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Showing posts from October, 2018

(305) 1 November : Proverbs 18v1 / 2 Samuel 7-8 / Psalm 71v6-11

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 18:1

Understanding to grow in An important event. God has been travelling through the desert in a tent - the tabernacle. Now the people are established in the land, David desires to build a permanent house - the temple. That will actually be something David's son does. And here, God's response is to say that he himself doesn't need a house, but will build a house for David and give Israel rest under him. By house, he means a dynasty of kings, whom he will discipline when they do wrong, but from whom David's kingdom will endure forever. It looks to God's goal in all history, when we will enjoy everlasting rest from all struggle and insecurity under Jesus, David's greatest descendent. David's…

(304) 31 October : Proverbs 17v28 / 2 Samuel 5-6 / Psalm 71v1-5

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:28

Understanding to grow in The reason to side with God's king is because the LORD is with him. That's the theme here. Israel give David their allegiance acknowledging it, David is able to establish his fortress (the city of David) as the heart of Jerusalem because of it, and he is able to defeat the Philistines because God fights for him. And it is no withful thinking. When God's holiness strikes Uzzah down it proves the reality of his presence, as does the blessing of Obed-Edom's house whilst the ark is there. This is why David so rejoices. God is with him. And it is a joy we can share too - alhough with an awesome reverence learnt from the Uzziah incident. We come to Jesus because we see that God…

(303) 30 October : Proverbs 17v27 / 2 Samuel 3-4 / Psalm 70

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:27

Understanding to grow in This is a faily bloody passage. But two things stand out: First, the importance of transferring allegiance to God's anointed king. Although his motives were mixed, Abner recognizes God has promised the kingdom to David and that it is therefore futile to stand against him. We might initially be reluctant in giving our full allegiance to Jesus, but we must do so nevertheless. And as we get to know him, any reluctance will soon start to disappear. Second, the graciousness of God's anointed king. Unlike Jesus, David has many flaws and here doesn't act in a wholly upright manner. However, he is ready to make peace with his enemies when they transfer their allegiance to him and is …

(302) 29 October : Proverbs 17v26 / 2 Samuel 1-2 / Psalm 69v33-36

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:26

Understanding to grow in 2 Samuel records David's reign around 1000BC. It begins showing how God's choice of David divided Israel just as Christ did. Despite David's continued warmth towards Saul seen in his concern over his death, Saul's followers fight against David's. In allegiance to Christ we are to take a stand on his truth when those from amongst his people the church turn against it and so against him. Nevertheless, we are to do this reluctantly and desiring peace just as Joab did when finally able to cease hostilities. But what we are to be sure of is that we are on the side of Christ, and we don't side with those even within the church who in reality oppose his reign by opposing…

(299) 26 October : Proverbs 17v25 / 2 Corinthians 10-13 / Psalm 69v30-32

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:25

Understanding to grow in There have always been those within the church who oppose genuine gospel ministers in order to draw Christians after themselves. This was one of the problems in Corinth. Some "false apostles" charged Paul with being unimpressive, and questioned whether Christ was speaking through him (10v10, 11v13, 12v3). Today telegenic celebrity pastors can do the same. Thousands may follow them, prioritising what seems to be more dynamic ministry over less "impressive" ministries and churches that are actually more faithful. Reluctantly, Paul recognizes he has to affirm his credentials to counter these "super apostles." But it is striking what credientials he appeals to: …

(298) 25 October : Proverbs 17v24 / 2 Corinthians 6v14-9v15 / Psalm 69v19-29

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:24

Understanding to grow in Those who have committed to Christ seek godliness. That dominates this section. It is to be called out of the ways of the world and so to living differently, in all purity, holiness and reverence. Paul encourages the Corinthians that they have displayed this in their repentance after his first letter. But he urges them to display it too, in the sort of sacrifical genersity with money the Macedonian churches had already shown. The cause is a collection Paul is making for impoverished Christians in Jerusalem. The principle is that of the gospel: Just as Christ became poor so we could be rich, we must be willing to follow his example. And the motivation should be a joy before God in being a…

(297) 24 October : Proverbs 17v23 / 2 Corinthians 3v1-6v13 / Psalm 69v14-18

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:23

Understanding to grow in There should be no question of turning away from the gospel, whether to Judaism or any alternative belief. Paul's point is that the ministry of the gospel is greater than that of the old covenant of Moses. Why then, don't more believe? He answers it is because they are blinded by Satan, whereas God has granted faith to Christians by revealing Christ to them by the Spirit. And the encouragement to conitnue in faith is significant. No matter how much hardship or persecution may come, we do not lose heart because we know all will be judged by Christ and resurrection and life awaits those of faith. This is why Paul continues in the "ministry of reconciliation" Christ entrus…

(296) 23 October : Proverbs 17v22 / 2 Corinthians 1-2 / Psalm 69v10-13

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:22

Understanding to grow in This letter was most likely written just a few months after 1 Corinthians, and begins with Paul affirming his concern for his readers. He readily faces hardships for their sakes, and if comforted, is delighted if that comforts them. More than that, Paul stresses that it was for their sake that he didn't return to Corinth as he didn't want to be thought too controlling in dealing with their compromises in the faith. Instead he dealt with the issues as we read in his first letter. And now the Corinthians have dealt with the immoral man mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5, Paul urges them to reaffirm their love for him. As with his other letters then, we see something of Paul's pastora…

(295) 22 October : Proverbs 17v21 / 1 Corinthians 15-16 / Psalm 69v5-9

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:21

Understanding to grow in Pouring ourselves out for Christ is worth it. That's the point of this section on the resurrection (15v30-32, 58). It seems some were doubting Christ was truly raised. Paul is adamant that he was as he was seen by numerous witnesses. He is also clear that believing this is essential to saving faith. It is to believe that Jesus is now reigning on high, and will one day destroy death. Although, like seeds, our bodies will be buried in the ground, they will therefore be raised to immortality. The illustration of the seed stresses who we are then will still be us, but far far more glorious. No matter what happens as we serve Christ, then, this future is certain. And so it's fitting t…

(292) 19 October : Proverbs 17v20 / 1 Corinthians 13-14 / Psalm 69v1-4

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:20

Understanding to grow in The gifts of prophecy and tongues are the focus here. Christians differ in what they understand them to be. Is prophecy insightful preaching, a clear message from God by vision, or just the communication of something he brings to mind? Is tongues a miraculous ability to speak in a heavenly language or a foreign language? Whatever one's conclusions, two principles should govern their use like all else. The first is love. It is this that causes the Christian to stand out, not the exciting nature of their gift. It is seen in a Christlike bearing with others and acting for their good not one's own. In a church where particularly gifted people might look down on others, such love was …

(291) 18 October : Proverbs 17v19 / 1 Corinthians 11v2-12v31 / Psalm 68v30-35

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:19

Understanding to grow in Local churches are subsets of the worldwide family of God. And reflecting family life there will always be a degree of informailty to them. But in being "of God" there is also to be order and reverence. That is Paul's concern here. Scholars say that it is extremely hard to properly grasp and apply what is being said in 11v1-16. The point is probably that men and women should signal their gender by following whatever cultural norms of dress go with it. This is to uphold the order of creation. In our day when gender is being so confused we can see its wisdom. What follows is an affirmation of receiving the Lord's Supper with a reverent acknowledgment of Christ's prese…

(290) 17 October : Proverbs 17v18 / 1 Corinthians 9v1-11v1 / Psalm 68v24-29

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:18

Understanding to grow in Some were opposing the apostle Paul. So he affirms the establishing of the Corinthian church as the proof of his apostleship, and defends his ministry by pointing out that, although it is right for preachers to be paid, he has preached for free so that nothing would hinder the gospel. Indeed, Paul is prepared to let go of his preferences and take on the cultural trappings of those he is trying to reach if it will bring more to faith. The lesson is to be ready to do anything we can to maximise the spread of the gospel. But there is one qualifier: Paul would not sin. He was still under "the law of Christ." This probably refers to the principles of Old Testament law understood in …

(289) 16 October : Proverbs 17v17 / 1 Corinthians 7-8 / Psalm 68v19-23

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:17

Understanding to grow in The future return of Christ impacts everything. Paul continues to let it govern our perspective. It means that those God gifts with the ability to control their sexual passions do well not to marry so they can be undivided in their devotion to Christ. Yet Paul repeatedly stresses that it is nevertheless right and good for people to marry, and that Christians should choose a spouse who is "in the Lord" (7v39). Those who do marry should then honour God in their marriage. They should give themselves sexually to one-another as an expression of their belonging to one-another and to guard against temptation. They should not divorce, and if they do seperate, remain unmarried or be rec…

(288) 15 October : Proverbs 17v16 / 1 Corinthians 4-6 / Psalm 68v11-18

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:16

Understanding to grow in Every church has issues that need addressing. There were many in Corinth, and Paul addresses each with the eternal perspective. First, some are putting down Paul's ministry. In response, he affirms that his concience is clear in the light of the final judgment, urging his hearers to imitate his example of suffering for Christ. Second, the church is tolerating sexual immorality by a member. Paul speaks of Christ being specially present when the church gathers, and commands that at that time they are to put the man out of the fellowship in order to keep the church from being corrupted by him and bring him to repentance so that he is saved at Christ's return. Third, the Christians a…

(285) 12 October : Proverbs 17v15 / 1 Corinthians 1-3 / Psalm 68v7-10

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:15

Understanding to grow in What sort of church leaders should we seek out? What sort of preaching? The apostle Paul writes this letter around 55AD to a church planted in Corinth around three years earlier. It seems factions were quarreling within the church as to who they followed as the greater minister - Paul, Apollos, Peter or even Christ. Paul's point is that a leader's clever wisdom, ability to perform miracles, or skilful preaching means very little. These are the things the world esteems. But what really matters is whether leaders speak about "Christ and him crucified," relying on the power of the Spirit to bring that message home. This is the gospel. It is despised by the world as foolish…

(284) 11 October : Proverbs 17v14 / 1 Samuel 30-31 / Psalm 68v4-6

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:14

Understanding to grow in Because salvation is by God's grace, his free favour, every Christian receives an inheritance whether they have given much in service or not. This was the shock of Jesus' parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matt 16v1-20). And it's the shock when David gives an equal share of the plunder to the men too exhausted to fight. The point is that anything he received in battle was the Lord's gift (30v23). Our service is therefore given not for gain but from gratitude, not to earn salvation but as a dsiplay of allegiance to our Saviour. The contrast again is Saul. God is not with him and so not with Israel. Saul himself is therefore killed and plundered by their enemies. As yo…

(283) 10 October : Proverbs 17v13 / 1 Samuel 27-29 / Psalm 68v1-3

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:13

Understanding to grow in It's only too easy to resent hard times and give up on serving God; "Why should I" we might say, "when he's brought this on me?" Not so David. Since being anointed king by Samuel he has faced hostility from Saul and been roaming homeless. Now he has to take shelter amongst the despised Philistines, Israel's enemies. But even here he doesn't forget the Lord. He protects Israel by raiding the surrounding Canaanite peoples who should have previously been destroyed. One thinks of how Christ kept serving even when things were at their worst and calls us to be ready to lose everything for his sake. "The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head" (Lk 9…

(282) 9 October : Proverbs 17v12 / 1 Samuel 25-26 / Psalm 67v6-7

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:12

Understanding to grow in Twice judgement for rejecting David is left to the LORD. First, David almost destroys Abigail's husband but she turns him from it. Her husband then dies by God's hand. Second, David refuses yet again to kill Saul, leaving his future instead to God (26v10). As the perfect king Jesus never even comes close to destroying his enemies, even washing the feet of Judas. He is able to patiently await the day of judgment when all things are to be brought to account. Paul applies the same point to Christians (Rom 12v18-19). When people treat us badly or oppose us because we belong to Christ, we can seek to be at peace with them and not seek revenge, because we know that on the day of Christ…

(281) 8 October : Proverbs 17v11 / 1 Samuel 22-24 / Psalm 67v1-5

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:11

Understanding to grow in The contrast continues. The seriousness of Saul's rejection is seen in it driving God's newly anointed king to find shelter amongst the surrounding pagan nations - a parallel to Christ having to shelter in Egypt from Herod. Jesus came to his own, but his own did not receive him (John 1v11). Yet God is seen to be with David. And his superiority over Saul is evident in his refusal to even harm Saul despite Saul's hostility. It commends such a reverence for God, that we act respectfully to those he has appointed even if, for his sake, we must oppose them because they are dishonouring him (Acts 23v1-5). As you read note David's qualities.
1 Samuel 22-24

Finish this reading by …

(278) 5 October : Proverbs 17v10 / 1 Samuel 20-21 / Psalm 66v13-20

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:10

Understanding to grow in Jonathan's commitment to David is seen now by his readiness to risk his own life for God's king. 20v4 provides the sentiment: "Whatever you want me to do, I'll do it for you." It is the attitude we should have to Christ as David's greatest descendent. As David was to Jonathan, he is not just our king, but makes us his friends. And just as Jonathan entered into a covenant with David, asking his protection on his descendents when David gains power, so we look to Christ to look kindly not just on us, but on the family he has entrusted to us. As you read note Jonathan's response to David.
1 Samuel 20-21

Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s th…

(277) 4 October : Proverbs 17v9 / 1 Samuel 18-19 / Psalm 66v8-12

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:9
Understanding to grow in Jesus taught that we must be prepared to choose him over family (Lk 14v26), and the principle is illustrated here with David. He is God's chosen king, and Saul's children Jonathan and Michal chose him over their father. It's encouragement for all Christians who find their faith bringing hostility from a family member. We must deal with unbeliving relatives respectfully and wisely, but Jesus must come first. Saul's dire spiritual state is seen in the fact that he is open to the influence of evil spirits - although even they serve God's purposes. And God's concern for David is seen as he protects him by causing Saul and his men to prophecy. The sense is that the Spir…

(276) 3 October : Proverbs 17v8 / 1 Samuel 16v14-17v58 / Psalm 66v5-7

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:8

Understanding to grow in We all need God's man. We see it first with Saul. God uses only David to calm him when tormented by the evil spirit. It's a small scale of what David does for the nation. Goliath torments them, and God uses David to defeat him. But it is all of God. David has neither armour or sword - only faith. He is motivated by godly provocation that Goliath is defying God's armies and so dishonouring God; and he trusts God to give him victory. It's one of the clearest ways David patterns Christ. For the honour of his Father and the good of his people, he waged war against the Goliath of sin, death, the devil and hell. And just as David's victory was counted as Israel's, just a…

(275) 2 October : Proverbs 17v7 / 1 Samuel 15v1-16v13 / Psalm 66v1-4

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 17:7
Understanding to grow in We do not worship God on our own terms. Jesus said many will cry "Lord, Lord" on the last day, but he will say "I never knew you" because they didn't obey his Father (Mat 7v21-23). So it was with Saul, persistently. And when confronted, rather than repent (as David would later do), he made excuses and sought to justify himself. It's a lesson to us all. And it leads to God's choice of David. Unlike Saul, he doesn't look the part, but "the Lord looks at the heart" and sees someone of genuine devotion. This is what he esteems. As you read note why God is provoked at Saul.
1 Samuel 15:1-16:13

Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’…