Nehemiah 12:27-13:31 ~ 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 ~ Psalm 35:1-16 ~ Proverbs 21:17-18
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Old Testament - We finish up the book of Nehemiah today! Esther is up tomorrow! Today in Nehemiah chapter 12 we read about the dedication of Jerusalem's Wall, which is awesome to read about. Verses 27 & 28 tell us - "During the dedication of the new wall of Jerusalem, the Levites throughout the land were asked to come to Jerusalem to assist in the ceremonies. They were to take part in the joyous occasion with their songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, lyres, and harps. The singers were brought together from Jerusalem and its surrounding villages and from the villages of the Netophathites."
Below is a great image for Nehemiah chapter 12 verse 30 today:
New Testament - Okay, so I suppose today's readings might get some folks a bit upset with Paul... I think it is important to keep in mind that these writings in First Corinthians 11 were directed to the church in Corinth. And Paul is basically saying in this chapter that we need to be sensitive to the culture we are in. Meaning, in 1st century Corinth men with long hair typically were prostitutes in pagan temples, so Paul says in this chapter it's a disgrace for a man to have long hair. Which it was in the culture and time of Corinth when this was written. Same thing with women with short hair at this culture and time in Corinth - it was a sign of prostitution. So, Paul says keep it long. I know it can seem a bit tricky to figure out when the Bible should be taken literally word for word and when we need to consider context. I would say that generally speaking, we need to consider context - context of one verse to the verse before and after. Context to the chapter. Context to the book. Context to the Bible. And context to the time and place that a particular book was written. However, don't let context mislead you into thinking that the Bible is not God's Holy Word - that the Bible is not Truth. For it is both. The Bible is the Word of God. The Bible is Truth. And Paul's words in today's chapter essentially get at the Truth that believers should look and behave in ways that are honorable within their own culture - so that they (and we) will be believable witnesses for Jesus Christ.
I love verses 11 & 12 in today's readings - "But in relationships among the Lord's people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women. For although the first woman came from man, all men have been born from women ever since, and everything comes from God." It's pretty hard to argue with this. We are all dependent upon each other. The Body of Christ is a community of believers. Men and women are not independent. We are dependent and interdependent on each other. And things do not come from men or women - everything comes from God. Great stuff.
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians titled "Headship and Head Coverings" is at this link.
Psalms - Per Zondervan's NIV Study Bible, Psalm 35 today is an appeal to the heavenly King, as divine Warrior and Judge, to come to the defense of his servant David who is being maliciously slandered by those toward whom he had shown only the most tender friendship. I like verse 10 a lot: "I will praise him from the bottom of my heart: "LORD, who can compare with you? Who else rescues the weak and helpless from the strong? Who else protects the poor and needy from those who want to rob them?"" Have you recently praised God from the bottom of your heart? Do you think that anyone/anything compares with God? Do you believe that God has rescued you and protected you? Perhaps many times when you have not even realized it? I think about this on occasion. It is my hunch that God literally rescues us and protects us dozens if not hundreds if not thousands of times each and every day. And I think we typically miss it.... If we knew it, I am sure we would be praising Him from the bottom of our heart very frequently!
Proverbs - Proverbs 21 verse 17 is quite fitting for our modern day - "Those who love pleasure become poor; wine and luxury are not the way to riches." How often does our culture preach to us that pleasure should be sought out at all costs? "If it feels good, go for it!" seems all too often to be the beck & call of our modern day. Why do you suppose this Proverb says those who love pleasure become poor? Why would wine and luxury not be the way to riches? What type of poverty is this Proverb referring to - spiritual poverty? Material poverty? Both? Do you love pleasure? Do you love wisdom? Which of these 2 do we read about more in Proverbs as being something we should love?
Worship God: While searching for the Sara Groves song "Add to the Beauty" to post up today, I came across a bonus! The song plus a video showing the important work of Blood:Water Mission, an organization drilling wells in Africa. (among other important work) The band Jars of Clay are very involved in this great organizaton. Please take a few minutes to watch this video and then explore http://www.bloodwatermission.com/
Are you adding to the Beauty? Click here for Beauty!
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!