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Psalm 22

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27

 

SCRIPTURE:  Psalm 22

A while back we worked through the first 21 Psalms.  I thought it was time to go back to this book and work through some more.  Obviously today we take on the 22nd Psalm.

This particular Psalm is one of the Messianic Psalms.  Most Messianic Psalms work on at least two levels.  One of those is what is happening in the life of the writer at the time.  In this case, that would be David.  Another level of Messianic Psalms points to Jesus.  As a result, the entire Psalm (by that I mean every word) may not necessarily be about Jesus but there are parts of the Psalm that unmistakably point to Jesus.

For example, the very first words in this Psalm are among the very words that Jesus spoke from the cross.  These words would have come after Jesus “became sin” and was “made a curse” and the Father turned away from the Son.  That was part of the punishment that Jesus bore on our behalf.  But it is important to notice that even in this pivotal moment, Jesus still referred to God as “My God”.  So, although God turned away from Jesus, the Father did not abandon the Son.  The Son still knew the Father and trusted Him.  The relationship was still intact.

As you look down to verse 7, we find another Messianic prophecy.  While being crucified, Jesus was mocked.  He was taunted with calling for help to be rescued from the cross.

Verses 14-18 paint a most vivid picture of the agony of the cross including the piercing of the hands and feet.  From our perspective looking back, we could describe a lot of the different elements of crucifixion.  But when David wrote this, crucifixion had never been used as a method of execution.  The Roman Empire which mastered the art of torture and crucifixion on a cross was hundreds of years in the future.  It is incredible that David could be able to describe something so clearly that neither him nor any of his contemporaries had ever seen.

By the time we get to verses 22ff, we begin to encounter prophecy about the resurrection of Jesus and eventually even His Second Coming.  There is much praise given from the congregation.  It starts in verse 23 with the Jewish people (the descendants or offspring of Jacob) because that was the first group of people to whom Jesus went.  They were the first to hear the Gospel and respond to the Gospel.  Converted Jews were also the first to launch the church. 

In verse 27, the rest of humanity is included when the “ends of the earth” and “the nations” are mentioned.  That doesn’t mean everybody will be saved.  It just means that saved Gentiles will be folded into the family of God.

Verse 31 makes an interesting statement when we read “to a people yet unborn”.  The atonement made possible by the cross was not a temporary solution.  It is permanent, stretching even to the generations that are not yet born.

Posted by Joe Ligon with
in Faith

Esther 9-10

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

TUESDAY, JUNE 26

SCRIPTURE:  ESTHER 9-10

Because of what happened between Esther, Mordecai, and Haman, the day that had been set aside as the time to destroy the Jewish people became the day of the deliverance of the Jewish people.  It is not uncommon in the Bible to find God turning the tables on what looked like the inevitable.  As Joseph told his brothers, “What you meant for evil (for harm), God meant for good.”

Today we are going to finish this unique book of the Bible.  I know… We are supposed to do one chapter each day and there are two left.  Well, I made the executive decision that since the three verses of chapter 10 serve as an epilogue to the story, it wouldn’t hurt to add them to today.

As chapter nine opens, the Jewish people gathered in the cities throughout the empire to defend themselves against those who would kill them.  There are a couple of interesting things that we encounter in this part of the story.

One of those is found in verse 2 where the Bible says the fear of the Jewish people had fallen on the people who would harm them.  Although we are not exactly sure what this “fear” was, it was part of what kept all of the non-Jewish people from fighting with them.  This “fear” is actually a rather common thing in the Old Testament.  In Genesis 35 as Jacob traveled to Bethel, the Bible says the terror of God was upon the surrounding cities and they did not attack the sons of Jacob.  In Deuteronomy 2 as the nation of Israel prepares to go into the Promised Land the promise was made to put the fear of Israel upon the nations under the whole heavens.  In Joshua 2, Rahab told the spies that the fear of Israel had paralyzed the nations in Canaan.

Again, I do not know what this “fear” was but whatever it was it was divine (It came from God.).  It was potent (It had a huge impact.)  And it was protective (It kept others from attacking Israel.).

In verse 5 the fighting begins.  500 men were killed in the capital city among whom were the sons of Haman.  As the fighting continued Esther received word that those who would harm Israel would continue the fight for a second day.  She received permission from the king for the Jews to continue to defend themselves.  After it was all over, 75,000 of those who hated Israel had been executed. 

After the fighting ceased, the Jews created the Feast of Purim to commemorate their great victory and to celebrate their success.  The word purim is the plural of the word pur which is the word the Persians used for lots.  Back in chapter three, Haman cast lots to decide what day the destruction of the Jews would take place. 

The Feast of Purim is a two day party in which the Jewish people celebrate, eat a lot, and exchange gifts.  They made a commitment that the Feast of Purim would become an annual celebration.  Interestingly enough, God never told them to create this feast.  I don’t think the creation and repetition of the feast was against God.  It just wasn’t initiated by God which makes it unique among all the feasts that Jews participate in. 

As the book closes we find where King Ahasuerus imposed a tax.  This may seem a bit odd but it is indicative perhaps of the fact that Jews were thankful for Ahasuerus, his queen, and his Prime Minister Mordecai.  After the battle, the Jews prospered in the land and their willingness to pay taxes supported the nation’s leadership.

The final thing we read is that Mordecai was known for caring for his people and working to ensure they could live in peace.  That is a pretty good epitaph.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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