Today’s Bible Reading

July 22

Old Testament I
Judges 17, 18
Judges 17 and 18 tell the story of a man named Micah and a group of Danites who were looking for a new land to settle in.

In chapter 17, we learn that Micah steals 1,100 pieces of silver from his mother, but later confesses to her and returns the money. She decides to dedicate some of the money to the Lord by making an idol and setting up a shrine in her home. Micah hires a Levite to be his personal priest, and the two of them establish their own religious practices.

In chapter 18, we see that the tribe of Dan is looking for a new land to settle in, so they send out five men to explore the land. They come across Micah's home and the shrine, and they ask the Levite for guidance. The Levite tells them that God has blessed their journey and they should continue on their way. The Danites eventually find a new land to settle in, but they also steal Micah's idols and the Levite priest.

The story of Micah and the Danites highlights the moral and religious decay of the Israelites during the time of the judges. It also shows how people were willing to create their own religious practices and worship idols instead of following the laws and commands of God. Ultimately, the story serves as a warning against idolatry and the danger of following our own desires instead of seeking God's will.

Old Testament II
Isaiah 38, 39
Isaiah 38 and 39 both provide a glimpse into the life of King Hezekiah, who ruled over Judah in the 8th century BCE. In Isaiah 38, Hezekiah becomes ill and is told by the prophet Isaiah that he will die. Hezekiah pleads with God for healing and is granted an additional 15 years of life. As a sign of this miraculous healing, God causes the shadow on a sundial to move backwards. Hezekiah praises God for his mercy and writes a psalm of thanksgiving.

In Isaiah 39, the Babylonian king Merodach-Baladan sends envoys to Hezekiah to congratulate him on his recovery from illness. Hezekiah shows them all the treasures of his palace, including the temple treasures. Isaiah rebukes Hezekiah for this, predicting that one day the Babylonians will return and take these treasures as spoils of war.

Overall, these two chapters reveal Hezekiah's character as a faithful servant of God who trusts in God's mercy and power to heal. However, they also foreshadow the Babylonian captivity that will later come upon Judah as a consequence of its disobedience to God.

New Testament
1 Corinthians 14
1 Corinthians 14 is a chapter in which Paul discusses the proper use of spiritual gifts, particularly the gift of prophecy and speaking in tongues, within the church. He emphasizes the importance of using these gifts to edify the body of believers, rather than for personal gratification or to show off one's spiritual prowess.

Paul makes it clear that prophecy is more valuable than tongues, as it allows for clear communication and understanding within the church. He also emphasizes the need for interpretation when tongues are spoken in public, so that everyone can understand and benefit from the message being conveyed.

Furthermore, Paul encourages the Corinthians to use their gifts in an orderly and respectful manner during corporate worship services. He reminds them that God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.

Paul also addresses the role of women in the church, instructing them to remain silent during the service and to ask their husbands any questions they may have at home. This has been a controversial passage, with differing interpretations and opinions regarding its application today.

Overall, 1 Corinthians 14 emphasizes the importance of using spiritual gifts to build up the body of believers and promote unity within the church, rather than for personal gain or to cause division.