Daily Reading — Day 161

Today’s Readings: Psalms 74, Jeremiah 51, Proverbs 4, Romans 7

My Thoughts:

Jeremiah 51

– The LORD continues in His foretelling of Babylon’s destruction.

– 51:7-8, these verse show God’s sovereignty both in Babylon’s rise and in her fall. The LORD used Babylon as a cup to pour wrath upon the nations, and now the LORD will cause Babylon to fall.

– 51:11, There has been some debate as to the nature of the Medes in relation to the Persians in the conquest of Babylon. It is clear that Persia is in power when Ezra and Nehemiah are sent to rebuild Jerusalem. Among other reasons, since Nebuchadnezzar’s dream portrays four kingdoms (including Babylon) leading to the everlasting Kingdom (Jesus Christ), it is best to understand the Medes and the Persians as one kingdom (Medo-Persia), rather than two distinct kingdoms. The nature of this union is hinted at when Daniel speaks of Darius the Mede being king at the fall of Babylon, when it is also obviously clear that Persia is the primary power in the region.

Proverbs 4

– 4:16-19, this is very similar to the words used by John and Jesus in John’s Gospel describing the wickedness of the world as darkness and the righteousness of Christ as light. Those who love evil “cannot sleep” until they have sinned. In other words, the desire is so strong that it is like an insatiable craving.

– 4:20-27, again, Solomon instructs his hearers to love instruction. Although the natural, foolish way is to despise instruction in favor of personal autonomy, those who would love wisdom and life will listen to sound teaching and submit to it.

Romans 7

– 7:1-6, Keeping the theme of union with Christ in death and resurrection, Paul applies this to the legal binding of the Old Covenant. Since we have died with Christ, we are no longer bound by the Old Covenant (the Law). Rather, we are now bound to a new groom (Jesus) so that our service may be through the Spirit as fruit rather than by the law code as works. Verse 5 shows how the natural rebellious heart is actually enticed by the Law toward sin.

– 7:7-12, Since Paul describes the Law in this way, some may ask the question, “Is the Law bad since, through it, rebellious hearts are enticed toward sin?” The answer, of course, is that the Law is good and the purpose of the Law is that we may know that sin is sin, and, as Paul says, that sin “might become sinful beyond measure” (vs. 13). A mirror is a good instrument. It helps us know what we look like. But if, having looked into a mirror, a person becomes self-obsessed and narcissistic, we would not then say that mirrors are bad. We would simply say that a good device (the mirror) has brought out and proven what was already true of the person.

– 7:13-25, there has been some debate over whether Paul is speaking as a born-again believer in these verses or if he is recalling his life before knowing Christ. The reason for this debate is that some people say that the language Paul uses to describe himself in these verses goes contrary to what he has already said about believers in chapter 6 and what he will say about believers in chapter 8 (namely having to do with freedom from the slavery to sin). Others (including myself) believe that Paul is speaking about the continuing war against sin as a believer. This view claims that the flow of Paul’s language seems most natural speaking of himself in the present and that, as a Pharisee, Paul believed he was righteous. In other words, Paul would not have had the internal struggle he describes in these verses as an unbeliever.