|Graphic taken from Vimeo|
If, when I read a passage, nothing exactly pops out to me, then I look at the passage in 4 ways: what did it mean to the people it was written to, what could it generally mean to people, what are some general applications of this scripture, what does it mean to me personally.
What does this passage mean for who this was written to:
Paul wrote this to the church in Ephesus. For around the past two thousand years God had revealed Himself to the Jewish nation. Starting in Genesis 12:1-3 God called Abraham to follow him and promised that he would be the father of a great nation. God also told Abraham that through him all nations would be blessed. It was the Jewish nation about whom the Old Testament is directly relating their history. The Bible indicates in Acts 4:16 that God had basically allowed the non-Jews to just walk in their own ways. But God's promise to Abraham that through him all nations would be blessed was fulfilled in Jesus. To the church in Ephesus these verses explain that God's salvation is for everyone - not just the Jews.
What does this passage mean to people in general:
All people, before they come into a relationship with God through Christ, are outsiders to God's ways. We act according to what seems right to us. Sometimes we show some wisdom and we do alright. Other times we just give in to our sinful nature and end up with all kinds of problems. We don't understand the rich history of how God worked with Israel that is recorded in the Old Testament. We don't see how God is working in the world around us. But Jesus changes all of that.
What are some general applications of this scripture:
- Don't take your relationship with God for granted, God planned it for you throughout time
- Get to know God and His ways better through God's Spirit helping you read the Word and study
- Don't discriminate against anyone since God loves ALL people
- Don't see yourself as better than anyone else since God's plan through Jesus is for all people
- You don't need to feel alone because God's got you with Him
I don't have to live like everyone else around me. I don't have to be discouraged by circumstances at work. I don't need to feel hurt or sad that 2 of my 3 sons don't reach out to me very often and I miss them. I can know that God's got good plans for me. I am in on what He is doing.
Oh Father, show me what You're doing here in the world around me. Help me see things through You're way of seeing things so that I can join in Your work.