The Two Levels of Reality

Daily Scripture readings for November, set #21:

2 Kings 16-17
Psalm 119:161-168
Luke 6:17-26
Philippians 3:10-14

I have observed in my life that there are always two levels on which to explain reality or an event in reality, the human level and the spiritual level. For example, the fall of Israel occurs, on the human level, due to political developments between Israel, Egypt and Assyria. However, 2Kings 17:7 clearly states that, on the spiritual level, the fall of Israel was God’s doing: “And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt.”

Is there anything to be desired in this life more than peace? “Great peace have those who love your law, nothing can make them stumble” (Ps 119:165)

Jesus’ advice on what to do when you are bullied or and mistreated because of your love for him: “Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven” (Lk 6:23).

Paul’s motivation for pressing on toward perfection is the reality that Christ has already purchased his faith, rather than a trust in the pressing on itself. “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Phil 3:12).

Daily Scripture readings for November, set #22:

2 Kings 18-19
Psalm 119:169-176
Luke 6:27-36
Philippians 3:15-21

Again, regarding natural causes vs ultimate causes, notice what the Lord says about the king of Assyria, who is setting himself against Judah in battle: “Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should turn fortified cities into heaps of ruins” (2Kings 19:25). God is talking about Israel’s enemies here, saying that he predetermined that they would be successful in battles and grow in power. If an adversary is strong, it is because God has made them so.

The longest Psalm in the Bible closes with the Psalmist confessing his own shortcoming, and asking for mercy: “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments” (Ps 119:176).

“Be merciful, even as your father is merciful” (Lk 6:36). It is important to remember that our motivation for kindness toward others should be the Lord’s kindness toward us. Jesus also says that God is “kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (vs 35)… that’s us, all of us.

I love Paul’s boldness at the end of Philippians chapter 3: “Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you” (vs 15). Did Paul really just say that anyone who is mature will agree with him, but if they don’t then someday God will correct their thinking? Hilarious.

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