Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15- Repentance Leads to Reformation

August 15, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Nehemiah 9:22-10:39; 1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13;
Psalm 34:1-10; Proverbs 21:13

Nehemiah 9:22-10:39

When training a young child, it behooves a parent to teach the process of repentance and reformation. For example, a child must learn to apologize when they have disobeyed and then correct the behavior that led to the need for an apology.  It is for the child's safety that they learn to obey the first time when told to do something by their parent.  For instance, a young child who has learned to obey the first time will respond when a parent tells that child to stop at the curb when a car is coming down the street.  This can prevent a tragedy from occurring.  As human beings, we are all in need of correction.  Being able to accept correction and admit the need for change is huge in the development of good character.  Today, the remnant of Israelites, who have rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, renew their covenant with God as they repent of past sins and reform their behavior.

The key to knowing that one needs to repent is reading God's Word.  The Bible is a barometer of sin.  It is the means by which we learn God's will and His ways.  As our reading begins, Ezra, the High Priest, has read the Book of the Laws of Moses to the congregation for three hours.  The people have been convicted by God's Word.  They are joyous in their accomplishment of returning to the land and rebuilding both the Temple of God and the walls of Jerusalem.  God's Word has led to revival.  Revival has caused repentance, and now, repentance is leading to reformation.

The people promise three things to God as a sign of their desire to reform:
  • They promise to not let their sons or daughters marry the pagan people of the land, in accordance with the laws of Moses.  Vs. 30
  • They promise not to buy, sell or work on the Sabbath. Vs. 31
  • They promise to pay the annual Temple tax and observe the tithe, in order to not neglect the Temple of God. Vs. 32, 35, 39
These changes reflect a desire to please God and follow His commandments. How has reading God's Word this year led to changes in your life?  Has His Word produced revival, repentance, and reformation in your life?

1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13

As the Apostle Paul trains the young immature Corinthian church, we get good instruction on what our attitudes towards other people should be, as we mature in our faith.  Paul describes purposefully adapting to whomever he is with, without giving up the law of Christ.  As we know from our reading of the gospels, the law of Christ is to love your neighbor as yourself.  So, Paul is saying that as Christians, we must put other people before ourselves and this may mean giving up certain food or drink, if partaking of those foods or drink will harm the faith of our weaker brothers or sisters in Christ.

Paul uses the illustration of a Christian being an athlete in a race.  You might imagine that the Corinthian believers were familiar with the Olympics.  Perhaps, Paul attended the Olympic games.  This group would understand the training and discipline it takes to be a good athlete, especially one that is able to be victorious.  Paul encourages the Corinthians to be like good athletes, who exhibit self-control in many areas as they train to be victorious in the race.  Paul admits that he disciplines himself to behave according to Scripture, so that he will not be disqualified from God's race.  How about you?  Do you discipline yourself to behave as God tells you to?  This is an example of reformation.

Paul continues by reminding the Corinthians that the ancient Israelites, as they wandered in the desert with Christ leading them in the cloud, are an example of those who are punished for craving evil things, worshiping idols, eating and drinking in drunken revelry, and participating in sexual immorality.  Those Israelites died in the wilderness and did not enter the Promised Land.  According to Paul, they serve as an example of how not to approach God.  Paul warns the Corinthians and us, to not fall into the same sort of sin.  As a comfort, Paul reminds the Corinthians that God does not bring any temptation that has not been brought to others.  He also states that when confronted with temptation, if one seeks God, He will show that person a way out, so that they will not give in to the temptation.

Do you realize that when confronted with temptation, you can turn to God for help?  This is what Jesus did in the desert when confronted by Satan.  Jesus turned to God's Word, in order to defeat temptation.  You and I can do the same thing.  As you read God's Word this year, you are developing the spiritual ammunition to fight!

Psalm 34:1-10

Notice how this psalm speaks of how to defeat temptation.  As we recount God's great works, we look to Him for help in our trials and temptations.  It states that the angel of the Lord (Jesus) guards all who fear Him and He rescues them.  PTL!

Proverbs 21:13

Do not shut your ears to the cry of the poor.  We are to have mercy on other people.

What did you notice today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton
© 2011

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