Friday, February 29, 2008

Day 60 & 61/90: 2 Sam 11-20, Jer 37-48, Eph 4-6, Phil 1-3

2/3 complete & counting - keep going strong!
Highlights from today's reading:
  • This part of 2 Samuel is well known, especially chapter 11, because it recounts the immorality of King David with Uriah's wife, Bathsheba, and David's eventual decision to have Uriah killed. While there is much to learn about avoiding immorality from studying David's fall in chapter 11, I think the main point of the narrator in this section is to show the after-effects of David's sin. While we see God blessing David's reign before this moment, the story definitely shifts after chapter 11. David has disunity in his kingdom, sexual sin among his children, betrayal and murder in his household, and then eventually his own son Absalom comes after David to overthrow him as King. The point that the story is making is clear: while David's sins were forgiven by God, the consequences of his actions lingered through the rest of his life and reign. Overall, a powerful reminder of the impact of poor choices on those we lead.
  • This section of Jeremiah reminds us that it is not always beneficial to be the bearer of God's message - that preaching His message faithfully can lead to opposition and trials and suffering. Everyone thinks they want to hear the word of the Lord, but when it is given to them, they don't always want to obey what they have heard. This is true of our current culture as well - more excited to hear good things from God - that He is for us and wants to bless us - than to hear the hard things from God - repent and submit and obey and follow Him wholeheartedly. Both are true, but we tend to not want to hear the second half of the message.
  • Jeremiah 45-48 are not in chronological order from the previous chapters. Much of this book is a compilation of Jeremiah's messages throughout his prophetic ministry. Some are grouped chronologically, so topically. These last chapters are grouped as warnings against nations who serve other gods. The Lord is reminding them that though they may have seasons of prosperity, God will avenge His name in their midst. I think this has been confirmed historically as we see each of these national people uprooted by other countries.
  • Based on Paul's explanation of what God has done in our lives through Christ (our new identity in Him), Paul now exhorts believers to live in light of this new reality by...
    • being unified as a community of Christ-followers.
    • building each other up to maturity.
    • living a holy life that stands out from the ways of the world.
    • speaking truthfully and compassionately to each other.
    • by living a life of love.
    • living wisely toward each other and toward outsiders.
    • submitting to each other in marriage, wives through respect & husbands through love.
    • standing strong against the attacks of the enemy.
    • fearlessly and clearly sharing the gospel.
  • Paul's first three chapters of Philippians are so packed with stuff, it is hard to know what to write about. I am most challenged in this section by (1) Paul's view of death as gain (because of his strong faith in Christ) which allowed him to face all kinds of persecutions with endurance, (2) Paul's challenge to live out the humility modeled by Jesus Christ on the cross (so hard!), and (3) Paul's view of all his earthly accomplishments as crap compared to knowing Christ. Rock on --

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