Psalm 87, Exodus 33, Nehemiah 13, 1 Corinthians 5
Ps. 87:1-2 – On the holy mount stands the city he founded; 2 the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. – The Lord loved the city of Zion. Called the City of God, Zion was the place where the temple stood, and where the glory of God was present. So, how does God feel about us? If our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, then we are the place God dwells. What an awesome thought!
Ex. 33:3b – but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.- What a sad penalty for their sins! God, who would have been amongst the people on their journey to the Promised Land, now tells them that He will not be with them. In His grace He would not consume them, but make no mistake, God was angry. Sin angers God; plain and simple.
Ex. 33:7-11 – 11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.- The Children of Israel must have been blown away by the daily display of Moses talking with God. As Moses met with God, signaled by the pillar of cloud descending upon the tent of meeting, God met with His friend. That’s right, like King David, centuries later, Moses was a friend of God. May we also be a friend of God. We have access to God through prayer. Take it. Spend time with God. He desires friendship with you.
Ex. 33:15-23 – Moses urged the Lord not to allow the Children of Israel to travel without the presence of God at their side. He appealed to God, using God’s own promises of being a favored people. The Lord relented and told Moses that He would go with them, and that He would show favor to the people. Then Moses asks God to show him His glory. God told Moses that He would not show him His face, for no man can see the face of God and live. He instructed Moses to hide in the cleft of a rock and to cover his face. Moses would be allowed to see God’s back.
I believe that God wanted His glory to be displayed to the nation, not just one individual. The nations would be amazed at the promises, power and provision of God.
Neh. 13 – I’m struck by Nehemiah’s absolute commitment to making sure that the people didn’t make the mistakes or fall into the same sins as they had in the past. He quickly confronts sin in this passage. He exhorts the people to live holy, set apart lives. They are not to follow in the ways of their pagan neighbors. They are not to marry their pagan neighbors. They are not to desecrate the temple by working on the Sabbath or selling their wares outside of it. He is quick to point out the sin of the nation and make definitive steps to correct the sinful actions of the people. He ends this chapter, and the book of Nehemiah with this prayer: Remember me, O my God, for good. Now, that’s how I want to be remembered by God!
1 Corinthians 5
1 Cor. 5 – Sexual immorality has not place in the body of Christ. Paul has heard about a specific case that was being tolerated in the Corinthian church. The man who was involved in immorality with his stepmother was actually boasting about his conquest, and apparently, the Corinthian church had done nothing to stop the behavior. Paul warns them that tolerating such behavior could destroy the entire church. It was important that this man be disciplined and asked to leave the local body of believers. Paul gives one of the strongest arguments in all of Scripture for church discipline in verses 9-13, which say, “9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. Purge the evil person from among you.”