Home thoughts from

Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


August 2014

Daily Bible thoughts 693: Friday 29th August 2014:

 Proverbs 22:17-27

‘’Verses 17-21: These verses form an introduction to the thirty sayings that follow. The young person or disciple is again encouraged to take these sayings to heart and apply them (see Proverbs 1:1-6, 8 – 9). These are not merely clever statements with which to impress one’s friends; these sayings – in common with all Scripture – are God’s word, which must be obeyed. When one has committed himself to obeying God, he will fully realise that these words are indeed from Him (John 7:17). With God’s Word impressed on his heart, the disciple will be able to give sound answers to those who sent him for teaching – perhaps a parent or guardian (verse 21).’’ Tom Hale: ‘The applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.936.

‘’I’m giving you thirty sterling principles – tested guidelines to live by. Believe me – these are truths that work.’’ The Message.

The last third of ‘Proverbs’ comprises five further separate collections of wisdom material of various kinds: two collections of the sayings of the wise (22:17-24:22 and 24:23-34), a similar collection ‘’copied by the men of Hezekiah’’ (25-29), and the sayings of Agur (30) and King Lemuel (31). It’s been pointed out that the thirty sayings are closely related to a thirty-chapter Egyptian work, the ‘Teaching of Amenemope.’ This work seems to belong to a period some time before Solomon was on the scene, and it is usually thought that Proverbs has drawn from this book rather than vice versa. ‘’The openness to learning from the wisdom of other peoples reflects the theological conviction that the God of Israel is God of all nations and of all life. It is not therefore surprising when other peoples perceive truths about life which the people of God can profit from. The thirty sayings encourage us to use our common sense in our service of God. God’s service does not always require ‘a word from the Lord’ in order for us to see what needs doing! The Teaching of Amenemope was designed to offer advice to people in public service. The thirty sayings have much to say to such people too.’’ John Goldingay: ‘The new Bible commentary’,p.602.

  • Verses 22, 23 (see 16): Some years ago a book was published entitled ‘Bias to the poor’. I believe it highlighted many verses in the Bible that show that God is on the side of the poor in their vulnerability. It’s not that God doesn’t love the rich people as much as the resource less, but He clearly has a special concern to stand with the weak and powerless in this world system that is heavily tilted towards the rich and powerful.
  • Verses 24, 25: This is a reiteration of the principle that you tend to become like those you get close to (That’s why it’s important to stick close to Jesus!) See also Proverbs 12:26 and 14:29. ‘’Don’t hang out with angry people; don’t keep company with hotheads. Bad temper is contagious – don’t get infected.’’ The Message. Although we shouldn’t cultivate close ties with the wrong sort of people, it is still important to be kind to them and show them the love of Christ.
  • Verses 26, 27 (see also 6:1-5). Whilst we should not oppress the poor, there is a balancing act to be performed. Neither should we be recklessly indulgent with people in financial difficulties.

Prayer: Lord help me to grasp that ‘all truth is God’s truth’, and give me a teachable spirit, always wanting and willing to learn. Please strengthen me to apply my heart to all your teaching; to keep it in my heart, and be ready to speak it with my lips.

Daily Bible thoughts 692: Thursday 28th August 2014:

 2 Corinthians 13:11-14

Here are some parting thoughts:

  • Obey the Word of God: ‘’listen to my appeal’’ (11). As an apostle, Paul knew that God was speaking through him, and HE is not to be ignored.
  • Set the bar high: ‘’Aim for perfection’’ (11). Don’t settle for anything less than what God has designed you to be in Christ Jesus. His plan for you is total Christ-likeness. Although that will not be fully realised in this world, go for it, and get as much likeness to Jesus as you can here and now. I think it was Robert Murray McCheyne who said it is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. I believe it is true to say that in the Christian life you tend to get what you go for. Someone said that we are, at this moment, as close to Jesus as we really choose to be. In terms of this Christian maturity, Paul says, ‘You aim for it, and I’ll pray for it!’ (11; see 9). That’s a dynamic combination!
  • Throw your arms wide: ‘’be of one mind, live in peace’’ (11). Likeness to Christ will be expressed in a love that shows itself in physical greetings that are culturally relevant and acceptable to propriety (12). But even more than that it will be seen in loving ‘’All the saints…’’ (13). If we are growing into the image of Jesus, we will find that we want to live in harmony with all our brothers in Christ, if at all possible. It is an interesting reality that if we choose to live in loving peace we will then experience the presence of ‘’the God of love and peace’’ (11).
  • Enjoy the fullness of God (14): The order is important. Jesus is mentioned first, because only through His gracious work on the cross can we ever come to know the love of God the Father experientially, as He sheds it abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Consider a couple of thoughts on this well-known and frequently used blessing: ‘’…there is nothing to indicate that God required the benediction of 2 Corinthians 13:14 to be employed in the Christian churches; yet there is certainly nothing to show that it is incongruous to do As a fact, it has been made use of because of its deep importance doctrinally and because of its appropriateness, for those words are both a confession of the Christian faith and a declaration of Christian privilege.’’ A.W. Pink: ‘Gleanings from Paul’, p.98.

‘’As the ocean unites all lands, and is the medium through which they are able to exchange commodities, so does the blessed Spirit unite the Persons of the Blessed Trinity to each other, and us to them, and secures the oneness for which our Saviour prayed… Of course, we must be very careful of the tender sensibilities and holy disposition of our divine Confederate. We cannot ruthlessly grieve Him by our harshness or impurity at one moment, and turn to Him for his succour and direction at the next. Such divine union as lies within our reach certainly demands on our part watchfulness, a tender conscience, a yielded and pliant will, a heart which has no other love, no affection nor idol inconsistent with the Spirit’s fellowship.’’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Great verses through the Bible’, p.430.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, I never want to grieve you. Help me to be sensitive to you at all times.

Daily Bible thoughts 691: Wednesday 27th August 2014:

 2 Corinthians 13:1-10

As we have seen, strength in weakness is a big theme in 2 Corinthians. Paul did not feel any need to apologise for his weakness as he thought about Christ. In His crucifixion Jesus humbled Himself to a place of weakness. (Never forget that it was a path He deliberately chose). But it was the way to resurrection life and power (4). Paul knew that it would be just the same for him and his colleagues. Those critics in Corinth who were saying that Paul was weak needed to prepare themselves for an encounter with the power of God. In this case that power could be experienced in terms of church discipline. Paul was not ‘all talk and no action’. He had given warnings, and he would ‘deliver the goods’ if necessary. Of course, he hoped not to have to do that, as verse 10 shows.

Christian ministry (4) is about:

  • Fellowship with Christ: ‘’we will live with him’’. All authentic ministry flows from walking with Jesus in a vital relationship;
  • It is exercised ‘’by God’s power’’. And the more weak we are in ourselves the more the divine ‘current’ will move through us;
  • It is shown in service: ‘’we will live…to serve you’’. All of that great power is to be harnessed to the work of serving others. In fact, we just will not have the stomach for everything that Christian service demands without God’s enabling. Verse 9 shows something of the heart of this true servant of Christ, the apostle Paul. He was content to know human weakness if through that others could be strengthened. What price are you prepared to pay to have an effective ministry to other people?

We know that Paul had his critics in Corinth who undermined his ministry. But the apostle could see that if the professing Corinthian believers did a self-examination test (5) and came to the conclusion that they were truly Christians that would speak volumes about the authenticity of his ministry (6). You see, it was through Paul that they were converted. If they were genuine Christians, and it was through Paul’s preaching that they came to Christ, that surely was a powerful rebuttal of the mud-slingers’ position?

Paul could never act in a way that was contrary to the gospel or its moral implications (8). He wasn’t concerned about his own reputation, but just wanted to see the Corinthians avoiding the wrong and doing the right (7), and moving on to complete maturity (9; see 11 also). In chapters 10-13 he repeatedly threatened a severe use of authority, but he clearly hoped it would not come to that. It is probably true to say that the purpose of these chapters was to call the Corinthians back to their allegiance to Paul and his gospel, so that he would not have to take disciplinary action. He wanted their growth in holiness, and took no delight in the thought of using the ‘cane’.

Prayer: Help me, dear Lord Jesus, to walk in step with you every moment of every day. Let your power flow through me to energise always the most meaningful and fruitful service to others.

Daily Bible thoughts 690: Tuesday 26th August 2014:

Isaiah 32:9-20

‘’Get serious, you pampered dolls!’’ (11) The Message. It seems that Isaiah had a particular concern for the ‘flaky’ ladies of the land (see also 3:16-26, and Amos 6:1ff.) Someone pointed out that wives and mothers can have a great influence for good, but these women were living complacently as judgment was about to fall. Their happy homes were about to be destroyed and they didn’t seem to have any understanding of what was just around the corner. They had a false sense of security (something Isaiah emphasises in 9, 10, and 11).They would lose not just their luxuries but also their necessities.

In the ‘New Bible Commentary’ the point is made that the disaster of verse 14 and the glory of verses 15-20 surpass anything that happened in Isaiah’s time. But such pictures of a secure and well-watered land portray the ‘new things’ God will do in the future in terms of things already known.

There is a basic principle here, and it is that ‘’righteousness’’ is indispensable to ‘’peace’’. There is no easy path to peace. God does not superimpose ‘peace ‘on a rotten society. No, the ground must be cleared, and then re-sown with ‘righteousness’, and then ‘peace’ will be its fruit (17). For this, the outpouring of the Spirit is essential (15), and, as we saw yesterday, this is the secret of sharing the qualities and characteristics of the Messiah. The Spirit enables us to get into a right relationship with God, and live right, and so we can enjoy God’s own peace (Romans 5:1, 2; James 3:17).

‘’RIGHTEOUSNESS must precede peace…The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews clearly affirms that Melchizedek, the type of Christ, is first King of Righteousness and then King of Peace…Many seek for peace apart from righteousness. They refuse to adjust some wrong in their lives which calls aloud against them. They refuse to permit the light of God’s Spirit to ransack their past, because they are conscious that to do so will expose them to the inevitable need of confession and restitution; and as they will not submit to the laying of the foundations of peace, they miss the peace.’’ F.B.Meyer: Great verses through the Bible, p.281.

Meyer goes on to rightly point out that righteousness precedes peace in any peace-making attempts between people. Wrongs and injustices can’t be just swept under the carpet. They must be adequately addressed:

‘’Be sure to go to the bottom of disputes and disagreements. There is a right and a wrong in every question. It is always wise to lay the foundations of justice at any cost, assured that peace will inevitably result sooner or later. Honeyed words will not abide; but just deeds are a permanent basis for a happy and lasting reconciliation.’’

Prayer: Thank you Lord that you transform desert places by the power of the Holy Spirit. Come upon all that is barren and desolate in me, and make me a fruitful ‘land’ for you. I bring to you all those things that disturb my peace, and ask that you will so graciously cleanse my conscience. I let go of the wrongs that have to go before I can ever enjoy your peace. Thank you for your mercy in disturbing my peace so that I may ultimately find true ‘shalom’.


Daily Bible thoughts 689: Monday 25th August 2014:

 Isaiah 32:1-8

Right smack in the middle of Isaiah’s series of ‘woes’, he gives a shining prophecy of hope concerning the Messianic Kingdom to come. In it, not only will the Messiah rule with righteousness (9:7, 16:5; and see also 25:4), but also the ‘’rulers will rule with justice’’ (1). Each subordinate of the Messiah, in his serving role, will share in the work of ruling, protecting and blessing God’s people (2; see Matthew 19:28). This is a beautiful picture, and something for every leader to aspire to: ‘’Each one will stand as a shelter from high winds, provide safe cover in stormy weather. Each will be cool running water in parched land, a huge granite outcrop giving shade in the desert.’’ The Message. Let us pray that all those who are called to serve with and for the Messiah will fulfil their destiny. Here is a portrait of true leadership. (See also 26:4).˙


Godly leaders protect people, care for them and give to them. They are ‘channels of blessing’ to others. They don’t use them for their own purposes. The only hope we have for true leadership is to be found in the rule of Jesus, and in Him shaping His leaders into the design He has for them. Let Jesus Christ reign over all your heart and He will make you more and more like Himself. Leaders in the Kingdom of God ‘’…should be both rocks and rivers, providing security and sufficiency. Rocks do not move or change, while rivers are ever moving and changing. Leaders must be both consistent and adaptable, combining the faithfulness of the rock with the fruitfulness of the river.’’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.470.

This section is headed ‘’A kingdom of true men’’ by Derek Kidner in the ‘New Bible Commentary’. He writes: ‘’This fourth oracle on the coming king (cf.7:14; 9:6-7; 11:1-5) shows his greatest triumph, in the flowering of his own qualities (given by the Spirit of the Lord, 11:2; cf. 32:15) in the character of his subjects, from his office- bearers downwards.’’ p.652. Where Jesus reigns as King, He changes people into His image. He supplies the power to live differently and swim against the current.

In the Kingdom of the Messiah, people’s spiritual eyes and ears will no longer be shut as they were in Isaiah’s day. It will be a time of bright revelation (3, 4). For those of us who have got to know Jesus, ‘’the light of the world’ ‘(John 8:12), we can verify by experience how true this is. He has given to us truth to know and to speak (4), and He gives us the ability to proclaim it as well as understand it.

It is also true to say that in the fullness of that Kingdom, still to come, all bad leadership will be overthrown (5-8): ‘’No more will fools become celebrities, nor crooks be rewarded with fame. For fools are fools and that’s that, thinking up new ways to do mischief. They leave a wake of wrecked lives and lies about GOD, Turning their backs on the homeless hungry, ignoring those dying of thirst in the streets. And the crooks? Underhanded sneaks they are, inventive in sin and scandal, Exploiting the poor with scams and lies, unmoved by the victimized poor. But those who are noble make noble plans, and stand for what is noble.’’ The Message. Isaiah saw the demise of those who used their position for personal profit and not for the common good. In Isaiah’s day, as in our own, the ordinary people were dazzled by the lives of the ‘rich and famous’, even though the character and conduct of these ‘celebrities’ were not deserving of respect. They had money, fame and influence, and in the eyes of many that made them important. But God saw through the glossy magazine myth, and He still does.

Prayer: Reign in me, Sovereign Lord, reign in me. Captivate my heart; make me more like you.

Daily Bible thoughts 688: Friday 22nd August 2014:

 Isaiah 31

This chapter repeats in summary form much of the content of the previous chapter.

We can have our own equivalent of ‘Egypt’ (1-3). God is continually calling His people to put their trust in Him (1b; see also Zechariah 4:6 for the enunciation of a very important principle: ‘’Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit…’’). For ourselves, we repeatedly are seduced by what appears outwardly great and impressive, and numerically strong: ‘’Impressed by military mathematics, awed by sheer numbers of chariots and riders…’ The Message. But however good the Egyptians looked on paper, as potential allies, God knew that they were going to ‘’stumble’’ (3) and that they would take Judah down with them (3). He Himself would bring this about. If what you lean your weight on is shaky in the first place, it will fail to support you in the critical moment. Who would want a walking stick riddled with woodworm?

God’s Word supplies us with armfuls of reasons to trust Him. Why should the people of Judah trust in the Lord and not in a political alliance with Egypt? Because He is like a ‘’great lion’’ who is unafraid of a whole lot of shepherds banded together against Him. He is also like a mother bird protecting her nest (4, 5). The Lord will ‘’pass over’’ Jerusalem and rescue the city. There is in (5) a direct reference to the events surrounding the Exodus (see Exodus 12:12, 13). We have every reason to trust Him because of WHO He is.

Not surprisingly, then, the call comes to return to this great God (6). Isaiah could see that when the predicted judgment fell, the people would then see the futility of their man-made idols and discard them (7). He was saying, ‘’Wouldn’t it be much better to do this now?’’ (See also 30:22). Who would want to be on the wrong side of the God who fears no-one and no thing? ‘’…he is not frightened..’’ (4).

Not only were the people of Judah called to return to the Lord and trust Him because He is this powerful and protective God (4, 5), unafraid and undisturbed; but also because He will deal with the Assyrians (8, 9; see 2 Kings 19:35, 36). ‘’Terrorized, that rock-solid people will fall to pieces, their leaders scatter hysterically.’’ The Message. They don’t have to go to Egypt for help, but look to Him. His glory is in Jerusalem, and from there His terrifying fire of judgment will break out upon the nations (9). God will go and see to the school bully if they will just keep His company and stand in His shadow. He’ll deal with them – IF ONLY THEY WILL TRUST HIM!

‘’To Isaiah there was no cause for fear when Sennacherib’s legions were encamped on the mountains of Zion. He, at least, realized that the pinions of Almightiness were between the cowering citizens and the dreaded foe. Warm and safe was such abiding. How wonderful that Jesus should have appropriated this metaphor, and spoken of Himself as willing to gather Jerusalem under His wing to save her from a more terrible fate! Does it not bespeak his consciousness of Deity that He should hide the people under the shadow of his care? This may be our daily portion…Always believe that Jesus stands between you and what you dread.’’ F.B. Meyer: Great verses through the Bible, pp. 280, 281.

Prayer: Lord please show me whenever and wherever my trust deviates from you. Help me to recognise it if I should ever start to erect an idol. I want to stay faithful to you, and please you always.

Daily Bible thoughts 687: Thursday 21st August 2014:

Isaiah 30:18-33

When God inflicts ‘’wounds’’ on His people, it is only ever because He has their deep healing in mind. He is causing them to come to Him and be enveloped in His love (26b). It is a sad fact that sometimes we have to be hurt in order to be cured.

As we saw yesterday, there is a change of tone and atmosphere at verse 18. In (19-22), Isaiah describes the blessings the people of Judah will experience after the prophesied exile. They will ‘’weep’’ no more (19; see 25:8). God will answer their heart cries for help (19). He will guide them with His voice (21). They will now listen to Him and throw away their idols (22). This twenty second verse is a powerful picture of repentance. You will see that it is more than just feeling sorry. It involves radical action to put distance between you and sin (see also 31:6, 7 and Matthew 5:29, 30). ‘’You’ll scrap your expensive and fashionable god-images. You’ll throw them in the trash as so much garbage, saying, ‘’Good riddance!’’ ‘’ The Message. Is there some messy thing that you ought to discard today?

Isaiah goes on to say that the people will once more receive the covenant blessings Moses promised (23-26; see Leviticus 26:3-13). In (26) he says that the sun and moon will shine brighter: ‘’…moonlight will flare into sunlight, and sunlight, like a whole week of sunshine at once, will flood the land.’’ The Message. It’s not clear whether the prophet is speaking figuratively at this point, or whether he is referring to the new Jerusalem to come at the end of world history (21). Both meanings are possible.

Finally, this chapter depicts God coming to judge the nations, and especially Assyria (27-33). Even as God’s judgment is being carried out, His people are rejoicing (29, 32). ‘’Oh yes, at GOD’s thunder Assyria will cower under the clubbing. Every blow GOD lands on them with his club is in time to the music of drums and pipes…’’ The Message. They are not full of pride and gloating, but they are glad to see evil overcome and the righteous vindicated. Who would not be?

We do not all share the same destiny. Those who turn to God will be saved; but those who reject Him will be destroyed. ‘’Topheth’’ (33) was a valley outside Jerusalem where children were sacrificed by fire to the pagan god Molech (2 Kings 23:10). The king of Assyria was going to meet his own fiery end.

Prayer: Lord I constantly need to hear your voice behind me, saying, ‘’This is the way; walk in it.’’ Let me know your guidance today. Keep me from every wrong turning.


Daily Bible thoughts 686: Wednesday 20th August 2014:

 Psalm 107:1-9

‘’He poured great draughts of water down parched throats; the starved and hungry got plenty to eat.’’ The Message. Strong spiritual desire, let it be said, is so important, and a missing ingredient in lots of churches and in the lives of many professing Christians. There is a Biblical principle, exemplified in these verses, that those who hunger and thirst will be filled (5, 9). Hunger and thirst for God (and for the things of God) get translated into heartfelt prayer, and God answers prayer (6, 7). I read a wonderful testimony, written by a woman, Tara Edelschick, who lost her husband of five years through complications from routine surgery. Ten days later, her first child, Sarah, was stillborn. In the throes of this loss she embarked on a spiritual search, and came to know Jesus through reading John’s gospel with a Christian friend. She found that she was hungry for the very real Jesus who leapt out of the pages of ‘John’. Like the people mentioned in (4-9) she was restless, looking for a place to ‘’settle’’ we might say (4, 7). In Jesus, her restlessness came to an end. Over time she discovered that a number of Christians, who did not know her, living many miles away, had prayed for her in her loss and pain. Some were (amazingly) now her friends, and one she was married to! She writes in ‘Christianity Today’ (July/August 2014): ‘’Piecing it all together, I wept and wept, unable to imagine the grace of it all. In 1997, when I was an agnostic widow living in New Jersey, a group of Christians in Massachusetts had been praying for me. And while my own attempts to find a faith never adequately explained my conversion, this did. I had been prayed into the kingdom.’’ This psalm emphasises the truth of a prayer-answering God.

The opening three verses of the psalm read like this in The Message: ‘’Oh, thank GOD – he’s so good! His love never runs out. All of you set free by GOD, tell the world! Tell how he freed you from oppression, Then rounded you up from all over the place, from the four winds, from the seven seas.’’ Those of us ‘’redeemed’’ through Christ have a responsibility to tell about our Redeemer and His redemption (Romans 10:9, 10). What God has done in the ‘heart’ should be expressed through the ‘mouth’. God has shown His goodness and love to people from all over the world and gathered them into His kingdom. It is only right that we should give Him His due in praise and worship and testimony. Four times in Psalm 107 the psalmist mentions God’s ‘’wonderful deeds for men’’ (8, 15, 21, 31). That means for all mankind. God’s love is not just for the Jews. It is for all people everywhere. Of course, though, it is only truly known by those who cry out to Him for help (6, 13, 19, and 28). Alec Motyer heads this psalm: ‘’Everybody can pray’’ and says ‘’the stance of the psalm is deliberately worldwide’’ New Bible Commentary, p.557

The psalmist describes four categories of people: those wandering in the desert (4-9); those in prison or enslaved (10-16); those afflicted in body and soul (17-22); and ‘’those in peril on the sea’’ (23-32). Here are illustrations of the different kinds of trouble people can experience in life, and from which they can be delivered through prayer. These words do not necessarily describe four different groups of people. It could be the same people facing these various troubles at different times in their lives. But in all circumstances, they (and we) can cry out to the Lord and experience His love and goodness, for He is a prayer-answering God. Whatever life throws at us can be met with prayer. ‘’One of the enduring delights of this psalm is repetition – repeated descriptions of threatening situations (4-5, 10, 17-18, 23-26), repeated recourse to prayer (6,13, 19, 28), repeated divine response (6-7, 13-14, 19-20, 28-29), repeated calls to thankfulness (8, 15, 21, 31).’’ J.A. Motyer: New Bible Commentary, p.557.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for your every encouragement to pray.

Daily Bible Thoughts 685, Tuesday 19th August 2014:

 2 Corinthians 12:11-21.
Someone seeing lots of miracles in their ministry could be in danger of getting swollen-headed. Okay, that shouldn’t happen, but it does. As John Lancaster pointed out in a recent message given at the ‘King’s Church’, Boston Spa, and based on Luke 5:1-11, the disciples’ fishing success nearly shipwrecked them! Pastor Lancaster was saying that this can happen in Christian ministry. So it’s interesting that right next door to the mention of ‘’signs, wonders and miracles’’ (12) there comes a line where Paul says ‘’even though I am nothing.’’ (11). It seems to me that the more humble you are, the more useable (to God) you are. As we have seen, Paul revelled in the things that made him weak, because they caused Him to cling to God for strength. Paul’s ministry called for ‘’great perseverance‘’ (12). In this there is a delicate balance of power and perseverance. There was a mixture of the spectacular and the mundane, ordinary, doggedly toughing it out through extraordinarily difficult experiences. Paul knew well the terrain of the mountain top and the valley and accepted both as part of normal Christian experience. If you are following Christ you will always need endurance. (It was another mark of Paul’s extraordinary humility that he did not burden this church by requiring from them the financial support that was his right as an apostle.) The Corinthians should have honoured Paul as the ‘real deal’, when they saw his ministry divinely authenticated, as it so obviously was (12), and not have been duped by the so-called ‘’super-apostles’’ (11).
Paul saw himself as a spiritual parent (14-17). As such, he didn’t expect his ‘children’ to take care of him. It was the other way round. Neither he, nor any of the men he sent to them, such as Titus, had exploited them. But the false apostles were fleecing them, yet they were quite willing to follow these brash talking men. ‘’ I have no interest in what you have-only in you. Children shouldn’t have to look out for their parents; parents look out for the children. I’d be most happy to empty my pockets, even mortgage my life, for your good.’’ The Message. Verse 15 expresses the heart of authentic spiritual leadership, and everyone involved in shepherding the flock of God will surely want to measure themselves against these words. They are deeply challenging. Every ‘good’ shepherd who wants to follow the Good Shepherd will give his life for the sheep. There are many ways in which this can be done. Alongside this deep love for the church at Corinth, there also went a fear of what he might find when he got to them (20, 21). Love for the sheep will always mean a hatred of the sin that stains and ruins their lives, and engender a desire to separate them from it.
Above everything, Paul was aware of living his life and conducting his ministry in the sight of God. It was not men’s judgment he feared, but it was the Lord’s approval he sought (19, 20). Again, the twentieth verse expresses how much Paul lived for others. ‘’I hope you don’t think that all along we’ve been making our defence before you, the jury. You’re not the jury; God is the jury – God revealed in Christ – and we make our case before him. And we’ve gone to all the trouble of supporting ourselves so that we won’t be in the way or get in the way of your growing up.’’ The Message.
Billy Graham once said that the smallest parcel he ever saw was ‘a man wrapped up in himself!’ Paul was not that man!!

Prayer: Help me to always walk humbly with you, my God; to persevere through difficulties; to know your power in weakness; and always put others before myself.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: