The Venom Of Cobras
Daily Scripture readings for April, set #21:
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25). This is an encouraging verse, right? Yes, it is. But just remember the context. Job just got done describing the way God had “kindled his wrath” against him. Job sees God as BOTH a redeemer AND sovereign over suffering.
“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (Dan 4:37). I am noticing a similar thing in this text as in the Job text above. God clearly is the one who sends Nebuchadnezzar into crazy town, for the very purpose of demonstrating his power to him and through him. And then, when it’s all over, Nebuchadnezzar is NOT bitter or angry toward God, but gives him praise and honor, declaring his ways to be right and just. Nebuchadnezzar does not see God as unkind or unjust simply because he allows/decrees suffering in his life.
“For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God” (Jn 12:43). How could this be? Could such a misplaced love come from logic, or from reason, or intelligence? Rather, an error of affection like this only comes from DISEASE. Enter the doctrine of depravity.
“For whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works” (2Jn 11). Whoa… what? Is this hyperbole? Merely greeting someone who has become apostate and no longer teaches the truth makes you an accomplice in apostasy? I honestly do not understand this.
Daily Scripture readings for April, set #22:
“Though evil is sweet in his mouth, though he hides it under his tongue, though he is loath to let it go and holds it in his mouth, yet his food is turned in his stomach; it is the venom of cobras within him” (Job 20:12-14). The paradox (or bummer, rather) or evil: it is pleasing while being poisonous. Oh Lord, may I not desire that which is venom.
“When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously” (Dan 6:10). This is Daniel modeling the proper prioritizing of the glory that comes from man and the glory that comes from God (see the above Jn 12 quote).
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him” (Jn 13:3-5). It’s noteworthy to me that Jesus’ motivation for this well-known act of service is “knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands” (vs 3). We too know that the Father has given all things into Jesus’ hands. Evidently that knowledge should push us toward an attitude of serving others.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3Jn 4). This verse carries more weight with me now that I myself am a father and desire my children to walk in the truth.