Today’s Reading: Psalm 99, Leviticus 5:14-6:7, Isaiah 3-4, 2 Corinthians 1:1-11
Psalm 99 – 8 O Lord our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings. -Tucked away towards the end of this beautiful Psalm describing the greatness and holiness of God is this verse. It comes immediately after the psalmist wrote about Moses, Aaron and Samuel; priests who interceded on behalf of the people with God. God answered their intercession. He forgave them. And, when needed, God punished them. Why? Because when we sin and God punishes our sin, it causes us to strive to live more holy lives. There is a joy that comes from walking in fellowship with God. He allowed His children to sometimes suffer chastisement for sin so that they might draw closer to Him.
Leviticus 5:14-6:7 – 17“If anyone sins, doing any of the things that by the Lord’s commandments ought not to be done, though he did not know it, then realizes his guilt, he shall bear his iniquity. – I don’t know about you, but I dream of the day when I will no longer sin. Sometimes when we sin, we are not aware of the fact that we have done something wrong. Maybe we are aware of it, but choose to ignore it. We know it’s not right to hold a grudge, but we feel so justified in doing so. Or, we think who will this really hurt? Often times when we sin like this we are ignoring the voice of the Holy Spirit in our life. But, the Holy Spirit won’t stop His work of conviction in us. Like Old Testament saints, when we become aware of the fact that we have sinned, we should go to our priest — Jesus, and confess the sin. I can think of many times in my life where I have asked Christ to forgive me of something that I did long ago. It is important to look at sin the way that Christ looks at sin. It is ugly. It put Him on the cross. But, with His strength at work within us, we can have victory over any sin that comes our way. Not that we will reach sinless perfection on earth, but that we have the power, through His Holy Spirit to walk away from sin and ask for forgiveness. Our God is the God of fresh starts. He loves to forgive and loves to give His children victory over sin!
Isaiah 3-4 – The tone of these chapters is one of absolute destruction. There is judgment on the way for Judah and Jerusalem. Their abandonment of God has left them to face God’s judgment. Isaiah uses a lot of contrasting pictures in this chapter. Perfume smells putrid. Boys become oppressive rulers. Destruction rules the day. In 4:1 the death of most of Judah and Jerusalem’s men is foretold with these words: And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.”
It’s sad how quickly the Children of Israel deserted the God who had blessed them so much. Their departure from following the Lord should serve as a sober reminder to all followers of Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:1-11 – 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Imagine being so persecuted for your faith that you thought that your day of death had arrived. That is what Paul had been through. The Corinthian church knew it. As he begins his second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul lets them know that God has been good. He was comforted by God at his worst moments. When he thought that he was going to die, the God who raises from the dead, allowed him to triumph. That’s our God! Paul was comforting the Corinthian believers with the comfort that he had received from God. If God was able to rescue him, then God could rescue them. When we go through tough times and God helps us through, we have a reason to speak hope to others.