The Forbidden Woman

Daily Scripture readings for January, set #5:

Ezra 7
Proverbs 5
Luke 14:15-24
– 1 Timothy 3:14-16

“For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel” (Ez 7:10). Oh Lord, give me this heart.

The portrayal of a “forbidden woman” in Proverbs 5 could not be more grim. I am in awe of how my flesh would EVER desire something so harmful, and yet that is exactly the case for every married man. Verse 23 reminds me the importance of discipline and clear thinking in this matter: “He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.”

Luke 14’s parable of the wedding feast and those who were invited is chilling. What is really remarkable to me as I read tonight is that marriage is included in the list of “excuses” given by the invitees (vs 20). I wonder if this has any ties to Paul’s statements about marriage in 1Cor 7.

The MYSTERY of godliness: “He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory” (1Tim 3:16)

Daily Scripture readings for January, set #6:

Ezra 8
Proverbs 6
Luke 14:25-35
1 Timothy 4

I love Ezra’s honesty here: “For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, ‘The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.'” (8:26). He is admitting that, after boldly proclaiming to the king that God alone was sufficient protection for their journey, he doubted whether the Lord would actually protect them. So he humbly fasted and sought the Lord’s help. What a PERFECT description of how we should posture ourselves before the Lord: boldly proclaiming yet not assuming, so that we readily seek him in earnestness rather than presumption.

The Proverbs’ wisdom branches out toward many topics in the first half of chapter 6, but returns in the second half to the important issue of adultery. “He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself” (vs 32). Let the strength of that wording adjust your heart to a place of fear and disdain toward the sin of adultery.

“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:33). This kind of language regarding the decision to follow Jesus is the absolute NAIL IN THE COFFIN for the prosperity gospel. You don’t tell your followers to count the cost of following you if your actual intention is to just make them rich.

“For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe” (1Tim 4:10). Obviously the point of this verse is to demonstrate the foundation of Paul’s hope and work ethic. But notice that the second half of the verse distinguishes Jesus’ salvation between two groups: 1) all people, and 2) those who believe. Jesus apparently saves both of these groups, but in different ways.

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