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Scripture

Fasting

Mathew 4:1-11

The Temptation of Jesus

4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,


  “‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,


  “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and


  “‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,


  “‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

(ESV)

Categories
Scripture

Fasting

Ezra 8:21-23

Fasting and Prayer for Protection

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.

(ESV)

Categories
Scripture

Fasting

Isaiah 58

True and False Fasting


58:1   “Cry aloud; do not hold back;
    lift up your voice like a trumpet;
  declare to my people their transgression,
    to the house of Jacob their sins.
  Yet they seek me daily
    and delight to know my ways,
  as if they were a nation that did righteousness
    and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
  they ask of me righteous judgments;
    they delight to draw near to God.
  ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
    Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
  Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,1
    and oppress all your workers.
  Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
    and to hit with a wicked fist.
  Fasting like yours this day
    will not make your voice to be heard on high.
  Is such the fast that I choose,
    a day for a person to humble himself?
  Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
    and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
  Will you call this a fast,
    and a day acceptable to the LORD?


  “Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of wickedness,
    to undo the straps of the yoke,
  to let the oppressed2 go free,
    and to break every yoke?
  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
  when you see the naked, to cover him,
    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
  Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
  your righteousness shall go before you;
    the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
  Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
    you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
  If you take away the yoke from your midst,
    the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10   if you pour yourself out for the hungry
    and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
  then shall your light rise in the darkness
    and your gloom be as the noonday.
11   And the LORD will guide you continually
    and satisfy your desire in scorched places
    and make your bones strong;
  and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters do not fail.
12   And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
    you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
  you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
    the restorer of streets to dwell in.


13   “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
    from doing your pleasure3 on my holy day,
  and call the Sabbath a delight
    and the holy day of the LORD honorable;
  if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    or seeking your own pleasure,4 or talking idly;5
14   then you shall take delight in the LORD,
    and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;6
  I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
    for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

Footnotes

[1] 58:3 Or pursue your own business

[2] 58:6 Or bruised

[3] 58:13 Or business

[4] 58:13 Or pursuing your own business

[5] 58:13 Hebrew or speaking a word

[6] 58:14 Or of the land

(ESV)

Categories
Scripture

Saturday Study

Proverbs 7 (5-8-21)

Before we jump in, I want to say, “thank you” to Steve Obert, who is a faithful brother and gospel partner and who has partnered with me in writing this week’s Going Deeper. You will be blessed by what Steve has prepared.

Grab your Bibles and let’s go deeper into Proverbs 7.

This proverb repeats some of the teaching from chapter 5, though, there seems to be intentional details brought up here that were left out of chapter 5. It begins much the same way:

Proverbs 7:1-4 My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend

Many times, the details provided give insight into the one sharing them. Solomon had over 100 wives and over 300 concubines. Solomon was not a man unfamiliar with physical lust and sexual temptation. Often the wisest man is the one most experienced. Solomon was not only the wisest man to ever live because of God’s blessing (2 Chronicles 1:7-12), but he also had it in his heart to chase out every temptation under the sun, only to find that they are vain (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11). Those who have struggled with sexual temptation see quickly that the author of this proverb has personal insight into the deceptiveness of the sin of lust. This is why it is so very helpful.

Solomon begins this proverb with his normal warning to the reader/the son (or less mature one) to keep and treasure his commandments. Notice the connections he makes for us in verse 2: if we keep the commands, we live. So, how do we keep them? He goes on and implores the reader to make them “the apple of your eye,” to “bind them on your fingers,” “write them on … your heart,” and make them an intimate relationship to you—one like you would have with your sister or another family member.

The clear call here is to meditate on the commands, not just the teaching, that Solomon is giving in the proverbs. Not only that, but we are also to do that with the commands of God throughout all of Scripture. Now, notice he doesn’t just say what we should do; he is wise enough to tell us how to do it—memorize the commands, think about them daily, study the word, and let it become second nature to us. Make it intimate; be in such a close relationship that it appears to be our relative. When we store up God’s word in our hearts, it gives us great strength and wisdom in the hour of temptation.

Solomon then turns his focus to one of the things you’ll avoid if you heed his warning: “to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.” (Proverbs 7:5) What will be the fruit of immersing yourself and memorizing the Scriptures? It will keep you from the forbidden woman.

The next section describes what the temptation looks like and the characteristics of the person who falls for the temptation: Proverbs 7:6-7 For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense

Here are the first characteristics of the one who fails to treasure the word of God. He is spoken of as a young man—again, this is not necessarily in age, but in maturity—and the man is lacking sense!

Proverbs 7:8-9 passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.

Wow! How revealing the Scriptures are of our sin and how we pursue it. Notice the action that the one who lacks sense takes. He goes toward the house; he seeks it out and knows where it is. In the Proverbs 5 lesson, you were told about accountability and you were encouraged to pursue steps to remove temptation. Those are not the actions of the one who lacks sense. No, the one who lacks sense seeks out his sin; he goes in the dark of night and hides his sinful desires, as if it is not known to the only One who truly matters.

Proverbs 7:10 And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.

Satan is at work in this world. He is an adversary who prowls around like a lion seeking to destroy. If you are chasing after sin, if you are even flirting with it and in your mind deceiving yourself that it is harmless, the adversary will take advantage of your lack of sense. Satan will meet your sinful desires with the temptation and when you give in.

Well, let’s look and see what happens:

Proverbs 7:11-12 She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait.

Again, the temptation for sin just lies in waiting. If you flirt with it, it will be there.

She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him (Proverbs 7:13). Those who have experienced sin (all of us, right?), in various degrees, know what this seizing feels like. There is a moment when your desire meets with the temptation to sin, and the moment of giving in to it is when it seizes you.

Proverbs 7:14-18 “I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows; so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you. I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love.”

After it seizes you, it is unashamed in its talk. It (sin) has now seen the hold it has, and it no longer flirts; its aim is to take you further than you ever wanted to go and do more damage than you ever imagined it would. Notice the first step, though, is your flirting with it instead of putting it to death; then it seizes you. Then, when you’ve allowed it to take hold of you, it gets extremely bold with its enticing alluring. “Come in. I made sacrifices. I fully intend to sin with you, and it will be ok because we can make sacrifices again.”

Notice the deception of sin and how quickly it says whatever you want to hear and whatever will make you pursue it. In verse 15 the woman says, “… I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.” This is, again, a lie. The story just said that the young man was the one looking for it; however, you feel more special if the sin has sought you out eagerly. Unfortunately, this is the same thing that’s said to every young man passing by looking for her. Sin is so deceitful; it is always aiming to take your life. Please be aware of the deceitfulness of sin.

Proverbs 7:19-21 “For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home.” With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him.

Let’s ramp up the excitement by adding some danger and more sin. Sin begets sin. The more you sin, the more sin you find, and the more you sin. Sounds silly, right? It is the proverbial snowball effect: as it rolls downhill, it grows larger and larger until it hits something and explodes. This is how sin works. If it weren’t enough for the sin of sexual immorality, let’s add in the excitement of possibly getting caught and the allure of having something that does not belong to you, for she has a husband. This is the seductive speech and the smooth talk that seduces the young man, because he lacks sense.

Proverbs 7:22-23 All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.

And just like that, he gives in to the temptation, and he brings himself to the death of true life in God in trade for momentary pleasures that if unrepented of will lead to eternal suffering and separation from our great God. As any of you who may have been a part of FFA growing up or were raised on a farm knows, the animals led to the slaughter go willingly. They have no idea what’s about to happen. They allow you to take them there. This is what is being said of the young man. Consider this: the average weight of an ox that would be slaughtered is around 1,500 lbs. If that animal knew you were walking it to its death, couldn’t it stop you? Of course. However, because it is ignorant of what is about to happen, it willingly goes along. Here is the problem: the deceitfulness of sin says like Satan did in the garden to Eve, “Surely you will not die. If you do this, you will gain.” And even though we have been told by God, who cannot lie, that we will die if we do this, we still buy into the sin and pursue it. This is what happens to those of us who lack sense and do not treasure the word of our God. Let’s continue:

Proverbs 7:24-27 And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.

Solomon once again pleads with the listener to avoid the sinful woman. Her way leads to death. This can be said of all sin: its ultimate aim is to kill you, eternally. For the saints, we can take heart. Since it is God who saved us and not us ourselves, we cannot lose salvation. However, we can lose life—in a sense of the quality of our life, the effectiveness of our life for God’s glory, the joy that we could have in God in this life that is robbed by sin, etc.

I remember talking with Pastor Joshua in my early 20’s as God was doing a work in my heart. I was sharing with him my struggles with lust and saw another young man who was coming out of drug addiction. I said to Josh, “Here I am complaining about lust when this guy has to deal with true addiction and the fight of that.” Josh responded to me, and I will never forget his words, as they have rung true in my life of ministry, “I have seen more men fail and fall because of women or lust than I have ever seen from addiction.”

Solomon finishes the chapter by saying that “… many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng.” (Proverbs 7:26) Do not be wise in your own eyes. The temptation of lust, particularly sexual lust, is very powerful and always aims to take life from you—if not eternal life, then as much life now as is possible. Do not be fooled; you are not the one who can withstand it. Instead, treasure up God’s commands within your heart. Memorize Scripture so in times of temptation you may see through the deceit of sin and stand strong in the grace and mercy of our Lord!

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Joshua Kirstine

Disciples Church

Categories
Scripture

Proverbs 7

Proverbs 7:19-27


19   For my husband is not at home;
    he has gone on a long journey;
20   he took a bag of money with him;
    at full moon he will come home.”


21   With much seductive speech she persuades him;
    with her smooth talk she compels him.
22   All at once he follows her,
    as an ox goes to the slaughter,
  or as a stag is caught fast1
23     till an arrow pierces its liver;
  as a bird rushes into a snare;
    he does not know that it will cost him his life.


24   And now, O sons, listen to me,
    and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
25   Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;
    do not stray into her paths,
26   for many a victim has she laid low,
    and all her slain are a mighty throng.
27   Her house is the way to Sheol,
    going down to the chambers of death.

Footnotes

[1] 7:22 Probable reading (compare Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac); Hebrew as a chain to discipline a fool

(ESV)