient figure of healing and medicine – a serpent, wrapped around a pole.

v. In the Numbers 21:4-9 account, the people were saved not by doing anything, but by simply looking to the bronze serpent. They had to trust that something as seemingly foolish as looking at such a thing would be sufficient to save them, and surely, some perished because they thought it too foolish to do such a thing.

vi. As it says in Isaiah 45:22: Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. We might be willing to do a hundred things to earn our salvation, but God commands us to only trust in Him – to look to Him.

b. Even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: Even though Jesus bore our sins, He never became a sinner. Even His becoming sin for us was a holy, righteous, act of love. Jesus remained the Holy One throughout the entire ordeal of the cross.

i. “Nicodemus had failed to grasp the teaching about the new birth when it was presented to him in terms drawn from Ezekiel’s prophecy; now it is presented to him by means of an object-lesson, from a story with which he had been familiar since childhood.” (Bruce)

ii. Must be lifted up: “He must die because He would save, and He would save because He did love.” (Maclaren)

c. Lifted up: This is a term later used to describe both Jesus’ crucifixion (John 12:32) and His ascension (Acts 2:33). Both meanings are in view, His suffering and exaltation. Jesus was lifted up in both ways.

i. The Son of Man is to be lifted up. Yes, but not on a throne in Herod’s palace. He was to be conspicuous, but as the brazen serpent had been conspicuous, hanging on a pole for the healing of the people.” (Dods)

d. Should not perish but have eternal life: The idea behind eternal life means much more than a long or never ending life. Eternal life does not mean that this life goes on forever. Instead, eternal life also has the idea of a certain quality of life, of God’s kind of life. It is the kind of life enjoyed in eternity.

i. “The nature of the belief is implied in the illustration of Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness. Belief consists of accepting something, not doing something.” (Tenney)

6. (16) God’s gift of salvation.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

a. For God so loved the world: John 3:16 has long been celebrated as a powerful, succinct, declaration of the gospel. Of the 31,102 verses in the Bible, it may be the most popular single verse used in evangelism.

i. We learn the object of God’s love: For God so loved the world. God did not wait for the world to turn to Him before He loved the world. He loved and gave His only begotten Son to the world when it was still the world!

ii. What Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:7 (You must be born again) refuted the popular Jewish idea regarding the way to salvation. Now Jesus refuted the popular Jewish idea regarding the scope of salvation: for God so loved the world.

iii. The Jews of that day rarely thought that God loved the world. Many of them thought that God only loved Israel. The universal offer of salvation and life in Jesus was revolutionary.

iv. “The Jew was ready enough to think of God as loving Israel, but no passage appears to be cited in which any Jewish writer maintains that God loved the world. It is a distinctively Christian idea that God’s love is wide enough to embrace all mankind.” (Morris)

v. Morrison suggested that there are three centers of love:

· God so loved the world (John 3:16).

· Christ also loved the church (Ephesians 5:25).

· The Son of God, who loved me (Galatians 2:20).

b. He gave His only begotten Son: This describes both the expression and the gift of God’s love. God’s love didn’t just feel for the plight of a fallen world. God did something about it, and He gave the most precious thing to give: His only begotten Son.

i. He gave his only begotten Son: “These words seem to carry a reference to the offering of Isaac; and Nicodemus in that case would at once be reminded by them of the love there required, the substitution there made, and the prophecy there uttered to Abraham.” (Alford)

c. Whoever believes in Him: This describes the recipient of God’s love. God loves the world, but the world does not receive or benefit from that love until it believes in Jesus, the gift that the Father gave. Believes in means much more than intellectual awareness or agreement. It means to trust in, to rely on, and to cling to.

d. Should not perish: This describes the intention of God’s love. God’s love actually saves man from eternal destruction. God looks at fallen humanity, does not want it to perish, and so in His love He extends the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ.

e. Everlasting life: This describes the duration of God’s love. The love we receive among people may fade or turn, but God’s love will never change. He will never stop loving His people, even unto the furthest distance of eternity.

i. We may say there are Seven Wonders in John 3:16.

God

The Almighty Authority

So loved the world

The Mightiest Motive

That He gave His only begotten Son

The Greatest Gift

That whoever

The Widest Welcome

Believes in Him

The Easiest Escape

Should not perish

The Divine Deliverance

But have everlasting life

The Priceless Possession

ii. “If there is one sentence more than another which sums up the message of the Fourth Gospel, it is this. The love of God is limitless; it embraces all mankind. No sacrifice was too great to bring its unmeasured intensity home to men and women: the best that God had to give, he gave – his only Son, his well-beloved.” (Bruce)

7. (17-21) Sin’s condemnation.

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

a. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world: Jesus revealed the heart of God the Father in sending God the Son; to bring salvation – rescue, hope, healing – to the world through Him.

i. “Some men will, in fact, be condemned, and that as the result of Christ’s coming into the world (John 3:19). But the purpose of His coming was not this.” (Morris)

b. He who does not believe is condemned already: John 3:16 is the most gracious, wonderful offer conceivable – eternal life for all who believe. Yet the offer has inherent consequences, for any who reject, who refuse to believe. Their refusal makes their condemnation certain.

i. A significant issue regarding those who do not believe is, “What about those who never had the opportunity to believe because they never heard the good news of Jesus Christ?” This is an important but separate question, addressed best by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1 and 2. Here, the focus seems to be on those who deliberately reject the message, as those who heard and encountered Jesus in the first century had opportunity to do.

ii. “No explicit mention is made here of those who have never had the opportunity of believing in Christ, those on whom the light in its fullness has never shone. But John’s words probably unfold the principle of their judgment too. As the eternal Word came to men and women before becoming incarnate in Christ, so it is with the light of God. If men and women are judged by their response to the light, they are judged by their response to such light as is available to them.” (Bruce)

c. This is the condemnation: Jesus came to bring salvation, but those who reject that salvation condemn themselves. We never need to leave the reason for anyone’s condemnation at God’s door. The responsibility is theirs alone.

i. “Heaven is too hot to hold unregenerate persons; no such dirty dog ever trampled on that golden pavement, it is an undefiled inheritance.” (Trapp)

d. Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil: Jesus explained what keeps people from faith and rescue in Him. It is because they are drawn to darkness, and love it more than the light. There is a critical moral dimension to unbelief that is often denied or ignored.

i. Those who consciously reject Jesus often present themselves as heroic characters who bravely put away superstition and deal honestly with deep philosophical problems. It is far more often true that there is a moral compromise at the root of their rejection.

ii. Many opponents of Christianity have a vested interested in fighting against the truth of Jesus, because they love their sin and don’t want to face it, or face a God who will judge their sin.

iii. When we think of the love of sin that sends people to hell, we often other think of notorious sin. But the simple demand to be lord of my own life is enough of a sin to deserve condemnation before God.

e. Everyone practicing evil hates the light: Some express their hatred of the truth by actively fighting against it, and others express their hatred by ignoring God’s truth – by saying to Jesus “You are not worth my time.” In contrast, he who does the truth comes to the light.

i. He who does the truth: “‘To do the truth’ is at any rate to live up to what one knows; to live an honest, conscientious life.” (Dods)

ii. “They chose to walk in the darkness, that they might do the works of darkness-they broke the Divine law, refused the mercy offered to them, are arrested by Divine justice, convicted, condemned, and punished. Whence, then, does their damnation proceed? From THEMSELVES.” (Clarke)

B. John the Baptist’s final testimony about Jesus.

1. (22-24) Jesus baptizes in Judea as John continues his work of baptizing.

After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. For John had not yet been thrown into prison.

a. Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea: John continues his account of the life of Jesus with the emphasis on what He did in Judea. The other Gospels focus on the work of Jesus in the Galilee region.

b. He remained with them and baptized: Jesus, together with His disciples, did a work of baptizing apparently similar to the work of John the Baptist. This was Jesus’ humble way of recognizing the goodness and importance of John’s work.

i. Of the baptizing work of Jesus, Morris observed: “More probably it represents a continuation of the ‘baptism of repentance’ that was characteristic of John the Baptist.” We know that when Jesus began to preach, He began with John’s same message: repent (Matthew 3:2 and 4:17). It made sense for Jesus to also practice the symbol of repentance that John used with such great effect.

ii. “The baptism now carried on by the disciples [of Jesus] appears to have stood very much in the same position as that of John.” (Alford)

iii. “‘Tarried’ [remained] is another word that is not very specific, but we get the impression of an unhurried period during which Jesus and His followers got to know each other better.” (Morris)

iv. The location of Jesus’ work of baptizing is not reported. This may be because it happened in several places in the general area.

c. John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim: There is some dispute as to the exact location of this place. The best evidence is that it was a place some seven miles (12 kilometers) south of modern Bethshan.

i. “The name Aenon (Ainun means ‘springs’, which would provide the ‘much water’ (literally ‘many waters’) required by John for baptizing.” (Bruce)

ii. “The exact location of Aenon is uncertain. Two sites are possible: one south of Bethshan, where there were numerous springs; another, a short distance from Shechem. Of the two, the former seems to be the better possibility.” (Tenney)

iii. John’s work of baptizing was still showing itself effective; we read: And they came and were baptized. “The sense of the last two verbs is continuous and we might give it the force of it as ‘they kept coming and being baptized’.” (Morris)

2. (25-26) John learns of the baptizing work of Jesus.

Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”

a. A dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification: We don’t know the precise nature of this dispute. John’s baptism certainly had an element of personal purification, and perhaps some of the Jewish leaders objected to what he did or how he did it.

b. He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him! We don’t know the details of the dispute regarding purification, but in that discussion the disciples of John learned that Jesus was baptizing, and drawing large crowds.

i. “‘All men’ is an indignant exaggeration, very natural in the circumstances.” (Morris)

c. All are coming to Him! John’s disciples seemed alarmed, but it didn’t bother John one bit. John would not allow envy or the fickle crowds make him forget his mission: to announce that the Messiah had come, and then to step back and let the attention be focused upon the Messiah.

3. (27-30) John’s answer to his worried disciples.

John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”

a. A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven: John first answered his worried disciples that everything he had – including those who responded to his ministry – were a gift from God. If they are God’s gift, then they should be received gratefully.

b. I said, “I am not the Christ,” but, “I have been sent before Him”: John then reminded his disciples that he knew who he was, and he also knew who Jesus was. Understanding that, he could keep his proper place; not too high (thinking he was the Christ) and not too low (thinking he had no call or place in God’s plan).

c. The friend of the bridegroom: John explained to his followers that he was like the best man at a wedding; he isn’t the bridegroom. He isn’t to be the focus of attention, but to supervise the bringing of two people together.

i. In the Jewish wedding customs of that day, the friend of the bridegroom arranged many of the details of the wedding and brought the bride to the groom. Nevertheless, the friend of the bridegroom was never the focus of attention, and wanted it that way.

ii. The fact that the bridegroom represents Jesus is another way the Bible says Jesus is God. In the Old Testament, it was only Yahweh who was the husband of Israel. “The Baptist would have been well aware that in the Old Testament Israel is regarded as the bride of Jehovah.” (Morris)

d. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled: John wanted his followers to know that all these arrangements fulfilled his joy. One might say that John the Baptist lost his congregation – and he was happy about it! John was happy because he lost his congregation to Jesus.

i. “It is not John’s regret that men are attracted to Jesus: rather it is the fulfillment of his work and hope.” (Dods)

ii. “John betrays no sense of envy or rivalry. It is not easy to see another’s influence growing at the expense of one’s own; it is even less easy to rejoice at the sight. But John found his joy completed by the news which his disciples brought.” (Bruce)

e. He must increase, but I must decrease: John the Baptist understood it was good for him to become less visible and known, for Jesus to become more visible and known. In even larger aspects, this should be the motto of every Christian, especially leaders among God’s people. Jesus should become greater and more visible, and the servant should become less and less visible.

i. Even though Jesus was baptizing men unto repentance and drawing large crowds, John understood that they did not have the same ministry, the same role. Jesus was uniquely the Messiah and His work must be continually exalted.

ii. John the Baptist shows us that we may be very popular and outwardly successful, and still be humble. John the Baptist had fame and crowds that modern celebrity pastors could only dream of, yet he was an example of genuine humility.

iii. John that Baptist also did not quit his work just because Jesus was doing a similar work and doing it for more people. He labored on, content to do what God called him to do even though Jesus gained more and more attention and John less and less.

iv. “Here ministers may learn not to be wanting to their duties, though God may stir up others about them of greater parts and better success to obscure them.” (Trapp)

v. “If it is not due to your lethargy or sloth that the crowds have ebbed away, and that the tide of conversions has dropped below its former level, be at peace. These are things which the Holy Spirit worketh, dividing to each one severally even as He will.” (Meyer)

4. (31-33) John’s testimony about Jesus.

“He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true.”

a. He who comes from above: John wanted everyone to know where Jesus came from. Jesus was different from everyone else because He came from heaven. He wasn’t an exceptionally spiritual or wise or good man; He was and is God, from heaven.

i. There is some debate as to if John 3:31 continues the words of John the Baptist or if it begins a section where John the Evangelist comments on themes suggested by the prior words of the Baptist.

b. He who comes from heaven is above all: Jesus is not only different from everyone else; Jesus is also greater than everyone else.

i. “If we want information about a family, we will get it at first hand only from a member of that family. If we want information about a town we will get it at first hand only from someone who comes from that town. So, then, if we want information about God, we will get it only from the Son of God; and if we want information about heaven and heaven’s life, we will get it only from him who comes from heaven.” (Barclay)

ii. What He has seen and heard: “Seeing and hearing are equivalent to having direct knowledge.” (Dods)

c. No one receives His testimony: John prophetically anticipated the rejection Jesus would endure in His ministry. He came from heaven, He testified to the truth, but relatively no one received His testimony, even though witnesses certified it as the truth of God.

i. “He meant that comparatively none received it. Compared with the crowds who came to him, compared with the nation of Israel, compared with the human race, those who received Christ’s testimony were so few that his sadness made him call them none.” (Spurgeon)

ii. “To accept His teaching is therefore to testify that God is true; on the other hand, to reject it, is in effect to make God a liar (John 3:33; cf. 1 John 1:10, 5:10).” (Tasker)

iii. Certified: “When you believe in Jesus, you have set your seal to the testimony of Jesus, which is the revelation of the Lord. You have certified that you believe in God as true.” (Spurgeon)

5. (34-36) The price for rejecting the true testimony regarding Jesus.

“For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

a. He whom God has sent speaks the words of God: Jesus is a uniquely reliable revelation, because He has the Holy Spirit without measure, in contrast to the previous prophets.

b. For God does not give the Spirit by measure: John spoke both of Jesus (who had the Holy Spirit without measure) and prophetically of the New Covenant (which featured a true outpouring of the Holy Spirit). For those joined to the Messiah through the New Covenant, there is as much of the Spirit as needed, given without measure.

i. “The Rabbinical books say that the Holy Spirit was only given to the prophets by measure. This unmeasured pouring of the Spirit on Him accounts for his speaking the words of God.” (Alford)

ii. The Father loves the Son: “Twice in this Gospel we read that ‘the Father loves the Son’ – here (John 3:35) and in John 5:20. The verb here is agapao; in the other place it is phileo. The alternation of those two verbs in identical statements illustrates the Evangelist’s propensity for varying his choice of synonyms.” (Bruce)

iii. The Son: “This absolute use of ‘the Son’ as a designation of Christ certainly suggests, if it does not prove, the proper Divinity of Christ. It is the favourite designation in this Gospel.” (Dods)

c. He who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him: John explained that because Jesus is the man from heaven, there is a heavy price to pay for rejecting Him. If you reject the Son, then you receive the wrath.

i. He who does not believe: “He may think that his not believing is a very small business, but, indeed, it is a barbed shaft shot against the Deity.” (Spurgeon)

ii. The wrath of God: “The word does not mean a sudden gust of passion or a burst of temper. Rather, it is the settled displeasure of God against sin. It is the divine allergy to moral evil, the reaction of righteousness to unrighteousness.” (Tenney)

iii. To reject the Son is to reject His gift – eternal life. You can’t tell Him, “I’ll take the gift but reject You.”

iv. “‘The wrath of God’ is a concept which is uncongenial to many modern students, and various devices are adopted to soften the expression or explain it away. This cannot be done, however, without doing great violence to many passages of Scripture and without distracting from God’s moral character.” (Morris)

v. “It is not that God sends wrath upon him; it is that he brings that wrath upon himself.” (Barclay)

d. The wrath of God abides: It abides in this world, because sin’s evil abides until the wrong of it is perfectly satisfied. It abides into the next world, because those who reject Jesus cannot offer a perfect sacrifice acceptable to God. The wrath of God abides until the perfect payment Jesus made on the cross satisfies the debt of evil and guilt.

i. “We may not like it but we should not ignore it. John tells us that this wrath ‘abideth’. We should not expect it to fade away with the passage of time.” (Morris)

ii. “Holy Whitfield, when he was preaching, would often hold up his hands, and, with tears streaming down his eyes, would exclaim, ‘Oh, the wrath to come! the wrath to come!’ Then would he pause because his emotions checked his utterance.” (Spurgeon)

iii. Looking back over John 3, one might say that it is a must read chapter of the Bible. There are four prominent musts in John 3.

· The Sinner’s must: you must be born again (John 3:7).

· The Savior’s must: so must the Son of Man be lifted up (John 3:14).

· The Sovereign’s must: He must increase (John 3:30).

· The Servant’s must: I must decrease (John 3:30).

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

Categories: John New Testament

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Time Amongst Tragedy

This is what the word says about tragedy as we remember those lost in the mass shootout and many others in tragedy

Ecclesiastes 6:2

God gives some people great wealth and honor and everything they could ever want, but then he doesn’t give them the chance to enjoy these things. They die, and someone else, even a stranger, ends up enjoying their wealth! This is meaningless—a sickening tragedy.

John 16:33

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Deuteronomy 28:34

You will go mad because of all the tragedy you see around you.

Ecclesiastes 6:1

There is another serious tragedy I have seen under the sun, and it weighs heavily on humanity.

People don’t know a time or day of the end yet God does and sometimes it’s not understandable or tragic this always weighs heavily on heart especially when we can’t understand or fathom with many questions of why

Ecclesiastes 9:12

People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy

Sometimes things happen and all we can do is ask why? It’s not fathomed and leaves us speechless.

What Does Ecclesiastes 9:12 Mean? ►

Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them.

Ecclesiastes 9:12(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

It was most likely King Solomon who penned the unusual book of Ecclesiastes. God granted the young king the gift of wisdom and discernment, and there is much in his writing that pertains to the value of acquiring godly wisdom. But as one traces the life of this famous and fabulously wealthy king through Scripture, we discover that he did not always make the best choices in his own life, as king of Israel. And despite his great gift of wisdom, he often exhibited flawed human logic, rather than wise, godly discernment.

During his life, Solomon used his position, power, and prosperity, in an effort to discover the meaning of life. He did this by exploring many different avenues of productive employment and trivial entertainment. But Solomon foolishly strove to do this by his own human effort, instead of trusting the Lord to guard his heart and guide his steps. However, the resounding result of his in-depth lifelong search into the mysteries of life, which was recorded in the little book of Ecclesiastes, was that without God, everything in life was meaningless.

In his search for meaning and truth, Solomon often adopted a human mindset and explored the meaning of life using the world’s frame of reference, rather than a heavenly one. In his rigorous pursuit of understanding, Solomon determined that one’s labour is often motivated by inappropriate incentives… and that fleshly passions are fleeting and futile

He concluded that the pursuit of politics and religiosity are vain and valueless, and that the cycle of life and death is unaffected by a man’s position, power, prosperity, or poverty, for all are destined to die. He even considered that being dishonoured in life was better than being celebrated after death – suggesting that he would rather be a living dog than a dead lion!!!

Based on his own, personal perspective, Solomon lamented the many injustices in life, and bitterly complained that it is not always the swiftest runner that wins a race, nor the strongest army that triumphs on the battlefield. He protested that it is not always the wise and intelligent individual that has food on the table and money in their pocket. He further complains that skilled workers are not always given the recognition they justly deserve.

Because we live in a fallen world, we discover that many of Solomon’s findings are correct. However, because he often excluded God from his research and looked at things from a human perspective, he concluded that life was empty and meaningless, and in this verse he compares human injustices with a little fish caught in a treacherous net – or a bird entrapped in some hidden snare. “Man does not know his time,” he wrote. “Like a fish caught in a treacherous net or birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them.”

In one part of his extensive research, Solomon likened a little fish caught in a net, or a pathetic creature captured in a snare, with lost humanity, whom he described as being, “helplessly entangled in an evil time.” While Solomon observed that we can all be caught up in life’s injustices, and that time and tide wait for no man, we recognise that he foolishly excluded God from his dialogue.

While Solomon lamented that chance opportunities can never be predicted, and that unseen calamities will often bring men’s strivings to nothing, we notice that he based most of his conclusions on his own, human wisdom, while omitting God from His reasonings, which resulted in an attitude of futility and hopelessness.

Throughout most of his discouraging dialogue, Solomon demonstrated that human effort is futile and that nothing in this life has any permanence or lasting security. However, behind all of his research, we can see that the history of man’s failure is a result of man’s own self-effort, striving, and human pride, which happens because God is excluded from people’s lives. It is really man’s ignorance of God’s plans and purposes for humanity that fed into Solomon’s disturbing conclusions.

The entire book of Ecclesiastes appears to cover how the injustices and disadvantages of life are common to all people, and that no one escapes the final consequences of being born into the human race – i.e. no one escapes death. But through it all, Solomon is able to reach a wise and godly conclusion, when he finally acknowledges the need to stop self-strivings, to fear God, and to allow the Lord to guard our hearts and guide our steps.

The important lesson of Ecclesiastes is that no amount of learning, experience, wealth, privilege, or power, can compare with the secure position we have in Christ – but that when wisdom, skill, prosperity, and power, are under God’s sovereign influence and subject to His control, then life has meaning. May we take to heart this compelling message of Ecclesiastes – that life is meaningless without the Lord sitting on the throne of our lives, but when God is put in His rightful position in our heart, then we are kept by His almighty power.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that my life has meaning in Christ, for without Him I am nothing. Help me not to chase after the wind and engage in futile matters that have no permanence or lasting security. Thank You that in Christ I have all I need to make my life meaningful and productive, and I pray that in all I say and do, my life may be lived to honour You, and to glorify Your holy name. This I ask in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/ecclesiastes-9-12

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/ecclesiastes-9-12

Ecclesiastes 9:12

Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them. NIV

The Lord Is Close To The Brokenhearted

Psalm 34:18

New Living Translation

18 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

The lord is close to and Delights in the broken hearted he rescues the lost souls and those who are devastated and crushed

He’s near in honor

What is the meaning of Psalms 34 18?

The Bible is honest that this is sometimes our human experience: We feel that God is far away. But Psalm 34:18 counters this with a description of where God really is: God is near to the brokenhearted.Nov 12, 2017

What does God say about being broken hearted?

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” The Good News: Though you may feel defeated, God is closer than you realize. He is always with you and can heal your heart. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”Apr 9, 2020

How did Jesus heal the brokenhearted?

God quickens and renews us by the Living Word, through and by Jesus himself, who came to heal the brokenhearted through His payment of His own blood on the Cross.May 20, 2018

What happens when you draw near to God?

It also reminds us of the responsibility we have in our relationship to God. The phrase, “draw near,” means, very simply, to approach or get close to a thing. To draw near to God, means then, to get close to God. If you get close to God, James is saying, God Himself will come to be close to you.Oct 18, 2018

Psalm 34:18 Meaning of The Lord Is Close to the Brokenhearted

Feb 24, 2020 by Editor in Chief

Psalm 34:18
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Explanation and Commentary of Psalm 34:18

Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with the words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Scholars debate whether this should be considered a command to be poor in spirit, or whether it is only the statement of a fact: those who happen to be poor in spirit are blessed because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.

In this Psalm, it seems clear that those who are going through trials are the ones who are crushed in spirit. In light of the promises made by the Psalmist for those who take refuge in the Lord (Ps 34:8) we can assume that he is talking about those who find trouble, not because of their unrighteousness, but because there is trouble in this world. He promises that “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;”

In the same way, Jesus gives encouragement to the “poor in spirit,” the Psalmist wants to let the righteous who are suffering know that God will be close to them and deliver them. Jesus said that to them belongs the Kingdom of Heaven.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Psalm 34:18

#1 “The Lord is close…”
In Psalm 46:1 we see that God is ever-present. Psalm 139:7 says, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” This may be bad news for those who want to escape the watchful eye of God and his judgment, but for those who love Him, it is meant to be a great source of comfort.

#2 “…to the brokenhearted…”
But it is often the broken-hearted who see him best. Many a self-satisfied, self-righteous, nominal Christian has leaped to greater faith and spiritual strength by some great trial or suffering. God loves his children too much to allow us to go undisciplined away from his presence. While it is impossible to escape his presence, it is more than possible to pretend he is not there.

#3 “…and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
For salvation from hell or from trial, one has to call out to the God who is there waiting. If the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the poor in spirit, it is because of the surrender that comes when one gives up being one’s own god and living in one’s own strength. Do not wait for trouble. Surrender and follow him. “The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned” (Ps 34:22).

What Does Psalm 34:18 Mean? ►

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

Our God and heavenly Father deserves our ongoing and eternal love and praise, because He has shown Himself to be a God Who cares for His people. He is the God Who delivers us out of all our difficulties. He hears those that call on His name. He delivers His people from all their fears and He comforts those that are encompassed with sadness and disappointments.

God is no respecter of persons, for He hears the cries of the poor man, and His eyes are open to the way of the righteous. He is close to those that fear His name, while His face opposes those that are quick to do evil. In His goodness and grace, the Lord delivers those that are being abused, and He helps those that are pursued by their enemies.

Down through centuries of time, the truth that is encapsulated in Psalm 34, has been a comfort and help to many of God’s hurting people, for the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, but when the righteous cry to Him for help, the Lord hears and rescues them from all their distress and troubles. Yes, the LORD is very near to the brokenhearted, and He saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The comforting words in this Psalm were written by David after he escaped from the hands of his enemies. Having been anointed of God to be Israel’s king… David was being hotly pursued by the jealous king Saul, whose loathing of David had reached boiling point.

David had to flee for his life and even sought refuge from Israel’s bitter enemies – the Philistines! But fearing that they also might try to kill him, David managed to escape by dribbling down his beard and pretending to have gone crazy in the head! And how he praised God for his miraculous escape. I will bless the Lord at all times, was David’s grateful testimony of his deliverance. I will continually bless the Lord. His praise shall always be in my mouth. My soul shall boast in the Lord and the humble will hear of it and be glad.

A thread of hope and praise weaves its way through these verses, as David makes a declaration of God’s grace and loving-kindness to those that call on His name, and are humble in heart. And although the Lord does not always keep His children away from their troubles and trials, His grace is always sufficient.

The Lord is willing and able to draw close to all of His people.. as they go through life’s various difficulties and dangers. He will not break a bruised reed.. nor will He quench a smoking flax. He is always close to the broken-hearted and He is the Saviour of those whose spirits are crushed down. He came, in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, to bind up the wounds of those in pain and to offer salvation to those that trust in Him.

He is the good Shepherd of His people; the Rock of our salvation, and a stronghold in time of trouble… and He travels with each one of His people through the valley of the shadow of death, and no one who puts their faith in Him will ever be disappointed.

In His goodness and grace, God the Father sent Jesus, His dearly beloved Son to preach good tidings of great joy to those that are meek. He came to bind up the broken-hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of prison-gates to them that are bound by sin and death. And a day is also coming when He will proclaim the favourable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God as He gives comfort to those who mourn and wipes away every tear.

In His loving-kindness and great mercy, our faithful God has given us His written word.. which testifies of His goodness and grace towards His people and declares the eternal truth of the glorious gospel of grace – that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, will be saved.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that You are near to the broken-hearted and close to all who are crushed in spirit. Thank You for the testimony of the saints, that You are a faithful God, Whose mercies are new every morning. How we praise You, for You are a witness to Your Word – that You are a God, Who not only saves but keeps and helps and comforts and provides for all who are called by Your name – thank You in Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/psalm-34-18

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

Related Topics: Lord, Circumstances, Hardship, Pain, People, Rescue, All Topics…

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

While many of us are richly blessed spiritually and physically, many of God’s people face hardship and difficulty. You may be one of those in difficult circumstances. Please remember that God has not abandoned you. Jesus is the great reminder that God cares and involves himself with the broken, forgotten, and downtrodden. Please know as well, that tens of thousands are praying for you today in the prayer that follows.

My Prayer…

O God, please be with those whose lives are difficult and filled with pain and sadness. Please minister in personal and mighty ways to every believer with a crushed spirit. Dear Father, please rekindle the hope of every discouraged Christian. Empower them as they hold on to their faith. Pour out your Spirit with power, strengthening each weary and burdened heart. Help each one of your children hold onto his or her faith, finding a renewed sense of hope in your presence. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.

What does Psalm 34:18 mean?

In this verse David writes how God understands our feelings and helps us bear the burden of sorrow. In contrast to pagan deities, or the unfeeling universe of atheism, the biblical God deeply cares for our pain. When Jesus knew His friend Lazarus had died, He went to the home of Lazarus’s grieving sisters and comforted them. When He saw Mary’s tears, “he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled” (John 11:33). When He approached Lazarus’s tomb, He wept (John 11:35) and was “deeply moved again” (John 11:38). Jesus experienced all of this, though He knew all along He would raise His friend from death (John 11:11).

Hebrews 4:15 assures us that Jesus, our Great High Priest, sympathizes with our weaknesses. That includes both the meaning of human suffering and the struggle against sin. He was tempted like any other man but remained sinless. Knowing that He understands and cares, we can “draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

It has been quipped that “prayer is the place burdens change shoulders.” Our Lord’s shoulders can bear our burdens when we are brokenhearted and our spirits are crushed (Matthew 11:28–30; 1 Peter 5:7).

Context Summary

Psalm 34:15–22 contrasts what the Lord does for those who fear Him against what happens to the wicked. God watches over the righteous and answers their cry for help. He delivers the righteous from their troubles and draws near to them. He protects the righteous and redeems them. On the other hand, He opposes the wicked and condemns them. While David certainly experienced victories in his life, he also understood that God’s love and provision have an eternal perspective (Romans 8:28–30). Verse 20 includes a reference which the Gospel of John ties to Jesus’ role as Messiah.

Chapter Summary

David praises the Lord for delivering him from the Philistines, and he invites others to join him in singing joyfully to the Lord. He extols the virtue of fearing the Lord and remembering His goodness. He encourages the Lord’s people to respect God and offers wisdom leading to a long and blessed life. At the end of this psalm David emphasizes the distinction the Lord draws between the wicked and the righteous. He cares for the righteous and will not condemn them, but He condemns the wicked

A Lamp To Guide My Feet

Psalm 119:105

New Living Translation

Nun

105 

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
    and a light for my path.

Your written word is a light upon my feet

Brightening my steps as I walk my journey

What is the meaning of your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path?

Apart from God we are walking in the dark spiritually speaking and can only see a short distance in front of us. As we come to trust in Jesus and follow in his footsteps our path becomes easier to see and we learn from the scriptures how we should live and treat others.

What is a lamp unto our feet?

Lamp Unto My Feet was an American ecumenical religious program that was produced by CBS Television and broadcast from 1948 to 1979 on Sunday mornings. The title comes from Psalms 119: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org › wiki

Lamp Unto My Feet – Wikipedia

How does a man keep his way pure?

The Psalmist asks thus: How can a young man keep his way pure? Thus he follows to give his answer and added considerations: Note, (1) By guarding it according to your word: The young man knows his way shall be made pure, only by guarding it according to God’s revealed will in his word.Sep 24, 2019

What Does Psalm 119:105 Mean? ►

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.

Psalm 119:105(NLT)

Verse Thoughts

We journey through a fallen world with many dangerous pitfalls, slippery places, and dark foes seeking to destroy our close fellowship with our Lord, but in Psalm 119, we are given a beautiful promise and an eternal truth… that God’s Word is a gleaming lamp to our feet that will guide us through the darkness of this fallen world and it is a shining light to brighten the pathway we take.

Not only are there external difficulties and dangers to face in life’s journey, but also there are internal failings and weaknesses that lurk deep within our soul which can cause us to walk away from our ‘First Love’… but God’s Word provides a sure foundation upon which to stand in a darkened world that is falling apart.

Scripture is our secure guidebook to return us into a right relationship with the Lord when we abandon the road of righteousness or stray from the path of peace.

The Word of God is an inextinguishable lamp to guide us along the right path, and it is a radiant light that banishes the shadows of uncertainty, by illuminating the next step in this sin-soaked world.

Opening-up of the pages of Scripture will brighten the path we take, re-energise our hope in Christ, and provide understanding to the one who walks humbly before the Lord.

God’s Word is the light of truth that is written for our learning to lead us away from each shadowy danger that crosses our path and to strengthen our faith in our Saviour as He gently leads us. It lifts the darkness before us… and straightens every crooked path.

His Word not only brightens our pathway, guards us on our journey through life, and warns us of each lurking danger, but it is a treasure-trove of precious gemstones to be hidden deep within our heart – for it contains words of wisdom to guide our thinking, precious promises to encourage our hearts, godly instruction on how to live as the Lord desires us to live, and it is the perfect pattern for Christian living as well as the qualified adjudicator of our daily conduct.

The Bible is the sure Word of the living God, Who has told us the end from the beginning, and all God’s children do well to take heed to its precious pages as unto a light that shines in a dark place.

We do well to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the Word of God, and to guard it within our hearts, for it is a lamp to our feet, a light to our path, and it brightens up every corner of our lives – for it is God’s instrument to lead us into holiness and to guide our feet into His way of truth.

My Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your written Word which provides me with such strength for today and great hope for tomorrow. As I step out into the darkness of this fallen world, I pray that Your Word would truly lighten the way I take and lead me in the path of righteousness. Help me to hide its truths in my heart, and may I be ready and willing to follow Your will for my life as I face the difficulties and trials that lies ahead, in the strength of Your mighty power. Thank You for Your Word of light and truth in this dark world. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/psalm-119-105

QUESTION

How is God’s Word a lamp to my feet (Psalm 119:105)?

ANSWER

Psalm 119 is a long acrostic poem dedicated singularly to honoring and proclaiming the value of God’s Word. In verse 105, the psalmist declares to the Lord, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (ESV). Just as a lamp brightens a path for our feet to walk, God’s Word provides the illumination and guidance we need to walk in this world.

The word translated “lamp” in this passage is ner in the original Hebrew. It refers to a small clay lantern with a solitary wick. The psalmist describes the Word of God as a lamp carried on his journey to distinguish the way and keep him from stumbling off course and going astray. The light of God’s Word allows us to see the right direction. It is God’s guidance for our travels through life on earth.

Proverbs 6:23 offers a companion thought: “For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life.” The guidance referred to by the biblical writers is not the advice of career counselors or pop magazines but rock-solid truth for navigating difficult moral choices in a dark and fallen world.

Ideas like moral relativism, situational ethics, and subjectivism make staying on the right path all the more challenging and perplexing. Worldly voices claim, “There are many paths to God,” “There’s no such thing as absolute truth,” and “Just do what feels right to you.” If we aren’t careful about the choices we make, if we listen to these voices rather than rely on God’s illuminating truth to guide us on the right roads, we will quickly encounter grief and ruin.

Only God’s Word provides the direction we need. Second Peter 1:19 describes it as a reliable lamp shining in a dark place: “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

The apostle Paul told his young protégé, Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17, NLT). If we study God’s Word frequently and diligently, if we give it our full attention, it will provide us with the direction, correction, and wisdom we need to succeed in life and do the Lord’s work.

Obeying God’s Word brings blessings and rewards: “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (Psalm 1:1–3, NLT; see also Exodus 15:26; Psalm 128:1; James 1:22–25). On his deathbed, King David told his son Solomon, “Keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn” (1 Kings 2:3, ESV).

God’s Word has extraordinary power, says Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” The Word of God is alive because He is a living God (Hebrews 3:12; 2 Corinthians 6:16). His words are full of energy, life, power, and productivity—they cause things to happen (Psalm 33:9). If we allow it to, if we don’t ignore it, God’s Word will take an active presence in our lives. We can trust the Word of God to accomplish whatever purpose God intends for it and to prosper wherever He sends it (Isaiah 55:11). For this reason, we ought to study it (2 Timothy 2:15), meditate on it (Psalm 119:97), hold firmly to it (Philippians 2:16), and hide it in our hearts (Psalm 119:11).

Christians can say to God, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” because the Word of God is the living energy that actively provides illumination, insight, direction, and guidance for our pilgrimage through a dark and sinful world.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Psalms: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary by Longmann, Garland, & VanGemeren

More insights from your Bible study – Get Started with Logos Bible Software for Free!

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How can I have God’s Word hidden in my heart (Psalm 119:11)?

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How can a young man cleanse his way (Psalm 119:9)?

What does it mean that “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Psalm 118:26 and others)?

Why is the book of Psalms divided into five books?

Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet – The Power of the Word of God as a Lamp  

I believe one of the most amazing ways we see the power of the Word of God, especially when you feel like you are in a dark place, is how it guides each and every one our steps each day. The Word says it is both a lamp and a light. Let’s look at the Word as a “lamp”. 

The word “lamp” as used in this verse is from the Hebrew word “niyr“, which, according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, means ‘to glisten, a candle or light’. A candle or a “glistening lamp” gives off a very small amount of visible light. It is just enough to see right in front of you. 

It is not a broad, glaring amount of light, like we would see in modern day flood lights. Rather, picture what you are able to see when you are using candlelight when the power goes out, or while eating a romantic dinner with your spouse. 

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When you walk through your home in a power outage using just a candle, you can see only a short distance in front of you. It doesn’t illuminate everything around you in a way that makes them clear. But it allows you to see enough.

And a Light Unto My Path – The Power of the Word of God as a Light 

The other way the power of the Holy Bible is seen is by being a light to our path.

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The Hebrew word for “light” in this verse is the word “‘owr”  and means “a light, bright, clear, like morning”. This is a much brighter kind of light. It is a light that is bright enough to see what it around you. It is clear like morning! It is illuminated! 

It’s the kind of light you might have on your street or on your home’s walkway, so that people can walk along the path at night safely and can see any dangers that might exist around them.

Quick To Listen, Slow To Speak,Slow To Anger

VERSE OF THE DAY

James 1:19 (New International Version)

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My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

To my dearly beloved and friends mark what I say. Everyone should be quick to hear and listen slow to speak and respond and slow to temper

What Does James 1:19 Mean? ►

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

James 1:19(ESV)

Verse Thoughts

Too often in life we discover the folly of opening our mouth and responding in careless haste to the words and actions of others and too often we react in annoyance or anger, only to discover that we had misunderstood the facts of the matter, causing us to regret that we spoke so quickly and reacted so hastily.

There are many scriptures that warn of the poison that can fall from the tongue and the damage that unguarded words or fiery tempers can produce, and others that advise us to listen to what is said, to hear what is spoken, to guard our lips in what we say and our reactions in all we do, which can so often spark a fire that harms so many people.

In this passage James was writing to warn believers against self-deception – and in particular he was encouraging them to pay careful heed to the Word of God for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

If our words and actions are to be seasoned with salt and honouring to our Father, we should especially be quick to hear the words of wisdom that comes from the Scriptures and to be wise in our response to God’s voice.

Sometimes we may not like what we hear and sometimes believers have been known to argue with God and become angry at His Word – but the wise man or woman will be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, particularly in the things of the Lord. 

My Prayer

Loving heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word, and the wise instructions it contains. Help me to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, not only with those with whom I have to do – but also as it relates to You and Your Word, even on those occasions when I do not understand. Help me to be quick to hear Your voice – but slow to question Your perfect plans and purposes, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.,

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/james-1-19

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/james-1-19

Listening, Taking Action, and Avoiding Anger (James 1:19–21)

Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project

James continues his practical guidance with words about listen­ing. Christians need to listen well both to people (James 1:19) and to God (James 1:22–25). “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19). We listen, not as a technique to influence anyone else, but as a way to let God’s word “rid [ourselves] of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness” (James 1:21). Interestingly, James suggests that listening to others—and not just listening to God’s word—is a means of ridding ourselves of wickedness. He does not say that other people speak God’s word to us. Instead, he says that listening to others removes the anger and arrogance that keep us from doing God’s word spoken in Scripture. “Your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. . . . Wel­come with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls” (James 1:20–21). When others speak words that we do not welcome—words of disagreement, criticism, dismissal—it is easy to respond in anger, especially in high-pressure situations at work. But doing so usually makes our position worse, and always discredits our witness as Christ’s servants. How much better to trust God to defend our position, rather than defending ourselves by angry, hasty speech.

This advice applies to all kinds of work and workplaces. Listening is well established in business literature as a crucial leadership skill.[1]Businesses must listen carefully to their customers, employees, inves­tors, communities, and other stakeholders. In order to meet people’s true needs, organizations need to listen to the people whose needs they hope to meet. This reminds us that the workplace can be fertile soil for God’s work, just as the Roman Empire was, hardship and persecution notwithstanding.

QUESTION

What does it mean that we should be quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19)?

ANSWER

James 1:19–20 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” Being “quick to listen” means that we train ourselves to wait for the whole story before diving in with our opinion. “Slow to speak” is the flip side of that. We control our words and don’t blurt out everything that comes into our heads.

James goes on to talk about the tongue: “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless” (James 1:26). Later, he warns us about controlling our tongues: “The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3:5–6).

Our mouths get us into a lot of trouble. We profess to believe one thing, but then we are often betrayed by what comes out of our mouths. Jesus said, “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12:34).

When we discipline ourselves to listen more than we talk, we can learn a lot. Big talkers are hard to teach. They think they already know everything they need to know, and they constantly express their opinions. Wise people have learned that more wisdom can be gained by listening, observing, and not rushing to judgment. Proverbs 10:19 says, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.”

The old adage is right: “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” How many relationships have been damaged or ruined because we were slow to listen and quick to speak? How many mistakes could have been avoided had we only listened instead of talked?

We should be careful about the kinds of people we spend a lot of time listening to. Psalm 1 warns us not to listen to the foolish or the wicked. However, there are other people we should be quick to listen to:

• Elders because of their experience (Hebrews 13:17).

• Wise people because of their good advice (Proverbs 13:20).

• Godly people because they can represent God’s perspective on our situation (Psalm 141:5).

• Authorities because they represent the law (Romans 13:1).

Most of us are not naturally quick to listen, but we can train ourselves to be better listeners. Good listening is active. It engages with the speaker. It understands the speaker’s perspective, even if we disagree. When people feel heard, they are more willing to listen to our side. Being quick to listen actually opens the door to greater communication because listening shows respect, and when people feel respected, they are more likely to return that respect and listen to us. It is important for us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. God’s Word always shows us the best way, and when we follow it, we are blessed.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

The Letter of James – Second Edition: Pillar New Testament Commentary by Douglas Moo

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My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

James 1:19

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Related Topics: Responding, Speech, Anger, Listening, All Topics…

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Have a brake on your tongue; hit the throttle on your ears. Let your angry email sit three days before responding and make sure you read it and edit it before you send it. Keep you mouth shut and your ears open. They all say the same thing. Now if we would just do it, wouldn’t the Christian community so much more blessed!

My Prayer…

Mighty and Holy God, you are incredible — beyond my comprehending. How you put up with all the drivel, senseless and hurtful speech that I and your other children spew out is beyond my understanding. I ask that you release the Holy Spirit to convict my heart and guard my lips from any form of hurtful speech. I want my voice to be as much yours as my heart is. This I pray through Jesus. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.

What does James 1:19 mean?

The opening passage of James instructed believers to maintain trust in God, even during hard times. In fact, believers are to consider their hardships as “joy,” since trials are how God strengthens our faith. This raises the question of what it means to remain faithful to God—to continue to trust Him—even when the trials of life come our way. For one thing, those who trust God continue to obey Him. Starting in verse 19, James begins to describe what that obedience looks like.

Those who trust and obey God learn to adjust the speed of their listening and speaking. If God is truly in control, we can afford to take the time to understand. Rather than shooting from the hip, we can respond in a way that is helpful. Doubting that God is in control speeds up our mouth and slows down our mind.

As believers, we shouldn’t be obsessed with ensuring that we are heard and understood in order to get what we want. When we act according to our immediate desires, and our immediate reactions, we feel a lack of control. And when we feel like we’re losing control, we will get angry.

Notice that this is not a command to never feel anger. Anger is a human emotion that everyone experiences, and it can be justified. However, James’ instruction here makes it clear that we can learn to control—or at least slow down—our angry responses. In fact, to refuse to let anger control us is itself an act of faith. It is a choice to believe that the Father is in control, that He loves us, and that He is good.

The next verse makes clear why learning to control our anger is such a big deal.

Context Summary

James 1:19–27 emphasizes that those who truly trust God don’t settle for merely appearing religious. They give up trying to control the world with their words and their anger. They humbly receive the Word God has planted in them, listen to it, and proceed to do what it says. Part of what the Word says to us is that we should keep control over our words, to care for those who are weak and suffering, and to keep ourselves from being polluted by the world around us.

Chapter Summary

How important is it for Christians to trust God? It’s so important, James writes, that we should call our worst moments joyful things, because trials help us trust God more. People who trust God ask Him for wisdom—and then take what He gives. People who trust God make a bigger deal about their rewards in the next life than their wealth in this one. People who trust God don’t blame Him for their desire to sin; they give Him credit for all that is good in their lives. They look into His Word, and they act on what they see there

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