As I continue to make my way through memorizing passages of Scripture this year, I come to a prayerful act of praise by the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:33-36. However, you can’t really understand someone’s outburst if you don’t have the context. Yes? So in order to truly grasp what you may be memorizing with me, if you are following the Fighter Verse program, you need to step back a few pages and listen to Paul’s heart in Romans chapters nine through eleven.
For it is there that Paul has reflected upon his desire for his kinsmen to be saved, as he has been gloriously saved by God through Christ. He has poured over the nature and progress of God’s salvation project through the history of his people and the nations, a project that is at once simple and complex. Paul's work takes time, and effort. He is drawing conclusions and connecting dots that have immensely significant implications for very real people — immortal souls every one of them. The meditations of his heart and the words of his mouth are earnest, zealous, passionate, compassionate, thoughtful, energetic, and extensive.
And such thinking, though difficult and demanding, produces dividends.
For as Paul has been scraping his way up the mountain of God’s providential plan, and begins to ascend the summit near the end of Romans 11, what he discovers at the top is not that he has arrived, but that he now has a view of the endless vistas of God’s extraordinary grace in the good news of the kingdom of God that has come in Jesus Christ. So that he stands there atop his one, theological mountain, and exclaims,
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to himthat he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version; Romans 11:33–36)
I am so grateful for the dividends of delight that God has produced in my own heart through meditation and memorization of this passage of praise from Paul! Oh how I love the Bible, and how I love the good news - this gift from God that keeps giving and giving. Spend some time climbing the mountain today, and looking on the vistas of God's extraordinary grace with our friend, the Apostle Paul.
I believe that you won't be disappointed by the investment.
This last week we made our way through the book of Numbers. We learned how this book, filled with some pretty famous Sunday School type of stories, is also shot-through with the sad themes of unbelief and rebellion. It is shocking how a people who experienced so many displays of God’s faithfulness could still be ungrateful and unsatisfied with his provision and timing. Which ironically makes it so relevant for our study, for we all struggle with being satisfied with the circumstances of our lives.
It is the backdrop of Leviticus — with its thousands of priests and millions of sacrifices — that causes the beauty of the work of Jesus — the one priest, and the once for all sacrifice — to shine all the more brilliantly.
There are a number of major themes that weave their way through the whole story of the Bible: covenant, kingdom, and temple, just to name a few. This last Sunday we looked at the theme of God’s presence in each of the sections of the story that we have covered thus far (Genesis 1-11, Genesis 12-50, and Exodus 1-18), and then how this idea of God’s presence comes into a bit of a sharper focus in Exodus 19-40.
I think it is probably safe to say that there are two great peaks in the mountain range of God’s rescue and restoration of the earth. What the cross-resurrection event is to the New Testament, the exodus is to the Old Testament. In each case, the great redemptive salvation act (exodus/cross) produces the covenant community of God’s people (Israel/church) who are called to serve God and his universal mission.
Genesis 12-50: I Will Bless You
It is hard to look at any one text in the Bible and say that it is more important than any other text of the Bible. Since the whole Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit as God’s Words, it is all equally valid and useful for growth in the grace and knowledge of our King, Jesus (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 3:18). At the same time, there are those passages that are particularly vital and important to knowing what God is up to in his rescue and restoration plan for the world.
The Whole Story: Genesis One Through Eleven
This last Sunday, January 7th, we kicked off our new sermon series, The Whole Story. As Genesis is the first book of the Bible, we began there, by covering chapters one through eleven...
Why Should I Read The Bible?
Most days I love waking up, coffeeing up, praying up, and then gobbling up the Bible. But not every day. I’m just like you in that. I need reminding about why the Bible — God’s Whole Story — is an important part of my day, for every other part of my day.