In Exodus 28:41, God tells Moses he must anoint, ordain and consecrate Aaron and his sons. After about 50 verses of detailed instruction of how that is to be done, God says, "I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar. Aaron and his sons I will consecrate to serve me as priests." I often think my obedience is the most critical component of God's instruction. While obedience is indeed important, it is ultimately God who accomplishes the task.
Paul says it better than I can in 1 Corinthians 15:10, "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me."
Yesterday, in Galatians 3:8, Paul told us the gospel was preached to Abraham. In today's reading, Jesus says Abraham rejoiced to see His day. The NLT says, "Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad."
Just as we look back at Jesus' life, death, burial, and resurrection with great joy, Abraham, upon hearing the Gospel, looked forward to the same thing.
Paul is more succinct in 1 Corinthians 6:18 than Solomon is in Proverbs 5. Paul just says, "Flee from sexual immorality." Proverbs 5 is much more descriptive but comes to the same conclusion. Solomon describes the perception of sexual immorality as dripping honey, smoother than oil and intoxicating, but the reality is a bitter two-edged sword and death.
We live in a culture that presents sexual immorality as appealing, enticing, or even normal, without giving the inevitable consequences that Solomon describes as the brink of utter ruin.
Solomon's instruction to his son is to listen to the voice of those wiser than yourself. Do not go near the door of her house. Do not hate discipline or despise reproof. Instead, rejoice in the wife of your youth.
Father, we must confess our culture presents sin as appealing, but You call Your people to be separate from the world. Thank You for the promise of Your faithfulness to not let us be tempted beyond our ability. You will provide a way of escape so we may endure. Holy Spirit quickly convict us when we approach that door.
Paul's picture of enslavement in this passage reminds me of Ephesians 2:1-3. By nature, mankind follows after the things of the world, which is following the devil without even being aware of his enslavement. Ephesians 2:4-6 describes God's action that drastically changes the situation. Galatians 4:4-6 does the same thing with a different picture. It is God who sent His Son at precisely the right time to purchase us from the slave owner.
Historically, people have purchased slaves to give them their freedom, but God bought us not only for freedom but adoption as sons with all the rights of an heir. I started to write “How merciful is our God!” but that word does not come close to describing what He has done for me.
The significance of knowing God not just as Father but as Abba! Father! is overwhelming. Paul emphasizes the fact that God knows us. The Greek word Paul used for know and known in this passage (Galatians 4:9) is not "know about" but to know with an implication of intimate knowledge. The fact that the creator and sustainer of the universe would intimately know me and want me to know Him is overwhelming. Why would man ever desire to return to anything else?
Abba Father, gracious, merciful and compassionate are not forceful enough words to describe You. Language fails to impart the depth of Your benefits to those You know. Thank You for knowing me. I desire to know You more intimately. Oh Lord God, I pray You would know my loved ones in the same intimate way You know me. May they know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Please, may they be ones You redeem from their slavery to sin.