Today’s Reading: Jer 37:1–38:28, Rom 9:1–12, Prov 23:19–35
Today’s Theme: God’s Sovereign Choice
Today’s theme looks at God’s Sovereign Choice, we begin by looking at his choice of Israel as a national people in redemption history and then go further to look at God’s choice of all his redeemed people by Israel’s greatest son, the Messiah Jesus Christ who is himself God above all.
Roman’s 9 – 11 serve well as a blast against the misguided trajectory of the replacement theologians.
So King Zedekiah gave orders, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guard. And a loaf of bread was given him daily from the bakers’ street, until all the bread of the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.(Jeremiah 37:21, ESV)
Even through this unjust hardship Jeremiah was still provided for in times of great want. As God’s people he will provide for us as a good Father, even in difficult times God will not forsake his own people
The welfare of the people
Then the officials said to the king, “Let this man be put to death, for he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.”(Jeremiah 38:4, ESV)
The fact is Jeremiah was seeking the welfare of the people, he just wasn’t saying what they wanted to hear.
Let’s thank God for those with the role of the prophet in our own day like our Pastors who seek our welfare by telling us the uncomfortable truth.
A wimpy leader
King Zedekiah said, “Behold, he is in your hands, for the king can do nothing against you.”(Jeremiah 38:5, ESV)
What a wimpy weasel of a leader, pray that the leaders of our nations, industries and ministers have some backbone to stand up against evil.
King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Judeans who have deserted to the Chaldeans, lest I be handed over to them and they deal cruelly with me.”(Jeremiah 38:19, ESV)
The king was very fearful and the fears were all centered on himself not his people. We must not be governed by fear or be self centered.
Brothers in the flesh
For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.(Romans 9:3, ESV)
Paul’s brothers in the flesh are the Jewish people, not the spiritual Jews but the actual physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Paul is patterning the love of Christ for us in laying down his life and becoming a curse for us when he expresses that he yearns so deeply for the salvation of the Jewish people that he would even be cut off from Christ and so damned to that end.
The Apostle is showing the depth of devotion, love and affection he has for his own people, to the extent if it would benefit (which it would not because Christ has already been made a curse for us) in their salvation he would freely lose his.
This is in a sense a poetical expression to display the depth of his feeling on the issue of the salvation of the Jewish people as Paul has just spent Chapter 8 explaining the eternal nature of our security and love in Christ and so is using the strongest image possible to paint his love in the most vivid colors over against accusations that he is against the Jewish people and loves only the Gentiles.
They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.(Romans 9:4, ESV)
Let’s be clear we are talking about the ethnic and generic Israelites, the actual Jewish people… Despite the world’s anti Israeli sentiment they really are God’s Sovereign Choice as a nation.
What Paul outlines here shows the unique place Israel has played in redemption history.
They were the first to be adopted as God’s son’s opening the way for all nations through their greatest son, Jesus to be adopted by God in the church.
They had the glory of God revealed to them first and they recorded and honored it and in their own way became carriers and evidence off God’s glory by their very survival and thriving despite every attempt to exterminate them. It is through them that we now have the ultimate revelation of God’s glory in they person and work of Jesus Christ, the Jew.
The Covenants were given to and kept by them, and it is the Old Covenant on which the New Covenant finds it roots and footing. If we did not have the backdrop of revealed sin through he law the gospel would lose it’s context and power.
The Children were the only true worshipers of God in the ancient world and have passed on the worship of the true God to all God’s people in Christ.
God made promises and prophecies to Israel and it is on those same promise that we stand, believing that Jesus is the promised Messiah and fulfilled of the law.
They were the carriers of God’s message of hope and salvation for all mankind, fulfilled in Christ.
Jesus is God
To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.(Romans 9:5, ESV)
Jesus is God, not some Demi-god or Angel, or just a man.. He is God and Paul makes it clear, he is the God over all. Once again the deity of Christ is defined and defended.
Paul makes the very important point that Jesus was a Jew, not a Roman, Greek, British, American or African, he was a Jew.
Those who belong to Israel
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,(Romans 9:6, ESV)
Being a physical Israeli is not enough for salvation. This is Paul’s point to those he is writing to. He loves the Jews and recognises their unique heritage as God’s chosen people. However for them to be a part of the true commonwealth of Israel in God’s kingdom they must believe through the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).
We must urge our Jewish friends to be a part of the true Israel (or princes with God which is what the name means) which are those who put their faith in God through his Son Jesus Christ.
Children of the promise
This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.(Romans 9:8, ESV)
This includes two distinct people, one is the faithful from the Old Testament era, the second are those who have genuinely put their faith and trust in Jesus the Messiah (Jew and Gentile).
In short the children of the promise are those who believe the promise and so receive its reward, namely the true church (not a state church or the church conceived by replacement theologians), the one new man comprising of Jews and Gentiles who love Jesus.
God’s purpose in election
though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—(Romans 9:11, ESV)
The account of Jacob and Esau was to demonstrate Gods purpose in election. This is the reality, God sovereignly chose the Children of Israel and today continues to choose every single person that is saved form all nations tribes and tongues.
God elects to save according to his own love, wisdom and purposes.
Don’t hang out with drunks
Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat,(Proverbs 23:20, ESV)
You should not hang around with people getting drunk or stuffing themselves. They may influence you to join them in their evil or your presence may give them silent approval.
Invest in your study
Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.(Proverbs 23:23, ESV)
Invest in your study by doing something simple like getting a study bible, or a good book on a good biblical subject like the Sovereignty of God, Missions or the Atonement of the Cross or something else. Actually spend something on your study of God’s word, by spending your own money it will be more precious to you.
This is also meant in a mental sense, you should price the getting of wisdom in your heart, treat it as a treasure.
Don’t be a traitor
She lies in wait like a robber and increases the traitors among mankind.(Proverbs 23:28, ESV)
This is so true, men can so easily be robbed of all integrity and right-standing and become traitors to their wife and children.
Don’t attempt to drown your sorrows
Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine.(Proverbs 23:30, ESV)
This is not the way to solve your problems. Go to Jesus.
Abused by alcohol
In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.(Proverbs 23:32, ESV)
The abuse of alcohol has bad effect in the end… Hangover, sickness, smelliness (from the sickness), headaches and it destroys the body.
If you abuse alcohol the alcohol will abuse you.
Don’t abuse drugs
Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things.(Proverbs 23:33, ESV)
You can end up hallucinating and saying things that will embarrass you. This is true of drugs and alcohol so avoid both.