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Today’s Reading

Devotional

“HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). All of us at one time belonged to the world; to use the language of Paul, we were all “by nature objects of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). The love of the Father that has accomplished the transformation is lavish precisely because it is undeserved. Moreover:

(1) “And that is what we are!” This emphatic exclamation was probably called forth in the first instance because those who had left the church (1 John 2:19) were adept at manipulating the believers. They insisted that they alone had an inside track with God, that they alone really understood the true knowledge (gnosis), that they alone enjoyed the true anointing. This had the effect of undermining the believers. John insists that his readers have received the real anointing (1 John 2:27), that their right conduct demonstrates that they have been born of God (1 John 2:29), that they have had the love of God lavished on them and thus become children of God—“And that is what we are!” The same point must be made for the sake of believers in every generation who feel threatened by the extravagant but misguided claims of the “super-spiritual” crowd who exercise their pitiful manipulation by a kind of spiritual one-upmanship. “We are the children of God,” Christians quietly affirm—and that is enough. If others do not recognize the fact, it may only attest that they themselves do not know God (1 John 3:1b).

(2) Although we are now already the children of God, “what we will be has not yet been made known” (1 John 3:2). On the one hand, we must not denigrate or minimize all that we have received: “now we are children of God.” On the other, we await the consummation and our own ultimate transformation (1 John 3:2).

(3) In fact, every child of God who lives with this prospect ahead, “who has this hope in him [which probably means ‘in Christ’ or ‘in God,’ specifying the object of the hope, rather than ‘in himself,’ merely specifying the one who entertains the hope] purifies himself, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:3). The Christian looks to what he or she will become in the consummation and is already interested in becoming like that. We receive the Father’s love; we know that one day we shall be pure; so already we strive to become pure now. That is in perfect conformity with the way chapter 2 ends: “If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him” (1 John 2:29).

2 Chronicles 3–4

Solomon Builds the Temple

3:1 Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD1 had appeared to David his father, at the place that David had appointed, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. He began to build in the second month of the fourth year of his reign. These are Solomon's measurements2 for building the house of God: the length, in cubits3 of the old standard, was sixty cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits. The vestibule in front of the nave of the house was twenty cubits long, equal to the width of the house,4 and its height was 120 cubits. He overlaid it on the inside with pure gold. The nave he lined with cypress and covered it with fine gold and made palms and chains on it. He adorned the house with settings of precious stones. The gold was gold of Parvaim. So he lined the house with gold—its beams, its thresholds, its walls, and its doors—and he carved cherubim on the walls.

And he made the Most Holy Place. Its length, corresponding to the breadth of the house, was twenty cubits, and its breadth was twenty cubits. He overlaid it with 600 talents5 of fine gold. The weight of gold for the nails was fifty shekels.6 And he overlaid the upper chambers with gold.

10 In the Most Holy Place he made two cherubim of wood7 and overlaid8 them with gold. 11 The wings of the cherubim together extended twenty cubits: one wing of the one, of five cubits, touched the wall of the house, and its other wing, of five cubits, touched the wing of the other cherub; 12 and of this cherub, one wing, of five cubits, touched the wall of the house, and the other wing, also of five cubits, was joined to the wing of the first cherub. 13 The wings of these cherubim extended twenty cubits. The cherubim9 stood on their feet, facing the nave. 14 And he made the veil of blue and purple and crimson fabrics and fine linen, and he worked cherubim on it.

15 In front of the house he made two pillars thirty-five cubits high, with a capital of five cubits on the top of each. 16 He made chains like a necklace10 and put them on the tops of the pillars, and he made a hundred pomegranates and put them on the chains. 17 He set up the pillars in front of the temple, one on the south, the other on the north; that on the south he called Jachin, and that on the north Boaz.

The Temple's Furnishings

4:1 He made an altar of bronze, twenty cubits11 long and twenty cubits wide and ten cubits high. Then he made the sea of cast metal. It was round, ten cubits from brim to brim, and five cubits high, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference. Under it were figures of gourds,12 for ten cubits, compassing the sea all around. The gourds were in two rows, cast with it when it was cast. It stood on twelve oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east. The sea was set on them, and all their rear parts were inward. Its thickness was a handbreadth.13 And its brim was made like the brim of a cup, like the flower of a lily. It held 3,000 baths.14 He also made ten basins in which to wash, and set five on the south side, and five on the north side. In these they were to rinse off what was used for the burnt offering, and the sea was for the priests to wash in.

And he made ten golden lampstands as prescribed, and set them in the temple, five on the south side and five on the north. He also made ten tables and placed them in the temple, five on the south side and five on the north. And he made a hundred basins of gold. He made the court of the priests and the great court and doors for the court and overlaid their doors with bronze. 10 And he set the sea at the southeast corner of the house.

11 Hiram also made the pots, the shovels, and the basins. So Hiram finished the work that he did for King Solomon on the house of God: 12 the two pillars, the bowls, and the two capitals on the top of the pillars; and the two latticeworks to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the top of the pillars; 13 and the 400 pomegranates for the two latticeworks, two rows of pomegranates for each latticework, to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the pillars. 14 He made the stands also, and the basins on the stands, 15 and the one sea, and the twelve oxen underneath it. 16 The pots, the shovels, the forks, and all the equipment for these Huram-abi made of burnished bronze for King Solomon for the house of the LORD. 17 In the plain of the Jordan the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredah.15 18 Solomon made all these things in great quantities, for the weight of the bronze was not sought.

19 So Solomon made all the vessels that were in the house of God: the golden altar, the tables for the bread of the Presence, 20 the lampstands and their lamps of pure gold to burn before the inner sanctuary, as prescribed; 21 the flowers, the lamps, and the tongs, of purest gold; 22 the snuffers, basins, dishes for incense, and fire pans, of pure gold, and the sockets16 of the temple, for the inner doors to the Most Holy Place and for the doors of the nave of the temple were of gold.

Footnotes

[1] 3:1 Septuagint; Hebrew lacks the Lord
[2] 3:3 Syriac; Hebrew foundations
[3] 3:3 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters
[4] 3:4 Compare 1 Kings 6:3; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
[5] 3:8 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms
[6] 3:9 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams
[7] 3:10 Septuagint; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
[8] 3:10 Hebrew they overlaid
[9] 3:13 Hebrew they
[10] 3:16 Hebrew chains in the inner sanctuary
[11] 4:1 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters
[12] 4:3 Compare 1 Kings 7:24; Hebrew oxen; twice in this verse
[13] 4:5 A handbreadth was about 3 inches or 7.5 centimeters
[14] 4:5 A bath was about 6 gallons or 22 liters
[15] 4:17 Spelled Zarethan in 1 Kings 7:46
[16] 4:22 Compare 1 Kings 7:50; Hebrew the entrance of the house

(ESV)

1 John 3

3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears1 we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's2 seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Love One Another

11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers,3 that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God,4 and God5 in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

Footnotes

[1] 3:2 Or when it appears
[2] 3:9 Greek his
[3] 3:13 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters; also verses 14, 16
[4] 3:24 Greek him
[5] 3:24 Greek he

(ESV)

Nahum 2

The Destruction of Nineveh

2:1   The scatterer has come up against you.
    Man the ramparts;
    watch the road;
  dress for battle;1
    collect all your strength.
  For the LORD is restoring the majesty of Jacob
    as the majesty of Israel,
  for plunderers have plundered them
    and ruined their branches.
  The shield of his mighty men is red;
    his soldiers are clothed in scarlet.
  The chariots come with flashing metal
    on the day he musters them;
    the cypress spears are brandished.
  The chariots race madly through the streets;
    they rush to and fro through the squares;
  they gleam like torches;
    they dart like lightning.
  He remembers his officers;
    they stumble as they go,
  they hasten to the wall;
    the siege tower2 is set up.
  The river gates are opened;
    the palace melts away;
  its mistress3 is stripped;4 she is carried off,
    her slave girls lamenting,
  moaning like doves
    and beating their breasts.
  Nineveh is like a pool
    whose waters run away.5
  “Halt! Halt!” they cry,
    but none turns back.
  Plunder the silver,
    plunder the gold!
  There is no end of the treasure
    or of the wealth of all precious things.
10   Desolate! Desolation and ruin!
    Hearts melt and knees tremble;
  anguish is in all loins;
    all faces grow pale!
11   Where is the lions' den,
    the feeding place of the young lions,
  where the lion and lioness went,
    where his cubs were, with none to disturb?
12   The lion tore enough for his cubs
    and strangled prey for his lionesses;
  he filled his caves with prey
    and his dens with torn flesh.

13 Behold, I am against you, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will burn your6 chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions. I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall no longer be heard.

Footnotes

[1] 2:1 Hebrew gird your loins
[2] 2:5 Or the mantelet
[3] 2:7 The meaning of the Hebrew word rendered its mistress is uncertain
[4] 2:7 Or exiled
[5] 2:8 Compare Septuagint; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
[6] 2:13 Hebrew her

(ESV)

Luke 18

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18:1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed1 thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Let the Children Come to Me

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

The Rich Ruler

18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers2 or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time

31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar

35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Footnotes

[1] 18:11 Or standing, prayed to himself
[2] 18:29 Or wife or brothers and sisters

(ESV)