1 Samuel 2:22-4:22 + John 5:24-47 + Psalm 106:1-12 + Proverbs 14:30-31
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Old Testament - First Samuel chapter 2 verse 25 stood out to me today when Eli says to his sons - "If someone sins against another person, God can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede?" This is an interesting thing to consider. When we sin, are we sinning against other people and/or against God? I think generally speaking the answer is both. I have heard a pastor teach that "nobody sins in a vacuum." Not a literal vacuum of course :), but a "vacuum" meaning that your sin only affects you and you alone. This pastor went on to say that when we sin - even when we are alone - we end up affecting everyone else around us in our lives in some way. We may not consciously see how this happens, but our sin affects how we will treat others in the near future. So, it seems to me that when we sin we pretty much always sin against others, because we're in one sense letting down the community of people around us and we will behave differently to our community around us because of our sin. Now, in terms of sinning against God, I always think of Psalm 51 where David writes to God - "against you and you alone have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight." I think this is true as well - any sin we commit is a sin against God. It is interesting that David uses the term "you alone" about his sin. But, obviously, David's sin of adultery with Bathsheba affected the community around him in a big way. So, all this to say - I believe that when we sin we are sinning against God and the community of people in our lives at the same time. Eli asks in this verse above, "who can intercede for our sins against God?" Well, at that time, that was a very good question. However, in our time Jesus can and does intercede for our sins against God - if we'll ask him. We simply need to confess our sins to Jesus and ask for forgiveness and repent - in faith that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. We are so very fortunate that we have someone - Jesus - who can intercede for our sins... This is why Jesus is called Savior. Jesus Saves us from our sins. Has Jesus saved you from your sins?
An awesome image is below for 1 Samuel 3:10 - "And the LORD came and called as before, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel replied, "Yes, your servant is listening."
New Testament - I am intrigued by Jesus' words in John chapter 5 verse 30 today, particularly in light of the book of Judges that we recently read, which was a dark time in Israel's history - "But I do nothing without consulting the Father. I judge as I am told. And my judgment is absolutely just, because it is according to the will of God who sent me; it is not merely my own." I love that Jesus says his judgment is absolutely just. And I believe this is true - 1. that Jesus will judge us and that 2. his judgment is just. I think this is both something to be celebrated - there is no one else I would want to judge me... - and I think this can be sobering - if his judgment is absolutely just, then it is obvious that we cannot "sneak" anything by Jesus. Everything we have ever done or will do will be judged by Jesus. I think ultimately it is very healthy to recognize this. Maybe initially this realization will keep us from sinning because of some fear of judgment - but ideally this realization matures into a love for Jesus that encourages us not to sin because we would not want to disappoint Jesus whom we love with all that we are. Do you believe that Jesus is your judge? Do you believe that Jesus will judge you absolutely justly?
Bible.org's commentary on John chapter 5's readings today titled "Like Father, Like Son" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 106 is a repentant Psalm, likely written by a Levitical priest after returning to Jerusalem after its destruction. Verse 2 stood out to me today - "Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD? Who can ever praise him half enough?" Can you list all of the glorious miracles of God? Can anyone? Are you praising God today? Every day?
Verse 3 is powerful- "Happy are those who deal justly with others and always do what is right." I think this is such an important thing to know - we will be happy when we deal justly with others and when we do what is right. This is happiness. Not money or fame or power or luxuries. Dealing justly with others and doing what is right is happiness. So, Biblically, are you happy?
Proverbs - Today in Proverbs chapter 14 verse 31 we read – “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Those of you that have been journeying through the One Year Bible with me this year know that I like to point out verses like these. I believe it is crystal clear in the Bible that God cares about the poor and instructs us to care for the poor. I’m sure we all have differing views on what this might look like logistically, and that’s fine. But, I think it’s really an issue of the heart.
Worship Video: Today's Proverb 14:31 about being kind to the poor reminded me of the Chasen song and this powerful video for "On and On:"
Do you believe in Miracles? Click here for a Miracle!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." Proverbs 14:31 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you are kind to the poor and needy. Pray that you are not showing contempt for God by oppressing the poor. Pray to love your neighbor as yourself.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Based on today's Proverb, do you care for the poor? Really – “care,” in your heart, for the poor? What are some ways in your life that you are caring for the poor on a consistent basis? Do you believe that God cares for the poor? Do you believe that God instructs us to care for the poor? Why? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our One Year Bible readings at this link.
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