YEAR 2, WEEK 17, Day 7, Sunday, 30 April 2023

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 30 April 2023:

Ecclesiastes 8:6, 7 – For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him. For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be?

The limits of our human knowledge cannot be over emphasized. The very simplest of God’s works are far beyond our comprehension. We cannot walk securely in our knowledge, instincts, or strength; we must be guided by the Holy Spirit, and we must trust God in what He has not revealed to us.

God said to Abram, “Go… to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1) More often than not, God tells His servants to walk in faith to a place prepared for us by God that will be revealed when we get there. And in that journey, God will not always clear our path of challenges and tests. Didn’t God corner the Israelites in at the Red Sea before opening it up? Didn’t God make the Israelites step into the raging Jordan River before stopping the waters? Didn’t God make David face the giant? Didn’t God make Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego go into the fiery furnace? Didn’t God make Daniel go into the Lion’s Den? Didn’t Jesus have to endure the cross before is Resurrection? Through all these circumstances, weren’t there opportunities for doubt and fear? But didn’t God use all these events to reveal Himself in a way never seen before? Don’t waste too much time asking God to reveal the future to you. Trust Him, obey Him today, one day at a time, and watch Him work in mighty ways.

Ecclesiastes 8:8 — There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it.

We cannot escape or opt out of our responsibilities to God, and all our decisions have consequences.

Ecclesiastes 8:10-11 – Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity. Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.

The world is unjust because man is corrupt. Even the church fails to hold people accountable. Justice will come from God but in his timing. Because many seem to prosper in sin, pride, arrogance, and doubt grows. Do not be deceived. God will not be mocked. Jesus promised that His followers would be persecuted in this evil world. Do not lose heart. God will bring all things into account, and if you are a disciple of Jesus, you have already entered into eternal life (John 17).

Psalm 50:7-9. 16, 17, 23 — Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God. I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds…. What right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips? For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you…. The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!

You cannot remain in right fellowship with God while sin remains, and you cannot expect God to honor your prayers and worship while you continue to dishonor Him. I read this story about Norman Vincent Peale: “When Peale was a boy, he found a big, black cigar, slipped into an alley, and lit it up. When he saw his father approaching, he quickly put the cigar behind his back and tried to act casual. Desperate to divert his father’s attention, Norman pointed to a billboard advertising the circus. ‘Can I go, Dad? Please, let’s go when it comes to town.’ His father’s reply taught Norman a lesson he never forgot. ‘Son,’ he answered quietly but firmly, ‘I learned long ago never to approach my Father with a petition while at the same time trying to hide a smoldering disobedience.’ In today’s readings, Psalm 50 gives God’s perspective on the disobedience of His people. In Psalm 51, David gives us a model of repentance as he pleads with God to “restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit (Psalm 51:12).” David understood God’s perspective: “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise (Psalm 51:16, 17).” While through Christ we have eternal fellowship with God (Romans 8:38, 39), our sins hinder our temporal fellowship with Him (1 Corinthians 3:3). Daily we must practice 1 John 1:9:

- 1 John 1:9 -- If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psalm 50:14 — Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High.

Your daily attitude and actions are your worship to God more than your religious activities.

Psalm 50:15 – …and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.

“Did you know that you bring glory to God by calling upon Him when you are in distress? God promised He would deliver you if you turned to Him. You deny the Lord honor that is rightfully His every time you find yourself in difficulty and you fail to call upon Him for help! There may be times when God allows you to reach a point of need so that you can call upon Him, and thus let Him demonstrate to a watching world the difference He makes in the lives of His children. If God never allowed you to experience need, people around you might never have the opportunity to witness God’s provision in the life of a Christian. If you never faced a shortfall, you might be tempted to feel self-sufficient and without any need of God in your daily life.

Pride will tempt you to think that you do not need to seek God’s assistance. Self-regard will seek to convince you that you can handle your dilemma through your own wisdom, resources, and hard work. Pride will also rob glory from God and seek to give it to you. Don’t allow your pride to take what rightfully belongs to the Lord. Call upon your Lord and wait exclusively upon Him to rescue you. Then give Him the glory that He deserves.

Self-sufficiency can greatly hinder your ability to experience God and bring Him honor. The next time you are in distress, turn to Him!” (Henry T. Blackaby)

Psalm 50:16-18 — But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips? For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you. If you see a thief, you are pleased with him, and you keep company with adulterers. “

Studying, memorizing and reciting the Bible is pointless if you aren’t intent on living the words of God with the desire of unifying with God in love. A true Christian will walk the talk. Some false Christians can be very deceptive in their religious speech, perhaps even deceiving themselves. James warns, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22) With a mere intellectual ascent into spiritual truths we can wrongly convince ourselves that we have somehow grown in our spirituality or holiness, but knowledge is not understanding or wisdom, and information is not transformation. We have not ‘arrived’ until we embody God’s word and will through passionate obedience done naturally (not through force of will) as fruit of the Spirit within us.

Beyond what we say we believe, our choices and deeds often reveal the truth of what is in our hearts. But “good deeds” are nothing but “filthy rags” if not done from a heart of selfless, genuine love for God, intentionally submitting to His will. Sometimes people will use religious activity, charitable activity, and Bible knowledge to conceal or attempt to compensate for a wicked, self-centered heart. Sometimes people will justify to themselves their self-centered behavior by claiming it to be acts of “service.” But virtue only comes from a truly virtuous, selfless heart. Everything else is a façade. God always knows the difference between genuine selflessness and disguised selfishness, and usually other people figure it out over time.

Watch out for the Christian that frequently uses the words “I” and “me.” Check yourself too. Why do you do what you do? Honestly, is it for you or only for Him? In honesty, we can all say that our motives are mixed – there is always a bit of selfishness in there, but recognizing, acknowledging, and addressing that with the Lord is key – it is humility. None of us are perfected in love, but we must genuine love our endeavor.

“If you see a thief, you are pleased with him, and you keep company with adulterers.” Contrary to popular misinterpretations of the Bible, Jesus did not ‘hang out’ with unrepentant sinners, and He doesn’t want you to either. He certainly engaged and challenged the unrepentant sinner (in love), but He fellowshipped with those who sought Him. Jesus ate with the repentant sinners and tax collectors, those sinners who sought a right relationship with Him, though very imperfectly. Who do you prefer to hang out with? How often do you talk about Jesus, in regular conversation, with your good friends? What you discuss with your close friends says much about the foundation of your friendship.

Psalm 50:21 — These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.

God’s apparent silence before your sin does not signal His indifference or acceptance. He will hold you accountable. God will not be mocked.

Psalm 50:22 — Mark this, then, you who forget God, lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!

When you choose to sin, you have forgotten or disregarded God in that moment. You have defied the KING. You have committed cosmic treason. Fortunately, God’s fidelity does not depend on our fidelity, and His love is not limited by the limits of our love, but in our reliance on and confidence in grace, we must not lose perspective on the seriousness of sin; we must not take grieving the Spirit lightly. Our love and appreciation for Christ should make sin horrific to us.

Psalm 50:23 — The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!

Are you living out thanksgiving? A thankful heart is an obedient heart. Obedience is a demonstration of gratitude, love, and an act of worship.

Psalm 51:1-9 – Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

When we understand the difference between who God is and who we aren’t, when we have a glimpse of the gravity of our sin in defiance of the Almighty, we approach God in complete humility, acknowledge our complete reliance on His mercy and grace, and respond to other sinners accordingly.

Psalm 51:10 — Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

When your goal in life is to be right with God and close to Him, you are on the right path, and He will not deny you your desires. Considering the comments above on character development, notice that the psalmist recognizes that he cannot fix his own heart, only God can create a clean heart and renew a right spirit.

Psalm 51:13 — Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

A person who truly has been saved has a natural passion for telling others how to be saved too. It is not a hard thing to get people to talk about what they care most about.

Psalm 51:17 — The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

God seeks genuine, humble love. Unlike our human relationships, you can’t mask your true feelings with God. He knows the truth about you, your motives, desires, and emotions. Walk with the Spirit as He searches your heart.

Proverbs 30:20 – This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I have done no wrong.”

People have an amazing ability to make light of their sin or to excuse it. Many sin and act as if it never happened, and some hearts have grown so callous they can no longer recognize sin as sin. God sees sin for what it is, treason against His Holy, Sovereign LORD-ship, a crime deserving of eternal death. This is why the Gospel is the Good News! Jesus paid for the sins we cannot even see or refuse to admit to ourselves if we submit our lives to Him as His disciples and seek the Kingdom of God as our top priority. But salvation requires a heart of true repentance.

Salvation, relationships with God, and spiritual growth require a humble, honest, repentant heart. The Christian never makes light of sin. What sins in your life have become so commonplace that you don’t even consider them sinful anymore? How about watching ungodly scenes as entertainment on your television?

Proverbs 30:24-28 – Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer; the rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs; the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; the lizard you can take in your hands, yet it is in kings’ palaces.

You don’t have to be powerful if you are wise. Wisdom is more powerful than strength. Wisdom comes from God, not through human intellect.

Wise people succeed by accepting their current situation rather than using it as an excuse, and they learn to work with what they have around obstacles and limitations to exploit opportunities. Successful people learn to find opportunity in any environment or circumstance while unsuccessful people only see obstacles and barriers. Don’t focus on what you don’t have or can’t do. Focus on what you do have and can do.

Proverbs 30:32 – If you have been foolish, exalting yourself, or if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth.

Sin is selfishness. Sin is placing yourself, your desires, ahead of God which is unthinkable cosmic treason. The writing is calling you to repentance. Even those sins you know you commit that you consider “small” are not small if you consider what they mean – “God says, ‘no’, but I say ‘yes.’” Consider today where you still knowingly dishonor God, repent, and receive His forgiveness.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 30 April 2023: Today, focus on being gratefully and humbly obedient while forgiving others as God has forgiven you because God is God, and this is His will for you.

1 thought on “YEAR 2, WEEK 17, Day 7, Sunday, 30 April 2023

  1. Great
    Great insights on today’s readings! It is a powerful reminder that we cannot walk securely in our knowledge or strength, and we must trust and obey God. We must have a genuine, humble, and repentant heart, seeking wisdom from Him. May we strive to be obedient, forgiving, and grateful followers of Christ.
    Live Free Offgrid


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