Spiritual Rants: “Loss Leader” October 2 Daily Bible Readings in a year: Isaiah 66:1-24 Philippians 3:4-21 Psalm 74:1-23 Proverbs 24:15-16

Old Testament:  Isaiah 66:1-24

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Isaiah 66:1-24  Over And Out

Chap. 66   Isaiah culminates his writing with the culmination of all things.  Ryrie points out that all living Israelites will be saved at the end of the Millennium (7-9; cf. Rom. 11:26; Zech. 12:10; 13:1).

Wiersbe says, “Political Israel was born on May 14, 1948, but ‘the new Israel’ will be ‘born in a day’ when they believe on Jesus Christ.”  Verses 7-9 indicates that all Israel will return quickly and the world will know it (v. 19).

Another description of the Millennium (vv. 10-14) is followed by a description of judgment (vv. 15-17, cf. 2 Thess. 1:7-9).  New Israel will last forever (v. 22).  The judgment of the wicked will also last forever (v. 24).  The only alternative is to trust Christ and choose life (Deut. 30:19)!

New Testament:  Philippians 3:4-21

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Philippians 3:4-21     Loss Leader

Paul takes on the legalistic Judaizers again as he did in the book of 2 Corinthians.  He used a similar tactic, giving his credentials as a true apostle and teacher (v. 4).  He says he was circumcised legally, was born an Israelite through the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee who persecuted the church at one time, keeping the law perfectly (v. 5).

He considered this resume to be “loss” or in verse 8, skubala, which literally means “dung” (cf. KJV, “rubbish,” NASB, “garbage” NIV).  It was all nothing compared to having gained his life in Christ.  This included both his “sufferings” (v. 11) as well as the power of Christ’s resurrection raised him from the dead after he died.

It is important to understand that Paul did not consider that he had reached perfection in the Christian life (v. 12).  You would think if anyone could have achieved a perfect state on earth, it would have been Paul, other than Jesus.  Paul kept progressing in his spirituality (v. 13) but he did strive to achieve all he could for Christ (v. 14), forgetting all his failures (v. 13).  “Perfect” in verse 15 might be better rendered “mature” (cf. NIV, ESV, RSV, HCSB).  Those who are “mature” will understand they can’t have reached “perfection.”

Paul again sets himself up as a example for them and a mentor (v. 17, cf. 1 Cor. 11:1; Phil. 4:9; 2 Thess. 3:8-9; 1 Tim. 4:12; 2 Tim. 3:10-11; also Heb. 13:7; 1 Pet. 5:3).

There were those who were enemies of grace and of Christ.  They would end up in Hell, they live only to feed their appetites and only think about the things of the world (v. 19).  Notice he did not say they were necessarily outside the church.  There are those who will attack anyone who tries to live a spiritual life and some of them are inside the church!

Do you think you are a citizen of the USA?  Are you a citizen of a particular state or town?  Paul says we are citizens of Heaven (v. 20).  Jesus will come back from Heaven and turn our measly bodies into glorious, transformed bodies (v. 21).  Our bodies will then be like His (cf. 1 Cor. 15:42–53;  1 John 3:2).  He has the power to do it (cf. Eph. 1:19-20).  It is the same power that He has to subject everyone and everything to Himself (cf. Ps. 8:6; 110:1).

 


Psalm 74:1-23   God’s Turtledove     A Lament Psalm by Asaph . . . probably


Proverbs 24:15-16   No. Seven

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I was parking cars at the Atlanta Hilton after I was called into the ministry.  If you think God just makes you happy because you are obeying Him, think again.  The ceiling fell in on us when we committed to go into the ministry.  I lost my job in radio after I accepted my call into ministry and ended up putting patrons’ vehicles to sleep at night while they were in their comfy beds.

While I was there, my boss had heard a Michael W. Smith song called “The Race Is On.”  The song had a lyric about how God sustains Christians no matter what.  My boss must have thought I was a walking wikipedia, even though there was no internet back then.  Anyway, he asked me, “What was that verse about how God takes care of us even if we fall or stumble, something like that?”

“How would I know,” I thought.  He figured because I was going to go to seminary, I must have memorized the entire Scripture.  And he figured I must have learned it in all versions, too.  I worked on the conundrum and finally found the verse he was thinking about.  It turned out it was in New International Version that I hadn’t been using at the time.  It was, “though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand” (Ps. 37:24).

If you didn’t believe David, you should listen to Solomon.  If you have trusted Him, one of the perks is that God will take care of you!  Even if there are some bad actors out to get you, God will ward them off at the pass.  They are warned (v. 15).  God has the ability to trip them up (v. 16b, cf. Ps. 57:6).

Verse 16 says that you can bite the dust seven times (v. 16a) and God will lift you up every time.  But seven times is just a metaphor to mean that no matter how many times you fail, God will pull you up.

Isn’t that good news?

Trust God.  Jesus will be like a big brother that gets you out of all kinds of trouble (cf. Heb. 2:11; Ps. 71:20; 91:15).

The race is on and you will be victorious (cf. Rom. 8:37; 1 John 5:4).  If you trust Him.

 

 

  • If you just have to read more on this, I wrote a short piece called, “The Race On.”

Choose Life: Scripture:  Philippians 3:8   NASB   “Skubala

” . . . I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ . . . ”  Philippians 3:8  NASB

 

I used to fill in preaching around Texas about the time I graduated seminary.  I preached at one church on Philippians 3 and explained that the word “rubbish” or “garbage” in some translations (even “dung” in the KJV) translated the Greek word, skubala.  I said it even sounded yucky, skubala.  Ick.  One of the congregants sketched a portrait of me with skubala.  I’ll always relish that picture.

John tells us not to love the “world system” (1 John 2:15-16).  Here Paul says that all that meant anything to him was a loss and skubala.  How many Christians today understand that the entire world system such as material things, power, and prestige belong to the world system and aren’t worth having.  This doesn’t mean we should never have nice things or enjoy anything nice that God allows us to have.  It does mean that our values should change and we learn as Paul did, to be content with what we have (cf. Phil. 4:11-12; Heb. 13:5).

Learning what is the skubala in life is a process.

How are you doing today in recognizing skubala?

Don’t desire it.

Do desire what God has for you.

 

If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application: 

What is the skubala in your life?  Hebrews 12:2 tells us to “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  In other words we should get the junk out of lives that just drag us down and keep us from Christ.  1John 2: 16 calls these things the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.”  We shouldn’t wait for spring to clean this stuff up.  We could do Fall and Winter cleaning!

On the other hand, what are the wonderful things that God has given us to enjoy?  We should make sure we enjoy those things.  A good church?  Fall leaves?  A really tasty and healthy meal?  Last night we had a beautiful “blood” moon that almost everyone in the world could look up and enjoy.  It’s been said that some of the most enjoyable things in life are free.  Make sure you slow yourself down enough today to enjoy what God has given you.

 

The purpose of the Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day.  There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:  Over And Out

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