1 Corinthians 1:1–9
Faith, trust, God versus evil, corruption, devil is the conflict upon the
earth between the heavenly will of God and those who have faith and trust in
Him versus the corrupt and evil ways of the devil and those who follow his
ways with all the pain, suffering, and death.
All the time, we hear from people who are upset and depressed because of all the cruelty they see in the world around them.
Additionally, they are frustrated with the indifference of most people toward the suffering of animals, particularly those they consider to be “food” and those that are used for testing and experiments.
And these caring, soft-hearted people don’t understand why there is so much warring madness in the world, including the deliberate killing of innocent civilians.
Furthermore, they don’t understand why our elected officials, world leaders, and God don’t put an end to all this corruption and ungodliness.
As we look at Psalm 40:1-11, we can see this conflict between the heavenly will of God and the corrupted ways of the devil.
1. I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me, and heard my cry.
The Lord always hears our cries and listens to our prayers, but He may not
always answer us in the way that we would like.
This is when we must rely upon our faith, because the devil is always trying to convince us that God doesn’t really hear our prayers and answer us.
2. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay;
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
The Lord may or may not do this directly; however, if by faith, trust, and
our belief in God, we hold on to His word and promises, and especially the
teachings of Jesus that point us to living in the heavenly will of God, then
we find that we already have this firm foundation upon which to stand.
So, if we find ourselves in the miry clay, we just need to remember to climb back onto the Rock, and the Lord will help us do it.
3. And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear,
And will trust in the LORD.
Do we have this kind of faith, trust?
We hope and pray we do, so that we will be blessed.
4. How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust,
And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.
5. Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which Thou hast done,
And Thy thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with Thee;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They would be too numerous to count.
Think about something.
Why would God create all the beautiful things in the world, if there was no one to appreciate them?
Even though the world is full of corruption, destruction, pain, suffering, and death, we can still find God’s wonders in the world around us: a singing bird, a wild flower along the roadside, a mountain vista, and the list goes on and on.
We just need to remember to see all the beauty in the world, and to recognize in its wonders, and the God who created it all; then we can declare them to the world around us, as did the psalmist.
Then the truth of the Lord will become evident.
6. Sacrifice and meal offering Thou hast not desired;
My ears Thou hast opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering Thou hast not required.
Have our ears been opened?
Have we really heard and read what we are told here?
This is the truth about the Lord our God and His heavenly will for us to live in.
We may ask: then why is there so much description of these sacrificial rituals in the Bible?
The simple answer is that they were inserted in the Bible by the priestly writers and editors of the Bible who followed the sacrificial cult of the pagan world around them.
This happened more than 400 years before Jesus’ ministry upon the earth, and about 500 years after David wrote this Psalm.
And because that was the way people were, and because of their hardness of heart, God seems to have allowed it to remain, but it was never His intent, and He left enough evidence of His true intent in the Bible for all of us to discern His heavenly will for our lives.
God does not want us to kill, eat, or wear any animal, nor does He want us to exploit them in any other manner.
God wants us to eat His original plant food diet (Genesis 1:29-31), for only that is in His heavenly will.
And most of all, if we sin against God or anyone else, God doesn’t want the shedding of innocent blood; all He wants is our sincere repentance, and He is faithful to forgive us.
7. Then I said, "Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me;
8. I delight to do Thy will, O my God;
Thy Law is within my heart."
Remember what David wrote in this psalm about God not wanting sacrifice?
Well, the sacrificial system is also part of the Law, so what David has
within his heart must be the way God wants us to live in His heavenly will.
And because we know this truth about compassionate living for all of creation, we should be joyful.
9. I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great
Behold, I will not restrain my lips, O LORD, Thou knowest.
10. I have not hidden Thy righteousness within my heart;
I have spoken of Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation;
I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.
11. Thou, O LORD, wilt not withhold Thy compassion from me;
Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth will continually preserve me.
And it will preserve us, too.
In John 1:29-42, he writes about the beginning of Jesus’ formal ministry.
29. The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John also knew that sacrifice never took away sin.
His whole ministry was based upon people's personal repentance and being
symbolically purified through baptism, but their true forgiveness came from
the grace of God.
According to Jewish tradition, the eldest man in the family would select the Passover lamb out of their flock by pointing to it and saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”
Only the Lord can take away the sin of the world, but curiously John still refers to Jesus by the name given to the Passover lamb.
Is he being prophetic about Jesus’ pending death in another 3 years?
We just don’t know.
However, and most importantly, Jesus can do what no lamb could ever do; Jesus can forgive and take away sin without sacrifice.
30. "This is He on behalf of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'
John is speaking spiritually about who Jesus really is, for John was actually born about 6 months earlier than Jesus.
31. "And I did not recognize Him, but in order that He might be manifested
to Israel, I came baptizing in water."
32. And John bore witness saying, "I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.
33. "And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, 'He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.'
34. "And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."
This is when God confronts the devil in his territory: the world.
And we also need to bear witness to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God, and also what it means to live compassionately as peacemaking children of God, who live in the heavenly will of God, and do everything in their power to end the corruption of creation.
Do we have this kind of faith, trust?
The mistreating and killing of animals continues to corrupt creation, as does our warring madness, and we need to speak out against these things.
35. Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples,
36. and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"
This is when John formally declares that Jesus’ ministry is superior to his ministry of calling people to repentance and baptism.
37. And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
38. And Jesus turned, and beheld them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" And they said to Him, "Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?"
39. He said to them, "Come, and you will see." They came therefore and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
We all need to dwell with Jesus, spiritually.
40. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon
41. He found first his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which translated means Christ).
Do we recognize Jesus in the same way?
We pray we do.
42. He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "You are Simon
the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).
We also are to be Jesus’ disciples, and truly follow Him and His teaching.
We can and should live in God’s heavenly will.
Paul talks about this to some extent in 1 Corinthians 1:1-9.
1. Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and
Sosthenes our brother,
2. to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
We should all be sanctified in Jesus Christ, which is the realization or
progressive attainment of likeness to God or to God’s heavenly will.
Sanctification can be looked at in two ways: it may be regarded both as status conferred by divine grace and as a goal to be aimed at.
3. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus,
5. that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge,
6. even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you,
7. so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
8. who shall also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is our goal as well, and we hope and pray it is yours, too.
All we need to do is sincerely reach out to Him.
Do we have this kind of faith, trust?
9. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His
Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.