Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday 26 June Joel 1-3; Philippians 4 ~ Elizabeth

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Joel 1-3; Philippians 4

The assigned scripture reading for today is misleading. Yes, it’s Joel 1-3 but it also happens to be the whole book of Joel! Not only is it rather daunting it would also probably be an entire book of a post for today. Therefore I will gladly defer to Dr. Martin Luther words from Lectures on Joel:
Joel was a kindly and gentle man. He does not denounce and rebuke as do the other prophets, but pleads and laments; he tried with kind and friendly words to make the people righteous and to protect them from harm and misfortune. But it happened to him as to the other prophets: the people did not believe his words and held him to be a fool.

Nevertheless Joel is highly praised in the New Testament, for in Acts 2 St. Peter quotes him. Thus Joel had to provide the first sermon ever preached in the Christian Church, the one glorious use of the saying, “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” [Rom. 10:13], which is also in Joel 2[:32].

In the first chapter he prophesies the punishment which is to come upon the people of Israel. They are to be destroyed and carried away by the Assyrians; and he calls the Assyrians cutting, swarming, hopping, and destroying locusts [1:4]. For the Assyrians devoured the kingdom of Israel bit by bit until they had completely destroyed it. In the end, however, King Sennacherib had to suffer defeat before Jerusalem; Joel touches on that in chapter 2[:20] when he says, “I will remove the northerner far from you.”

In the second place, at the end of the second chapter and from that point on [2:28-3:21] he prophesies of the kingdom of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, and speaks of the everlasting Jerusalem.
He speaks of the valley of Jehoshaphat [3:12] and says that the Lord will summon all the nations thither for judgment. The ancient fathers understand that to refer to the Last Judgment. I do not condemn this interpretation, but hold, nevertheless, that this is really Joe’s meaning: even as he calls the Christian Church the everlasting Jerusalem, so he calls it also the valley of Jehoshaphat. He does so because through the word all the world is summoned to the Christian church and is there judged, and by the preaching is reproved as being all together sinners in the sight of God, as Christ says, “The Spirit of truth will reprove the world of sin” [John 16:8]. For valley of Jehoshaphat means valley of judgment. Thus also does Hosea call the Christian Church the valley of Achor. (AE 35:318-19)

In our New Testament reading today, as Paul concludes this Letter, he uses imperative language to urge the reader to adopt practices of living that are in harmony with the Creator’s will. The strength and clarity of this exhortation reminds us that we often set our minds on those things that are contrary to God’s will. Paul’s exhortations are always followed by promises of God’s blessing on our behalf. Paul cannot end this Letter without a vibrant expression of gratitude toward God and the service of the Philippians. Paul’s outpouring of appreciation contrasts sharply with feelings of neglect, resentfulness, and even anger that can arise when we lack the privileges and comforts we expect. Paul invites us to see the blessings and fullness of God that are present in every situation. Christ multiplies those blessings by His grace. Paul’s last words in the Letter are greetings and blessings. Contrast Paul’s concern for greeting all and extending grace with our unwillingness to greet people in our own church communities. The grace of the Lord Jesus is so abundant that it flows over from Paul to us through this very Word and has the power to overflow from our lives into the lives of others, so that we genuinely greet and then extend God’s grace.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:Deuteronomy 1-3; Acts 1


Conrad said...

Philippians 4 had many verses that jumped out for me. But I narrowed it down to vs 11:

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content."

It is very easy to get caught up in worldly things, or wishing that our situations would be better. Maybe it's having the latest fashion, wishing you had a newer car, more money, an updated electronic device, a different job, easier people to work with, or many other desires. The verse indicates that contentment is something we have to learn. I pray that I can remember to be joyful and content in situations that I find myself in.

TammyIsBlessed said...

This verse jumped out at me in our OT passage....
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.

So many people view God (in the OT) as only wrathful, but there are so many scriptures that describe His desire to grant mercy and be gracious to us, though we do not deserve it.

Elizabeth - I appreciated your point that Paul's exhortations make it clear how easy it is for us to do the exact opposite. Our hearts were indeed corrupt before our salvation, and even though now we have been transformed, we are continuing to be transformed through His power, and we need to be purposeful to live in holiness.

Pamela said...

Tell your children of it,
and let your children tell their children,
and their children to another generation.

With society preaching that whatever feels right is good, we need to be sure our children know the truth.

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.

No matter how far we have strayed...we can find forgiveness.

This has been our theme verse at our school this year:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

We have explored the verse in detail and how important it is to set our thoughts on these things.