Bible reading for October 23.
2 Kings 4.
"So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, 'Bring me another vessel.' And he said to her, 'There is not another.' Then the oil stopped flowing." (2 Kings 4:5-6)
SUPERNATURAL SUPPLY. We read of four remarkable miracles in this chapter. The "sons of the prophets" (v 1) were the disciples who followed and studied under the prophets (v 38). These miracles are similar, but not exactly, to Elijah's in 1 Kings 17. And these look forward to (foreshadow), even more amplified, the miracles of our Lord in feeding the multitudes, raising the dead, and giving children back to parents. He said, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). These miracles also teach us of God's continued, ongoing care for us. He provides what his people need, and more. The physical aspect of these miracles not only points to spiritual realities through Christ -- that we have a new birth, eternal life, cleansing, strength, and fruitfulness -- but they also foreshadow the coming new creation. Grace does not eradicate nature but rather restores it (Bavinck). The new creation includes a new heaven and new earth where there will be no poisonous food, no death, no mourning, no tears, no lack of any blessing! Amen, come, Lord Jesus!
REFLECT. Think about the Shunammite woman -- where there was need, and room to receive what was needed, God's supply continued. Elisha told her, "Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few" (4:3). This should remind us Philippians 4:19... "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:19). And also Jesus' words here: "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you" (Matt 7:7 NLT). So, what are some of the empty vessels you have now that need filling? Bring your vessels, and "not too few"!
1 Timothy 1.
"...and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 1:14)
FALSE TEACHING, AGAIN. This letter was written to Timothy ("my true child in the faith") about AD 62, after Paul's first Roman imprisonment. This letter, along with 2 Timothy and Titus, are called the pastoral epistles because they were written to individuals in church leadership, primarily concerning matters relating to ministry. Chapter one opens with a theme repeated in the NT about confronting false teaching, especially in the church. There were teachers spreading confusion about the purpose of the OT law, and its many details, which result in speculation rather than spiritual growth. The goal of sound doctrine is to produce love which comes from a cleansed heart, good conscience, and a genuine faith. The law calls out sin that we might come to Christ for salvation. Salvation comes from God's abundant, overflowing grace to sinners (vv 14-16). Timothy is to fight the good fight, namely by contending for a true understanding of the gospel (v 18). Two false teachers are named, who were excommunicated from church fellowship (v 19-20). Sometimes you just have to name names.
REFLECT. Occasionally my doorbell will ring and there will be nicely-dressed people who want to talk with me about their church. In one recent encounter a young Mormon missionary (with his trainer) told me that they were a Christian church and believed all the same teachings that Christians believed. Having dealt with this church numerous times before I said (politely), "No, I don't think that's true." He paused, and then said, "You mean, like the Trinity?" And I said, "Well, yes, that's a good place to start." We chatted a little longer but they soon left. Where a true and valuable thing exists you will usually find counterfeits being peddled, too. How do you respond when you hear false teaching being promoted by others? What do you do?
Image credit: photo of clay pots in Nagpur, India, by Oshin Khandelwal on Unsplash. We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.