Author Archives: nborger2017

Hosea 14; 2 Chronicles 26-27; Psalm 61; Matthew 20

2 Chronicles 26, like many chapters in 2 Chronicles, tells of a ruler from Israel or Judah. Chapter 26 chronicles the life of Uzziah, a king who began his reign at the young age of sixteen and ruled fifty two years. He followed the LORD and prospered, defeating the Philistines and growing strong. However, his strength would prove to be his downfall.

But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the LORD his God and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. 2 Chronicles 26:16 ESV

Uzziah, in his pride, took it upon himself to do what the LORD had commanded only His priests do. After Uzziah gets angry at the priests who try to stop him from dishonoring the LORD, he is struck with leprosy and is forced to live in a separate house for the rest of his life. Uzziah story is a chilling display of how pride can corrode a man. Indeed, many of Israel’s kings, including Saul, David, and Solomon, ended up bringing harm to themselves or others due to their pride.

In Matthew 20, the mother of the sons of Zebedee asks Jesus if her sons can sit next to Him in heaven. The other ten disciples are indignant when hear this. I’m sure that they, too, wanted seats of power next to Jesus.

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28 ESV

Jesus’ response to pride and the desire for power is simple. It is the servants who will be the greatest and the slaves who are the first. Humility and a servant’s heart are the greatest weapons I have against pride. Pride destroys and benefits no one while serving others heals and strengthens. In Hosea, God tells Israel to forget their pride and sin and turn inside to Him for help.

I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon. Hosea 14: 4-5 ESV

Pride is an obstacle when seeking God. Inside of asking for His help or guidance, I can be tempted to do everything myself, without thinking of Him. There are many who desire power and wealth, in order to control others, strengthen their pride, or give them a greater self-worth.

“So the last will be first, and the first last.” Matthew 20: 16 ESV

It is the servant who is ultimately the greatest in God’s eyes. It is those who follow Jesus’ example, not coming to be served, but to serve. It is those who forsake their pride and follow Him. It is those who call to Him for help instead of depending on themselves.

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Psalm 61: 1-3 ESV

Dear God, please give me a humble heart. A heart that desires to serve instead of being served.  A heart that calls to You in times of trouble and in times of prosperity. Please keep pride far from me and strengthen my faith. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

 

Nathanael (nborger2017)

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Joel; Matthew 10

Matthew 10 begins with Jesus sending the 12 disciples out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. After instructing them on how to act, he transitions to warning them of the dangers they will face.

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.” Matthew 10:16-18 ESV

Jesus’ warning of persecution rings just as true for many Christians today as it did to his disciples and the other early Christians when the they were seized and killed for their beliefs. However, God promises that He will be with me through all trials and persecution I may face.

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10: 26,28-29, 32 ESV

Jesus tells his disciples not to fear or bend to the will of those on earth who persecute or even kill them, but to instead fear God, who ultimately cares for them. God showed His power and care for the disciples when He poured His Spirit upon them at Pentecost, the event of which seems to be foreshadowed in Joel Chapter 4.

“And it shall come to pass afterword, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see vision. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.” Joel 2:28-29 ESV

Dear God, thank you for sending your Spirit to strengthen me. Thank you for reminding me that I should not fear persecution but should instead trust in You for You alone can save me. Please help me trust in You and look to You for guidance. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

1 Kings 17-18; Psalm 119; Jude

Throughout 1 Kings 17 and 18, God shows acts of power to Elijah and those around him. These acts include sending ravens to feed Elijah while he was in hiding from King Ahab, sustaining the Widow that later cared for him, and bringing the Widow’s son back to life at Elijah’s request. However, one of the most awe-inspiring displays of His power comes when Elijah sets up a contest between himself and the servants of Baal to prove to the people of Israel that the LORD is the One True God.

Baal’s servants are unable to elicit a response from their god, so Elijah decides it’s his turn. He repairs God’s altar, prepares a bull, and thoroughly douses the altar in water. Then he calls upon the LORD.

Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God.” 1 Kings 18:38-39 ESV

The fire from heaven destroyed the soaked altar and everything around it. All the people around were awed by God’s power and fell on their faces, confessing that the LORD was God.

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! Psalm 119:1-3 ESV

Psalm 119 is a long, carefully constructed, acrostic poem that expresses love for God and His Word. The psalmist praises the LORD for His commandments and statutes, which he delights at all times, good and bad. He also tells others to look to God’s word for guidance and help.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:9, 98, and 105 ESV

By reading the Word of the LORD, I can be sure of his commandments and not be led astray. His Word provides light in the dark that can save me from stumbling.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, Through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 25

Dear God, thank You for giving Your Word as guidance for my life. Please help me read and follow it, seeking after You. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

 

Nathanael (nborger2017)

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8; 1 Timothy 5

At the end of twenty years, in which Solomon had built the house of the LORD and his own house, Solomon rebuilt the cities that Hiram had given to him and settled the people of Israel in them. 2 Chronicles 8:1-2 ESV

At the beginning of 2 Chronicles 8, Solomon has finished his major building projects and the people of Israel are settled. The rest of the chapter recounts some more of accomplishments of Solomon, from building and fortifying cities to appointing divisions of priests.

The LORD appeared to Solomon…And the LORD said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked…I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David… 1 Kings 9:2-5 ESV

After Solomon finished the LORD’s house, his palace, and his other building projects, the LORD appears to him for the second time. This time the LORD declares that He will fulfill His promise, the permanent establishment of David’s royal throne, as long as David’s sons follow Him. However, God warns that if David’s sons turn away from Him, He will cut Israel off from the land He gave them.

In 1 Timothy 5, Paul gives Timothy some rules and warnings for the Church, just as God gave rules and warnings to Solomon. After his instructions, Paul charges Timothy to keep them fairly.

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. The sins of some men are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are no cannot remain hidden. 1 Timothy 5:21-22, 24-25 ESV

Paul warns against treating people within the church unfairly due to prejudice or partiality. He also tells him to keep himself pure, not engaging in the sins of others. Paul knew there would be times in Timothy’s life, just like there are times in mine, when others tempt you to sin. I am instructed, just as Timothy was, to keep myself pure and to not take part in their sin.

Dear God, please help me follow You and Your ways, instead of following others into sin. Please also help me to treat others fairly and without partiality, just as Timothy was instructed to. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized