Ezra 7:1-8:20, 1 Corinthians 4:1-21, Psalms 30:1-12, Proverbs 20:28-30
Today is the 8th day of August, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I’m Brian it is wonderful to be here together today around the Global Campfire gathering to take another step forward through the Bible and through this year. So, let's…let’s do exactly that. This week we’re reading from the Christian Standard Bible, and we are moving our way to the book of Ezra in the Old Testament and first Corinthians in the New. So, first Ezra chapter 7 verse 1 through 8 verse 20 today.
Okay. In first Corinthians today we’re kind of continuing with the thought that began in yesterday’s reading and that was Paul’s pointing out or calling out the fact that certain people were following certain people. Like certain people were following certain leaders and sort of putting their allegiance in their leader. And, so, the problem is that at any point that maybe one leader says something a little bit different than another leader says it or explains it a little bit different than another leader does then all the sudden we have our loyalties and allegiance to the leader that we follow. And, so, over time because nobody can say the same things nobody is the same person, even if everybody believes the same thing, but if there are discrepancies which there have been since the very beginning well then you follow the certain leader that you trust but over time, that becomes your camp, which isn’t a bad thing, your tribe, that’s not a bad thing but then when your tribe has to be the one that’s right over and against another well then you’ve put your trust and faith in a person. And, so, you say, well I’ll just trust this person. They’re my spiritual authority. They’re my spiritual leader. And those things are all fine and appropriate. But those things do not absolve us with an actual relationship with God. Like, the leader that we trust to tell us the truth, they can’t be in the relationship with God for us. And, so, what invariably happens then is that we trust one certain person and absolve ourselves from actually having to walk with God and wrestle through life following the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Fundamentally, underneath it all, Paul is trying to say that’s not going to work. A relationship with God by proxy, that’s not going work. And who are we? Which is really the main point. Who are we? And Paul’s talking of himself and Apollo’s in this case, so leaders that people are following. Or just to put it in Paul’s own words. “Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollo’s for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying nothing beyond what is written. The purpose is that none of you will be arrogant favoring one person over another. For who makes you so superior? What do you have that you didn’t receive?” And there’s a flip side of this for the leaders and that is that, like serving God’s people is a difficult job. And, so, like to all the sudden have to measure up to keep all and be ranked by people and to need some sort of dog and pony show for the people is an undue burden in an already burdensome job. Leaders are people who are following God as examples and are teaching people to follow God. The endgame, the win is that people follow God not that we accumulate a large amount of people who follow us. And I know often it’s easy to…to look at a popular person may be in ministry and go wow, what mighty things God is doing through that person. And maybe they’re speaking the complete truth and are really great at it. And, so, it’s easy to think, man that must be nice, to just walk with God and study the Scriptures and communicate it to people. And wow, maybe I could do that. I wish I could do that. Paul basically pulls the curtain back on…well…on what’s behind the curtain of leadership of this nature. Paul says and I quote, “I think God has displayed us the apostles in the last place like men condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the world both to Angels and the people. We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are distinguished, but we are dishonored. Up to the present hour we are both hungry and thirsty. We are poorly clothed, roughly treated, homeless. We labor working with our own hands. When we are reviled, we bless. When we are persecuted, we endure it. When we are slandered, we respond graciously. Even now we are like the scum of the earth like everyone’s garbage. I’m not writing this to shame you, but to warn you as my dear children. For you may have countless instructors in Christ you don’t have many fathers. I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. So, I urge you to imitate me.” We could say, O well there it is. It’s like a backhanded way of Paul gathering in more followers for himself. He wants everybody to imitate him. So, he’s saying, who is Apollo’s and who is Paul, and who is Cephas but really he;s saying he’s the main guy we should imitate him. I guess we just need to take a step back and say all right, if that’s true what are we to imitate? And what we are to imitate is what Paul just said. “In the last place like men condemned to die, a spectacle to the world, both to Angels and the people, fools for Christ, weak, dishonored, hungry, thirsty, poorly clothed, roughly treated, homeless, laboring with our own hands. When we’re reviled, we bless. When we’re persecuted, we endure it. When we’re slandered, we respond graciously.” That’s what’s behind the curtain. If we want to be that leader then Paul’s suggesting that we imitate him and what he’s had to do in order to provide the gospel to people. He says we are weak, but you are strong. We say that the God but what Paul is saying in this context, is we leaders are weak but you have been made strong. You are distinguished, but we remain dishonored. So, fundamentally, and we will hear this from Paul explicitly as we continue through his letters, the treasure Paul seeks is the hearts of people who are passionately willing to be a living sacrifice following Jesus as a disciple being reborn as a new creation upon this earth and modeling a new humanity. But if what we’re going to do is carve ourselves up into camps and follow certain people and those certain people become our way to God the whole thing is backward again. And, so, we’re not only getting a glimpse into the goings-on in the early church but we’re able to see that it’s still going on. This has been part of the story. And, so, may we remember it’s not a cult of personality we’re after here when we’re looking for a spiritual leader. It’s not to be at the most popular place in town. It’s to follow a leader who leads us to follow Jesus not to give us a sense of belonging in some camp where we can be against or over somebody else’s camp. Because as Paul articulates and will continue to articulate throughout his letters, there’s only one camp, it’s called the body of Christ. Everyone belongs. Everyone has a part. No one can say to anybody else I don’t need you. That’s not true. We understand our leaders are servants who are modeling what it looks like to follow Jesus and that we get to serve alongside them, which is very different than being their servants. When we understand that it is the blessing and affirmation of the Lord that we seek, not the blessing and affirmation of a certain person then we avoid the kinds of things that Paul is pressing into as he writes his letter to the church in Corinth.
Father, we…we thank You for our leaders. We thank You for those who are in our lives that model what it looks like to walk with You. And that help us to learn to seek Your face and obey You and understand our desperate need. We are utterly dependent upon You. And this is as it should be because You are all powerful and completely capable. And, so, we honor those that You have put into leadership, and we pray for them because it is a difficult job full of all kinds of pitfalls. Help us to serve our leaders by serving You and help those of us who are leaders in a spiritual capacity to serve those within our sphere of influence by serving You. Come Holy Spirit we pray. In the name of Jesus, 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:
This is Hands to Heaven. Father God, I lift up the silent ones to You tonight. You know them by name Lord, the ones listening to this in the dark of night with tears streaking down their faces. Their hearts are broken God. Their lives shattered. Their minds are screaming that life wasn’t supposed to be like this. They can’t even put together a complete thought in two minutes much less a prayer request. So, they lie in the dark smothering socks in their pillows desperately seeking a way a way to survive a pain so sharp that even breathing hurts. They lie in the dark and they wait for time to pass for the pain to ebb for the blessed oblivion of sleep to come. They’re Your children Lord and they love You, but they hurt so badly right now that they’re only prayer is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. I lift these hurting hearts to You Lord, and I ask that You comfort them. I asked that You encourage them with the knowledge that while we may not be able to hear their cries You do. Help You’re hurting children remember Your promises God that You will never leave us, that You are near to the broken hearted, and that You rescue those who Spirits are crushed. Draw them into Your harm’s Father and hold them tight in Your loving embrace. Give them hope Lord, that even if they feel that they can’t hold on any longer Your grip on them will never fail or falter. And one day Lord let theirs be the voice that speaks for the silent ones. Let their story be the light in someone else’s darkness. In Jesus’ name I pray. This is Hands to Heaven. God bless you all.
Blessings dear DABbers this is Carol from Canada. I would like to be known as Abba’s Daughter. Hallelujah! How great is my Father in heaven? Brian thank you for your commentary on July the 28th…the 29th after reading Romans 12 as presenting your bodies as a living sacrifice. I have learned so much from that reading on that day. The Holy Spirit work opened my eyes in ways I’ve never experienced before, made me realize that even though I love the Lord and did what I could and other things to love others and to serve an anger issue that’s been unresolved for 50 years plus put a hinder in my spiritual walk with the Lord causing impatience, bitterness, hatred and all of the above sinful things, my language, everything that is disgusting to the Lord. And, so, with this I realized that coming to Jesus for healing, that He start…the healing process has begun as I’m relying on my Lord and trusting in him and everything that we’re going through in our trials of life with my husband and the things that we are facing and that I’m trusting in my Lord for He’s healing into my heart. And I want to say my dear brothers and sisters, don’t give up hope. Jesus loves us in ways we can’t even imagine. I’m 65 years old and have come to know how much Jesus loves me, a believer for 12 years. Hallelujah. We praise you Jesus, and we thank You. And I pray my dear brothers and sisters that you will find the same peace, although suffering with the…
Hello Daily Audio Bible family this is Vicki from the desert. I need your prayer tonight because I’m feeling just so much. I don’t know if it’s condemnation or conviction. So lost and I just want your prayer right now. I need to…I don’t know what I need. So, please pray for me. This is Vicki from the desert. Thank you.
Hello DAB family this is God’s Tree for I have many branches, but I am rooted in every word of God. I’m calling to stand on behalf and in the gap for Darren in California who’s having some struggles and some demonic warfare on his job. It’s threatening his livelihood and his ability to take care of his family. And I want to stand in the gap for him and for all of those who are struggling on their jobs, who are struggling to take care of home. And know that no weapon formed against you shall prosper. And know that whatever the devil made for bad that God made for good, that there’s more that’s going to come with this situation if you stand still and in trust in God. So, I’m standing in the gap right now and ask that you do the same with me. Dear heavenly Father in the name of Jesus on behalf of Darren and his family, on behalf of all those that are in similar situations God I ask right now in the name of Jesus that You send Your angels God to defeat the enemy and whatever obstacles whatever weapon is formed against him that it would be not only just removed but it would be destroyed and annihilated never to rise its head up again Gd. And I pray in the name of Jesus God that You do an outpouring of blessing on this situation to the point that they have no choice but to believe that it came from You and that You get the glory Father God. We thank You for everything You’ve done Lord. We ask that You lift up Darren. He stood in the gap for all those Father and right now we’re standing in the gap for him. Lord just be with him and comfort him and lift his spirit up and take the despondentness out of his heart and out of his voice and let him have a spirit of praise and joy God for the sun is going to shine in the morning. We thank You for it. In Jesus’ name I do pray. Keep your head up. God’s got us all. Amen.
Hey DABbers this __ currently in Ohio. Just want to pray for Travis for his friend Lindsey that her mom just passed away. So, God we just ask You right now that You will come around Lindsay, that You will be with her and just show her Your amazing love God. And I just thank You that it sounds like that Lindsey is a believer and we pray that her mom, yeah, who was a believer too and that her mom is rejoicing now in heaven. And God would You just give Lindsey a dream of that, that she could see, she could see her mom rejoicing. So, we just ask You God for that. And in Yeshua’s name we just thank You, for Holy Spirit for Your comfort. God we can’t do it without You. It’s all with…with You. And I think it’s Julie…sorry if I got your name wrong dear…from Kentucky. It was right after that the very next call. So, I understand what you’re going through about being alone. And, so, yeah, I’ve been alone my whole life basically. I've…yeah. But Yeshua, you know, He’s always with us. So, He is our husband it says in Psalm 68:5 I believe. Don’t quote me on that. I’d have to look it up. But he is our husband. He is creative. He’ll give us strategies to make our money go further. He’ll comfort our heart when we’re sad. He even watches when we __. And He's…He’s so excited and He’s so jealous to spend time with us. So, I just ask God would You just speak to my friend in…in Kentucky God. Would You just…