Today’s reading: Num 35:1–36:13, 1 Cor 16:1–24, Ps 30:1–12
Today’s theme: Love is imperative
Today we learn that we are called upon to grow up and live in love before God and each other.
A holy nation
All the cities that you give to the Levites shall be forty-eight, with their pasturelands. Numbers 35:7 (ESV)
The cities of the Levites were to be spread out across the land and serve as a reminder to the people of their calling to be a holy nation before God.
Our city of refuge
For he must remain in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest, but after the death of the high priest the manslayer may return to the land of his possession. Numbers 35:28 (ESV)
We thank God that Jesus is both our city of refuge and our great High Priest. We run to Jesus our city of refuge and know we can stay under his protection for eternity because He lives as our High Priest forever as stated in Hebrews 4:14-15 and Hebrews 7:26-28.
Five wise virgins
The inheritance of the people of Israel shall not be transferred from one tribe to another, for every one of the people of Israel shall hold on to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers. Numbers 36:7 (ESV)
The case of these 5 daughters of Zelophehad reminds us of the parable Jesus taught in Matthew 25:1-13. The five wise and five foolish virgins (Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah are the wise ones). The foolish virgins wanted to borrow oil from the wise but the oil was not transferable, they had to go and get their own. In the same way our inheritance in Jesus can not be transferred or imparted to someone else but belongs to us. Each person must pursue and maintain their own inheritance before God.
1 Corinthians 16:1–24
We have always met on Sunday
On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. 1 Corinthians 16:2 (ESV)
Further evidence that from the earliest days of the church, the body of Christ would meet for corporate worship on the first day of the week rather than the 7th day in honour of the resurrection of Jesus Christ as is also noted in Acts 20:7.
An open door for the gospel
for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 1 Corinthians 16:9 (ESV)
When Paul mentions the great and effective open door he is pointing to the great reception his preaching and the gospel message has found as mentioned in 2 Corinthians 2:12, Colossians 4:3 and Acts 14:27.
However as we know the gospel message always meets with resistance as it challenges the pride of man. It causes many adversaries to rise up, see Philippians 1:28 and 1 Thessalonians 2:2. We give thanks to God that hostility is no real hindrance to the gospel as Paul mentions in Philippians 1:12–14.
Grow up and live in love
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13–14 (ESV)
In Paul’s conclusion to this letter he summarises the practical imperatives he has been talking about throughout the letter. He calls the people of Corinth to be watchful which is a call to holiness and sanctification.
To stand firm in the faith is to uphold the gospel message as first preached and the godly traditions handed down to them. To act like men and be strong is to be mature in their thinking and behaviour.
The call for everything to be done in love reminds us of the overarching love theme of the letter outlined back in chapter 13. We are called to grow up and live out the faith in love.
Love is imperative
If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! 1 Corinthians 16:22 (ESV)
Love is not an option for us as Christians but an imperative command given by the Lord Jesus Himself in John 13:34.
Angry for a moment
For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5 (ESV)
God is always displeased with sin and can never be indifferent to it. He judges sin with a holy anger. However for His people, God’s judgments and anger are short-lived and pass quickly while his favour lasts for our lifetime and on into eternity. We should be grateful today that God’s mercy, grace and love towards us outweighs His anger through Jesus.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on 1 Corinthians 16