|@January 8, 2024
|M’Cheyne Plan 2024
Genesis 8:4 (ESV) 4 and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.
Because the mountains would have been the first to emerge as the flood subsided, it follows that the first generations of mankind would likely settle in a region of high elevation. This is interesting to think about as the Genesis narrative continues into the events of Babel and beyond.
Genesis 8:9 (ESV) 9 But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him.
A seemingly small detail, but we see here that the dove Noah sent out was actually a female. I am not sure why God chose to provide the sex of the animal, nor did I find any mention of it in my quick look through a few commentaries. Perhaps its significance will be revealed in future readings.
Matthew 8:8 (ESV) 8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.
The centurion knowing that Jesus was capable of healing someone not in His physical presence is a subtle but powerful expression of faith.
Matthew 8:14–15 (ESV) 14 And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him.
That the first instinct after being healed by Jesus was to serve Him demonstrates a beautiful example of gospel response. What can we do once we realize His love for us in His dying for us but to live to serve Him?
Ezra 8:21–23 (ESV) 21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.
There were a couple things that struck me in this fast commissioned by Ezra prior to their journey. First, that Ezra’s primary inclination was to lead the people in humbling themselves before God. In this, Ezra exemplified great faith, knowing that only by God’s hand would their journey prosper. The other was Ezra’s shame in asking the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen. Several times in Scripture, we see how God chides His people for their reliance on nations and armies rather than abiding in His divine provision. Ezra’s shame seen here further illuminates his faith and understanding their trust needed to be placed fully on the Lord,
Acts 8:3 (ESV) 3 But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.
The language used to describe Saul’s pre-conversion character is visceral. That he was “ravaging” (”made havock of” in the KJV) and “dragging” the church into prison shows the depth of evil in his heart prior to his confrontation with Christ. No matter how far gone one may seem, God is capable of radical change.
Acts 8:18–19 (ESV) 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!
An important detail here is that Simon’s central desire was for God’s power not God Himself, pointing to the sin of mankind in wanting the creation over the Creator and the gifts rather than the Gift-giver.
Carson on Matthew 8
[the centurion] came to such confident assertions [about Jesus] despite the fact that he was not steeped in Scripture. He was a Gentile. What grasp of Scripture he had we cannot say, but it was certainly less than that enjoyed by many of the learned in Israel. Yet his faith was purer, simpler, more penetrating, more Christ-honoring than theirs.
I have never thought about how the centurion was a Gentile and that he likely had little understanding of Scripture. While we should not view this as a reason to forgo God’s Word, it is a wonderful example of the kind of Christ-centered purity we should have in our faith.
- 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)