ISAIAH 19:1-21:17 | GALATIANS 2:1-16 | PSALM 59:1-17 | PROVERBS 23:13-14
Click on the arrow below to listen to a recording of this post:
Isaiah’s prophetic streak continues with specific references to Egypt, Cush, Babylon, Edom, and Arabia. It is to the reader’s discretion and preference for dissecting the detailed foretellings on these ancient lands to ascertain which might have been fulfilled to date.
We turn next to Paul’s epistle to the Galatians where Paul starts out by making clear his position on his mission: he is the apostle to the non-Jews, also known as the Gentiles. He says, 8 For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles.
And in line with this, Paul is not one to succumb to pressure to conform to Jewish practices of circumcision, and cites that Titus, his colleague and a Greek by birth has remained uncircumcised. Paul is adamant on this point, and mentions his direct opposition to Cephas and Barnabas, two other missionary colleagues of his who evidently practiced hypocrisy concerning some personal habits of dietary laws and such.
Paul asks them, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
Paul will have none of this hypocrisy, and is determined to make clear what really matters, i.e., personal belief in the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whose work on the cross we have received a justification of our sins.
That is what is important and relevant—not what you eat and whether or not you are circumcised. It does not matter anymore, regardless of whether you are a Jew or Gentile.
The Law cannot save us, only faith and grace can. If the Law could save, why would have God come down to earth in the person of Jesus Christ to take upon himself the sin of the world? To what purpose is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Was it all in vain?
Nay, dear reader, it is not. It is the very essence of the faith wherein we can boldly say that all such observances of the Jewish Law is to naught because the Law has not—and cannot—ever accomplish the forgiveness and redemption offered by the work of Christ.
Paul cannot say this enough, and says it again in no uncertain terms here: 15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
Turning next to our psalm for the day, we find David distraught over his enemies, and yet not without hope in the Lord’s protection and provision. Would that we would also have the same level of confidence to cry out to God in our hour of need. After describing how he is beset by his enemies, David has a clear refrain that goes like this:
16 But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.
17 You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
you, God, are my fortress,
my God on whom I can rely.
Finally, a set of verses from the book of Proverbs for the day. The “rod” is to be taken metaphorically in my strongest opinion ever. The rod is a metaphor for instruction. Woe is to the parent who takes a literal interpretation of this saying:
13 Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.
14 Punish them with the rod
and save them from death.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.