For today, One Year Bible Online links here.
Just as honey is sweet on the tongue and has other benefits, so wisdom is sweet to our souls and brings benefits beyond the obvious. Seek wisdom because it will make your life better in more ways than you can imagine.
When we allow ourselves to envy the proud and wicked we risk losing our faith. It may seem that the wicked prosper without a care. It may seem that their wealth just continues to increase while they sin against God and man. However, God’s day of judgment against them is coming. We must not let ourselves become bitter because others, no matter how wicked those others may be, prosper. Let us, instead, focus on the good which comes from obeying God. Instead of envying the “good things” which the wicked possess let us pity them because they do not know God’s love.
Paul commends Timothy and Epaphroditus in this passage, holding them both up as models for us to follow. We do not know very much about Epaphroditus, but we do know tha Timothy went on to become one of the leaders of the Church, post the Apostles. Timothy genuinely cared about the welfare of his fellow believers. He did not look out only for his own interests, rather he strove to accomplish those things which furthered the interests of Jesus Christ and His Body. As I said, we do not know much about Epaphroditus. However, Paul tells us that he served as a messenger from the Philippian believers to Paul and that he served as an assistant and co-worker with Paul. The key thing we are told is that he risked his health in order to provide aid to Paul in preaching the Gospel. The context implies to me that Epaphroditus knowingly risked his health in order to be of service to Paul and the Gospel. In both cases the men put serving God’s interest ahead of their personal interest. I will strive to do the same.
There are several different messages which struck me as I read this. I do not see them as linked together, although I am sure with a little thought I could create a link between them. The first is in the very first verse where God declares that He has appointed watchmen on the walls to pray to the Lord. I believe that we are those watchmen who are to pray to the Lord. We are to take no rest in our prayers until God establishes the New Jerusalem. Oh how I struggle with this. I do not pray as I should. I should pray more and harder for the Church, for the Assembly of God’s people. I should pray more and harder for the souls of my friends. I should pray more and harder for the oppressed and downtrodden in this world. I should pray more and harder.
Then in chapter 63:5 God declares that He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. That reads to me like a calling for us to look around us for those who are oppressed and to lend our support. We should be asking ourselves each day, “What can I do to help the oppressed?” When we see someone oppressing others, the very least we can do is raise our voices and cry, “Stop! What you are doing is wrong!” We may not be able to stop the oppression, but we can make sure that those who can are unable to claim, “I did not know.”
Then in the beginning of chapter 65, God tells us that He is ready to respond, if we but ask for His help. He is waiting to be found, if only we will look for Him. When we look at what is wrong in the world around us, are we asking for God’s help in fixing it? Or are we trying to do it ourselves? As we look at the world around us, are we looking for God and His actions? Or are we too busy looking for Satan and his actions?