Scripture reading for March 26th: Luke 18
Key Scriptures: Luke 18:18-24 “And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments? ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'” And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come and follow Me.” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
Mankind is always looking for a formula or some form of human effort that they can use to earn favor with God. The rich ruler flattered Jesus, calling Him ‘good’ and appeared sincere in his quest for eternal life. Jesus called his attention to the revealed Word of God, the ten commandments, quoting five of them. The ruler sincerely stated that he had kept them from his youth. Knowing his love of money, Jesus went deeper to expose a breaking of the first commandment–idolatry. When asked to give up all his possessions and follow Jesus, he became sad and could not freely comply. He was wrestling in his heart with the cost of obtaining what he had stated he wanted and giving up the money now. Jesus told His disciples that it was hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom–not impossible! With God’s grace and our humility to listen and receive, all things are possible.
Luke 18:29-30 “And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come, eternal life.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your grace, enabling my salvation! I wanted this world’s riches, but was bankrupt until You revealed the Way of eternal life in Jesus Christ. Help me to clearly present the Good News of laying my desires down and following You to eternal riches.
Proverbs 11:28 “Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.”
Scripture reading for January 14th: 2nd Timothy 3
Key Scriptures: 2nd Timothy 3:12-17 “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Paul reminded Timothy over and over that those following Jesus and applying God’s Word to their lives would not be universally loved and accepted. The world was full of evil and people under evil’s influence and deception. This would increase as the world population increased but should not affect how believers lived. They must hold on firmly to the basic truths of Scripture. God breathed out the Scriptures and through them man can become wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Scripture is profitable for reproof–addressing wrong-doing and sin, for correction–changing course, and for illumination of our path through this increasingly evil world. God’s Word will equip believers for every good work and brings eternal profit!
Psalm 119:14-15 “In the way of Your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and fix my eyes on Your ways.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for enduring suffering and teaching Your followers that suffering would come to them in an increasingly evil world. I will study Your Word and faithfully remind my brothers and sisters how profitable it is to become equipped and complete. Help me to rejoice when persecutions come.
Luke 6:22-23 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.”
Scripture reading for October 1st: 1 Timothy 6, Psalm 46, Proverbs 11
Key Scriptures: 1st Timothy 6:6-10 “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
Paul encouraged his son in the faith to continue to be godly and learn contentment. The pull of our world toward riches and fame is strong. When the desire to become rich in this world replaces the desire to be rich in our relationship with God, nothing but ruin and destruction can follow. We will take no riches of this world into the next. If we lose our soul for earthly gain, we have lost everything.
Faith Confession: I choose to be a godly man and live in contentment with God’s provision for me in this world. I am thankful for daily food and clothing and a place to stay. Lord, deliver me from the trap of seeking earthly riches and fame.
Proverbs 11:4-5 “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight, but the wicked falls by his own wickedness.”
Scripture reading for April 6th: 1st Kings 9-11
“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.” Proverbs 27:21
Fame and fortune bring lots of praise from the lips of men. Everyone wants to be around a famous person and the rich have many friends. These blessings can easily lead our hearts away from faith in the Lord and a vital relationship with Him. God warned the Israelites that when they entered the promised land and settled down and became prosperous, they would be tempted to forget God. (Deuteronomy 8:10-13) In a sense, prosperity and fame can be a more difficult test than sexual lust. Solomon found that this was true.
After Solomon finished dedicating the temple and achieving all he had desired to do, God appeared to him a second time. God promised that He would hear the prayers said at the temple and watch over it. God then warned Solomon against turning away from Him and going after other gods. (1st Kings 9:6-9) God understood the test that Solomon would face as his fame and fortune grew.
Solomon was soon headed down a wrong path. His heart was not obedient to the Lord. He left many of the Caanites in the land and put them in forced labor. Solomon married many foreign women and took 700 wives and 300 concubines from among the nations that the Lord forbid the Israelites to marry from. God had warned that their hearts would be led astray to idolatry and His Word is always to be trusted. (1st Kings 11:1-6) Solomon’s heart was not fully committed to the Lord and he did evil in God’s sight! He built high places for these gods of his foreign wives and they offered sacrifices, further angering God.
The result of God’s anger and Solomon’s drifting away was that God raised up adversaries against Israel. Hadad the Edomite and Rezon from Aram (Syria) were both hostile towards Israel. One of Solomon’s own officials, Jeroboam, son of Nebat, also rebelled against the king. Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but he fled to Egypt.
What can we learn from all of this? We can easily see how our hearts can be distracted from the Lord by fame and fortune. We all think that it would be wonderful to have what Solomon or some other famous figure had, but we must be reminded of how are hearts are tested by this. The pride and power of prosperity can make one as drunk as wine! God is jealous (Exodus 34:14) and will not tolerate idolatry. This test brings out the worst in us from our sin nature. The Apostle Peter reminds us that when we suffer for Christ’s sake, we cease from sin and live for the will of God. Suffering is a test but it purifies us much easier. (1st Peter 4:1-2)
Pray today for someone who has fame or fortune, who is in a position of authority and influence. Pray for God’s grace to protect and keep that person–that he’ll not fall away and lead others astray.