Today’s Reading: Psalm 87, Exodus 33, Nehemiah 13, 1 Corinthians 5
Psalm 87 – Psalm 87 celebrates the city of Zion (Jerusalem) and the God who has chosen to dwell there (Jehovah). The Sons of Korah, as worship leaders for the people, wanted the people to recognize how blessed they were to be the chosen people of God. If you are a Christian today, you too should celebrate that Christ has chosen you. He has paved the way for you to become a son or daughter of Christ, forgiving your sins and reconciling you unto a relationship with the Father.
Exodus 33 – The relationship that Moses had with God was an extraordinary one. He spoke with God as a man speaks with a friend. 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.
Nehemiah 13 – The book of Nehemiah ends with the final reforms that Nehemiah would bring to Israel. 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 – Sexual immorality has no 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! 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 says, 9I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10not 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. 11But 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. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges those outside. Purge the evil person from among you.