Sin is drop-dead gorgeous, a lover and a serial killer, giving pleasure and then poisoning.
Sin is a mentor and a predator, growing its prey and then pouncing to kill.
Sin is a comforter and a peace-robber, helping mask the pain yet increasing the anxiety.
Sin is an emancipator and an enslaver, throwing off all restraint and then chaining in a prison of bondage and regret.
Sin exudes happiness and kills joy, calling for the pursuit of happiness while strangling inner joy.
Sin is a truth-teller and a liar, using truth when it forwards its agenda and using lies for the same.
Sin is a comrade and an enemy, an old friend with whom we’re comfortable and a foreign spy betraying our best interests.
I’ve been sin’s buddy and victim. You have, too. We’ve been duped by the promises and trapped by the emptiness. We’ve been enticed by the glow and burned by the fire. We’ve let sin reign in our mortal bodies in various ways because we’ve swallowed the lie and set God’s ways aside. We’ve failed in our thoughts, actions, and omissions. Lest you forget, sin isn’t just for the addicts of alcohol, drugs, and sex. Sin doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race, religion, and gender. Sin can be right in the middle of our occupations and preoccupations. Sin is found in the most conservative churches and in the most faithful of families. In less than ten honest seconds, you could name a sin which trips you up, and in ten minutes, you could make a list which would start discouraging your soul. When it comes to sin, we can be smart and then so stupid. Every person has proven to himself and God why humanity is in need of a Savior. I’m so glad the Father sent the Son to redeem mankind so that by the Spirit we can be unshackled from sin and rescued from the mouth of hell.
Regarding this week’s reading, you’ll see Ezra being struck by the sin in and around him. “O my God, I am utterly ashamed; I blush to lift up my face to You. For our sins are piled higher than our heads, and our guilt has reached to the heavens. From the days of our ancestors until now, we have been steeped in sin” (Ezra 9 in The New Living Translation). Earlier during the reign of King David, a man after God’s own heart, we hear the broken cry from David after he was confronted with the sin in his life after he’d stolen Bathsheba through adultery and murder. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit” (Psalm 51 in The English Standard Version). May we find contrite hearts after seeing the sin in our hearts and experience the incomparable mercy, grace, and forgiveness of God.
This week you’ll read…
Deuteronomy 15-21: Moses gives a little prophecy which comes about in the days of Samuel the judge. “When you enter the land that God, your God, is giving you and take it over and settle down, and then say, “I’m going to get me a king, a king like all the nations around me,” make sure you get yourself a king whom God, your God, chooses.” (Deuteronomy 17 in The Message Bible). When the people refused God as king in Samuel’s day, God was not surprised. He gave them their heart’s desire—Saul, a good-looking man but not kingly material. David, a man after God’s heart, would follow.
Joshua 15-21: After much conquering, the Israelites settle in the Promised Land, and each tribe receives its inheritance, or allotment of land.
Ezra 8-10: “My dear God, I’m so totally ashamed, I can’t bear to face You. O my God—our iniquities are piled up so high that we can’t see out; our guilt touches the skies. We’ve been stuck in a muck of guilt since the time of our ancestors until right now” (Ezra 9 in The Message Bible).
Psalms 46-51: “Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46 in The New Living Translation).
Romans 15-16: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15 in The New International Version).
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MSG are daily readings linked to The Message Bible on BibleGateway.com.
CSB are daily readings linked to The Christian Standard Bible on BibleGateway.com.
NLT are daily readings linked to The New Living Translation on BibleGateway.com.
NIV are daily readings linked to The New International Version on BibleGateway.com.
ESV are daily readings linked to The English Standard Version on BibleGateway.com.