Bible reading for September 9.
2 Samuel 3.
"There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. And David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker." (2 Samuel 3:1)
MORE TREACHERY. Abner, the commander of the northern tribes and loyal to the house of Saul, decides to move his allegiance from the house of Saul to David as king. David's first wife, Michal, daughter of Saul, is returned to him, and this would also signal peace with the house of Saul. Because of a previous, pointless contest, however, in which Abner killed the brother of the current commander of David's troops, Joab (the commander) now takes advantage of the detente and kills Abner. David is grieved by all of this, and he seems really to be trying to establish peace under a united reign. But there is still much discord.
REFLECT. A Russian philosopher once said, "History is a crime". What he meant (best I can surmise) is that the story of humankind has always resulted in injustice and death, even when the intentions and goals of people were good. There are unrighteous forces at play even when David is seeking to work righteousness. We can take comfort that One came, and is coming, namely, the Son of David with "...his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore" (Isa 9:6-7). And, "The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers..." (Matt 13:41). In light of this truth how can we be praying for our own nation at this time?
1 Corinthians 14.
"Let all things be done for building up." ... "But all things should be done decently and in order." (1 Corinthians 14:26, 40)
EXERCISING GIFTS. On this topic of special interest to the Corinthians, Paul gives priority to ministry which is intelligible and edifying (vv 1-25). Mere demonstration of spiritual power or gifts is not helpful unless it is related to ministry which can be understood, and "speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation" (v 3). "Prophesy" may be referring to a predictive or revelatory statement. It may also mean speaking, preaching, or giving praise which is Spirit-empowered and brings conviction (vv 24-25). Many of us know what it is like to hear preaching that comes to us as if God were speaking directly to our own hearts. Paul does not denigrate the gift of tongues, but he sees uninterpreted languages being of less value than other gifts in the congregational meeting.
DONE WITH ORDER. The second half of this chapter has to do with proper order when the congregation meets (vv 26-40). When it comes to speaking, a few people should speak, taking turns, and not talk over one another. If there is no interpreter then those who speak in tongues are to be silent. When prophets and their prophecies were being judged, the women were not to engage in the questioning but to talk with their husbands about it at home. Paul wants the church meeting to be orderly and decent.
REFLECT. The format of the early church meeting may be a bit different than today, since we now have the completed Scriptures to guide us. But some principles stand out: a) our meetings should be edifying, that is, designed to build people up in the faith; b) our meetings should be orderly and not chaotic; and c) we should pray for the Holy Spirit to be active in our churches, so that visitors "will worship God and declare that God is really among you" (v 25). In light of these chapters (12-14) how could you be praying for your local church?
Image credit. Photo by Luan Cabral on Unsplash.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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