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Hebrews 5:7

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

I read this verse today and it kind of jumped out at me. Jesus prayed to the one "who was able to save him from death". And "he was heard".

Yeah.

Which is why He died on the cross then, right?

I mean, that is not exactly what I would have in mind if I prayed to be saved from death.

The next few verses make things a bit clearer, if not easier.

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Jesus was not delivered from death in the immediate sense. But He was more than delivered from death. He conquered death!

Anyway, that's about it. Just a reminder that God's answers to prayers may not always …

Standards

My mind kind of wandered today during the last hymn (which is one of my favourite hymns):
How sweet and awesome is the place
With Christ within the doors...


I'm not exactly sure what I usually picture when singing this hymn, but today (especially after communion), I was suddenly thinking of a bride coming to her husband. Sweet, yes, and also awesome -- tinged with a righteous dread. The picture was lovely. And as I thought about it, I realized that it's going to be hard for a man to live up to that picture which I have of Christ and His church.

Oh, I know that I'm a sinner. I don't deserve to be married to a perfect man (even if I could find one!)

But at the same time, I'm HIS. I belong to the God of the universe. My Father is the King of all creation... I'm not going to run off with some bozo. My Brother, my Betrothed, is the Conqueror of Death itself.

I began thinking of other standards which I have for men. So I'll go on, chancing the sort of response …

I Timothy

So, I read through I Timothy. Slowly. Verrrrrrrrry slowly. And I noticed a few things...

One thing that I noticed was how often Paul talks in there about consciences.

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1:5)

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. (1:18-19)

[Deacons] must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. (3:9)

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared (4:1-2)


There are also a number of beautiful doxologies.

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this …

God is in Control (especially of the American Government)

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Today's passages look rather, well, random.  In family devos, we were finishing up Psalm 63.  (I am very fond of this psalm partly because I really like the tune Te Deum and think it fits well.)  For myself, I read Job 41 in English.  (While I was in DC I started Job... at the point that Elihu starts making his speeches, which is chapter 32.)  Then, not feeling like tackling Job in Hebrew (yikes!) I went for part of Psalm 63.  Then for Greek, I read John's part about the triumphal entry (John 12:12-19).  And then for my singing psalm (which sometimes happens and sometimes doesn't...) I was on 63, of course.  
Like I said, it all seemed rather scrambly.  While I was reading Greek, I thought about how good it is for me to read stuff in Greek, because it ensures that I am actually thinking about the words somewhat.  (See how well that works?  I was thinking about something else while doing it...)  And then I was sort of left glaring at myself, and thinking about what I had alr…
[From 12.29.08]
Isn't it strange how now I don't even remember exactly why I left a bookmark in my Bible at Zech 14 for so long that the pages became discoloured?  
I think it was because of these verses:
On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be one day, which is known to Yahweh, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. And Yahweh will be king over all the earth. On that day Yahweh will be one and his name one.  [Zech 14:6-9]
These verses really bring three things to mind -- one OT, one NT, and one why this passage probably captured my imagination and attention in the first place.
OT -- The Shema:  Hear, O Israel:  Yahweh our God, Yahweh is one.  (Deut 6:14)  Zechariah 14:9 really uses similar phrasing.  Why?  To point to when all things WILL be in unity under Him?  When no one shall try to make gods before Hi…

Praise for God

Where even to start today?  
Zechariah 12:1-9.  Look at how God defends His people.  He makes their enemies look drunk, hurt themselves, be burnt up.  He will so clearly fight for His people that it will be said, "The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through Yahweh of hosts, their God."
v7-8 are cool.  It really seems to me to go with Romans 9-11, and how the new Israel fits with the old Israel.  He gives salvation to us -- the Gentiles -- first, so that their glory may not surpass ours.
BWAH.  BAM!  He saves us -- Jews and Gentiles -- He gets the glory!  [Editing note:  That is seriously what it says in my notes.  I think I've been in the Greek II class for a while.]
AND THEN....
Zechariah 12:10-11.  Arrow straight to Jesus, anyone?
God does pour out a spirit of grace on us.  And pleas for mercy for having pierced Him.  Crazy, isn't it, that the first plea for mercy for us was from the one pierced?  Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Matthew Henry …

That Princely Sum

Then I said to them,"If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them." And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. Then Yahweh said to me,  "Throw it out to the potter"  --the lordly price at which I was priced by them! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of Yahweh, to the potter. --Zechariah 11:12-13--
There is more than a hint of irony here.  Thirty pieces of silver have two other very different connotations in Scripture.  But the rather sarcastic irony is first seen in the prophet's words, "The lordly price!" (ESV).  NJKV says, "That princely price!"  NLT says, "This magnificent sum at which they valued me!"
The sarcasm is that there is NOTHING princely about such a sum.  Thirty shekels of silver was the price to be paid in restitution for a slave who was killed (Exodus 21:32).  Magnificent?  Lordly?  Hardly.
The irony is much intensified by the passage in Matthew 27:3-10.  Thi…

The Blood and Beauty of God

Zechariah 9:11 is beautiful. As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Is "the waterless pit" Babylon, as Matthew Henry says?  The flames of hell?  Either way, the prisoners are redeemed.  By blood.  By YOUR blood.  You are good.
It was actually Zechariah 9:16-17 that caught my eye first.
On that day Yahweh their God will save them, as the flock of His people; for like the jewels of a crown,  they shall shine on his land. (16)
The imagery is glorious.  God's people are like jewels in a crown.  US!  Made from DUST!  Thinking about that makes me smile and at the same time makes tears spring to my eyes.  It's SO much more than I deserve.  It is awesome.  I shiver in the dreadful joy of God's love.
Verse 17 continues: For how great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty!  Grain shall make the young men flourish, and new wine the young women.
The last two lines, rather obviously, made me think of the en…

Foreshadowing in Zechariah, Thoughts from Revelation 15, and a Look at Psalm 143

Reading Zechariah -- with the perspective of the whole New Testament -- makes me want to laugh.  Of COURSE the Messiah's name was Jesus, a variant of Joshua.  It is SO heavily foreshadowed.  Look at Zech 6:11-13.
Joshua.  The Branch.  (Look at Is 53:2 and chapter 11 -- especially 11:1.)  And then in Zechariah 6:13, He is "a priest on his throne" (NKJV).  Priest AND King.  The NLT finishes that verse, "and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles."
Joshua son of Jehozadak.  Jesus, the priest-king.  I think Zechariah and Hebrews have some fascinating connections, and I want to study them!
Revelation 15:3-4 is an amazingly beautiful song.  I'm glad that I know the Judy Rogers version, but I can't wait to sing it around the throne of God!!
Revelation 15:6 provides a nice answer to the question which came up yesterday in my family about why we think angels are clothed.
And Psalm 143... I looked at it in the NLT, and it is... sweet. I lift my hands to yo…