|@January 6, 2024
|M’Cheyne Plan 2024
Genesis 6:5–6 (ESV) 5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
This regret and grief expressed by God suggests that He feels emotions as a result of human behavior. He is sovereign but by no means cold or aloof in relation to His creation.
Genesis 6:13–14 (ESV) 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch.
That God would provide Noah with His plan to destroy the wicked of the earth is in itself astonishing. He was under no obligation to tell anyone, and yet, in His grace, He told Noah to build an ark to preserve a remnant.
Matthew 6:3–5, 17–18 (ESV) 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
This contrast between rewards and secrecy vs. public religiosity is deeply convicting. Those who desire to display self-righteous piety will get their due but God delights in rewarding those who earnestly seek closeness with Him.
Matthew 6:7 (ESV) 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
It is interesting to think about what the unsaved pray about, or to what or to whom they pray. In this verse, we see rebuke of praying with many words but it also matters where such prayers are directed. Only the triune God of all creation is worthy of our address.
Ezra 6:8 (ESV) 8 Moreover, I make a decree regarding what you shall do for these elders of the Jews for the rebuilding of this house of God. The cost is to be paid to these men in full and without delay from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province from Beyond the River.
Darius’ extension of Cyrus’ command to let the Jews rebuild the temple seems most compelling in this chapter. In pride, he could have undermined the previous king’s command, but he instead ratified it and ordered that Tattenai and the Persian officials not hinder construction of the temple. It is a wonderful instance of God watching over His people and providing for them the means of being in His presence.
Acts 6:3–5 (ESV) 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch.
It is interesting that Stephen is the first chosen of the seven men of good repute to care for the Hebrew widows being neglected and that He was also the first martyr recorded in Scripture.
Carson on Matthew 6
(Speaking about private vs. public alms-giving, prayer and fasting) The fundamental way to check out how sound we are in each of these areas is to perform these acts so quietly that none but God knows we are doing them.
This is such a good word. We are on the right track if the joy of our deeds stems from nothing but to glorify our Lord.
- J. I. Packer et. al, The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016)
- D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: Volumes 1 & 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006; hosted on thegospelcoalition.org)
- Faithlife Study Bible (Lexham Press, 2016)
- Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
- CSB Study Bible Notes (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017)