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Showing posts from November, 2018

(334) 30 November : Proverbs 19v1 / 1 Kings 20-21 / Psalm 77v5-11

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 19:1

Understanding to grow in Desire is the cause of sin. And the love of money, in particular, "a root of all kinds of evil" (1 Tim 6v10). So in grace, God gives the wicked Ahab victory over Aram, proving that he is the LORD. Yet, having seen such proof that the LORD is God, Ahab disobeys him by making a treaty with the enemy king for the sake of material gain. Similarly, he shows a lack of concern for God's law with respect to property, in seeking to buy Naboth's vineyard, and being more than happy to take it when his wife arranges his murder. Both times he is rebuked by prophets - a warning to us of the seriousness of disobeying God's word for the sake of money. This might be, as here, in maki…

(333) 29 November : Proverbs 18v24 / 1 Kings 18-19 / Psalm 77v1-4

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 18:24

Understanding to grow in The Lord calls for an undivided heart. Obadiah displays this in protecting the prophets at great risk. And Elijah calls the people to do likewise. It's quite a contest on Mount Carmel as the Lord is revealed as the true God and Baal the fake. It leads to the destruction of the Baal-prophets as idolatry was to receive the death penalty according to God's law, protecting the faith of the people. With their destruction, God mercifully restores the rain. You would have thought the royal family would have learnt the lesson. But we are not that rational in our sin. Ahab's wife Jezebel seeks Elijah's death, forcing him to Horeb (Mount Sinai) with a degree of depression. He feels…

(332) 28 November : Proverbs 18v23 / 1 Kings 15v33-17v24 / Psalm 76v11-12

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 18:23

Understanding to grow in Like father like son. There are lessons here about the need to turn from the wrong practices of our parents rather than continue in them. The focus is on kings of the northern kingdom now called "Israel." The history leads us to the line of Omni who establishes the city of Samaria as the northern capital, and then to Ahab his evil son. Above all we see the seriousness of promoting false worship, and how it impacts one's children by leading them astray too. We are also warned against leaders who might lead us this way. It is in the context of worshipping false gods that Elijah announces a drought, proving that the LORD not Baal (the storm god) controls the weather. What foll…

(331) 27 November : Proverbs 18v22 / 1 Kings 14v1-15v32 / Psalm 76v1-10

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 18:22

Understanding to grow in Once more, God's word is seen to be fulfilled. We're learning that just as his word about Jeroboam's son was fulfilled (14v18), and his word about Jeroboam himself (15v28-30), so his word about the northern kingdom being conquered with its people shipped beyond the Euphrates (14v15), as we will see in chapter 17. It brings home the seriousness of idolatry and the inevitability of its punishment. The assessment of each king before God is not their military prowess or building projects, but whether they were "fully devoted to the Lord" like David and so whether they "did right in the eyes of the Lord." We would do well to assess ourselves the same way. To tu…

(330) 26 November : Proverbs 18v20-21 / 1 Kings 12-13 / Psalm 76v11-12

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 18:20

Understanding to grow in So much of the Old Testament teaches the simple message that we must heed and obey the word of the Lord. Here we see his word to Solomon come to pass. His son Rehoboam fails to display wisdom, provoking Israel, which responds by making Jeroboam (who managed Solomon's labour) king. Only Judah remains loyal to Rehoboam and David's line, although Benjamin soon joins with them (12v20-21). And what follows is utterly tragic. Not wanting his subjects to be drawn to the southern kingdom for worship at Jerusalem, Jeroboam sets up an entire alternative religious system: alternate gods, centre of worship, altars, priests, festivals - the lot. Its a pattern of all alternate religion, includ…

(327) 23 November : Proverbs 18v19 / 1 Kings 11 / Psalm 76v6-10

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 18:19

Understanding to grow in Two lessons: The first is not to be complacent. Like Solomon, we might be thought one of the strongest Christians and even have had spiritual expreriences (11v9). But the devil always prowls like a lion ready to pounce; temptation is always present. "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!" (1 Cor 10v12). Unless we persevere we will not inherit what is to come. The second lesson is that God always does what he says. We rejoice in this when he promises blessing, but forget it when it comes to warning. Solomon turned away, and God did just what he said he would. He raised up various adversaries, and took the kingdom away from him, splitting it in t…

(326) 22 November : Proverbs 18v18 / 1 Kings 9-10 / Psalm 76v1-5

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 18:18

Understanding to grow in As in Eden, life's always been about loving obedience. As God reiterates his promise to Solomon yet again, he reminds him that the success of his reign and that of his descendents depends on it. And as Solomon is honouring the Lord all continues well. God hears his prayer and promises to be present. The king excels in wisdom and wealth. And the Queen of Sheba praises God for this, noting his love in granting Israel such a king. How much more an expression of God's love for us, that he has given us his own perfectly righteous Son. How happy this makes and will make us (as 10v8). But there are hints here that things are not all rosy. Deuteronomy 17v14-20 commands kings not to aquir…

(325) 21 November : Proverbs 18v17 / 1 Kings 8 / Psalm 75v6-10

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 18:17

Understanding to grow in The cloud of God's presence is now seen to fill the temple. It is hugely significant, marking this as a highpoint in Israel's life. As Solomon says: "Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave." It's an encouragement to us as we await the fulfilment of all he has promised us in Christ. But we also learn something here of what's God's presence should mean: It is a joyful thing, seen in the innumerable fellowship offerings sacrificed as a sign of devotion. And it is a needed thing, as the temple is God's outpost on earth. So prayers directed to it are heard in heaven, just as those we direct to Christ and offer in the church. This emphasis on…

(324) 20 November : Proverbs 18v16 / 1 Kings 6-7 / Psalm 75v1-5

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 18:16

Understanding to grow in As the place of God's presence on earth, the design of the temple stresses (1) it's importance - made of materials linked with royalty and purity, (2) it being a copy of heaven - decorated with cherubim, (3) it foreshadowing the Eden-like new creation - decorated with palm trees, flowers, pomegranates and mighty creatures. It's centre was the inner sanctuary comprising two rooms. The most special of these was "the most holy place" where the ark of the covenant was kept, containing the ten commandments. The ark was essentially the earthly throne of the heavenly God. This room was where his presence would be especially manifest, and so could be entered only by the Hig…

(323) 19 November : Proverbs 18v15 / 1 Kings 4-5 / Psalm 74v19-23

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 18:15

Understanding to grow in Today we need to get our bearings in Bible history. God had promised Abraham descendents as numerous as the sand on the seashore - a great nation of people to live in a sort of paradise place under his rule. Moreover, he promised that through this nation the world would experience the blessing of favour with God that Abraham enjoyed because of his faith, and that one of his offspring would be at the heart of that (Gen 12v1-7). Later we learnt that individual would be a king from the tribe of Judah who would receive the obedience of the nations, and one of David's descendents (Gen 49v10, 2 Sam 7v12-16). With this in mind as you read about Solomon, you can't help wonder whether he …

(320) 16 November : Proverbs 18v14 / 1 Kings 2v13-3v28 / Psalm 74v13-18

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 18:14

Understanding to grow in Two things to rejoice in with Christ. First, is his justice. It is foreshadowed here by Solomon. Justice that had been delayed is finally delivered, enabling the kingdom to be established without those who might undermine it (2v46). Likewise, Christ will reign until all his enemies are put "under his feet." With them removed, his kingdom will be secured for our enjoyment (1 Cor 15v22-28). But there is warning too. In the end, justice will come to the unrepentant for every act of evil. The delay is not a sign of God forgetting it, but of his patience (Rom 2v4-5). Here we must recognize that Adonijah's request was an attempt as older brother to be aligned with David's com…

(319) 15 November : Proverbs 18v13 / 1 Kings 1v1-2v12 / Psalm 74v4-12

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 18:13

Understanding to grow in There is always the temptation to consider ourselves kings rather than the Lord's anointed. 1v6 hints that Adonijah's rebellion flowed from a failure to parent him properly, the arrogance that can go with good looks, and the self-importance of station in life. Still these things can make someone more likely to reject Christ. What follows clarifies that Solomon was the chosen successor to David, who like Christ is ready to show mercy to the repentant rebel. This lineage to Jesus needs comment. He is not only descended from Rahab the canaanite prosititute and Ruth the moabitess, but from Bathsheba - a woman taken through adultery, deception and murder (Mat 1v5-6). By identifying Ch…

(318) 14 November : Proverbs 18v12 / 2 Samuel 23v8-24v25 / Psalm 74v1-3

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 18:12

Understanding to grow in Reading of David's mighty warriors causes us to consider what legacy we will leave for Christ. Their readiness to engage in great exploits for their king and do his will without question are a model. No doubt Jesus will have smaller things for most of us, but surely our devotion to him should be no less. The book ends, however, with more of David's failure. It is pride that leads him to count his men, showing a lack of acknowledment that it is God who had given him all he had. And in case we might think it unjust for God to send a plague on Israel because if it, 24v1 tells us the whole event was shaped to bring judgment on the nation for its own sins. God stops the plague just ou…

(317) 13 November : Proverbs 18v10-11 / 2 Samuel 22v1-23v7 / Psalm 73v25-28

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 18:10-11

Understanding to grow in The right and natural response to salvation is praise - praise to God, and praise of God to others. This is what connsumes David in seeing all the Lord has done for him. He praises God for keeping his promise to establish David as king. And although David fell hugely, because of his repentance he can acknowledge that God has established him because he feared the Lord and so lived righteously. How much more God's action for Jesus. He was utterly righteous. Obeying his Father even to death, he was therefore delivered in resurrection and given the highest place at which every knee will bow (Phil 2v5-11). But because we are in him, the foreshadowing of Christ in David's prayer is …

(316) 12 November : Proverbs 18v9 / 2 Samuel 20-21 / Psalm 73v21-24

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 18:9

Understanding to grow in This section recounts a sort of mopping up of what remained undone before David's rule was properly established. The turning away of all but Judah to follow Sheba shows how fickle people can be. It's not sufficient to confess faith in God's king, only to turn away when things get hard or something entices. That's false faith. What God looks for is an allegiance to Christ that never wavers, come what may. As before, we should remember the deaths come in judgment, but are not necessarily carried out in the right manner. The need for atonement because of Saul's sin towards the Gibeonites shows that God's justice for sin must be satisfied, even if it takes years. He ca…

(313) 9 November : Proverbs 18v8 / 2 Samuel 18v19-19v43 / Psalm 73v1-20

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 18:8

Understanding to grow in The Christian life is inevitably one in which the new self created to be like Christ vies with the old self of sin and self-centredness. So it was with David. Self-absorption is seen in his being so caught up in his understandable grief that he neglects those who have risked their lives for him. It's a warning when we suffer, that it doesn't exempt us from our responsibilities nor from the need to consider others. However, Christ-likeness is also seen in David, as he show immense grace and forgiveness to those who had previously abandoned him. And we should too, towards those who fail us, especially when we suffer. But there is a shadow of Jesus' reign here too. He has vanquis…

(312) 8 November : Proverbs 18v6-7 / 2 Samuel 16v15-18v18 / Psalm 72v18-20

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 18:6-7

Understanding to grow in In the end judgment will fall on those who stand against Christ, just as Absalom and those who followed him receive it. But also to note is how Hushai is able to furstrate the plans of Absalom to David's advantage. As noted yesterday, we can do good even whilst employed within an ungodly culture. Yet here we see that some of that doing good involves frustrating Satan's plans, by using our influence to oppose practices that are wrong and encourage those that align with Christ's will. As you read note how David's enemies receive their cumeuppance.
2 Samuel 16:15-18:18

Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his pur…

(311) 7 November : Proverbs 18v5 / 2 Samuel 15v1-16v14 / Psalm 72v1-17

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 18:5

Understanding to grow in In many senses this is David's calvary. He is betrayed by his own son. Others turn against him and curse him. But he submits his fate to God. Yet despite all this, there are those who remain faithful and continue to serve. Similarly, whatever people's responses to Christ, we choose to stick with him. It's an important lesson as our culture is so rapidly post or anti-Christian. No matter how many oppose Christ, we say "as for me and my house, we serve the Lord" (Jos 24v15). And as we involve ourselves in society as some of David's men involved themselves with his son, we may be able to use our influence for good. As you read note the different ways people serve Da…

(310) 6 November : Proverbs 18v4 / 2 Samuel 13-14 / Psalm 71v22-24

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 18:4

Understanding to grow in It's a rather shakey imitation of the Lord. The Lord "devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished" (14v14). In the gospel he goes to the greatest lengths of giving his own son to make forgiveness and reconciliation possible. David, however is much more reluctant, needing the plotting and proding of Joab. And Absalom is hardly repentant, but rather vain and moody. So these events don't only pattern the gospel in their imperfect way, they also teach something of life in a fallen world. As was the case with Bathsheba, sin leads to sin. The lust of Amnon leads to manipulation and rape, and then vengeance and murder from his half-brother, and his subsequen…

(309) 5 November : Proverbs 18v3 / 2 Samuel 11-12 / Psalm 71v17-21

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 18:3

Understanding to grow in There are so many lessons here. Those who seem more godly cannot be complacent. David lapses into sin partly because he is not busying himself with what he should be doing (11v1). He sees what he wants and rather than running like Joseph he uses his power to take Bathsheba. His covetousness leads to adultery, the theft of another man's wife. And sin leads to sin. To cover it up, he engages in deception and murder of a good man, not to mention the other soldiers who die in the process. David therefore breaks each of the last five commandments. He "despised the word of the Lord" (12v9) which is to "despise" God (12v10). Critical to note, is that when confronted he re…

(306) 2 November : Proverbs 18v2 / 2 Samuel 9-10 / Psalm 71v12-16

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 18:2

Understanding to grow in This is grace. Keeping his promise to Jonathan (1 Sam 20v15-17, 42) David not only accepts his son, but has him eat at his own table. We think little about how Christ regards our children and families. But he is our friend as well as our king, and just as he is greater than David, so his love for them must be even more intense. He blesses children brought to him and counts them clean and holy (Mk 10v13-15, 1 Cor 7v13). But continuance in Christ's favour does depend on people receiving it by acknowledging him. Where David sought to be kind to the son of the Ammonite king, it was thrown back in his face bringing down his judgment. Where those we love turn from Christ we may need to warn…