Sunday 24 August 2014

"DO YOU NOT KNOW" Thoughts from Today's Bible readings - August 23th


            We have 3 quite dramatic, but also quite diverse readings today.  First the confrontation of Elijah with Ahab.  It is clear God is in control and directing the course of events in the wayward northern kingdom, but there are still a few worthy left, at least 100, which Obadiah had hidden in a cave.  God’s punishment on Ahab’s kingdom for its godlessness is a terrible drought.
            In Jeremiah we read that he and the remnant of the people are still in Egypt, where the people had been determined to go, also being determined to continue worshipping idols, especially “the queen of heaven”.  Most of them perish in their godlessness, but again there is a remnant, “a few in number,” who, says the LORD through Jeremiah, “shall return from the land of Egypt” [ch.44 v.28]
            Paul’s letter to the Corinthians has parallels to this, he makes some extraordinary but wonderful statements about the privileged position true believers have before God, but many in Corinth, as this stage, failed to appreciate this.  “You are God’s field, God’s building” [3 v.9], he tells them.  “The wisdom of the this world is folly with God” [v.19] We saw this with Ahab and with those who insisted in going down to Egypt.
            “Do you not know.”  Paul asks them, “that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him.  For God’s Temple is holyand you are that temple.” [v.16,17]  The awesome reality in our lives is to genuinely sense the presence of God with us – IN us – as a spiritual temple in which God dwells. It is evident that Elijah and Jeremiah sensed this. Tomorrow, we will read of how Elijah tried to escape from this realization.  
Over the years there has been times of spiritually unhealthy discussion as to whether we possess the Holy Spirit today.   We do not, it is the other way round, the Spirit of God possesses true believers,  as Paul told the men of Athens, “he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being.’” [Acts 17 v.27,28] “Do you not know” this?        

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