Daily Scripture readings for October, set #9:
1 Samuel 19’s account of spiritual gifts in Saul’s messengers and Saul himself is very interesting to me. “Then Saul sent messengers to take David, and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as head over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. Then he himself went to Ramah and came to the great well that is in Secu. And he asked, ‘Where are Samuel and David?’ And one said, ‘Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.’ And he went there to Naioth in Ramah. And the Spirit of God came upon him also, and as he went he prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah” (vs 20-23). Apparently the spiritual gift of prophecy does not hinge on a person being a believer in CHRIST, as this account takes place hundreds of years prior to Christ.
Today’s Psalm readings, chapter 103, contains not one but TWO corporate worship songs (vs 1-4 and 8-12). I don’t think New Hope Church has done either of these songs in our Sunday services for some time, and I’m going to make it a point to suggest that we do!
The way to become wrong in one’s thinking, according to Jesus: be unaware of the Scriptures and of God’s power. “Jesus said to them, ‘Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?'” (Mk 12:24).
2 Corinthians 8, verse 21: “for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.” Not only is this an incredibly difficult and mature task, but also consistent with Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians regarding idol meat and considering others as more important than ourselves.
Daily Scripture readings for October, set #10:
1 Samuel 23 shows that it was God who protected David from Saul, not allowing him to be captured and killed. “And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand” (vs 7). However, the priests at Nob in chapter 22 aren’t so fortunate. This reminds me of how Eli responded to Samuel in chapter 3, upon hearing the bad news about himself and his sons. “It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him” (vs 18).
Psalm 104’s depiction of God’s sovereignty over creation is a staggering one. Even lions come to the Lord for food. “These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust” (vs 27-29).
What kinds of things would today’s American Christians substitute for the “whole burnt offerings and sacrifices” mentioned in Mark 12:33? Maybe… voting for the right candidate? Choosing the right songs to sing in church? Tithing the proper amount of one’s income? Whatever it is, loving the Lord and loving your fellow man is better. “And to love (God) with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Paul has much to say about giving in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, but in 9:6-8 he gets to “the point.” “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”