Day 236

Prayer for the day

O LORD, my God, my Savior, by day and night I cry to you. Let my prayer enter into your presence; incline your ear to my lamentation.

Scripture for the day

Psalm 119:1-88, 1 Corinthians 7:20-40

Total Devotion. It’s what Paul has in mind when he gives his instructions about marriage and sexuality, about the current times and how best to serve God.

Many people have read 1 Corinthians and assumed that Paul was against marriage, or hated women, or despised the love of women. However, a close reading shows nothing of the sort. A close reading shows that Paul’s main concern, indeed Paul’s only concern, is purity of heart in relation to God. Paul’s concern is undivided devotion to the Lord.

He claims that our devotion is divided whenever we have other attachments. And he’s right. He says that we are not sinning if we marry or if we seek out marriage, but he makes the plain case that it’s difficult to assign your entire heart to God when some of it is held in reserve for spouse, children, or any other affection. His point is not to force divorce or chastity, but to encourage people to focus on what really matters: their love and care for God and his statutes.

Love and care for the law of God is what the Psalmist is all about. Even a quick read through the 119th Psalm (the longest in the Psalter) shows a deep and abiding care and love for the law of God. This kind of devotion is rare in Israel, rare in any who seek God, but it is particularly powerful because the Psalmist says these things in situations of pain and despair. The ability to say that one loves the law of God even as he is being punished is the mark of a heart devoted totally to God.

May we exemplify that devotion together!

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