“This is what the Lord says—-the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands? It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the Lord Almighty.” (Isaiah 45:11-13 – God Takes the Initiative Through Persons)
God surprises His people by choosing unexpected people to reveal and carry out His will. He used Cyrus, a foreign conqueror, to be His anointed agent (verse 1) to restore His people to the Promised Land. The Creator can use anyone from anywhere He chooses to bring about His historical purposes.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, You are the Creator of the earth and all that lives here; You have Created the universe and all that within it. You have the ability and the capability to appoint anyone, anywhere to do what You direct them to do. There is nothing that you cannot do and Your awesome love and power is felt for all; yet there are those who would accept You in their lives. We pray for all those who have not accepted You into their lives, to know and love You in return. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“The Lord can and has done great things through those who don’t care who gets the credit.”
“On that day declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you , my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2:23 – God Takes the Initiative Through Persons)
God declares His blessing upon Zerubbabel, bestowing upon him power to lead, initiating His work of renewal and care through the king. The king bore God’s signature power to reveal God’s will in the world. In affirming the descendant of David, God renewed His commitment to His messianic promises trough David’s line. God had promised leadership to the remnant community. The leader would have authority, being God’s signet ring to sign approval on activities among His people. God consistently selects and empowers leaders for His faithful people.
Zerubbabel served as governor of the returned exiles in Jerusalem. All accounts of Zerubbabel picture him as a righteous man who sought to please God. God uses faithful servant leaders to bless and guide His people. Such leaders do not assume leadership positions on their own. God chooses and call His leaders.
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2nd Timothy 2:2 – God Takes the Initiative Through Persons)
The words of truth are entrusted to steady teachers, who pass on the message and become instruments of God revealing His will to disciples. The pastor is responsible to learn sound teaching and teach it to reliable members who will teach others. The pastor cannot monopolize the teaching function. God gives the gift of teaching to whom He will. And church member has the gift of teaching is responsible under God to learn from the other teachers but also to study God’s Word personally. Such personal study should t God’s Word critique teachings learned from others.
SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. ‘Go,’ he told him, ‘wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and cam home seeing.” (John 9:3-7 – God Takes the Initiative Through Persons)”
Jesus rejected the view that all suffering was due to sin. Because the man was blind, Jesus had the opportunity to reveal God’s power. We do not have explanation about the cause of every case of suffering; but we can look to see how God can work even through suffering to achieve His purposes. Some suffering or handicaps may be an opportunity for God’s grace and healing to be displayed. Jesus felt compelled to be busy being God’s light in the world. In sickness or health His followers can reveal His light to the world’s darkness.