Genesis 15, Matthew 14, Nehemiah 4, Acts 14

DateVersionReading Plan
@January 14, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Genesis 15

Genesis 15:17 (ESV) 17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.

Both the smoking fire pot and flaming torch represented God as they passed through the divided animals. This is especially remarkable when you see how this resembles God’s presence in the Tabernacle as the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.

Matthew 14

Matthew 14:27 (ESV) 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

It is interesting how Jesus’ command is translated in the ESV as “Take heart” but differently in other translations (ex. CSB is “Have courage”, NLT and NIV are “Take courage”, KJV is “Be of good cheer”). By reading the different translations, one is able to get a better picture of the way Jesus exhorted Peter to have no fear.

Nehemiah 4

Nehemiah 4:14 (ESV) 14 And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”

In a similar exhortation to Matt. 14, Nehemiah told the people to not be afraid of the opposition by the Arabs, Ammonites and Ashdodites to rebuild the wall. Note also how he first tells them to “Remember the Lord”, His greatness and awesomeness, and then calls them to fight. It began with remembering who God is and what He has done, then, from this place of faith, to work and fight for their kinsmen. What a wonderful example this is as we face trials of various kinds; look to Him first in remembrance, then proceed by His guidance to do what needs to be done.

Acts 14

Acts 14:8–10 (ESV) 8 Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking.

The man that Paul healed was not just listening to what was being said, he believed it and had faith that the God of whom Paul spoke was able to make him well. One must be careful not to project that faith always leads to healing, but there is a significant association of faith and healing throughout Scripture. To the woman with the discharge, Jesus said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” (Matt. 9:22) and to the leper Jesus encountered on the way to Jerusalem, He said, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:19). As the Healer and Restorer of all things, we should acknowledge that Jesus can and does heal. We are to be thankful when He grants our petitions for healing and just as much when they are not, trusting in God’s greater purpose either way.

Carson on Genesis 15

Abram’s faith is simple and profound: he believed God’s promises, taking God at his word. And that faith, in God’s eyes, was credited as righteousness. This does not mean that Abram earned brownie points for deploying such a righteous faith. Rather, the idea is that what God demands of his image-bearers, what he has always demanded, is righteousness—but in this sinful race what he accepts, crediting it as righteousness, is faith, faith that acknowledges our dependence upon God and takes God at his word. This faith of Abram is what makes him the “father” of those who believe (Rom. 4; Gal. 3).

How helpful it is to see the tie between Abram’s faith, dependence and obedience to God’s Word with these qualities being counted to him as righteousness. We see in Abram the type of faith we should long to have and, by God’s response, what we have been promised to receive.