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.
Want to read a whole book of the Bible in a short amount of time? Philemon’s your guy! But don’t be surprised when it packs a punch.
One point Jeremiah touches on today and will continue to hammer home, is the ridiculousness of idolatry. Why would you worship something you can make and then can make again if something happens to that one. In other words, why would you worship something less powerful than you?
- 1-25 – This chapter states how ridiculous it is to follow and worship idols. With the power of God, why would anyone want to worship anything else?
- 1-23 – God knew the Israelites, though they had given themselves to a slew of idols, would cry out to him in times of trouble. He assures them that he will not hear their cries.
- 19-22 – Paul gives the Colossians a model for how to keep households operating in a loving and functional way.
- 23-24 – We often choose not to work hard or we try to take our frustrations out on our boss or company. Instead, we must remember that we are ultimately working to please God. We should remain faithful in our work because of this.
- 14 – This is the same Luke who wrote Luke and Acts.
- The psalm continues to speak of Israel, their unfaithfulness, and the consequences. This section ends with the hope of David coming as their faithful king to shepherd the people.
- This proverb simply teaches us to be trustworthy and not to seek revenge.
Who do you work for? Yes, that is a trick question. When asked that question, I answer, “Munger Place Church”. The truth is, no matter how you fill in the blank, the correct answer is “I work for God”. This is how we should view our daily tasks – as done for God. When we feel like slacking off, cheating, or lying, we must remember that we’re not getting back at our jerk of a boss, we’re disrespecting God.
- 15:1-16:14 – This is the prophecy against Moab. The Moabites were continual enemies of Israel and tended to seek out wars. The end of the prophecy is that Moab will end up weak.
- 17:1-18:7 – This prophecy is against Damascus, a city in Syria. The Syrians were tough and were also gifted warriors.
- 6-9 – Jesus warns about this kind of “hearer of the word” in the parable of the 4 seeds. He explains that some hearers shoot up quickly but don’t have roots so they burn up quickly. The Galatians were quick to turn to another option after they had accepted the gospel of Christ.
- 10 – This is difficult, but a challenge we should all pursue: to work to please God instead of man.
- 12-14 – In Paul’s early years, he was a Christian-persecuting Jew. He cannot take credit for what Christ did in him because it was against all odds.
- David speaks out against those who judge wrongly. He knows there is ultimately a reward for those who are righteous, but for now, the unrighteous are able to flourish.
People joke that there’s no instruction manual for parenting or for general life. Seemingly, the toughest things we have to do get the least amount of instruction. That’s only partially true. God doesn’t just plop us down in life and tell us to figure it out. Like today’s psalm explains, everything we need to know for salvation and successfully navigating life is available us through Scripture and the Holy Spirit.
2 Chronicles 30:1-31:21:
- 1-9 – It’s comforting that even when we fail to do what we’re supposed to do, when we choose to return to God, he accepts us.
- 18-20 – God’s extreme kindness shows here as people come and eat Passover without cleansing themselves. This harkens to the way Jesus handled the law. He always rewarded faith and always showed love even if the law had to be bent a little.
- 26-27 – It had been a long time since Solomon. Hezekiah’s commitment to restoring Passover, even though imperfect, was pleasing to God.
- 9-10 – Like when it was time to build the tabernacle in Exodus, the faithful Israelites bring more than enough offering.
- 5-7 – Just as Christ accepted us in our weakness, we are to invite in those whose faith is not as strong as ours. These are the folks we should not make stumble but should bring into the fold.
- 17-22 – Paul takes pride in the work God has done through him to bring those who had never believed in Christ to salvation.
- 8-9 – God does not fling us out into the world to figure everything out on our own. He shows us the way to him. Also, the early Christians were known as “The Way”.
- 13 – Laziness doesn’t pay. We have to work to take care of ourselves.
As of yesterday, we are officially halfway through the Bible! Woohoo!! Give yourself a pat on the back! Bake yourself a cake! This is a great accomplishment, so take a deep breath and enjoy it. You’ve done a great job!
2 Kings 20:1-22:2:
- 3-7 – The Lord hears Hezekiah’s prayer and answers it. God heals Hezekiah from a life threatening illness using a fig cake, or what is described in other translations as a fig poultice.
- 12-19 – Hezekiah is overly hospitable to the king of Babylon, Merodach-baladan. It’s possible he’s trying to impress him with his riches so they won’t want to attack. Though it won’t happen for a while, Babylon will eventually take his people into exile.
- 19 – Though Hezekiah’s response seems a little arrogant or lackadaisical, commentaries tell us, because he was a faithful king, his response is more likely one of thanks for the peace they have at the moment.
- 7 – This was the tribe of Judah. God claims this tribe forever and it is the tribe that Jesus belonged to.
- 1-9 – Manasseh was pretty much the worst of the worst. He should not be confused with Joseph’s son Manasseh who was the patriarch of one of the 12 tribes.
- 12-15 – Israel had already been conquered and exiled, but Judah remained where they belonged. Manasseh’s leadership puts it over the edge though, and God explains that he’s opening them up for attack too.
- 23-24 – These four men had taken the Nazirite vow. At some time before the vow they must have done something against the vow they were taking, which caused them to need to shave their heads and be purified for 7 days. Paul sponsors them financially.
- 28-29 – It was illegal to bring a non-Jew into the temple and Trophimus was Greek. It seems that Paul did not actually do this and even if he had, according to the law, the people should have attacked Trophimus, not Paul.
- 6 – No excuses. That means you too.
- 9 – Verses in Colossians and Ephesians also encourage us to work to the best of our ability. We are to work like we’re working for God, not man.