Through the Word in 2020 #133 – Oct. 14 / Watch and Pray

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I’ve heard it said that there are 3 crucial things to consider when it comes to real estate: Location, Location and Location. And there is a similar adage – no less true – when it comes to reading, understanding and interpreting the Bible: Context, Context and Context. The countless distortions of Scripture due to taking verses out of their context are just that – countless. And the value of reading things in their contexts is truly inestimable.

We’ll look at one important example of that today on through the Word in 2020. Reading 1 Peter 1:13-25, Jeremiah 8:18-12:17 and then Luke 22:35-46, we’ll see an often overlooked crucial dynamic for the Christian life in the words of Jesus.

I’m Reid Ferguson.

A conversation just last week reminded me of a favorite example of taking a verse out of context. There was a very popular worship song a number of years ago which was very upbeat and sung as a joyous refrain regarding God’s army gaining victory. The lyrics went:

They rush on the city, they run on the wall Great is the army that carries out His word

They rush on the city, they run on the wall Great is the army that carries out His word

The Lord utters His voice before His army

The Lord utters His voice before His army

Blow the trumpet in Zion, Zion Sound the alarm in My Holy mountain!

Blow the trumpet in Zion, Zion sound the alarm!

The words were taken from Joel 2. But “God’s Army” there was the plague of locusts God was sending upon Jerusalem because of their continued disobedience. It is not a happy song of God’s people gaining victory but of God’s judgment.

Can you spell – oops?

And it is context that also sheds great light on Jesus’ words to His Disciples in Luke 22:40 – “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

In context, that was more than just some isolated word of good advice. It was more like: “This is how I am going to be praying right now, so as to overcome temptation. So take note. Watch. Observe. This activity is not to be taken lightly. It is stepping on to the front line of the battlefield in confronting sin.”

When we see Jesus praying here, we cannot help but note that such prayer will be hard prayer, pleading and life or death prayer. Temptation is not overcome on a whim – it takes all you have, and that, only as God gives grace. This is absolutely crucial. Prayer to overcome temptation is massively important and consuming.

And what is the temptation He is referring to here? It is the fountainhead of all temptation: To pursue our preferences and desires, over the Father’s. Every temptation ultimately comes down to that. And perhaps it is this very scene the Writer to the Hebrews has in mind when he says: “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

Here, Jesus’ agony in submitting to the Father was such that His sweat became like great drops of blood. Now the text relates that in this moment, an angel from heaven appeared to strengthen Jesus. Because of it, I am greatly encouraged to think that when we seek to serve God so earnestly and agonizingly in fighting sin, that the heavenly host are dispatched for us as well as heirs of grace. And at the very least – which in all reality is infinitely more – as our Savior prayed in this regard for Himself, so He who prayed so and overcame that night, is even now at the right hand of God interceding for all of His.

With no less passion.

Look to Him today Believer. He prays for you.

God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.

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