Deut. 20, Psalm 107, Isaiah 47, Revelation 17

DateVersionReading Plan
@June 15, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Deut. 20

Deuteronomy 20:5 (ESV) 5 Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it.

The officers were commanded to speak to the people and give the men among the Israelites leave from battle in the cases of having 1) built a new house, 2) planted a vineyard, 3) betrothed a wife and 4) fear or faintheartedness. The Believer’s Bible Commentary points out that these exceptions were allowed only for wars in which the people made voluntarily and not those commanded against Amalek and the Canaanites where every man was bound to fight. The fact that men were given reprieve from battle reveals the compassionate heart of God, not treating them as mere instruments for His bidding but bearers of His image with human feelings and needs.

Psalm 107

Psalm 107:8 (ESV) 8 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!

Like a heartbeat through the psalm, the psalmist repeatedly beckons the people to thank the LORD for His steadfast love and wondrous works. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines “steadfast” as absolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering. What an apropos description of our great and loving God. Eternal and unchanging, His love is without end, pouring forth like an inexhaustible wellspring. Fickle and rebellious are His rational creatures, but steady and unceasing is the love of our God. Oh, that we would be a people who respond in gratitude toward our Lord’s steadfast love and grace, acknowledging His wondrous works done to the children of man.

Isaiah 47

Isaiah 47:8–9 (ESV) 8 Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children”: 9 These two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day; the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments.

Babylon is personified as a woman blessed with marriage and children, claiming that she will not be a widow and not know the loss of children. However, the future judgment of God will be as the fulfillment of these very two things, both coming to her in full measure despite her many sorceries and enchantments. This instance contains a combination of self-boasting and idolatry, a common pairing among those not of God. Apart from God’s transformative work, the default nature of man is to boast in something other than God which is idolatry. As it was with Babylon, this is often manifested inwardly, placing our highest value to our own abilities and achievements. We see through God’s response to Babylon how this type of boasting is not only futile, it will face a reckoning. There is only One in whom we should boast, our Lord of all honor and glory.

Revelation 17

Revelation 17:8 (ESV) 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.

The description of the beast as the one that “was, and is not, and is to come” is a stark contrast to Christ “who is and who was and who is to come” (Rev. 1:4). The FSB Notes says that it is “A parody on the divine name”. The juxtaposition of the beast’s temporality and impotence with the eternality and omnipotence of Jesus is profound. There is no future for evil, it will all come to an end, but the Lord our God stands forever. From everlasting to everlasting, it is in Christ we are to marvel, our Lord to reverence and worship.

Carson on Psalm 107

Although “revival” still has this sense in some circles, in others it refers to a meeting or series of meetings where preachers speak on personal holiness or give evangelistic messages. It is assumed that if the preacher is gifted there will be obvious fruit. In some circles in the southern part of the United States, one hears expressions like “holding a revival” or “preaching a revival.” It would aid clarity of thought if instead they spoke of “holding a Bible conference” or “preaching an evangelistic series.”

Carson reflects on theme of revival, both seen in Ps. 107 and as it plays out in our own day. As members of the church, we hear the word “revival” often and rightly plead for God to bring great bursts of divine salvific activity. However, as with this and many other concepts, understanding can become twisted and misconstrued. We thus need to see how revival is entirely a work of God. We move forward in faith and obedience and surrender the rest to the Lord’s sovereign domain.