~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
1 Kings 20:1-21:29 ~ Acts 12:24-13:15
Psalm 137:1-9 ~ Proverbs 17:16
Old Testament - In 1 Kings 20 today we read about King Ahab's battles with King Ben-hadad of Aram. Verse 11 today was sharp! "The king of Israel sent back this answer: "A warrior still dressing for battle should not boast like a warrior who has already won."" Not a bad little saying from Ahab to Ben-hadad! Sounds sort of like a Proverb. Actually, this really sounds like our modern day saying of: "Don't count your chickens before they hatch!" :)
Alas, even though King Ahab was given victories by God's grace in today's readings, he goofs things up by letting King Ben-hadad of Aram go free. Then, as we get into First Kings chapter 21 today, things go from bad to worse for Ahab in terms of his relationship with God. Chapter 21 is a sad story of Naboth and his vineyard... Would it be safe to say that King Ahab was coveting Naboth's vineyard? Would Ahab be breaking a commandment in the Mosaic Law here in this image...?
I couldn't quite remember why Jezebel was cast in such a bad light in our readings a few days ago. Today I remember why... It is great to see Elijah show up on the scene and say to Ahab in verse 20 - "I have come because you have sold yourself to what is evil in the LORD's sight." How sad. Do you think people today can still sell themselves to what is evil in God's sight? Below is an image of Elijah denouncing Ahab for the evil that transpired over Naboth's vineyard in today's readings.
New Testament - Wow. It is fun to read about Paul's first missionary journey! A very cool thing to note about today's readings is that Paul started his missionary journey not after an extensive planning session / retreat / etc. (all our modern day stuff of what we have to do before embarking on something...) No! Paul started his missionary journey after a time of worship & fasting and being filled with the Holy Spirit! The Spirit moved and thus Paul moved! It was that simple. Think we can learn something from this in our lives today? Are you listening to the Spirit's prompting in your life today? What is the Spirit prompting you to do? Will you do it? Check out Acts 13 verses 2 and 3 that show all it took for Paul to begin his missionary journey: "One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work I have for them." So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way."
I am a huge fan of Paul's epistles, and greatly enjoyed verses 9 through 11, which are Paul's first words that we've read in Acts since his conversion on the road to Damascus - "Then Saul, also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked the sorcerer in the eye and said, "You son of the Devil, full of every sort of trickery and villainy, enemy of all that is good, will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord? And now the Lord has laid his hand of punishment upon you, and you will be stricken awhile with blindness."" Paul was no joke! Below is a map of Paul's first missionary journey:
I love the way today's Acts readings finish up in verses 14 & 15 - "Barnabas and Paul traveled inland to Antioch of Pisidia. On the Sabbath they went to the synagogue for the services. After the usual readings from the books of Moses and from the Prophets, those in charge of the service sent them this message: "Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for us, come and give it!" Uh-oh! Think the folks in charge of the service are ready for a word from Paul and Barnabas? :) Stay tuned for the word of encouragement from Paul in tomorrow's readings! Below is an image of Barnabas:
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Acts titled "What a Way to Go" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 137 is a Psalm reflecting upon the Israelites exile in Babylon and about how much Jerusalem was missed. We also read about a call to punish Edom for their rejoicing in the fall of Jerusalem. Later this year we will read prophesies against Edom in the book of the prophet Obadiah. Below is an image of ancient Jerusalem - the tower of David - that this Psalmist missed greatly:
I realize that verse 9 in this Psalm may be troubling. I found a couple of links with essays / thoughts on this verse. I'll need to reflect on these - and study further - to see if I agree or disagree w/ what these are saying:
Proverbs - Proverb 17 verse 16 is interesting to consider: "It is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool who has no heart for wisdom." This is a great question for each of us to ask ourselves. Today in your life - do you have a heart for wisdom? What type of "tuition" are you paying to gain wisdom / to be educated? Are you paying the "tuition" of time invested in studying the Bible each day? Are you paying the "tuition" of joining a Bible study at your church? What other types of "tuition" are you paying to gain wisdom? Will you pray to God today for a heart for wisdom?
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!