Here in Acts 4 Israel’s ungodly leaders threatened Peter and John telling them they were no longer to preach about Jesus (vv. 17-18). Instead of making them and the other disciples afraid, as John MacArthur says, “it exhilarated them.” Though God may allow men to criticize or persecute us at times, we can rejoice in the fact that He will turn it to our good and His glory at the right time!
Once again I’m amazed at how often our Old and New Testament readings fit together. (See today’s reading in Psalm 76.7-12.) Remember, it is all one continuous story written by the same Author! Should we be surprised?!
The disciples even quote an Old Testament passage here, (Ps. 2.1-2):
“Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the LORD and against His Christ.”
Here in Acts 4 the ungodly leaders of Israel threatened Peter and John telling them they were no longer to preach about Jesus (Acts 4.17-18). Instead of making them and the other disciples afraid, as John MacArthur says, “it exhilarated them.” They just had a prayer meeting!
Verse 24, 29, 30, “So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said. ‘Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them.’ … Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.'”
What does God value in a woman? Does He care about modesty and discretion? About how we dress or talk? Does the Bible have anything to say about these things? Check out our proverbs reading to learn more.
What does our clothing and behavior say about us? Is clothing merely a fashion statement? Is it our right to dress any way we choose? Is off color language simply part of life in the business world? Does the Bible have anything to say about these things and other ways that we relate to those around us?
It turns out God has a great deal to say about these things. Verse 22 in today’s reading for starters.
“As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.”
A beautiful woman without discretion—a woman without modesty, wisdom and grace—is compared to a pig!
A pig is an animal who roots around in garbage, an animal that you can clean up, but who will go right back to the pig sty! The beauty of a woman without discretion is like a jewel put in the nose of an animal that pokes around in the slop!
Ladies, why do we stand around and listen to dirty jokes, or laugh at them, or … tell them? Why do we reveal parts of our bodies that should be reserved for our husbands or future husbands—by wearing things that are too low, too short or too tight? And why do we allow our daughters to dress that way?
Why do we allow gossip and criticism and unwholesome things to come out of our mouths? Why do we watch TV shows and movies and read books that fill our minds with things contrary to the Word and make us look like the rest of the world?
The Bible doesn’t give us rules and regulations about the length of our skirts or the style of our clothes and I don’t want to either. And we need to be extremely careful about becoming self-righteous in this area, especially when it comes to visitors to our churches or with new believers. But as we grow in Christ we should be more sensitive to these issues and more aware of the heart attitudes behind them.
When asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus said in short, love God and love others (Matt. 22.37-40). Our behavior has an effect on others: on our brothers in Christ, on our sisters in Christ who are their wives, on those who look to us as an example, and to the world who is watching to see if there is really anything different about us.
More than once, I’ve heard women say, “I like to dress this way. If men look at me, that’s their problem.” Certainly, men are responsible for what they do with their eyes, but we are also responsible if we’re a stumbling block.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. (1 Thess. 4.3-7).
One definition of defraud is to offer something for sale that you don’t intend to provide.
3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. (Eph. 5.3-4)
Instead, may the Lord help us to be the women Peter talked about:
“Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Pet. 3.3-4).
A Note to the Men:
Men, I pray that you will become the kind of men who value what God values in a woman, rather than the world. Too many men value the wrong things. Sadly, I’ve even seen men with 1 Peter 3.3-4 wives who were demanding they become Proverbs 11.22 women!
Almost 40 years had passed since the Israelites were brought out of Egypt. Most of the adults had died just as God said they would. They did not enter the Promised Land because they listened to the evil report of the ten spies instead of trusting God. Now there was a new generation murmuring against God. They seem to have learned more from their parents’ example than from their parents’ fate!
What are your children learning from you? Do you tell them not to “whine and complain” while you “whine and complain” about your spouse, your boss, your government (this one hits pretty close to home for me), your mother-in-law or whatever?
The chronicler continues the genealogical record, giving special emphasis to the tribe of Judah because it’s the tribe through which Christ would come.
Our good & God’s glory
Verse 8, “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will find good.”
When we acquire, and then walk in, God’s wisdom, we not only please Him and bring Him glory, but we are doing the thing that is best for us. Our good and His glory are always connected.Continue reading →
The description of the temple is beautiful and amazing to me. Many believe that, even now, preparations are being made to rebuild it, which Scripture tells us will happen as part of the events of the last days. At that time the Jews will resume temple worship.
What an exciting time in which we live. It’s quite possible that our generation will see the return of Jesus for His church (the Rapture) and certainly are, even now, seeing many of the events leading up to that time (Matt. 24.36). Continue reading →
Does God cause someone to sin? And how does God use the sins of others for our good and His glory?
2 Samuel 23 & 24
2 Samuel 23 & 24:
David a man of strength and weakness
Here we are at the last two chapters of 2 Samuel. They read like a summary of David’s life, both at his best and at his worst.
Chapter 23 gives David’s last inspired words (vv. 2-7), calling him “the sweet psalmist of Israel.” What a great ending—or is it? Along comes chapter 24. Verse 1, “Again the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, ‘Go, number Israel and Judah.'”
There’s so much contained in that one verse. First, was it God who “caused” David to sin against the people? James 1.13-15 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
David, like all of us, was first and foremost tempted by his own sinful heart. 1 Chron. 21.1 says, “Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.” So God, for His sovereign purposes allowed Satan to tempt David to do what was already in his heart.
So what was the sin that manifested itself here? Notice the last part of verse 2, “… count the people, that I may know the number of the people.” David counted the people out of his pride so that he would know the number of people over which he had rule.
What about the phrase, “Again the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel …”? Remember these were the people who had followed Absalom in rebellion against David and then afterwards, many of them had followed Sheba. So God allowed David to be His instrument of discipline in the lives of the people while he used the situation to reveal to David the pride in his own heart.
Romans 8.28-29, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
So what or whom is He using in your life to conform you to the image of His Son? How might He even be using someone else’s sin as an instrument of discipline in your life? What does He want you to see? How did David respond and how should you respond?
Verse 17, “Then David spoke to the LORD when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, ‘Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.'” David took responsibility for his own sin. He didn’t blame the people. He understood that God was well able to deal with the sins of others.
Remember … remember … remember
God repeatedly reminds us to “remember” His deeds. In these verses David continues to recount the works of God so that he might “remember.”
Don’t rejoice in the calamity of others
Verse 5b, “… He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.” 1 Corinthians 13.6 says, love “does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.”
So the works of God can be revealed
Verses 1-3, “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.'”
Often those things that we call “handicaps” are opportunities for the glory of God to be manifest whether through healing, as with this man, or through His grace in allowing that person to serve Him in a special, and just as miraculous, way.
What about you? Questions to ponder or journal:
Reread the questions in the 2 Samuel section. What or whom is God using in your life to conform you to the image of Christ?
What have you seen in your life as a weakness or handicap that God wants to use for His glory?