Deut. 15, Psalm 102, Isaiah 42, Revelation 12

DateVersionReading Plan
@June 10, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Deut. 15

Deuteronomy 15:4, 7-8, 11 (ESV) 4 But there will be no poor among you; for the LORD will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess— … 7 If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, 8 but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. … 11 For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

The poor among the people are addressed following commands that a release was to be granted from lesser to lessee every seven years. There was to be no poor among them, but if a brother became poor, they were to open their hand to them and lend sufficiently. Upon initial reading, Deut. 15:4 and Deut. 15:11 seem contradictory in that there will be no poor and yet there will never cease to be poor, but the latter sentiment likely reflects a level of pessimism on the part of the people to abide in the commands of generosity. We see this continue to be evident today in the unwillingness of sinful man to extend help to others and the resulting pervasiveness of abject poverty.

Psalm 102

Psalm 102:1–4 (ESV) 1 Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to you! 2 Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call! 3 For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace. 4 My heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread.

Deep in the sorrow of his affliction, the psalmist cries out to the Lord in prayer. His heart is struck down and despair has reached such a level that he has forgotten to eat. As with this psalmist, we can face times in life where things are so dire that even physical sustenance escapes our thought. However, we see in the psalmist’s plea to the LORD the kind of God-oriented posture we are to have in the midst of it. More vital than bread for our mortal bodies is our steadfast attention on the One from whom all things come. In Him is the Bread of Life who abundantly provides nourishment to our souls.

Isaiah 42

Isaiah 42:8–9 (ESV) 8 I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. 9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

To the LORD alone belong all glory and praise. There is nothing in the heavens, on earth or under the earth to which this glory is given and thus nothing else worthy of our devotion. Our hearts must be set on Him in exclusivity, grateful for the things we have been given but supremely so in being given the Giver Himself.

Revelation 12

Revelation 12:1–3 (ESV) 12 And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. 3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems.

The chapter largely surrounds a pregnant woman who gave birth to a male child who was to rule the nations and a dragon (called the devil and Satan) who wanted to devour the child. At multiple points we see the plot of the dragon thwarted; the child being caught up to God and to his throne (Rev. 12:5), the woman fleeing to the wilderness (Rev. 12:6), the woman being given two wings to escape the dragon’s pursuit (Rev. 12:14). Unable to get at the woman, the dragon then turns his attention on those who keep the commandment of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 12:17). Throughout all of this we see the the guile of the enemy to bring down God and the elect but also his complete impotence in achieving his goal. The armies of darkness have no standing against the armies of the living God.

Carson on Deuteronomy 15

…that “there will always be poor people in the land,” is inevitable. It reflects the grim reality that no economic system can guarantee the abolition of poverty, because human beings operate it, human beings are greedy, human beings will keep tweaking and eventually perverting the system for personal advantage. This is not to suggest that all economic systems are equally good or equally bad: transparently, that is not so. Nor is it to suggest that legislators should not constantly work to correct a system and fill loopholes that encourage corruption. But it is to suggest that the Bible is painfully realistic about the impossibility of any utopia, economic or otherwise, in this fallen world.

Carson further unpacks the inevitability of poverty in our fallen world. Despite our best efforts, we will never reach a peace and tranquility this side of glory. Those who fail to acknowledge God’s story of redemption are quick to accuse this position as defeatist. It follows that if one believes that this is all there is, every effort must be taken to make this our heaven. However, this is an endeavor of futility. Only those who hold to the Biblical narrative correctly embrace the transience of this world, one that is sure to pass away and in its place arrive one that is fully restored and without sin.