Giving vs Sacrificing

Daily Scripture readings for October, set #11:

1 Samuel, chapters 24-25
Psalm 105
Mark 12:35-44
2 Corinthians 10

King David’s response to Nabal’s wife Abigail is a telling sign of how he viewed the events of his life. “And David said to Abigail, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from working salvation with my own hand! For as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male'” (1 Sam 25:32-34). David thanks Abigail for her role in the matter, but ultimately gives God the credit for Abigail’s actions.

Psalm 105 is the first in a two-part series of Psalms summarizing Israel’s history. It makes me wonder if these chapters are still considered part of the Bible’s poetic literary genre, and not historical narrative. Obviously these are still Psalms, but should we interact with them differently because they mix genres with narrative? Is that these Psalm’s intention?

Jesus’ observation of the widow in Mark 12 is a familiar story with a very important teaching. Verses 43-44: “And he called his disciples to him and said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.'”  How much we give isn’t important, but rather how much we sacrifice.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor 10:4-5). Note that Paul, upon mentioning spiritual warfare, turns his attention to arguments, lofty opinions, and thoughts.

Daily Scripture readings for October, set #12:

1 Samuel, chapters 26-28
Psalm 106:1-23
Mark 13:1-13
2 Corinthians 11:1-15

1 Samuel 26 records David describing the possibilities by which Saul might meet death. In contrast to my previous note on 1 Samuel 25, David lists God’s direct actions against Saul as only one of three different options: “As the Lord lives, the Lord will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go down into battle and perish” (vs 10). Why is the word “or” here? Also, regarding what happens immediately after death, note the similarity between Samuel’s words in 1 Samuel 28:19 and Jesus’ words in Luke 23.

Psalm 106, in continuing to recount Israel’s history, shows God’s intention for saving his people: “Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power” (vs 8).

Prosperity gospel problem: “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13).

2 Corinthians 11’s famous portrayal of Satan as an “angel of light” is not commonly referenced in its context, where Paul is describing false teachers and prophets. “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds” (vs 13-15). These verses are not primarily a commentary on the devil, but on those who would falsely identify themselves as teachers/leaders within the Church.

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