Reading for Today:
- Ezekiel 37:1–38:23
- Psalm 132:1-9
- Proverbs 29:4
- James 4:1-17
Ezekiel 37:3 can these bones live? The many dry bones (v. 2) picture the nation Israel (v. 11) as apparently dead in their dispersion and waiting for national resurrection. The people knew about the doctrine of individual resurrection; otherwise, this prophecy would have had no meaning (1 Kin. 17; 2 Kin. 4; 13:21; Is. 25:8; 26:19; Dan. 12:2; Hos. 13:14).
Ezekiel 37:4–6 Prophesy to these bones. Ezekiel is to proclaim God’s pledge to reassemble Israelites from the world and restore the nation of Israel to life (v. 5) and give them His Spirit (v. 14) in true salvation and spiritual life. Clearly, God is promising the resurrection of the nation of Israel and its spiritual regeneration (36:25–27).
James 4:4 friendship. Appearing only here in the New Testament, the Greek word describes love in the sense of a strong emotional attachment. Those with a deep and intimate longing for the things of the world give evidence that they are not redeemed (1 John 2:15–17). enmity with God. The necessary corollary to friendship with the world. The sobering truth that unbelievers are God’s enemies is taught throughout Scripture (Deut. 32:41–43; Pss. 21:8; 68:21; 72:9; 110:1, 2; Is. 42:13; Nah. 1:2, 8; Luke 19:27; Rom. 5:10; 8:5–7; 1 Cor. 15:25).
James 4:6 more grace. The only ray of hope in man’s spiritual darkness is the sovereign grace of God, which alone can rescue man from his propensity to lust for evil things. That God gives “more grace” shows that His grace is greater than the power of sin, the flesh, the world, and Satan (Rom. 5:20). The Old Testament quote (from Prov. 3:34; 1 Pet. 5:5) reveals who obtains God’s grace—the humble, not the proud enemies of God. The word “humble” does not define a special class of Christians, but encompasses all believers (Is. 57:15; 66:2; Matt. 18:3, 4).
DAY 23: What do the 10 commands that fill James 4:7–10 have to do with grace?
These verses contain a series of 10 commands that prepare a person to receive saving grace. These commands delineate a person’s response to God’s gracious offer of salvation and reveal what it means to be humble. Each command uses a Greek imperative to define the expected action:
1. Submit to God (v. 7)—James used the word to describe a willing, conscious submission to God’s authority as sovereign ruler of the universe.
2. Resist the devil (v. 7)—those who consciously “take [their] stand against” Satan and transfer their allegiance to God will find that Satan “will flee from” them; he is a defeated foe.
3. Draw near to God (v. 8)—pursue an intimate love relationship with God (Phil. 3:10).
4. Cleanse your hands (v. 8)—the added term “sinners” addresses the unbelievers’ need to recognize and confess their sin (5:20).
5. Purify your hearts (v. 8)—cleansing the hands symbolizes external behavior; this phrase refers to the inner thoughts, motives, and desires of the heart (Ps. 24:3, 4).
6. Lament (v.9)—to be afflicted, wretched, and miserable. This is the state of those truly broken over their sin (Matt. 5:4).
7. Mourn (v. 9)—the internal experience of brokenness over sin (Ps. 51:17; Matt. 5:4).
8. Weep (v. 9)—the outward manifestation of inner sorrow over sin (Mark 14:72).
9. Grieve without laughter or joy (v. 9)—the signs of denial; the flippant laughter of those foolishly indulging in worldly pleasures without regard to God, life, death, sin, judgment, or holiness.
10. Humble yourself (v. 10)—this final command sums up the preceding 9. The word “humble” comes from a word meaning “to make oneself low.” Those conscious of being in the presence of the majestic, infinitely holy God are humble (Is. 6:5).
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.