« August 14th One Year Bible Readings | Main | August 16th One Year Bible Readings »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Neh 9:33 "In all that has happened to us, you have been just; you have acted faithfully, while we did wrong." NIV (NAS AND KJV have "wickedly" in place of "wrong").

Two points, the first is that ALL did wrong. None could uphold the high standard of God's LAW (that was the point). Before that none were righteous before God, but some were declared righteous by "faith".

This does not mean that "mankind" can not do good. Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, etc. all are able and often do good things from "mankind's" standpoint. Even though corrupted by the Garden, "mankind" still has the intrinsic attributes of God imprinted in us. Some more than others. From societies point of view "good" is done, more often then people think as "news" sources often do not report that part of humanity.

However, everyone (I think) will admit "mankind" and "man" in general is not perfect. God's standard is perfection. We can not be in his presence in any other state. So from God's viewpoint it is either "perfection" or "wickedness".

So just like the Israelites admitted in this verse that they ALL did wrong. We too must come to the realization that unless covered in the "blood" of Jesus, "man" (All mankind)is wicked in the eyes of God. Paul said it explicitly:

Rom 3:10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;
(Citing Psalm 14 and 53)

Knowing and understanding this concept is crucial for "coming to and accepting Christ" as your redeemer.
Secondly, when I think of the Old Testament, I try to understand why it is part of our Bible.

I mean, if we are all Christians, and "one with Christ" - why isn't our Christian Bible just the New Testament? What does the Old Testament have to do with us (Christians)?

To me I have learned to appreciate the Old Testament:

-as testimony that our God is a personal God. He is not a distant Cosmic Creator.
(I have mentioned it before, but if you want goosebumps you need to get your hands on this DVD:"Mountain of Fire: The Search For the True Mount Sinai".)

-as testimony that God keeps his Word. He was faithful and just to Israel. Over and over again God did what He said He was going to do. Why should we doubt His revealed Word regarding Salvation and the Second coming of Christ?

- as a pointer and indicator of Christ. Each book of the Old Testament points to Christ. God promised Christ would be sent, and nothing is more personal than God himself coming to earth to redeem mankind.

Why did we need redeeming? Neh 9:33 and Rom3:10 because we ALL did "wrong".

Knowing and understanding that, all one has to do is:

John 1:12 "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" NIV

Rom 10:9 "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." NIV

The rest is up to the individual - WHOMSOEVER WILL.


"...To the Jews I became like a Jew...

I never thought of these verses as a continuation of eating meat from an idol?????

Let's try that. The question, perhaps hypothetical is: Paul you say you would give up meat for a weaker brother - in fact you say you have given up rights of apostleship for the gospel. But you are not consistent. You have been seen eating meat with Gentiles, and abstaining with Jews.

1) Why the going back and forth?

Pauls response is: he is free man. But he will yield to everyone (in their cultural customs that do not violate God's will) to gain them for Christ. That he may be a partaker in the gospel with the new Christians. You can not be a partaker with others unless they come to Christ.

"Paul was willing to offend people over the gospel; but wanted to offend them only over the gospel." - David Guzik

There is no reason to offend non-believers over rituals and customs that do not mean anything. I believe long-term successful missionaries (sometimes???) employ this model. They go to the area and respect the customs and lifestyle of the people. They incorporate these things in their life to the extant they can practically do so. This lowers barriers of resistance to dialogue. 'They are like one of us - or - they respect us. But they are different in some way? How and why are they different?' (That sort of thing.)

So to a:
"Gentile" - Paul eats what is before him.
"Jew" - He ceremonially cleans and abstains from meat and other items.
"Weak brother" - If weak in faith, I will abstain from meat, and with love build him up in knowledge of the Gospel so that we can partake of it together in a "strong faith".
2) Are you saying we need to bend over backward for others?

Sports analogy:
1Cor9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

The Isthmian Games were one of the Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, and were held at Corinth in two stadia every two years.

So every two years for around a 1,000 years the Corinthians had hosted these gaimes (150 year exception when city was destroyed and before being rebuilt by Caeser.) It was a big deal.

The Corinthians had an understanding and had seen excellant athletes of their time. Their was training involved - things were given up.

If these guys give up a lot of things to gain a wreath from a "fir"(their victory crown), what should you give up to gain a crown (rewards) in heaven?

Paul gave up the right to church compensation and worked as a tent-maker. He yielded to others out of love so that they might come to Christ, or be built up to enjoy a "fuller" more mature Christianity.

I ask myself - what have I given up for others. What acts of self-denial have I submitted to for the sake of others? How have I taken up the cross?

Do I let the answering machine take the call, instead of talking to someone I don't really want to talk to at that time? After a hard day, do I blow off an opportunity to share the Gospel to a non-believer or "fellowship" with another Christian? Do I let my schedule dictate how I help minister (or not)in the church, or do I re-prioritize? Am I giving up the things of the world to follow Jesus? Do I not volunteer for some things because they are beneath me?

Paul is indicating to the Corinthians - yeah, you shoul forebear the eating of meat from an idol if called for, AND MORE. How serious are you about being a Christian? There are not only rewards in heaven to consider, but the command of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Nehemiah 9:22-10:39
36"So now today we are slaves here in the land of plenty that you gave to our ancestors! We are slaves among all this abundance! 37The lush produce of this land piles up in the hands of the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They have power over us and our cattle. We serve them at their pleasure, and we are in great misery.

I kept reading the above verses over and over again, they literarily stopped me in my tracks. Sin caused Israel to be in want, and in slavery, in the midst of plenty. Freedom was all around them; however, they had enslaved themselves, a consequence of rejecting the God who had made them His people. Sin, by itself, enslaves us because sin is its own reward; however, sin also ties us to another master that is not God. The writer of Proverbs, in the fifth chapter, tells us that our iniquity binds us to our sin,

Proverbs 5:22 AMP His own iniquities shall ensnare the wicked man, and he shall be held with the cords of his sin.

The prophet Isaiah also repeats this idea or principal,

Isaiah 5:18 AMP Woe to those who draw [calamity] with cords of iniquity and falsehood, who bring punishment to themselves with a cart rope of wickedness,

I had already understood that our sins, my sin binds us and keeps us in slavery, but I had never seen the 36 & 37th verses of Nehemiah showing how our sin will enslave us to rulers who belong to the enemy.

I Corinthians 9:19-10:13

“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, nobody knows but Jesus”. That is part of a song, A Negro Spiritual, but that concept is wrong! So often we try to excuse our “sin” by trying to convince others (Or are we really trying to convince ourselves) that our experience is unique and worse then any other. We crow about how no one in times past and in the time to come, has been through what, “I’ve been through.” We play the one-up game to see who has the worse story to tell. We become experts in throwing “Pity Parties” and Organ Recitials (My liver, your heart, etc) Yet the thirteenth verse of the 10th chapter of first Corinthians states otherwise.

Possibly, if we cry enough, whine enough hang our head down to the ground far enough we will convince others and ourselves that we are an anomaly of God’s Word, His Promises and God’s Mercy.

The thirteenth verse reads as follows in the Amplified translation:
For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. (1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP)

The excuse, “I just couldn’t help myself just flew out the window. Each and every temptation, test and trial we face as we walk and breath the air on this earth, is not harder or easier than anyone else’s’ temptation, trial or test. The person who “falls down” cannot cry out that he had it tougher because the one who remained standing in the midst of the trail, test and temptation is the only one who knows the true extent of the trial because they faced the “storm” standing up, not lying down.

Psalm 34:1-10
The mercies of God are so generous towards us. Even when we have been faithless, God is faithful, so was God toward David even in the midst of his deceit. Saul is after David and David runs to the enemy and pretends to be crazy. It wasn’t David’s feigned madness that saved David from Saul, and the king of Gath, but it was the mercy of God and David recognizes that fact.

God, in the midst of our foolishness, in the midst of our contrived schemes to get us out of the trouble we wondered into, shows us His Mercy and extracts us from danger, like the Good Shepherd He is using the hooked staff to extricate us out of our mess. David recognized that truth when he wrote this Psalm.

Proverbs 21:13
The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and will not be answered. (Proverbs 21:13 NET.)

When one hears the cry of the poor one must not just hear one must listen. The cry of the poor may be begging for money, but the truly listening ear may hear, “They need to go to school and get an education.” They cry of the poor may say, “I can’t pay my rent, I need help,” but the hearing listening ear may discern, “This person needs to learn financial responsibility.”

Twenty years ago, a nice Jewish women heard my cry and knew that this woman, me, needed to get an education not only because she needed to get out of her poverty, but she needed to set an example for her children. Discernment is essential when we are exposed to “many voices” because the cry of the poor may not always be calmed with money. In fact, money may push them deeper into poverty because their true need is not being met.

Psalms 34: “To fear the Lord” = Fear in the Hebrew and Greek language has a different meaning than fear in our English language. When we say fear, we mean to be afraid of, to cower from, to want to escape from, and to feel threatened by or intimidated by. To fear in the Greek and Hebrew language means to be in awe of with the deepest of respect. It is the recognition of our insignificance and weakness as compared to His greatness and strength. We are not to worship God because we are afraid not to but instead we are to worship God because He deserves our worship. He is the great Creator, the Lord of lords and the King of kings, and He is the one and only living God who always was and is and always will be forever and ever. He is all encompassing agape love, a love so great that it is hard for us to even comprehend. We are not to be afraid of God but instead love God because He first loves us!

God Bless!

Re a book on the sabbath, the best book I've read is by canadian author/pastor, Mark Buchanan called The Rest of God. Fabulous. ON his website he also provides some helpful summaries on this theme.

RE 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, keep in mind that this passage is on heels of his teaching regarding how we engage our world--religious, semi religious or non religious. Through it all, one must have dep personal discipline and convictions to move into and out of differing worldviews. Contrary to what some may think, Paul was not a chameleon, but rather he was wise and flexible, always motivated by 'the law of Christ', which I take to mean the law of love, in his relationships with people.

He used his liberty NOT to serve himself but to serve his relationships.
we would do well to 'imitate him' as he will exhort the corinthians in 1 Cor 11:1.

Great blog. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks SO much for that PBS documentary video concerning the woman in Uganda. I have personally been convicted this morning concerning my response to the poor. I've been to Uganda (on a mission trip several years ago) and have a heart for those people--but it was so neat to hear about KIVA, and the opportunity to loan some of these needy the funds for their businesses. Thanks, and I'm going to look into it!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Subscribe to receive daily blog posts via email:

  • Enter your Email:

June 2022

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    

Books for the Journey: