Psalm 88, Exodus 34, Esther 1, 1 Corinthians 6
Ps. 88 – Psalm 88 is a song of lament. The author of the psalm is troubled so much that even his friends shun him. Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever been so distressed that no one wants to be around you? I know I have. There have been times where things just seem so rough that I have been consumed with dread. The psalmist does the correct thing. He brings his lament to the only One who can truly change things — God. But, even God seems silent to the writer of this psalm.
So, does God’s silence mean that we should no longer pray? No! Continue to cry out to Him. He sometimes allows suffering in order for us to draw closer to Him. It’s not an easy road to walk, but it is sometimes the best road. Better to be distressed but dependent upon God than content with no need for God.
Ex. 34:1 – The Lord said to Moses, “Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. – The Lord is the God of second chances. God’s conversation with Moses here reminds me of a tender father having a conversation with a child who has blown it. The Father loves His children, and when we are truly repentant, He gives us another chance. I picture God tenderly writing the Ten Commandments on the tablets, with a heart overflowing with love towards His creation.
Ex. 34:6b-7 – “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” This is both a wonderful and a terrifying description of God’s grace and God’s judgment. He takes sin seriously. May we not be a curse to our children by ignoring the warnings that God gives us concerning sin.
Est. 1 – The book of Esther opens with the story of King Ahasuerus’ banquets and Queen Vashti’s refusal to come when summoned by the King. Her refusal to come enraged the King, and opened a door for God to work for the people of Israel in an extraordinary way. Little did King Ahasuerus realize how much his ego would be used by God to accomplish God’s purposes. God will accomplish what God wills. And, even the most powerful rulers are tools in the hands of God.
1 Corinthians 6
1 Cor. 6:1-11 – I love this section of Scripture. It has to do with lawsuits against fellow believers in Christ. To Paul, lawsuits amongst believers had no place in God’s plans. Why would believers trust the world’s system, which placed no value on God, with their disputes? Disputes between believers should be settled in the church.
Notice that Paul didn’t say that believers shouldn’t have disputes. Live as friends with someone long enough, and if you are honest with each other there will be times where you disagree. Sometimes these disagreements may become all out disputes. The beauty of the Body of Christ is that disputes can be settled internally. There is no need to run to the world to settle your dispute. Instead the counsel of fellow Christians, prayer, the Word, and time are part of the healing process.
Paul ends this section by describing the unrighteous. He writes,9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Cor. 6:18-20 – Paul gives a stern warning to the church at Corinth against sexual immorality. He tells them to flee from sexual immorality. His admonition to flee reminds me of the Old Testament hero, Joseph, who chose to flee from Potiphar’s wife. In doing so, he found himself in jail. But, jail was a better place for him to be than to lose his favor with God.
Paul also warns the Corinthians that sexual sin is a sin against our own bodies. In other words there are reverberating consequences to sexual sin that can take years to get over. I’ve never talked to a person who said, “I wish I would have had sex sooner.” But, I’ve talked to many who said, “I wish I would have waited.” I’ve never talked to someone in the years after an affair who said, “That was the best thing I ever did.” I’ve talked to several who said that if they could do it all over again they would have never left their spouse. I’ve never talked to a porn addict who said, “I’m so happy that I jumped into a life of porn.” But, I’ve talked to many who have told me how porn destroyed their life.