Notes from my Bible Study for April 6, 2010

Today’s Reading: Psalm 96, Leviticus 2, Esther 9-10, 1 Corinthians 14

Psalm 96 – 1 Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!

God has always loved when His people tell about His marvelous works to others. In the New Testament, Jesus instructed His followers to go into all nations and make disciples. The Lord desires for people who have no knowledge of Him to hear about Him. In fact, God is passionate that every nation, every tribe, every tongue would hear the works of God. May we take these words seriously. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, God has spoken of this issue. How are you doing when it comes to sharing His works?

Leviticus 2 – Leviticus chapter two gives us the laws for the grain offerings. Again I’m struck by the detail that went into the instructions for how offerings should be prepared. The grain offering was an offering that was meant as a pleasing aroma to the Lord and accompanied prayer requests to the Lord.

Esther 9-10 – 9:1b – on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them. – I love the way that this verse is written. The writer of Esther, writing through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, makes sure that we all get the point that it was on the very day when the enemies of the Jews had planned for their destruction that the opposite happened. God is a powerful God with a great sense of humor. I think God delighted in the fact that those who sought to destroy His children were not only thwarted but got a dose of poetic justice.

Don’t you love it when the good guy wins? I do! If ever there was an underdog, it was Mordecai. Just days before God used him to deliver the Jews, Mordecai was dressed in sackcloth and ashes, outside, yes that’s right, outside, the gates of the palace. He was the ultimate outsider. The insiders wanted him dead! And, God wanted to use him. Mordecai was a willing vessel in the hands of our Powerful God. And, God loves to use humble instruments to display His marvelous works. What might God be calling you to do for Him? It’s probably not saving an entire race from Genocide. But, wouldn’t that be AWESOME! There are those in the world today that face terrible atrocities. Would you be willing to be a spokesperson for them? One place these atrocities are taking place is the Congo. Check out this video to see how you can be a modern day Mordecai!

What might God be calling you to do about injustice?

10:3 -For Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people.

Want to know one of the characteristics that makes someone great? It’s when they seek the welfare of other people. It’s when they become reconcilers. It’s when they are people of peace. I love that Mordecai’s care for others is pointed out in this verse. What are some ways that you are presently seeking the welfare of others? If there is no way, find something that you involve yourself that will help lift others up.

1 Corinthians 14 – The gifts of prophecy and tongues were causing quite a stir in the Corinthian church. In this chapter, the Apostle Paul admits to speaking in tongues, but then says, in verses 18-19 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.- Why would Paul say this? Because tongues were being abused at Corinth. Chaos was ruling the day in public worship at Corinth. Paul wanted the church to have some guidelines for corporate worship, and he laid them down here.

The principle that is most important in 1 Corinthians 14 is this: Our spiritual gifts should be used to build up the church. The purpose of our spiritual gifts is to advance God’s kingdom. When our gifts have an opportunity to build up ourselves or build up others, we should always default to building up others. Look how many times Paul uses the term “build up” in chapter 14:

4: build up himself . . . builds up the church.

5 so that the church may be built up

12 building up the church

17 but the other person is not being built up

26 let all things be done for building up

So, Christian, do you know your spiritual gift? If you need help there are some spiritual gift inventories available at my church web site in the sermon resource section at www.wccmn.org. If you know your gift, ask yourself how well you are doing in using it to build up the church. If that’s not happening it’s time to take a severe look at why God gave you your gift and start using it for the building up of others.

14:33 –For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. – How do you picture God? Ask a dozen people that question and you may just get a dozen different answers. We probably all have some false concepts about what God is truly like. But, verses like this one give us glimpses into the character of God. God is not a god of confusion but the God of peace. If you’re praying and not getting peace, take time to pray longer, for as we spend time with Him, His will becomes more clear to us.