Why was the LORD so merciful to Lot and his family? 2 Peter 2:7-8 says Lot was a righteous man whose soul was tormented over lawlessness. To what extremes will God go to rescue those He justifies?
This chapter of Matthew challenges my view of sin in myself and others, and how I deal it. Jesus compares pride and humility. Pride equals no entrance to the kingdom of heaven. Humility equals greatness in the kingdom. How I treat those who humble themselves is huge. If I welcome them I welcome Jesus; if I cause one of them to sin it would be better for me to die a horrible death. Sin in my life should be of such importance to me that I realize it would be better for me to be maimed physically than to continue in sin. Do not look down on those who humble themselves because God in heaven is their protector. If however someone sins against me, I must try to make it right just between the two of us. If I am unable to make it right then others are to be involved even to the point of including the church. But most importantly, I must forgive them from my heart.
Nehemiah 8 is a great encouragement to me. God had blessed this group of returned exiles in so many ways. Just as He promised, He returned them to their home after 70 years of captivity in Babylon. He directed kings Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes to allow the people to return and to provide the necessary materials to rebuild. He facilitated their successful return by providing great leadership through Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah.
After all these years the walls of Jerusalem are rebuilt, so what did the people do? They gathered as "one man" and asked Ezra to read and instruct them from the Book of the Law of Moses. As they stood and listened attentively, their response to God's word was "Amen, Amen". In Hebrew, amen means "surely it is true"; it is a strong affirmation and acceptance of what is said. However, as they heard, they were convicted to the point of weeping. Yet the leaders told them not to mourn because today was a holy day, a day of celebration of all the LORD had done. They affirmed this by saying "the joy of the LORD is your strength".
Oh Sovereign LORD, may I clearly see Your hand as I look back at my life. May I know it is You who has directed my path. May I know how blessed I am. May I rejoice knowing both my joy and strength are in YOU.
The Scriptures Apollos used, in "showing...that Jesus was the Christ" were obviously the Old Testament (OT). Luke 24:27, says, "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself". Jesus used Moses and the Prophets to prove to those men on the road to Emmaus that He was the Christ . I would love to have heard that explanation. How blessed I am to have the revelation of Jesus in the flesh through the NT. I desire to see Him more fully in the OT.