Sixth Monday after Epiphany — 11 February 2019 Devotional

Psalm 115, Judges 5:1-11, 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1

Much of the modern world is obsessed with the self. Individualism (rugged or otherwise) is a key feature of (U.S.) American culture. It then becomes ironic when non-believers question why everything should be for God’s glory. They attribute to God a selfish conceit that has no consideration for others. This is one of the reasons why the doctrine of the Trinity is important to understanding God. God lives in community. There is a perpetual and integral consideration of another. We created beings are blessed because God considers us worthy of being related to. This is not a vain conceit of God. It is a reality of a holy and wholly other being who has created us.

When it comes to God’s glory versus our glory it is important to not just say it’s God’s glory. God’s glory is eternal. Our glory is temporary. It is that perspective of an abiding glory that remains forever. When we are aware and take this into account, it should affect our decisions and responses.

The psalmist compares the eternal living God to man-made idols that are destroyable. The psalmist then compares the makers and worshippers of idols to the very idols they make. They are the same in that trusting in them is trusting in nothing (or possibly alluding to death). In comparison to the living God whose people are living and plentiful. The legacy is of children, grandchildren, and so on. The legacy is of the living and who live in relationship with God. The legacy needs to be remembered.

Deborah and Barak were the leaders of Israel, seeking to restore a lost legacy. Even in the midst of celebrating victory over their oppressors, Deborah and Barak gave God praise for the leaders who lead, and the volunteers who stepped up. While they (leaders and volunteers) did as they were called, it was still to God’s glory that they responded and succeeded. Their actions live on in the story of God that God laid out for us to receive. While in this case, it is something that was done that brought God glory, it can also be things not done that brings God glory.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul is confronting the struggles of people trying to conform their lives to a new way of thinking. In their culture, sacrifices to idols are done. It is prevalent. The idols are dead, so why worry about the meat? For the follower of Christ—who knows the freedom in/of Christ—this is just a silly question. However, for those who are not followers of the Way (i.e., Christians) this is an important question, for their perspective is that the believers are worshipping idols when they eat the sacrifices! Thus, not eating it brings glory to God by showing that they do not worship the idols or feel they are worth paying attention to. It may seem silly to us, but to a culture for whom idol worship was cultural and religious, this was a huge thing.

1) What things could the culture view us (i.e., Christians, Christ-Followers) as worshipping, just like the culture?

2) How can you know when you are doing something for God’s glory rather than your own?

3) Why do leaders leading and volunteers stepping up give God glory?

FD) What can you not do and give God glory?