Doing Good Works

Daily Scripture readings for January, set #21:

Esther 2
Proverbs 15:18-33
Luke 19:28-40
Titus 2:11-15

“Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her” (Est 2:15). According to this verse it the favor was FOR Esther, but also apparently won BY Esther. Cross this with Gen 39:21, where the favor is FOR Joseph but is described as having been GIVEN by God.

“Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence” (Prov 15:32). Another Goold paraphrase is in order, along the lines of Prov 12:1… “You’re just hurting yourself when you don’t listen to someone who wants to help you learn, because being corrected is how one gets smart.”

Jason Harms, one of the artists I’ve played with for years, has a song based on Luke 19:40. “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” The premise of Jason’s song: You don’t want to be beat out by a rock, do you?

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). Three things are accomplished here: Salvation, renouncing ungodliness, godly living. And all three come by God’s GRACE.

Daily Scripture readings for January, set #22:

Esther, chapters 3-4
Proverbs 16:1-16
Luke 19:41-48
Titus 3:1-8

Ok… I am trying super hard to figure out the purpose of Esther 3:7 within the story as a whole, and I can’t do it. In fact, I can’t even figure out what the sentence means. “In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, they cast lots) before Haman day after day; and they cast it month after month till the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.” So, some guys played dice with Haman for a year? I’m missing something.

Both verse 1 and verse 9 of Proverbs 16 say the same thing: You THINK you determine your own actions/life/existence, but what actually happens is God’s doing. “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord” (vs 1)… “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (vs 9).

“Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42). Jesus wishes that the people of Jerusalem could know what they need to know, but they don’t know it. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords, by whose word all things are sustained, apparently does not always get his wish.

“So that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works” (Titus 3:8). Now compare this with what Paul says 3 verses earlier, where he reminds Timothy that good works are NOT what gets one saved in the first place. “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy” (vs 5).

 

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