|@February 1, 2024
|M’Cheyne Plan 2024
Genesis 33:4–5 (ESV) 4 But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. 5 And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.”
The meeting between Jacob and Esau went much better than Jacob expected. Esau seemed warm and effusive, genuinely inquiring of the women and children that Jacob had been given. Jacob, still a bit apprehensive, offered his brother a gift of livestock (Gen. 33:9). Esau was gracious in his response, telling his brother to keep what he had for himself, but then receiving the gift after Jacob’s insistence (Gen. 33:10-11). It is a somewhat awkward but encouraging exchange demonstrating how God can bring relational healing.
Mark 4:26–29 (ESV) 26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
In reading the Believer’s Bible Commentary, there are two interpretations to this parable; one picturing Jesus as casting seed during His public ministry and another as an encouragement for His disciples and their responsibility to cast seed. However it is to be read, most remarkable is that only God can provide the growth. We possess no power to create the sprouting of new life nor have any working knowledge of whence it comes. This is entirely the domain of God and underscores the vast distance between Him as Creator and us and His creation.
Esther 9:6–10 (ESV) 6 In Susa the citadel itself the Jews killed and destroyed 500 men, 7 and also killed Parshandatha and Dalphon and Aspatha 8 and Poratha and Adalia and Aridatha 9 and Parmashta and Arisai and Aridai and Vaizatha, 10 the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, but they laid no hand on the plunder.
The reversal resulted in the killing of the Jewish oppressors along with the ten sons of Haman who were hanged on the gallows in similar fashion as their father. Worth noting is that the Jews laid no hands on the plunder, a point indicated three times in the chapter (Esther 9:10; Esther 9:15; Esther 9:16). The motive of the Jews juxtaposes that of their enemies in that they were not after personal gain.
Romans 4:23–25 (ESV) 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Abraham’s faith was counted to him as righteousness but, as the author or Romans emphasizes, it is also counted to all who believe in “him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord”. Our faith is likewise reckoned for righteousness when we believe on God and place our faith fully on the Lord Jesus Christ. While different in revelation it is same in effect, the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
Carson on Mark 4
(Referring to the Parable of the Sower) not all of those who show initial signs of kingdom life actually take root and bear fruit. That truth deserves meditation and calls for self-examination.
What a wonderful reminder to take necessary moments for self-examination; to test and to see whether you are in the faith. Such an exercise is not meant to cast doubt on your salvation, but an opportunity to approach the Lord in earnest supplication.
- 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)