Bitterness, when allowed to fester and build, will slowly destroy us. Bitterness forms when anger and resentment are not dealt with. Today’s Hebrews reading warns us of this. We must process and deal with these feelings because it ultimately harms us more than anyone we’re angry with.
1-18 – Egypt once grew to great prominence, particularly when Joseph was there and stored and sold grain during a 7-year famine. Because of its prominence, Egypt became prideful and turned from God. Because of this, Pharaoh was doomed to death.
1-15 – The lament over Egypt in yesterday’s reading had a similar conclusion, “then they will know that I am the Lord.”
15 – “Roots of bitterness” are formed when we allow anger and resentment to build up in our hearts. These are often formed when we feel someone else is getting away with sin and when we are punished for our own sins.
25-29 – Hebrews is warning us of the importance of listening for, obeying, and accepting God. God is described here as a consuming fire.
Our God is worthy of praise and there are none beside him. Nothing else we could worship or revere compares to the greatness of God.
18 – The one who works at something, gains the reward.
In Genesis, Esau loses his birthright after saying, “I’m so hungry I’m about to die!” He most likely was not about the die of hunger. When we’re cold we say, “I’m freezing!” and when hot, “I’m burning up!” We tend to over exaggerate our suffering. Though today’s psalmist sounds pretty dramatic, we have to remember that suffering is real and elicits great emotion in us.
1-27 – The author laments over the pain and sorrow of the exile and destruction of the Israelites and their land. But then the author offers hope. God’s faithfulness does renew continually.
37-42 – The author recognizes that his people have sinned and are at fault and ultimately need to accept what they’re given.
43-54 – The Israelites were shamed because it seemed that their God couldn’t take care of them or had forgotten them. They were both overtaken and humiliated.
55-66 – The author clearly still has hope that God will restore his people.
3-4 – What a lovely description of Christ!
8-12 – Christ cannot be placed on the same level as the angels. He is, instead, set apart and above the angels.
1-11 – Though the psalmist’s words seem somewhat dramatic, our sufferings tend to illicit those kinds of thoughts. It is hard to see outside of difficulty and suffering and keep things in perspective.
21 – Hothead men tend to ignite controversy everywhere they go.
How do you know if you’re saved? You must become a new creation. In other words, you can’t live the same way and be the same as you were before and be saved. Salvation transforms us into the new creation God originally intended. Just think of it as baking eggs into a cake. You can’t get those eggs back, but they’ve now become something so much better!
1-14 – God seems angry that Job would not respond to him. Job had had so many questions for God in his previous speeches but is unwilling to speak in God’s presence.
40:15-41-34 – God describes both the Behemoth and the Leviathan. The original words are related to something like a hippopotamus and a crocodile, but also could have been mythical type creatures. They are both very strong and powerful and cannot be contained. The point is how much bigger and stronger they were than Job but that God was still the master of them.
1-6 – Job finally speaks and it is with utter humility.
7-9 – Ultimately Job is justified from his friends’ accusations and is able to pray for their forgiveness.
10-17 – Though Job went through a lot, God blesses him for his faithfulness even in the midst of terrible difficulty.
2 Corinthians 5:11-21:
11-13 – Paul had been accused of boasting in himself and even of not being in his right mind. He says that if any of these accusations are at all true, it is solely for the sake of winning these people for Christ.
17 – We cannot be saved and remain the same as we were before. That old self is no longer, but we are made into new creations in Christ.
18-19 – We can have complete reconciliation to God through Christ. Our sins are no longer counted against us.
Some translations say this song was intended for a royal wedding.
Amnon commits an egregious sin against his half-sister and though David is hurt and angered by Amnon’s actions, he doesn’t punish him. The most likely cause? Because David had sexual sin in his past as well and felt as if he couldn’t judge Amnon. Do you see how our sins affect us far beyond the initial act? And they don’t just affect us, but many around us as well. Though are sins are forgiven, consequences are real.
2 Samuel 13:1-39:
2 – Amnon and Tamar were half brother and sister. They shared David as their father.
3-14 – Jonadab’s plan is successful and Amnon rapes Tamar. In verse 13, Tamar even pleads with Amnon to ask David if they can marry one another so this won’t be a violation. Amnon still overpowers her.
15 – Not only does he violate her, but then he kicks her out of bed and hates her fiercely. Amnon’s sexual sin begins to cause a downward spiral of destruction.
20 – Once a woman was no longer a virgin, whether by choice or not, she was cast aside. Absalom’s kindness towards Tamar was far better treatment than most women received.
21 – David is angry but does nothing to Amnon. He may have felt unworthy to judge or enact justice upon Amnon because he had committed his own sexual sin.
26-33 – Absalom takes matters into his own hands and kills Amnon. Though Amnon’s sin was egregious, Absalom’s actions are also sinful.
6-20 – Jesus’ final prayer for his followers.
20-26 – Now Jesus prays for all those who will come to believe as the disciples continue to share the gospel after Jesus’ death. Isn’t it cool to know that Jesus prayed for us?
81-88 – The first section is crying out to God for help because the psalmist is being persecuted by those who don’t follow God’s commands.
89-96 – The psalmist has a deep reliance on God’s word and laws. The psalmist also seems to remind God of his own faithfulness while asking God to return the favor.
6 – We often wonder how we can quit a certain sin or be more faithful. This proverb gives good insight – fear the Lord and you can turn away from evil.
Busyness has become a sort of badge of honor for us these days. If, for some reason, you actually take the time to rest and relax, you get several underhanded “compliments” about how great it must be to not be busy. We fill our time with a bunch of “good things”, but often separates us from the best thing – spending time with God. Take a little inspiration today from Mary and Martha’s story in Luke.
5-11 – Moses commands the Israelites to give of their first fruits and acknowledge God’s faithfulness when they have success.
18-19 – All nations were not required to give back to God and acknowledge him. Only Israel, his chosen people, were, but that also meant that they received greater blessings.
16-26 – The word, “amen’s” meaning is significant as the Israelites’ response because it means “so be it”. In other words, they are accepting the consequences of being cursed if they fail in these areas.
38-42 – This is a crucial lesson for those of us who allow busyness to become an excuse for why we don’t spend time with God. We can choose to be consumed with a lot of good things or we can choose what’s best.
2-4 – The Lord’s Prayer. Can be used as a guide for our prayers.
5-13 – Jesus encourages his disciples to be persistent in prayer, seek what God wants, and expect great things from God.
15 – Though advice from others should never trump what God calls us to do, we are to seek wise counsel from those around us who can be trusted.
16 – This is a helpful thought for those of us who are easily angered.