Nehemiah 8:1-9:21, 1 Corinthians 9:1-18, Psalms 33:12-22, Proverbs 21:11-12
Today is the 14th day of August. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and it’s always great to be here with you no matter what day it is. The fact that we know we’ll be here, and we’ll be here for each other and we’ll take the next step forward brings a lot of joy. So, it’s good to be here with you and the next step forward is, of course, gonna pick up where the last one left off. So, we’re reading from the book of Nehemiah and we’re reading from the letter that we know as first Corinthians in the New Testament. We’re reading from the Good News Translation this week. Nehemiah chapter 8 verse 1 through 9 verse 21.
Okay. So, in the book of Nehemiah, yesterday we saw that the wall was complete. The wall surrounding Jerusalem was complete. Nehemiah’s mission was accomplished. And, so, he called all the people together, went through the genealogical records, got everybody together and then the Mosaic law was read in everyone’s hearing and obviously there were a lot of people. So, you have Ezra on a platform reading but then there’s Levites out among the people explaining what’s being read. And as the laws being read, they realize they need to celebrate the festival booths. So, they send word, and everybody celebrates the festival booths. And as all of this celebration is happening and everybody’s excited because these things haven’t been done, according to Nehemiah, since the time of Joshua. So, these are really, really old traditions that are fundamental to the people’s identity. And, so, they’re excited about this and it leads them to a prayer of repentance, it leads them to come clean before God, and renew their covenant with God. And we began that prayer today and we’ll conclude that prayer tomorrow.
And then in first Corinthians, in Paul’s letter he’s defending himself against people who are basically putting out the word that Paul is in it for himself…like he’s taking advantage of people, he’s exploiting them for his own personal gain. And, so, he responds like this, “when people criticize me this is how I defend myself. Don’t I have the right to be given food and drink for my work? Don’t I have the right to follow the example of the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Peter by taking a Christian wife with me on my trips or are Barnabas and I the only ones left to work for our living?” So, Paul’s basically saying, “those who are caring for you in spiritual service who are leading you to God, they deserve to be able to support themselves through that work. That’s hard work and it’s on behalf of others.” But even though Paul could rightfully say that he deserves all that, he was saying he didn’t. He didn’t take anything from anybody. These were false accusations and false assumptions. And, so, Paul ends uop saying, like “I’m commanded to preach the good news and I’m not exploiting anybody and I’m depending on God.” Now assumptions are kind of a big deal. They were a big deal in the early church as we’re seeing in the writings of Paul. They were a big deal way before Paul and they’re a big deal now - assumptions about spiritual leaders about political leaders about creative leaders. Like, this is a commonplace thing in our society but it’s kind of a commonplace thing in humanity and it’s certainly a commonplace thing in the Bible, like Joseph, right, in the Old Testament. He faced these false assumptions and his family human trafficked him. Moses, all kinds of assumptions about Moses throughout the wilderness journey. A lot of the Pslams that were written by David were because of the false assumptions that were being made about him. And remember David and Saul’s life and how that was so intertwined and how Saul wanted to kill David based on false assumptions. And as we move through the prophets see that they like not…most people didn’t believe them. They assumed they were crazy. It wasn’t until later when what they were prophesying came true that they were considered legitimate profits. Of course, Jesus faced false assumptions, right? Remember, it was the religious leaders, the Pharisees of which Paul…that was his tribe that were saying, “Jesus heals by the power of demons.” That was false. That was a false assumption. And now we’re seeing Paul deal with false assumptions and we can zoom forward into our own lives and look at the ways that people have assumed false things about us, but if we’re gonna do that we have to look at the way we have assumed false things about others because the reality is we invent a lot of things about a lot of people that we have never met that we do not know, maybe we have met, maybe we’ve had brief encounters but we don’t know them and so we make up realities about them. Well, they can be false, and they can be hurtful. You have to think about your own life. You know like, what if the things that were being told about you were the things that you were doing when you were in college and there were fragments of stories that were completely taken out of context, they did not represent your life now and they really weren’t accurate about your life then, well then you see how deeply hurtful and incorrect a false assumption can be. It finds its way into the Bible because Paul who’s trying to only be a slave of Jesus Christ, and who has faced really significant obstacles throughout his ministry of bringing the gospel, now he’s being accused of being exploitative. So, we see that it makes its way to the Bible. He’s basically exasperated saying, “what do I have to do here?” So, we need to pay attention to how dangerous false assumptions can be and we need to catch ourselves. And how many incomplete inaccurate assumptions we make on any given day because we pull these assumptions together to make an inner narrative, right, the story that we’re telling with our lives that is synthesized through all of the things happen to us on any given day. And, so, we’re making all kinds of assumptions to keep our reality strong when the reality is we don’t really know what we’re talking about when we’re talking about somebody that we don’t know and when we judge that person then we have stepped into the realm of God. Are we willing to do that? Let’s think about that today as we move through the day and we make assumptions about the day.
Holy Spirit come into that because we’re constantly doing this. And it’s not always a bad thing. Like, we need to have situational awareness, but once we make assumptions and start believing that there the truth and we don’t have all of the facts, then there is something false. And we need to realize that we do this to You all of the time. We make all kinds of assumptions about what You’re going to do and not do. Come Holy Spirit, help us to realize that the way he around assumption is to be known and to know and to be true. Come Holy Spirit. We pray in the name of Jesus. 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.