For today, One Year Bible Online links here.
We all like to hear rumors. They make us feel like we are more important than we are because we know “inside information”. The problem with rumors is that we allow them to colour our judgement without knowing if they are true. Sometimes we form an opinion about someone based on a false rumor and forget why we thought as we did. When we learn that the rumor was false, we do not always correct our opinion of the person. We should be careful not to trust rumors before they are confirmed.
Let us sing praises to the Lord. Other psalms tell us to praise God before all people. This one reminds us not to forget to sing God’s praises among the faithful. Sometimes we need reminders that God has done great things for others. Let us never forget to tell those around us what God has done for us. The psalmist tells the faithful to have the praises of God in their mouth and a sharp, double-edged(NIV) sword in their hands. The writer of Hebrews tells us that the word of God is sharper than a double-edged sword. Let us keep that in mind and arm ourselves with the word of God so that we may present His will to all we meet.
Time after time as Paul journeyed to Jerusalem the Holy Spirit sent people to prophesy to him that he would suffer if he completed his journey. Luke tells us that they urged him not to go to Jerusalem at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. We know that Paul refused to listen to these promptings. He accepted that the prophecies of what would happen to him in Jerusalem were true, but he was determined to go to Jerusalem. Luke, the writer, seems to believe that the Holy Spirit was sending these prophecies as a message to Paul to not go to Jerusalem, but Paul believed that the Spirit was calling him to go to Jerusalem and accept what would happen when he got there.
I have come to believe that Luke was correct, the Spirit was sending the prophecies to convince Paul to turn aside from Jerusalem. However, there are times when God will call us to a course of action which will include consequences we will not enjoy. Paul’s steadfastness in his determination to go to Jerusalem should be a model to us. When the Spirit calls us to a course of action we should not allow the knowledge that it will lead to persecution dissuade us from following that course. And perhaps Paul was correct in his understanding because the Spirit certainly made use of Paul’s subsequent imprisonment to further the spread of the Gospel.
Sennacherib, the king of Assyria invaded Judah and sent a force to besiege Jerusalem. Then he demonstrated his arrogance, his hubris. First he sent his field commander to demand Jerusalem’s surrender. The field commander declared for all to hear that the people of Jerusalem should not rely on God to rescue them because God was not powerful enough to do so. Then, when Sennacherib was forced to withdraw his army to face the armies of Ethiopia (Cush), he sent a letter to Hezekiah repeated the assertion that God was not powerful enough to stand against the Assyrian army. Both times, King Hezekiah took those words to God and asked God what His answer was. In both cases, God told Hezekiah, through the prophet Isaiah not to worry, He was indeed powerful enough to stop the armies of Assyria and they would not enter Jerusalem.
Time and again throughout history powerful leaders have claimed that God could not stop them (usually because they did not believe in God). For example, Stalin famously dismissed the Catholic Church (and all of Christianity) by asking, “How many divisions does the Pope have?” Yet it was another Pope who played an instrumental role in bringing down the empire which Stalin had built. God will not be mocked and those who believe they are more powerful than He will learn that they are wrong.