March 16: It Will Seem Simple in Retrospect
Numbers 17:1–18:32; 1 Corinthians 1:1–31; Psalm 18:1–12
We’re all faced with difficult tasks. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he was forced to confront their spiritual problems, which were slowly destroying God’s work among them. Paul was thankful for them (1 Cor 1:4–8), but he was also called to a high purpose as an apostle. His calling meant saying what people didn’t want to hear (1 Cor 1:1).
There were divisions among the Corinthians that were going to rip their fledgling church apart, and Paul implored them to make some difficult changes: “Now I exhort you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that … there not be divisions among you, and that you be made complete in the same mind and with the same purpose. For … there are quarrels among you” (1 Cor 1:10–11). And here’s where something amazing happens that we often overlook. Paul, a confident man and a former Law-abiding Pharisee, could have stated why he was right and moved on, but he does something else:
“Each of you is saying, ‘I am with Paul,’ and ‘I am with Apollos,’ and ‘I am with Cephas,’ and ‘I am with Christ.’ Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I give thanks that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that you were baptized in my name” (1 Cor 1:12–15). Paul sticks it to them, and he reminds them that Christ deserves all the credit.
We all have moments like this, where we have the opportunity to take credit for someone else’s work—or even worse, for Jesus’ work. Paul had the strength and character that we should all desire.
How are you currently taking credit for others’ people work or for Jesus’?
JOHN D. BARRY
- And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod, after the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the family of their fathers, even twelve rods: and thou shalt write every man’s name upon his rod. And write Aaron’s name upon the rod of Levi: for every rod shall be for the head of the house of their fathers. And thou shalt put them in the Tabernacle of the Congregation, before the Ark of the testimony, where I will declare myself to you. And the man’s rod, whom I choose, shall blossom: and I will make cease from me the grudgings of the children of Israel, which grudge against you. And the man’s rod, whom I choose, shall blossom: and I will make cease from me the grudgings of the children of Israel, which gruge against you. Then Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and all their Princes gave him a rod, one rod for every prince, according to the houses of their fathers, even twelve rods, and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. And Moses laid the rods before the Lord in the Tabernacle of Testimony. And when Moses on the morow went into the Tabernacle of the Testimony, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and brought forth blossoms, and bare ripe almonds. Then Moses brought out all the rods from before the Lord unto all the children of Israel: and they looked upon them, and took every man his rod. After, the Lord said unto Moses, Bring Aaron’s rod again before the Testimony to be kept for a token to the rebellious children, and thou shalt cause their murmurings to cease from me, that they die not. So Moses did as the Lord had commanded him: so did he. And the children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying, Behold, we are dead, we perish, we are all lost: Whosoever cometh near or approacheth to the Tabernacle of the Lord, shall die: shall we be consumed and die? And the Lord said unto Aaron, Thou, and thy sons, and thy father’s house with thee, shall bear the iniquity of the Sanctuary: both thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your Priest’s office. And bring also with thee thy brethren of the tribe of Levi of the family of thy father which shall be joined with thee, and minister unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the Tabernacle of the Testimony: And they shall keep my charge, even the charge of the Tabernacle of the Congregation for all the service of the Tabernacle: and no stranger shall come near unto you: Therefore shall ye keep the charge of the Sanctuary, and the charge of the Altar: so there shall fall no more wrath upon the children of Israel. For lo, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel, which as a gift of yours, are given unto the Lord, to do the service of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. But thou, and thy sons with thee shall keep your Priest’s office for all things of the Altar, and within the veil: therefore shall ye serve: for I have made your Priest’s office an office of service: therefore the stranger that cometh near shall be slain. Again the Lord spake unto Aaron, Behold, I have given thee the keeping of mine offerings, of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel: unto thee have I given them for the anointing’s sake, and to thy sons of a perpetual ordinance. This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: all their offering of all their meat offering, and of all their sin offering, and of all their trespass offering, which they bring unto me, that shall be most holy unto thee, and to thy sons. In the most holy place shalt thou eat it: every male shall eat of it: it is holy unto thee. This also shall be thine: the heave offering of their gift, with all the shake offerings of the children of Israel, I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, to be a duty forever: all the clean in thine house shall eat of it. All the fat of the oil, and all the fat of the wine, and of the wheat, which shall offer unto the Lord for their firstfruits, I have given them unto thee. And the first ripe of all that is in their land, which they shall bring unto Lord shall be thine: all the clean in thine house shall eat of it. Everything separate from the common use in Israel shall be thine. All that first openeth the matrix of any flesh, which they shall offer unto the Lord of man or beast, shall be thine: but the firstborn of man shalt thou redeem, and the firstborn of the unclean beast shalt thou redeem. And those that are to be redeemed, shalt thou redeem from the age of a month, according to thy estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the Sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. But the firstborn of a cow, or the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat shalt thou not redeem: for they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood at the altar, and thou shalt burn their fat: it is a sacrifice made by fire for a sweet savor unto the Lord. And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the shake breast, and as the right shoulder shall be thine. All the heave offerings of the holy things which the children of Israel shall offer unto the Lord, have I given thee, and thy sons, and thy daughters with thee, to be a duty forever: it is a perpetual covenant of salt before the Lord, to thee, and to thy seed with thee. And the Lord said unto Aaron, Thou shalt have none inheritance in their land: neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. For behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve in the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Neither shall the children of Israel any more come near the Tabernacle of the Congregation, lest they sustain sin, and die. But the Levites shall do the service in the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and they shall bear their sin: it is a law forever in your generation, that among the children of Israel they possess none inheritance. For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they shall offer as an offering unto the Lord, I have given the Levites for an inheritance, therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel ye shall possess none inheritance. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak also unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye shall take of the chilren of Israel the tithes, which I have given you of them for your inheritance, then shall e take an heave offering of that same for the Lord, even the tentth part of the Lord’s heave offering to Aaron the Priest. Ye shall offer of all your gifts all the Lord’s heave offerings: of all the fat of the same shall ye offer the holy things thereof. Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have offered the fat thereof, then it shall be counted unto the Levites, as the increase of the corn floor, or as the increase of the winepress. And ye shall eat it in all places, ye, and our households: for it is your wages for the service to the Tabernacle of the Congregation. And ye shall bear no sin by the reason of it, when ye have offered the fat of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die. Numbers 17:1–18:32
- Paul called to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ, through the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, Unto the Church of God, which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, Saints by calling, with all that call on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both their Lord, and ours: Grace be with you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf for the grace of God, which is given you in Jesus Christ. That in all things ye are made rich in him in all kind of speech, and in all knowledge: As the testimony of Jesus Christ hath been confirmed in you; So that ye are not destitute of any gifts: waiting for the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye are called unto the fellowship of his son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak one thing, and that there be no dissensions among you: but be ye knit together in one mind, and in one judgment. For it hath been declared unto me, my brethren, of you by them that are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am Paul’s, and I am Apollos’s, and I am Cephas’s and I am Christ’s. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? either were ye baptized into the name of Paul? I thank God, that I baptized none of you, but Crispus, and Gaius, Lest any should say, that I had baptized into mine own name. I baptized also the household of Stephanas: furthermore know I not, whether I baptized any other. For CHRIST sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For that preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness: but unto us, which are saved, it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will cast away the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the Scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made the wisdom of this world foolishness? For seeing the world by wisdom knew not God in the wisdom of GOD, it pleased God by the foolisheness of preaching to save them that believe: Seeing also that the Jews require a sign, and the Grecians seek aftet wisom. But we preach Christ crucified: unto the Jews, even a stumbling block, and unto the Grecians, foolishness: But unto them which are called, both of the Jews and Grecians, we preach Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For brethren, you see our calling, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confoun the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the mighty things. And vile things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are. That no flesh should rejoice in his presence. But ye are of him in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. That, according as it is written, He that rejoiceth, let him rejoice in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:1–31
- I will love thee dearly, O Lord my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and he that delivereth me, my God and my strength: in him will I trust, my shield, the horn also of my salvation, and my refuge. I will call upon the Lord, which is worthy to be praised: so shall I be safe from mine enemies. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of wickedness made me afraid. The sorrows of the grave have compassed me about: the snares of death overtook me. But in my trouble did I call upon the Lord, and cried unto God: he heard my voice out of his Temple, and my cry i come before him, even into his ears. Then the earth trembled and quaked: the foundations also of the mountains moved and shook, because he was angry. Smoke went out of his nostrils, and a consuming fire out of his mouth: coals were kindled thereat. He bowed the heavens also and came down, and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon Cherub, and did fly, and he came flying upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret pace, and his pavilion round about him, even darkness of waters, and clous of the air. At the brightness of his presence his clouds passed, hailstones and coals of fire. Psalm 18:1–12