For today, One Year Bible Online links here.
It is a good thing to make sacrifices to and for God, but you cannot make up for doing wrong by doing so. You cannot even make up for not doing the right thing by making sacrifices to God. If we want to please God it is more important to do what is right and just than it is to sacrifice to Him (or for Him).
I do not think that the message this psalm carried for me today was one the psalmist intended to convey, but it is one I believe the Holy Spirit intends us to hear. When we have been separated from God by our sin, do we suffer in tears and agony the way the psalmist depicts himself in this psalm? Do we turn again to God with repentance and remorse? Do we trust His unfailing love and grace to transform us so that we are freed from our bondage to sin? I know that I do not feel the level of remorse for some of my sins that I need to learn. I pray that God’s Spirit will move within me so that I recognize the harm I am doing to myself and others with my sins and so that I will feel the sorrow which I know they cause God.
1 Corinthians 6
Paul here addresses the issue of lawsuits. Believers should NEVER take another believer to court over anything. I have heard stories of a congregation suing Church leadership over ownership of a building, or a Denomination suing a congregation over the same thing (and in both cases vice versa). I have heard stories of believers suing other believers (or, at least both parties claimed to be believers). For all of these cases Paul suggests that we should find another believer (or group of believers) to judge between us. This teaching makes sense to me, when we have a dispute with a fellow believer which we cannot resolve between us (for whatever reason), we should find someone else in the Church to judge how it should be resolved.
Some people will ask, “But what if the other party refuses to be bound by that judgment?” Paul has a simple answer for that. It is better to let yourself be cheated than to ask unbelievers to judge between us. It is better to be cheated than it is to allow the name of Christ to be sullied by our disputes. Are we willing to trust God enough to do that? Or is it more important to us that we get our own way than that we bring glory to God?
I agree with Paul. It is better to be cheated than to take my fellow believer (or even one who merely claims to be my fellow believer) before unbelievers for judgment between us.
I always struggle with this passage because of how the issue is framed. I have a problem with the idea that it is wrong to marry outside of one’s “people”. However, I do like the way the New Living Translation deals with this. It makes it clear that the problem was not that the women were not descendants of Jacob. No, the problem was that they were pagans, that they worshiped gods other than God. It is really simple. For any marriage to last a husband and wife must share the same faith. If you start out with different faiths it just means that you will end up with some syncretic blend of the two which is inconsistent with either of the two original faiths.