Blog - Words of Encouragement
2023 Reading PlanTuesday, January 03, 2023
The Bible is not a book but a library of books. It contains books of History, Poetry, Wisdom, Prophecy, Gospels, and Letters. The 66 books of the Bible, though varied in style and content, all tell the same story. It is the story of the eternal God, Yahweh, and His creation which He loves. To help us see the larger flow of Scripture, our reading plan for this year is taking a chronological approach to reading the Bible. One of the benefits of this format is when the books of Scripture overlap, we see the different ways God spoke to and dealt with His people.
For example, when reading the Divided Kingdom period, the books of Kings and Chronicles give us a full picture of the lives and deeds of the kings of Israel and Judah. Yet, the Chronicler is focused on following the dynasty of David closely, looking for the coming Messiah, and in Kings, the author is focused on the rebellion of God's people and kings to His law. Also, when reading Acts, we will see the writings of the apostles blended into the narrative, further connecting the growth of the church with the teaching of the apostles.
Our hope is that in reading the Scriptures this year, we will all grow in our faith and knowledge.
A Covenant of Faithful MercyFriday, July 23, 2021
“Incline your ear and come to Me.
Listen, that you may live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
According to the faithful mercies shown to David.”
- Isaiah 55:3
In Isaiah 55 God invites all who hunger and thirst to come and eat and drink freely. All are invited to find food that truly satisfies and food that is without cost, rather than spending money on the food that does not satisfy. Then in the third verse, the prophet sets forth what is required of those who come and eat, they must incline their ears to the Lord and listen to Him. By doing this they will live and receive an everlasting covenant. That covenant is characterized by God in terms of the faithful mercies shown to David. To understand this new covenant that God is offering to those who come to Him, listen, and find life, we must look back upon the covenant that God made with David and His faithful mercies that accompanied it.
God’s Everlasting Covenant With David (2 Samuel 7:8-16)
David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14), and God’s loyalty to David was shown in the blessing of an everlasting covenant. This covenant established David’s throne in Jerusalem and promised loyalty to David’s descendants (2 Sam. 12:12, 16). Ultimately, this covenant would lead to the coming of the Messiah and the salvation of all who believe. God’s covenant promised a close bond between God and those who would come after David, as father and son, and of the mercy that would be shown to David’s descendants because of God’s lovingkindness (2 Sam. 12:14-15).
This covenant remains even today in the reign of Christ over all things as He is seated at the right hand of God. As God kept His promise to David of an everlasting covenant, we are invited to enter into a similar everlasting covenant through the work of Jesus. When we enter into that covenant through faith and baptism we become a part of an unshakeable kingdom, inheritors of eternal life, and find the mercy and grace of God which cleanses us of our sins (Heb. 12:25-29; Heb. 4:14-16).
Our Covenant In Christ (Hebrews 8)
The Hebrew writer makes the case that we serve a greater and better high priest than any earthly priest. This greater high priest is Jesus the Christ, and He is greater because He was called by God, He endured temptation yet did not sin, He offered His own blood and body as the offering for sin, and in His one offering God was satisfied (Hebrews 1-7, 10). Thus, Jesus is a perpetual priest (Hebrews 7) and His work endures forever being wholly pleasing to God (Hebrews 10:11-18). In Jesus’ death and His blood that the new covenant was inaugurated (Heb. 8:6-13). It is better because it, “has been enacted on better promises,” specifically the promise of atonement for sins, that all people can be made holy and blameless, that all who die with Christ will live eternally as He lives, and that those who join themselves to Christ become His brothers and sons of God (Eph. 1:3-14).
This is the everlasting covenant that God offers to us in Isaiah 55. It is freely available, costs us nothing, and blesses us with everything that will truly satisfy and preserve our souls. Will we answer His call, incline our ears to Him, listen to Him, and find life, mercy, and blessing?