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Showing posts from April 14, 2017

Contrasting Outcomes

Contrasting OutcomesExcerpt “Blessings are upon the head of the righteous.” Either God rewards the righteous person with blessings, or others bestow their blessings upon him because of his righteousness. On the other hand, “the mouth of the wicked conceals violence,” i.e., so that he may wait for the opportunity of practicing violence. The idea is that the wicked plot the ruin of their neighbors and thus incur their curses instead of their blessings. The verse indicates the contrast between the manifest blessedness of the righteous and the sinister activities of the wicked. More Smith, James E. The Wisdom Literature and Psalms. Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 1996. Print. Old Testament Survey Series.

The Ten Commandments

The Ten CommandmentsExcerpt The Ten Commandments, in their present form inExodus 20, reveal signs of later development and expansion from an earlier form. It is likely that the original form was very brief and much easier to memorize. Some believe that all of the commands were negative at first, even though two of them now are expressed in the positive. (See verses 8 and 12.) This Decalogue, as it is called, has been inserted into the narrative at this point in order to prove its divine authority and its connection with Moses. In this way these commandments become a summary of “the people’s obligation” in the covenant that was established at Mount Sinai. There is a close parallel account of the Decalogue in Deut 5:6-21, and the translator should be aware of the similarities and differences. Both accounts have the same form of law that is quite different from the laws listed in “The Book of the Covenant” (20:22–23:33). Here the laws are expressed as demands with no punishment listed. Thi…

Test the Spirits

Test the SpiritsExcerpt John begins with a warning about the false spirits in the world. Keep in mind that the NT was not yet completed and what had been written was not widely known; until the completion of the NT, the local churches depended on the ministry of people with spiritual gifts to teach them the truth. How could a believer know when a preacher was from God and that his message could be trusted? (See 1 Thes. 5:19–21.) After all, Satan is an imitator. John states that the false spirits will not confess that Jesus is the Christ (see 1 Cor. 12:3). The false cults today deny the deity of Christ and make Him a mere man or an inspired teacher. But the Christian has the Spirit within, the new nature, and this gives overcoming power. There are two spirits in the world today: God’s Spirit of Truth, who speaks through the inspired Word, and Satan’s spirit of error that teaches lies (1 Tim. 4:1ff). Teachers sent by God will speak from God, and God’s children will recognize them. Satan’s…

The Dust of the World

The Dust of the WorldProverbs 8:26 Excerpt An intriguing point is Wisdom’s claim to be older than the “dust of the world” (v. 26). Although this could be taken simply at face value, allusions to the creation story in context imply that this is a veiled reference to the formation of Adam from the dust (Gen 2:7). The Hebrew of v. 26 literally reads, “Before he made … the head of the dust of the world.”168 In Gen 1–2“dust” is associated only with the creation of humanity; there is no account of the creation of dust itself. The “dust of the world” is humanity, formed of the dust; and its head is Adam.169 The term “dust” also indicates our fragility and mortality and implies that the decision to accept or reject Wisdom is a life-or-death choice. When God cursed Adam, he told him that he was but dust and would return to the dust (Gen 3:19). This concept frequently reappears in biblical wisdom, where “dust” represents human mortality.170 The frailty that comes of being human only increases our …

Connect the Testaments

April 14: Tearing Down to Build Up Deuteronomy 28:1–68; 2 Corinthians 7:2–7; Psalm 41 It’s difficult to take a rebuke, especially when it’s unsolicited. We feel exposed and embarrassed when our sin is brought to light. And if we don’t have the humility to accept rebuke, the experience can leave us at odds with the brave soul who assumes the task. For Paul, who rebuked the Corinthians, news of their love was a relief and comfort to him: “But God, who comforts the humble, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted among you, because he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more” (2 Cor 7:6–7). We form a community when others challenge us and encourage us to live for God. While a community can fulfill our social needs, it’s this common purpose that draws us together. When we take rebuke graciously and seek forgiveness from God, it forges the bond of community. When we reb…

Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

Morning, April 14Go To Evening Reading
“All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head.” —Psalm 22:7
Mockery was a great ingredient in our Lord’s woe. Judas mocked him in the garden; the chief priests and scribes laughed him to scorn; Herod set him at nought; the servants and the soldiers jeered at him, and brutally insulted him; Pilate and his guards ridiculed his royalty; and on the tree all sorts of horrid jests and hideous taunts were hurled at him. Ridicule is always hard to bear, but when we are in intense pain it is so heartless, so cruel, that it cuts us to the quick. Imagine the Saviour crucified, racked with anguish far beyond all mortal guess, and then picture that motley multitude, all wagging their heads or thrusting out the lip in bitterest contempt of one poor suffering victim! Surely there must have been something more in the crucified One than they could see, or else such a great and mingled crowd would not unanimously have honoured h…

My Utmost for His Highest

April 14th Inspired invincibility Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me.Matthew 11:29. “Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth.” How petty our complaining is! Our Lord begins to bring us into the place where we can have communion with Him, and we groan and say—‘Oh Lord, let me be like other people!’ Jesus is asking us to take one end of the yoke—‘My yoke is easy, get alongside Me and we will pull together.’ Are you identified with the Lord Jesus like that? If so, you will thank God for the pressure of His hand. “To them that have no might He increaseth strength.” God comes and takes us out of our sentimentality, and our complaining turns into a psalm of praise. The only way to know the strength of God is to take the yoke of Jesus upon us and learn of Him. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Where do the saints get their joy from? If we did not know some saints, we would say—‘Oh, he, or she has nothing to bear.’ Lift the veil. The fact that the peace and the light and the joy of God are t…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

April 14 My soul, wait thou only upon God Ps. 62:5 Did it ever occur to you that if you do not hear God’s answer to prayer, it may be not because He is dumb, but because you are deaf; not because He has no answer to give, but because you have not been listening for it? We are so busy with our service, so busy with our work, and sometimes so busy with our praying, that it does not occur to us to stop our own talking and listen if God has some answer to give us with “the still small voice”; to be passive, to be quiet, to do nothing, say nothing, in some true sense think nothing; simply to be receptive and waiting for the voice. “Wait thou only upon God,” says the Psalmist; and again, “Wait on the Lord.” Selected

 Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.