Daily Encouragement

September 10 – Holy, Holy, Holy!

September 10
Isaiah 6:1-7:25
2 Corinthians 11:16-33
Psalm 54:1-7
Proverbs 23:1-3

Isaiah 6:1 – The year is 740 BC. The political establishment was in upheaval because Uzziah had been king for 52 years. This was the only king Isaiah had ever known. Uzziah was such a great king (2 Kings 15:3) he thought he’d make a good priest as well (2 Chronicles 26:18), and so he was cursed with leprosy (2 Chronicles 16:19). They’ve even uncovered a burial stone that claims to be where he was reburied:

Uzziah Tablet

What else happened in 740 BC? “In 740 BC Tiglath-Pileser III took Arpad after a siege of three years, and razed Hamath. Uzziah had been an ally of the king of Hamath, and thus was compelled by Tiglath-Pileser to do him homage and pay yearly tribute.” (Wikipedia)

Isaiah was taken from the earthly realms into the heavenly realms! The earthly king was dead, but the King of Kings was still on the throne!

Isaiah 6:2 – People have tried to portray this scene – but this is an incredible look into heaven!

Mosaic of Seaphim, Hagia Sophia, Constantinople

Isaiah 6:3 – We see similar creatures in Revelation 4:8. Day any night they declare – Holy, Holy, Holy!

Isaiah 6:5 – Isaiah realized he was an unworthy sinner, when he saw the KING! But God sent a seraphim to purge his sin (Isaiah 6:7).

Isaiah 6:8 – God is still calling today – “who will go for us?” Isaiah said, “Here am I, send me!” From Patch the Pirate:

Isaiah 6:9-10 – How’s that for a message to share on deputation? Called by God to preach that the people are unable to understand or perceive, and that they have rejected God so God will close the door of healing, and Judah will be wasted desolate (Isaiah 6:11).

Isaiah 7:1 – We’ve just jumped ahead from the death of Uzziah to the reign of his evil grandson Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:2-4) when Rezin and Pekah are teaming up against Ahaz. God had a message for Ahaz of deliverance for Judah (Isaiah 7:7) and judgment on Israel (Isaiah 7:8).

Isaiah 7:12 – Ahaz is trying to be pious – “I will not tempt the LORD” – but God recorded for us that Ahaz was trusting in Assyria (2 Chronicles 28:16), and even sacrificing to the gods of Syria his enemies (2 Chronicles 28:23). Ahaz vandalized the house of the LORD (2 Chronicles 28:24), yet God still reached out to him.

Isaiah 7:14KnowingScripture debunks the argument that the word “virgin” should mean “young woman,” and addresses the question – why is God giving a messianic prophecy to Ahaz when he’ll be dead for 600 years before Jesus is born!

First, the Lord offers a sign to Ahaz that he would defend Jerusalem, but Ahaz rebelliously refused it. In reply, the prophet addresses not Ahaz personally but the house of David: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign . . .” (Isaiah 7:13-14). In Hebrew, the you’s in this passage are plural. So the proper recipients of the sign are a broader category than Ahaz personally. The promise is made to the entire royal house as such.

Tomorrow we will read more about the child in Isaiah 9:6-7.

2 Corinthians 11:23-27 – Paul is wondering why the Corinthians are willing to follow people who will fleece them, devour them, belittle them, even smite them on the face (2 Corinthians 11:20). Paul gives a great advertisement for missionary service in these verses, sharing what he has endured for the cause of Christ:

  • 195 beatings from the Jews
  • 3 times beaten with rods
  • Stoned once
  • 3 times shipwrecked
  • Wearied, painful
  • Hungering, thirsting
  • Cold, naked

Paul didn’t have his best life now – but he had in mind the future with the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ!

Psalm 54:7 – Paul can declare with the Psalmist – He hath delivered me out of all trouble!

Proverbs 23:2 – Gluttons beware – don’t eat with royalty!

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Daily Encouragement

September 9 – Does Isaiah 3:12 warn against Hillary Clinton being president?

September 9
Isaiah 3:1-5:30
2 Corinthians 11:1-15
Psalm 53:1-6
Proverbs 22:28-29

Isaiah 3:4 – We just read about this curse under Solomon in Ecclesiastes 10:16.

Isaiah 3:12 – No this verse is not talking about if Hillary would have won the election. There are several possible theories:

  • Pulpit Commentary: Herodotus, 8:88, where Xerxes says that “his men have shown themselves women, and his women men;” and see also Virgil’s Aeneid “O vere Phrygia, neque enim Phryges.” The rulers were womanly, i.e. weak, wavering, timid, impulsive, passionate, and are therefore called actual “women.”
  • Gill’s Exposition: Because the child has the title of ruler, the mother is the actual ruler (regent).
  • We have no good Queens of Israel – they were all among the “evil rulers” – Athaliah who killed her children (2 Kings 11), and Jezebel who killed the prophets (1 Kings 18). These queens were in contrast to Deborah (Judges 4-5).

Isaiah 4:1 – Isaiah isn’t talking about his dating troubles, rather the shame of widowhood because the men will be slain (Isaiah 3:25). But after judgment there will be a deliverance!

Isaiah 4:2 – This is the first reference to the Branch of the LORD. He will lead those who escape, He is beautiful and glorious!

Isaiah 5:10 – Ellicot says that 1 bath is the equivalent of 7.5 gallons. when the land should produce 500 baths (3,750 gallons). This is poverty.

Isaiah 5:11 – What should we do in the morning? Follow strong drink – NO! Follow the LORD YES! (Psalm 5:3).

Isaiah 5:15-16 – The proud shall be humbled but the LORD shall be exalted!

Isaiah 5:20 – Speaking of calling evil, good – here’s Pastor Joe Wright’s prayer in the Kansas State Legislature.

Isaiah 5:25 – Yes, God’s judgment is coming. God is a God of love, but also of anger.

2 Corinthians 11:4 – Too many religions today preach another Jesus.

CARM offers a test to see if you have the True Jesus.

2 Corinthians 11:14 – Interestingly, the New Age Movement is centered on the idea of light.

Psalm 53:1Religious nones are on the rise in America. Yes, there are none that doeth good (Psalm 53:3, Romans 3:23). Salvation is needed! (Psalm 53:6).

Proverbs 22:28 – From Woodrow Kroll:

Landmarks were important in antiquity, just as they are today. A stone erected at the corner of a field told a farmer where his field ended and his neighbor’s field began. Ancient landmarks marked boundaries; they told you how far you could go—and where you could go no farther. They established order and made for good relationships…. Ancient landmarks provided clarity as well as protection. Much of the unclear theological thinking today is likely due to those who have removed one or more of these ancient landmarks. That is why Solomon’s advice is still valid and necessary:

Proverbs 22:29 – God rewards the diligent! You may wonder why it has taken so long for your work to be rewarded. Don’t weary – God will reward you!

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Daily Encouragement

September 8 – The Great Isaiah Scroll!

September 8
Isaiah 1:1-2:22
2 Corinthians 10:1-18
Psalm 52:1-9
Proverbs 22:26-27

Isaiah 1:1 – We begin the prophet Isaiah! Explore the Great Isaiah Scroll – the most significant of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

You can even zoom in to see the texture of the paper and see Isaiah’s name (2nd word from the right) – remember Hebrew is written from right to left.

Isaiah 1:4 – As a prophet, while he did much fore-telling (God’s message about the future), he did much forth-telling (God’s message about the present).

Isaiah 1:11 – God doesn’t want sacrifices? Well we just wasted our time reading Leviticus 1-9? No – let’s look at what God has said thru His prophets:

  • 1 Samuel 15:22 – To obey is better than sacrifice
  • Proverbs 15:8 – Sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination
  • Jeremiah 6:20 – Your burnt offerings are not acceptable
  • Micah 6:7 – Instead – do justly, love mercy, walk humbly
  • Amos 5:21 – I hate, I despise your feast days

If you didn’t get from the Old Testament that God doesn’t accept empty ritual, check out Luke 18:10-14 to see what Jesus said about empty ritual!

Isaiah 1:16-18 – Three commands – Repent (put away the evil), Retrain (Learn to do well), and Reason (they shall be as white as snow). What are we to retrain to do? “Do well.” How? Isaiah explains –  “seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.”

  • Judgment – No cheating, just speaking truth. That’s part of what the Federal Trade Commission does with Truth in Advertising laws and what your state Consumer Protection’s Weights & Measures teams inspect. But Isaiah isn’t saying the state needs to pass more laws (Israel had a pretty good law system that addressed judgment (Leviticus 19:35-36). It is a need for personal morality – God is wearied by their outward signs of conformity (Isaiah 1:14).
  • Relieve the oppressed – I am a capitalist because capitalism is the best way of relieving the oppressed. 1 Billion (that’s 1,000 million) people have been taken out of poverty from 1990 to 2013.
  • Judge the fatherless – see that he is not wronged (Pulpit Commentary).
  • Plead for the widowBarnes: “She is unable to defend herself; she is liable to oppression; and her rights may be taken away by the crafty and designing. It is remarkable that God so often insists on this in the Scriptures, and makes it no small part of religion; Deuteronomy 14:29Deuteronomy 24:17Exodus 22:22 “

It’s interesting that sin begins by pride taking advantage of those who are vulnerable. Those whom you can unjustly profit off of, and nobody will notice.

Isaiah 2:4 – This verse is carved on the statute in front of the United Nations. The idealists thought that the nations “neither shall they learn war anymore.” But even though “The United Nations was Created to Prevent Wars – Since then there’s been 150 Wars & over 100 Million Casualties.” Dispensationalism helps you understand the text – because this prophecy has not been fulfilled!

Isaiah 2:7-8 – Material prosperity (and disobedience to Deuteronomy 17:16), leads to idolatry. Good thing nobody worships the work of their own hands today (401k, brokerage accoutns, television, social media, etc).

Isaiah 2:12 – This is the first mention of the day of the Lord in the Bible.

2 Corinthians 10:5 – How is your thought life? How many days can you go without thinking about the LORD? Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ!

2 Corinthians 10:18 – To be commended by the LORD is the highest mark of approval. Don’t seek man’s applause, seek the LORD’s commendation!

Psalm 52:5 – The opposite of the LORD’s commendation, is the judgment of the LORD! Either you’ll get rewards at the Bema Seat, or you will get eternal damnation at the Grew White Throne judgment – see contrast here. Make your choice now – the result has eternal consequences.

Proverbs 22:26 – More debt advice from Solomon (and we’ve covered surety before), but to borrow a phrase from Shakespeare:

Neither a borrower nor a lender be;

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Daily Encouragement

September 7 – Solomon teaches on conflict resolution

September 7
Song of Solomon 5:1-8:14
2 Corinthians 9:1-15
Psalm 51:1-19
Proverbs 22:24-25

Song 5:1 – Solomon is enjoying fully the gift of intimacy without guilt and shame (Nelson, 103).

Song 5:2-3 – According to Nelson, this is a new event in the relationship. Solomon’s wife is in bed, but he is home late. His wife is in bed, and upset (Nelson, 110).

Song 5:4-6 – By the time his new wife gets to the door to let him in, Solomon leaves upset (Nelson, 111).

Song 5:7 – The watchmen are much rougher than in Song 3:3.  If your beloved is so special, why is he gone?

Song 5:10-16 – The wife responds by sharing why she loves her husband, renewing the lost affection.

Song 6:3 – A great summary of the marriage relationship – I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine. There is no you and me, just us! (Nelson, 129).

Song 6:4-7 – “Rather than displaying silence in expectation of an apology or an angry response, Solomon greeted his bride with genuine compliments, telling her essentially, “You are as lovely as I remember you on our wedding night, and I respect you fully as my wife. You are my delight (Tirzah) and my soul’s refuge of peace (Jerusalem).” (Nelson, 145). “He was forgiving his bride even before she had a chance to ask for forgiveness” (Nelson, 146).

Song 6:13 – JFB notes that Shulamite is a variation of Solomon referring to her taking his name.

Song 7:1-2 – “Solomon complimented what he alone knew to be true about his wife. Wives in Solomon’s time didn’t wear bikinis to the beach.” (Nelson, 164).

Song 7:11-12 – Men can and should be romantic (Nelson, 157).

2 Corinthians 9:5-7 – God’s model for giving! Planned, Resulting, and Cheerful.

2 Corinthians 9:15 – No matter how much you give, you can never outgive the LORD!

Psalm 51:3 – As Ron Hamilton shares in his song based on this, My sin is ever before me!

Psalm 51:16 – We’ve read this before and will read this again – God doesn’t want sacrifices as much as obedience, and failing that, contrition.

Proverbs 22:24 – No we are not to be friends with all men.

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Daily Encouragement

September 6 – The Book of Romance

September 6
Song of Solomon 1:1-4:16
2 Corinthians 8:16-24
Psalm 50:1-23
Proverbs 22:22-23

Song 1:1 – You’re more likely to hear a message from Ephesians than from the Song of Solomon. But there is value to this book! As part of our premarital counseling, my pastor gave me Tommy Nelson’s video set on the Song of Solomon. If you have access to RightNow Media, you can watch the whole set for free, or you can listen to the sermon set from his church at DBCMedia.org for free. While models of courtship vary from family to family and church to church and this is in no ways a substitute for your family and church, he does a good job at explaining a very confusing book (see the overview of the “three character hypothesis” that involve a love triangle with a distant shepherd from Kauk). From his book (if you prefer reading):

The same God who has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness, the same God who calls us to righteousness, holiness, and a life without compromise, the same God who forgives sin and guides those who seek wisdom, this same God is the foremost expert on your need for romance, your sex drive, and your future or current marriage. Based on what He knows about us and desires for us, He has provided an instruction manual so that we might truly live with the joy and intensity of satisfaction that He created us to experience. That instruction manual of God is the book of the Bible titled the Song of Solomon.

Song 1:2-3 – I’ll be borrowing from Tommy Nelson’s thoughts because he’s done a great job at expositing this book. In the first couple verses we see the physical attraction and the spiritual attraction (thy name = reputation).

Song 1:6 – She is sunburned from diligence, working in the fields (see Proverbs 31:13).

Song 1:7 – Nelson points out that she refuses to be one of the prostitutes who “turneth aside by the flocks,” and holds her as a model of a woman of conviction.

Song 2:1 – Nelson shows how Solomon’s love for the woman raised her self esteem (Song of Solomon 1:6).

Song 2:4 – Many in church history who were bothered by the vivid language used in this book, have interpreted this as an allegory of Christ’s love for his church. Thus this verse has been incorporated into a classic junior church song:

Song 2:15 – Romance is not just about vague generalities, a commitment to dealing with details (little foxes) is necessary.

Song 3:7 – The wedding bed approaches – Nelson shares these stats about marriage:

  • 80% of couples that shack up before marriage, split up
  • 60% of marriages by a justice of the peace, divorce
  • 40% of marriages in a church end up in divorce
  • Only 1 of 1,156 couples that pray together on a daily basis end up in divorce.

The problem is that as few as 11% of American couples pray together on a daily basis outside of meals, even though over 25% identify as Evangelical Protestant.

Song 4:1-7 – It’s ok to compliment your bride! As a newly married husband, this is one of the challenges to remember to not take her for granted!

Song 4:16 – As Solomon is consummating his marriage, this is a helpful reminder that sex outside of marriage is strongly warned against throughout the New Testament (1 Corinthians 6:18-20, Hebrews 13:4, Galatians 5:19-21, Revelation 21:8)!

2 Corinthians 8:16 – We’ll read Paul’s letter to Titus soon – but it’s obvious that Paul values his heart for the ministry highly!

2 Corinthians 8:20 – As Christians, we must strive to be blameless in all aspects, including financial. If you need examples of financial safeguards, we can go back to look at Ezra!

Psalm 50:4 – We’ve seen several reminders lately that God will judge His people.

Psalm 50:15 – God doesn’t desire sacrifice as much as He desires us to call upon Him! Let’s spend time with Him in prayer!

Proverbs 22:23 – O.J. Simpson’s legal team were legends. Johnnie Cochran. Robert Shapiro. Robert Kardashian. But the greatest advocate in history is pleading the cause of the poor (James 2:16).

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Daily Encouragement

September 5 – The student who died from over-studying.

September 5
Ecclesiastes 10:1-12:14
2 Corinthians 8:1-15
Psalm 49:1-20
Proverbs 22:20-21

Ecclesiastes 10:1 – If you read about marketing, you’ll read about “Brand consistency.” What’s always amazed me about “business books” – most of the time it’s principles that are based in Solomon’s words with illustrations from the author’s life.

Ecclesiastes 10:16-17 – In other words, elections matter!

Ecclesiastes 10:20 – Ever wonder where the expression “A little bird told me” came from?

Ecclesiastes 11:5 – Just within the last few decades we’ve been able to map the progress of the growth of the bones in the womb, but we’re still amazed by how God has it all coded in DNA. The 3.1 billion base pairs that make up the human chromosomes is truly amazing.

Ecclesiastes 11:9 – Solomon keeps bringing the point back to this – yes you can enjoy life, but remember God will bring thee into judgment! So – Remember thy Creator! (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

Ecclesiastes 12:6 –  StackExchange seems to like Adam Clarke’s analysis:

The context is aging, approaching death, and the call to remember the creator acknowledged in your youth. Verses 3 – 6 compare the aging body to a house where the keepers are the hands that become paralytic and shaky; the strong men are legs that begin to bow and no longer hold up the body; the grinders are teeth that have decayed with age, and can no longer chew strong meat; the windows are the eyes that dim and can no longer see well; the doors being shut in the streets are the lips and mouth which can no longer swallow; and the sound of grinding low is the lost teeth, and inability to chew properly; rising up at the sound of a bird is the inability to sleep soundly being disturbed at the least sound; the daughters of music being brought low is the weak and feeble voice of old age.

The silver cord is the nervous system breaking; the golden bowl breaking representing the brain and loss of memory; the pitcher broken at the fountain and the wheel broken at the cistern is the heart slowing and failing to pump; which then results in the death of the body.

Ecclesiastes 12:12 – There are approximately 130 million books in the world as of 2010, and over 2 million new titles every year are published. Solomon was right! And much studying can be fatal. While I was in law school, this news clipping from the New York Times was passed around:

Ecclesiastes 12:13 – Yes, what is the conclusion of the matter? Fear God and obey him!

Ecclesiastes 12:14 –  Because one day God will bring every secret thing into the open!

2 Corinthians 8:5 – Vic Eliason shared with me the story a pastor told him. Elvis Presley was religious – he recorded religious songs, attended church, and even gave generously into the offering. But while he gave of his money, he didn’t give his heart. The pastor told Elvis – God doesn’t want your money – He wants your heart! Yes, it is good to give – but unless you have given your heart to the LORD, giving all of your goods profiteth nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3).

2 Corinthians 8:14 – God did not give you an abundance to be hoarded, but so you could give to help others!

Psalm 49:6 – Speaking of money… you can’t buy salvation with it (Psalm 49:7). Souls are precious (Psalm 49:8). Use your earthly resources to lay up treasure in heaven! (Matthew 6:19-21).

Psalm 49:16-17 – You can’t take it with you (1 Timothy 6:7) – this may be the only picture ever taken of a hearse with a U-Haul on it.

Proverbs 22:21 – How can you know the truth? Read God’s Word!

 

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Daily Encouragement

September 4 – The Poor, Wise Man

September 4
Ecclesiastes 7:1-9:18
2 Corinthians 7:8-16
Psalm 48:1-14
Proverbs 22:17-19

Ecclesiastes 7:15 – You can almost hear Job saying these words!

Ecclesiastes 7:20 – This theme echoes throughout the Bible.

  • Genesis 6:11 – The earth also was corrupt before God
  • 1 Kings 8:46 – there is no man that sinneth not
  • Psalm 14:1 – there is none that doeth good
  • Psalm 14:3 – there is none that doeth good, no, not one
  • Psalm 53:1 – there is none that doeth good
  • Psalm 53:3 – there is none that doeth good, no, not one
  • Psalm 143:2 – in thy sight shall no man living be justified
  • Romans 3:9 – both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin
  • Romans 3:10 – there is none righteous, no not one
  • Romans 3:23 – all have sinned and come short of the glory of God
  • Galatians 3:22 – But the scripture hath concluded all under sin

Ecclesiastes 7:21 – Solomon is considering the words of his father in 2 Samuel 16:10

Ecclesiastes 7:26 – Solomon has an extended discussion of this woman in Proverbs 7 (especially Proverbs 7:10-12).

Ecclesiastes 8:12 – In the midst of his depressed rant, he utters the truth of Job’s tale. It’s better to suffer for doing right, than be rewarded for doing wrong.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 – Do the dead still exist? The Jehovah’s Witnesses say “Therefore, when we die, we cease to exist. The dead can’t think, act, or feel anything.” The technical term for this is “annihilationism.” But what does the rest of Scripture say about the dead? GotQuestions discusses several problems including:

“Second, Ecclesiastes 9:5 cannot contradict Ecclesiastes 4:2. There, Solomon states that the dead are “happier than the living.” However, when a person is dead, the opportunities to enjoy things on earth no longer exist.

4Witness discusses:

Solomon, being a worldly person at this point in time, is speaking from his worldview which was limited to that of the present moment of his existence.  This is opposed to a Christian outlook concerning life and death that gives one a proper perspective on how to understand the passage.

Secondly, Solomon is not talking about the afterlife or an annihilation but is speaking about the physical corpses of those who have died and are “in the grave” (see Eccl. 9:10). Thus, contextually speaking, Dr. Norman Geisler remarks,

“The passages that say there is no knowledge or remembrance after death, are speaking of no memory in this world, not of no memory of this world.”—When Critics Ask, p.259

IsAnnihilationTrue compares this phrasing to Potiphar:

We read in verse 6 that “he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand”. Potiphar entrusted everything that he had to Joseph because whatever Joseph did, the LORD blessed it. Then we read about Potiphar, “he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat”. Does this mean that Potiphar did not know anything about what he had except for the bread that he ate?… Rather, the phrase “he knew not ought he had” means that Potiphar did not pay any attention to what he had, except that which he did eat. Joseph was doing such a good job in managing Potiphar’s possessions that Potiphar did not need to pay any attention to them.

John 5:9 identifies the dangers of those who die in sins, and await the resurrection of damnation.

Ecclesiastes 9:9 – I am enjoying doing this with the wife that the LORD hath given me!

Ecclesiastes 9:10Work for the night is coming!

Ecclesiastes 9:12 – Man knoweth not his time – don’t put off to tomorrow talking to the person God has laid on your heart.

Ecclesiastes 9:15 – The poor wise man – necessary, successful, unrewarded. Many have preached on this over the years. John Gill identifies this man with Christ:

Christ, who is man, though not a mere man, but God as well as man; who was so in purpose, covenant, and promise, before his incarnation, since truly and really so; and “poor”, as it was foretold he should be, and who became so for the sake of his church and people, ( Zechariah 9:9 ) ( 2 Corinthians 8:9 ) ; yet “wise”, even as man, being filled with wisdom, in which he increased, and gave such evident proofs of; on whom the spirit of wisdom rested, and in whom the treasures of it were hid, ( Luke 2:40 Luke 2:46 Luke 2:47 Luke 2:52 ) ( Isaiah 11:2 ) ( Colossians 2:3 ) ; he was found here by God his Father, who exalted one chosen out of the people, and made him Head over the church, who is the firstborn among many brethren, ( Psalms 89:19 Psalms 89:20 ) ; Or “and”, or “but he found in it” F9; that is, Satan, the great king, found him here, contrary to his expectation, and to his great regret

2 Corinthians 7:10 – There is “sorry, I got caught”, and godly sorrow that leads to repentance that leads to salvation!

Psalm 48:1-2, 11-12, 14 – Sing along (Psalms were meant to be sung!) – Great is the LORD!

Proverbs 22:17 – Another double dose of Solomon. Wisdom is trusting in the LORD!

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Daily Encouragement

September 3 – What victimizes the poor to the tune of $70 billion annually?

September 3
Ecclesiastes 4:1-6:12
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:7
Psalm 47:1-9
Proverbs 22:16

Ecclesiastes 4:2 – What does thinking this is all there is in life lead to? Suicidal or even genocidal tendencies. If life has no meaning for humans, then perhaps humans are just keeping some other organism that has meaning from the earth.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 – Solomon shares some more of his advice encouraging marriage. Life is suffering / vanity / emptiness / a breath, but it’s better to be together than alone (excepting the examples Solomon shows us in Proverbs where in some cases it is better to dwell alone in the corner of a roof – Proverbs 21:9).

Ecclesiastes 4:13 – It’s never to late to teach an old dog new tricks, we may say.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 –  Note the back and forth between Solomon and Job. Solomon gives Job advice, albeit after the fact, and Job gives wisdom that develops into the Proverbs.

Ecclesiastes 5:15 – Here’s another example, expounding on Job 1:21

Ecclesiastes 5:18 – Is Solomon teaching epicureanism? No, this isn’t hedonism being advocated, but rather a foreshadow of 1 Corinthians 10:31

2 Corinthians 6:14-7 – Many people today value unity at any cost. But Paul goes into an extended comparison that you cannot be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Speaking of the offerings to idols – he again brings up that you can’t belong to God’s temple and the idol’s temple at the same time. As my friend says – if you work for Coke, you can’t drink Pepsi! Yes separation is painful, but its mandated. As John MacArthur says:

Not to be bound together with unbelievers is our greatest challenge.  To live a separated life is a tremendous challenge,particularly in a culture which is bombarding us with all of the elements of paganism.  It is not only our greatest challenge.  It is our greatest source of joy and usefulness when we obey that command. 

The pure and the polluted share nothing in common ultimately.  And the people of God cannot form intimate relationships with those who don’t belong to God.  All relationships like that are superficial.  You cannot make a meaningful relationship with an enemy of the gospel.

2 Corinthians 6:18 – Why is separation important? Because if we abandoned those who would be our father who are wholly inadequate, the LORD Almighty will be our Father. We’re not primarily separating from unbelievers, we’re separating to the LORD.

Psalm 47:2 – The KJV uses the word terrible. Unfortunately today we’ve corrupted English to where we use terrible as a hyperbole for bad. But as we rewind the English language we can see from Webster’s 1828:

2. Adapted to impress dread, terror or solemn awe and reverence.

The Lord thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible Deuteronomy 7:21.

Let them praise thy great and terrible name, for it is holy. Psalms 99:3.

He hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen. Deuteronomy 10:17.

The LORD works terrors that should create a response of the fear of the LORD. He is not some lowly bureaucrat that we have to endure, He is a Great King over all the earth!

Proverbs 22:16 – What is a system today that oppresses the poor, takes money from those who have little, offering but empty dreams in return, and in many places subsidizes the rich? The lottery. $70 billion will be spent this year on the lottery. And it is the poor disproportionately who are the victims. Journal of Gambling Studies:

Those in the lowest fifth in terms of socioeconomic status (SES) had the “highest rate of lottery gambling (61%) and the highest mean level of days gambled in the past year (26.1 days).” Moreover, there were “very few observed differences in lottery gambling for those in the three upper SES groups — 42–43% gambled on the lottery and the three upper groups averaged about 10 days of gambling on the lottery in the past year.”

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Daily Encouragement

September 2 – What’s the purpose of Ecclesiastes?

September 2
Ecclesiastes 1:1-3:22
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
Psalm 46:1-11
Proverbs 22:15

Ecclesiastes 1:1 – Welcome to a new book in the wisdom genre! Today we’ll be getting a double dose of Solomon (Ecclesiastes as well as Proverbs)! What does the wisest man who ever lived (1 Kings 4:30) want to tell us about life? From Bob Utley:

“Its main purpose was to show the futility of human existence apart from God. It is a tract to convert self-sufficient materialists or intellectuals.”

Let’s look at the futility of human existence apart from God.

Ecclesiastes 1:4 – Generations come and go, the sun goes up and goes down (Ecclesiastes 1:5). Interestingly Abraham Lincoln quoted this verse in his second inaugural address.

Ecclesiastes 1:6-7From ICRwhirleth about continually. This is a remarkable anticipation of the modern discovery of the world’s great wind circuits, in the global circulation of the atmosphere. And Creation.com talks about the hydrological cycle of v.7.

Ecclesiastes 2:1 – What did Solomon try for contentment? Pleasure (Ecclesiastes 2:1), wine (Ecclesiastes 2:3), building projects (Ecclesiastes 2:4-6), servants and possessions (Ecclesiastes 2:7), and silver and gold (Ecclesiastes 2:8).

Ecclesiastes 3:1 – The 1965 secular song from the Byrds “Turn, Turn, Turn” was based on this passage.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 – “In His Time“, a gospel chorus, is based on this verse. Interesting that this verse talks about the capacity God has built within us.

Ecclesiastes 3:13-14 – Some call this book secular wisdom. But we know that God intends for us to enjoy His creation, and that His doings are far greater than our doings.

Ecclesiastes 3:17 – God shall judge – there is a time we must give account.

Ecclesiastes 3:21Mark Lowry has emphasized Psalm 36:6 as saying that dogs are going to heaven. Unfortunately his exegesis has skipped Ecclesiastes 3:21.

2 Corinthians 6:2 – There is no reason to delay salvation – Now is the accepted time!

2 Corinthians 6:5 – A sobering video features martyrs from church history quoting motivational tweets from some modern pastors. Unfortunately life is not all health, wealth, and prosperity.

Psalm 46:3 – Did Shakespeare leave a mark of his involvement with the King James Version? Kyle Butt says yes!

Proverbs 22:15 – Proverbs has much wisdom on child training. The point is not abuse, but removing foolishness.

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Daily Encouragement

September 1 – Your arm’s too short to box with God!

September 1
Job 40:1-42:17
2 Corinthians 5:11-21
Psalm 45:1-17
Proverbs 22:14

Job 40:4 – Job has an Isaiah-like experience (Isaiah 6:5). He no longer wishes to take his case to the LORD. He wants to close his mouth and take back the foolish words he has said.

Job 40:9 – James Weldon Johnson communicated this verse by applying it to today’s society: Young man, young man, your arm’s too short to box with God!

Job 40:15 – What is behemoth? From Journal of Creation:

Two great creatures, behemoth and leviathan, are described by God in Job. Some commentators have suggested behemoth was an elephant or hippo but the description simply doesn’t match (e.g. behemoth “moves his “tail like a cedar”). It’s appears God is describing a sauropod dinosaur and a fearsome now-extinct sea creature.

Job 41:1 – Leviathan is not referring to Thomas Hobbe’s work on government. Rather Creation.com goes in depth and disproves the “alligator theory”:

Behemoth and leviathan may well be now extinct species that were still living in Job’s day. While what is known about several species of dinosaurs may appear to fit some aspects of God’s description of behemoth and leviathan, the most we can say with confidence is that the descriptions do not match any known living species today. At the same time, to call them ‘mythological’ creatures is to do violence to the text and context of Job; therefore, we affirm that these were actual creatures of which Job had knowledge (although we cannot state whether Job had direct or indirect knowledge of them). They symbolize the power of evil, connected with Satan, who is mentioned in the first chapters of the book. The words of God humbled Job and showed him that God is above all powers in this world.

Job 42:2 – Job responds admitting the LORD’s omnipotence and omniscience. He then declares his insufficiency (Job 42:3), and repents (Job 42:6).
Job 42:9 – God forgives Job and continues to accept him! What a merciful God we have!
Job 42:10 – If God gave Job twice what he had before – the sheep were doubled, the camels were doubled, the oxen were doubled, and the she asses were doubled. But notice that Job’s children were replaced not doubled (Job 42:13). Job’s children did not succumb to nihilism and vanquish – no God had taken them. Job’s children had doubled as well – half were on earth with him and half were with the LORD.
Job 42:17 – Job died – not having cursed God, but having been full of days. A Godly legacy!
2 Corinthians 5:11 – Terror – Not in the sense of irrational fear that we’ve emotionally charged this word with connotations today, but in the historic sense of “calculated to impress fear” (Webster’s 1848).

2 Corinthians 5:14 – What was the irresistible power behind Paul? The love of Christ!

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Has there been a great change since you’ve been born again?

2 Corinthians 5:18 –  God hath reconciled us to himself! This is the first use in Paul’s Epistles of the word reconcile (Ellicott). Are we reconciled to God or is God reconciled to us? The hymn “Arise my soul, arise!” contains the line “My God is reconciled” but some versions disagreed with the claim and so they change it to “To God I’m reconciled” (see J Preston Eby). MacArthur says it’s both:

So man has to be dramatically, transformed, but God also has to have His attitude dealt with because God cannot look upon iniquity and iniquity is going to have to be dealt with, right? Something has got to modify God’s wrath. Something’s got to deal with God’s attitude.

However you take it – it’s not the direction of reconciliation but the causer of reconciliation. As Oswald Chambers summarizes it:

Jesus Christ reconciled the human race, putting it back to where God designed it to be. And now anyone can experience that reconciliation, being brought into oneness with God, on the basis of what our Lord has done on the cross. A man cannot redeem himself— redemption is the work of God, and is absolutely finished and complete.

How was the reconciliation accomplished? Because of the substitutionary, vicarious atonement of Jesus Christ that allowed God’s imputed righteousness to be deposited in our account (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Psalm 45:6 – Our God shall reign forever!

Proverbs 22:14 – A choice of companions can affect your life. And when your greatest companion is your lifelong spouse – it is important that you choose not the strange woman but the woman that feareth the LORD! (Proverbs 31:30).

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.