10/08

October 8

Philippians 4

Some of these verses are real celebrities; they’re well-known, well-liked, often quoted. There are many Scriptures we pull out of this chapter that can stand on their own, but how often do we read them together?

Verse 4 is a well-known verse about rejoicing or gladdening ourselves in the Lord. It is written right after Paul admonishes two women to cooperate and work together. In verse 5 he mentions the importance of unselfish, considerate, forbearing nature. When Paul says to rejoice in the Lord, it is in the context of how well we should be working together. Joy has a way of bringing us together. Nothing will squash joy like conflict and arguing. When we choose to operate in joy, we choose to end operating in contention and strife.

Verses 6-7 are also often quoted independently. Paul talks about the prayer of thanksgiving, followed by peace that will guard our hearts. Do we want peace? It starts on the inside. Paul writes, don’t be anxious about things. Don’t fret. Instead, pray and have peace.

Verse 8 is popular on its own, too. Verse 7 was about peace guarding our hearts, and verse 9 is about guarding our minds, followed by verse 9 mentioning how the God of peace will be with you.

Are we seeing a common thread here? Are we seeing the importance of peace in our relationships with each other and how that peace starts within us? Our joy, our thought life, our thanksgiving are all about getting a peace on the inside that will work its way out into our relationships with one another. Our unity in our local church is vital. God’s concern isn’t just about what we accomplish, but also how we accomplish it. Let’s represent Him well by living in peace with one another.

Isaiah 39-40

Chapter 39 wraps up Isaiah’s writings on Hezekiah, mentioning his boasting of his treasures and weaponry. Because of his pride, Isaiah prophesies that Babylon would one day carry away all the wealth and weapons. Hezekiah didn’t seem too concerned about what would happen in the future; only what concerned him in his lifetime. This is a reminder to us to stay humble before God, thankful for He has done for us and giving Him the glory.

Chapter 40 is a transitional chapter in the book of Isaiah. Chapters 1-39 are mostly about judgments against Judah, Israel, and pagan nations. Starting in chapter 40, Isaiah prophesies about their return from captivity. Both sections not only apply to Isaiah’s present day, but they also point to prophecies of the Messiah’s first and second return. I want to drop a reminder here that principles from the Old Testament can often be applied to the Gentile Christian who has entered into a Jewish covenant; however, let’s be careful to recognize God’s meaning to the Jewish nation.

Chapter 40 starts with a message on preparing for the Lord, speaking of John the Baptist, a forerunner of Christ (Matthew 3:3). John was said to be a type of Elijah in Matthew 11:14.
Elijah was known for his ministry of tearing down Baal, restoring worship. He turned the hearts of that Jewish generation to return to the God of their fathers, or previous generations.
John the Baptist went to his people, the Jews, calling for repentance, and leading people of his generation to turn their hearts back to worship, like previous generations.
The spirit of Elijah is also mentioned in Malachi 4 in reference to the Day of the Lord, or Jesus’ second coming. Perhaps it is referring to John the Baptist, who made the way for the first coming of the Messiah, or perhaps it is speaking of another who will restore worship in Jerusalem before Christ’s return.

The second half of chapter 40 describes the greatness of God and our submission to Him, a position that experiences the life and strength of God through dependency.

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