Daily Reading — Day 158

Today’s Readings: Leviticus 19, Jeremiah 48, Proverbs 1, Romans 4

My Thoughts:

Leviticus 19

– 19:1-2, Israel is to be holy because the LORD is holy. They are to emulate the character of their God. This means they are to be set apart for Glory.

– 19:9-18, verse 18 is the foundational command for the rest of these particular commands regarding relationships with other people. Jesus quotes this command, joining it with Deuteronomy 6:5 as the greatest command upon which all of the other commands hang.

– 19:14, mistreating the defenseless is evidence that one does not fear the LORD. Those who seek to honor the LORD will have compassion toward the downcast.

– 19:17, It’s interesting that reasoning frankly is the alternative to hating one’s brother.

Jeremiah 48

– Continuing in the prophecies about the LORD’s judgement upon the surrounding nations, Jeremiah foretells the destruction of Moab. The Moabites will suffer an exile similar to that of Israel. They will lose confidence in their god, Chemosh when he is carried away with them. Like Jeremiah’s other prophecies, the LORD does promise to restore the fortunes of Moab in later days. Since this is a common theme, it may be that the restored fortunes should be in light of the coming New Covenant with Israel, when all of the other nations shall be blessed through them (namely through Jesus).

Proverbs 1

– It is important when reading the Bible that we keep in mind the kind of literature that is intended by the author/authors. Since Proverbs is wisdom literature, we should remember that most of the sayings are meant to be taken as “norms” or general truths. In other words, most of these sayings are not meant to be taken as promises. Nor, does it meant that the Bible is contradicted if every circumstance does not work out exactly as said in the Proverbs.

– 1:7, the foundational statement of this collection of sayings.

– 1:20-33, Solomon personifies wisdom as a woman calling out to those who ought to desire her. Yet most prefer to walk in folly because they do not fear the LORD (similar to John 3:19-21). Throughout the Proverbs there is another common theme that those who love wisdom also love discipline and correction, but fools hate counsel, rebuke, and discipline.

Romans 4

– Since a main objective in Paul’s letter is to convince Jews that salvation is by faith and not by works of the Law, he continually goes back to Abraham (the father of the Jews) in order to show that it has always been this way. Right standing with God has always been about faith.

– 4:5, the language “justifies the ungodly” is identical (I believe purposefully) to the language of Proverbs 17:15. However, in Proverbs 17:15, to justify the wicked is an abominable thing to the LORD. But here, in Romans 4:5, God Himself is the one who justifies the ungodly. The reason this is possible is because of what Paul explained in Romans 3:21-26. In 3:26 “the one who has faith in Jesus” is the “ungodly” in Romans 4:5. In other words, we might think of Romans 3:26 this way, “It (Jesus’ death) was to show his righteousness (Justice) at the present time so that he might be (both) just and the justifier of the (ungodly) one who has faith in Jesus. So, God is able to justify the ungodly because Justice has been satisfied through the substitutionary death of Jesus.

– 4:10, a rhetorical question proving that circumcision is not necessary for one to be right with God.

– 4:15, Paul does not mean that without the Law there is no sin (see 2:12). Rather, a “transgression” is a specific kind of sin. Namely, it is choosing to break a known command (Romans 5:14). Transgressions intensify guilt because they reveal rebelliousness. This, ironically, is the mercy of the Law. When we, sinful people, know the Law, we still break the Law. The Law, then, becomes a mirror to show us our own rebellious hearts. This prepares us to fall on the grace given to us only in the Gospel.