Today’s Bible Reading: Nehemiah 11-12:26; 1 Corinthians 10:14-33; Psalm 34:11-22; Proverbs 21:14-16
Once the Temple had been rebuilt and the walls around Jerusalem had been restored, people were able to once again populate the city. The leaders moved in first (Nehemiah 11:1), demonstrating that they felt the city was safe to be occupied. Here the leaders led by example and practiced what they preached which is exactly what leaders should do.
Apparently more people wanted to live in Jerusalem than the city could accommodate so a lottery system had to be enacted (Nehemiah 11:1). Its great when God’s people want to be close to Him.
In warning the Corinthians against eating meat sacrificed to idols, Paul appeals to their love of “wisdom” (1Corinthians 10:15). Our world today prides itself on intellectual superiority – as the Corinthians did. We think the Bible is old-fashioned and out-of-date for modern thinkers like ourselves. I used to think that. But this is not true. The Bible is timeless because it is God’s word.
Just like the practice of communion identifies believers with Jesus, eating meals sacrificed to false-gods identifies the partakers with demons (1 Corinthians 10:16-20). Since idols are nothing, as Paul told us yesterday, it is not the idols that we identify with when we eat meals associated with them. It is the demons who trick us into believing in these idols that we identify with. And this provokes God’s righteous jealousy (1 Corinthians 10:22).
The Corinthians believed that they could do anything, which Paul agreed with – they could do anything. But he goes on to say that not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23). Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. Our world thinks that if some behavior doesn’t hurt someone else then it can’t be considered wrong. Everyone is free to do what is right for them as long as no one else is noticeably affected. We take this approach with topics such as lying, sex outside of marriage, and abortion (among others).
But this is not true. When we participate in behaviors that go against God’s plan for us we distance ourselves from Him. When a lot of people distance themselves from God then society as a whole suffers. This is exactly what has happened in the United States over the past several decades. Our country is run by people who care nothing of God (not just in regard to elected officials, but the masses) because they are separated from God.
The bottom line is that it wasn’t the meat that the people were eating that was the problem. It was the atmosphere in which it was eaten (1 Corinthians 10:25-28). The spirit of what we do is more important that what we do. That is why many people object to God sending “good” people to hell. It is not enough to volunteer at a food shelter or act a big brother/big sister. It is the reason why we do these things that matters.
Doing these things for the sake of the Lord is right. Doing these things for any other reason counts for nothing. The things we do should be solely for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).
God hears every call for help from His people (Psalm 34:17). When we are brokenhearted God is right by our side as well (Psalm 34:18). How cool is it to know that the One who can do everything – who can fix any problem – is always with us and willing to rescue us?
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