Author Archives: nborger2017

Proverbs 26-28; 1 Thessalonians 3

In 1 Thessalonians 3, Paul tells the Thessalonians that he could no longer bear to fear about their faith, so he sent Timothy to be with them because he was unable to come.

For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain. 1 Thessalonians 3:5 ESV

Paul knew the Thessalonians were young and weak in their faith. His concern for them mirrors a father’s concern for his child. Paul sent Timothy to exhort them in their faith, just as Solomon exhorts his son in Proverbs.

Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him who reproaches me. Proverbs 27:11 ESV

Timothy returned to Paul with good news, the Thessalonians had stayed strong in their faith. Their steady faith and love comforted Paul during times of affliction and in his letter he tells them he prays for the day he came see them face to face. Paul also exhorts their faith, similarly to how Solomon exhorts those who follow God.

Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity. Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall. Proverbs 28:14, 18 ESV

In his exhortation, Paul asks the LORD to increase the Thessalonians love for those around them. The Bible emphasizes on many occasions that Christians are called to love those around them, whether it be family, friends, or even complete strangers.

Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blames in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 ESV

Dear God, please increase my love for those around me. Please help me show others Your love and strengthen my faith. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

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1 Kings 4; Proverbs 1-2; Psalm 43; Romans 9

Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy. And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand of the seashore. He…spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.  1 Kings 4:20, 29, 32, and 34 ESV

God appointed David’s son Solomon as king over Judah and Israel and gave him what he requested, an understanding mind. The Israelites were finally at peace. Their enemies were defeated and people from other nations were now coming to their king to gain wisdom. Solomon wrote much of what would become the book of Proverbs.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instructions. Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. Proverbs 1:7, 20, 22-23 ESV

Solomon states that fearing the LORD is the true beginning of knowledge, and then portrays Wisdom as a woman in the street, calling to the simple to gain understanding. Through the fear of the LORD and his wisdom, Solomon is able to usher in time of peace and prosperity for the people of Israel.

Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre. O God, my God. Psalm 43: 3-4 ESV

Dear God, please lead me with your truth and give me your wisdom. Please give me knowledge and discernment and help me follow your Word. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

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2 Samuel 11-12; 1 Chronicles 20; Psalm 51, 32; Acts 27

When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. 2 Samuel 11:26-27 ESV

Lust, sexual immorality, lying, murder. 2 Samuel 11 contains one of David’s lowest moments: lusting after and taking another man’s wife, lying, and ultimately, committing murder to cover up his sin. The chapter ends with the sentence: “But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” What an understatement. David had broken God’s commandments and broken even more of them to cover it up. According to the law, David’s actions did way more than just “displease” the LORD. God sends Nathan the prophet to David to deliver His word. Nathan tells David the parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Shepherd. This story convicts David and Nathan tells him of his punishment: evil will rise up in his household.

David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.” 2 Samuel 12: 13 ESV

God’s mercy shines out in this story. David deserved to die. He truly had sinned against the LORD. But God states through Nathan, “you shall not die.” David cried out to God for forgiveness after the incident as recorded in Psalm 51.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalm 52:1,7,10-12 ESV

David’s cry for the LORD’s forgiveness and a clean heart is one of the most recognizable psalms. David knew his sins risked alienating him from God, so he prayed for reconciliation between him and the LORD. He asks God to purge his heart and make it pure again. He begs God for mercy to cover his abundant sins.

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Psalm 32:1-2, 5 ESV

In Psalm 32, David proclaims the man who admits his transgressions to the LORD and is forgiven to the “blessed.” David experienced God’s forgiveness first-hand, as I have. Through Jesus, God has forgiven all my transgressions and inequities and put my sins on the cross. God’s forgiveness and mercy to David foreshadowed his abundant forgiveness and mercy towards us through Jesus. I have sinned. I have fallen short of God’s standard. But that’s why Jesus died.

Dear God, thank You for sending Jesus to die for my sins and for forgiving me. Please give me a clean heart and also give me a heart that yearns to follow Your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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1 Samuel 25; 1 Chronicles 7; Acts 17

And David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from avenging myself with my own hand!” 1 Samuel 25:32-33 ESV

1 Samuel 25 contains the meeting of David and Abigail. Nabal, Abigail’s husband, treated David’s men with contempt despite the fact that David’s men were noble and did no harm to anything of his. Nabal’s refusal to help David’s men and his mocking of David himself, made David decide to arm his men and take matters into his own hands. However, Abigail overheard what was happening and brought food to them, begging David to forgive her husband. David admires Abigail’s discretion and spares her household’s lives. Discretion was one of Abigail’s key character qualities, and a quality we see in the Jewish synagogue at Berea.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. Acts 17:11-12

The Berean Jews studied the Scriptures to test what Paul and Silas were preaching, in order to verify if the Scriptures matched up with their message. Their discretion and studying of the Scriptures led them to realize that Paul and Silas were in fact preaching the truth, and many of them believed. Paul and Silas later went on to Athens, a very religious city.

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What there you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.” Acts 16, 22-23 ESV

Paul noticed the people of Athens, despite having a plethora of gods, were worried that they would offend one they didn’t know about and therefore put up a statue just in case. Paul saw this statue and decided to use it to help him preach the Gospel to the Athenians.

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples built by human hands, as though he need anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. Acts 17:24-25, 29 ESV

Paul tells the Athenians that God made the heavens and earth and idols of gold and silver do not match up to his divine being. After giving his speech and proclaiming Jesus, some mocked him; however, others listen to his words. Paul went to the people who were listening and spoke to them, leading some to believe his words and the Gospel.

Dear God, please give me discretion to determine the truth and give me strength to follow your will. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

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1 Samuel 17; 1 Chronicles 2; Acts 12

And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. 1 Samuel 17: 4, 10-11 ESV

Saul and the Israelites drew a battle line against the Philistines at the Valley of Elah. However, they were not expecting the Philistines champion, Goliath. Goliath was 6 to 9 feet high and his armor weighted roughly 121 pounds. Saul and his men were terrified of Goliath, running away when they heard him challenge them. The Israelites refused to face Goliath’s challenges for 40 days, until David visited the camp.

As he [David] was taking with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him. All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid. And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 1 Samuel 17: 23-24,26

David is sent by his father to visit three of his older brothers were in the army. David was the youngest of his household and a shepherd of his father’s sheep. However, God had bigger plans for David. David was shocked when he heard Goliath mocking the Israelites. He was also surprised that none of the other Israelites had faced Goliath and let him freely defy Israel and God. So David decided to take things into his own hands.

Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine. And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and stuck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. 1 Samuel 17: 40, 43, 45, 49, and 51 ESV

David was the only Israelite brave enough to face Goliath. He knew God was on his side and would protect him, just like God had protected him against wild animals that had attacked his flock of sheep. And, just like David said He would, God gave His protection.  David brought Goliath, a massive champion, down with just a sling and a stone. God had a plan for David’s life, and worked things together for his good, even before he was born.

Nahshon father Salmon, Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, Obed fathered Jesse. Jesse fathered Eliab his firstborn, Abinadab the second, Shimea the third, Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, Ozem the sixth, David the seventh. 1 Chronicles 11-15 ESV

David’s great grandfather was Boaz, who married Ruth. Ruth’s story is an amazing example of God’s care and protection. Through Ruth, David and eventually, Jesus would come to further God’s plan for earth. God would later work all things together for Peter.

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. Acts 12:6-7 ESV

Peter was imprisoned by Herod to appease the Jewish leaders, who hated him for preaching the gospel. Herod had already killed James the brother of John and Peter may have wondered if he would be next, but God had a different plan. An angel freed Peter from his chains and led him out of the city. Peter went to the house of Mary, the mother of John, before heading to another place.

But the word of God increased and multiplied. Acts 12: 24

Dear God, please guide me through my life. Please protect me like You protected David and Peter and give me courage in the face of adversity. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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1 Samuel 6-8; Acts 7

In 1 Samuel chapter 4-5, I read of the Philistines’ victory over Israel and how they captured the Ark of the Covenant. God brought the Philistines’ god down and inflicted them with a disease. The rest of the story is in 1 Samuel 6.

And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the LORD? Tell us with what we shall send it to its place.” They said… “Now then, take and prepare a new cart and two milk cows on which there has never come a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them. And take the ark of the LORD and place it on the cart and put in a box at its side the figures of gold, which you are returning to him as a guilt offering. Then send it off and let it go its way and watch. 1 Samuel 6: 2-3a, 7-9a ESV

The Philistines’ priests and diviners tell them to deliver the Ark to the Israelites in a cart drawn by milk cows. The fact that the cows pulled the cart to Beth-shemesh and the Israelites proved that God cared about the Ark. Milk cows’ first instinct would be to stay with their calves, so they should have gone to their stables to be with them. Not to mention that fact that these cows have never wore a yoke or pulled a cart, so they didn’t know how to work together and pull something. God used this event to show that He was in control of the events and was fighting for Israel.

Now when the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a burnt offering to the LORD. And Samuel cried out to the LORD for Israel, and the LORD answered him…the LORD thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were routed before Israel. Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said “Till now the LORD has helped us.” 1 Samuel 7: 7a, 9, 10b, 12 ESV

The Philistines tried to conquer Israel again, but this time Samuel offered up burnt offerings and call on the LORD for help. The LORD helped Israel and subdued the Philistines before them. After calling on God to help the Israel defeat their enemies, Samuel becomes a judge of Israel.

And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct you heart to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 1 Samuel 7:3 ESV

Samuel tells the Israelites that they must follow the One True God, not the gods of the people around them, if they want His protection. Israel had a long-running problem with idolatry. Early disciple, Stephen, pointed this out in his speech to the high priest in Acts. Stephen was brought before the elders, and the elders, and the scribes for alleged blasphemy. Stephen defends his faith in Jesus and tells of how Israel repeatedly resisted God and disobeyed him to that day.

“And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. But God turned away and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: Did you bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? You took up the tent of Moloch and the star of you god Rephan, the images that you made to worship; and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.” Acts 7: 41-43 ESV

Stephen tells at the first time Israel disobeyed God as a group, the creation of the golden calf. That was sadly not the last time they turned against the LORD. The book of Judges is full of examples of God rescuing His people, only for them to turn back to worshipping the false gods of the nations around them. However, through Jesus, God rescued His people once and for all. After Stephen delivers his speech, he is attacked by mob that is enraged by his words. However, before he is killed, he sees Jesus.

But he (Stephen), full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7: 55-56 ESV

Stephen became the very first martyr, dying at the hands of the council. However, because of his faith in Jesus, God saved him from his sins and he went to heaven, a place he got a foretaste of just minutes before he died.

Dear God, that you for rescuing me once and for all. Please give me the strength to follow you and to stand strong in the face of opposition and persecution. Please help me obey your words and to seek you. Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Judges 4-6; Luke 21

Barak said to her [Deborah], “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” Judges 4:8 ESV

And he [Gideon] said to him [the angel of the LORD], “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”  Judges 6:15 ESV

The Book of Judges chronicles the years the Israelites lived in the Promised Land before Saul was crowned king. The people went in a cycle of following God, then worshipping idols, then being oppressed by other nations, then being saved by a judge, and then the cycle repeated. Barak was chosen by God when Sisera, commander of Jabin, king of Canaan’s army. Gideon was chosen when the Midianites drove the people of Israel into hiding. While both men were approached by messengers of the LORD, they were both very reluctant to take on their roles as leaders over the people. Barak finally goes up to battle, but not until Deborah goes with him. Gideon obeys the LORD’s command to destroy the altar of Baal, but not until it is nighttime. While both men were fearful and did not readily accept their appointed tasks, God used them to free His people from their oppressors.

When Jesus came to earth, Israel was again oppressed, this time by the Romans. While the people were expecting a judge to drive the Romans away and establish a kingdom on Earth, Jesus came to offer himself as a substitute of our sins. He told, however, of a second coming when he will free Jerusalem from its oppressors.

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near…They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled….And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:20, 24, 27-28

Jesus tells that, like in the time of the judges, Jerusalem will be brought low and its people enslaved. However, he declares that he will come as the Final Judge and free his people from their oppressors. Just as the judges saved God’s people, so Jesus will save all of God’s children and, because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, the cycle will be broken. No longer will God’s children go through the cycle of following him and then sinning, they will instead by washed clean by Christ’s blood and be free to live sinless lives.

Dear God, please give me strength to be bold and follow you instead of being reluctant like Barak or Gideon. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sins and for your promise to come back and right all the wrongs on earth. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

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