Daily Scripture readings for September, set #3:
The account of Achan’s sin in Joshua 7 is another glaring example of the difference between the Old and New Covenants. Notice that Achan, upon being discovered, confesses his sin: “And Achan answered Joshua, ‘Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar… then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath'” (vs 20-21). Achan and all his family are then stoned to death. Old Covenant: the wages of sin is death. New Covenant: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9).
Psalm 74 feels very bold on David’s part… to be repeatedly calling God out and requesting that he keep his promises. And yet, I am noticing that it is quite Biblical to do this. Psalm 74 isn’t the first time David has “reminded” the Lord of his promises. God has great regard for his own Word, and when I know it well enough to quote it to him, he is pleased to keep it.
So far the Gospel of Mark has quite a strong theme of spiritual warfare. I wonder for what purpose Jesus silences the demons when they speak of his divine identity: “And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him” (vs 34).
1 Corinthians 2 contains an important reminder about the state of the unregenerate mind: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (vs 14). This throws an interesting curve ball into the discussion on preaching with eloquence and “the wisdom of men.”
Daily Scripture readings for September, set #4:
“And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law” (Josh 8:34). It strikes me today as I read this that the Law contained both good and bad, words of encouragement and words of foreboding. And yet the Joshua boldly proclaimed the whole Law to the people, rather than avoiding the tough sections.
Speaking of tough sections in Scripture, Psalm 75 has a declaration about God and his actions that doesn’t sit well with our contemporary culture in America. “For not from the east or from the west, and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another” (vs 6-7). The footnote in my Bible equates the “lifting up” here with that of Psalm 3:3. Regardless of what “lifting up” specifically refers to, “putting down” is clearly meant to signify the opposite. Asaph unapologetically proclaims that both come from the hand of the Lord.
Mark 1 reveals that Jesus’ only purpose/motive in moving to another town was to preach: “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out” (vs 38). Paul also has this overarching intention in all he does. And then there’s me… basically just trying to make as much money as I can. Lord, help me PRIORITIZE the way you do!
I’m noticing today in 1 Corinthians 3 that the context surrounding the “your are God’s temple” verses is quite different than most people imply when they quote the verses. “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple” (vs 16-17). It seems like most of the time these verses are thrown out as a proof text for eating healthy and exercising, or something like that. Now, those things are definitely beneficial, but it really seems like a stretch to say that the context in this chapter has anything to do with PHYSICAL wellness.