Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 27 August 2022:
Here is a short video overview of 1 Samuel: https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/1-samuel/
1 Samuel 1:14 — “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.”
Eli made judgements based upon outward appearances. Generally, Eli will prove to be a poor judge of character.
Psalm 97:10 — O you who love the Lord, hate evil!
Hate has motivated many people to kill. Love should motivate Christians to kill too – “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5) To love God and others, we must hate and “put to death” the sin that is abhorrent to God; that separates people eternally from God; that drove Jesus, our Lord and Savior, to the cross; that kills and destroys; and that wars against love in this broken world. To take sin lightly is to love little, minimalizing the Passion of Christ and disregarding the plight of those trapped in sin. To love our enemies as Jesus commanded, we must go to battle, not against them but against the sin that is enslaving and killing them, being very careful not to get wounded by sin ourselves — “And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” (Job 1:22-23) “Be angry and do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26)
How you feel about sin is based on how much you really love God and others. Do you really hate sin?
- Proverbs 8:13 — The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
- Amos 5:15 — Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
- Proverbs 6:16-19 — There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
- Romans 12:9 — Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
- Psalm 45:7 — You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
- Revelation 2:6 — Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
- 1 John 3:8 — Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
- Psalm 26:5 — I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.
- Ephesians 5:3-21 — But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Proverbs 27:1 – Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.
Do not be complacent with today. Serve God today as if today were your last day.
Proverbs 27:4 — “Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?”
Jealousy is worse than anger. Jealousy despises another not because of an offense but because of blessings they have received. Jealousy is purely an internal temptation that reveals an ungrateful heart.
Proverbs 27:5 – Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
If you don’t tell others about Jesus, you either don’t really care about them, or you are a coward.
Proverbs 27:6 – Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
If you only tell people what they want to hear, you are acting like their enemy.
From Henry T. Blackaby — Jesus never gave relief to people who were under conviction. When Zaccheus, in remorse for his sin, shared his generous plans for restitution, Jesus did not say, “Now Zaccheus, the important thing is that you feel sorry for what you did.” Jesus brought no comfort to him as he dealt with his sin (Luke 19:1-10). Neither did Jesus excuse disbelief. We never find Jesus saying, “Well, that’s all right. I know I’m asking you to believe a lot, and that’s not easy.” On the contrary, Jesus was quick to chastise His disciples when they failed to believe Him. Jesus loved His friends too much to condone or comfort them in their sin.
It is possible to be too gentle with your friends. When a friend is under deep conviction by the Holy Spirit, do you try to give comfort? Don’t ever try to ease the discomfort of someone whom the Holy Spirit is making uncomfortable! Be careful not to communicate to your friends that you find their lack of faith acceptable. You are not acting in true friendship if you condone disobedience or even if you look the other way. Kisses are far more pleasant than wounds, yet they can be even more devastating if they lull your friend into being comfortable with sin.
In our attempt to appease our friends and our reluctance to share a word from God, we can actually cause great harm. If we see our friends in danger and do not warn them, God will hold us accountable for our silence (Ezek. 33:6). Are you a friend of such integrity that you would risk wounding your friends in order to deter them from their sin?
Proverbs 27:12 – The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.
Only the wise can see what is truly going on around them. Wisdom comes from God alone, not from mere intellect.
Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
God’s will for your life is that you are in close relationship with other committed Christians, working together in sanctification. You cannot be a good Christian alone.
More comments from Henry T. Blackaby — The Christian life is a pilgrimage. At times the road is difficult, and we get lonely. Sometimes we may become discouraged and consider abandoning the journey. It is at such times that God will place a friend alongside us. One of God’s most precious gifts to us is friends who encourage us and lovingly challenge us to “keep going.”
According to Scripture, a friend is one who challenges you to become all that God intends. Jonathan could have succeeded his father to become the next king of Israel. But he loved his friend David, and he encouraged him to follow God’s will, even though it meant Jonathan would forfeit his own claim to the throne (1 Sam. 19:1-7).
The mark of biblical friends is that their friendship draws you closer to Christ. They “sharpen” you and motivate you to do what is right. True friends tell you the truth and even risk hurting your feelings because they love you and have your best interests at heart (Prov. 27:6).
Be careful in your choice of friends! Jesus chose His closest friends wisely. He did not look for perfect friends, but friends whose hearts were set to follow God. It is equally important to examine the kind of friend you are to others. As a friend, it is your duty to put the needs of others first (Prov. 17:17). Strive to find godly friends who will challenge you to become the person God desires. When you have found them, be receptive to the way God uses them to help you become spiritually mature. Strive also to be the kind of friend that helps others become more like Christ.
Proverbs 27:18 — Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who guards his master will be honored.
If your boss is wrong, and you can protect him from his mistakes, you will only benefit from it. Yes, there is a concern about enabling bad behavior, but with wisdom, your influence can change a leader over time. Most change takes a long time, but consequences for bad behavior are immediate and can have devastating consequences. Much of leadership from the bottom up is about damage control while influencing by example and subtle counsel.
Proverbs 27:19 – As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.
We use mirrors to judge our outward condition and appearance. We use humble, prayerful, Bible-based introspection and self-awareness, empowered by the Holy Spirit to judge our inner condition, our hearts. How important is it for us to learn how to be truly self-aware, receptive to the counsel of the Holy Spirit? Reputation is what others say about you. Character is what God says about you.
Proverbs 27:21 — The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise.
Your faith is tested in both good times and bad times. How you respond to both reveals in whom you have placed your trust, in God or in yourself.
Proverbs 27:23-27 — Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever….
God commands us to prepare for “a rainy day” because one thing is certain: it is going to rain one day, and everyone, even Christians will get wet.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 27 August 22: Today, consider your attitude towards sin, and pray that God will give you a heart that sees sin the way He sees it.