Today’s Reading: Zech 8:1–9:17, Acts 23:23–24:27, Job 30:1–15
Today’s Theme: God’s Passion
Today’s theme is about our passionate God. God is not some cold force, He is full of passion, desire and delights in good things. We as His children, inherit His passion for His glory and rejoice in the things that He delights in and bring Him pleasure.
We should share the truth with the passion of God in our hearts. God will actively see His will come to pass in the fire and energy of His own passion, for His glory.
God is passionate
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. (Zechariah 8:2, ESV)
Our God is full of deep passions and affections, He is not untouched and impersonal, instead He is intensely passionate, full of holy jealousy.
The jealousy of God is vitally connected to the expression of that zeal, for His glory, in the wrath of God.
Thus says the LORD of hosts: If it is marvelous in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, should it also be marvelous in my sight, declares the LORD of hosts? (Zechariah 8:6, ESV)
God and His people have shared joys and delights. Ask yourself the question; are the things you take joy in, the things that God delights in?
God desires relationship
and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.” (Zechariah 8:8, ESV)
God desires appropriate relationship with His people, in faithfulness and righteousness.
Enjoy the fruit of peace
For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. (Zechariah 8:12, ESV)
We should sow peace in our families, ministries and communities, and enjoy the reaped fruit.
Called to honesty
These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD.” (Zechariah 8:16–17, ESV)
God hates lies and dishonesty and calls His people to honesty and peace, knowing that this will invoke a blessing from Him.
Live in peace with God
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace. (Zechariah 8:19, ESV)
Same point as the last; we should love the truth of God’s word and living in peace with Him.
Jesus the Jew
Thus says the LORD of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’ ” (Zechariah 8:23, ESV)
This in some ways, was happening at the time of Jesus, but I think it is ultimately pointing to the future.
In a very real sense, there is a Jew that men from all nations have taken hold of and followed, His name is Yeshua (Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God).
The Fragility of Nations
But behold, the Lord will strip her of her possessions and strike down her power on the sea, and she shall be devoured by fire. (Zechariah 9:4, ESV)
No nation should have confidence in its resources because God can take it all away.
Jesus the King
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9, ESV)
The prophecy is fulfilled by King Jesus.
The kingdom of Jesus
I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. (Zechariah 9:10, ESV)
The future kingdom of Jesus.
God restores double
Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. (Zechariah 9:12, ESV)
We are kept by hope and our hope shall not make us ashamed. Our God is a good Father, thank you for giving us double and rescuing us.
God’s purpose will be facilitated
Then he called two of the centurions and said, “Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night. (Acts 23:23, ESV)
Look at the amount of men and resources that have been mobilised to facilitate God’s purpose through Paul’s life. God is able to give us favour and in His providence, make a way for us to fulfil His agenda, through the resources of the world.
Nicknames and Slander
For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. (Acts 24:5, ESV)
The new perspectives on Paul are not new, he has always been seen as an enemy of the Jews. Also note one of our early nicknames, like Christian, was Nazarenes.
Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me. (Acts 24:13, ESV)
Paul did not completely abandon his legal argument, he had one and he made it. Know when to use logical reasoning like this.
The same God
But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, (Acts 24:14, ESV)
Jews and Christians share the same God. Notice we believe the OT, we do not practise it.
The hope of resurrection
having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. (Acts 24:15, ESV)
Resurrection is central to our Gospel hope and is shared with the Pharisees and Judaism of the day.
Resurrection belief leads to godliness
So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man. (Acts 24:16, ESV)
In light of the coming resurrections (plural), we must strive to have a clear conscience before God and man, we must not walk in compromise.
The Explicit Gospel, Unashamed
After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. (Acts 24:24, ESV)
Paul was not ashamed of the explicit Gospel.
Wrestle and Reason
And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” (Acts 24:25, ESV)
We must wrestle and reason with men concerning things of the kingdom and gospel, knowing that this will alarm many, we must still make every effort to reason with them.
Job is mocked
“And now I have become their song; I am a byword to them. (Job 30:9, ESV)
The lowest of men were now making up songs about Job, this shows the extent of his fall and suffering. When someone is going through hard times we should not mock them.
Terrors are turned upon me; my honour is pursued as by the wind, and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud. (Job 30:15, ESV)
Difficulty with finances may be a test of faith rather than the result of sin, discipline or poor stewardship. Trust in God through the trial.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on Acts 24