Today’s Bible Reading

August 1

Old Testament I
1 Samuel 4, 5
1 Samuel 4 begins with the Israelites going to battle against the Philistines. However, they are defeated, and 4,000 men are killed. The elders of Israel decide to bring the Ark of the Covenant to the battlefield, believing that it will give them victory. When the Ark arrives, the Israelites shout with joy, and the Philistines become afraid, knowing the power of the God of Israel.

The battle begins again, but this time the Philistines defeat the Israelites even more severely. 30,000 Israelite soldiers are killed, and the Ark of the Covenant is captured by the Philistines. Eli, the high priest, hears the news and falls backward and dies. His daughter-in-law also dies after giving birth to a son, whom she names Ichabod, meaning "the glory has departed from Israel."

In 1 Samuel 5, the Philistines take the Ark of the Covenant and bring it into the temple of their god, Dagon. However, the next morning, they find that the statue of Dagon has fallen face down before the Ark. They set the statue back up, but the next day it falls again, this time breaking into pieces. Additionally, the people of the city begin to suffer from tumors and plagues, leading them to return the Ark to the Israelites.

This story serves as a reminder that God is powerful and that His presence cannot be taken for granted. The Israelites learned this lesson the hard way, as they lost battles and the Ark of the Covenant due to their disobedience and lack of faith. On the other hand, the Philistines also learned that God cannot be mocked, as their false god was proven to be powerless against the true God of Israel.

Old Testament II
Isaiah 47
Isaiah 47 is a prophetic message from God directed towards the city of Babylon, which represents the epitome of human pride and arrogance. The chapter begins by depicting Babylon's downfall and humiliation, which will come as a result of its sinful and idolatrous ways.

God reminds Babylon of its past glory and its reliance on sorcery and astrology, which have led it astray from the truth. God then pronounces judgment on Babylon, predicting that its destruction will be swift and thorough. The chapter concludes with a call for the people of God to flee from Babylon and to trust in the Lord for their salvation.

In summary, Isaiah 47 is a message of judgment against Babylon for its pride, sin, and idolatry. It serves as a warning to all who would trust in their own power and wisdom rather than in God, and it encourages believers to put their faith and trust in the Lord alone.

New Testament
2 Corinthians 8
2 Corinthians 8 is a continuation of Paul's exhortation to the Corinthian church about generosity and giving. In this chapter, Paul uses the example of the Macedonian churches to encourage the Corinthians to excel in their giving.

Paul commends the Macedonian churches for their generosity, even in the midst of their own poverty. They gave willingly and sacrificially, beyond their means, and even begged Paul to allow them to give more. Paul attributes their generosity to God's grace and the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Paul then encourages the Corinthians to follow the Macedonian example and give generously to support the needs of the saints in Jerusalem. He emphasizes that their giving should be voluntary and not coerced, and that it should reflect their love and devotion to God.

Paul also emphasizes the importance of accountability and transparency in handling the funds. He assures the Corinthians that he and his fellow workers are handling the collection with integrity, and he urges them to appoint their own trusted representatives to accompany him to Jerusalem and oversee the distribution of the funds.

In conclusion, Paul reminds the Corinthians that their generosity is not only a practical way to meet the needs of the saints, but also a spiritual act of worship that brings glory to God. He prays that their giving will result in a deeper unity and fellowship among the churches.