Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 22 Feb 18:
1. Leviticus 14:1-20 – These verses symbolically point to the atoning work of Jesus Christ.
2. Proverbs 22:1 – “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” When someone mentions your name, what comes to mind for others? Remember, as a Christian, you bear the name of Christ. What do people think about Jesus when they think about His impact on your life?
3. Proverbs 22:3 — “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” We have all heard the adage, “You’d have to be blind not to see what is going on.” Well, that is right. Society is blind to the reality of the inevitable consequences of their sin. Why? Because society chooses to be blind, preferring darkness over light. Remember, yesterday we read in Proverbs, “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.” (Proverbs 21:4) The prideful direct their attention to (or shine their light on) sin, ignoring the will of God, regardless of God’s warnings to them (wisdom cries out in the streets). “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:19-21) Today’s Bible readings give stern warnings concerning things like abortion, sexual sin, and mysticism which today are celebrated; the consequences of this abandonment of God’s will are more than evident, yet society largely ignores them. The danger for the church is that we become influenced society rather than an influence. We must not lose our humility, holiness, purity, and fear of the LORD. Warriors know that a defense that is not offensive in nature is doomed. We cannot just circle the wagons. We must boldly and confidently speak truth and resist evil. We must remind the earthly powers that “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1) We must command the powers that would resist God, Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah (Psalm 24:7-10) “Fret not yourself because of evildoers.” (Psalm 37:1; Proverbs 24:19) “Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” (Psalm 37:8) Stop worrying so much about the obvious evil we see around us and the earthly powers that work against us. They are nothing at all compared to the power of our God. Allow God’s will to be done in your life and spread that to others, advancing the Kingdom one heart at a time. The Bible says that we have been given “power” by the Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:49) The Greek word for power is dunamis (doo’-nam-is), from which we get the word “dynamite.” It means mighty, forceful, destructive, power that is obviously miraculous. Destructive? Yes! “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4) If the strongholds remain, it is only because we have not applied dynamite. Don’t focus on what the world is doing, focus on what God is doing. Be holy, pure, obedient, confident, love, bold, and powerful.
4. Proverbs 22:9 – “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.” You will receive what you dish out. If you are giving, God will be giving to you.
5. Proverbs 22:10 – “Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.” A scoffer is someone who refuses to listen and learn, a person who is only interested in their own opinion and self-interest. Strife and quarreling come from scoffing. Christians should never cause strife or quarrel.
6. Proverbs 22:11 – “He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.” Christians should be known for gracious speech which comes from their pure hearts. Grace is giving people forgiveness and freedom that they don’t deserve. Grace does not seek to give them the just punishment they do deserve. Gracious speech responds to insults and harsh speech with love and blessings. See why Christians cannot quarrel? Rather than quarreling, Christians deny self, take up their cross, and follow Jesus.
7. Proverbs 22:15 – “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.” Children naturally lack internal discipline (self-control) and require external discipline from loving parents. Parental discipline is God’s plan for maturity. Likewise, adults lack adequate discipline (self-control) and require the counsel of the Holy Spirit and the discipline of the Father in order to grow to maturity.
8. Proverbs 22:17-22 – God’s word is provided to help you to trust in the Lord and to keep you on track as you grow in your love for and trust in the Lord. God knows you are not perfected in love and gives you clear instructions until you are so united with God in love that you no longer need rules and regulations to do what is right.
9. Proverbs 22:24 – “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man.” Do you have a friend with a hot temper? Not good.
10. Acts 11:17 – “If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” God’s work isn’t limited by our rules or by our limited interpretation of His rules. We operate under the authority and power of Jesus Christ, not the authority and power of people.
11. Acts 11:20-21 – “But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.” Jesus’ disciples preached the Gospel, despite being persecuted for it. Many believed and some didn’t. We are likewise called to preach to many, some who will believe and some who won’t. We cannot do the work of the Holy Spirit.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 22 Feb: Don’t assume someone won’t accept the Gospel without trying. After prayer, tell someone about Jesus even if you doubt they will believe. Have confidence. If they still refuse to believe after you have spoken to them, you have still planted a seed. Keep praying for them, and trust the Holy Spirit to do the rest.