Day 148: The Light of the World

2 Kings 1-3; John 8:1-20

Key Verses

2 Kings 2:11-12
And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.

John 8:12
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Jehoshaphat was a rare king that walked in the ways of the Lord. He ruled Judah while the evil king, Ahab, and his sons ruled Israel, and somehow, Jehoshaphat maintained peace between the two nations. Jehoshaphat aided Israel twice in war, and both times, before they entered the battle, Jehoshaphat asked to inquire of a prophet of the Lord…

And [Ahab] said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the Lord” (1 Kings 22:4-7).

And [Ahab’s son, Jehoram,] went and sent word to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to battle against Moab?” And he said, “I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?” (2 Kings 3:7; 11)

Jehoshaphat depended on the Lord’s guidance. He understood the perils of walking on paths outside of the Lord’s will. It would be like traversing a mountain in the dark…extremely dangerous! Jehoshaphat needed light, and he sought it!

In today’s reading from John, we see Jesus proclaiming: “I am the light of the world.”

  • He is the spiritual light – illuminating the path to eternal life.
  • He is the moral light – living the absolute perfect life.
  • And one day, on the new earth, He will be the physical light… (Rev. 21:23).

Jesus is the light of the world – and we should seek Him passionately as we traverse the dangers in this world. We need Him. We need light!

As we follow Him, we also become lights. We are called to reflect the light of the Savior. This is our job. This is our purpose!

We know from our readings about Elijah, that this was Elijah’s job as well – to reflect the light of Truth amidst the Baal worship in Israel. And in today’s reading in 2 Kings, we see Elijah pass the torch to Elisha. Elisha will now bear the burden of light-bearer to Israel and its kings.

The darkness in this world can feel overwhelming. But we must cling to the Light as we reflect the light of Christ to the world. The darkness will never overcome the Light!

The light shines in the darkness. and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).

Keeping up with the Kings
Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat)
Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (Joram)

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Day 37: All the Nations

Exodus 39-40; Matthew 24:1-14

Key Verses

Exodus 39:32
Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished, and the people of Israel did according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses; so they did.

Matthew 24:13
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Exodus ends with the people obeying every command of the Lord for the building and erecting of the Tabernacle. God’s presence descends as a cloud covering the tent of meeting and His Glory fills the Tabernacle. The Lord’s presence would go with the Israelites. He is the Covenant-Keeping God. He would be their God and they would be His people!

For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys (Exodus 40:38).

Can you imagine what it would have been like to actually see the Lord’s presence? His physical presence. I believe His presence was visible not only for the Israelites – but also as a testimony to all the nations that the Lord of the Israelites was the One True God.

In Matthew, Jesus answers the disciples’ questions about the end of the age. He says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations.”

From the beginning of time, God’s heart has been for all the nations. He called Israel apart as His people as a testimony to all the nations. And in the end, heaven will be filled with people from all the nations.

And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation (Revelation 5:9).

God’s covenant promise to Abraham in Genesis 12 was that ALL the peoples of the earth would be blessed through him. We are heirs of this promise. And we are called to be the vehicle in which the promise is fulfilled as we proclaim God’s grace and salvation to our neighbor and to the ends of the earth. The end of the age is waiting for the nations to hear!! In the end…

…every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).

Day 31: The Dwelling Place of God

Exodus 25-26; Matthew 21:1-22

Key Verses

Exodus 2:8
And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.

Matthew 21:14
And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.

Exodus 25 is the first in a long account of what God told Moses while on the Mountain for 40 days and 40 nights. God begins by giving instructions on how to build the tabernacle – or tent. This is where God would dwell among the Israelites…

In many ways, the tabernacle points back to the Garden of Eden. Both were the dwelling place of God. Each entrance was guarded by Cherubim. The flowers on the Golden Lamp Stand seem to reflect the images of the Garden of Eden.

But the tabernacle also points forward. All of the objects within the tabernacle were symbols in which Christ fulfilled. For example, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” and “I am the bread of life,” as a reflection of the Golden Lamp Stand and the Table of the Bread of Presence respectively.

In today’s reading from Matthew, Jesus entered Jerusalem on the Sunday before Passover (Thursday). This entrance marked the beginning of what many scholars call “Passion Week.” Jews traveled long distances to Jerusalem every year to celebrate the Passover and participate in the Feast of Unleavened Bread. One of Matthew’s main literary purposes of his gospel was to portray Jesus as “King.” Matthew quoted Zechariah that says “your King is coming…mounted on a donkey.” The people treated Jesus as a King as they shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Referring to Jesus as “the Son of David” revealed that the people thought he was the Promised King, the savior, the Messiah. 

The next morning, Jesus entered the temple with authority. He was showing that He was the King of a spiritual Kingdom. As he was overturning the tables of the money changers, he was figuratively overturning the spiritual leadership of the day. Regarding the children’s praise, The ESV Study Bible comments; “Jesus acknowledged the children’s praise and linked it to Ps. 8:2, which the religious leaders should have known applied such praise to God, thus confirming Jesus as the divine Messiah.”

This passage is thick with allusions to Jesus’ Kingship!

But consider this…

Both passages from today’s reading point forward to an unspecified time in the future when “the dwelling place of God [will be] with man (Rev. 21:3). The tabernacle is just a shadow of what God’s house will be like in the new earth! And in that day, Jesus will not be the suffering-servant-King, but the King of all Glory and Splendor. The glory of the King will be so bright, we will no longer need the sun! That day will come!

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).

Day 21: The Lion of Judah

Genesis 48-50

Key Verses

Genesis 49:8-12
Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion’s cub;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine
and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk.

These chapters mark the end of Jacob’s life and the end of Genesis. We see Jacob blessing each of his 12 sons including Joseph’s children, Ephraim and Manasseh. Each blessing draws from the son’s life and projects their past choices on their future descendants. Judah and Joseph both have the longest and most positive of all the blessings. It’s almost as if the writer of Genesis is wanting the reader to ask… “Will the promised Savior come from Judah or Joseph’s family?”

It’s interesting… this tug of war between Judah and Joseph continues through Israel’s history… When Jacob blessed Joseph’s two sons in Chapter 48, he claimed them as his own sons. After the Israelites conquered the Canaanites to reclaim the land, each son or tribe was given an allotment of land (with the exception of Levi. The Levites were given the honor of the priesthood). Both Ephraim and Manasseh received land, which ensured that Joseph’s descendants received a double portion of the inheritance. Since Jacob gave the blessing of the firstborn to the younger brother, Ephraim, it is from Ephraim’s family that we see many great leaders of Israel.

Could the promised King come from Joseph’s family? But Israel’s greatest king, David, was from the tribe of Judah. In the end, we know it was from Judah’s family that the promised Savior would come. Today’s “Key Verses” contains the blessing Jacob gave to Judah. Jesus’ name in Revelation, the Lion of Judah, came from Jacob’s blessing to Judah.

In the end, Jacob died and was buried with his fathers in Canaan. Genesis was written by Moses for the people of Israel (who had been in Egypt for over 400 years)… so that they would know their history. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have been grafted into the family of Abraham, so Genesis is your family history too! We have the privilege of having seen the promise of the Savior fulfilled – but the promise to Abraham- of a land and a people – will not be completely fulfilled until the end of the age in the new heaven and new earth…

John, the writer of Revelation, writes:

And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” …And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:5; 9-10).

And the people said… “Amen!”

Day 231: Worthy of our worship

Isaiah 4-6; Romans 12

In today’s reading, Isaiah 4 opens with a prophecy of hope – and then Isaiah 5 turns dark as it describes how the people of Judah had rejected his grace (5:4) and consequently, would experience God’s wrath (5:13-14).

It is this context of future hope (chapt. 4) and imminent judgment (chapt. 5) that we see God’s grace and calling to Isaiah in Chapter 6.

Isaiah’s vision is truly awesome. He is face to face with the glory and holiness of the Lord, and he is terrified. Never has Isaiah been more aware of his own shortcomings – he was absolutely destitute in his sin.

But see God’s severe grace. Forgiveness does not come cheap. Sin always bears a price…

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for” (Isaiah 6:6-7).

Then God gives Isaiah his calling and purpose. Isaiah was called into a life of suffering – as he would proclaim God’s impending judgment on a hardened people.

But look deeper into the text and notice that Isaiah is describing the very throne room of God! God’s robe fills the temple and the foundation of the temple shook at the power of His voice. Isaiah, in his sinful state, could only crumple under the Holiness, but the seraphim, the pure seraphim, were engaged in worship.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3)

This song is echoed in Revelation 4 – where we are also transported through vision to the throne room of God – and there we find the four creatures (representing all of creation) gathered with the 24 elders (who probably represent the unity of Israel and the church – combining the 12 tribes of Israel + the 12 apostles) – and what are they ALL doing??!! Worshiping the Lord!

And the four living creatures, …day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”

And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:8-11)

What is our response to the God we serve?? First, we say with Isaiah, “Woe is me!” And then, we must worship.

Romans 12:1 instructs us in this worship. We don’t contain our worship to Sunday mornings. No! We worship with our very lives!

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Jesus demands our all. How will you worship Him today?

 

Day 148: The Light of the World

2 Kings 1-3; John 8:1-20

Jehoshaphat was a rare king that walked in the ways of the Lord. He ruled Judah while the evil king, Ahab, and his sons ruled Israel, and somehow, Jehoshaphat maintained peace between the two nations. Jehoshaphat aided Israel twice in war, and both times, before they entered the battle, Jehoshaphat asked to inquire of a prophet of the Lord…

And [Ahab] said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the Lord” (1 Kings 22:4-7).

And [Ahab’s son, Jehoram,] went and sent word to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to battle against Moab?” And he said, “I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?” (2 Kings 3:7; 11)

Jehoshaphat depended on the Lord’s guidance. He understood the perils of walking on paths outside of the Lord’s will. It would be like traversing a mountain in the dark…extremely dangerous! Jehoshaphat needed light, and he sought it!

In today’s reading from John, we see Jesus proclaiming: “I am the light of the world.”

  • He is the spiritual light – illuminating the path to eternal life.
  • He is the moral light – living the absolute perfect life.
  • And one day, on the new earth, He will be the physical light… (Rev. 21:23).

Jesus is the light of the world – and we should seek Him passionately as we traverse the dangers in this world. We need Him. We need light!

As we follow Him, we also become lights. We are called to reflect the light of the Savior. This is our job. This is our purpose!

We know from our readings about Elijah, that this was Elijah’s job as well – to reflect the light of Truth amidst the Baal worship in Israel. And in today’s reading in 2 Kings, we see Elijah pass the torch to Elisha. Elisha will now bear the burden of light-bearer to Israel and its kings.

The darkness in this world can feel overwhelming. But we must cling to the Light as we reflect the light of Christ to the world. The darkness will never overcome the Light!

The light shines in the darkness. and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).

Keeping up with the Kings
Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat)
Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (Joram)

Day 37: All the nations

Exodus 39-40; Matthew 24:1-14

Exodus ends with the people obeying every command of the Lord for the building and erecting of the Tabernacle. God’s presence descends as a cloud covering the tent of meeting and His Glory fills the Tabernacle. The Lord’s presence would go with the Israelites. He is the Covenant-Keeping God. He would be their God and they would be His people!

For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys (Exodus 40:38).

Can you imagine what it would have been like to actually see the Lord’s presence? His physical presence. I believe His presence was visible not only for the Israelites – but also as a testimony to all the nations that the Lord of the Israelites was the One True God.

In Matthew, Jesus answers the disciples’ questions about the end of the age. He says,

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).

From the beginning of time, God’s heart has been for all the nations. He called Israel apart as His people as a testimony to all the nations. And in the end, heaven will be filled with people from all the nations.

And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation (Revelation 5:9).

God’s covenant promise to Abraham in Genesis 12 was that ALL the peoples of the earth would be blessed through him. We are heirs of this promise. And we are called to be the vehicle in which the promise is fulfilled as we proclaim God’s grace and salvation to our neighbor and to the ends of the earth. The end of the age is waiting for the nations to hear!! In the end…

…every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).

Day 31: The dwelling place of God

Exodus 25-26; Matthew 21:1-22

Exodus 25 is the first in a long account of what God told Moses while on the Mountain for 40 days and 40 nights. God begins by giving instructions on how to build the tabernacle – or tent. This is where God would dwell among the Israelites…

In many ways the tabernacle points back to the Garden of Eden. Both were the dwelling place of God. Each entrance was guarded by Cherubim. The flowers on the Golden Lamp Stand seem to reflect the images of the Garden of Eden.

But the tabernacle also points forward. All of the objects within the tabernacle were symbols in which Christ fulfilled. For example, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” and “I am the bread of life,” as a reflection of the Golden Lamp Stand and the Table of the Bread of Presence respectively.

In today’s reading from Matthew, Jesus entered Jerusalem on the Sunday before Passover (Thursday). This entrance marked the beginning of what many scholars call “Passion Week.” Jews traveled long distances to Jerusalem every year to celebrate the Passover and participate in the Feast of Unleavened Bread. One of Matthew’s main literary purposes of his gospel was to portray Jesus as “King.” Matthew quoted Zechariah that says “your King is coming…mounted on a donkey.” The people treated Jesus as a King as they shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Referring to Jesus as “the Son of David” revealed that the people thought he was the Promised King, the savior, the Messiah. 

The next morning, Jesus entered the temple with authority. He was showing that He was the King of a spiritual Kingdom. As he was overturning the tables of the money changers, he was figuratively overturning the spiritual leadership of the day. Regarding the children’s praise, The ESV Study Bible comments; “Jesus acknowledged the children’s praise and linked it to Ps. 8:2, which the religious leaders should have known applied such praise to God, thus confirming Jesus as the divine Messiah.”

This passage is thick with allusions to Jesus’ Kingship!

But consider this…

Both passages from today’s reading point forward to an unspecified time in the future when “the dwelling place of God [will be] with man (Rev. 21:3). The tabernacle is just a shadow of what God’s house will be like in the new earth! And in that day, Jesus will not be the suffering-servant-King, but the King of all Glory and Splendor. The glory of the King will be so bright, we will no longer need the sun! That day will come!

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).

Day 21: The Lion of Judah

Genesis 48-50

These chapters mark the end of Jacob’s life and the end of Genesis. We see Jacob blessing each of his 12 sons including Joseph’s children, Ephraim and Manasseh. Each blessing draws from the son’s life and projects their past choices on their future descendants. Judah and Joseph both have the longest and most positive of all the blessings. It’s almost as if the writer of Genesis is wanting the reader to ask… “Will the promised Savior come from Judah or Joseph’s family?”

It’s interesting… this tug of war between Judah and Joseph continues through Israel’s history… When Jacob blessed Joseph’s two sons in Chapter 48, he claimed them as his own sons. After the Israelites conquered the Canaanites to reclaim the land, each son or tribe was given an allotment of land (with the exception of Levi. The Levites were given the honor of the priesthood). Both Epraim and Manasseh received land, which ensured that Joseph’s descendants received a double portion of the inheritance. Since Jacob gave the blessing of the firstborn to the younger brother, Ephraim, it is from Ephraim’s family that we see many great leaders of Israel.

Could the promised King come from Joseph’s family? But Israel’s greatest king, David, was from the tribe of Judah. In the end, we know it was from Judah’s family that the promised Savior would come. Read Jacob’s blessing to Judah:

Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion’s cub;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine
and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk (Genesis 49:8-12).

In the end, Jacob died and was buried with his fathers in Canaan. Genesis was written by Moses for the people of Israel (who had been in Egypt for over 400 years)… so that they would know their history. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have been grafted into the family of Abraham, so Genesis is your family history too! We have the privilege of having seen the promise of the Savior fulfilled – but the promise to Abraham- of a land and a people – will not be completely fulfilled until the end of the age in the new heaven and new earth…

John, the writer of Revelation, writes:

And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” …And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:5; 9-10).

And the people said… “Amen!”