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Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ – 162 of 366

Scripture

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.
–  Psalm 1:1-6

Meditation

The first psalm is simple and short.  It serves well as the opening to the complete set of 150 psalms because…well, you’ll see for yourself as we meditate on it.

This psalm contrasts the righteous man with the wicked man.  The righteous man is like a well-rooted tree that produces fruit.  The wicked man is like chaff that the wind blows away.

What behavior distinguishes the righteous man from the wicked man?  Where he gets his guidance.  The righteous man is constantly meditating on what the Lord wants him to do.  By contrast, the wicked are getting their guidance from each other: they “walk in the counsel of the wicked,” “stand in the path of sinners,” and “sit in the seat of scoffers.”  This is what distinguished Jesus from the men who crucified Him.

When you start each day with these devotions you are going to the law (teaching, instruction, direction) of the Lord.  If you continue throughout the day thinking about what the Lord wants you to do, you fulfill the vision of the righteous man set forth in this psalm…and your life will bear fruit for God.

It’s not the few minutes that you give to this exercise that makes the difference.  It’s carrying with you all day long the sense of direction it gives you.  For if you don’t think about it during the course of the day, how could you possibly be doing it?

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, help me take away from this devotional time at least one thought I can chew on all day long…so that I can act on it…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)

Index to Scriptures Used So Far in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ – 161 of 366

Scripture

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
–  Hebrews 1:1-2

Meditation

When the New Testament talks about Jesus of Nazareth, it’s saying that He is the fulfillment of all that was promised in the Old Testament.  This is true of all 27 of the New Testament writings – including Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, the opening sentence of which is shown above.

In this sentence, we see reference to the writings we now call the Old Testament: “…He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways…”  The 39 Old Testament writings were produced by prophets – men who spoke for God.  The term “Old Testament” didn’t exist at the time that the New Testament documents were being written, but, just the same, that’s what Paul is referencing.

We also see in this sentence reference to the central focus on the New Testament writings: “…in these last days has spoken to us in His Son…”  That is, the Son of God – Jesus of Nazareth – is the focal point of all God’s communications to the human race.  Thus the New Testament is the capstone of the Bible.  If the Bible was a spear, the New Testament would be its tip and Jesus would be the point of that tip.

Jesus is not just more important than Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and the rest – He’s infinitely more important than them!  It’s just that it takes their stories to understand His story.

As the last part of the sentence makes clear, Jesus is the Creator of all things.  The way the Bible explains it is that God created the heavens and the earth through Christ.  Note that Paul’s sentence also says that Jesus is “the heir of all things.”  Thus God hands over the heavens and the earth to Him.  What the Scriptures are pointing to is that God laid down His life as God…that He might take it up again as Messiah (Christ).

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, You laid down Your old life to take up a new life in order to show us how to do the same.  Help me understand how to do that better today than I did yesterday…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)

Index to Scriptures Used in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ – 160 of 366

Scripture

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”   And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
–  Matthew 18:1-4

Meditation

Jesus was constantly talking about the kingdom of God – and that it was soon coming.  His disciples wondered what sort of traits would be necessary to succeed in this kingdom.

Notice that Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ question comes in two parts.  First, He tells them that they must be “converted and become like children” in order to enter the kingdom at all.  Second, He tells them humbling themselves “as this child” (that is, the one in front of them) is what will make them great in God’s kingdom.  Let’s take these two points one at a time.

In saying that His disciples needed to be “converted,” He is telling them that they are not currently in the childlike mode they’ll need.  This current deficiency of theirs is not so much of a problem because Jesus is there with them.  However, once He ascends into heaven and is physically removed from them, they’ll need a childlike attitude in order to approach Him and receive from Him as a heavenly Father.  That is, they’ll need a childlike faith because they’ll no longer be able to see Jesus with their physical eyes.

The second point Jesus makes is about “this child.”  Remember that Jesus “called a child to Himself and set him before them.”  Think about the trust it took for that child to answer Jesus’ call and allow himself to be gawked at by all these grown men who were seeking to learn from Jesus.  It could have seemed very intimidating to the child, but we hear nary a peep from him.  Apparently, he was willing to be on display…for Jesus.

Jesus is calling us to live our lives before Him – and before all the angels of heaven.  Will we respond as humbly as did that child on that day?

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, I will live today as Your child.  Help me think about how my thoughts might need to be changed right now in order to achieve this…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)

Index to Scriptures Used in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ – 159 of 366

Scripture

Now the Lord said to Abram,
“Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
–  Genesis 12:1-3

Meditation

The man we call Abraham was, as you may well know, originally named Abram – a name that means “exalted father.”  The words you see above were spoken by the Lord to Abram when he was 75 years old.  It was probably embarrassing for a 75-year-old man without children to be called a name that meant “exalted father,” but the Lord didn’t hesitate to promise that He would make this childless septuagenarian “a great nation!”  (I think betting people call that sort of thing “doubling down.”)

Later on, when Abram reached the age of 99, the Lord changed his name to Abraham – which means “father of a multitude.”  (Is there such a thing as “tripling down”?)  God was determined to make this man a father – a father with a progeny of staggering proportions.

Although this promise of God has indeed been fulfilled in the lives lived by Abram (Abraham) and his descendants (the Jews), it is ultimately and most dramatically fulfilled in the life of a particular descendant of his: Jesus of Nazareth.

You see, the promises of God to Abram could be passed on to his descendants after him.  In this way, the promise was to Abram, to Isaac, to Jacob…and eventually to Jesus.  Therefore, the promise to Jesus was that He would be “father of a multitude.”

We know that Jesus never became a father while He was on earth.  He never married.  Thus in His suffering, Jesus remained a Son but in His glorification, He became a Father.

Therefore, in the passage above, the Lord is making a promise to which He Himself would eventually become an heir.  Thus the Lord is both the promisor and the promisee.  He made the promise of God and proved Himself worthy of it as a man.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, in wisdom, power, and faithfulness You have demonstrated the glory of Your character.  We gladly call You Father of all…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)

Index to Scriptures Used in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ – 158 of 366

Scripture

The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.
–  Genesis 11:5

Meditation

The verse above refers to the Tower of Babel, and foreshadows the coming of Messiah (Christ) to earth.

In the beginning, God instructed Adam and Eve not to stay put.

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
–  Genesis 1:27-28  (emphasis added)

After the great flood, God repeated this instruction to Noah and his family.

And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.
–  Genesis 9:1  (emphasis added)

The story of the Tower of Babel is the story of humanity defying God’s instruction and trying to do things their own way.  Here’s how the city of Babel came to be:

Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words.  It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.  They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.  They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
–  Genesis 11:1-4  (emphasis added)

God wanted the earth filled and these people decided they’d rather band together, stay put, and build something that didn’t require God’s help.  They ended up just babbling at each other.  Notice any similarity with secularism and progressivism in our day?  There’s nothing new under the sun.  Man in his pomp is a creature who thinks he can exist without a Creator.

The Lord Jesus “came down to see the city” and showed there was a better way to get to heaven than a man-made tower.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, You can bring to naught the most sophisticated of human plans.  Let me, therefore, seek to do Your will today, not build monuments to my ego…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)

Index to Scriptures Used in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ – 157 of 366

Scripture

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
–  1 Peter 1:13-16  (all caps portion is quoting a refrain from Leviticus)

Meditation

When Peter writes “prepare your minds for action,” he says something very useful to us.  It is so easy for us to lapse into a frame of mind in which we engage in these devotionals academically or intellectually.  Indeed, we have to engage our intellects if we want to find grace in the words of Scripture; but understanding what God is saying is merely an intermediate step to acting on what God is saying.  Remember when Jesus said:

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
–  Luke 6:46  (emphasis added)

To “keep sober in spirit” doesn’t disallow a sense of humor, but it does mean that we must take seriously – and not frivolously – the devotional practice in which we are engaged.  We must recognize the importance of our relationship with God, and the importance of our service for His sake to the people around us.

Alas, some people take Peter’s exhortation to “fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” as a reference to His appearing on earth in the flesh.  That is not to be, for as Paul wrote:

…even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.
–  2 Corinthians 5:16

The ultimate “revelation of Jesus Christ” is the revelation that He is God.  That brings plenty of grace to us.  And grace upon grace forever!

Peter’s end goal is that we become holy as Jesus is holy, that we stop living for the motivations that previously drove us and, instead, live to imitate the One who loved us and gave Himself up for us.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Heavenly Father, I take this time to soberly prepare my mind for the actions required of me this day.  Please grant me the ability to understand how I can serve You in my actions today…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)

Index to Scriptures Used in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ – 156 of 366

Scripture

Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and became the father of Enoch.  Then Jared lived eight hundred years after he became the father of Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters.  So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died.

Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah.  Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters.  So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.  Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
–  Genesis 5:18-24  (emphasis added)

Meditation

I plucked the passage above from the middle of a genealogy and emphasized the person on which I wish to focus.  Genealogical lists are generally viewed as tedious reading by Bible readers – and rightly so – yet they serve an important purpose…and occasionally contain nuggets of particular interest.  That’s the case here.  Although the passage says little about Enoch, it’s more than is said about his father Jared or his son Methuselah.  And it’s clear that what is said about Enoch points to Messiah (Christ).  That is, Enoch is a type of Christ (just as we saw Samson as a type of Christ yesterday).

Notice first that Enoch did not live nearly as long as his father or his son.  In fact, the genealogy in this chapter of the Bible runs from Adam to Noah – ten names in all.  Aside from Enoch, the life spans of these men were 777 years on the low end and 969 years on the high end.  (Lifespans were dramatically longer before Noah’s flood.)  Enoch’s life is, therefore, distinguished from the rest by how short it was – comparatively speaking.  Likewise, Jesus’ life was short when compared to the men of His time.  He did not even reach His mid-30’s.  Thus the first parallel we notice between Jesus and Enoch is that both their lives were cut short.

When the passage says “Enoch walked with God,” we are also reminded of Jesus.  If Enoch walked with God, how much more did Jesus walk with God!

Finally, we see that Enoch “was not, for God took him.”  How much more this was true of Jesus!

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, our hearts thrill to catch glimpses of You in the Old Testament.  Show us how to use this encouragement to live before You today…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)

Index to Scriptures Used in These Daily Posts