Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 25 May 18:
1. 2 Samuel 21:1-14– For generations, Saul’s family suffered the consequences of his sins, long after he had died. Compare with Exodus 20:5. We can’t fully comprehend the seriousness of the sins we often treat so lightly. Even the sins we consider to be insignificant can have a devastation ripple effect, often beyond our awareness. But the unthinkable truth of our ‘little’ sins is that we have committed cosmic treason by defying the Lordship and Authority of the Sovereign God. If just for that moment, we have sought to remove Him from the throne in our lives. In that small sin, we have broken the First commandment in our idolatry (choosing something over God), and we have broke the Great Commandment (by not loving God enough to obey Him). As Hebrews 10:29 says, when we continue in the sins Jesus paid for at the cross we “trample underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?” Do not outrage, quench, grieve, or get out of step with the Spirit. Under grace, pursue righteousness and holiness as your act of love and worship. Many people ask, “What is God’s will for my life. The Bible gives you the answer — “This is the will of God, your sanctification.” (1 Thess. 4:3)
2. 2 Samuel 21:2, 3 — God will not allow you to go against your word, no matter the oath or to whom it was made.
3. 2 Samuel 21:3 — God expects us to make atonement for the offenses we commit against others.
4. 2 Samuel 22:21-24 — “The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his rules were before me, and from his statutes I did not turn aside. I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from guilt.” We are saved by grace and rewarded through obedience. God expects our obedience, holds us accountable for obedience, and blesses our obedience. Jesus commissioned us to go into the world and make disciples, “teaching them to obey ALL that [He] has commanded.” All means all. Partial obedience is disobedience. When we lose sight of the holiness of God, and when we are no longer amazed by grace, we don’t take obedience very seriously.
5. 2 Samuel 22:26 — “With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless” God treats you the way you treat others. Compare this with The Lord’s Prayer (or disciple’s prayer) – “…forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
6. 2 Samuel 22:28 — “You save a humble people, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them down.” The world views humility as weakness, but the truly humble have the power of God on their side. Jesus said, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:4)
7. 2 Samuel 22:30-51 — Strength, security, and success are in the LORD’s hands. Salvation comes only from God.
8. Proverbs 25:7, 8 — “What your eyes have seen do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame?” Don’t be too quick to judge. Your observations are very limited and clouded by preconceived notions and sometimes emotion. Be careful not to judge a situation or person from a position of self-interest. You represent Christ, not your own interests.
9. Proverbs 25:9 — “Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another’s secret.” Settle matters one-on-one, quietly in order to preserve the dignity of both parties and to protect the relationship. Don’t let an issue distract you or others from Jesus. Better to surrender your rights in a matter than to lose focus on your mission of reconciling yourself and others to Jesus. Life is not about you; it is about Him. You are just a humble servant and messenger. Whatever you give up for the sake of love, God can replace a thousand fold.
10. Proverbs 25:14 — “Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give.” Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep, even as a casual gesture, such as saying to someone you bump into who you haven’t seen in a long time, “Let’s keep in touch.”
11. 2 Corinthians 1:1 — “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…” How do you introduce yourself?
12. 2 Corinthians 1:2 — “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Are you, first and foremost, a messenger of grace and peace to others in the Name of Jesus? Is this what you communicate in your words and deeds? Would others describe you as a minister of grace and peace as a representative of Jesus? Does your very presence in a gathering fundamentally change the environment and bring a spirit of grace and peace?
13. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 — “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” Do you reveal God to others as a Father of mercies and comfort? Do you happily accept affliction from others so that you can reflect God’s character of mercy? Do you understand that hurting people hurt others, and do you seek to provide comfort rather than to condemn? God comforts you in afflictions so that you can comfort others. God has tasked you with comforting others in affliction. How are you doing on that task day by day?
14. 2 Corinthians 1:12 — “For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.” Another word for “simplicity” above is “holiness.” The credibility of our message will be judged by the world and other Christians by the simple holiness of our daily behavior which stands out in stark contrast to the world around us. Our attitude and behavior as we face the same trials others face reveals what we really believe to be true about our God. Does your attitude, words, and behavior glorify God? If you have failed in the past (which we all have), today is a day of new beginnings.
15. 2 Corinthians 1:12 — “We behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God…” We are not called to win people to Christ through crafty arguments but rather through the simple word of God and through simple, sincere godliness. The Holy Spirit convicts hearts, not us.
16. 2 Corinthians 1:17, 18 — “Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say ‘Yes, yes’ and ‘No, no’ at the same time? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No.” God expects us to keep our promises and our word as earthly examples of His character. We must strive to be 100% reliable.
17. 2 Corinthians 1:20 – “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” Comments from Henry T. Blackaby: “God keeps every promise He makes. When we walk in intimate fellowship with Christ, we have the assurance that every promise God has made in Scripture is available to us. This truth should motivate us to search the Scriptures for each promise in order to meditate upon its potential for our life. Jesus promised that when you ask for something in His will, He will give you what you ask (John 16:23b). This promise is available to every Christian. If you ask God if this promise applies to your life, His answer is yes. If you are not now experiencing this promise, it does not change the fact that God has said it. You may need to seek God’s answer for why His promise has not yet reached maturity in you. Paul claimed he had tested each of these promises in his own life and found them all to be abundantly true. That’s why he could speak of the “exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7b) and the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8b). Paul had found a wealth of God’s promises and enjoyed them all in abundance. Don’t become discouraged or impatient if you are not experiencing to the fullest all of God’s promises in your life. God may want to prepare you to receive some of the great truths He has made available to you. Walk closely with your Lord and, in time, you will see Him bring His promises to fruition in your life.”
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 25 May: Treat others the way you want God to treat you. Demonstrate God’s mercy, comfort, and grace to others. (2 Samuel 22:26; 2 Cor 1:3)