Song of Solomon 5:1-8:14 ~ 2 Corinthians 9:1-15 ~ Psalm 51:1-19 ~ Proverbs 22:24-25
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Old Testament - Today we finish up the Song of Solomon! Then - the next book snuck up on me - tomorrow we begin the book of the prophet Isaiah! Get ready for an incredible book. Get ready for many Eighth century B.C. prophecies of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ! Tomorrow begins our readings of the Major Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel are before us. Below is a quick re-cap of the 39 books in the Old Testament and their various categories:
Song of Solomon Chapter 8 verse 4 stood out to me today when the young woman says- "I want you to promise, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right." This is an interesting concept I think - of not awakening love until the time is right. The reason I bring this up is because I know tons of people who are single. And probably a lot of folks reading this blog are single. And I've come to realize that single people can oftentimes stress out over being single... as if they are never going to get married. Which, perhaps for some, may be true. I do honestly believe that some are called to live a life of singleness. However, if you are single I think stressing about it does no good. Trying to "awaken love before the time is right" does no good. In fact, in can be very bad. I know of some folks that have gotten themselves in bad dating situations, simply because I think these folks were trying to "awaken love before the time is right." My thought here is that the Young Woman from Song of Solomon is absolutely right. If we are single, we need to remember that everything is in God's hands. If God has a plan for us to get married, then we really don't need to stress about the timing of it all. It will happen when it should happen. When the time is right. And to try to awaken love before the time is right typically does not work out well. So, that's my two cents today. :) I just hope that if you are single and feel like you've been single for too long, don't stress out about it! God's timing and God's plans for your life are indeed a mystery - but a beautiful mystery. He will awaken love when - and if - the time is right. Let us always remember in all areas of our life to "Let go and Let God"...
New Testament - Today in Second Corinthians chapter 9 verses 6 through 8 we read these words of Paul’s – “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” Great verses! A lot of ground is covered in these verses. Do you believe that we reap what we sow? What are you sowing? What have you decided in your heart to give? Do you give without reluctance? Do you give without compulsion? Are you a cheerful giver? Do you realize that God gracefully gives you all that you need so that you will participate in good works? Are you participating in God’s grace that he is freely giving to you? Related to these verses, I just recently finished reading Randy Alcorn's wonderful little book, The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving. Has anyone else read this book? It is a wonderful book about how it truly is more blessed to give than to receive! I highly recommend it!
Bible.org's commentary on today's (and yesterday's) readings in Second Corinthians titled "Keeping Your Commitments" is at this link. Below is a great image for 2 Corinthians 9:10 from our readings today:
Psalms - Today we read one of my favorite Psalms! Psalm 51. Psalm 51 is David’s humble prayer for forgiveness and cleansing after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed in battle. I believe that this Psalm can continue to be a humble prayer for forgiveness and cleansing for each of us today. This Psalm is read by many liturgical churches during the season of Lent as a penitential Psalm. A brief quote from this Bible.org about this Psalm is: “The application of the psalm to believers today should be obvious. We, like David, can and must have complete cleansing before we can fully and freely serve God in any capacity. Our eternal destiny may not be in doubt when we sin as believers, and neither was David’s because he appealed to that covenant relationship, but our fellowship and service will be. God will not tolerate unconfessed sin, and so will hold us accountable if we do not confess.” I’ve been trying to figure out my favorite portion or two of this Psalm to share with you. . . but I can’t just pick one portion. It is all so powerful! Tell you what – I’m going to copy the full Psalm below in the NIV translation (my favorite for this Psalm). Please take a few moments to meditate upon this Psalm. My questions for reflection are these – Do you confess your sins to God? Do you confess your sins to others? And ask them to hold you accountable? When was the last time you confessed your sins to God? Do you have sins to confess to God today? Will you do so now? I pray this Psalm opens up your heart to the amazing burden that is lifted when we confess our sins to God!
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.
Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
the God who saves me,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.
In your good pleasure make Zion prosper;
build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then there will be righteous sacrifices,
whole burnt offerings to delight you;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Proverbs - Proverbs 22 verses 24 through 25 are a great reminder to pay attention to who our friends are: "Keep away from angry, short-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul." I've read somewhere that a good way to determine the character of a person is to take a look at who their friends are. Now, this is a bit tricky I think because none of our friends will ever be perfect. We should not look for perfect friends. We won't be perfect friends to others either. Jesus is the only one true perfect friend for each of us. But, there are certainly some "friends" who probably should not be people we spend a good deal of leisure time with. There may be friends who are into lying or pornography or who are angry or short-tempered (per this Proverb) that we need to be very cautious around, otherwise we may learn to be like them. Now, I do think we are called to be friends to people who may struggle with various things - including lying, pornography, being angry, etc. - but, we need to be very cautious and clear on our boundaries. This is a tricky one I know... Overall, I will say this - there are friends of mine that I have had to let go because I knew that hanging around them was simply not good for me. How about you? Are there any friends in your life that you may simply need to let the friendship go? When might this be the appropriate thing to do? When might it be the inappropriate thing to do?
Worship God: Psalm 51 reminded me of the fantastic song "Create in me a Clean Heart" performed here by Donnie McClurkin and a choir:
Do you want a clean heart? Click here to be made clean!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture this today: "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray for a pure heart and a steadfast spirit within you, through the grace and Spirit of God. Pray that you will live a pure life now and forevermore.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!