EZRA 3:1-4:23 | 1 CORINTHIANS 2:6-3:4 | PSALM 28:1-9 | PROVERBS 20:24-25
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Cyrus the Great of Persia made the great decree to liberate the Jewish people and allow them to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. And so, the people return in great numbers to do just that. But while they are able to organize themselves and get started, they are met with strong opposition by others.
These others might be their own brothers to the north, perhaps those under the king of Israel, and others in the Trans-Euphrates regions. They send a letter to Artaxerxes, current king of Persia, informing him of the great threat that Jerusalem is bound to become if the king does not put an end to this. Artaxerxes thinks this to be valid cause for concern, and takes measures to stop the rebuilding efforts. It is to be seen what might come next.
Turning next to our reading in the book of I Corinthians, we find that Paul is attempting to explain God’s wisdom revealed by the Spirit. It is the Spirit that slowly guides, instructs and reveals.
Paul is quoting the prophet Isaiah to make the point that we cannot ascertain the source of God’s wisdom except for the Spirit. In our own human understanding, we have no knowledge and comprehension of the things that God might have planned for us. As Isaiah has said, and as Paul reminds us:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
Paul explains, 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”
These are indeed deep concepts to ponder. For what may seem foolishness to us sometimes may be only because we have not been able to discern those things through the guidance of the Spirit. It would behoove us to be reminded of our limited understanding of the “mind of the Lord.”
From Paul’s words to his readers, i.e., the early Christians in Corinth, it is evident that Paul wishes to instruct them to grow into maturity in their faith and walk with God. He wants them to become mature enough to discern the ways of the Spirit, and to put away the childish quarreling and arguments that appear to be prevalent among them.
Turning now to our psalm for the day, we find a psalm of supplication and jubilation. David, the psalmist, says this:
6 Praise be to the LORD,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
8 The LORD is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
9 Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Finally, a verse from the book of Proverbs in which Solomon, the wise king, is acknowledging the touch of predestination that is the underpinning to our lives:
24 A person’s steps are directed by the LORD.
How then can anyone understand their own way?
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.