Regular Christians (Part 7): Onesimus

Regular Christians

Onesimus was one who endured social and economic inequality as a slave. We learn about him in the letter Paul wrote to his master, Philemon.

I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me. I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart, whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel; but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will. For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord” (Philemon 10-16).

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Solomon’s Plan to Build the Temple (6/11)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from 1 Kings 5-6; 2 Chronicles 2-3.

When Solomon was about to build the temple, he contacted Hiram (or Huram, depending on the translation), the king of Tyre to receive workers and materials from him that would be necessary for the project. In his message to Hiram, we see four attitudes that Solomon possessed that are important for us to emulate.

Behold, I am about to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, dedicating it to Him, to burn fragrant incense before Him and to set out the showbread continually, and to offer burnt offerings morning and evening, on sabbaths and on new moons and on the appointed feasts of the Lord our God, this being required forever in Israel” (2 Chronicles 2:4).

We first see that Solomon had a desire to worship God according to the pattern He had given to Israel. In building the temple, Solomon was not trying to do things his way, but God’s way.
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I Have Given Them a Possession (3/11)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Deuteronomy 1-2.

The Israelites were God’s chosen people and would be given the promised land of Canaan. Yet this did not give them license to take anything they wanted and destroy any nation they chose to destroy. God gave some specific prohibitions on lands they were not to take and nations they were not to destroy.

You will pass through the territory of your brothers the sons of Esau who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. So be very careful; do not provoke them, for I will not give you any of their land, even as little as a footstep because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession” (Deuteronomy 2:4-5).

Do not harass Moab, nor provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land as a possession, because I have given Ar to the sons of Lot as a possession” (Deuteronomy 2:9).

When you come opposite the sons of Ammon, do not harass them nor provoke them, for I will not give you any of the land of the sons of Ammon as a possession, because I have given it to the sons of Lot as a possession” (Deuteronomy 2:19).

The children of Israel were given a possession by God. But the sons of Esau and Lot were as well. The Israelites were not even to take food and water from these nations without paying for it (Deuteronomy 2:6).
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"To Each Man According to His Service" (2/26)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Numbers 7.

When the tabernacle was finished, the leaders of Israel brought an offering consisting of six carts and twelve oxen (Numbers 7:1-3). The Lord then gave Moses instructions about what to do with them:

‘Accept these things from them, that they may be used in the service of the tent of meeting, and you shall give them to the Levites, to each man according to his service.’ So Moses took the carts and the oxen and gave them to the Levites. Two carts and four oxen he gave to the sons of Gershon, according to their service, and four carts and eight oxen he gave to the sons of Merari, according to their service… But he did not give any to the sons of Kohath because theirs was the service of the holy objects, which they carried on their shoulders” (Numbers 7:5-9).

Among the Levites there were three groups: the sons of Gershon, the sons of Merari, and the sons of Kohath. It may have seemed logical to divide the offerings between the three groups – two carts and four oxen each – but this was not the Lord’s will.
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The Wicked Prosper (1/9)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Job 21-23.

Why do the wicked still live, continue on, also become very powerful? Their descendants are established with them in their sight, and their offspring before their eyes, their houses are safe from fear, and the rod of God is not on them. His ox mates without fail; his cow calves and does not abort. They send forth their little ones like the flock, and their children skip about. They sing to the timbrel and harp and rejoice at the sound of the flute. They spend their days in prosperity, and suddenly they go down to Sheol. They say to God, ‘Depart from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of Your ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him, and what would we gain if we entreat Him?’” (Job 21:7-15).

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