Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 1 November 18:
1. Lamentations 3:21, 22 — “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.” In your darkest hour, when there seems to be no hope, you can hold to the truth that God’s love and mercy never ceases, and He is still in complete control. He knows what is best for you though sometimes it is painful. Trust in Him.
2. Lamentations 3:25, 26 — “The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” Waiting quietly and patiently for The Lord is one of the hardest things to do.
3. Lamentations 3:27-42 — “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; let him put his mouth in the dust— there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults. For the Lord will not cast off forever, but though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men…. Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven: ‘We have transgressed and rebelled’” There is a lot of meat in these verses. Sometimes, trials are clearly self-induced — “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11-12) Sometimes, we don’t understand why we are are suffering. In trials, don’t turn away from God but draw closer to Him and learn from the situation. God ultimately works all things together for good for those who are following Jesus. Trust your loving Father in your suffering; recognize that nothing is happening to you the He did not allow to happen for a greater good that you cannot understand – wait on Him. He is more than faithful and only deals with you in perfect love. Pain is God’s chisel as He crafts you into the likeness of Christ. If you are being disciplined accept it, learn, and grow in love.
— 1 Peter 4:19 — Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
— Hebrews 5:8 — Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.
— 2 Corinthians 12:10 — For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
— Psalm 141:5 — Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.
— Romans 5:3-5 — …we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
— Philippians 4:4 — Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
4. Lamentations 3:40 – “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!” You should know if you are obeying God.
5. Lamentations 3:42 – “We have transgressed and rebelled, and you have not forgiven.” Repentance is required for forgiveness.
6. Lamentations 4:1 — “How the gold has grown dim, how the pure gold is changed! The holy stones lie scattered at the head of every street. The precious sons of Zion, worth their weight in fine gold, how they are regarded as earthen pots, the work of a potter’s hands!”
– We are called to be the holy stones of the temple and the shining gold of God. Sin tarnishes and scatters God’s people. This should never be.
– Judgment can enable you to see yourself in a new light and change your materialistic priorities.
7. Lamentations 4:11, 12 – “The Lord gave full vent to his wrath; he poured out his hot anger, and he kindled a fire in Zion that consumed its foundations. The kings of the earth did not believe, nor any of the inhabitants of the world, that foe or enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem.” Sin causes God to destroy what He established.
8. Lamentations 4:13, 14 — “This was for the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests…. They wandered, blind, through the streets; they were so defiled with blood that no one was able to touch their garments.” A precursor of God’s judgment is blind guides and teachers.
9. Lamentations 4:15, 16 — “’Away! Unclean!’ people cried at them. ‘Away! Away! Do not touch!’ So they became fugitives and wanderers; people said among the nations, ‘They shall stay with us no longer.’ The Lord himself has scattered them; he will regard them no more; no honor was shown to the priests, no favor to the elders.” Judgment exposes and humiliates false teachers and separates them from the true church.
10. Lamentations 4:22 — “He will uncover your sins.” All sinners face God’s judgement. The purpose of God’s discipline is to uncover your sins and bring you to repentance and reconciliation.
11. Proverbs 1:7 — “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Our public school systems start with the presumption that God is not a factor in knowledge. They teach a ‘knowledge’ that is independent or void of God. What does this say about the ultimate fate of the nation?
12. Proverbs 1:22 — “How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” Scoffers are those who simply refuse to hear the truth of Jesus. Have you noticed how they delight in their ungodly beliefs?
13. Proverbs 1:24 — “Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded….” It is not that God isn’t calling out to save, it is that many refuse to take His hand.
14. Proverbs 1:32 — “For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them.” The cherubim in Ezekiel 10:22 walked straight paths under God’s commands, but notice that the evil turn away from God and are destroyed.
15. John 2:3-5 — “When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” Jesus was obedient to his mother, despite the inappropriateness of her request, her lack of understanding, His adulthood, and His position as the Son of God. What does this tell us about how God views obedience to His commands? Jesus modelled obedience for us all. Do you obey God’s commands even when it doesn’t seem to make any sense? Are their some ‘small’ or ‘outdated’ commands that you have decided God doesn’t really care that much about? Do you have habitual sins that you commit casually in the name of ‘grace’? “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1, 2)
— Philippians 2:8 — And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
16. John 2:15 — “And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.” This is not the “gentle Jesus” often described in traditional storytelling. Jesus knew when and how to be forceful to defend the powerless for God’s glory.
17. John 2:23-25 — “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” There is a big difference between believing in Jesus and surrendering and following Jesus. Saving faith is a fully committed faith. If Jesus is truly your Lord and Savior, everything in your life has changed, and He is your goal. Saving faith seeks Jesus, not just His blessings.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 1 Nov 18: Practice total obedience today to God and to all authorities. (John 2:1-10)