Daily Scripture readings for September, set #5:
When I first met Pastor Bryan we had a discussion about Joshua 10:14, and he had a great explanation of how this verse fits into the question of whether God changes his mind. “There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel.” I’d love to share Bryan’s interpretation of this, but, as it happens, I can’t remember what it was. Maybe I can get Bryan to post a comment here to refresh me on how to understand this verse. That is, if HE can remember…
The concept of “fearing” the Lord is a hazy thing for me. I think I understand it for the most part, but I always shy away from equating “the fear of the Lord” with LITERAL fright. It seems like this Psalm does that though, suggesting that the Lord is someone to be actually afraid of. “But you, you are to be feared! Who can stand before you when once your anger is roused?” (vs 7).
“And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, ‘Why do you question these things in your hearts?'” (Mark 2:8). The Psalms often speak of “the wicked” as having a tendency to forget (or be ignorant of) God’s ability to see hearts and know motives. Jesus, incarnate in human flesh, was able to discern what the doubters in this situation were saying “within themselves.” I think a stat sheet about the sin in my life would probably reveal more sin in my THOUGHTS than in my actions. God is no less aware of my sinful thoughts than he is of any other sin, though I often believe the lie that sinful thoughts are somehow hidden because I only think them.
Speaking of seeing what is hidden, 1 Corinthians 4 hits that nail on the head in the first few verses. “For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God” (vs 4-5). I think verse 4 is saying that God not only sees our sin in secret or in thought, but also sees the sin that we aren’t even conscious of.
Daily Scripture readings for September, set #6:
The book of Joshua has been pretty interesting so far, but the descriptions of the land allotment in chapters 13-14 has taken a turn for the boring side. As such, I don’t have any notes on the chapters… except that at this point the sheer repetition of the fact that the Levites received no land inheritance from the Lord is making me wonder if there’s some further significance there that I’m missing.
I love Psalm 77. I love how Asaph takes comfort from remembering the Lord’s goodness, and he doesn’t allow his current situation to trump the Lord’s mighty deeds and faithfulness of the past. Here’s a summary of the Psalm from my personal notes: My situation was pretty dire and I was feeling like God had left me. Then it occurred to me: “wait a second – I need to really think hard about this. Has God ever abandoned me? Has he not been faithful in the past?” So I spent some time dwelling on the Lord’s mighty works, and in remembering I was encouraged.
I’m a fulltime musician, and consequently I find myself playing gigs in bars and clubs from time to time. While this is a source of provision for my family, it also brings a unique opportunity for evangelism… unique in the sense that I encounter a different demographic of people than I would if I had a “normal job.” Every now and then one of my Christian friends will ask me why I take gigs that are in bars/clubs, implying that such environments should present a conflict for me. I always point to Mark 2:16-17 in my response. “And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’”
1 Corinthians 5 is a great follow-up to Mark 2:16-17, because here Paul specifically instructs the church to not associate with certain people. How do these things go together? How can Jesus eat with tax collectors while Paul forbids the church to be with adulterers? Is it that adultery is just a worse sin than financial fraud? I think the key is in verses 12-13: “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.'” Interestingly, Paul is quoting Deut 22 (et al), which I mentioned a few days ago.