Daniel 9:1-11, 1 John 2:18-3:6, Psalms 121:1-8, Proverbs 28:27-28
Today is the 3rd day of December. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It is a pleasure and an honor to be here with you today as we gather to take the next step forward on our adventure through the Scriptures. And the days are counting down as we move toward the end of this year. And so, we’ll take that next step forward. We’re reading from the God’s Word Translation this week. Daniel chapter 11 versus 2 through 35 today.
Okay. So, in our reading from first John today, we were greeted with quite the provocative question, and that question is, “suppose a person has enough to live on and notices another believer in need, how can God’s love be in that person if he doesn’t bother to help the other believer? So, a stark penetrating question right out of the gate. And as a rhetorical as John’s question is, trying to answer it only brings about like other questions. For example, does God bestow his love individually and bless each of us for our own benefit alone or does He love and bless us so that he can then love and bless through us? And, you know, that’s something to chew on for a minute, but Jesus was quoted in John’s gospel with these words, “your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” So, in trying to answer John’s question we start to see the same point James and Peter were making. We can’t claim faith that has no action behind it and we can’t claim to walk in God’s love. If we have no outflow of that love beyond ourselves. True faith and love compels us into action and John’s said as much. Here’s what he said from our reading today, “dear children, we must show love through actions that are sincere not empty words. This is how we will know that we belong to the truth and how we will be reassured in His presence.” So, in other words, we are assured that God’s love is in us, and that He is loving through us when we become willing to give that love away. And this starts to peel back the layers and it starts to expose the ways that we assume we are lacking because we hoard things, we hoard God’s blessings as if the supplies limited, which leads us to become self-absorbed and self-ish, right, which according to John reveals that God’s love…and this is hard right here…is absent. Whew! So, it’s like we need to take breaks along the way to catch our breath because this is really direct, this is pretty stark. So, let’s take a look at this a different way. We’ve been exploring the land of the Bible this entire year, right, as we’ve gone through the territory in the Scriptures. We’ve rooted ourselves geographically lots of times. And the Dead Sea is something that is all throughout the Bible and is a real place that we’ve encountered lots of times on a journey through the Scriptures. It’s the lowest point on earth. So, like, just for reference, the lowest point in the United States, which is the country that I live in, is in California in this desert called death…well it’s in the Mojave Desert I think…but it’s in this place called Death Valley. And it’s like 250 feet below sea level. So, like, the Dead Sea is like a thousand feet below sea level, more. So, water is continually flowing into the Dead Sea because it’s the lowest point, but water never flows back out of the Dead Sea because it’s the lowest point. And, so, because of this there’s no life, which is why it’s called the Dead Sea. Now, if we just go north a ways, following the Jordan River which terminates in the Dead Sea. If we just follow the Jordan River we will eventually run into the sea of Galilee, which is the next body of water to the north. In fact, it is the lowest lying freshwater lake in the entire world. And in spite of the billions of gallons of fresh water that flow out of the Sea of Galilee, it has not run dry for thousands of years. It has not become stagnant because new water is constantly flowing into it and then it flows out of it through its tributaries, mostly the Jordan River, which brings life all the way down the line. So we might be wondering, like, what does this got to do with what we’re talking about. John’s challenge was that we need to realize that there is no shortage of God’s love, but we will only ever experience that reality if our hearts are open and flowing with it rather than being closed off and at the lowest point and stagnant. So, this gives us a picture of reality, but it challenges us to examine ourselves. Are we living in lack because we are selfish? If so, then we’re becoming stagnant and just like the Dead Sea there’s no life to be found on that path. But if our hearts are open, then we will invariably be compelled to do more than just run our mouths, right, just lip service to things. We’ll be compelled to love, which will compel us into action. But if John is right, then we’ll be surprised to find that the more love that flows out of us the more we are filled again anew every day. And with God’s love there is no lack. So, that means that if we will give God’s love away, this is the only way we can ever remain full, like the Sea of Galilee, right. Billions of Galleon gallons of water flow into that lake from all of the surrounding mountainsides and it’s not empty, it’s full, even though those billions of gallons of water are flowing back out of it. It stays full. And there’s no lack of God’s love. And we can we can stay full. And He will give us whatever we ask, because whatever we ask is gonna be in alignment with His wishes. This is what John tells us today. So, in this season, like, this holiday season that’s upon us, let’s remember that the greatest gift we can possibly offer, that will be our open hearts. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in Scripture, God can do miraculous things through the open hearts of his children. There is there is no lack of God’s love for the world. It has not been depleted. And we are each invited to be an oasis that never runs dry reflecting the glory of the Lord upon the earth and sharing the love of God to all of God’s creatures upon the earth, especially those created in His image. So, let’s just not say Joy to the world. Let’s not just sing these songs. Joy to the world the Lord has come. Let’s let that sink in today and allow the love of God to begin flowing through us so that we will never be empty and stagnant.
Father, we invite you into that. Thank you for that. That just shakes us awake, reorients us to what’s going on here, explains so much of the lack within because we’re being self-ish when we should be an open, flowing oasis for all who are thirsty. Come Holy Spirit fill us anew. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you. Today would have been my dad’s birthday, would have been his 74th birthday. So, I’m thinking of him today. Make sure you make sure you go out and love someone that you love today, and I will be waiting for you here tomorrow.