Today’s reading: Deut 7:1–8:20, 2 Cor 2:12–17, Ps 34:1–22
Today’s theme: The triumph of God
Today’s theme is in line with the victory of the resurrection because we see God’s triumphant victory over us and for us. In light of this, we boast in the Lord and serve Him with joy.
Have no mercy on sin
and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. Deuteronomy 7:2 (ESV)
God told His children to have no compromise or mercy when fighting the enemy, in fact, God called for their complete destruction. We must apply this total destruction approach to our great spiritual enemy, sin. Romans 8:13 reminds us to put to death the evil deeds of the flesh, by the Spirit of God.
We need to have no compromise when dealing with sin in our lives. We should not have pity or mercy on sin or sinfulness, we need to exact God’s judgement on sin through the Holy Spirit.
God’s loving election
but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Deuteronomy 7:8 (ESV)
We do not fully know God’s mind in His choices and election, but some light is shed on God’s motivation for choosing Israel specially from all nations and establishing His covenant with them. It is because He loves them. In the same way, God has specially elected and chosen everyone who will be saved.
He doesn’t choose us because we are good or better than others, but because He loves us. God loves everyone but He has a particular, special, peculiar and electing love for His chosen people, Israel and the Church. It is like the special love that a man has for his wife as opposed to his love for others. see Romans 11:5 and Ephesians 1:4.
The victory of the cross
you shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt, Deuteronomy 7:18 (ESV)
In our case, we should remember God’s victory on the cross over sin, the world and the devil. see John 12:31.
Keep your house clean
And you shall not bring an abominable thing into your house and become devoted to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest and abhor it, for it is devoted to destruction. Deuteronomy 7:26 (ESV)
This is still a very valid point for us today, we must be careful when picking up artefacts while on holiday for example, or when receiving certain gifts. If they are cursed items, they can carry demonic curses which can have a real effect in our homes. We need to ask for God’s guidance so that we don’t find ourselves hindered in our walk with the Lord. See Acts 19:19
This also has spiritual implications in terms of compromise.
Look back and be humble
And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. Deuteronomy 8:2 (ESV)
When we think back to how God carried us through difficult times, it should cause us to be humble and dependant on Him in our present circumstance. If these recollections bring pride or bitterness to mind, then our hearts are not in the right place. We are called to walk in humility. See Philippians 4:11, James 1:3, 1 Peter 5:6 and Romans 8:28.
2 Corinthians 2:12–17
God, the conquering King
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 2 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)
To help us understand Paul’s point here, it is useful to understand what it meant to be led forth in triumph in the Roman world. This is a term meaning that conquered captives would be led forth with a victorious general as he marched in a victory procession. Paul sees himself as a prisoner of Jesus Christ and as one conquered by God, being led forth in God’s victory procession before all.
The victory is not Paul’s but God’s, because God is shown as strong in our weakness and humble service. We should see ourselves as willing and privileged captives, we are God’s trophies and although we were once enemies, we have been led away to serve and bring glory to our conquering King. Our service for the Lord demonstrates His victory in our lives.
Always bless the Lord
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1 (ESV)
This can become like a cliche but it is so important to continually praise the Lord, no matter what we are or are not going through, this encouragement continues in the New Testament too, in places like Thessalonians 5:18, Romans 8:28 (again) and verse 37.
Boast in the Lord
My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Psalm 34:2 (ESV)
Our boast is in the Lord, we rejoice in His triumph (as we read in the New Testament today). If we walk in true humility, we rejoice in and boast for others, especially God. See 2 Corinthians 11:30-33.
Surrounded by Angels
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Psalm 34:7 (ESV)
It is encouraging to remind ourselves that God’s Angels work on our behalf, as mentioned in Hebrews 1:14.
Prophecy of the Messiah
He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. Psalm 34:20 (ESV)
This is a prophecy of the Messiah fulfilled by Jesus, as mentioned in John 19:36.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on 2 Corinthians 2