Be Skillful In Work

Daily Scripture readings for February, set #9:

Isaiah, chapters 24-26
Proverbs 22:17-29
Luke 22:31-38
Hebrews 6:1-12

The devastation of the Lord’s just punishing of the earth will be equal opportunity: “Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor” (Isa 24:1-2).

One of the many biblical mandates for excellence in work: “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men” (Prov 22:29).

“And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36). Does Jesus here endorse and even call for the use of violence from his followers? No way. Jesus prohibits violence while being arrested only a few verses later. What then is the meaning of vs 36’s “sword” reference? My guess is it has something to do with vs 37’s “being counted among the lawless.”

“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God” (Heb 6:1). A buzz phrase lately among friends of mine is “preach the Gospel to yourself.” In other words, the “elementary doctrine of Christ” is something that I should be reminding myself of every day. Does this verse contradict that idea? What is the author of Hebrews getting at by saying that we should “leave” such doctrine?

Daily Scripture readings for February, set #10:

Isaiah, chapters 27-28
Proverbs 23:1-18
Luke 22:39-46
Hebrews 6:13-20

“In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea” (Isa 27:1). I read the book of Job recently with our small group, and it also references “Leviathan.” The verse cited above calls Leviathan a “dragon that is in the sea,” which I think at first glance would seem to be metaphorical. Job chapter 41 suggests that “Leviathan” is possibly a literal dragon, of sorts.

Wisdom for parenting: “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol” (Prov 23:13-14). In addition to being controversial in our current society, this teaching is also a challenge to the lazy parent or the cowardly parent.

“Pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Luke 22:40). This is a direct command from Jesus to his followers, which then happens again in verse 46. And then of course this exact sentiment is present in the Lord’s Prayer. We should take this command seriously.

The second half of Hebrews 6 has all kinds of implicit statements about God and his character (greatest of all beings, impossible for him to lie, etc), but the MAIN POINT of these verses is to bring surety to the Christian in salvation. “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Heb 6:19-20).

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