Default Position Reset

Our computers come with factory default positions.  As fallen humans our default positions concerning faith need a reset.  Have yours been reset?

Today’s reading

1 Kings 12-13; Luke 24:36-53

Selected Verses

And when the prophet who had brought him back from the way heard of it, he said, “It is the man of God who disobeyed the word of the Lord; therefore the Lord has given him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him, according to the word that the Lord spoke to him.”  I Kings 13:26

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,   Luke 24:45

Reflections

Our readings today demonstrate that the natural, human, default position on faith and truth is to hold it loosely, discard it easily, and trust in our own reasoning.

The bold prophet from Judah went in obedience to God to Bethel and confronted the King of Israel, Jeroboam.   He refused Jeroboam’s invitation to come to his home based on God’s command to leave Bethel and return home without eating or drinking there.  So far so good.

But then another old prophet told the bold one that God had given him new instructions, to come to the old prophet’s home and eat bread and drink water.  It was a lie.  The bold prophet gave in and accepted the invitation.  Then the old prophet told him he would die for his disobedience.  That happened.  Apparently, despite his bold stance before Jeroboam, his default position on the truth was to question what God had said to him clearly and trust another man.

In the case of the disciples, Jesus graciously corrected their misunderstanding of the Scriptures. He opened their minds to understand, and He promised them the Holy Spirit.  He also gave them a mandate, commonly called “the Great Commission,” to be His witnesses proclaiming repentance and forgiveness of sins in His name to all nations.  Without the Lord’s correction they would have muddled on in doubt and disbelief, in their default position on the truth.

Think about it

How desperate and needy we are for God to enable us to understand, believe, and obey His Word! But praise God He does not leave us in confusion.  If we are His own, He resets the default position of our human hearts and minds.  Pray that you will not doubt nor second guess what He clearly says.  Study His word diligently to believe and obey it.

A Call to Repent

Today’s reading:

Genesis 9-11; Matthew 4

Select verses

So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Genesis 11:8

 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”   Matthew 4:17

Reflections

Following the flood God commands Noah and his sons to be fruitful and multiply.  And multiply they do!  You might get dizzy reading all the names of their descendants.

But some things never change. In the midst of these generations of human beings who are listed for us, the cosmic battle between sin and righteousness continues.  It divides the sons of Noah with blessing on Shem and a curse on Canaan.  Mankind, united by one language and forgetting the lessons learned from God’s judgment through the flood, seeks to unite and build a tower of rebellion against God and for self-glorification.  Again, God acts in judgment creating division through language differences.  The spiritual hostility is not eliminated but it is hampered as God creates the boundaries of culture to point Man to Himself (Acts 17:26-27).

We should not conclude that God’s promise to defeat the serpent has failed.  Rather, His plan of judgment and redemption has not completely unfolded.  In Genesis 11, we meet Abram.  Soon we will see what a pivotal role he plays in God’s plan.  Through Abram will come Jesus Christ and blessing to the whole earth.

In Matthew, we follow the inauguration of Jesus’ ministry.  He proclaims the arrival of the Kingdom of God.  “Repent,” He commands, “for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).  The same God who acted in judgment is calling all to come to Him in faith and repentance beginning with the Jews, but (as we shall see) extending to all nations, tribes, and languages.

Think about it

God deserves praise. Praise Him for His wisdom in planning the redemption of His people.  Praise Him for His sovereignty in carrying out this plan over the millennia of history.  He will surely bring it to completion at the end of time.  Praise Him that we can know of our adoption as His children and of the assurance that He will take us all the way home. His eternal purposes will be fulfilled though we pass through dark and difficult times on our journey through life.  Meanwhile, let us repent of our sins and believe in His salvation.

Dangerous Presumption

It’s easy to be humble and repentant when we face trials, but how do we respond when it seems like everything we touch turns to gold?  There may be more danger in prosperity than in adversity.  Today’s reading explains why presumption is dangerous.

Today’s reading:

Romans 2:1-4:25

My selection:

 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

Romans 2:3-5

For more reflections on this passage, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

 

Small Sin; Big Consequences

Today’s reading: 2 Samuel 19:8-21:22

Despite the title above, there are no small sins.  Any sin is rebellion against a Holy God.  Yet there are sins which are subtle and often go undetected until they grow into a major problem.  Sheba, the rebel in today’s reading, exploited pride and jealousy (small sins?) and used it to mount an almost-successful overthrow of the kingdom.

Beware of small sins with big consequences.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

Seeing God’s Presence in the Daily Grind

Today’s reading: 1 Samuel 17:1-18:30

Godly men and women trust in the Lord’s presence and guidance in the day to day details of life.  They don’t need extraordinary circumstances to spring into obedient action. They do what God calls them to and He makes it turn out for His glory.

Have you learned this truth?

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

Saul’s Stinking Legacy

Today’s reading: 1 Samuel 13:1-14:52

Saul was consumed with himself.  See what a price he paid for his pride, continual defensiveness, and paranoia!  As we will see in future readings, the difference between Saul and his successor, David, was not their sin but their repentance.  Saul left a stinking legacy (Ecclesiastes 10:1), but David is remembered as a “man after God’s own heart” (13:14).

How do you handle your sin?  Be thorough in repentance.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

The Sovereignty of God in Repentance

Today’s reading: 1 Samuel 1:21-4:22

Eli’s sons, though priests, were under the control of Satan, a liar and deceiver.  He blinds the minds of those who will not believe God (2 Corinthians 4:4).  He poses as an angel of light so that his captives do not perceive their true condition (2 Corinthians 11:14).

Pray for those who are in this state, that God, who is sovereign even over Satan,  may grant them faith and repentance.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

God Uses Sin for Good

Today’s reading: Joshua 10:1-12:24

How much time have you wasted lamenting your sin and past mistakes? In today’s reading, we have an example of the proper way to look at past sin which has been confessed and forgiven. The foolish treaty which Israel made with the Gibeonites was used by God for a good purpose, the defeat of the pagan kings of the Promised Land.

How should we deal with sin? Repent, confess, trust God for forgiveness, live with the consequences, move on, but watch Him use it in unforeseen ways for good in your life.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

Response of the Broken-Hearted Pastor

Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 9:7-11:32

Sin should break our hearts. First, our hearts should break in repentance for our own sin. Second, our hearts should break for the sin in our loved ones. Let the pain of sin drive us to prayer.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

Worship that Pleases God

Today’s reading: Genesis 4-5

The history of Cain and Abel causes me pause. It is the first recorded case of murder, it occurred within a family, and it was sparked by an issue related to the worship of God. Of course, Cain was the one at fault. God graciously confronted him on his original sin of making an unacceptable offering. Cain was unresponsive to the Lord’s exhortation. Instead, he plotted and killed his brother. God again confronted him. Again, he refused to confess and repent. Instead he lied and, essentially, blamed God for holding him responsible for his brother.

After being found guilty and sentenced, he seems moved by self-pity not true repentance. He complains about the severity of the sentence, and God continues to show him undeserved mercy. Cain fades off the stage as the focus turns to Seth, the new son of Adam and Eve, who proves to be a worthy replacement for the deceased Abel.

Sin caused great turmoil in the first family and it continues to cause division and pain in every family on earth.

What is the solution?

The solution is prompt and complete repentance for sin, and coming to God in faith through Jesus Christ. How glorious that is, whenever it occurs! Relationships are restored. God is exalted.  All serve the Lord fully with their gifts and resources.

But why am I so slow to confess and repent of sin? I would not take  Cain as a role model in any sense.  Lord, help me to grow in quick repentance and complete confession of sin.

Your thoughtful and respectful comments are welcome below.  Please allow a day or two for approval to see your reply on line.

[For more reflections on today’s passage see the January 2 reading in Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days]