Affliction and Faithfulness

Well, I am officially over a month behind on these posts. Since Thanksgiving my music career has been busier than ever before, and finding time to post my notes/thoughts online has been difficult. A lot of my reading has happened while on planes, and honestly I’m just too cheap to pay for the in-flight wifi.

Some catch-up is in order (to say the least), so the double-posts continue…

Daily Scripture readings for November, set #9:

1 Kings, chapters 13-14
Psalm 119:65-72
– Luke 3:1-20
Ephesians 4:25-32

I’m going to skip over the apparent injustice between the prophets from Bethel/Judah in 1 Kings 13 and instead comment on verse 6 of that chapter (though a helpful explanation of the chapter can be found here, and point B-3-c of the linked article somewhat explains the “injustice” issue). “And the king said to the man of God, ‘Entreat now the favor of theLord your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.’ And the man of God entreated the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored to him and became as it was before” (13:6). Jeroboam is asking for healing from the wound inflicted upon him two verses earlier, and it is clear that both the wound and the healing are from the Lord. Some might see this as an unnecessary circle of events, but Jeroboam’s post-wound heart is definitely in a different state than it was pre-wound. Apparently God is not concerned with wounding or healing, but with the heart.

The idea that wounding is God’s method for bringing about heart change is conveniently reinforced in today’s Psalm 119 reading. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word”(vs 67). “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes”(vs 71). Also noteworthy here is verse 68, clarifying that God’s “afflicting” is for GOOD. “You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.”

“And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance tfor the forgiveness of sins” (Lk 3:3). Not merely a baptism of water, a baptism of REPENTANCE.

The list of works to do and not do at the end of Ephesians 4:25-32 is helpful in understanding how a Christian should live, unless one forgets that the list begins with a “therefore,” linking it to the concept of the “new self” in verse 24. Descriptions of a Christlike life are opportunities for legalism, so it’s key to remember that Christlikeness comes FROM the new self, rather than being the means of creating the new self.

Daily Scripture readings for November, set #10:

1 Kings, chapters 15-16
Psalm 119:73-80
Luke 3:21-38
Ephesians 5:1-21

1 Kings 15-16 describe the various kings over Israel and Judah, and most of them “did evil in the sight of the Lord.” Asa was a huge exception, who, according to 15:13, “removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. And Asa cut down her image and burned it at the brook Kidron.” This bold move by Asa reminds me of Matthew 10:37.

“I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me” (Ps 119:75). Continuing on the theme of affliction, the Psalmist here attributes his being afflicted to the Lord’s FAITHFULNESS. Preach it.

Jesus’ lineage in Luke 3, verse 38: “The son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of… GOD.”

“Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (Eph 5:10). The older I get, the more I value discernment… both in myself and in others.

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