Discover the Book – December 10

God in a Manger

The glory of Christmas is the glorious response of those who witnessed Christ’s birth. They offered Him pure and glorious worship!

What does Matthew 2 record as the first reaction to the birth of Christ? Worship. Shortly after the birth of the Messiah, Babylonian magi from the East arrived in Jerusalem and inquired of king Herod where the real king of the Jews was to be born.

The immediate reaction of the theologians of Herod’s court who knew the Scriptures well-was “in Bethlehem.” What is amazing is that as they recited these words they showed the terrible condition that though they knew the Scriptures, they did not believe them! What a sad indictment upon these Bible students that they did not even bother to travel the five or six miles to Bethlehem to see their Messiah.

But one person in the crowded court believed the Scriptures! Herod believed the Scriptures! That is why he dispatched a corps of butchers to Bethlehem to slaughter innocent children, in hopes of destroying this rival to his throne. But he was too late. The magi had come and gone and Jesus was by now safe in Egypt.
Another group also believed, those Magi believed the Scriptures. They had traveled several hundred miles to worship this Babe. They were guided to Bethlehem by a supernatural celestial phenomenon–and by the Scriptures. Apparently, their ancestors had been instructed by Daniel the prophet about the coming Messiah. . . When they saw the Child, they fell down and worshiped him. This was God in the flesh. They could do no other.

And they gave him gifts–gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This was an unusual present–by any standards. The gold, of course, we all can understand–but the frankincense and myrrh were odd. Perhaps this means these wise men had been exposed to Isaiah’s prophecy which foretold that “nations will come to your light, and kings to your rising. . . They will bring gold and frankincense, and will bear good news. . . ” (Isa. 60:3,6) . This exposure and their response explain the frankincense, but not the myrrh.

To the ancients myrrh, like frankincense, was a perfume. But unlike frankincense, myrrh always seemed to have the smell of death. In the ancient world, it was used to embalm a corpse. Jesus himself would be embalmed with this very perfume (John 19:39.)

How could the Magi be thinking of Jesus’ death when they brought the myrrh? The only way was if they knew of it from Daniel’s prophecy (9:24-27). In the ninth chapter of Daniel we read that the ‘Messiah will be cut off’ and this ‘will make atonement for iniquity’ and ultimately ‘bring in everlasting righteousness’ (9:26, 24).

Even at the birth of our Savior, the shadow of the cross is already falling over his face. . . 

Matthew 2:1-11
Look at Mt. 2 and the Magi they:

  • v. 1 Came from far away
  • v. 2 Had single minded devotion
  • v. 3-8 Aren’t daunted by false seekers
  • v. 9 Keep following God’s leading
  • v. 10 Have great anticipation
  • v. 11 Purpose to see and give

The theologians of Herod’s court did not believe the Scriptures. They were fools. Herod believed, but disobeyed. He was a madman. The simple shepherds and the majestic Magi believed in this infant Savior–and it was reckoned to them as righteousness. May we follow in their train?

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What Is the Meaning of “An Everlasting Love” in Jeremiah 31:3?

  • Aaron BrownGodTube Contributing Author
love for god verses, love for god scripture, love for god bible verses

“…the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

Love. An emotion often felt, but hard to describe. A quick glance at the dictionary defines love as “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.”

The word love sounds simple, but has a very complex definition. Thankfully, the Bible with all its wisdom offers clarity. Love is mentioned a plethora of times throughout Scripture. In the King James Version, the word appears 310 times! If emphasis is the reason for repetition, then we know that the Bible places great value on love.

With all of its appearances, love takes on different meanings when mentioned. The word is used to describe various relationships, whether that is our relationship to God, others, ourselves, or even our relationship to earthly possessions.

Thus we can conclude, according to the Bible, love seems to operate in many directions. Yet, if God’s love is an “everlasting love,” what exactly does that mean?

With a better understanding of what the Bible says about love, we will gain greater insight into God’s everlasting love.

Photo Credit: © Unsplashhand holding red knit love heart at sunset

What Does the Bible Say about Love?

The Bible offers much thought to defining the complex term, describing love in so many different ways and so many times. The reason love appears so frequently is because of its importance. In fact, the greatest aspects of the Christian faith is love.

In Matthew 22, Jesus was asked by a Pharisee what the greatest commandment was and Jesus gave an easy answer. The first commandment was to love God. And the second was to love others as we love ourselves.

No wonder the word appears so often. By sharing love with God and others we live out the life of a Christian, doing what Jesus commanded. Many Christians cite sharing the gospel as their main calling. That can be a part of love, but does not fully define love in itself.

When love is described in comparison to faith and hope in 1 Corinthians 13, love is noted as being “greater.” The idea that love is greater than faith is paradoxical for many even in the Christian community. Then again in 1 John 14, we read that our ability to love stems from God’s ability to love us.

“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

Using the aforementioned verses from the Bible we can gain a better understanding of God’s “everlasting love” described in Jeremiah 31:3. While we are called to live lives of love toward God and others, the magnitude by which God loves us happens before we can love Him, and happens on a much greater scale.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Natali_MisBible open to book of Jeremiah

The Context of Jeremiah 31:3

Throughout this chapter, Jeremiah’s words present a love-centered picture of God.

The chapter opens with a declaration from the Lord: “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people” (Jeremiah 31:1). God’s words here indicate that the Israelites belong to God. They can find their home in Him. He is their father.

The chapter continues to describe how the chosen people who survived in the wilderness can now find rest as a nation. This is when we witness the description of God’s everlasting love.

The meaning of that love is given after the third verse. God plans on restoring His people, despite previous transgressions. Jeremiah continues to write and reveals that God has such great plans for His people, plans involving dancing, rejoicing, turning lamenting to joy.

Jeremiah indicates that these plans from God are not tentative either, they are declarations. A promise.

God’s relationship with the Israelites can be seen as very forgiving, despite previous transgression, but His love can be traced back all the way to the Garden of Eden.

God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26). That original man was Adam, and the original woman was Eve. Even in the beginning, man found a way to turn his back on God. Since that time, many generations before Jeremiah wrote his words, God has been expressing love for His people.

His everlasting love has never stopped.

Photo Credit: © Sparrowstock<img alt="What Does This Verse Mean Today?” width=”800″ src=”https://i.swncdn.com/media/800w/via/6369-istockgetty-images-pluskevron2001.jpg”&gt;

What Does This Verse Mean Today?

God’s everlasting love, though mentioned specifically in this passage is showcased many times in the Bible.

Scripture is replete with two kinds of stories, both indicative of God’s love.

One type consists of people turning their backs on God through sin, only to return later seeking forgiveness. Take for example how God freed the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. However free they became, they struggled to maintain their faith in the Lord.

Despite their inconsistent faith, God was consistent in His love for them. He kept His promise from generation to generation that they would inherit the Promised Land. Though not everyone lived to see the promise fulfilled, God kept His word to His people.

The other kind of stories are those where people who did not believe in Christ, like Paul, came to find redemption. Paul who once persecuted Christians became someone who proclaimed the gospel. Though he didn’t begin as one of God’s people, he became one.

That reversal in his story reflects the kind of love that God has for his people, constantly pursuing and welcoming us with open arms, no matter where we are in our faith journey.

If these examples are reflective of God’s everlasting love, then we can be sure that God’s love extends beyond generations. His love is full of forgiveness. God is ready to take us as His own whenever we are ready for Him.

God wants nothing more than to take us in and redeem us into better people.

A love that is not bound by time is everlasting. A love that is unconditional is everlasting. No matter how we choose to define God’s love, we can’t ignore the everlasting quality.

No matter what we have done or where we are in our faith journey, God is willing to love us.

No matter if we just started believing, or are still unsure, God is ready and willing to embrace us with his everlasting love.

And for that we have to say, thank you!

Photo Credit: © iStock/Getty Images Plus/kevron2001


headshot of author Aaron BrownAaron Brown is a freelance writer, dance teacher, and visual artist. He currently contributes articles to GodUpdatesGodTube, iBelieve, and Crosswalk. Aaron also supports clients through the freelance platform Upwork.

Daily Journey – December 10

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December 10

Ezekiel 35Revelation 2:18-29

Thought from Today’s Old Testament Passage:

Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord [Ezek. 37:4].

This is something rather ironical and even humorous. I have always insisted that God has a sense of humor, and here is an illustration of that. If you can’t see where it’s funny, that’s all right—just pass it by. But imagine Ezekiel now as God says to him, “Prophesy on these bones. Start out by saying, ‘O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.'” I have a notion Ezekiel said, “Now, Lord, you really don’t mean for me to start talking to these dry bones here! The man with the white coat and the net will be out looking for me if I do that!” Really, that isn’t a very good sermon introduction is it? No preacher would begin by saying to his Sunday morning congregation, “Oh, you dry bones!” A friend of mine (who also has a good sense of humor) said to me, “You know, I have a congregation with which I’d like to begin as Ezekiel did—the bones I speak to are as dry as Ezekiel’s—but I don’t dare do that.”

Ezekiel is looking out on this valley filled with dry bones, and he’s to speak to them. Ezekiel is to say to these bones, “I want you to hear what God has to say.”

J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, © 1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

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God’s Wisdom Revealed – In Touch – December 10

December 10

God’s Wisdom Revealed

1 Corinthians 2:6-16

After exposing the futility of worldly thinking in 1 Corinthians 1, Paul introduces Christians to the higher realm of godly wisdom. This kind of knowledge and understanding isn’t available through human intelligence and reasoning; it comes strictly through divine revelation. Only those indwelt by God’s Spirit have “the mind of Christ” (v. 16) and access to “the things freely given” to them by God (v. 12).

Without this supernatural insight, no one can accurately know the Lord or His ways. Many people say they believe in God yet may not have a correct understanding of Him because their perceptions are based on their own thoughts and ideas. It’s easier to custom-design a god to fit our preferences than to make the required adjustments that worship of the one true God demands.

Even believers need to guard against trying to fit God into their preconceived image of Him. The Bible is the only reliable source of divine revelation, but we must be careful to consider the Scriptures as a whole—it’s critical that we don’t just pick and choose the verses we want to believe. For example, by focusing only on passages that emphasize the Lord’s lovingkindness while excluding those that speak of His holiness and justice, we misunderstand His true nature.

Let’s seek to know the Lord in truth by considering the entire counsel of Scripture. Divine wisdom is available to every believer through the Holy Spirit, who searches the depths of God. May we never try to limit Him to fit our preferences. Instead, may He enlarge our minds to embrace His thoughts.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

And Listen to Dr. Charles Stanley at OnePlace.com!

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2019 All Rights Reserved.