1 Corinthians 4 (Listen)

The Ministry of Apostles

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. 18 Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?

(ESV)

Next Chapter: 1 Samuel 5

1 Samuel 5 (Listen)

The Philistines and the Ark

When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the LORD. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the LORD, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off on the threshold. Only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.

The hand of the LORD was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory. And when the men of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for his hand is hard against us and against Dagon our god.” So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be brought around to Gath.” So they brought the ark of the God of Israel there. But after they had brought it around, the hand of the LORD was against the city, causing a very great panic, and he afflicted the men of the city, both young and old, so that tumors broke out on them. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. But as soon as the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought around to us the ark of the God of Israel to kill us and our people.” 11 They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.” For there was a deathly panic throughout the whole city. The hand of God was very heavy there. 12 The men who did not die were struck with tumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

(ESV)

Next Chapter: Proverbs 9

Proverbs 9 (Listen)

The Way of Wisdom

  Wisdom has built her house;
    she has hewn her seven pillars.
  She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.
  She has sent out her young women to call
    from the highest places in the town,
  “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
    To him who lacks sense she says,
  “Come, eat of my bread
    and drink of the wine I have mixed.
  Leave your simple ways, and live,
    and walk in the way of insight.”
  Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
    and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
  Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
    reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
  Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
    teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10   The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
11   For by me your days will be multiplied,
    and years will be added to your life.
12   If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
    if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

The Way of Folly

13   The woman Folly is loud;
    she is seductive and knows nothing.
14   She sits at the door of her house;
    she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,
15   calling to those who pass by,
    who are going straight on their way,
16   “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
    And to him who lacks sense she says,
17   “Stolen water is sweet,
    and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
18   But he does not know that the dead are there,
    that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

(ESV)

Next Chapter: Psalm 10

Psalm 10 (Listen)

Why Do You Hide Yourself?

  Why, O LORD, do you stand far away?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
  In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
    let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
  For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
    and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD.
  In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
    all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
  His ways prosper at all times;
    your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
    as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
  He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
    throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
  His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
    under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
  He sits in ambush in the villages;
    in hiding places he murders the innocent.
  His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
    he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
  he lurks that he may seize the poor;
    he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
10   The helpless are crushed, sink down,
    and fall by his might.
11   He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
    he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
12   Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand;
    forget not the afflicted.
13   Why does the wicked renounce God
    and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
14   But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
    that you may take it into your hands;
  to you the helpless commits himself;
    you have been the helper of the fatherless.
15   Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
    call his wickedness to account till you find none.
16   The LORD is king forever and ever;
    the nations perish from his land.
17   O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
18   to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

(ESV)

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