Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 3p (sermon at 3:45); and the Weds. Prayer Meeting at 6:30p

Monday, January 31, 2022

2022.01.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 2:14–36

Read Acts 2:14–36

Questions from the Scripture text: Who stood up with whom (Acts 2:14)? What did he do? Whom did he address? How did he emphasize it? What was not true (Acts 2:15)? Why not? What was this instead (Acts 2:16)? What would God do when (Acts 2:17Acts 2:18)? And who would do what (verses 17–18)? What else will He do (Acts 2:19-20) before what? And then what will happen (Acts 2:21)? With Whom does the apostle associate wonders in the earth beneath (Acts 2:22)? What had they done to Him (Acts 2:23)? But then what did God do (Acts 2:24)? Who had spoken about this (Acts 2:25-28)? But what had happened to David (Acts 2:29)? But what did David know about Christ (Acts 2:30)? So what was he speaking about in Psalm 16 (Acts 2:31)? What had God done (Acts 2:32a)? Who were witnesses of this (verse 32b)? Now where is Jesus (Acts 2:33a)? And what has He received (verse 33b)? And what has He done (verse 33c)? What hadn’t David done (Acts 2:34)? But Whom did David say would sit where? Until when (Acts 2:35)? Therefore, who should know what (Acts 2:36)?

The great sermon of Pentecost was that it was Jesus Who had poured out the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33b), just as God had said that He Himself would do in Joel 2:28–32. The people had known that Jesus performed great signs on earth (Acts 2:22) and that His crucifixion (Acts 2:23) had been accompanied by great wonders in both heaven and earth; they should have been anticipated the near arrival of the great and awesome day of outpoured Spirit and freely offered salvation. And now that the “side-effects” of Spirit-pouring had been displayed in the 120, they could know for sure that the day had arrived for calling upon the Lord and being saved.

Peter preaches that this day has arrived and urges them to consider that they should have expected the resurrection and ascension from Psalm 16 and Psalm 110. David stayed in the grave (Acts 2:29) and did not bodily ascend into heaven (Acts 2:34); surely he was speaking not of himself but of the Christ! And the fact that Jesus has poured out His Spirit is evidence that He is both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36)!

Therefore, the answer to question in Acts 2:12 is not that a bunch of Galileans had gotten drunk, but that the Great Day of the Lord’s salvation had come, and that Jesus is that Yahweh of Joel 2:32 and Christ prophesied in Psalm 16 and Psalm 110, upon Whose Name they may call and be saved!

Whom do you know and believe Jesus to be? What do you know from this passage, and others, that He has done? What may (and must) you do with Him?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You have brought about Your great and awesome day after showing signs on earth and signs in heaven. You showed that it had come by the prophesying of all sorts of disciples at the Spirit’s outpouring at Pentecost. Forgive us for being too unimpressed with the greatness of what Christ has done, and what You offer us in Him. Make our hearts to rejoice over His ascension and session and to call upon Him continually with confidence in His salvation, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP110B “The Lord Has Spoken to My LORD” or TPH110A “The Lord Said to My Lord”

Saturday, January 29, 2022

2022.01.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 2:14–36

Read Acts 2:14–36

Questions from the Scripture text: Who stood up with whom (Acts 2:14)? What did he do? Whom did he address? How did he emphasize it? What was not true (Acts 2:15)? Why not? What was this instead (Acts 2:16)? What would God do when (Acts 2:17Acts 2:18)? And who would do what (verses 17–18)? What else will He do (Acts 2:19-20) before what? And then what will happen (Acts 2:21)? With Whom does the apostle associate wonders in the earth beneath (Acts 2:22)? What had they done to Him (Acts 2:23)? But then what did God do (Acts 2:24)? Who had spoken about this (Acts 2:25-28)? But what had happened to David (Acts 2:29)? But what did David know about Christ (Acts 2:30)? So what was he speaking about in Psalm 16 (Acts 2:31)? What had God done (Acts 2:32a)? Who were witnesses of this (verse 32b)? Now where is Jesus (Acts 2:33a)? And what has He received (verse 33b)? And what has He done (verse 33c)? What hadn’t David done (Acts 2:34)? But Whom did David say would sit where? Until when (Acts 2:35)? Therefore, who should know what (Acts 2:36)?

The great sermon of Pentecost was that it was Jesus Who had poured out the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33b), just as God had said that He Himself would do in Joel 2:28–32. The people had known that Jesus performed great signs on earth (Acts 2:22) and that His crucifixion (Acts 2:23) had been accompanied by great wonders in both heaven and earth; they should have been anticipated the near arrival of the great and awesome day of outpoured Spirit and freely offered salvation. And now that the “side-effects” of Spirit-pouring had been displayed in the 120, they could know for sure that the day had arrived for calling upon the Lord and being saved.

Peter preaches that this day has arrived and urges them to consider that they should have expected the resurrection and ascension from Psalm 16 and Psalm 110. David stayed in the grave (Acts 2:29) and did not bodily ascend into heaven (Acts 2:34); surely he was speaking not of himself but of the Christ! And the fact that Jesus has poured out His Spirit is evidence that He is both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36)!

Therefore, the answer to question in Acts 2:12 is not that a bunch of Galileans had gotten drunk, but that the Great Day of the Lord’s salvation had come, and that Jesus is that Yahweh of Joel 2:32 and Christ prophesied in Psalm 16 and Psalm 110, upon Whose Name they may call and be saved!

Whom do you know and believe Jesus to be? What do you know from this passage, and others, that He has done? What may (and must) you do with Him?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You have brought about Your great and awesome day after showing signs on earth and signs in heaven. You showed that it had come by the prophesying of all sorts of disciples at the Spirit’s outpouring at Pentecost. Forgive us for being too unimpressed with the greatness of what Christ has done, and what You offer us in Him. Make our hearts to rejoice over His ascension and session and to call upon Him continually with confidence in His salvation, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP110B “The Lord Has Spoken to My LORD” or TPH110A “The Lord Said to My Lord”

Friday, January 28, 2022

2022.01.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 13:1–16

Read Exodus 13:1–16

Questions from the Scripture text: Who spoke to whom in Exodus 13:1? What did He tell Moses to do (Exodus 13:2)? What does Moses say to whom, in order to begin implementing this (Exodus 13:3)? What are they to remember? Which day (Exodus 13:4)? What are they to do and when (Exodus 13:5)? What “service” does he mean (Exodus 13:6-7)? What are they to say about this to whom (Exodus 13:8)? Like what two things shall this deliverance be (Exodus 13:9a)? So that what else may be in their mouth (verse 9b)? Why (verse 9c)? What is designed to help this happen (Exodus 13:10)? What is Yahweh going to do (Exodus 13:11)? Then what must they do (Exodus 13:12a)? From what (verse 12b)? What if it’s a donkey (Exodus 13:13a)? And if they don’t want to give a lamb (verse 13b)? And for whom is the lamb-substitute non-negotiable (verse 13c)? Who will ask what (Exodus 13:14a)? How are they to answer (verse 14b)? Upon what specific part of the redemption are they to focus (Exodus 13:15a–c)? As explanation for what (verse 15d–e)? Like what two things should this deliverance be (Exodus 13:16a)? Why (verse 16b)?

Moses’s response to the command to consecrate the firstborn is interesting. He spends more time recapping the need to observe the Passover than he does introducing the sacrifice of the firstborn. 

Exodus 13:9 and Exodus 13:16 both emphasize that the Lord’s salvation should affect how we see everything (as a memorial/frontlets between the eyes) and how we do everything (as a sign on the hand). The fact that we deserved death, and that instead of death the Lord gave us deliverance, should be the controlling factor in everything that we think and everything that we do. That’s why the Lord’s law would be continually in their mouth (Exodus 13:9b).

The Lord had emphasized this to Israel in a general way in the Passover. Now, He was especially emphasizing this to the firstborn by their sacrifice. Firstborn lamb? Kill it and burn it. Firstborn goat? Kill it and burn it. Firstborn ox? Kill it and burn it. Firstborn donkey? It’s unclean, so it can’t be offered as a sacrifice. Either offer a lamb in its place, or break its neck. Firstborn human? No-killing allowed; a lamb must be killed and burned in his place. 

The baby wouldn’t know that this was done for him for many years yet, but he would learn by watching other firstborn sacrifices and substitutes: “that would have been me, but someone died in my place.” And even if we weren’t the firstborn, we would know the implication: that’s the heir by right, the one who would become head over the household and its federal representative. In other words, “that represents me.”

Now, we have the Supper, which proclaims that our Lord and King really was substituted in our place. It should have been we. What we would have borne forever, He absorbed in one afternoon. And He gives us a sign for it at the beginning of our week so that having been redeemed by the blood and sacrifice of Christ would shape how we think about everything and how we do everything. His gospel and His law, then, ought continually be not only on our hearts but also in our mouths.

Would a child from your house (even if you do not now have one) be able to recognize that redemption by Christ as our substitute controls your whole week, every thought, and every action? What might he say instead? What can you do about that?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You and praise You for redeeming us by Your blood. Forgive us for when we think or live as if we belong to ourselves instead. Grant that by Your Spirit’s continual fellowship with us and blessing the Lord’s Supper to us, we would come to live lives saturated by reocgnition of Christ’s sacrifice and response to Christ’s sacrifice, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH534 “Fill Thou My Life, O Lord My God”


Thursday, January 27, 2022

The Opposite Characters and Destinies of the Wicked and the Righteous (2022.01.26 Prayer Meeting sermon in Psalm 37:12–26)

The contrast in character between the wicked and the righteous genuinely corresponds to the contrast in destiny between the wicked and the righteous.
(click here to DOWNLOAD mp3/pdf files of this sermon)

2022.01.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 3:18–4:1

Read Colossians 3:18–4:1

Questions from the Scripture text: Who are to do what to whom (Colossians 3:18a)? In what manner (verse 18b)? Who are to do what to whom (Colossians 3:19a)? And not do what (verse 19b)? Who are to do what to whom (Colossians 3:20a)? In how many things? Why (verse 20b)? Who are not to do what (Colossians 3:21a)? Why not (verse 21b)? Who are to do what to whom (Colossians 3:22a)? In how many things? In what manner (verse 22b)? Why (verse 22c)? What vocations does Colossians 3:23 cover (verse 23a)? In what manner are they to be done (verse 23b)? For what payment (Colossians 3:24a)? Why can we expect that (verse 24b)? What if we don’t do right (Colossians 3:25)? Who are to give what to whom (Colossians 4:1a)? Why (verse 1b)? 

It’s one thing to live the church lifestyle when we are at church: “put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, forgiving one another” (Colossians 3:12-13)—And praise and thanks be to God that to facilitate this, He gives us His peace to rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15) and His word to dwell richly in us (Colossians 3:16)!

But how much more we will want to sing God’s Word and have it sung to us, when we see the primary group of church members to whom we have been assigned to live such a loving, forgiving, harmonious life: wives and husbands, children and parents, bondservants and masters!

A wife’s submission is fitting (Colossians 3:18)—which means that a marriage that lacks this submission is out of order and fails to communicate the beauty of the Lord Jesus in His people. 

The husband’s general command to love his wife (Colossians 3:19a) is followed up with a warning against one of the primary things that gets in the way of this: bitterness (verse 19b); let him instead be understanding, giving the benefit of the doubt, freely letting go of disappointments, covering over a multitude of faults by mighty, overcoming love. 

Children’s obedience is to be in every area, lest they try to place anything outside their parents’ jurisdiction. This of course doesn’t mean to obey anything that would require disobedience to Christ, but that applies to every area—which is exactly the number of areas in which their parents rule over them. This is easy when a child still enjoys pleasing his parents (and he should never outgrow this (cf. Exodus 20:12). But let the Christian child remember that he has a Father in heaven, Whom he should increasingly enjoy pleasing through the rest of this life and forever. The child that is growing in Christ should take an increasing pleasure in obeying his parents as he gets older!

Finally, in the workplace, everyone is working for one great Master: the Lord Jesus. This doesn’t remove authority distinctions among men: here there are even slaves and masters! But it does shape how everyone does everything: obedience in every part of the job (Colossians 3:22a), integrity even when “only” God is looking (verse 22b), wholehearted diligence (Colossians 3:23), and even kindness and fairness (Colossians 4:1). Why? Because it is all being done unto Christ, and He Himself will reward and punish. So the reward at work is much more than the paycheck, and punishment for wrong is much more than disciplinary action or firing.

Let us hone our Christ-like relationships in our homes and workplaces. These may be the hardest places to do it, but this is ground zero for where Christ commands us to practice it. And they give us the most opportunities in which to obey Him in this and serve Him in this and please Him in this! And then, when we interact with the wider congregation, we may know that it is not the self-deceiving hypocrisy of desiring to be well thought of, but rather the wider expression of a gracious work that the Lord has been doing in our lives as a whole.

Who are the most difficult people in your family or workplace with whom to follow these commands? What do you need to be doing differently to do so? Who can enable you? By what means does He do that?

Sample prayer:  Lord, what beautiful things are families and work, which You created and designed before the Fall! But by our sin, we have made them sometimes the most difficult and unpleasant parts of our lives. Forgive us our sin, and give us the grace to love and live according to the life of Christ in us. Make our homes places of love, and our workplaces bustling enterprises of service unto King Jesus, for we ask it in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP128 “How Blessed Are All Who Fear the LORD” or TPH128B “Blest the Man” 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A Glorious Foundation (Family Worship lesson in 1Kings 5)

What are we to make of these extensive preparations? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. 1Kings 5 prepares us for the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eighteen verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the Lord kept His promise to Solomon to give him wisdom, but especially His promise to David to give him a king-son who would build the temple. While that was true in a small way of Solomon, it is true in the grandest ways of Christ, Who is glorified in the building of His church upon the foundation of Himself.
(click here to DOWNLOAD mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2022.01.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 5

Read 1 Kings 5

Questions from the Scripture text: Who sent what/whom to whom (1 Kings 5:1a)? Why—what had he heard, and why did this matter to him (verse 1b)? How did Solomon respond (1 Kings 5:2)? What couldn’t David do (1 Kings 5:3a)? Why (verse 3b)? What has Who done now (1 Kings 5:4)? What does Solomon propose (1 Kings 5:5a)? Why (verse 5b)? What does Solomon want (1 Kings 5:6a)? What will he give (verse 6b)? How does he convince (verse 6c)? How does Hiram react to hearing this (1 Kings 5:7)? What will he do (1 Kings 5:8)? How (1 Kings 5:9a)? What does he want (verse 9b)? How does this end up (1 Kings 5:10)? What does Solomon give to him (1 Kings 5:11)? How does 1 Kings 5:12a summarize this interaction? With what result (verse 12b)? What did Solomon raise from whom (1 Kings 5:13a)? How many (verse 13b)? In what rotation (1 Kings 5:14a)? Under whom (verse 14b, cf. 1 Kings 12:18)? How many else did what (1 Kings 5:15-17)? What was the end result of all this (1 Kings 5:18)?

We’re still hearing about how Yahweh fulfilled His promise (1 Kings 5:12), but now it’s in fulfillment of another promise (1 Kings 5:5b): the building of the temple. God’s promise-fulfilling providence stretches back into David’s reign and a delighted alliance with Hiram (1 Kings 5:1). It was such a happy alliance that Hiram is exuberantly happy for it to continue (1 Kings 5:7).

Once the arrangements are made, the rest of the chapter basically covers the intricate, monumental effort that goes into… laying the foundation (1 Kings 5:17) and preparing timber and stones (1 Kings 5:18).

There is, of course, a forward-looking aspect to all of this. The New Testament calls Christ the foundation of the eternal temple (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:11), and the chief cornerstone of the foundation that is the apostles and prophets (cf. Ephesians 3:20–22). And believers are described as living stones (cf. 1 Peter 2:4–6).

The wisdom that goes into Solomon’s temple, and the preciousness and magnificence of the materials, all point forward to the glory of Christ in the building of His church. It teaches us to see that glory in the church and to treasure His church as a display of His glory.

Christ Himself—God incarnate!—is the chief cornerstone. The Spirit-inspired apostles and prophets are its foundation. And each stone is grace-purchased and then grace-formed until it is perfectly conformed to His glory. True, we see them (and the church) now in unfinished form. But should we dwell upon that which is lacking? Instead, let us rejoice in the wisdom of the great King and say with Hiram, “Blessed be Yahweh this day, for He has given David a wise Son!”

What can you remind yourself of, about the church, when you are unimpressed or offended or weary in it?

Sample prayer:  Lord, truly Your providence in the building of Solomon’s temple was marvelous. But, how much more marvelous is Your work in building the church of Jesus Christ! Forgive us for how unimpressed we tend to be with it—and often even unwilling to live forgivingly and peacefully in it or to lay our lives out in serving it. Grant that by Your Spirit, we might be willing workers, as we delight in the coming perfection of Christ’s church, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP122 “I Was Filled” or TPH404 “The Church’s One Foundation”


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

A Praise-Filled Life (Family Worship lesson in Genesis 26:12–25)

What showed that the Lord was with Isaac? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Genesis 26:12–25 prepares us for the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these fourteen verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that much more even than Isaac’s earthly prosperity, the Lord’s being with Isaac was seen in his diligence, peaceability, and humble praise—and that all of these together formed a life filled with praise.
(click here to DOWNLOAD mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2022.01.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 26:12–25

Read Genesis 26:12–25

Questions from the Scripture text: What did Isaac do in Genesis 26:12? How much did he reap? How did this happen? Of what was this the beginning (Genesis 26:13)? To what extent did it continue? What did he have (Genesis 26:14)? How did the Philistines feel about this? What did they do in Genesis 26:15? What did Abimelech say and do to Isaac in Genesis 26:16? Where did Isaac go in Genesis 26:17? What did he do in Genesis 26:18? What else in Genesis 26:19? Who quarreled over these wells (Genesis 26:20)? What does he call the well in response (verse 20)? What does he do in Genesis 26:21? What do they do? What does he call the well in response? What does he do in Genesis 26:22? What does he call this new well? Why? Whom does he recognize as doing what for him? Where does Isaac go in Genesis 26:23? Who appears to him (Genesis 26:24)? When? What does He call Himself? What does He tell Isaac not to do? Why? What does He say that He will do? How does Isaac respond now (Genesis 26:25)? Upon what does he call? What else does he do there? 

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and first song all come from Genesis 26:12–25 so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Fill Thou My Life, O Lord My God.

What astonishing material fruitfulness! Everything is stacked against Isaac. He’s a livestock farmer, not a crop farmer. He’s used to the hill country, not the lowlands. It’s the middle of a famine. But he reaps one-hundred-fold in the first year! That’s more than enough for himself, and the brisk grain market enables him to purchase flocks, herds, and servants. 

Genesis 26:13 emphasizes the increase of Isaac, literally: “And the man became great, and continuing he continued and became great until he became exceedingly great.” 

But this fruitfulness was not just material; it was spiritual. Just as there’s no other explanation for Isaac’s grain crop, there is also no other explanation for the shift in Isaac’s character.

In the previous passage, the man through whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed had almost brought guilt upon Gerar. In this passage, he departs peaceably from the city, and interacts exceedingly peaceably with the herdsmen in the countryside.

Isaac now has a huge logistical task on his hands. In Genesis 26:16, Abimelech had complained that Isaac was too numerous. The city and its area couldn’t support both him and the Philistines. So, now he moves into the countryside and finds the old wells stopped up. He’s giving them the old names, but they’re about to get new ones related to the herdsmen claiming one after another of them. 

Isaac needs the water! And, he’s mighty. He could easily take it by force. If he is too great for Gerar city, he is also too great for its herdsmen. But he doesn’t. He is trusting Yahweh (finally!). He keeps digging them and digging them until finally the herdsmen have enough water for themselves (that Isaac has now provided), and one for himself. Rehoboth. “Wide.” 

No longer is Isaac acting out of self-interest, putting his own skin ahead of everyone like he had earlier (even ahead of Rebekah). He acts in great selflessness, great patience, great persistence, great diligence… all out of great faith in the Lord to take care of him. Praise God!

And that’s exactly the point. Praise God. Only He can make land fruitful like Isaac’s crops had been. Only He can make a sinner’s heart and life fruitful like Isaac. Can’t He (and doesn’t He!) do the same for His people today? Whatever your material needs; your Father knows and is abundantly able. Whatever the difficulty of your spiritual challenges; your Father is more than able by His Spirit, and the life and character of His Son, to form and sustain in you great spiritual fruitfulness! 

The Lord then appears to Isaac and repeats His blessing (Genesis 26:24) to which Isaac responds with worship (Genesis 26:25). Just so, when we come to the Lord to worship Him for what He has done for us in Christ, we find Him continuing to declare His blessing to us, even as He receives our worship.

What material needs do you have right now? What spiritually challenging circumstances are you in? Where can fruitfulness come from in the midst of them? How should you respond—before, during and after?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You have made us fruitful despite our inability or the difficulty of our circumstances. Yet, in lean times we have been anxious, and in times of plenty we have been proud. Forgive us such wickedness, and give us eyes to see Your goodness always, so that in want and in plenty we will always worship You, through Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH534 “Fill Thou My Life, O Lord My God”


Monday, January 24, 2022

2022.01.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 2:1–13

Read Acts 2:1-13 

Questions from the Scripture text: What had fully come (Acts 2:1)? How many of them were where, and in what manner? What came from where (Acts 2:2)? What did it do? What appeared to them (Acts 2:3)? What did those do? What happened to how many of them (Acts 2:4)? What did they begin doing? According to what? Who were dwelling where in those days (Acts 2:5)? What kind of Jews? From where? Where did they go, at the sound (Acts 2:6)? How did they feel? Why? To whom did they speak (Acts 2:7)? Asking what? And asking what else (Acts 2:8)? From at least what fifteen places (Acts 2:9-11)? What two kinds (end of Acts 2:10)? What language did they hear (Acts 2:11b)? What content? What effect did this have on them (Acts 2:12a)? What did they ask (verse 12b)? What did others (than the devout men of Acts 2:5) do and say (Acts 2:13)?

The Spirit’s coming has been anticipated throughout Scripture, and that anticipation is heightened by the introduction in Acts 2:1, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come.” For Israel, Pentecost was the “Feast of Weeks,” associated with the wheat harvest. But as God now prepares to gather in the white fields, He so works on this day that we remember it almost entirely in connection with Christ’s finally sending the Promise of the Father as He baptizes His church with the Spirit.

Even before Peter responds with a sermon about what this all means, there is much that we see in these thirteen verses about the Spirit’s coming and work. The Spirit’s coming and work are obvious, universal, evangelistic, and marvelous. 

The Spirit’s coming is obvious, Acts 2:1-4. Back in Acts 1:12, they had all entered into the upper room, but Luke 24:53 tells us that their primary location of operation is the temple. That makes sense of how there is such a large crowd that comes together in response to the Spirit’s coming.

How did they know? Did the disciples claim to be filled with the Spirit? In contrast to much of what calls itself Christianity these days, no one in Acts ever claims to be filled with the Spirit! Rather, though the Spirit Himself cannot be seen or predicted, the effects of His coming are obvious, just as Jesus taught in John 3:8. There, Jesus compared Him to a wind whose sound you can hear. Here in Acts 2:2a, the sound is a mighty, rushing wind. And in Acts 2:6 the wind noise, followed by the multilingual army of preachers, is what draws the crowd.

The sound filled the whole house (Acts 2:2b, probably referring to the temple), indicating the breadth and power of the work of the Spirit; but then come divided tongues as of fire (Acts 2:3), indicating the individuality and identity of the work of the Spirit. Each one receives his own flame—the fire of God and the speech of God having been combined especially at the bush where the Lord spoke to Moses and at the mountain where the Lord spoke to all Israel. Now, the fire appears as if a tongue and is shortly followed by their speaking with other tongues, the Spirit’s own words (Acts 2:4).

We ought to seek from God a true work of His Spirit—one whose fruit is obvious.

The Spirit’s coming is universal, Acts 2:5-11a. It is possible (and many think) that verse 5 is temporary, related to the feasts of that time of year. It also could very well be a more enduring reality that the Lord brought about in anticipation of Christ’s coming (cf. Luke 2:25Luke 2:38Luke 23:51). In either case, “every nation under heaven” could quite well be exhaustive, though “only” fifteen of them are named in Acts 2:8-11a. The Spirit’s coming and work are for people from every place/nation.

And the Spirit’s coming and work is upon and through all kinds of people. It is important that at least 15 places are named here, because even with Matthias, those numbered among the apostles are only 12. The implication (together with Acts 2:17-18) is that the whole of the 120 were included in this first great display of the work of the Spirit. What a great noise that must have been! The Spirit’s coming and work is upon and through all kinds of people. Men and women, boys and girls, slave and free.

Finally, the Spirit’s coming and work are both for covenantal descendants and converts. Just as the Israelites were accompanied by a mixed multitude as they came out of Egypt (cf. Exodus 12:38), so also the apostle here notes at the end of Acts 2:10 that there are Jews here who were Jews by birth, and those who were counted as “Jews” (Acts 2:5a) by conversion as proselytes. The Spirit works in those from believing families, and the Spirit works in those who are brought into God’s people out of unbelieving families.

Regardless of your origin, regardless of your status, regardless of whether you were brought up in church, the work of the Spirit is for people like you, and you should desire and seek Him from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Spirit’s coming is evangelistic, Acts 2:11b. After this, there is we never again have the phenomena of the rushing wind or descending flame. But speaking in other tongues occurs again in Acts 10:46 and Acts 19:6 and is mentioned repeatedly in 1 Corinthians 12. The ministry of the Spirit is especially a ministry of the Word. When they are filled with the Spirit, the primary manifestation is that they speak (Acts 2:4b). And the content of their speech is especially the wonderful works of God (Acts 2:11b). God has done the wonderful work of sending the Christ to suffer and after three days rise from the dead (cf. Luke 24:46), and now God is doing the wonderful work of granting repentance and remission of sins in His Name (cf. Luke 24:47). This is what the apostles were preaching.

The singular mark of a Spirit-filled church or a Spirit-filled person is words about the saving work of Jesus Christ. O that you might bear that mark, dear reader!

The Spirit’s coming is marvelous, Acts 2:12-13. When the Spirit comes, He comes in such impressiveness that it provokes confusion (Acts 2:6), amazement (Acts 2:7Acts 2:11), marveling (Acts 2:7), and perplexity (Acts 2:11). The devout ones have the courage to ask the question, “whatever could this mean”? Others can’t be comfortable with the fact that God is engaging His world and instead mock and accuse (Acts 2:13). But what one can’t do is ignore that something has happened. He leaves only the options of correctly marveling or wickedly mocking. May the Lord the Spirit so work in you, so work in His church, that these would be the only options that observers have!

How does Scripture’s introduction of the Spirit at Pentecost differ from how you have heard others talk about the Spirit? How has it grown your own understanding of the Spirit? What will you be seeking from Him now?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise You, Who have sent Your promised Spirit upon sinners and granted to us to know Christ’s salvation and make known Christ and His salvation. Grant that we would not seek ridiculous spectacle but genuine fruit, and produce that fruit in us, and in Your church, unto Your great glory in Christ Jesus, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP143B “O LORD, My Spirit Fails” or TPH154 “This Day at Thy Creating Word”

Sunday, January 23, 2022

God's Covenant Faithfulness to the Number Promise, the Nations Promise, & the Nearness Promise (2022.01.23 Lord's Day evening sermon in Exodus 12:37–51)

The Lord had multiplied Israel, gathered a multitude into them from all the nations, and identified them with Himself.
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Introduction to the Holy Spirit's Coming and Work (2022.01.23 Lord's Day morning sermon in Acts 2:1–13)


The Holy Spirit comes to confront sinners with the undeniable reality of Jesus Christ, risen and reigning, and redeeming sinners until He returns.


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How [We] Should Read the Bible (2022.01.23 Sabbath School)

An overview and application of Joel Beeke's booklet, "How Should Teens Read the Bible," in the RHB series, "Cultivating Biblical Godliness."
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Saturday, January 22, 2022

2022.01.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 2:1–13

Read Acts 2:1–13

Questions from the Scripture text: What had fully come (Acts 2:1)? How many of them were where, and in what manner? What came from where (Acts 2:2)? What did it do? What appeared to them (Acts 2:3)? What did those do? What happened to how many of them (Acts 2:4)? What did they begin doing? According to what? Who were dwelling where in those days (Acts 2:5)? What kind of Jews? From where? Where did they go, at the sound (Acts 2:6)? How did they feel? Why? To whom did they speak (Acts 2:7)? Asking what? And asking what else (Acts 2:8)? From at least what fifteen places (Acts 2:9-11)? What two kinds (end of Acts 2:10)? What language did they hear (Acts 2:11b)? What content? What effect did this have on them (Acts 2:12a)? What did they ask (verse 12b)? What did others (than the devout men of Acts 2:5) do and say (Acts 2:13)?

The Spirit’s coming has been anticipated throughout Scripture, and that anticipation is heightened by the introduction in Acts 2:1, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come.” For Israel, Pentecost was the “Feast of Weeks,” associated with the wheat harvest. But as God now prepares to gather in the white fields, He so works on this day that we remember it almost entirely in connection with Christ’s finally sending the Promise of the Father as He baptizes His church with the Spirit.

Even before Peter responds with a sermon about what this all means, there is much that we see in these thirteen verses about the Spirit’s coming and work. The Spirit’s coming and work are obvious, universal, evangelistic, and marvelous. 

The Spirit’s coming is obvious, Acts 2:1-4. Back in Acts 1:12, they had all entered into the upper room, but Luke 24:53 tells us that their primary location of operation is the temple. That makes sense of how there is such a large crowd that comes together in response to the Spirit’s coming.

How did they know? Did the disciples claim to be filled with the Spirit? In contrast to much of what calls itself Christianity these days, no one in Acts ever claims to be filled with the Spirit! Rather, though the Spirit Himself cannot be seen or predicted, the effects of His coming are obvious, just as Jesus taught in John 3:8. There, Jesus compared Him to a wind whose sound you can hear. Here in Acts 2:2a, the sound is a mighty, rushing wind. And in Acts 2:6 the wind noise, followed by the multilingual army of preachers, is what draws the crowd.

The sound filled the whole house (Acts 2:2b, probably referring to the temple), indicating the breadth and power of the work of the Spirit; but then come divided tongues as of fire (Acts 2:3), indicating the individuality and identity of the work of the Spirit. Each one receives his own flame—the fire of God and the speech of God having been combined especially at the bush where the Lord spoke to Moses and at the mountain where the Lord spoke to all Israel. Now, the fire appears as if a tongue and is shortly followed by their speaking with other tongues, the Spirit’s own words (Acts 2:4).

We ought to seek from God a true work of His Spirit—one whose fruit is obvious.

The Spirit’s coming is universal, Acts 2:5-11a. It is possible (and many think) that verse 5 is temporary, related to the feasts of that time of year. It also could very well be a more enduring reality that the Lord brought about in anticipation of Christ’s coming (cf. Luke 2:25, Luke 2:38; Luke 23:51). In either case, “every nation under heaven” could quite well be exhaustive, though “only” fifteen of them are named in Acts 2:8-11a. The Spirit’s coming and work are for people from every place/nation.

And the Spirit’s coming and work is upon and through all kinds of people. It is important that at least 15 places are named here, because even with Matthias, those numbered among the apostles are only 12. The implication (together with Acts 2:17-18) is that the whole of the 120 were included in this first great display of the work of the Spirit. What a great noise that must have been! The Spirit’s coming and work is upon and through all kinds of people. Men and women, boys and girls, slave and free.

Finally, the Spirit’s coming and work are both for covenantal descendants and converts. Just as the Israelites were accompanied by a mixed multitude as they came out of Egypt (cf. Exodus 12:38), so also the apostle here notes at the end of Acts 2:10 that there are Jews here who were Jews by birth, and those who were counted as “Jews” (Acts 2:5a) by conversion as proselytes. The Spirit works in those from believing families, and the Spirit works in those who are brought into God’s people out of unbelieving families.

Regardless of your origin, regardless of your status, regardless of whether you were brought up in church, the work of the Spirit is for people like you, and you should desire and seek Him from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Spirit’s coming is evangelistic, Acts 2:11b. After this, there is we never again have the phenomena of the rushing wind or descending flame. But speaking in other tongues occurs again in Acts 10:46 and Acts 19:6 and is mentioned repeatedly in 1 Corinthians 12. The ministry of the Spirit is especially a ministry of the Word. When they are filled with the Spirit, the primary manifestation is that they speak (Acts 2:4b). And the content of their speech is especially the wonderful works of God (Acts 2:11b). God has done the wonderful work of sending the Christ to suffer and after three days rise from the dead (cf. Luke 24:46), and now God is doing the wonderful work of granting repentance and remission of sins in His Name (cf. Luke 24:47). This is what the apostles were preaching.

The singular mark of a Spirit-filled church or a Spirit-filled person is words about the saving work of Jesus Christ. O that you might bear that mark, dear reader!

The Spirit’s coming is marvelous, Acts 2:12-13. When the Spirit comes, He comes in such impressiveness that it provokes confusion (Acts 2:6), amazement (Acts 2:7Acts 2:11), marveling (Acts 2:7), and perplexity (Acts 2:11). The devout ones have the courage to ask the question, “whatever could this mean”? Others can’t be comfortable with the fact that God is engaging His world and instead mock and accuse (Acts 2:13). But what one can’t do is ignore that something has happened. He leaves only the options of correctly marveling or wickedly mocking. May the Lord the Spirit so work in you, so work in His church, that these would be the only options that observers have!

How does Scripture’s introduction of the Spirit at Pentecost differ from how you have heard others talk about the Spirit? How has it grown your own understanding of the Spirit? What will you be seeking from Him now?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise You, Who have sent Your promised Spirit upon sinners and granted to us to know Christ’s salvation and make known Christ and His salvation. Grant that we would not seek ridiculous spectacle but genuine fruit, and produce that fruit in us, and in Your church, unto Your great glory in Christ Jesus, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP143B “O LORD, My Spirit Fails” or TPH154 “This Day at Thy Creating Word”

 

Friday, January 21, 2022

Our Covenant-Keeping God (Family Worship lesson in Exodus 12:37–51)

Why are the Israelites called “the armies of Yahweh” here? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Exodus 12:37–51 prepares us for the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these fifteen verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God has kept His covenant promises to multiply Abraham’s seed, to bless all nations through him, and especially to be his covenant God and to take him as His covenant people.
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2022.01.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 12:37–51

Read Exodus 12:37–51

Questions from the Scripture text: Where did the children of Israel journey (Exodus 12:37a)? How many of them (verse 37b)? Who else went up with them (Exodus 12:38a)? And what else (verse 38b)? What had they baked and why (Exodus 12:39)? How long had been the sojourning of the children of Israel who had lived in Egypt (Exodus 12:40)? On what day did they leave (Exodus 12:41a)? What are they called in verse 41b? What two things is that night called in Exodus 12:42? Who was to observe it for how long? Who speaks to whom in Exodus 12:43? What does he tell them? Who may not eat the Passover? What person would not be a foreigner (Exodus 12:44)? Who would be disqualified as a foreigner (Exodus 12:45)? What other requirements does Exodus 12:46 make? Who shall keep it (Exodus 12:47)? How else can a foreigner come to eat it (Exodus 12:48)? And what differences are made for how he keeps it (Exodus 12:49)? Who did what (Exodus 12:50)? What does Exodus 12:51 emphasize again (cf. Exodus 12:41)?

From start (Exodus 12:37) to finish (Exodus 12:51), this is a passage about the children of Israel coming out of Egypt. The Lord has kept His promise, 430 years to the day after he made it to Abraham in Genesis 15:13 (Exodus 12:40-41Exodus 12:51). And as He underscores to us His faithfulness to His people, He highlights unto us several fruits of His faithfulness to them.

Their number, Exodus 12:37. When the 70 went down to Egypt to reunite with Joseph, it was a bit of a covenantal explosion. It took three generations to get the number of “the children of promise” above one or two. Now there are 600,000 “men on foot”—a military term that corresponds to their being called “armies” (“hosts”) in Exodus 12:41Exodus 12:51. If that’s the number of military-eligible men, then we’re looking at a minimum of 2 million, and probably closer to 5 million based upon the baby boom of the previous 40 years.

Their variety, Exodus 12:38Exodus 12:43-49. One of the lesser-realized features about “Old Testament Israel” is that it was never a merely ethnic body; it was always a covenantal body. First, “a mixed multitude went up with them” when they left Egypt. “Israel” included a multitude of non-Israelites. The Exodus may have been the greatest evangelistic event until Pentecost. Second, a significant portion of the instructions about Passover was actually focused upon how a foreigner can be made a true Israelite, with right and duty to participate in the Passover.

Some accuse the apostolic message of Romans 9–11 of being “replacement theology” that replaces ethnic Israel with a “new” spiritual Israel that is the church. But Isaac’s family, not Ishmael’s, was the family of promise. And then Jacob’s family, not Esau’s, was the family of promise. And now at the “beginning” of Israel’s life as a “nation,” a mixed multitude is an essential, covenantal component at their core. The Lord is glorifying Himself as a Redeemer unto elect from all the nations—with fruit in Exodus 12 (not just beginning in Acts 2).

Not all who have descended from Israel are Israel (cf. Romans 9:6). And certainly, much of Israel is not descended from Israel. The variety of ethnicity among God’s people has always showed that they are a spiritual people. 

Their identity, Exodus 12:39-42Exodus 12:50-51. They are a redeemed people; they had an annual feast marked by having to hurry up and bake the bread flat because they were being saved so quickly that there was no time to wait for it to rise (Exodus 12:39Exodus 12:42). They are the LORD’s people. Exodus 12:41 calls them Yahweh’s armies. Exodus 12:42 calls Passover not only “a night of solemn observance to Yahweh” but “that night of Yahweh.” They are a people who operate by the command of Yahweh (Exodus 12:43Exodus 12:50). They are a people who belong to Yahweh.

Still today, the Lord multiplies His people, and adds to them from outside, and the hallmark of their lives is that they are His. This is the fruit of His faithfulness to His promises.

What promises of God feel like the hardest to come true? How can you be sure that they will? What will be the fruit/outcome of their coming true?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are perfectly faithful to all of Your promises! You have been redeeming sinners from all nations for thousands of years. And now, you have saved us for Yourself to add to Your great people who are called by Your Name. Forgive us for when our faith is small and worry is great, and give us the confidence and joy of those who have great and precious promises from a perfectly faithful God and Savior, which we ask in Christ’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP182 “Revive Us” or TPH234 “The God of Abraham Praise”


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Anti-fretting Medication: Yahweh As Hope, Happiness, and Help (2022.01.19 Prayer Meeting sermon in Psalm 37:1–11)

Those who prefer God's glory to their own (i.e. the meek) will be immeasurably happy.
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2022.01.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 3:15–17

Read Colossians 3:15–17

Questions from the Scripture text: What do we have from God (Colossians 3:15a)? What must we let it do and where? To the peace of God also, God has done what to us (verse 15b)? In what? What must we be toward God (verse 15c)? What has God provided by which all this happens (Colossians 3:16a)? Where must it dwell? In what manner? In all of what? By doing what to one another (verse 16b)? In what three types of songs? Singing with what, where, unto Whom (verse 16c)? To what do these instructions apply (Colossians 3:17a)? How must it be done (verse 17b)? What do people who do things in Jesus’s Name always do to Whom, through Whom (verse 17c)? 

The entire Christian life ought to be one of thankfulness. 

In our inner life, Colossians 3:15-16a. The peace of God (verse 15a) is something that we already have with Him in Jesus Christ. But, we are called to make increasing application of that peace in our lives. 

It’s one thing to know what He’s done for us; it’s another thing to have the thoughts, feelings, and decisions of our hearts shaped by what He’s done for us. It’s one thing to know that the hostilities between us and Him have been canceled; it’s another to remember that this happened to us as part of the entire body of all believers, and that we must not maintain any hostility with any of them (verse 15b). It’s one thing to retain the fact of peace with God; it’s another to persist in thankfulness to Him (verse 16c).

How can we maintain such an inner life? By having Christ’s word not only as something that we hear or read or remember about, but as something that dwells in us—indeed, that dwells richly in us.

In our worship lives, Colossians 3:16b–c. Do you want the Word of Christ to dwell richly in you? Then you must follow the prescription of Him Whose Word it is: corporate worship, and especially corporate singing. We know that we are to receive the Word meekly as it is read and preached, as we seek for it to be the “implanted” Word which is able to save our souls (cf. James 1:21). And if we have considered the sacraments scripturally, we know that one of their great purposes is to drive this Word home to us with greater assurance and comfort. But perhaps you have not considered that there is a third part of corporate worship that is designed for the driving home of Christ’s Word into our hearts: corporate song.

To make his case, the apostle marshals three words that come from Psalm-titles in the Greek translation of the Old Testament that the Colossians would have used (“Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs”). Some who don’t know this think that this verse justifies corporate worship songs from outside Scripture, but even they must see that Colossians 3:16a makes it plain that this is referring to singing Christ’s Word, not ours. Others, who know the origin of the words, think that this means that we are only to sing the Psalms. But do they think that we are not to sing those Psalms that lack these words? If we consider all of Scripture to be the Word of Christ, then we are to sing from all of Scripture. Ultimately, the apostle has made His point: by putting songs in His Scriptures, God has made it clear that He has designed our singing of His Word as a mechanism by which His Word dwells richly in our hearts.

But not only is such singing to teach and admonish one another as it aims at our brothers, it must also aim at the Lord. The word “grace” in the original is closely related to the word for “thanks.” God’s grace produces thankfulness in the heart. It is instructive that in the parallel instruction in Ephesians 5:19, the apostle uses the word “melody” (meaning tune, and especially instrumental accompaniment) where the word “grace” appears here in Colossians 3:16. There, Ephesians 5:20 immediately explains that this accompaniment of the heart is “giving thanks.” So, as we address one another with Christ’s Word in corporate singing, the true accompanying instrument is the grace-formed heart as it plays the tune of thankfulness unto God. 

This is the sort of singing that God has designed to make His Word dwell richly in us.

In all of our speech and conduct, Colossians 3:17. Christ’s Word is to be as frontlets between our eyes (cf. Deuteronomy 6:8b), controlling how we think about everything, and as if bound to our hands (cf. Deuteronomy 6:8a), controlling how we do everything. It is not only to be in our hearts (Colossians 3:16a, cf. Deuteronomy 6:6), but continually in our mouths (“in word,” Colossians 3:17a, cf. Deuteronomy 6:7). 

Speaking or doing in the Name of Jesus (Colossians 3:17b) does not mean that we can apply His Name as a label to whatever we wish to say or do. Speaking or doing in the Name of Jesus means that we speak and do only, always according to the Word of Jesus. The peace-ruled heart is a word-filled heart that expresses itself in a word-saturated life. And what is the hallmark of such a life? All speech is spoken with thanks to God through Christ (verse 17c). All actions are done with thanks to God through Christ.

A Christian is someone who has put on Christ (cf. Colossians 3:1–11). What is one of the great hallmarks of such a person? Hearts, songs, and lives of thankfulness to God in Christ!

In which of these areas do you most need to grow in thankfulness? What are you going to do about it?

Sample prayer:  Lord, how we thank You for raising us with Christ, hiding our life with Christ, making Christ our life, and uniting us with Christ. What a glorious peace with Yourself You have given to us in Him! But we have much failed to enjoy and apply that peace. By Your Spirit’s almighty work, make Christ’s Word to dwell richly in us, so that we will live lives of thankfulness to you, we ask in Christ’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP100 “All Earth, with Joy” or TPH488 “May the Mind of Christ My Savior”

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Life Under the Wisest King (Family Worship lesson in 1Kings 4)

What did (will!) life look like under the wisest king? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. 1Kings 4 prepares us for the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirty-four verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the display of Solomon’s wisdom showed the blessedness of being under a wise king, especially pointing forward to the everlasting reign of our infinitely wise King Jesus.
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The Potter Offers Repentance (Family Worship lesson in Jeremiah 18:1–11)

What is the “Potter and Clay” illustration about? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Jeremiah 18:1–11 prepares us for the opening portion of Morning Public Worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eleven verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that because God, the Potter, offers us repentance, we have no right either to complain against Him or to consider repenting hopeless.
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2022.01.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 4

Read 1 Kings 4

Questions from the Scripture text: Over whom was Solomon King (1 Kings 4:1)? Whom do 1 Kings 4:2-6 describe? What kinds of officials did he have? Whom else did Solomon have (1 Kings 4:7a)? What did they do (verse 7b)? Who were they and from where (1 Kings 4:8-19)? What unique things are said about Ben-Abinadab (1 Kings 4:11)? Ahimaaz (1 Kings 4:15)? Geber (1 Kings 4:19)? How are the people described in 1 Kings 4:20? What is their number? What is their condition? Over what lands/area did Solomon rule (1 Kings 4:211 Kings 4:24)? What did they do (end of 1 Kings 4:21)? What do 1 Kings 4:22-23 describe? What’s the point? What was the condition of his own people (1 Kings 4:25)? What do 1 Kings 4:26-28 describe? What did God give Solomon (1 Kings 4:29)? Even more than whom (1 Kings 4:30-31a)? With what result (verse 31b)? What did he speak/write (1 Kings 4:32)? About what sorts of things (1 Kings 4:33)? And who did what (1 Kings 4:34)? 

Chapter three ended with all Israel hearing of Solomon’s wisdom and fearing him. Chapter four now concludes with all of the nations paying tribute, hearing of Solomon’s wisdom, and coming to hear him (perhaps as they bring the tribute). With those as bookends, we have a pretty good clue about what to see in the passage: God’s giving Solomon wisdom, and exalting him among and above the other nations. We see this wisdom and exaltation in several things:

Orderly, effective administration1 Kings 4:1-19. Wherever you’re from, whenever you read this, “government efficiency” is probably a laughable contradiction in terms to you. In a sinful world, that’s what you would expect. But the point of 1 Kings 4:1-19 is how well-organized and effectively planned and executed Solomon’s government was.

Great prosperity1 Kings 4:20-23. It’s one thing for a king to be prosperous. That can (sometimes, temporarily at least) be obtained by ruthlessness. It is a much greater commendation to a king that his people would be prosperous. That’s the point being made about Solomon in 1 Kings 4:20: “Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand by the sea, eating and drinking and rejoicing.” Not only did they have a population boom, but the economic boom kept up with and outpaced it. 

And what was true of the people generally became more intense the closer you were to him. The household and retinue of the king had a daily provision that is difficult to fathom (1 Kings 4:22-23). What a great king! 

We mustn’t miss two important nuggets here: this particular turn of phrase first appeared in the Messianic promise of Genesis 22:17. It highlights Solomon’s greatness as a little picture of the coming kingship of Christ. Even if believers seem always to be a minority, there is a strong biblical emphasis upon the greatness of the multitude as a display of the greatness of our Redeemer King. When we see them eating and drinking and rejoicing, we have a taste of the real-life enjoyment that Christ’s subjects will have with Him forever and ever.

The second nugget is to see how “Judah and Israel” is still being used to summarize the people. This is a division that we could see forming all the way back to the beginning of David’s reign, and even now in Solomon’s height of wisdom and prosperity, it continues. What we are ultimately looking for in a king can be found in no one but Jesus!

Dominating power1 Kings 4:24-28. Part of the Messianic promise from Genesis 22:17 was that Abraham’s seed would possess the gate of their enemies. Now, 1 Kings 4:24 especially emphasizes the subjugation of all other kingdoms, while 1 Kings 4:25 emphasizes the contrasting liberty and security that all Judah and Israel enjoyed. There was more than enough for everyone, including a rapidly expanding government (1 Kings 4:26-28). 

Those last three words can be cautionary, and even more so when it sets of the Deuteronomy 17:16 alarm in the back of our minds (and don’t forget 1 Kings 3:1 with regard to that!). But there is One Whose reign will ever increase, yet always to the benefit of all of His subjects (cf. Isaiah 9:7).

The marvel of his wisdom itself1 Kings 4:29-34. Solomon’s wisdom outclassed all who were best known for wisdom up to his day (1 Kings 4:29-31). The sheer volume of the production (1 Kings 4:32), with the variety of composition (verse 32a, b) and the variety of subject (1 Kings 4:33) was beyond anything such other men had ever produced. Truly, the Lord had kept His promise to Solomon!

How does it benefit you that Christ’s wisdom is the perfection of which Solomon’s was just a hint? How does it encourage you in your own pursuit of wisdom? How does it inform the way you use it?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise You for Your faithfulness to give Solomon the promised wisdom and for Your own perfect wisdom, which we see pictured in him. We thank You that You have made the wisdom of man as nothing and have given to us, first and foremost, Christ Himself as the wisdom of God for us. Forgive us for when we are uncurious about Your Word or works, or when we fail to aim at Your glory and Your people’s good in how we use whatever knowledge You give us. Make us to love You with all of our wisdom, and to use it for the good of our neighbor, which we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH400 “Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me”


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

2022.01.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Jeremiah 18:1–11

Read Jeremiah 18:1–11

Questions from the Scripture text: What came to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 18:1)? From Whom? Where must he go (Jeremiah 18:2)? What will happen there? Where did he go (Jeremiah 18:3)? What did he see there? What happened to what he was making (Jeremiah 18:4)? What did he do to it? According to what? Then what came to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 18:5)? Whom does this word address (Jeremiah 18:6)? Asking what? What does He say Israel is like? What might He speak concerning a nation (Jeremiah 18:7)? But what might that nation do (Jeremiah 18:8a)? And what will the Lord do, how quickly (verse 8b, cf. Jeremiah 18:7a)? What else might He speak concerning a nation (Jeremiah 18:9)? But what might that nation do (Jeremiah 18:10a)? And what will the Lord do and how quickly (verse 10b, Jeremiah 18:9a)? What does the Lord tell Jeremiah to do (Jeremiah 18:11)? What is he to tell Judah and Jerusalem the Lord is doing? What is he to call Israel to do? 

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and first song all come from Jeremiah 18:1–11 so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Have Thine Own Way, Lord!

Often, a preaching illustration is more vivid when the preacher has experienced it firsthand, and the Lord sends Jeremiah so that he will be seeing the illustration (Jeremiah 18:2a, Jeremiah 18:3-4) as the Lord’s words come to him (Jeremiah 18:2b, Jeremiah 18:4-11). Notice, by the way, that it is both the Lord’s word (singular, Jeremiah 18:5) and the Lord’s words (plural, Jeremiah 18:2). The Bible is not merely a channel of God’s speaking to us, but the words themselves are God’s own speech.

As Jeremiah stands there, watching the potter, the Lord teaches him several important lessons: God’s sovereignty, God’s activity, God’s planning, God’s interactivity, and our submission.

God’s sovereignty. He’s in control. He’s at the wheel (literally “double-stone,” end of Jeremiah 18:3). He can do as He wishes (Jeremiah 18:6, cf. Romans 9:19–21). He is not required to comply with us, but we must comply with Him.

God’s activity. God is not some absentee creator who got things started and is generally hands-off. He speaks concerning nations and kingdoms; it is He who determines when they will be yanked out of place, torn down, or destroyed (Jeremiah 18:7).

God’s planning̣. There is one nation in particular that God established—Israel, who are under His judgment in the book of Jeremiah—but all nations owe their origin and their existence to Him (Jeremiah 18:9). And they would do well to remember that in gratitude. The same is true of churches, families, and individuals.

God’s interactivity. Although there is a final judgment coming for people, God continuously interacts providentially with nations. He responds to repentance (Jeremiah 18:8)—what great news for nations under judgment, and would that our own would heed Him! He also responds to backsliding and wickedness (Jeremiah 18:10).

Our submission. In light of all of these things, Judah’s options were clear: submit to God or submit to God. Either submit to the destruction that the unstoppable and sovereign God had determined (Jeremiah 18:11b), or rather submit to God’s good law (verse 11c)  and enjoy the mercy of how He is pleased to respond to such repentance.

Whenever we are finding it difficult to submit to the Lord, let us remember that those who do not submit to His precepts will find that they still have to submit to His providential judgment. Let us not imagine that we have the option of ultimately successful resistance; rather, may He graciously give us to say, “Have Thine own way, Lord!”

How will you respond to the reality that the Lord is sovereignly, actively interacting with you?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are the Potter, and we are the clay. You have the right to do with us as You please, so forgive us for how little we often think about or aim at pleasing You. Grant unto us to repent of our evil and rejoice over Your goodness, so that we may respond with thankful obedience and service, in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage” or TPH533 “Have Thine Own Way, Lord!”


Monday, January 17, 2022

How God Uses Our Persecutors (2022.01.16 Evening Sermon in Exodus 12:29–36)

God uses our persecutors to remind us of what we deserved, to give us ultimate victory, and to provide all things as our rightful inheritance.
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What to Do While We Wait (2022.01.16 Morning Sermon in Acts 1:9–26)


While believers wait for Christ, they express their neediness and desire in prayer, live out their dependence by following His Word, and trust that He is ruling and overruling all things perfectly.


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WCF 16.7.6, Unbelievers’ Sins Still Culpable (2022.01.16 Sabbath School lesson in Romans 9, Romans 2, Job 21, Psalm 14, Psalm 36, Matthew 23, Matthew 25)

Unbelievers' inability to do good works is no excuse for their neglecting to do good works, and every sin increases their guilt before God.
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2022.01.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 1:9–26

Read Acts 1:9–26

Questions from the Scripture text: What had Jesus just done (Acts 1:9)? What were they doing? What happened to Him? What were the disciples doing in Acts 1:10? Who stood? Where? What were they wearing? What did the two men call them (Acts 1:11)? What did they ask? What did they say would happen? In what manner? Then where did the disciples go (Acts 1:12)? Where did they go when they got there (Acts 1:13)? Who? In what did they continue (Acts 1:14)? In what manner? Who else? Who stood up in those days, in the midst of whom (Acts 1:15)? How many were there altogether? What did Peter call them (Acts 1:16)? What did he say had to happen? Whom did he say spoke the Scripture? By whose mouth? Concerning whom? What had Judas become? Despite what recognition and privilege (Acts 1:17)? What had Judas purchased (Acts 1:18)? With what funds? And what else had he done? Who knew about this? What did they call the field? What was written where (Acts 1:20, cf. Psalm 69:25, Psalm 109:8)? From which men does Peter say to pick (Acts 1:21-22)? What would the selected man become (verse 22)? Whom did they propose (Acts 1:23)? What did they pray for (Acts 1:24-25)? What did they do in Acts 1:26? Upon whom did the lot fall? What was done, at that point, with Matthias? 

What do we do while we wait? That’s the big question for the apostles. Jesus has commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the Promise of the Father (Acts 1:4). And He’s just spoken these things when He disappears from their sight (Acts 1:9). So, the answer to the men’s (angels) question in Acts 1:11 could well be that the disciples were “waiting.” But the special knowledge of the angels about Jesus’s return, coupled with the way they had asked the question, implied that they ought to have been doing something else. So, they obey more completely in Acts 1:12 and return to Jerusalem. Which brings us to the question: what to do while they wait?

Pray. We know from Luke 24:52–53 that their return was with joy, and that they were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. But apparently their days ended the way this first one did: going to an upper room and praying. There are eleven names in Acts 1:13, and then the women and Mary and His brothers in Acts 1:14. It seems improbable that the full 120 from Acts 1:15 would fit in this upper room. Nevertheless, the praying of this group is presented to us as a main feature of the waiting.

Follow Scripture. At the end of Luke, the Lord Jesus had identified His atoning work and the spread of the gospel as two things that Scripture prophesied and had to be fulfilled (cf. Luke 24:44–47). Now Peter says that Judas’s betrayal was also a fulfillment of Scripture (Acts 1:16-17, cf. Psalm 41:9). He marshals Psalm 69:25 and Psalm 109:8 (Acts 1:20) to reason that they should select a man who has as much as possible in common with the disciples to complete the number. 

Later, Jesus Himself completes the number by selecting the apostle Paul. And never again do we see the casting of lots after the Spirit comes—for Whom and for Whose wisdom they were to be waiting. And the ordination of a 12th apostle seems beyond His instruction to wait (cf. Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4). So, it’s quite possible that Peter was wrong in his application. But the text provides no such judgment. What it does leave us with is that Jesus said they were to be witnesses (cf. Luke 24:48, Acts 1:8b), and that they are trying to work out what that means from Scripture. So ought we.

Trust the Lord. Although they were to be waiting for the Holy Spirit—upon Whom they would directly depend for decision-making from Pentecost forward—the practice of casting lots did have biblical precedent (cf. Proverbs 16:33). With two men who satisfied the requirements of Acts 1:21-22, this action was not trusting luck, but trusting the Lord Who “knows the hearts of all” and Whom they presume to have chosen one of them (end of Acts 1:25). 

We too, are waiting. The difference is that we have the promise of the Spirit fulfilled with us. To help with our praying. To help with our studying and obeying Scripture. To help with our trusting. And we have the ordinances of Christ for His church: Word, sacrament, and prayer, under the leadership of elders in spiritual ministry and deacons in material ministry. And we have all of the commandments and principles of Scripture. But still, what we do as we wait for the return is basically the same as we see in this passage: Pray (and praise), follow Scripture, and trust in the Lord. 

What role has the Lord given you in your home? In the church? What basic directives undergird both? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You that You have indeed planned our lives for us, and chosen us for the roles to which You have appointed us. Thank You for giving us to praise You and pray to You as the chief action of our lives. Grant us to understand and follow Your Word, trusting in You. We thank You for Your Spirit’s ministry to us, and ask that He might continue applying Christ and His benefits to us, which we ask in Christ’s Name, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH271 “Blessed Jesus, At Your Word”


Saturday, January 15, 2022

2022.01.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 1:9–26

Read Acts 1:9–26

Questions from the Scripture text: What had Jesus just done (Acts 1:9)? What were they doing? What happened to Him? What were the disciples doing in Acts 1:10? Who stood? Where? What were they wearing? What did the two men call them (Acts 1:11)? What did they ask? What did they say would happen? In what manner? Then where did the disciples go (Acts 1:12)? Where did they go when they got there (Acts 1:13)? Who? In what did they continue (Acts 1:14)? In what manner? Who else? Who stood up in those days, in the midst of whom (Acts 1:15)? How many were there altogether? What did Peter call them (Acts 1:16)? What did he say had to happen? Whom did he say spoke the Scripture? By whose mouth? Concerning whom? What had Judas become? Despite what recognition and privilege (Acts 1:17)? What had Judas purchased (Acts 1:18)? With what funds? And what else had he done? Who knew about this (Acts 1:19)? What did they call the field? What was written where (Acts 1:20, cf. Psalm 69:25, Psalm 109:8)? From which men does Peter say to pick (Acts 1:21-22)? What would the selected man become (Acts 1:22)? Whom did they propose (Acts 1:23)? What did they pray for (Acts 1:24-25)? What did they do in Acts 1:26? Upon whom did the lot fall? What was done, at that point, with Matthias?

What do we do while we wait? That’s the big question for the apostles. Jesus has commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the Promise of the Father (Acts 1:4). And He’s just spoken these things when He disappears from their sight (Acts 1:9). So, the answer to the men’s (angels) question in Acts 1:11 could well be that the disciples were “waiting.” But the special knowledge of the angels about Jesus’s return, coupled with the way they had asked the question, implied that they ought to have been doing something else. So, they obey more completely in Acts 1:12 and return to Jerusalem. Which brings us to the question: what to do while they wait?

Pray. We know from Luke 24:52–53 that their return was with joy, and that they were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. But apparently their days ended the way this first one did: going to an upper room and praying. There are eleven names in Acts 1:13, and then the women and Mary and His brothers in Acts 1:14. It seems improbable that the full 120 from Acts 1:15 would fit in this upper room. Nevertheless, the praying of this group is presented to us as a main feature of the waiting.

Follow Scripture. At the end of Luke, the Lord Jesus had identified His atoning work and the spread of the gospel as two things that Scripture prophesied and had to be fulfilled (cf. Luke 24:44–47). Now Peter says that Judas’s betrayal was also a fulfillment of Scripture (Acts 1:16-17, cf. Psalm 41:9). He marshals Psalm 69:25 and Psalm 109:8 (Acts 1:20) to reason that they should select a man who has as much as possible in common with the disciples to complete the number. 

Later, Jesus Himself completes the number by selecting the apostle Paul. And never again do we see the casting of lots after the Spirit comes—for Whom and for Whose wisdom they were to be waiting. And the ordination of a 12th apostle seems beyond His instruction to wait (cf. Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4). So, it’s quite possible that Peter was wrong in his application. But the text provides no such judgment. What it does leave us with is that Jesus said they were to be witnesses (cf. Luke 24:48, Acts 1:8b), and that they are trying to work out what that means from Scripture. So ought we.

Trust the Lord. Although they were to be waiting for the Holy Spirit—upon Whom they would directly depend for decision-making from Pentecost forward—the practice of casting lots did have biblical precedent (cf. Proverbs 16:33). With two men who satisfied the requirements of Acts 1:21-22, this action was not trusting luck, but trusting the Lord Who “knows the hearts of all” and Whom they presume to have chosen one of them (end of Acts 1:25). 

We too, are waiting. The difference is that we have the promise of the Spirit fulfilled with us. To help with our praying. To help with our studying and obeying Scripture. To help with our trusting. And we have the ordinances of Christ for His church: Word, sacrament, and prayer, under the leadership of elders in spiritual ministry and deacons in material ministry. And we have all of the commandments and principles of Scripture. But still, what we do as we wait for the return is basically the same as we see in this passage: Pray (and praise), follow Scripture, and trust in the Lord.

What role has the Lord given you in your home? In the church? What basic directives undergird both?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You that You have indeed planned our lives for us, and chosen us for the roles to which You have appointed us. Thank You for giving us to praise You and pray to You as the chief action of our lives. Grant us to understand and follow Your Word, trusting in You. We thank You for Your Spirit’s ministry to us, and ask that He might continue applying Christ and His benefits to us, which we ask in Christ’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH271 “Blessed Jesus, At Your Word”

Friday, January 14, 2022

2022.01.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 12:29–36

Read Exodus 12:29–36

Questions from the Scripture text: What time is it in Exodus 12:29? What does Yahweh do? How does verse 29 describe the breadth and completeness of this? What does Pharaoh do (Exodus 12:30)? Who else? What do they produce? Why is the cry so great? To whom does Pharaoh call (Exodus 12:31)? What does he tell them to do? What does he tell them to take (Exodus 12:32)? Whom does he ask them to bless? Who urged whom to do what (Exodus 12:33)? Why? What did the Israelites have to do in response (Exodus 12:34)? And what had they previously done (Exodus 12:35)? What had Yahweh given the people (Exodus 12:36)? And what had the Egyptians done? With what end result? 

As the great cry arises in Egypt, the children of Israel come forth from blood-covered doors, keenly aware that they themselves deserve what has come upon the Egyptians. So, there is an amazing grace of mercy behind the amazing grace of power that is displayed here. In that power, the Lord uses Pharaoh and the Egyptians to send and supply the Israelites into the wilderness.

Still in darkness (cf. Exodus 10:39), Pharaoh insists that Moses, Aaron, all Israel, and even their flocks and herds go “as you have said” (Exodus 12:31-32). He isn’t trying to negotiate terms anymore. He’s just trying to get rid of them. The “bless me also” at the end of Exodus 12:32 ends Pharaoh’s interviews on a pathetic note, as the red-eyed, hoarse-throated potentate urges them to go at an hour in which he would be invariably in bed (Exodus 12:30a, Exodus 12:31a). 

He’s been reduced to pleader-to-leave-in-chief, just as the Lord promised (cf. Exodus 6:1). The rest of the Egyptians are following their king. They are urgent to speed the Israelites along because, as they say at the end of Exodus 12:33, “we are all dying.” There’s no time for the daily bread to rise; hence, the unleavened bread that the feast by that name commemorates.

The Egyptians are also the Israelites’ suppliers. Exodus 12:35-36 have already taken place but are mentioned here as a final resounding note of God’s goodness to His people. They who deserved the same death that has visited every Egyptian household (Exodus 12:30b) are leaving Egypt not merely having been spared but enriched beyond their wildest imaginations. Not only extra clothing, which they would surely need in the way, but even the silver and gold—the wealth of Egypt.

The main theme is pretty plain: the earth, and all that is in it, and all who dwell in it… it all belongs to the Lord, and He has devoted it all to the good of His people. He is able to entirely reverse the efforts of our staunchest enemies. And if it should ever serve our good and His glory, He will do just that—because of the grace in which He has wiped out our guilt, and the electing love in which it pleased Him to do so.

What difficult situation do you need reminding that the Lord could completely reverse? Why hasn’t He?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are King over all kings, and there is no other god besides You. Truly, we deserved Your wrath, but You have loved us and atoned for us by the blood of the Lamb. Forgive us for when we forget that this grace of unfathomable mercy is joined to Your infinite power. How needlessly (and sinfully!) we fret and worry, when it is certain that You will suddenly and decisively overthrow the desires and efforts of all of our enemies. Grant unto us increased faith, so that we might adore Your glories in every circumstance, we ask through Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH231 “Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right”

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Beholding God—a Remedy for Sin (2022.01.12 Prayer Meeting Sermon in Psalm 36)

God tells us about Himself so that we will perceive His goodness to us and love Him Who first loved us.
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2022.01.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 3:12–14

Read Colossians 3:12–14

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle call them in Colossians 3:12? With what two characteristics? What five things are they to put on? What two things are they to do (Colossians 3:13a)? If what has happened? What is the pattern for this (verse 13b)? How does the command in Colossians 3:14 relate to the rest? What are they to put on most of all? How will it function among the others?

Election and predestination are unto something far greater than merely escaping wrath. They are unto Christ-likeness. Ephesians 1:4 says, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Romans 8:29 says, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” And it is in our identity as “the elect of God, holy and beloved” (Colossians 3:12) that our passage begins to flesh out what it should look like to have “put on the new man”—Christ (Colossians 3:10-11) instead of Adam (Colossians 3:9). 

In other words, the believer’s big question about election ought not to be whether or not election is real (since God declares it) or if it is fair (since the perfectly righteous God has done it) but rather, “unto what have I been elected?” (since it is this after which we are to strive). 

Christ is our life (Colossians 3:4a), and we are to appear with Him in glory (verse 4b), so we are to grow into His likeness. As we love Him and love one another, we will pursue the perfection that is His character (Colossians 3:14). What then are we to put on if we are putting on Christ and His love? 

Tender mercies—compassions of the heart. Kindness—goodness to all, and especially to the Lord’s. Humility—taking for ourselves a low position and considering others above ourselves. Meekness—the gentleness that would rather suffer harm than inflict it. Longsuffering—like meekness but after the fact; patiently putting up with being wronged rather than giving into fury or trying to get payback.

All of these characteristics are especially needed in one particular situation: “if anyone has a complaint against another.” The characteristics of Christ in the Christian come to bear most when he is sinned against. Both as God and as our Mediator, Christ has been sinned against infinitely more than any of us could have been. And the great act of His redemption has been to bear the guilt Himself in order to forgive us. Being sinned against is one of the greatest opportunities for Christlikeness that a Christian can have. 

And when the opportunity comes, we must seize it by the two commanded actions in Colossians 3:13: forgive one another. We practice for the forgiving of wrongs by bearing with one another’s continual weaknesses and annoyances. And then when idiosyncrasy overflows into genuine offense, the exercise of Christ-like graces in bearing with one another will have strengthened those graces that we might readily forgive one another. So let us live out of love for God and love for others, that when the time comes we might by grace seize our opportunity and forgive.

What opportunity do you have to bear with others? What opportunity do you have to forgive? What are these really opportunities for you to put on and to do?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank and praise You Who have elected and loved us that we might well love You. Forgive us for missing our opportunities to display the qualities of Christ in us, and make us to put on His character so that we may imitate His conduct, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP24 “The Earth and the Riches” or TPH464 “The Beatitudes”

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

2022.01.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 3:16–28

Read 1 Kings 3:16–28

Questions from the Scripture text: Who came to whom in 1 Kings 3:16? Where did they dwell (1 Kings 3:17a)? And what happened (verse 17b)? How long later does what happen (1 Kings 3:18a)? And what were the circumstances in verse 18b? What happened (1 Kings 3:19a)? How (verse 19b)? What did the other woman do about it (1 Kings 3:20)? What does the speaker find, when (1 Kings 3:21a)? What did a closer look reveal (1 Kings 3:21)? What does the other woman say in 1 Kings 3:22a? And the first woman in verse 22b? How does the king summarize the case in 1 Kings 3:23? For what does he ask in 1 Kings 3:24? What does he command in 1 Kings 3:25? Who speaks in 1 Kings 3:26a? Why? What does she request? Who else speaks? What does she request? What does the king say to do in 1 Kings 3:27? Why? Who heard of this (1 Kings 3:28)? What did they do? Why—what did they see was in him? For what?

When we read this passage, we are impressed with the mercy of the king to care about the case even though they were harlots (1 Kings 3:16a). We’re impressed with the cleverness of the king to detect which of the women is the true mother (1 Kings 3:25-27). We’re impressed with the justness that drove the inquiry and that restored the living child to the proper mother. 

But this compassion and wisdom and justness is not just great in quantity; it is incomparable in quality, for 1 Kings 3:28 tells us that the wisdom of Solomon was actually the wisdom of God that was in him!

The two big takeaways here are the faithfulness of God to have kept His Word to Solomon (cf. 1 Kings 3:12) and the great love and wisdom and justness of God that are reflected in a small way in Solomon’s. The kingdom is coming. But the story of the kingdom is our King! 

Just as His promise to Solomon of wisdom, God has made promises to conform us to the image of Christ. He who was faithful to the one will be faithful to the other. And just as we appreciate what we see of the King in the king, so also the good that we see in Christians is actually Christ’s. And we appreciate it more for that, not less—desiring that He would be seen in us and get the glory for it as well.

What of Christ have you seen in others? What do you hope that they see in you? What difference does it make to you that Christ is all of these good things perfectly?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise You for Your faithfulness to keep Your Word. And we confess that we have valued too little that honor and praise which You deserve for Your gracious work in believers. Neither has the desire for You to be glorified in our lives been the motivation it ought to have been to grow in Christ-likeness. For His sake, forgive us, and keep conforming us to His image by Your Spirit, which we ask in Christ’s own Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH400 “Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me”