I thank Ashlee Smith for recording the part of Esther. Ashlee has often been heard in smaller parts without introduction this year. She directs our church’s program for children and also is the secretary. I thank her also for preparing the PDF files for the podcasts while I was in Indonesia in September and October.
Yesterday we heard how Esther became the queen, and how she continued to keep her Jewish background a secret. We also heard how Mordecai, her uncle, was promoted to a palace official after uncovering a plot to assassinate king Xerxes.
The shift to such beautiful poetry that occurs in chapter 40 of Isaiah is one of the things that has made people think the last part of this book was authored by someone else. But that is the silliness of worldly-minded people. As I have pointed out as we have gone along, Isaiah has made beautiful and memorize-able verses from the beginning. And Isaiah’s amazing predictions about the Messiah are not just found in chapter 53, as we heard again yesterday.
Today we start 2nd Thessalonians. We read 1st Thessalonians starting in the last two days of August— for those few of you who are in sync with our calendar. (By the way, next year should I hook readings to a calendar, or just have Day 1, Day 2, etc.?)
2 Thes. seems to have been written soon after the first letter, around 51AD. Paul was evidently still at Corinth. And the letter seems to have been written to clarify a very important points about Christ’s second coming. This letter contains some of the clearest teaching about the antichrist, although Paul does not use that term.
Constable’s notes say, “Paul wrote to encourage the Thessalonian believers to continue to persevere in the face of continuing persecution (1:3-10). He also wanted to clarify events preceding the day of the Lord to dispel false teaching (2:1-12). Finally, he instructed the church how to deal with lazy Christians in their midst (3:6-15).” Constable’s notes can be found at Lumina.bible.org.
11So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your [full belief in Christ//faith] prompts you to do.