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07 May - Deuteronomy 24; Song 4; Acts 18; 19


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Posted 07 May 2008 - 11:31 AM

First Portion

Deuteronomy 24


24:1 When a man takes a wife, and marries her, then it shall be, if she find no favor in his eyes, because he has found some unseemly thing in her, that he shall write her a bill of divorce, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 24:2 When she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. 24:3 If the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorce, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, who took her to be his wife; 24:4 her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before Yahweh: and you shall not cause the land to sin, which Yahweh your God gives you for an inheritance. 24:5 When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out in the army, neither shall he be assigned any business: he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer his wife whom he has taken. 24:6 No man shall take the mill or the upper millstone to pledge; for he takes a life in pledge. 24:7 If a man be found stealing any of his brothers of the children of Israel, and he deal with him as a slave, or sell him; then that thief shall die: so you shall put away the evil from the midst of you. 24:8 Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that you observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, so you shall observe to do. 24:9 Remember what Yahweh your God did to Miriam, by the way as you came forth out of Egypt. 24:10 When you do lend your neighbor any kind of loan, you shall not go into his house to get his pledge. 24:11 You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you do lend shall bring forth the pledge outside to you. 24:12 If he be a poor man, you shall not sleep with his pledge; 24:13 you shall surely restore to him the pledge when the sun goes down, that he may sleep in his garment, and bless you: and it shall be righteousness to you before Yahweh your God. 24:14 You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he be of your brothers, or of your foreigners who are in your land within your gates: 24:15 in his day you shall give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down on it; for he is poor, and sets his heart on it: lest he cry against you to Yahweh, and it be sin to you. 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin. 24:17 You shall not deprive the foreigner, or the fatherless of justice, nor take a widow’s clothing in pledge; 24:18 but you shall remember that you were a bondservant in Egypt, and Yahweh your God redeemed you there: therefore I command you to do this thing. 24:19 When you reap your harvest in your field, and have forgot a sheaf in the field, you shall not go again to get it: it shall be for the foreigner, for the fatherless, and for the widow; that Yahweh your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 24:20 When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the foreigner, for the fatherless, and for the widow. 24:21 When you harvest your vineyard, you shall not glean it after yourselves: it shall be for the foreigner, for the fatherless, and for the widow. 24:22 You shall remember that you were a bondservant in the land of Egypt: therefore I command you to do this thing.

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 11:33 AM

Second Portion

Song 4


Lover
4:1 Behold, you are beautiful, my love.
Behold, you are beautiful.
Your eyes are doves behind your veil.
Your hair is as a flock of goats,
that descend from Mount Gilead.
4:2 Your teeth are like a newly shorn flock,
which have come up from the washing,
where every one of them has twins.
None is bereaved among them.
4:3 Your lips are like scarlet thread.
Your mouth is lovely.
Your temples are like a piece of a pomegranate behind your veil.
4:4 Your neck is like David’s tower built for an armory,
whereon a thousand shields hang,
all the shields of the mighty men.
4:5 Your two breasts are like two fawns
that are twins of a roe,
which feed among the lilies.
4:6 Until the day is cool, and the shadows flee away,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh,
to the hill of frankincense.
4:7 You are all beautiful, my love.
There is no spot in you.
4:8 Come with me from Lebanon, my bride,
with me from Lebanon.
Look from the top of Amana,
from the top of Senir and Hermon,
from the lions’ dens,
from the mountains of the leopards.
4:9 You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride.
You have ravished my heart with one of your eyes,
with one chain of your neck.
4:10 How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much better is your love than wine!
The fragrance of your perfumes than all kinds of spices!
4:11 Your lips, my bride, drip like the honeycomb.
Honey and milk are under your tongue.
The smell of your garments is like the smell of Lebanon.
4:12 A locked up garden is my sister, my bride;
a locked up spring,
a sealed fountain.
4:13 Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates, with precious fruits:
henna with spikenard plants,
4:14 spikenard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree;
myrrh and aloes, with all the best spices,
4:15 a fountain of gardens,
a well of living waters,
flowing streams from Lebanon.
Beloved
4:16 Awake, north wind; and come, you south!
Blow on my garden, that its spices may flow out.
Let my beloved come into his garden,
and taste his precious fruits.



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Posted 07 May 2008 - 11:34 AM

Third Portion

Acts 18; 19


18:1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth. 18:2 He found a certain Jew named Aquila, a man of Pontus by race, who had recently come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome. He came to them, 18:3 and because he practiced the same trade, he lived with them and worked, for by trade they were tent makers. 18:4 He reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks. 18:5 But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 18:6 When they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook out his clothing and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on, I will go to the Gentiles!”

18:7 He departed there, and went into the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. 18:8 Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his house. Many of the Corinthians, when they heard, believed and were baptized. 18:9 The Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Don’t be afraid, but speak and don’t be silent; 18:10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”

18:11 He lived there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. 18:12 But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat, 18:13 saying, “This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.”

18:14 But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If indeed it were a matter of wrong or of wicked crime, you Jews, it would be reasonable that I should bear with you; 18:15 but if they are questions about words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves. For I don’t want to be a judge of these matters.” 18:16 He drove them from the judgment seat.

18:17 Then all the Greeks laid hold on Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. Gallio didn’t care about any of these things.

18:18 Paul, having stayed after this many more days, took his leave of the brothers, and sailed from there for Syria, together with Priscilla and Aquila. He shaved his head in Cenchreae, for he had a vow. 18:19 He came to Ephesus, and he left them there; but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 18:20 When they asked him to stay with them a longer time, he declined; 18:21 but taking his leave of them, and saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem, but I will return again to you if God wills,” he set sail from Ephesus.

18:22 When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the assembly, and went down to Antioch. 18:23 Having spent some time there, he departed, and went through the region of Galatia, and Phrygia, in order, establishing all the disciples. 18:24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by race, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus. He was mighty in the Scriptures. 18:25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John.. 18:26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside, and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

18:27 When he had determined to pass over into Achaia, the brothers encouraged him, and wrote to the disciples to receive him. When he had come, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; 18:28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews, publicly showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 11:36 AM

19:1 It happened that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper country, came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples. 19:2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

They said to him, “No, we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

19:3 He said, “Into what then were you baptized?”

They said, “Into John’s baptism.”

19:4 Paul said, “John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in the one who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.”

19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 19:6 When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke with other languages and prophesied. 19:7 They were about twelve men in all. 19:8 He entered into the synagogue, and spoke boldly for a period of three months, reasoning and persuading about the things concerning the Kingdom of God.

19:9 But when some were hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. 19:10 This continued for two years, so that all those who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

19:11 God worked special miracles by the hands of Paul, 19:12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and the evil spirits went out. 19:13 But some of the itinerant Jews, exorcists, took on themselves to invoke over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 19:14 There were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did this.

19:15 The evil spirit answered, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” 19:16 The man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 19:17 This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived at Ephesus. Fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 19:18 Many also of those who had believed came, confessing, and declaring their deeds. 19:19 Many of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. They counted their price, and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver. 19:20 So the word of the Lord was growing and becoming mighty.

19:21 Now after these things had ended, Paul determined in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”

19:22 Having sent into Macedonia two of those who served him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while. 19:23 About that time there arose no small stir concerning the Way. 19:24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen, 19:25 whom he gathered together, with the workmen of like occupation, and said, “Sirs, you know that by this business we have our wealth. 19:26 You see and hear, that not at Ephesus alone, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are no gods, that are made with hands. 19:27 Not only is there danger that this our trade come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be counted as nothing, and her majesty destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worships.”

19:28 When they heard this they were filled with anger, and cried out, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 19:29 The whole city was filled with confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel. 19:30 When Paul wanted to enter in to the people, the disciples didn’t allow him. 19:31 Certain also of the Asiarchs, being his friends, sent to him and begged him not to venture into the theater. 19:32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another, for the assembly was in confusion. Most of them didn’t know why they had come together. 19:33 They brought Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. Alexander beckoned with his hand, and would have made a defense to the people. 19:34 But when they perceived that he was a Jew, all with one voice for a time of about two hours cried out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

19:35 When the town clerk had quieted the multitude, he said, “You men of Ephesus, what man is there who doesn’t know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great goddess Artemis, and of the image which fell down from Zeus? 19:36 Seeing then that these things can’t be denied, you ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rash. 19:37 For you have brought these men here, who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess. 19:38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a matter against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them press charges against one another. 19:39 But if you seek anything about other matters, it will be settled in the regular assembly. 19:40 For indeed we are in danger of being accused concerning this day’s riot, there being no cause. Concerning it, we wouldn’t be able to give an account of this commotion.” 19:41 When he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 10:14 AM

07 May 2009

Deuteronomy 24
Song 4
Acts 18; 19



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Posted 07 May 2010 - 01:19 PM

07 May 2010

Deuteronomy 24
Song 4
Acts 18; 19

WEALTH

There is growing anxiety yet again in the world about wealth; the financial scene keeps showing instability. Our readings today prompted thoughts about wealth because we read of two contrasting attitudes at Ephesus where different people looked at wealth very differently.

In one case because many idol worshippers were converting to Christianity, the silversmiths became upset because they made their wealth from sales they made to those who came to worship the idols in the Temple of Artemis (Diana). Demetrius was their spokesman and he said, “Men, you know from this business we have our wealth … this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people saying that gods made with hands are not gods, there is a danger that this trade of ours may come into disrepute …” [Acts 19:25-27] This leads to an uproar “so the city was filled with confusion” [Acts 19:29].

By contrast, earlier in the chapter others, after witnessing a madman overpower all seven sons of a Jewish High Priest who had attempted to use Holy Spirit powers they did not possess (Acts 19:16) became convinced of the source of real power when “God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul.” [Acts 19:11] As a result of this, “many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought all their books together and burned them in the sight of all … the value of them … came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.” [Acts 19:18-19]

What a contrast! What things are of real value? What actions show the genuineness of our belief so that it can change the way we live and the things we value? Do we consider the way we earn our living? More than 50 years ago, in working for a daily newspaper, I look some training in advertising and writing copy. Today, I would have second thoughts about this, because so many times in writing advertising text these days, the aim is to provoke the instincts of the readers lower nature to see life as the abundance of the things they should possess and the experiences they can have, with no thought to the morality of it all.
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Posted 07 May 2011 - 02:13 AM

07 May 2011

Deuteronomy 24
Song 4
Acts 18; 19

"YOUR BLOOD BE ON YOUR OWN HEADS! I AM INNOCENT"

The Apostle Paul frequently encountered conflict as he travelled to different communities preaching the message of the cross. At each place he started by preaching to the Jews in their synagogues. We read today that “he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.” [Acts 18:4] Then Silas and Timothy joined him, they found “Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ (Messiah) was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent” [Acts 18:5, 6]

In what sense was Paul innocent? He was innocent because he was fulfilling the commission Christ had given to him to preach his gospel. But there were a great many difficulties in Corinth: to encourage him “the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you.” [Acts 18:9,10]

It is most interesting to note that his enemies “seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue and beat him” [Acts 18:17] What had the ruler of the synagogue done wrong? Were they blaming him for allowing Paul to preach – or had he been converted? We notice that the very first verse of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians says, “Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes”

We will see in tomorrows reading of Acts 20 that Paul tells the elders from Ephesus, “I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of you all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” [Acts 20:26, 27] All believers of Paul’s gospel, which is the gospel of God [Romans 1:1] should make themselves “innocent” by declaring to all they come in contact with - the gospel that Paul preached, which is the only real gospel.
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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:20 AM

07 May 2012

Deuteronomy 24
Song 4
Acts 18; 19


“HE REASONED … AND TRIED TO PERSUADE”

Continuing our readings in the ACTS of the Apostles, two particular words jumped out today. The Apostle Paul came to Corinth and “he reasoned every Sabbath and tried to persuade both Jews and Greeks” [Acts 18:4] Imagine the reasoning! Can you? What reasoning is most persuasive? We read yesterday that he was “reasoning out of the Scriptures,” which is our Old Testament.


We must seek to get the full meaning of the words that God caused to be written and preserved. The Bible is NOT a novel to be read rapidly to capture the action; we should read in such a way that we think ‘around’ what we are reading. If we do that it becomes more and more interesting and the meaning becomes clearer. We learnt today that Paul came to Ephesus and again “went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews” [Acts 18:19]

Did you realize the Bible tells you to reason with yourself? The very first Psalm, the writer being King David, starts with “Blessed is the man (meaning all human beings) who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers: but his delight is in the law (footnote says this means instruction) of the LORD and on His law he meditates* day and night.”

Today, more than ever before we are surrounded by scoffers, loose thinkers, talkers and doers who do not want to listen to reasoning about godly matters. Their minds are full of the present, all too often acting impulsively, they have no vision of the real meaning of life, and therefore the here and now is largely all that matters.

The more we mix with them, especially in conversation, the more we are in danger of becoming like them. The more we reason about God and read his word and mix with others who do the same, the more we will become genuine children of God - and adopted children that he can use in his service.
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* The NKJV Bible margin says, meditates means “ponders by talking to himself” - that is, reasoning out in your mind the full meaning of what you have read in God’s word of his laws, precepts and revelations.

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 10:50 AM

07 May 2013

Deuteronomy 24
Song 4
Acts 18; 19

"YOUR BLOOD BE ON YOUR OWN HEADS"

The Apostle Paul frequently encountered conflict as he travelled to different communities preaching the message of the cross. At each place he started by preaching to the Jews in their synagogues. We read today that “he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.” [Acts 18:4] Then Silas and Timothy joined him, they found “Paul was occupied with testifying to the Jews that the Christ (Messiah) was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent” [Acts 18:5-6]

In what sense was Paul innocent? He was innocent because he was fulfilling the commission Christ had given to him to preach Christ’s gospel. But there were a great many difficulties in Corinth: to encourage him “the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you.” [Acts 18:9-10] “And many of the Corinthians, hearing Paul believed and were baptised.” [Acts 18:8]

It is most interesting to note that his enemies “seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue and beat him” [Acts 18:17] What had the ruler of the synagogue done wrong? Were they blaming him for allowing Paul to preach – or had he been converted? We notice that the very first verse of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians says, “Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes”

We will see in tomorrow’s reading of Acts 20 that Paul tells the elders from Ephesus, “I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of you all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” [Acts 20:26-27] All believers of Paul’s gospel, which is “the gospel of God” [Romans 1:1] should make themselves “innocent” by by seeking opportunity to declare to all they come in contact with - the gospel that Paul preached, which is the only real gospel. If you have not yet accepted that Gospel yourself – why not? Is the way too “narrow” for you? Is your vision of what life means – sort of – clouded over?
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Posted 07 May 2014 - 12:19 PM

07 May 2014

Deuteronomy 24
Song 4
Acts 18; 19

“SHOWING BY THE SCRIPTURES THAT …”

The references to “the Scriptures” in the New Testament refer to the use of the ‘Old Testament’ in the preaching of the message of Christ. It is very disappointing that so many who see themselves as ‘Christians’ today only read the New Testament and sometimes have a Bible that omits most – or even all of the Old Testament.

We read today in Acts of a powerful preacher, “a Jews named Apollos … an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures” [Acts 18:24] who, when he came to Achaia, “he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus” [Acts 18:27-28]

We add great strength to our understanding and preaching when we gain a good knowledge of the Old Testament, we notice how often they are quoted in their preaching and writing – as a stimulous to the first generation of believers. We notice how many times passages in Deuteronomy, that we are currently reading, are quoted – Jesus quoted from it in refuting the temptations that came to him when the Spirit led him into the wilderness.

We are also reading the Song of Solomon and this is largely understood as a poetic parable that can be applied to the bride of Christ awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom [Song 3:6-7] and how the bride, made up of genuine believers, should make themselves spiritually beautiful in his eyes.

Today’s chapter 4 starts with the bridegroom saying “Behold you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful.” [Song 4:1] - and we can interpret the description of the physical beauty as applying to aspects of character that Christ will 'embrace' when he returns. Paul's words to the Philippians are very appropriate; "it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure ... that you may be blameless and innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights ... holding fast to the word of life " [Philippians 2:13,15,16] How much are you shining and "holding fast"? What are you "showing by the Scriptures"?
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