Today’s Reading: Zech 6:1–7:14, Acts 22:22–23:22, Job 29:13–25
Today’s Theme: Use Practical Wisdom and Justice
Today’s theme looks at the pursuit of social justice and the use of practical wisdom. We begin with Jesus the Messiah who branches out and builds God’s true house, the Church. As the body of Christ we should be kind to each other.
In the NT reading we see Paul using the practical everyday wisdom that God has given him, in very difficult circumstances. Finally in Job, we see that Job was like an MP, using his life and influence to pursue justice.
Jesus branches out and builds the church
And say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD. (Zechariah 6:12, ESV)
The Branch is a reference to the coming Messiah. Jesus fulfils this prophecy not by rebuilding the temple like Zerubabel did, but by building His church, as He mentions in Matthew 16:18.
Don’t waste your time
“Say to all the people of the land and the priests, When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? (Zechariah 7:5, ESV)
If our religious activity is not truly for God, it is a waste of time.
Be kind to each other
“Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” (Zechariah 7:9–10, ESV)
God wants us to pursue mercy and justice and wants us to be kind to each other.
Know and use the law
But when they had stretched him out for the whips, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?” (Acts 22:25, ESV)
God led Paul by His Spirit, to use the law of the land to his advantage. Lord, help us to use the law of the land to further the cause of the Gospel.
God will strike
Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” (Acts 23:3, ESV)
Those who oppose the Gospel put themselves in danger of being struck by God.
Be alert and perceptive
Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” (Acts 23:6, ESV)
We need to be alert and perceptive like Paul, this was a great strategic move.
The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” (Acts 23:11, ESV)
Jesus himself came to comfort Paul, the Lord wants us to take courage in our stand for Him too.
Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to tell him.” (Acts 23:17, ESV)
Paul used the practical wisdom and common sense that God had given him, he did not go into prayer about this, his actions were quite straightforward.
Job the MP
I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know. I broke the fangs of the unrighteous and made him drop his prey from his teeth. (Job 29:15–17, ESV)
Job was no slouch, he lived out his faith in the pursuit of social justice and it seems he had the position and influence to do something about it. We could think of him as a godly MP or Lord today.
Be a councillor
“Men listened to me and waited and kept silence for my counsel. (Job 29:21, ESV)
Not shy, very wise and respected, Job was the chief of the men of his city. Lord, help us to be people that others can turn to for advice.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on Acts 23