Thursday, September 7, 2017

September 7: Song of Solomon 5 – 8; Psalm 51; Proverbs 22:24-25; 2 Corinthians 9


            Song of Solomon: Solomon tells his bride he is ready for love and the attendants encourage them. She responds that he was sleeping and was awakened by his knocking at the door. She got up to let him in but was too late because she considered her dress and clean feet. He rattled the door and she got up but he was gone. She went out to look for him but the watchmen beat her and took her veil. She advises other women not to engage in love until the right time.
            The attendants ask her why Solomon is loved more than another.
            She responds describing his physical features with analogies. The attendants then ask where he has gone so they can help her find him.
            Solomon tells her how beautiful she is. He then describes her physical features with analogies. She reminisces about meeting Solomon and her desire for him. The attendants tell her to return so they may all see her.
            Solomon tells her how beautiful she is. He then describes her physical features with analogies. He talks of embracing her and kissing. She says the kisses are great and is glad about his desire for her. She encourages his love making and expresses her longing for him. She advises other women not to engage in love until the right time.
            She sees herself being a support for Solomon. She roused his desire for her. She asks him to always love her since love is stronger than death, jealousy, and troubles. Love can’t be bought.
            Attendants ask what to do for a young sister before she is betrothed. How shall they protect her?
            She responds that Solomon saw her but it was her choice to yield to him.
            He tells her that her response to the attendants is good, but he wants to hear her now.
            She responds by telling him it is time to make love and not to delay.
            Psalm: This is a Psalm of David after his sin with Bathsheba was exposed. David pleads with God to forgive his sin and cleans him. He recognizes his general sinfulness and that this one will haunt him all his life if he isn’t cleansed by God. He contrasts that with God’s desire for truth and that his sin is primarily against God not just others.
            He continues to plead for God to cleanse him and restore him. He realizes that he needs cleansing not on the outside but in his heart. He doesn’t want God to abandon him. He promises to teach others and praise the Lord if he will be cleansed. He understands that the Lord desires a broken spirit and a contrite heart more than sacrifices.
            He asks for blessings on Jerusalem so that right sacrifices may be made there.
            Proverbs: Don’t be friends with angry people or you will become like one of them entrapped by anger.
            2 Corinthians: Paul continues to encourage the Corinthians to give generously to the cause. He doesn’t want himself or them to be humiliated if they are not ready when the Macedonians arrive. After all, the Corinthians were the ones that sparked the idea to give among the Macedonians. So, he sent some men ahead to make sure the gift was ready.
            He reminds them that those who give generously will be rewarded but not those who give little. However, each should give what they’ve decided. There shouldn’t be any compulsion or reluctance since God loves a cheerful giver. They shouldn’t worry about giving since God can take care of them as he has stated in his Word (Ps 112:9).
            God supplies their needs and he will increase their harvest of righteousness. They will be rewarded in every way for their generosity. It will result in thanksgiving to God and glory to God because the recipients will see how the gospel is working in the Corinthian’s lives. The recipients will pray for the Corinthians because of the grace of God working in them.

What Stood Out

            Song of Solomon: “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it” (Song 8:7).     
            Psalm: “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment” (Ps 51:4).
            Proverbs: “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man,
lest you learn his ways” (Prov 22:24-25).
            2 Corinthians: “By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others” (2 Cor 9:13).


            Song of Solomon: This book is mostly sexual innuendos. Sexual attraction and beautiful bodies fade and grow old. So, there is something much deeper needed to hold couples together. If they miss having a godly love for one another, they will not have a good marriage. Song 8:6-7 express this love that is required above all sexual attractions between couples. Genuine love for another will take a couple through all kinds of troubles like fire and floods. Jealousy may threaten it but it is strong enough to weather that. It will persist until death separates them. If a couple hasn’t developed this kind of love, all the sex in the world won’t hold them together. It continues to develop all their lives and should grow stronger every year.
            Psalm: One of the problems people have when it comes to getting saved is their concept of sin. They really don’t believe they are sinners. Sure, they will admit that they have made mistakes, been less than loving to other people, but they won’t admit they are sinners. This wasn’t David’s problem. He knew exactly what sin was when he said he had sinned against God and only him (Ps 51:4). Sin is really an affront to God. We minimize sin when we don’t admit we are accountable to him. If sin is only mistakes or harm against another, then we can forgive ourselves. But when we acknowledge that sin is missing God’s standard, then we must seek his forgiveness. Fortunately, by God’s grace, we can find that forgiveness in Jesus. His blood on the cross can wash us white as snow. We can be clean the way David asked God to cleanse him. But it won’t happen if we don’t admit our sin is against God.
            Proverbs: One of the problems I have with talk radio and the pundits that yammer on and on about the evils of whatever they are against is that people who listen to them get all worked up in the exact same way. By hanging out with people who are angry, we become angry people. I’ve seen people who become fearful when listening to some of these radio stations. They didn’t trust God. It doesn’t matter what side of the ideological spectrum you are on, you will be moved to the extreme by them. Just as it is better to keep away from angry people, it is better to stay away from these.
            2 Corinthians: We often hear encouragement to give with words telling how God gives back more than you can shovel out because his shovel is bigger. The emphasis on giving comes down to giving so you will be blessed materially. Paul even does this when encouraging the Corinthians. Sure, it is a biblical encouragement to give. However, we seldom hear what Paul concluded after this. This is by and far a much better reason to give generously than looking to get something back. The first is that it will generate thanksgiving to God (2 Cor 9:12). Isn’t this what we want to see? We want people to be thankful to God for the blessings they’ve received. We don’t want to get the credit for it. Even if we don’t get our coffers filled when we give, this is an eternal reward. The second reason is that God will be glorified when people realize the gifts are a result of the gospel working in us. If it were not for God’s working through the gospel and saving me, I wouldn’t care much about sending relief to others. So, it is important to glorify God and let the recipients know that it is because we’re saved and God’s grace has changed us to care for others. That brings us to the third reason and that is the harvest of righteousness. That means when God is glorified, the gospel is recognized, people will be saved. Giving to feel good or to get a return is fine, but giving to glorify God and see people saved is better.


             Before I can give generously, I have to be changed and forgiven by God for my sins. Then I can truly be generous.

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