Today’s Bible Reading

July 16

Old Testament I
Judges 9:1 - 10:5
Judges 9:1-10:5 tells the story of Abimelech, one of Gideon's sons, who desires to rule over Israel. Abimelech conspires with the leaders of Shechem to kill all seventy of his brothers, except for Jotham who escapes. Abimelech is then anointed as king by the people of Shechem.

Jotham, the surviving brother, delivers a parable to the people of Shechem, warning them of the consequences of their actions in choosing Abimelech as their king. Jotham predicts that Abimelech's rule will ultimately result in destruction and judgment.

Sure enough, Abimelech's reign is marked by violence and betrayal. After three years, the people of Shechem rebel against him, and Abimelech responds by burning their stronghold and killing many of them. Abimelech continues his violent conquest, eventually attacking and destroying the city of Thebez. However, while attacking the city, a woman drops a millstone on Abimelech's head, causing him to die.

Following Abimelech's death, Israel is ruled by a series of judges, including Tola and Jair. However, the people of Israel soon forget their God and turn to worshipping false idols. As a result, God allows the Philistines and the Ammonites to oppress them. The Israelites repent and cry out to God for help, and God raises up Jephthah as their judge to deliver them from their oppressors.

Old Testament II
Isaiah 30
Isaiah 30 is a prophetic passage that speaks to the rebellious nature of the Israelites and their tendency to rely on their own strength rather than God. The chapter can be summarized as follows:

Verses 1-7: The Israelites are rebuked for seeking help from Egypt instead of trusting in God. Isaiah warns them that their reliance on Egypt will be in vain, and that they will be put to shame.

Verses 8-17: Isaiah speaks to the Israelites about their disobedience and warns them of the consequences of their actions. He calls them a rebellious people who refuse to listen to God's voice, and he tells them that their stubbornness will lead to their downfall. Despite this, he offers them hope for repentance and restoration.

Verses 18-26: Isaiah speaks of the Lord's mercy and compassion, and he promises that if the Israelites repent and turn back to God, He will heal and restore them. He speaks of a time of abundance and prosperity for the nation, where they will have an abundance of food and water.

Verses 27-33: Isaiah speaks of the Lord's judgment on Assyria, who had been a threat to Israel. He speaks of a time when Assyria will be defeated and destroyed by God, and he uses vivid imagery to describe the destruction that will come upon them. Ultimately, the chapter ends with a warning to those who trust in human strength rather than God, and a promise of salvation for those who turn to Him.

New Testament
1 Corinthians 9:1-23
In 1 Corinthians 9:1-23, the apostle Paul defends his rights as an apostle and explains how he has willingly given up these rights for the sake of spreading the Gospel.

Paul starts by asserting his apostolic authority, stating that he has seen the risen Christ and is therefore a true apostle. He then asks the rhetorical question of whether he and Barnabas do not have the right to be supported financially by the Corinthians, as other apostles do. Paul argues that it is common sense that those who work deserve to be paid for their labor, and that this is also supported by Old Testament law.

However, Paul goes on to say that he has voluntarily given up this right to financial support in order to avoid any appearance of greed or selfishness. He points out that he has become all things to all people in order to win some to Christ, and that this includes adapting his behavior and lifestyle to the culture and needs of those he is evangelizing. He uses the examples of athletes, soldiers, and farmers to illustrate the idea of working hard and giving up personal rights in order to achieve a greater goal.

Paul emphasizes that his motivation for spreading the Gospel is not personal gain, but rather a deep conviction and sense of responsibility to share the message of Christ. He concludes by stating that his ultimate goal is to win as many people to Christ as possible, and that he is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve this goal.