Dr. Richard Oster has poured lots of energy into his commentary on Revelation. Commentary on the first three chapters already printed. Check out his words here and the songs his students made. Pretty awesome.
I love the first two reasons Piper gives as to why reading the Bible everyday (whether one feels like it or not) is not legalism.
- You are confessing your lack of desire as sin, and pleading as a helpless child for the desire you long to have. Legalists don’t cry like that. They strut.
- You are reading out of desperation for the effects of this heavenly medicine. Bible-reading is not a cure for a bad conscience; it’s chemo for your cancer. Legalists feel better because the box is checked. Saints feel better when their blindness lifts, and they see Jesus in the word. Let’s get real. We are desperately sick with worldliness, and only the Holy Spirit, by the word of God, can cure this terminal disease.
I actually founds this as I searched DG for “daily Bible reading” to see what Piper or some other might have to say to “stir me up” and rekindle my fire for reading the Word before breakfast each day. Why do I go to DG? Because a true friend tells you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear, and I can often count on the folks at DG for that, and Piper is simply the most motivating advocate of daily reading of the Word in personal and/or corporate devotions, but especially the former.
Let us continue the race of faith, slowly and steadily, always quick to listen and slow to speak, humbly and boldly.
The Mighty One, God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
(Psalm 50:1-2 ESV)
God “speaks and summons the earth.” Right off the bat, The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons. He is the boss, but what kind of boss is he?
Well, we get a picture — of the sunrise and sunset. The Psalmist is saying that this speaking and summoning is done from dusk ’till dawn, but with the words sunrise and sunset comes a memory of a splendid sight for those who’ve seen the sun rise and/or set. For any who haven’t had working eyesight to see a sunrise or sunset, this must be calling upon the one of the greatest faculties of the human mind: imagination.
Either way, clearly we are invited to get a greater understanding God by mentioning him directly after the sun’s radiant rising and setting:
“God shines forth.”
He is not a gloomy God. This is not Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The Lord Almighty is righteous, Holy, and just, always loving and using honest weights and scales (Proverbs 16:11). He is not an oppressor. He is the Great Giver. That’s why He doesn’t need anything from us, nor can we provide much for him past adoration, worship, trust, and thanksgiving.
“I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
Thankfulness is how I should feel and be toward God. You and I were created to glorify and ENJOY Him — to bask His radiance, mercy, and forgiveness — forever. All of that is made possible, of course, by Jesus Christ, who was slain for that purpose, then resurrected: the greatest news in the history of mankind.
This morning I read in Genesis the forty-first chapter and noticed something new to me: Joseph forgets his past suffering, because God has blessed him so greatly. Are we all capable of receiving such blessing that we might be able forget all of the past pain?
Here are the verses in which I learned about Joseph forgetting the old misfortunes:
Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him. Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Genesis 41:50-52, ESV)
How beautiful it is that God did not only make Joseph fruitful and happy, but God did so for Joseph in the same place Joseph was in during his worst period of suffering. Moreover, it was so good that Joseph forgot about the slavery he was in before the sunshine came.
The apostle Paul adds insight here:
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, ESV, emphasis added)
By the way, if you haven’t read The Weight of Glory, by C.S. Lewis, the book is well worth the time and money.
Lewis writes therein, “At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.”
Paul adds again, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18, ESV)
One day, God will right all the wrongs and bless you who would be in Christ out of this world and into a far, far better one that is unimaginably fantastic, yet — real. That is not to say this one is to be tossed out and forgotten just yet. Uncertain as we are as to how long it shall take us to get to the next world, it is our duty to make this one as much like the next as possible.