WEEK 52, Day 7, Sunday, 1 January 2023

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 1 January 2023:

1 Chronicles 27:1 — This is the number of the people of Israel, the heads of fathers’ houses, the commanders of thousands and hundreds, and their officers who served the king in all matters concerning the divisions that came and went, month after month throughout the year, each division numbering 24,000….

Family has always been the building block of society, and the family (children raised by a faithful, God-fearing father and mother) has always been God’s intended school house for character and leadership development. This is one reason why God doesn’t tolerate any threat to the sanctity of marriage (such as adultery, homosexuality, fornication, and divorce) —

  • Hebrews 13:4 — Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
  • Exodus 20:14 — You shall not commit adultery.
  • Proverbs 6:32 — He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.
  • Malachi 2:13-16 — And this second thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
  • Luke 16:18 — Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
  • Matthew 19:6 — So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.
  • Leviticus 18:22 — You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
  • Leviticus 20:13 — If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.
  • Jude 1:7 — Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 — Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
  • Romans 1:26-27 — For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
  • 1 Timothy 1:10 — The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

Again, in 1 Chronicles 27, we see that God’s people, the nation of Israel, were organized and led in every domestic area by “heads of fathers’ houses. The military and militiamen were organized, trained, equipped, and supported by their respective family leaders, and agricultural, industrial, and financial organizations and institutions were led by family leaders too. Responsibility and accountability to the king on national affairs rested on the shoulder of fathers, and family reputation was tied directly to the nation’s success. For example, consider how the military was organized, with each tribe tasked with activating it’s 24,000 militiamen for one month each year — “Jashobeam the son of Zabdiel was in charge of the first division in the first month; in his division were 24,000.” (1 Chronicles 27:2) Every month, national security depended on one family, and when their militiamen were formed and posted, every other family could see first-hand the product of that families parenting, which everyone depended on for safety and security. How many patriarchs could rally 24,000 family members for anything today? Something to think about.

Psalm 150:6 — Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Congratulations on reading through the first half of the Old Testament and all of the Psalms, Proverbs, and New Testament this year! Hopefully by prayerfully reading and studying the Bible systematically, you have been able to see the “big picture,” the truth of “His Story (history).” In a society where so many are proclaiming a hopeless philosophy of purposelessness, meaninglessness, random chance, scarcity and self-preservation, hopefully you are having a different conversation, one of hope and “Good News” about 1) God’s creation of humanity and the world, 2) the fall of humanity and the world, 3) God’s redemption of what was lost through Jesus Christ and Him alone, and 3) the final restoration when Christ will return to make all things new for eternity. Hopefully, you have seen Christ revealed throughout the entire Bible. The Bible begins with Christ (see John 1) and ends with Christ; and between the book ends of Genesis 1-2 and Revelation 21-22 (where the Bible describe the only times when there was and will be no sin present on earth), your readings have revealed how God has been unfolding His redemptive plan through Christ for His glory and what God intends for you as part of His plan as His ambassador in this day.

Hopefully, as we approach another New Year after a year in God’s word, you are already confidently sharing that, “through Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension, God gave him the authority to give all who receive and follow him in repentance and faith, a new standing from God, a new heart and life from God, a new community from God, and a promised new world from God-when Jesus returns to make all things new.” (Pathway Learning) The Good News this year is all those who will believe in Jesus Christ are saved from the penalty of sin, are being saved from the domineering power of sin in their lives, and will be saved from the presence of sin when Christ returns and makes all things new. You certainly have something to celebrate this year!

  • Psalm 150:6 — Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Proverbs 1:2 – To know wisdom….

There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied and understanding beyond experience. There are many knowledgeable people in the world, but few with wisdom. Wisdom can only come from God, and the Holy Spirit uses God’s word to give wisdom. How much you value God’s words reveals how much you care about wisdom and truly knowing Him.

Proverbs 1:3 – …to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity….

Wisdom and discipline go hand-in-hand.

Proverbs 1:5 – Let the wise hear and increase in learning.

Developing wisdom is a life-long endeavor involving daily study of God’s word. Few people have wisdom because few people diligently seek it from the only Source of Wisdom, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 1:7 — The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

If your education is not grounded in faith in Jesus, you are like the astronomers of old, trying to make the earth the center of the universe.

Wisdom is naturally divisive. There can be no unity between the wise and the unwise. Jesus said, He came not to unit but to divide. If you are pleasing everyone, you are by definition compromising somewhere.

Proverbs 1:8 — Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.

Again, God intended for children to be raised by a father and a mother.

Proverbs 1:20 – Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice.

Wisdom is available to anyone who really wants it, but wisdom starts with submitting to God.

Proverbs 1:23 – If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you.

Receiving the Spirit starts with repentance. Wisdom requires Spirit enabled repentance, agreeing with God about your sin, submitting to God’s sovereignty over your life, and turning away from old behavior.

Proverbs 1:24-26 — Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity.

The condemned refuse to accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus — it is a choice they freely make.

Proverbs 1:28, 29 – Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD.

There is a point of no return where change is no longer possible.

Proverbs 1:31 — Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices.

Often God’s discipline is giving you what you want so you can experience the consequences and hopefully return to Him.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 1 January 2023: Tell everyone you can what you learned about Jesus this year from reading the Bible, and encourage others to read the Bible with you this year. Start your own Bible study going right to the source. All you need is a Bible, the Holy Spirit, and receptive hearts.

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