Out of the Abundance of the Intellect the Mouth Speaks

Daily Scripture readings for November, set #23:

2 Kings, chapters 20-21
Psalm 120
Luke 6:37-42
Phil 4:1-7

I took a few courses in college from well-known author and pastor Greg Boyd. He holds some theological positions that differ significantly from most of the other authors I’ve read. However, in his open theism treatise God Of The Possible, he puts forward a very compelling argument for God’s interaction with humanity as a basis for God’s decision-making. Boyd’s thesis is basically this: If God wanted to tell us that he in fact DOES base some of his decisions on his interactions with us, how could he be MORE CLEAR about that than in passages such as 2 Kings 20:5-6? “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord, and I will add fifteen years to your life.” Add fifteen years to your life? Add to what?

Psalm 120 begins a fifteen chapter series of “Songs of Ascent.” If you, like me, aren’t sure what that means or whether it is significant, a lengthy (and somewhat boring… can I say that?) article on  it can be found here.

Luke 6, verse 42: “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” Implication: One CAN be successful in removing the log out of one’s eye. One then has permission, and is even equipped, to help others.

The “peace of God” is not only meant to give us peace, but also to GUARD us. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).

Daily Scripture readings for November, set #24:

2 Kings, chapters 22-23
Psalm 121
Luke 6:43-49
Phil 4:8-13

The young king Josiah understands the nature of Israel’s trouble. “For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us” (2Kings 22:13). Josiah does not try to justify himself or argue his case before the Lord, he simply acknowledges that God’s wrath is upon him and the rest of Judah.

A promise to the one who trusts in the Lord: “The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life” (Ps 121:7). BUT… bad things will still happen to you, not to mention that you will eventually die. The Lord just doesn’t see those things as “evil.”

“For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Lk 6:45). Notice that this verse does NOT say that speech comes from the abundance of the vocabulary, or confidence, or even intellect. Just from the heart.

Not the typical American Christian prayer: “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:11-13).

Daily Scripture readings for November, set #25:

2 Kings, chapters 24-25
Psalm 122
Luke 7:1-10
Phil 4:14-23

“And theLord sent against him bands of the Chaldeans and bands of the Syrians and bands of the Moabites and bands of the Ammonites, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by his servants the prophets” (2Kings 24:2). Those who destroyed Judah were SENT by the Lord for that very purpose.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!” (Ps 122:6). Is this call applicable for present day Jerusalem? Probably not.

It’s interesting to me that the Jewish leaders tell Jesus that the centurion in Luke 7 is “worthy” of Jesus’ healing his son, but the centurion himself states that he is unworthy of having Jesus even enter his house. “When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof” (Lk 7:6).

Philippians 4:13 is, in my mind, one of the heaviest and most powerful texts on giving/tithing or whatever you want to call it. Paul, in encouraging the Philippian church to continue their giving to him, says this: “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek ithe fruit that increases to your credit.” He is telling them that it’s not where his provision will come from that worries him, but rather whether they will gain the fruit that comes to them through giving. There is something that the Philippians will gain through giving, and Paul wants them to have this gain.

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