Old Testament reading: Daniel 4
When my son was young, we’d watch television together. On some of the programs, there was a struggle between good and evil. Sometimes he would ask of one or more of the characters, “Daddy, is he a good guy or a bad guy?” I have likened this youthful inquiry to the case of Nebuchadnezzar. When you hear the name “Nebuchadnezzar,” do you think “good guy” or “bad guy?” Most of us would probably say “bad guy.” However, the Bible says when a wicked man turns from his sins and does what is right, he shall live. None of his sins shall be remembered against him. Why is this the case? Because God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (cf Eze 18:21-23). God yearns for all to turn from evil and live for Him (cf 1 Tim 2:4). What we have read thus far of Nebuchadnezzar has been less than flattering, and today’s reading is no different… until we get to the end. Daniel 4 is a confession of sorts, as it originates with Nebuchadnezzar himself and concludes with this magnificent statement, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.” End of the Nebuchadnezzar narrative. Appears to be a “good guy.” Something to think about!
New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 3-7
If there is any command to the church that has not only been ignored, but also openly opposed, it is the command to withdraw from the unfaithful. 1 Corinthians 5 is dedicated to the matter of church discipline. Among those from whom the church must distance herself include those members who are sexually immoral, covetous, idolaters, revilers (those who use abusive speech), drunkards, and the like. 2 Thessalonians 3:6 is another text commanding the church to withdraw herself from those who walk disorderly, or out of step with the way the church is to walk. When was the last time you heard of a congregation withdrawing from one of her members? Some don’t even want to talk about the subject or hear it taught. The lack of discipline in our society is obviously detrimental to its tranquility and longevity. The same can be said for a lack of discipline in the church.