Today’s reading: Deut 28:1–68, 2 Cor 7:2–7, Ps 41:1–13
Today’s theme: Joyful Obedience
Today’s theme is that we should serve the Lord with joyful obedience and enjoy the rewards God so graciously gives for this. Our joy does not ignore difficulties and trials but responds to them with faith.
Rewards for obedience
“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 28:1–2 (ESV)
All the blessings we read about in this chapter were made directly to Israel. These are not automatic blessings that are there to be claimed, they are blessings for obedience.
Each of these blessings are conditional, they are rewards for obeying God. We are also called to obey God’s word today. See 1 Peter 1:2, 14 and 22.
Punishments for disobedience
“But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Deuteronomy 28:15 (ESV)
All the curses mentioned in this chapter are conditional too. They are punishments for disobedience. We must not walk in disobedience to God (2 Corinthians 10:6 and Romans 2:8) and can be confident that Jesus took the curse on Himself for our disobedience (Romans 5:19).
Don’t be miserable when serving
Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, Deuteronomy 28:47 (ESV)
Serving the Lord in misery and duty driven drudgery is in essence the same as being disobedient. God must be served with joy. Throughout the Old and New testament we see that joy in God is a major theme and one of God’s core purposes for His creation. He desires our joy to be full and for our joy to be in Him.
Here are just some examples from the New Testament calling believers to lives of joyful obedience. Romans 14:17, Galatians 5:22, 1 Thessalonians 1:6 and 1 Peter 1:8. Let’s enjoy God today!
2 Corinthians 7:2–7
Faith filled joy
I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. 2 Corinthians 7:4 (ESV)
Despite the difficulties being experienced in the church, which included the controversy over Paul’s Apostolic authority and the compromise in some church members, Paul was able to boldly say that he was overflowing with joy. This is a joy that looks beyond the circumstances and is confident in God.
We should live with this sort of firm faith and joy. This is not a ‘stick our head in the sand’ sort of joy, no, Paul mentions the affliction and boldly deals with it in the letter. We must boldly confront the reality of whatever it is we are going through and respond to those facts with faith and joy.
Encourage fellow believers
For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 2 Corinthians 7:5–6 (ESV)
Paul is honest about his difficulties and struggles. He had external opponents both in and outside the church and in his own mind he struggled with fear over the situation in the churches. We should allow God to use us to bring encouragement and comfort to fellow believers who are under pressure as they work for the Lord, especially our leaders.
Reach out to the poor
Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him; Psalm 41:1 (ESV)
We should reach out to the poor. God blesses us for this with health and protection.
The Messianic Psalms
Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me. Psalm 41:9 (ESV)
Much of this Psalm is messianic, here is a prophecy of the betrayal of Judas. See John 13:18.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on 2 Corinthians 7