Singing, “All my ways are known to you “, brings me in line with what Jesus was saying to me yesterday.
“I want to revisit what I showed you yesterday. The hordes of Israelites fleeing from Egypt through the Red Sea and into the desert. I tested them with no water or food and very soon they were grumbling and complaining. Even when I gave them manna for food, they were not satisfied. So I sent quail. I gave them water, miraculously made sweet and fresh – yet they continued to grumble and long for their life in bondage in Egypt. The journey through the desert was only going to be accomplished if they trusted Me. If they recognized that the manna – represented Me and the spiritual food I would give – the pillar of Fire at night – represented Me as the light of the world – their Light leading them on. Now take this on board – there in the desert was exactly where I wanted them to be. So where you are now is exactly where I want you to be. Although you are in the desert – you have Me – I am you Bread, I am your Light, I am your Health – don’t be like the Israelites and long back for another life.
Now we proceed in 1 Cor to ch 8 and 9. Firstly Paul brings up the subject of knowledge. He is going to deal with this later as part of his discussion on the spiritual gifts in greater detail. These people, Greeks, prided themselves on their (gift of) knowledge. Paul puts that in perspective as he will again later. Love is more important than knowledge. Love builds up, while knowledge puffs up. The most important knowledge is that God should know each one of us. In John 17:3, Jesus makes this statement, “Now this is eternal life: that they (the disciples) may know you”. This bilateral statement of knowledge is extremely important. It recognizes and emphasizes the nature of our relationship with Jesus and the Father. Bilateral knowledge of each other, intimate, loving knowledge. God who knows every thought and motive in our hearts and from us a desire to draw closer and closer to God Himself..
On top of that, Paul makes another amazing, earth-shattering statement in 8:6. Just look what He is saying: “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all thigs came and through whom we live.” Do you understand the impact of that? Jesus and God are one and the same. The first time I realized that it was an amazing, life-changing revelation to me. Jesus is really God, come in human flesh! Wow! Understanding that in your heart of hearts actually changes everything.
Paul’s concern thereafter is about food sacrificed to Idols and the way one should handle that –in love. Suffice is to say that the principle remains true that if we cause a brother/ sister to sin, then we are sinning against Jesus. We have a huge responsibility towards others in our church family. Food for thought?
In ch 9 Paul spends some time in defence of his apostleship. This is repeated in much greater detail in 2 Corinthians his second letter to them. We probably never get around to doubting his apostleship since he wrote a large part of the New Testament. It is good to remind ourselves, nevertheless of the authenticity of his Apostleship and therefore his writing, since that lends credence that it comes from God Himsel and carries His authority.
What did strike me, personally was his drive and determination to share the gospel at all costs. My own heart has been aflame for the gospel for many years and I ask myself, “Is that flame still burning just as brightly?” Am I prepared to become all things to all people so that just one may be won to the Lord and saved. In fact, am I still running the race to receive the crown which awaits me?
Keep in the race, dear friends. Keep your eyes on the crown of glory which awaits each one of us and the desert scene around us will become strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.