Today’s Reading: Hab 2:6–3:19, Acts 18:1–28, Job 26:1–14
Today’s Theme: Don’t just say it, be it!
Today’s theme is Be or Being. We will be looking at what it means to be honest in our financial dealing, to be joyful in the middle of difficulty, to be relentless in sharing and proving the Gospel, to be resigned to do God’s will and to be a mentor.
The reading in Job explores the glory of God, revealed in His creation.
“Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm! (Habakkuk 2:9, ESV)
As Christians we must walk in integrity and stay honest. All our gains must come via honest routes, we must avoid the temptation to receive money that has been gotten in a dishonest way for the sake of our temporal comfort.
God’s glorious kingdom
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14, ESV)
One day the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, this is the glorious day of the Lord, when His kingdom will be established. This is why ultimately building temporal kingdoms, especially in dishonesty and cruelty, are all done in vain because God’s true kingdom will come and crush all false kingdoms.
Which kingdom are we building? This is a question we should ask ourselves.
Avoid profitless idols
“What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols! (Habakkuk 2:18, ESV)
Idols and idolatry are such folly, they serve no profit and only serve to ensnare and deceive, as the demonic spirit behind them teaches lies.
We actually create our own idols, so it is up to us to recognise and destroy them.
Appeal to God’s mercy
O LORD, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O LORD, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy. (Habakkuk 3:2, ESV)
We should pray this over our nation, that in God’s wrath, He would remember mercy towards us.
God has gone to great lengths to save you
You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah (Habakkuk 3:13, ESV)
God goes to great lengths to secure the salvation of His chosen people.
Don’t just wait, wait patiently
I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. (Habakkuk 3:16, ESV)
Like the prophet, we should patiently wait on the Lord’s salvation in things pertaining to this life.
Be joyful, despite the debts
yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:18, ESV)
Habakkuk declares he will rejoice and be joyful in God, even though he is living in a time of lack. No matter how tight our financial position feels, we must rejoice in the Lord.
God, our strength
GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. (Habakkuk 3:19, ESV)
God is our strength and will make us stable in tough times, God will give us stability in our walk with Him, if we depend on Him for strength.
And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks. (Acts 18:4, ESV)
Paul was relentless in his efforts to persuade both Jews and Greeks about the truth and necessity of the gospel.
And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” (Acts 18:6, ESV)
Some say this is anti-Semitic, but it is not. This is how God had ordained it, that only a remnant of the Jews, as prophesied, would be saved and the way of salvation would be opened to all nations.
And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” (Acts 18:9–10, ESV)
Despite the encouraging results mentioned in verse 8, the Lord knew that Paul needed to be encouraged, so the Lord tells him to go on speaking for Him.
Paul had nothing to fear because God was with him and God was in control.
The Lord mentions that He has many in the city that belong to Him, this points to the fact that God knows His elect in advance, as taught in the biblical doctrine of election.
Be resigned to do God’s will
But on taking leave of them he said, “I will return to you if God wills,” and he set sail from Ephesus. (Acts 18:21, ESV)
Paul was totally surrendered and resigned to the will of God.
Strengthen the disciples
After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. (Acts 18:23, ESV)
Again, Paul is on his great mission to strengthen the disciples. We should seek to strengthen each other as disciples too.
Be a mentor
He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. (Acts 18:26, ESV)
This couple (Aquila was the husband’s name) were used by God to refine Apollos, making him one of the key ministers in the early church. We should be ready to instruct those around us who are zealous for the Lord, but need some teaching or mentoring.
And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus. (Acts 18:27–28, ESV)
Again we see the victory of God, this man who was already skilled in the scriptures, after receiving discipleship training, he dealt a great blow to the enemy and strengthened the church.
The bible is scientifically sound
He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing. (Job 26:7, ESV)
This is the earliest book in the bible, yet the science is accurate. Other text from the same period would speak of the earth being carried by elephants or the god Atlas, whereas Job’s account points to the reality of gravity etc.
The earth is a sphere
He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness. (Job 26:10, ESV)
Again the spherical nature of the earth is mentioned, which was very advanced for that time. The Israelites taught that the earth was circular (which is essentially true) based on their scriptures and observations of the horizon etc, the idea of a flat earth comes from pagan cultures and religions.
Our God is the great God of creation and true science.
The glory of the Creator
Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?” (Job 26:14, ESV)
Job rightly recognises that even the wonder of the created universe and the created order within the universe, are only dim echoes of the immeasurable glory of God.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on Acts 18