Sunday, 6 April 2014

06 April 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

06 April 2014

Numbers 22; 23
Proverbs 16
Ephesians 3; 4

"DARKENED IN THEIR UNDERSTANDING"

The chapters in Ephesians today are a passionate plea by Paul to the believers there to see their behaviour does not slip back to what it was before they believed in Christ. Life in those days, like life today was full of distractions. He tells them, “you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and given themselves up to sensuality …” [Ephesians 4:17-19]

These words also accurately describe the atmosphere in which we live today, the attitudes probably nearly all of us see around us. Modern technology highlights these attitudes, making them worse and more appealing in many cases. Paul then writes, “But that is not the way you learned Christ!” [Ephesians 4:20] He seems to doubt that their learning of Christ had effectively led to a change of behaviour for he continues, “assuming that you have heard about him and were taught … to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires” [Ephesians 4:21-22].

How “deceitful” our desires can be! It is vital “to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” [Ephesians 4:23,24] Tragically we can be converted in our head, intellectually, while our hearts still have a great amount of fleshly inclinations.

Paul then says, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by which you were sealed for the day of redemption.” [Ephesians 4:30]. We have on one or two occasions in past years attended those Pentecostal type services where they convince themselves they have some special gift that enables them to have visions; it is most unconvincing! But the point that Paul makes here is that we should recognise that the Holy Spirit possesses us, rather than the other way round. This is the point we have seen several times in Proverbs; that the “eyes of the LORD are in every place keeping watch …”. Surely this is the case with those who have been “sealed” by God’s Spirit.
-------
- DC


Thought for the Day

06 April 2014

"The words of Jesus are like a pocket compass which will never fail to give us our bearings. "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise" (Luke 5:31). His words convey the general law. If the teacher shows the pupil how to work out each sum, he will never make him proficient in arithmetic. He gives the learner the principle and lets him work it out in separate examples for himself."

- Claud Lamb
Wholesome Words (1991)

Numbers 22 we read of Balaam, of whom the inspired commentary on him in Jude writes:
"Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam FOR REWARD, and perished in the gainsaying of Core".

No notice as we read Numbers ch22 & 23 the persuasion used on Balaam by Balak:
- Balaam was presented with "rewards of divination"
- Balaam because he refused was then met by "princes, more and more honourable"
- the request to Balaam after the rewards and people who came to see him was "don't let anything hinder thee" don't let anything get in your way of what you could have.
- Balak then tells Balaam he will promote him "to great honour"
- it is also told Balaam the he would be in control "I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me"
- Now the emotional screws are turned "did I not earnestly send unto thee", quick make a decision it's urgent.
- And Balak says, don't forget I can "promote thee"

This is the behaviour and the reasoning the world and those in it use. We must not be like Balaam, who in many ways said the right thing.

And then in ch24 we have Balak's frustration and accusation "I thought to promote thee unto great honour, but, lo, the LORD hath KEPT THEE BACK FROM HONOUR".

The world seeks to gain our allegiance by flattery, reward and soft words, but when refused can bring this accusation on us. But can we feel the same "the LORD hath KEPT THEE BACK FROM HONOUR", if we feel our talents in this world are being wasted because of the life we are to lead in Christ.