I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.
Today, I am reading and commenting on 2 Corinthians 1-4.
I am so glad I have been writing this blog for these last several years because I keep seeing things I never noticed before, sometimes things which always seemed convoluted and strange. For example, when I read Paul’s explanation for why he changed his plans about stopping by Corinth on his way back to Jerusalem. This has always seemed convoluted to me and like Paul is saying, “I really meant to come by, but I was mad at you and did not want to talk to you.” In fact what Paul said here was that he realized he was too angry about what he had heard and if he went to Corinth he would say things he would later regret. So, instead of visiting he expressed his anger in a letter, where he could carefully choose his words and not risk saying something which inaccurately expressed what he meant to say. In today’s world of instant communication this is a lesson we need to remember. There are times when we should pause and communicate in a way which allows us to carefully consider our words. Of course, there are also times when we need to communicate face to face because written words can be misunderstood and it is easier to know what you are saying that your audience is misunderstanding when you speak in person.
For today, One Year Bible Online links here.
The proverb writer tells us that those who plant injustice will harvest disaster. Looking at the world around me, I realized that the writer does not just mean those who deliver injustice to others. He also means those who use the perception of injustice to raise themselves to power.
The more interesting proverb to me is the second one. He tells us that those who are generous are blessed, but not because of something they receive. No, they are blessed because they feed the poor. The blessing is the act. We do not help the poor because God will reward us. Helping the poor is the reward for helping the poor.
In some ways I hate to bring this up because I have never suffered depression. I know it is simple to say this and hard to do, but in verse 5 the psalmist tells us the place to start to defeat depression: Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!
The first step to overcoming depression is putting your hope in God and praising Him. I know that when I begin to feel sad and worried by the issues of life, if I turn to God in prayer and begin singing praises to Him, the clouds soon lift.
2 Corinthians 3
Paul makes a point in today’s passage. As Christians we should be confident in serving God. Our confidence does not come from faith in our own ability. On the contrary, we need to recognize that we are not, in ourselves, competent to do God’s will, let alone excel at it. Rather, our confidence comes from our faith in God. God will provide us with the ability to do His will. When we are doing what God desires we will find that He gives us skills and abilities we never had before.
As we allow God to provide us with the abilities to do His will, as we contemplate God’s glory by listening to His Spirit, God transforms us, bit by bit, into His likeness. The goal of all of our actions is to become more like Christ, which is to become more like God. We study Jesus in order to become more like Him.
We can learn a lot by looking at the list of things Job of which Job proclaims he is not guilty. They are things which he declares are worthy of judgment. First on that list are the twin sins of lies and deceit. This is followed by lust and sexual sins. I could go with his list because it is instructive. There are both sins of commission and sins of omission on that list. It is worth studying how our lives match up to this list. We may never have actively oppressed the poor, but have we helped them? We may not have profited from the misfortune of widows and orphans, but have we done all that we can to aid them?
A fourth friend of Job, Elihu, speaks up now. He is younger than the rest, yet he is the only man who speaks in the book of Job who is not rebuked by God. Elihu tells us that Job is wrong to claim that God does not respond to people’s complaints. God speaks time and again, but people do not listen. When we do not hear God, it is not because God is not speaking. It is because we do not like what He is saying. If we listen to what God is telling us and turn to Him, He will give us joy, even in the midst of what others would see as suffering.
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