June 24: It’s Simple
Nehemiah 7:66–8:18; 1 John 5:6–12; Psalm 110:1–7
I tend to complicate matters. Determined to understand the nuances of a problem, I spend more time constructing a solution than I need to. Often, delaying a simple solution is my way of avoiding action that requires me to be courageous, intentional, or perhaps admit I’m wrong.
John’s first letter addresses a complication of the gospel message. False teachers were causing division in the community by spreading incorrect doctrines about Christ’s humanity and divinity. Without understanding that Christ is both man and God, some people in the community were in danger of diminishing Christ’s saving work and confusing the gospel. John spends the greater portion of the letter guiding his readers through the murky doctrines the false teachers had introduced.
However, John’s climactic point at the close of his letter is far from complex. First John 5:11–12 contains a statement about belief that is both simple and decisive: “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. The one who has the Son has the life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” As John leads the doubting recipients of his letter back to the truth, he shows them the simplicity of the solution: Through the Son, God has provided a way out of sin. This simple truth requires a simple response: belief in the Son.
Where in your life do you complicate an obedient response to God?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- All the Congregation together was two and forty thousand, three hundred and threescore, Besides their servants and their maids, which were seven thousand, three hundred and seven and thirty: and they had two hundred and five and forty singing men and singing women. Their horses were seven hunded and six and thirty, and their mules two hundred and five and forty. The camels four hundred and five and thirty, and six thousand seven hundred and twenty asses. And certain of the chief fathers gave unto the work. The Tirshatha gave to the treasure, a thousand drams of gold, fifty basins, five hundred and thirty Priest’s garments. And some of the chief fathers gave unto the treasure of the work, twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand and two hundred pieces of silver. And the rest of the people gave twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand pieces of silver, and threescore and seven Priest’s garments. And the Priests, and the Levites, and the porters and the singers, and the rest of the people and the Nethinim, and all Israel dwelt in their cities: and when the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in their cities. And all the people assembled themselves together, int he street that was before teh water gate, and they spake unto Ezra the Scribe, that he would bring the book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the Priest brought the Law before the Congregation both of men and women, and of all that could hear and understand it, in the first day of the seventh month. And he rad therein in the street that was before the water gate (from the morning until the midday) before men and women, and them that understood it, and the ears of all the people hearkened unto the book of the Law. And Ezra the Scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood which he had made for the preaching, and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and on his left hand Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchijah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. And Ezra opened the book before allthe people: for he was above all the people: and when he opened it, all the people stood up. And Ezra praised the Lord the great God, and all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed themselves, and worshipped the Lord with their faces toward the ground. Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites caused the people to understand the Law, and the people stood in their place. And they read in the book of the Law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. Then Nehemiah (which is Tirshatha) and Ezra the Priest and Scribe, and the Levites that instructed the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God: mourn not, neithr weep: for all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. He said also unto them, Go and eat of the fat, and drink the sweet, and send part unto them, for whom none is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: be ye not sorry therefore: for the joy of the Lord is your strength. And the Levites made silence throughout all the people, saying, Hold your peace: for the day is holy, be not sad therefore. Then all the people went to eat and to drink, and to send away part, and to make great joy, because they had understood the words that they had taught them. And on the second day the chief fathers of all the people, the Priests and the Levites were gathered unto Ezra the Scribe, that he also might instruct them in the words of the Law. And they found written in the Law, (that the Lord had commanded Moses) that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month, And that they should cause it to be declared and proclaimed in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and bring olive branches, and pine branches, and branches of myrtle, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. So the people went forth and brought them, and made them booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street by the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. And all the Congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity, made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the time of Jeshua the son of Nun unto this day, had not the children of Israel done so, and there was very great joy. And he read in the book of the Law of God every day, from the first day unto the last day. And they kept the feast seven days, and on the eighth day a solemn assembly, according unto the manner. Nehemiah 7:66–8:18
- This is that Jesus Christ that came by water and blood: not by water only, but by water and blood: and it is that Spirit that beareth witness: for that Spirit is truth. For there are three, which bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three, which bear record in the earth, the Spirit, and the Water and the Blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: but for this is the witness of God, which he testified of his Son. He that believeth in the Son of God, hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he believed not the record, that God witnessed of that his Son. And this is that record, to wit, that God hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is in that his Son. He that hath Son, hath the life: and he that hath not that Son of God, hath not that life. Thse things have I written unto you, that belive in the name of that Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe in the Name of that Son of God. And this is that assurance that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us. And if we know that he heareth us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions, that we have desired of him. If any man see his brother sin a sin that is not unto death, let him ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death, I asay not that thou shouldest pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin, but there is a sin not unto death. We know that whatsoever is born of God, sinneth not: but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. We know that we are of God, and this whole world lieth in wickedness. But we know that that Son of God is come, and hath given us a mind to know him, which is true, and we are in him that is true, that is, in that his Son Jesus Christ, the same is that very God, and that eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols, Amen. 1 John 5:6–12
- The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy power out of Zion: be thou ruler in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall come willingly at the time of assembling thine army in holy beauty: the youth of thy womb shall be as the morning dew. The Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord that is at thy right hand, shall wound kings in the days of his wrath, He shall be judge among the heathen: he shall fill all with dead bodies, and smite the head over great countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall be lift up his head. Psalm 110:1–7