January 9, 2013

Scripture and Commentary, Thursday and Friday after Epiphany


Thursday

Morning - Ps. 67, 87,  Is. 19:19,  Colossians 2:6-17
Evening - Ps.138, 146,  Zechariah 8,  Romans 10:1-20

Commentary, Zechariah 8

Like Isaiah 49, Zechariah 8 refers to the restoration of Israel, and to the Gentiles being brought into the Covenant people.  Israel is called to return to God as well as to Jerusalem.  They are to be God's people as He is their God, as verse 8 states.  There is a promise of great happiness and prosperity when the Jews return to Jerusalem.  The seed shall be prosperous and the vine shall give her fruit (8:12), referring as much to the people as to the land, for, in a sense, the nation is the the seed and the vine.

Men out of all languages and nations will seek to join with Israel because God is with him (8:23).  In one sense this refers to the Jewish people, returned from captivity and blessed by the grace and presence of God.  As they walk in the ways of God, loving Him with all their heart, soul, and mind, and loving all people as they love themselves, people will be moved to seek their God with them.  In this way, a penitent, faithful
Israel will be as light unto the Gentiles, as she was meant to be.  In a second sense, this refers to the New Testament Church.  She is the fulfillment of Israel, the people of God out of all nations and tongues, living for Christ in such a way that people must recognise that God is with her.  Ultimately, it is Christ Himself, who accomplished our redemption by His incarnation and cross.

Friday

Morning - Ps. 102:15, Jonah 4, 1 Peter 1:1-9
Evening - Ps. 147, Rom. 11:13-27

Commentary, Jonah 4

Jonah is angry at God for not killing the Ninevites and burning them in hell.  He basically says to God, "I knew you would save them, because You are gracious and merciful and kind.  That's why I didn't want to come to Nineveh or preach to her people."  In other words, Jonah did not want the Ninevites to be saved.  Fortunately, God did.  God did a great work of mercy among the Ninevites, bringing multitudes to faith and repentance.  Even the king turned to God, proclaiming a fast for seeking God and His righteousness (3:5-10).  Their faith did not seem to last into future generations.  Perhaps they did not apply themselves to really worshiping God.  Perhaps like Jonah, no Jews wanted to teach them the ways of God.  Either way, the Ninevite awakening was far too brief, and the city sank back into paganism.  But the grace of God is made evident in the salvation of those who turned to Him. 

It matters not to God what we were.  Nationality, race, and gender are neither helps nor impediments to the love and grace of God.  Nor does it matter what sins may be in our past.  He forgives one as readily as another.  It only matters that we trust Him to receive us.  He saved the Ninevites who trusted Him: He will save us too.