February 3: Exo 9 | Psa 62-63 | Mark 13-14

Reading 1 - Exo 9:16

"But I (God) have raised you (Pharaoh) up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth" (Exo 9:16).

This is quoted by Paul: "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: 'I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth' " (Rom 9:17).

"The most careful attention should here be directed to what is not said by Paul in this appeal... God did not say to Pharaoh that he had raised him up in order to destroy him, or to drown his army in the Red Sea, but that God had raised him up for the purpose of showing his power in Pharaoh and of having God's name published throughout the earth. Just HOW God's purpose would be fulfilled in Pharaoh, at the time God spoke, still remained within the circumference of Pharaoh's free will to choose, whether by his own submission to God commands or by his rebellion against them, would be realized God's purpose. If Pharaoh had submitted to God's will, God's name would have been magnified all over the world and his power would have been demonstrated in Pharaoh just as gloriously in that manner as it was in the manner of its actual occurrence. Pharaoh had the free choice of obeying or not obeying God; but God had purposed, either way, to use him as a demonstration of God's power and a means of publishing the divine name all over the world; but the choice of HOW this would come about remained with Pharaoh until he was HARDENED.

"What happened to the king of Nineveh, following the preaching of Jonah, should be remembered in the connection here. Both Pharaoh and the ruler of Nineveh heard the word of God, the one by Moses, the other by Jonah. Nineveh received mercy; Egypt did not. God had a perfect right to spare one and punish the other; but it is a falsehood to allege that God's doing so was capricious and unrelated to what was in the two monarchs or to their response to God's word" (Coffman).

Reading 2 - Psa 62:9

"Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie; if weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath" (Psa 62:9).

LOWBORN MEN ARE BUT A BREATH: "Vanity" (AV) (Hebrew "hebel": nothingness, a wind, a "breath": RV mg) is the key word in Ecclesiastes: "Vanity of vanities... all in vanity!" The life of a man is like a breath of air, just as insubstantial; breathe it out on a cool morning, and watch it disappear! So is man! Literally, here, the Hebrew words suggest this sentence: "men of Adam are Abel"! Contrast a "breath" with THE "rock" (vv 2,6,7).

IF WEIGHED ON A BALANCE, THEY ARE NOTHING: "In the balances they will go up" (RV). Men of low degree are nothing, but men of high degree are a "delusion" -- because they are less than nothing! They are not only "weighed in the balances, and found wanting" (Dan 5:27), but when put in the "scales", with absolutely nothing on the other side, they still go up!

"Man's worthlessness, taken by himself, is so marked as to defy the force of gravity. Compared with things of substance he is so unsubstantial as to be almost anti-substantial... We need something like this to make us aware of what insuperable obstacles lie in the way of success if we battle alone" (AD Norris).

Similar estimates of the worth of natural man are to be found in Psa 39:5,6; 49:20; 103:15,16; Isa 40:6-8, 15,17; 41:24; 1Pe 1:24,25.

Reading 3 - Rom 14:10

"You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat" (Rom 14:10).

"There is no need for us to associate despondency and despair with the thought of appearing before the Judgment Seat of Christ. True, our sins and our failings are constant reminders of the possibility of our failure there. But Paul's message to us is not intended to paralyze us with fear or to crush us under hopeless remorse; it is rather intended to influence our lives for good, to spur us to greater activity in Christ's service; to mould our characters nearer to the pattern he has left us, that we may win success when Christ appears. Paul desires us to remember the one certainty in our lives, and remembering it, to order our lives accordingly. There is no occasion for despondency and alarm, provided we are in earnest about our standing in the day of Christ. It is true that we fail and we sin; but God 'knows our frame, and remembers that we are dust', and has made merciful provision for our weakness. There is no limit to God's forgiveness if it is sought in accordance with His conditions... Are we such egotists as to imagine that our cases are so unique as to be beyond the saving grace of God?" (FW Turner, "Meditations" 22,23).


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