Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 19, 2018

“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; … the despised God has chosen, … so that no man may boast before God.”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 4:22-30.

“And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips;  and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”  And He said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself!  Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’”  And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown.  But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land;  and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.  And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet;  and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”  And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things;  and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff.  But passing through their midst, He went His way.”  Luke 4:22-30.

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Today’s Scripture continues the theme of the previous Scripture in that mercy is directed to those who one may not expect.  In yesterday’s Scripture, we saw the mercy of the Gospel primarily preached to the group that we may not expect:  the poor in spirit, captive to sin and Satan, spiritually blind, oppressed, and subject to the wrath of God.  In today’s Scripture, we saw the mercy of miracles primarily directed to the group that we may not expect:  foreigners (Gentiles).

“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;  but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.”  1 Corinthians 1:26-29.

“And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.  As He says also in Hosea,

“I WILL CALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, ‘MY PEOPLE,’
AND HER WHO WAS NOT BELOVED, ‘BELOVED.’”
“AND IT SHALL BE THAT IN THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS SAID TO THEM, ‘YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE,’
THERE THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF THE LIVING GOD.”

Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved;  for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.”  And just as Isaiah foretold,

“UNLESS THE LORD OF THE SABAOTH HAD LEFT TO US A POSTERITY,
WE WOULD HAVE BECOME LIKE SODOM, AND WOULD HAVE RESEMBLED GOMORRAH.”

What shall we say then?  That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith;  but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.  Why?  Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works.  They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written,

“BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE,
AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”  Romans 9:23-32.

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going;  so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  John 3:8.

“For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”  Romans 9:15-16.


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