Scripture reading for March 2nd: Numbers 1-2, Psalm 64, Hebrews 11
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 11:13-16 “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.”
The writer of Hebrews had listed several ancient men and women who had trusted God to fulfill His promise to them to be their God and they would live in His Presence forever. All these historical figures had died believing but not receiving the promise in its fullness. They lived as strangers here on earth, knowing God promised them much better with Him. Noah boarded the ark, following God. Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob had lived in tents in the promised land. But they were really looking for a heavenly city, prepared specially for them by their God!
Faith Confession and prayer: I am a stranger here on this earth, just passing through in route to the New Jerusalem and living in God’s glory and light forever. Help me to never be ashamed of my Lord Jesus.
Numbers 2:1-2 “The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “The people of Israel shall camp each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers’ houses. They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side.”
Psalm 64:10 “Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in Him! Let all the upright in heart exult!”
Scripture reading for November 22nd: 1st Peter 1:1-12
Peter was one of the Twelve disciples. Peter was notoriously impulsive and sometimes very fickle in his walk with Jesus. Jesus chose him, not for his perfection, but because of God’s sovereign purpose. Peter faithfully served the Lord by ministering mainly to Jews in the early church. We have two letters written by him to encourage those suffering persecution as believers in Christ. These speak to us today!
“To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” (1st Peter 1:1-2)
Peter began his letter by addressing those who would receive it. He first stated that they were God’s elect! God the Father chose them by His foreknowledge to be a part of His family. God knows the hearts of all men and chooses them. This does not mean that we do not have free will. God knows how we will choose and knows us completely from before creation! (Ephesians 1:4-5)
He told the believers that they were scattered by God. The term ‘scattered’ was a farming term used of the farmer that purposely placed the seed in soil where it would grow and produce a crop. Each believer is placed by God like seed. God’s purpose for us is that we will produce fruit–a crop of righteousness–for His glory!
To enable this, God’s gift of grace to us is the gift of His righteousness brought to us by the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit indwells us upon our obedience of placing faith in Christ’s sacrifice. The Holy Spirit works within us to sanctify us, that is to make us holy and complete.
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1st Peter 1:9-10) What a privilege we share with the recipients of this apostolic letter from Peter! Thank the Lord for His calling and saving grace!