Psalm 118, Leviticus 24, Isaiah 30:18‐32:20, Ephesians 3
Ps. 118:8-9 – It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. – Psalm 118 is a bold declaration that the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever. And then the psalmist goes on to show us reasons that God is more to be depended upon than anything this world has to offer. I wish we’d remember that we can depend upon the Lord better than we can man, 100% of the time. It’s easy to lose sight of that when going through a difficult time or trial. But, God’s faithfulness is not dependent upon whether or not we believe that He will be faithful. He is. It’s part of His character. And, He will prove it over and over again.
Ps. 118:14 – The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. – Notice the word “become” that the psalmist uses in this verse. He was growing spiritually. He was beginning to understand the depths of God’s love and grace.
Leviticus 24 sets harsh punishments for blasphemy, calling for the stoning of the member of that society that blasphemed the name of God. God’s name is to be kept holy. In verses 17-23 the principle of “eye for an eye” punishment is laid out. I like this note that was included in my study Bible:
Lev. 24:17–23 These verses deal with the principle of lex talionis (Latin, “the law of retribution”). It is a form of ironic justice in which the punishment for the crime is found in the crime itself. The principle applies to everyone in Israel without exception (see Ex. 21:23–25; Deut. 19:21). It is unlikely that fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth actually implies mutilation as the punishment for the offender; rather, the value of the injured member will be the imposed fine (cf. Ex. 21:18–19). This law, when properly applied, guides the judges in assessing damages and sets a limit on the thirst for revenge. Since this is a rule for judges to follow, it should not be invoked in ordinary daily relationships (cf. Jesus’ stance, Matt. 5:38).
Is. 30:18-32:20 – Is. 32:1-8 speaks of the wonderful coming reign of Messiah. It is quite a contrast to what Isaiah has been prophesying earlier. He promised that God will be gracious but gave specific warnings to those who travelled to Egypt, Assyria, and even the complacent women of Jerusalem.
Eph. 3:6 – 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. – If you like Indiana Jones, you’ve got to like Ephesians 3. Listening to Paul describe the mystery of the Gospel is like being in the first century. Gentiles are fellow heirs with Jews. That was and is a radical thought. It was earth shattering news. And, it’s the news that Paul loved sharing around the Roman Empire. God loves people and wants to see people forgiven and accepting His gift of salvation. What wonderful news!
Eph. 3:14-19 – For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – How cool is it that every family in heaven and on earth is named by the Father? What an awesome theological truth!
As I read Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians, I prayed the same for the congregation that I am privileged to pastor. What beautiful things for a pastor to pray for those God has called him to shepherd.
Eph. 3:20-21 – 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Perhaps my favorite benediction in all of Scripture.