Sunday, February 24, 2008

Day 54 & 55: 1 Sam 16-25, Jer 1-12, 2 Cor 7-11

Highlights from the last two readings:
  • The story of God's call on David's life and his relationship to Saul is one of the most compelling in the Scriptures. Obviously, the fact that God chooses a boy of such lowly status to lead His nation is a wonderful encouragement to all of us who have so little to offer in our own strength. But even more than that, the fact that God tells David that he will one day be King, but that he will need to wait until God removes Saul from the throne before that can happen. I have so much to learn about this part of faith - waiting on God to deliver and provide, and finding the balance between that and passivity. I know that God has called and led me, but sometimes I struggle with taking control and not waiting on God to open the doors. I have a lot to learn from David in this - especially the stories where the opportunity to kill Saul opens up and David passes. The moral: not every open door is from the Lord, but may be a test to see if we really trust Him. Very difficult to discern, however.
  • Jeremiah 1-12 primarily addresses the issue of Judah's unfaithfulness and God's attempt to woo them back to Himself through promises of both blessings if they return and warnings of wrath if they don't. But the very fact that God is pursuing them in the midst of their infidelity to Him is a reminder of the graciousness of God. You can hear God's heart when you read words like "return to me, learn from the mistakes of Israel, discard your idols, repent." God's desire throughout the harshest judgments in the book is for the His people to return to faith in Him.
  • The scariest chapter in this section to me is chapter 7 because Jeremiah condemns the people for trusting in their religiosity and not trusting in their God. In other words, they made regular comments about the fact that God would never destroy their nation because they had the "city of God - Jerusalem. Their confidence was in the trappings of religion, not in the power of their God. When our faith moves beyond the person of God to religious acts, we are in trouble. And this is most clearly demonstrated when our religious systems are working, but our hearts and lives are far from God's ways.
  • One of my life verses: Jeremiah 9:23-24 - "This is what the Lord says: Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom or the strong man boast in his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the Lord.
  • I love how joy and generosity are connected in 2 Corinthians 7, 8, & 9. The bottom-line: as God has been generous to us by giving His only Son, so we should respond by giving generously and joyfully to the Lord, not out of compulsion, but out of gratitude and thanksgiving.

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