Humility Toward One Another

Ok. Three more days worth of readings and I’ve wrapped up the month of March. New goal:  Finish this read-the-whole-Bible-in-a-“year”-and-blog-about-it thing by the end of 2012.

Daily Scripture readings for March, set #23:

- Lamentations 2
Song of Solomon 7
John 7:1-13
1 Peter 4:12-19

“The Lord has swallowed up without mercy all the inhabitants of of Jacob” (Lam 2:2). Our God is a merciful God, but he is not bound by mercy. He is not forced to be merciful as one who is incapable of acting without mercy.

“I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me” (Songs 7:10). Again, with the multiple interpretation options in this book, hearing these words as about the Lord toward the Church is both humbling and empowering. Why should the Lord desire me, undeserving as I am? And why then would I, as one whom God himself desires, give in to the temptation to behave in a way that is undesirable?

“You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come” (Jn 7:8). Reading only two verses further we find Jesus going up to the feast.  Is the translation of verse 8 inaccurate somehow? Perhaps it should read: “I am not going up to this feast WITH YOU.” As it stands, it seems Jesus clearly states that he will do one thing and then does the exact opposite. How should we understand this?

Something to remember next time you hit a rough patch in life: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1Pet 4:12).

Daily Scripture readings for March, set #24:

- Lamentations 3
Song of Solomon 8:1-7
John 7:14-24
1 Peter 5:1-7

“Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins?” (Lam 3:39). The author of Lamentations notes in the beginning of this chapter that the horrible experiences he is having are because of the Lord’s “wrath.” Here in verse 39 he hints that complaining against these experiences, when they are simply the punishment for his sin, is unjust. The sinner receives punishment for his wrongdoing, and a complaint is unwarranted. Thanks be to God for Jesus, our substitute for punishment and atonement for sin, and even more, our provider of eternal life through victory over death!

“I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases” (Lam 3:39). These exact words are used repeatedly in Song of Solomon, but I wonder how they are to be taken in the Christ/Church interpretation.

“If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority” (Jn 7:17). Paraphrase: “If your heart desires what God wants and not merely what you want, you are equipped to discern the divine nature of Jesus’ teachings.” Eh?

Peter, in chapter 5 of his first letter, gives specific instructions to both the elders and the young, but the following instructions he gives to both/all: “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble'” (vs 5).

Daily Scripture readings for March, set #25:

- Lamentations, chapters 4-5
Song of Solomon 8:8-14
John 7:25-36
1 Peter 5:8-14

“Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old—unless you have utterly rejected us, and you remain exceedingly angry with us” (Lam 5:21-22). This is how the book of Lamentations ends… with a plea to the Lord for restoration, accompanied by the downcast notion that the Lord may have finally had enough with Israel. When I think about this, I realize that I often wonder if God has had enough with me – given up on me, decided to not tolerate me anymore.

Man, I am really lost when trying to understand today’s reading in Songs 8. The New Living Translation helps a little.

I know I pick on the “free will” folks a lot, but it’s mainly out of genuine interest. For example, how does an unswerving commitment to human free will understand John 7:30? “So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.” Were the free wills of those who sought to arrest Jesus hijacked so that they were unable to arrest him?

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” (1Pet 5:8-9). Being watchful and resisting the prowling adversary is here described as “suffering,” and the fact that all saints experience it is a motivation to stand firm under the suffering.

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