Day 157

He Gives You Power

Wisdom Proverbs 14:5-14
New Testament Acts 2:22-47
Old Testament 2 Samuel 7:1-8:18

Introduction

I played squash regularly with a group of friends. We were all about the same standard. We almost took it in turns to win or lose. Nevertheless, winning feels good. The feelings of pleasure and satisfaction that accompany victory are quite natural.

This is, of course, a trivial example. The victory that is at the centre of today’s passages is of a totally different order and significance. But even the tiniest and most insignificant victory gives us a taste of its meaning and joy.

The great victory of God that we read about in the New Testament is foreshadowed in the Old Testament. The ultimate victory of God came with the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus and the outpouring of his Spirit who gives you power to live a life of victory.

Wisdom

Proverbs 14:5-14

5 An honest witness does not deceive,
   but a false witness pours out lies.

6 The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none,
   but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.

7 Stay away from a fool,
   for you will not find knowledge on their lips.

8 The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
   but the folly of fools is deception.

9 Fools mock at making amends for sin,
   but goodwill is found among the upright.

10 Each heart knows its own bitterness,
   and no one else can share its joy.

11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
   but the tent of the upright will flourish.

12 There is a way that appears to be right,
   but in the end it leads to death.

13 Even in laughter the heart may ache,
   and rejoicing may end in grief.

14 The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways,
   and the good rewarded for theirs.

Commentary

Victory of goodness

The ‘fool’ in the book of Proverbs does not mean someone lacking intelligence. Rather it means the rebel (especially against God and the laws of decency and justice): ‘the mocker… the foolish… the wicked… the faithless’ (vv.6,7,9,11,14) come to a sticky end (vv.11–14). Their path ends in death.

On the other hand, the book of Proverbs is full of teaching about the importance of righteousness and holiness. We read here about ‘a truthful witness… the upright… the good’ (vv.5,9,11,14).

The implication is that the righteous will in some way outlast death and ‘will flourish’ and be ‘rewarded’ (vv.11–14). In other words, they will ultimately be victorious: ‘a moral life is a favoured life’ (v.9b, MSG).

Prayer

Lord, help me, by the power of your Holy Spirit, to be faithful in all my ways and do the good works that you have prepared in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10).

New Testament

Acts 2:22-47

22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him:

   “‘I saw the Lord always before me.
   Because he is at my right hand,
   I will not be shaken.
  26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
   my body also will rest in hope,
  27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
   you will not let your holy one see decay.
  28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
   you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

  “‘The Lord said to my Lord:
   “Sit at my right hand
  35 until I make your enemies
   a footstool for your feet.”’

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

The Fellowship of the Believers

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Commentary

Victory of Jesus

The church should be a place of ‘celebration, exuberant and joyful’ (v.46, MSG). We should be the most positive people in the world – constantly celebrating Jesus and the victory of God.

On the day of Pentecost, Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, explains the great victory of Jesus. He speaks about his life, ministry, death and, in particular, his resurrection. He gives four reasons why you can be sure that Jesus has been raised from the dead and therefore you can be sure that, through his power within you, you will be raised to life with him:

1. Logical

Satan’s power of death could not possibly be stronger than the power of life in God’s Messiah. Peter explains, ‘God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him’ (v.24).

2. Biblical

He points out that the resurrection was prophesied in Psalm 16:8–11 (Acts 2:25–28). Peter says, ‘\[David\] was a prophet and knew that God had promised on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ’ (vv.30–31).

3. Personal

Peter gives his own testimony: ‘God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact’ (v.32). Peter says in effect, ‘We have all seen him.’

4. Experiential

The experience of the Holy Spirit is in itself evidence of the resurrection. After the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus came the final act in his saving ministry: ‘Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear’ (v.33).

This experience was not confined to those who were present on the day of Pentecost. It is for every Christian. It is for you. ‘The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call’ (v.39). Every time someone experiences the Holy Spirit it is further evidence of the resurrection. Every time you see someone being filled with the Holy Spirit or hear their testimony of how the Holy Spirit has changed their life, it is further evidence of the resurrection.

The Holy Spirit enables us to recognise the truth of the words of Peter: ‘You crucified’ Jesus of Nazareth (v.36). Jesus died for my sins. I killed Jesus. My personal sin was present on the cross. The day I recognised this I, too, was ‘cut to the heart’ (v.37). It is this revelation that leads to true repentance.

The way you receive the promise is by repentance, faith in Jesus, baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (vv.37–38). The evidence that you have received the Holy Spirit will be seen in a changed life and a transformed community (vv.42–47). The church is not only a place of celebration, exuberance and joy; it should also be supremely a place of love.

1. Love for God

The church is a place full of love for God. They had a new love for the Bible – ‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching’ (v.42). Much of this teaching is now enshrined in the New Testament.

They had a new love for the sacraments – ‘They devoted themselves to... the breaking of bread’ (v.42). ‘They broke bread in their homes’ (v.46).

They had a new love for prayer (v.42). The Spirit-filled church will be a praying church.

2. Love for one another

The church should be marked by love for one another. They had a new desire to meet together – ‘They devoted themselves... to the fellowship’ (v.42). ‘They continued to meet together’ and ‘ate together with glad and sincere hearts’ (v.46). There was a new release of finances and generosity in giving (vv.44–45).

The Spirit-filled church will be a united church.

3. Love for the world

The church should be filled with a love for the world. They were an outward-focused community performing signs and wonders (v.43). ‘The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved’ (v.47). The Spirit-filled church will be an outward-looking church.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for the great victory of Jesus over sin and death. Please fill me again with the power of your Holy Spirit.

Old Testament

2 Samuel 7:1-8:18

God’s Promise to David

7 After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”

3 Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”

4 But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:

5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. 7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar? ”’

8 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.

“‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever. ’”

17 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.

David’s Prayer

18 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said:

“Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 19 And as if this were not enough in your sight, Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant—and this decree, Sovereign Lord, is for a mere human!

20 “What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, Sovereign Lord. 21 For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant.

22 “How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. 23 And who is like your people Israel —the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? 24 You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, Lord, have become their God.

25 “And now, Lord God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, 26 so that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘The Lord Almighty is God over Israel!’ And the house of your servant David will be established in your sight.

27 “Lord Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you.’ So your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. 28 Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. 29 Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.”

David’s Victories

8 In the course of time, David defeated the Philistines and subdued them, and he took Metheg Ammah from the control of the Philistines.

2 David also defeated the Moabites. He made them lie down on the ground and measured them off with a length of cord. Every two lengths of them were put to death, and the third length was allowed to live. So the Moabites became subject to David and brought him tribute.

3 Moreover, David defeated Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah, when he went to restore his monument at the Euphrates River. 4 David captured a thousand of his chariots, seven thousand charioteers and twenty thousand foot soldiers. He hamstrung all but a hundred of the chariot horses.

5 When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David struck down twenty-two thousand of them. 6 He put garrisons in the Aramean kingdom of Damascus, and the Arameans became subject to him and brought tribute. The Lord gave David victory wherever he went.

7 David took the gold shields that belonged to the officers of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. 8 From Tebah and Berothai, towns that belonged to Hadadezer, King David took a great quantity of bronze.

9 When Tou king of Hamath heard that David had defeated the entire army of Hadadezer, 10 he sent his son Joram to King David to greet him and congratulate him on his victory in battle over Hadadezer, who had been at war with Tou. Joram brought with him articles of silver, of gold and of bronze.

11 King David dedicated these articles to the Lord, as he had done with the silver and gold from all the nations he had subdued: 12 Edom and Moab, the Ammonites and the Philistines, and Amalek. He also dedicated the plunder taken from Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah.

13 And David became famous after he returned from striking down eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

14 He put garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became subject to David. The Lord gave David victory wherever he went.

David’s Officials

15 David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people. 16 Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder; 17 Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelek son of Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was secretary; 18 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; and David’s sons were priests.

Commentary

Victory everywhere you go

The victory of Jesus was foreshadowed in the life of David. There are over a thousand references to David in the Bible. He was an anointed (messiah) king. The Lord gave him ‘rest from all his enemies around him’ (7:1). Nathan the prophet said to David, ‘Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you’ (v.3). ‘The Lord gave David victory wherever he went’ (8:6,14).

We see in David’s prayer an example to follow:

1. Praise for God’s greatness

David has both a sense of his own unworthiness in the presence of God (7:18) and at the same time, a realisation of the greatness of God: ‘How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you’ (v.22). He praises God for his redemption of his people (v.23).

2. Passion for God’s name

David is passionate to see God’s name honoured: ‘Do as you promised, so that your name will be great for ever’ (vv.25–26).

3. Promise for God’s family

David trusts in God’s word (v.28). He goes on to ask for one more thing: ‘Bless my family; keep your eye on them always. You’ve already as much as said that you would, Master God! Oh, may your blessing be on my family permanently!’ (v.29, MSG).

God made a covenant with David. Whereas God had been dwelling in a tent (7:2), he promises to establish a house for David (vv.7,10–11). He promises, ‘I will raise up your offspring to succeed you… I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever… Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever’ (vv.12–13,16).

Only in Jesus were the promises of the Davidic covenant fulfilled. The human kings failed, but there remained the hope of a future king who would fulfil the kingship ideal. Jesus was the son of David (see, for example, Matthew 1:1). As he entered Jerusalem, the people cried out, ‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’ (Mark 11:10).

However, the victory of Jesus and the kingdom of Jesus were far greater than anyone had anticipated. They were achieved not by a conquering king winning physical battles, but by a dying Saviour winning the great spiritual victory over sin, guilt, addiction, fear and even death itself.

We see from the example of Jesus that victory is not always glamorous or even obvious. But God promises you, as he promises David, that his power will be with you wherever you go and that, in Christ, ultimately you will be victorious.

Prayer

Lord, like David, I feel a sense of unworthiness in your presence. ‘Who am I, O Sovereign Lord?’ (7:18). Thank you that in Christ you promise to give me your power, to be with me and to help me wherever I go.

Pippa adds

In Acts 2:22-41 we see all Peter’s friends, who must have been so pleased and proud (in the good sense) when he stood up and gave his first sermon. They had been with Peter through all his ups and downs and failures. Now the anointing of God was on him. The last three years had been a preparation for this moment.

It is wonderful to see people who have been through their struggles finding their calling.

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References

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

The Bible with Nicky and Pippa Gumbel

  • INTRODUCTION
  • WISDOM BIBLE
  • WISDOM COMMENTARY
  • NEW TESTAMENT BIBLE
  • NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY
  • OLD TESTAMENT BIBLE
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  • PIPPA ADDS

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