Isaiah 66:1-24, Philippians 3:5-21, Psalms 74:1-23, Proverbs 24:15-16
Today is the 2nd day of October. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It is always a joy to come around global campfire together and just be together and allow God’s word to wash into our lives and speak to us and reorient our hearts to God. We’re just getting going in this brand new month but we will complete a book today. And it’s been a book we’ve been in for a while. The book of Isaiah. So, we’re reading from the Common English Bible this week. Isaiah 66: 1-24.
Okay. Let’s talk about the book of Philippians - the letter to the Philippians today. And let’s try to focus in and get this very clear for ourselves. A lot of us are married people. And a lot of us aspire to be married people. So, if you’re married, you probably have a wedding ring and you’re probably wearing your wedding ring. So, just look at the wedding ring for a second on your hand. Is that ring your marriage? I mean, it’s not really a trick question. Is the ring your marriage? No matter how many karats of rock you have on your finger or no matter how simple it is, none of us could call our wedding ring our marriage. Instead, it’s a symbol representing the fact that we’ve entered into marriage. A symbol that we receive e during a ritualistic ceremony commonly understood as a wedding. However, those of us who are married understand that being married is quite a bit different than having a symbol wrapped around our finger, which is fundamentally Paul’s point in today’s reading and then pretty much throughout all of his ministry. The covenantal relationship that God offered his people had become empty ritual, like a ring without a marriage. The heart and soul of the relationship had become about rules. So, for Paul, obeying the rules in order to be made righteous before God had proven incomplete. Unless we assume that Paul was only half into his faith, like just sort of culturally participating in his faith, that wasn’t the case. He had obeyed the rules with all of his effort and still could not find a relationship with God in those rules. And that’s exactly what he said today. So, quoting Paul, We don’t put our confidence in rituals performed on the body, though I have good reason to have this kind of confidence. If anyone else has reason to put their confidence in physical advantages, I have even more. Then he goes down the list. I was circumcised on the eighth day. I’m from the people of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin. I’m a Hebrew of Hebrews. With respect to observing the law, I’m a Pharisee. With respect to devotion to the faith, I persecuted the church. With respect to righteousness under the law, I’m blameless. These things were my assets, but I wrote them off as a loss for the sake of Christ. So, Paul’s saying a lot there. He’s saying, I spent my life in utter and absolute devotion, moving on one specific path to become righteous for God and I have thrown it all out as meaningless. That’s saying a lot. Paul was convinced that only the righteous could ever hope to see God, so he applied himself to becoming righteousness through the rituals and ceremonies of his faith. Unfortunately, it didn’t make him righteous. It only revealed his inability to be righteous. Until someone fulfilled the law- Jesus. So, Paul diligently searched the Scriptures. And then through direct revelation from Jesus, Paul realized that faith started the whole story for Abraham. And God counted that faith as righteousness. And therefore, faith could make a person righteous, but obeying the rules and the rituals and the ceremonies could not. Which compelled Paul to put all his faith in Jesus, believing that God was doing a new thing in the world and bringing humanity back into full fellowship with himself through Jesus. This is such a paradigm shift. It’s like the basics of the Christian faith that we take for granted, but this is such a paradigm shift. This is so monumental that Paul was willing to consider all of his previous efforts at being righteous to be a total loss. In Paul’s own words, I consider everything a loss in comparison with the superior value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have lost everything for him. But what I lost I think of as sewer trash, so that I might gain Christ and be found in him. In Christ, I have righteousness that is not my own. And it does not come from the law, but rather from the faithfulness of Christ. It is the righteousness of God that is based on faith. So, like I was saying, this is fundamental truths of the Christian faith and they permeate Paul’s writings. But, aside from the fact that there’s some repetition here, we still need the repetition because we often mistake the ring for the relationship as we strive to obey the rules so that God will notice us. So, was Paul just on this massive campaign to do away with the rules? Do the tenants of our faith have any value? Do the rules that we try to observe matter? If our salvation is a gift that we can never earn, than what’s the point in trying to live by any rule of life? Well, let’s look at our wedding ring again. Can you make your spouse love you? You cannot. It’s a gift. And since you can’t earn that gift, are you then permitted to do whatever you want to in the marriage? Well, I suppose you could do whatever you want, but it will have repercussions. You can hardly do whatever you want. The exchange of love between two people involves a lot risk and a lot of loyalty. And if the relationship’s healthy, then all of the rules become apparent. We’re not following them out of coercion, but the rules, the respect, the boundaries, they define our love. This was always Paul’s point and he was absolutely convinced that we are on a journey to wholeness and restoration through this relationship with Christ. But if we’re gonna be in love with Jesus, then we need to act like it. It’d be pretty difficult to be honestly claiming we are involved in a thriving marriage while we are betraying our spouse. It’s not that mistakes aren’t made in marriage. We all make mistakes. It’s that we’re going somewhere together and that somewhere is called union. In marriage, we two are becoming one in Christ, in the same way that each of us as individuals are becoming one with Christ. And so with that in mind, Paul gives us some language not only for how to think about our relationship with Jesus, but for that matter, how to think about our relationship with each other, our spouses. Paul said, it’s not that I have already reached this goal or have already been perfected, but I pursue it so that I may grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for just this purpose. Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and I reach out for the things ahead of me. The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus.
So, Father, we thank You. We thank You for Your word and all that You are speaking to us as we move fully into this new month. And all that this touches inside of us. Yes, we have to confess that, in some ways, we have gotten the cart before the horse in the same way that the audience that Paul was speaking to had. We’ve thought if we could just get our act together and get shiny and sparkly enough, than maybe You’ll pay attention to us when it was never about the rules, but always about being in love, in covenant, in relationship, in union with You. And this is the invitation. We keep trying to clean ourselves up so that You might pay attention to us and You’re saying, I love You as You are. If You will come to me, You don’t have to clean Yourself up. I will wash it all away. There’s nothing behind You You need to look at. It’s only out in front of us. This vista of an eternal relationship and covenant that we get to enjoy together. So, Father this has straightened us out for right now. We can see this right this minute. But the world has a way of trying to steal it from us. So,, Holy Spirit, protect these realities. Plant them deep within our hearts and may they yield bountiful fruit for Your kingdom. In Jesus name we ask. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian. I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise:
Hello my DAB family, this is Mark Street from Sydney Australia, today is Sunday the 1st October. I’m calling today…it’s a very hard call for me because I feel like…I know the enemy is getting to me. I’ve gotta be honest my family, I’ve fallen back into sexual sin but not only that __ getting into talk about other people, rumors, and I’ve been back sliding a bit this last month. and I feel like now I’m taking too much of the __ and I’ve not given back enough and I just want to…I’m using you my lovely family as an accountability partner and I want to be honest with you. Please just ask God to help me to put the…put on the armor of God each day so that I can be stronger. __ earlier this month…I don’t want to wallow in my sorrow and backslide even more, but I want to come to you to confess my sin and move forward again. And keep praying for me DAB family because I love God, I do. And it upsets me a lot that I’m back __ and I really want to keep moving forward. Thank you family. And I’m hopefully calling with better things soon. Love you all very much. Thank you. Mark Street from Sydney Australia.
Hello Daily Audio Bible family. This is Grandma Love and I want to thank Victoria Soldier for praying so verbally and vocally and worldwide for my dad and for him to feel the Spirit of the Lord around him in this important time in his life. It’s a passage we all go through. It’s also quite amazing to me how the Lord has put obstacles in my way and all kinds of diversions and I have ended up right here by his bedside taking care of him. So, __ I’m the one to __ side. He’s somewhat neglected here at the __ a nursing home. And they have trouble feeding him, hydrating, bathing him and changing him…just cause it’s busy. So, __ the Lord has showed me that need to be my father’s advocate during this time because he’s unable to advocate for himself __. __ wonderful blessings. And I also wanted to reach out to the lady…I can’t remember her name…that called in on the program and had just buried her dad and is going through a grief period. __ 20 people __. And just know that there’s a time and a place the Lord has placed us in, that He will direct your steps. And give yourself permission to be angry but underneath the anger is the grief, the sorrow. And, so, if anger does tend to tip over then you don’t want to feel the loss…but just remember your husband is waiting for you…
Good day all, this is Robert Learning to Serve in San Antonio Texas. I sure would like a big group hug with all of you. I’m calling to have a praise report, of course, and I should probably call the minute I after I hung up asking for your prayers my sister Jeannie. You know, in 12 years or 11 years, I guess, every time I’ve called for a prayer request it seems like it’s instantaneous, it’s just amazing. God’s gifts are just unmeasurable…and it’s just amazing. I thank you for praying for me with my rheumatoid arthritis. I’ve got my medicine back and for about the last couple weeks it was really difficult but He carried me through it and showed me what to do. And all of your prayers, everything is just…it’s…it’s all of us…it really…it’s so important and it’s so much love it can’t be measured. And I love you all so very, very much and I so appreciate you Brian, so much. You’re so awesome. Well, I’ll see you all later and thank you.
Hi this is Sonja calling from Tampa. I believe it was the September 11th podcast that spoke about putting your hope in God and in God alone for your survival. Being independent since the 15 and always working, I found the wilderness at age 32 very scary. But it was through this journey that I learned how to put my hope and trust in God for my complete survival. As a single parent with two children it was very challenging but I would not trade it for the world because it was through the wilderness that I truly learned the meaning of what it meant to trust God. I remember as if it were yesterday while I was praying the Holy Spirit kept prompting me to go to the store and I kept telling God that I did not want to waste my gas. I only had $15 in my pocket but I kept hearing that soft voice over and over so I finally gave in and drove to the store. Mind you, I’m walking around with an empty shopping cart down each aisle wondering why God prompted me to come. I finally chalk it up to a test of obedience as I get ready to head home. Then in front of me is a manager special and I’m baffled it’s $4 dollars off. That means the chicken breast would only be $0.59. I’m blown away about the price and I check with the staff and they tell me is right. I check the expiration date and load the grocery cart with 16 pounds chicken ranging from $0.39 two $0.59 a pack. I get in the car and I begin to cry and praise God for His greatness. Needless to say I blessed my mom, my neighbors, and everybody else I could think of with chicken and still have plenty in the freezer to create every chicken recipe known to man.