Vineyard Life Journal

An online forum for our church family to connect around our 2012 daily Bible reading plan using the S.O.A.P. method.

Day 236

Friday, August 24, 2012

Welcome to Day 236 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Jeremiah 33; Jeremiah 34; Psalms 74; 1 John 5 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Jeremiah 33:3, “This is what the Lord says…” “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

5 ‘They [the houses and royal palaces] will be filled with the dead bodies of the men I will slay in my anger and wrath. I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness. 6 “‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.”

14 “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. 15 “‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.'”

Jeremiah 34:17, “Therefore, this is what the Lord says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom for your fellow countrymen. So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the Lord—‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine.” (The most sarcastic prophecy ever?)

Psalm 74:1, “Why have you rejected us forever, O God? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture? 2 Remember the people you purchased of old, the tribe of your inheritance, whom you redeemed…”

1 John 5:21, “Dear children [“friends/brothers], keep yourselves from idols.”

O bservation

What an interesting way to end a letter/epistle… “Keep yourselves from idols.”

A pplication

Exodus 20:2, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”

Period.

This is a recurring topic throughout scripture, and certainly in this blog. This is the first of the Ten Commandments…

Interesting that John (it is commonly held that the Apostle John, who wrote the Gospel of John wrote 1 John, although the author is not identified within the context of the letter.) ends his epistle with “Keep yourselves from idols.”

Why??

Must have still been a struggle. It’s the only thing that makes sense… It’s like his one, final piece of advice. Almost a “by the way…” or “one last thing…”

Romans addresses similar topics in chapter 14 about eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols.

Most major cities (Rome, Ephesus, Athens) still offered many opportunities to worship idols.

If one thing is abundantly clear throughout scripture, God really doesn’t like idol worship. This one issue seems to really tweak him more than anything else.

Funny, in our culture, it seems so irrelevant… and people (especially pastors) love to make other “gods” a broader scope, including houses, cars and labels. Anything we put as more important that God himself.

And I get that, I do… but this is very specific… God is saying we should have no other “gods” before him… and to make no “graven images.”

This is clearly speaking of the gods of Egypt and other cultures. Baal, being one of the most prominent gods mentioned over and over. Molech, Astoreth, and there are plenty of others.

Having wrong priorities and focus, considering other things as more important is a different issue. And it’s very real… but it’s not idol worship. When the Bible speaks of having no other gods, it means what it says… gods are gods. They have a name… and people actually worship them. People make idols or “graven images” and bow down in worship to them.

Eventually, we will get to the book of Daniel, when he, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are faced with a decision… to bow down to the huge idol that Nebuchadnezzar had fashioned.

They refused.

The application question is really, “What do I bow down to?” “In what or who am putting my trust?”

(I love when the Bible says, “Why don’t you call out to those worthless idol you carved to save you?”)

It is possible to put my trust in my bank account or my own efforts…

But that’s not idol worship. That’s a different issue altogether.

P rayer

Lord, I will never bow down to any other god. I will put my trust in you and you alone! I will trust you to provide for all my needs. I will call out to you and worship only you!

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2 thoughts on “Day 236

  1. If you see a Christian brother or sister sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.

    It doesn’t say to point my finger at them and point out their sin or to tell everyone else about it to make myself feel better about my sin. It says we are to pray for others in addition to ourselves.

    So what is sin that leads to death. The reformation study bible says that some believe it is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit referred to in Matthew 12, but it is most likely referring to those who refuse to accept the gospel. It’s not how far along they are on their journey, just that they have taken the first step.

    So how do we know? Do we need to qualify someone before praying for them. I know I ask someone for permission to pray for them and presume they are a believer if they accept. I also try to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, that gut reaction.

    I pray today for myself and others who struggle with sin. Please forgive us for putting things before You whether idols or the people and things that we idolize. Help me prioritize my life for Your will. I pray that others discover and accept the truth that Jesus is Christ. We worship only you God in the name of Christ Jesus.

  2. K M Wetz on said:

    I know that the Old Testament speaks a lot about idolatry and how it angers the Lord. I have been under great conviction for the past couple of years to rid my life of idolatry. As I have struggled through these issues, I have been made aware of my own particular weaknesses.
    I have been trying to rid myself of things that might qualify as idols–even though they might be edifying to others. Even bad habits can become idols.

    I went without watching TV for about 2 years. I have found it rather freeing. Instead, I read a lot of books, spent time with my cats, and cleaned up the house. I struggled with reading too much about certain topics. As I have begun to focus more on putting the Bible ahead of other reading material, my interest in other things has begun to wane.

    I decided that Christ was going to have Lordship over my life the night I was baptized. That means His Word comes first. That means serving Him comes first. That means “not my will, but Thine.” That means trying to practice good stewardship. It means following Jesus’ example of showing mercy and kindness to others, especially those on the margins of society.

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