SEPTEMBER 30

Romans 8:28
[In a letter to the 'saints' (Christians) in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote]: "And we know that all things [all bad things, like problems, afflictions, persecutions, etc.] work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his [God's] purpose [referring to born-again Christians, or those who have accepted God's invitation to be saved] ."

SEPTEMBER 29

Proverbs 29:2: "When the righteous
[those who are 'good'] are in authority [in charge], the people [of that nation] rejoice [are filled with joy or happiness]: but when the wicked [those who are 'bad'] beareth rule [are in charge], the people mourn [grieve (are very sad)]."

Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse, including many examples of what leaders do to cause their people to rejoice and mourn. Also mentioned are specific things that have occurred recently in the United States that illustrate the moral and spiritual decline of our country.

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-29-index/proverbs-29_2.

SEPTEMBER 28

2 Chronicles 16:12-13: "And Asa
[king of Judah] in the thirty and ninth [39th] year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease [probably gout] was exceeding great [very bad]: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD [didn't look to God for help and healing], but [only] to the physicians [doctors]. And Asa slept with his fathers [ancestors] [which is another way of saying that he died], and died in the one and fortieth [41st] year of his reign."

From these verses, we learn that whenever we have a medical problem (sickness, injury, etc.), in addition to visiting the doctor, we should always pray to God for wisdom, guidance, help, and healing.

SEPTEMBER 27

Psalm 122:6-9
[King David wrote]:

Verses 6-7: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
[which, in the Bible, is often called the 'city of God']: they shall prosper that love thee [meaning that the people who love Jerusalem shall have success]. Peace be within thy walls [the walls of the city], and prosperity [good fortune] [shall be] within thy palaces [where the leaders live (reside) and rule (govern)]."

Verses 8-9: "For my brethren
[my brothers' (or relatives') sakes] and [for my] companions' [friends'] sakes, I [King David] will now say, Peace be within thee [Jerusalem]. Because of the house of the LORD our God [referring to the temple, or place where God was worshiped when this psalm was written, which was located in city of Jerusalem] I will seek thy [your, meaning Jerusalem's] good."

SEPTEMBER 25-26

Matthew 22:23-30 - No Marriage or Sex in Heaven

Verses 23-24:  "The same day
[when he was teaching in the temple] came to him [Jesus] the Sadducees [members of the ruling class in Israel], which say that there is no resurrection [raising up from the dead], and asked him, Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed [offspring, children, descendants] unto his brother [to carry on the family name--see note below*]."

Verses 25-28: "Now there were with us seven brethren
[brothers]: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased [died], and, having no issue [children], left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also [died], and [so did] the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman [a widow again and still childless] died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven [brothers]? for they all had her [as a wife]."

Verses 29-30: "Jesus answered and said unto them
[the Sadducees], Ye do err [you are mistaken], not knowing the scriptures [at that time, he was referring to the books of the Old Testament], nor the power of God [to raise the dead]. For in the resurrection they [the people (both males and females) who are brought back to life] neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but [they] are as [like] the angels of God in heaven [meaning they are single, and similar to the angels in the way that they act and live]."

Here are two articles explaining why no one will be married or have sexual relations in heaven:

-- "Will there be marriage in heaven?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/marriage-heaven.html

-- "Will there be sex in heaven?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/sex-heaven.html
________________________

*Regarding the questioners' reference to the law of Moses in verse 24, one Bible commentator wrote: "… Under that law if a man died childless his brother (or kinsman) was required to take his wife and produce children who would inherit the dead man's name, and his property …"

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/22-23.html, "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible")

SEPTEMBER 18-24

Luke 15:11-32 - The Prodigal Son

This is a parable, or story, that Jesus told about sinners and repentance, with the older son (the "good kid") representing the scribes and Pharisees (religious leaders with a "holier than thou" attitude), the younger (prodigal) son (the "bad kid") representing the returning (repenting) sinner, and the father (a kind, compassionate, merciful, forgiving, loving person) representing God.

Verses 11-12: "And he [Jesus] said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them [who became known as the prodigal son] said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me [meaning his inheritance]. And he [the father] divided unto them [both sons] his living [money and property].

Verses 13-14: And not many days after
[that,] the younger son gathered all [of his personal belongings] together, and took his journey into [traveled to] a far country, and there wasted his substance [spent all that he had] with riotous living [an extravagant lifestyle]. And when he had spent all [of his money], there arose a mighty famine [an extreme shortage of food] in that land; and he began to be in want [need]."

Verses 15-16: "And he
[the prodigal son] went and joined himself to [hired himself out to, became employed by] a citizen of that country; and he [the employer] sent him [the prodigal son] into his fields to feed swine [pigs]. And he [the prodigal son] would fain [gladly] have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat [because that type of food was better than what his employer provided]: and no man [person] gave unto him [the prodigal son] [any of the husks] .

Verses 17-19: And when he
[the prodigal son] came to himself [came to his senses], he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread [food] enough [for themselves] and [some] to spare [meaning the servants had more than enough to eat], and I perish with hunger [I'm starving to death]! I will arise [leave this place] and go to my father, and [acknowledging that he (the prodigal son) had been acting in a wicked, ungrateful, and rebellious manner] will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven [God], and before thee [you,], And [I] am no more worthy to be called thy [your] son: make [treat] me as one of thy hired servants.

Verse 20: And he
[the prodigal son] arose, and came [back, or returned,] to his father [meaning he went home]. But when he [the prodigal son] was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion [felt pity for him, had sympathy for his suffering], and [he] ran, and fell on [threw his arms around] his [son's] neck, and kissed him."

Verses 21-24: "And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven
[God], and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and [put] shoes [sandals] on his feet: And bring hither [here] the fatted [fattened] calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry [cheerful, joyful]: For this my son was dead [to virtue, or good moral behavior--because he had been corrupted by sin], and is alive again; he was lost [to the family, because they didn't know where he was], and is found. And they began to be merry.

Verses 25-27: Now his
[the father's] elder [older] son was in the field [working]: and as he came and drew nigh [near] to the house, he heard musick [music] and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he [the servant] said unto him [the older son], Thy brother is come [home]; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him [the prodigal son] [back home] safe and sound [i.e., in good health].

Verses 28-30: And he
[the older son] was angry, and would not go in [the house]: therefore came his father out[side], and intreated [begged, pleased with] him. And he [the older son] answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed [disobeyed] I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid [a young goat, which was of less value than a calf], [so] that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come [home], [referring to the younger (prodigal) son,] which hath devoured [who has spent, wasted, used up] thy living [your property and money] with harlots [prostitutes], thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

Verses 31-32: And he
[the father] said unto him [the older son], Son, thou art ever [forever, always] with me, and all that I have is thine [yours]. It was meet [fitting, appropriate, right] that we should make merry [celebrate], and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and [he] was lost, and is found."

Like the loving father who greeted his missing son with open arms, God loves it when sinners express a heartfelt desire to come to him through repentance and salvation.

SEPTEMBER 17

Psalm 86:3-5 - King David's Prayer to God

Verses 3-4: "Be merciful
[be gracious, show mercy] unto me, O Lord: for I cry [call out] unto thee daily [in prayer--sometimes silently and sometimes out loud]. Rejoice the soul of thy [your] servant [i.e., fill me with joy]: for unto thee [you], O Lord, do I lift up my soul [in prayer]."

Verse 5:
[Why David believed God would answer his prayer:] "For [because] thou [you], Lord, art [are] good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto [filled with compassion for] all them that call upon thee [you] [in prayer]."

SEPTEMBER 16

Proverbs 16:33: "The lot
[small stone, pebble] is cast [thrown] into the lap [referring to a method for making decisions that was common in Bible times, which is similar to how we choose lottery winners today]; but the whole disposing thereof [i.e., the outcome, or result] is of the LORD."

In light of the above verse, we could say that God doesn't leave anything to chance, or our decisions are guided by God.

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. It includes many examples of when God used the casting of lots to reveal his will to the Jewish people.

In paragraph 6e of the "examples" section, Pastor Delany says, "The world is not governed by time and chance, but by the Lord God who created, sustains, and governs the entire universe… including determining how a coin lands… and how the lot is cast."

Pastor Delany ends his commentary with this:

Conclusion:

"1. Should the believer [born-again Christian] today cast lots to determine the will of God?

"a. Is that the message of this passage?

"b. Should we flip a coin to determine who teaches the Sunday school class?

"c. Should we roll the dice to select a new pastor?

"d. Should we draw straws to determine which job to take?

"e. Should we put out a fleece to see if we should opt for surgery?

"f. I am convinced that MANY believers today put out fleeces of all stripes in determining God's will.

"g. I know that there is a lot of superstition used in it too.

"2. Is there ever a time when we should use such a practice? I think the answer is YES.

"a. Prov. [Proverbs] 18:18 -- It might be used not to determine God's will, but perhaps to end a debate on a matter of no spiritual consequence.

"b. Who goes for the donuts…

"c. Or choosing a winner in a VBS [Vacation Bible School] contest when there was a tie…

"d. It is FAIR because it takes the outcome OUT OF our control… and thus removes all bias. It ends the debate.

"e. But it should NOT be used to determine God's will in serious matters of service, morality, or other important issues.

"3. Fleeces and casting of lots were used all throughout the Old Testament.

"a. The casting of lots was used--even in the New Testament, to who would replace Judas among the apostles… and the lot fell on Mathias. (Acts 1:26)

"b. And notice that Acts 1 is the very last occurrence of the practice in the New Testament.

"c. It is as if God had them use the lot here in determining His will and recorded in the very last verse before the church age begins…

"d. In the next verse (Acts 2:1…) we have the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell believers… to lead believers…

"e. And there is not one more mention of lots after this.

"f. I don't think that is an accident… it was not mere CHANCE that put verse 1:26 immediately before 2:1!

"g. This was God's sovereign and providential choice.

"h. Today, we have the completed canon of Scripture.

"i. We are looking at 'principles to guide us in the age of grace' in Sunday school.

"j. And we are all indwelt by deity [i.e., the Holy Spirit].

"k. Today, we have something much better than casting lots, drawing straws, or rolling dice.

"l. Today, sons of God [i.e., born-again Christians] are recognized by the fact that they are led by the [Holy] Spirit… not by straws, dice, or lots.

"m. 'For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.' (Rom. [Romans] 8:14)

"4. And as believers, things that others might consider mere chance, we should see as the Lord working behind the scenes… He is LORD of all… sovereign over every tiny event… and should be praised as such."

If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-16-index/proverbs-16_33/.

SEPTEMBER 15

Ecclesiastes 7:9: "Be not hasty in thy spirit
[don't rush or be in a hurry] to be angry: for [because] anger resteth [rests, lingers] in the bosom [breast, or front part of the chest, covering the heart] of fools."

In other words, it's foolish to hold a grudge because, according to the above verse, anger remains in the hearts of fools for a long time.

Concerning the phrase anger resteth in the bosom of fools, Adam Clarke's commentary says:

"A wise man, off his guard, may feel it for a moment: but in him it cannot rest: it is a fire which he immediately casts out of his breast. But the fool - the man who is under the dominion of his own tempers, harbors and fosters it, till it takes the form of malice, and then excites him to seek full revenge on those whom he deems enemies …"

(Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ecclesiastes/7-9.html, "Albert Clarke Commentary")

And in his commentary on this verse, Mark Dunagan points out the following:

"1. Consider the close connection between pride and anger. Humility and patience is a great check against selfish and sinful anger. This should make us seriously reevaluate our own anger. Often what triggers an angry response isn't righteous indignation, rather it is when our pride has been seriously humbled or put in its place."

"2. The fool is a person who cherishes and nourishes such anger. 'A quick temper in company with frustration is the earmark of the fool. Another mark of the fool is to welcome, harbor and entertain anger' …"

(Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ecclesiastes/7-9.html, "Mark Dunagah Commentary on the Bible")

SEPTEMBER 14

Hebrews 12:28-29 - Serving God

Verse 28: "Wherefore we
[born-again Christians,] [through faith,] receiving a kingdom [i.e., the kingdom of God, in heaven] which cannot be moved [is permanent and unchanging], let us have grace [undeserved kindness from a merciful, holy, righteous God], whereby we may serve [worship] God acceptably with reverence [great respect and awe] and godly fear [of God's hatred of sin; i.e., having a willingness to obey God, so as to not offend or displease him]:"

Verse 29: "
[The reason we should serve God with reverence and fear:] For [because] our God is a consuming fire [meaning he is very powerful and able to destroy anything and everything, especially when it has a connection to sin]."

Regarding verse 29, one Bible commentator wrote:

"IV. OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE.

"1. TO His people this is a welcome thought; for He shall consume all that is hateful and repulsive to them.

"2. To the sinful it is a thought of terror; for He shall destroy all that upon which they trust, and leave them helpless, desolate, lost …"

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/hebrews/12-29.html, "The Biblical Illustrator," "The consuming fire")

SEPTEMBER 12-13

2 Peter 2:4-8 - Warnings About Wickedness and Rebellion

Verse 4: "For if God spared not
[had no mercy on] the angels that sinned [referring to the angels who, along with Satan, had rebelled against God], but cast [threw] them down to hell [from heaven], and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved [restrained from freedom, or held captive] unto judgment [until the Great White Throne Judgment, which will take place in heaven someday];"

Verse 5: "And
[God] spared not the old world [meaning everything that was alive on the earth (i.e., people, animals, birds, etc.) when the ark was built], but saved Noah the eighth person [there were seven others (family members) besides himself on the ark], [who was] a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;"

Verse 6: "And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes
[by raining fire and brimstone down on them from heaven,] [God] condemned them with an overthrow [meaning he condemned and destroyed those cities and all of the people in them], making them an ensample [example] unto those [people] that after[wards] should live [in an] ungodly [manner];"

Verses 7-8: "And
[God] delivered just [the righteous, morally upright] Lot, [who was] vexed [afflicted, oppressed, burdened] with the filthy conversation [lifestyle] of the wicked: (For that righteous man [Lot] dwelling [living] among them [the people of Sodom and Gomorrah], in seeing and hearing [the horrible things that they did and said], vexed [tormented] his righteous soul from day to day [constantly] with their unlawful deeds;)"

Regarding verse 6, one Bible commentator wrote: "It has well been said that if God spares today's cities from judgment, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah." Apparently, it was Ruth Graham who originally made that statement because, in a letter entitled "My Heart Aches for America," Billy Graham wrote:

"Some years ago, my wife, Ruth, was reading the draft of a book I was writing. When she finished a section describing the terrible downward spiral of our nation's moral standards and the idolatry of worshiping false gods such as technology and sex, she startled me by exclaiming, 'If God doesn't punish America, He'll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.'

"She was probably thinking of a passage in Ezekiel where God tells why He brought those cities to ruin. 'Now this was the sin of … Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen' (Ezekiel 16:49-50, NIV).

"I wonder what Ruth would think of America if she were alive today. In the years since she made that remark, millions of babies have been aborted and our nation seems largely unconcerned. Self-centered indulgence, pride, and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle."

(Source for Billy Graham quote: https://billygraham.org/story/billy-graham-my-heart-aches-for-america/)

SEPTEMBER 11

Romans 12:19-20 - The Apostle Paul Teaches About Vengeance (Retaliation, Revenge)
Writing to the saints (born-again Christians) in Rome about revenge, the apostle Paul said:

Verse 19: "Dearly beloved [an expression of tenderness], avenge not yourselves [don't seek revenge, meaning don't harm or punish people who have hurt you and/or have hurt or destroyed someone or something you care about], but rather [instead] give [the proper] place unto [God's] wrath [anger] [in other words, leave the matter in God's hands; allow him (and sometimes the judges in a court of law) to punish the offender(s) rather than doing it yourself]: [you shouldn't avenge yourselves] for [because] it is written [in Deuteronomy 32:35--see Note 1 below], Vengeance is mine; I will repay [or pay him (or her) back], saith [says] the Lord [God]."

Verse 20: "Therefore if thine
[your] enemy hunger, feed him [or her]; if he [or she] thirst [is thirsty], give him [or her] [something to] drink: for in so doing thou shalt [you shall] heap coals of fire [burning coals] on his [or her] head [in other words, you will make the person feel pain in his (or her) conscience, such as shame, remorse, etc. (see Note 2 below), or (as suggested in Matthew Henry's commentary--see Note 3 below) you will '[m]elt him into repentance and friendship, …' (similar to 'melting a person's heart')]. Be not [don't be] overcome of [by] evil, but overcome evil with good."
________________________

Note 1: Deuteronomy 32:35: "To me [God] belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste."

Note 2:
In his commentary on verse 20, Albert Barnes says: "… In regard to this passage we may remark,

"(1) That the way to promote 'peace' is to do good even to enemies.

"(2) the way to bring a man to repentance is to do him good. On this principle God is acting continually. He does good to all, even to the rebellious; and he designs that his goodness should lead people to repentance; Romans 2:4. People will resist wrath, anger, and power; but 'goodness' they cannot resist; it finds its way to the heart; and the conscience does its work, and the sinner is overwhelmed at the remembrance of his crimes.

"(3) if people would act on the principles of the gospel, the world would soon be at peace. No man would suffer himself many times to be overwhelmed in this way with coals of fire. It is not human nature, bad as it is; and if Christians would meet all unkindness with kindness, all malice with benevolence, and all wrong with right, peace would soon pervade the community, and even opposition to the gospel might soon die away."

(Source for above quote by Albert Barnes:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-12.html, "Verse 20")

Note 3:
Source for Matthew Henry quote: www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/romans/12.html, "Verses 6-21,"  "(v. 20)"

SEPTEMBER 4-10

Genesis 19:1-26 - Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
The city of Sodom was filled with wickedness and immorality and was scheduled to be destroyed by God. This story took place after God promised that he wouldn't destroy Sodom if Abraham could find at least ten righteous (morally right) people there.

Verses 1-3: "And there came two angels to Sodom at even [in the evening, after visiting Abraham]; and Lot [Abraham's nephew] sat in the gate of [at the entrance to the city of] Sodom: and Lot seeing them [the angels] rose [stood] up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground [to show respect]; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house [Lot's house], and tarry [stay] all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay [no]; but we will abide [remain, stay] in the street all night. And he [Lot] pressed upon them greatly [insisted]; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat."

Verses 4-5: "But before they
[the angels] lay down [on their beds to sleep], the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round [surrounded the house], both old [men] and young [men and boys], all the people from every quarter [every corner of the city]: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men [referring to the angels] which came in to thee [who came to your house] this night? bring them out unto us, [so] that we may know [have sex with] them."

Verses 6-8: "And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray
[beg] you, brethren [neighbors], do not [do] so wickedly [do not do such an evil thing]. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man [intimately, meaning they were virgins]; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes [he either thought that this was the lesser of two evils or that the men wouldn't be interested in them]: only unto these men [the angels] do nothing; for therefore [for this reason] came they under the shadow of my roof [i.e., for safety or protection, so he thought]."

Verses 9-11: "And they
[the men of Sodom] said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow [referring to Lot] came in to sojourn [stay here temporarily], and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee [you--Lot], than with them [the angels]. And they pressed sore [pushed hard] upon the man, even Lot [in other words, they beat him up], and came near to break the door. But the men [the angels] put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote [struck] the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great [all of the men--young and old]: so that they wearied themselves [they grew tired or exhausted trying] to find the door."

Verses 12-14: "And the men
[the angels] said unto Lot, Hast thou [have you] here any [relatives] besides [yourself]'? [your] son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place [the city of Sodom], because the cry of them [the people living there] is waxen great before the face of the LORD [which means their evil deeds had greatly offended God]; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it [Sodom]. And Lot went out, and spake [spoke] unto his sons in law, which married [or soon would marry] his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city [Sodom]. But he seemed as one that mocked [made jokes] unto his sons in law [who thought that he was kidding and, consequently, didn't heed his warning]."

Verses 15-17: "And when the morning arose
[i.e., at daybreak, dawn, when the sun came up], then the angels hastened Lot [or urged him to hurry], saying, Arise [get up], take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou [or you will] be consumed in the [punishment for the] iniquity [immorality] of the city. And while he [Lot] lingered [was reluctant to leave], the men [the angels] laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him [Lot]: and they brought him forth [out of Sodom], and set him without [outside of] the city. And it came to pass, when they [the angels] had brought them [Lot and his family] forth abroad [out of the city], that he [one of the angels] said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee [don't look behind you--an important command that Lot's wife will either forget or ignore], neither stay thou [and don't you stay] in all the plain [of Jordan]; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed [or you'll be burned up]."

Verses 18-23: "And Lot said unto them
[the angels; in particular, the angel of the Lord], Oh, not so, my Lord: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace [favor] in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed [showed] unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: Behold now, this city [Bela] is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither [there], (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. And he [the angel of the Lord] said unto him [Lot], See, I have accepted thee [granted approval] concerning this thing [Lot's request/prayer] also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. Haste thee [hurry], escape thither [there]; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into [Bela, which was renamed] Zoar."

Verses 24-26: "Then the LORD
[God] rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone [sulfur] and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he [God] overthrew [destroyed] those [two] cities, and all [of] the plain [of Jordan], and all the inhabitants of the cities [that were located there (i.e., Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, but not Zoar, where Lot had gone)], and that which grew upon the ground [e.g., trees, herbs, plants]. But his [Lot's] wife [who was following her husband] looked back from behind him [Lot] [in disobedience to God's command], and she became a pillar of salt."

The place where this happened is now called the Dead Sea, or Salt Sea.

Among other things, this story shows that:

1. God eventually gets fed up with sin and punishes it.

2. The Lord protects Christians and answers their prayers.

3. Like Lot's sons-in-law and wife, people who ignore warnings suffer the consequences.

4. "… The very presence of good men in a place helps to keep off judgments …" (Source: Matthew Henry commentary, https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/genesis/19.html, "Verses 15-23")
_________________________

Commenting on verse 16, in part, Bishop Ryle wrote:

"I. WHAT LOT WAS HIMSELF.

"1. Lot was a true believer--a converted person--a real child of God--a justified soul--a righteous man. Is any one of my readers a traveller in the narrow way which leads unto life? So also was Lot.

"2. Before we pass on, let us remember that a true Christian may have many a blemish, many a defect, many an infirmity, and yet be a true Christian nevertheless. We do not despise gold because it is mixed with much dross. We must not undervalue grace because it is accompanied by much corruption.

"II. WHAT THE TEXT TELLS US ABOUT LOT'S BEHAVIOUR. 'He lingered.' Now, there are many Christian men and Christian women in this day very like Lot. There are many real children of God who appear to know far more than they live up to, and see far more than they practise, and yet continue in this state for many years. Wonderful that they go as far as they do, and yet go no further I They hold the Head, even Christ, and love the truth. They like sound preaching, and assent to every article of Gospel doctrine, when they hear it. But still there is an indescribable something which is not satisfactory about them. They believe in heaven, and yet seem faintly to long for it; and in hell, and yet seem little to fear it. They love the Lord Jesus; but the work they do for Him is small. They hate the devil; but they often appear to tempt him to come to them. They know the time is short; but they live as if it were long. They know they have a battle to fight; yet a man might think they were at peace. They know they have a race to run; yet they often look like people sitting still. They know the Judge is at the door, and there is wrath to come; and yet they appear half asleep. Astonishing they should be what they are, and yet be nothing more! And what shall we say of these people? They often puzzle godly friends and relations. They often cause great anxiety. They often give rise to great doubts and searchings of heart. But they may be classed under one sweeping description--they are all brethren and sisters of Lot. They linger."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/genesis/19-16.html, "The Biblical Illustrator," "Lot: a beacon")
_________________________

Concerning the statement in verse 26 that Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, a GotQuestions.org article says:

"Lot ran, his daughters close behind. 'But his wife , from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt' … She lagged behind. She turned and watched the flaming sulfur fall from the sky, consuming everything she valued. Then it consumed her. The Hebrew for 'looked back' means more than to glance over one's shoulder. It means 'to regard, to consider, to pay attention to.' The Scriptures don't say whether her death was a punishment for valuing her old life so much that she hesitated in obeying, or if it was a simple consequence of her reluctance to leave her life quickly. Either she identified too much with the city--and joined it--or she neglected to fully obey God's warning, and she died."

(Source for quote: "Why was Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt?" --
https://www.gotquestions.org/pillar-of-salt.html, paragraph 2)

SEPTEMBER 3

Proverbs 3:13-16 - Wisdom

Verses 13-14: "Happy
[blessed] is the man [or woman or child] that findeth wisdom [by reading and studying the Bible and by asking God for it through prayer], and [happy is] the man [or woman or child] that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it [wisdom] is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof [of wisdom] [is better] than [the gain of] fine gold."

Verses 15-16: "She
[God's wisdom, personified, or acting like a person] is more precious [valuable] than rubies: and all the things thou canst [you can] desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days [long life] is in her [wisdom's]  right hand; and in her left hand [are] riches and honour."

Salem Bible Church has good commentaries on these verses. Verses 13-15 are in one commentary, and verse 16 is combined with the commentary on verses 17-20. If you want to read one or both of the commentaries, here are the links:

-- Verses 13-15: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-3-index/proverbs-3_13-15/
-- Verses 16-20: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-3-index/proverbs-3_16-20/

SEPTEMBER 2

1 Corinthians 15:58
[In a letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Therefore, my beloved brethren [brothers (and sisters) in Christ; i.e., fellow Christians], be ye stedfast [firm, and fixed in your faith (belief) concerning the truth of the gospel and the resurrection of the dead], unmoveable [in your expectation of having eternal life], always abounding in the work of the Lord [doing many things for God and/or the church and to promote the gospel], forasmuch as [since] ye [you] know that your labour is not in vain [fruitless, without success or results] in the Lord [when it's done under God's direction and by his influence]."

With this verse, Paul encourages the Corinthians--and all born-again Christians--to remain faithful and hopeful, and he reminds them (and us) that they (and we) will be rewarded in heaven for the things that they (and we) do for God on earth.
_________________________

In the last paragraph of his commentary on the above verse, Brad Price wrote:

"Someone has said there are three kinds of people in the church: (1) Tow boat Christians (these never go unless someone drags them along). (2) Sail boat Christians (these are only found in 'fair weather'). (3) Steam boat Christians (these are ready to go all the time). This observation, plus the fact that abounding is expressed with the present tense, reminds us that the Christian life is a life of commitment and activity. God does not want His people to work for a while then grow 'faint' or 'weary' (Galatians 6:9). Neither does He want people to 'spiritually retire' in their later years and rest on their previous accomplishments. God knows about the pitfalls that face His people so Christians are warned to 'stand fast in the faith,' 'act like men,' and 'be strong' (1 Corinthians 16:13). Even though our physical bodies weaken with age, our inward man can be 'renewed day by day' (2 Corinthians 4:16) and we can 'set our minds on what is above' (Colossians 3:2). If Christians do seem to become somewhat lax in their service to God, they should be exhorted to again turn to God and serve Him with eagerness (compare 2 Timothy 1:6-7 and Colossians 4:17)."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-corinthians/15-58.html, last commentary on the page--following the commentary from "The Bible Study New Testament")

SEPTEMBER 1

Ephesians 5:19
[In a letter to the Christians in Ephesus, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Speaking to yourselves in psalms [referring to the psalms of King David, which used to be sung in churches in Bible times] and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;"

Singing is a great way to praise and worship God. In fact, if we pay attention to the words of the hymns (for example, the kind used in Baptist churches--see Hymnary link below) while singing, it will not only give us joy but also help to strengthen our faith.

Click here for a list of "Most Popular Hymns" plus "the 250 hymns published the most frequently in modern hymnals indexed by Hymnary.org":
https://hymnary.org/browse/popular.


Previous Verses
September 2019
SEPTEMBER 30

Romans 8:28
[In a letter to the 'saints' (Christians) in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote]: "And we know that all things [all bad things, like problems, afflictions, persecutions, etc.] work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his [God's] purpose [referring to born-again Christians, or those who have accepted God's invitation to be saved] ."

SEPTEMBER 29

Proverbs 29:2: "When the righteous
[those who are 'good'] are in authority [in charge], the people [of that nation] rejoice [are filled with joy or happiness]: but when the wicked [those who are 'bad'] beareth rule [are in charge], the people mourn [grieve (are very sad)]."

Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse, including many examples of what leaders do to cause their people to rejoice and mourn. Also mentioned are specific things that have occurred recently in the United States that illustrate the moral and spiritual decline of our country.

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-29-index/proverbs-29_2.

SEPTEMBER 28

2 Chronicles 16:12-13: "And Asa
[king of Judah] in the thirty and ninth [39th] year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease [probably gout] was exceeding great [very bad]: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD [didn't look to God for help and healing], but [only] to the physicians [doctors]. And Asa slept with his fathers [ancestors] [which is another way of saying that he died], and died in the one and fortieth [41st] year of his reign."

From these verses, we learn that whenever we have a medical problem (sickness, injury, etc.), in addition to visiting the doctor, we should always pray to God for wisdom, guidance, help, and healing.

SEPTEMBER 27

Psalm 122:6-9
[King David wrote]:

Verses 6-7: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
[which, in the Bible, is often called the 'city of God']: they shall prosper that love thee [meaning that the people who love Jerusalem shall have success]. Peace be within thy walls [the walls of the city], and prosperity [good fortune] [shall be] within thy palaces [where the leaders live (reside) and rule (govern)]."

Verses 8-9: "For my brethren
[my brothers' (or relatives') sakes] and [for my] companions' [friends'] sakes, I [King David] will now say, Peace be within thee [Jerusalem]. Because of the house of the LORD our God [referring to the temple, or place where God was worshiped when this psalm was written, which was located in city of Jerusalem] I will seek thy [your, meaning Jerusalem's] good."

SEPTEMBER 25-26

Matthew 22:23-30 - No Marriage or Sex in Heaven

Verses 23-24:  "The same day
[when he was teaching in the temple] came to him [Jesus] the Sadducees [members of the ruling class in Israel], which say that there is no resurrection [raising up from the dead], and asked him, Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed [offspring, children, descendants] unto his brother [to carry on the family name--see note below*]."

Verses 25-28: "Now there were with us seven brethren
[brothers]: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased [died], and, having no issue [children], left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also [died], and [so did] the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman [a widow again and still childless] died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven [brothers]? for they all had her [as a wife]."

Verses 29-30: "Jesus answered and said unto them
[the Sadducees], Ye do err [you are mistaken], not knowing the scriptures [at that time, he was referring to the books of the Old Testament], nor the power of God [to raise the dead]. For in the resurrection they [the people (both males and females) who are brought back to life] neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but [they] are as [like] the angels of God in heaven [meaning they are single, and similar to the angels in the way that they act and live]."

Here are two articles explaining why no one will be married or have sexual relations in heaven:

-- "Will there be marriage in heaven?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/marriage-heaven.html

-- "Will there be sex in heaven?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/sex-heaven.html
________________________

*Regarding the questioners' reference to the law of Moses in verse 24, one Bible commentator wrote: "… Under that law if a man died childless his brother (or kinsman) was required to take his wife and produce children who would inherit the dead man's name, and his property …"

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/22-23.html, "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible")

SEPTEMBER 18-24

Luke 15:11-32 - The Prodigal Son

This is a parable, or story, that Jesus told about sinners and repentance, with the older son (the "good kid") representing the scribes and Pharisees (religious leaders with a "holier than thou" attitude), the younger (prodigal) son (the "bad kid") representing the returning (repenting) sinner, and the father (a kind, compassionate, merciful, forgiving, loving person) representing God.

Verses 11-12: "And he [Jesus] said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them [who became known as the prodigal son] said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me [meaning his inheritance]. And he [the father] divided unto them [both sons] his living [money and property].

Verses 13-14: And not many days after
[that,] the younger son gathered all [of his personal belongings] together, and took his journey into [traveled to] a far country, and there wasted his substance [spent all that he had] with riotous living [an extravagant lifestyle]. And when he had spent all [of his money], there arose a mighty famine [an extreme shortage of food] in that land; and he began to be in want [need]."

Verses 15-16: "And he
[the prodigal son] went and joined himself to [hired himself out to, became employed by] a citizen of that country; and he [the employer] sent him [the prodigal son] into his fields to feed swine [pigs]. And he [the prodigal son] would fain [gladly] have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat [because that type of food was better than what his employer provided]: and no man [person] gave unto him [the prodigal son] [any of the husks] .

Verses 17-19: And when he
[the prodigal son] came to himself [came to his senses], he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread [food] enough [for themselves] and [some] to spare [meaning the servants had more than enough to eat], and I perish with hunger [I'm starving to death]! I will arise [leave this place] and go to my father, and [acknowledging that he (the prodigal son) had been acting in a wicked, ungrateful, and rebellious manner] will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven [God], and before thee [you,], And [I] am no more worthy to be called thy [your] son: make [treat] me as one of thy hired servants.

Verse 20: And he
[the prodigal son] arose, and came [back, or returned,] to his father [meaning he went home]. But when he [the prodigal son] was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion [felt pity for him, had sympathy for his suffering], and [he] ran, and fell on [threw his arms around] his [son's] neck, and kissed him."

Verses 21-24: "And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven
[God], and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and [put] shoes [sandals] on his feet: And bring hither [here] the fatted [fattened] calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry [cheerful, joyful]: For this my son was dead [to virtue, or good moral behavior--because he had been corrupted by sin], and is alive again; he was lost [to the family, because they didn't know where he was], and is found. And they began to be merry.

Verses 25-27: Now his
[the father's] elder [older] son was in the field [working]: and as he came and drew nigh [near] to the house, he heard musick [music] and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he [the servant] said unto him [the older son], Thy brother is come [home]; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him [the prodigal son] [back home] safe and sound [i.e., in good health].

Verses 28-30: And he
[the older son] was angry, and would not go in [the house]: therefore came his father out[side], and intreated [begged, pleased with] him. And he [the older son] answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed [disobeyed] I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid [a young goat, which was of less value than a calf], [so] that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come [home], [referring to the younger (prodigal) son,] which hath devoured [who has spent, wasted, used up] thy living [your property and money] with harlots [prostitutes], thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

Verses 31-32: And he
[the father] said unto him [the older son], Son, thou art ever [forever, always] with me, and all that I have is thine [yours]. It was meet [fitting, appropriate, right] that we should make merry [celebrate], and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and [he] was lost, and is found."

Like the loving father who greeted his missing son with open arms, God loves it when sinners express a heartfelt desire to come to him through repentance and salvation.

SEPTEMBER 17

Psalm 86:3-5 - King David's Prayer to God

Verses 3-4: "Be merciful
[be gracious, show mercy] unto me, O Lord: for I cry [call out] unto thee daily [in prayer--sometimes silently and sometimes out loud]. Rejoice the soul of thy [your] servant [i.e., fill me with joy]: for unto thee [you], O Lord, do I lift up my soul [in prayer]."

Verse 5:
[Why David believed God would answer his prayer:] "For [because] thou [you], Lord, art [are] good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto [filled with compassion for] all them that call upon thee [you] [in prayer]."

SEPTEMBER 16

Proverbs 16:33: "The lot
[small stone, pebble] is cast [thrown] into the lap [referring to a method for making decisions that was common in Bible times, which is similar to how we choose lottery winners today]; but the whole disposing thereof [i.e., the outcome, or result] is of the LORD."

In light of the above verse, we could say that God doesn't leave anything to chance, or our decisions are guided by God.

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. It includes many examples of when God used the casting of lots to reveal his will to the Jewish people.

In paragraph 6e of the "examples" section, Pastor Delany says, "The world is not governed by time and chance, but by the Lord God who created, sustains, and governs the entire universe… including determining how a coin lands… and how the lot is cast."

Pastor Delany ends his commentary with this:

Conclusion:

"1. Should the believer [born-again Christian] today cast lots to determine the will of God?

"a. Is that the message of this passage?

"b. Should we flip a coin to determine who teaches the Sunday school class?

"c. Should we roll the dice to select a new pastor?

"d. Should we draw straws to determine which job to take?

"e. Should we put out a fleece to see if we should opt for surgery?

"f. I am convinced that MANY believers today put out fleeces of all stripes in determining God's will.

"g. I know that there is a lot of superstition used in it too.

"2. Is there ever a time when we should use such a practice? I think the answer is YES.

"a. Prov. [Proverbs] 18:18 -- It might be used not to determine God's will, but perhaps to end a debate on a matter of no spiritual consequence.

"b. Who goes for the donuts…

"c. Or choosing a winner in a VBS [Vacation Bible School] contest when there was a tie…

"d. It is FAIR because it takes the outcome OUT OF our control… and thus removes all bias. It ends the debate.

"e. But it should NOT be used to determine God's will in serious matters of service, morality, or other important issues.

"3. Fleeces and casting of lots were used all throughout the Old Testament.

"a. The casting of lots was used--even in the New Testament, to who would replace Judas among the apostles… and the lot fell on Mathias. (Acts 1:26)

"b. And notice that Acts 1 is the very last occurrence of the practice in the New Testament.

"c. It is as if God had them use the lot here in determining His will and recorded in the very last verse before the church age begins…

"d. In the next verse (Acts 2:1…) we have the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell believers… to lead believers…

"e. And there is not one more mention of lots after this.

"f. I don't think that is an accident… it was not mere CHANCE that put verse 1:26 immediately before 2:1!

"g. This was God's sovereign and providential choice.

"h. Today, we have the completed canon of Scripture.

"i. We are looking at 'principles to guide us in the age of grace' in Sunday school.

"j. And we are all indwelt by deity [i.e., the Holy Spirit].

"k. Today, we have something much better than casting lots, drawing straws, or rolling dice.

"l. Today, sons of God [i.e., born-again Christians] are recognized by the fact that they are led by the [Holy] Spirit… not by straws, dice, or lots.

"m. 'For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.' (Rom. [Romans] 8:14)

"4. And as believers, things that others might consider mere chance, we should see as the Lord working behind the scenes… He is LORD of all… sovereign over every tiny event… and should be praised as such."

If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-16-index/proverbs-16_33/.

SEPTEMBER 15

Ecclesiastes 7:9: "Be not hasty in thy spirit
[don't rush or be in a hurry] to be angry: for [because] anger resteth [rests, lingers] in the bosom [breast, or front part of the chest, covering the heart] of fools."

In other words, it's foolish to hold a grudge because, according to the above verse, anger remains in the hearts of fools for a long time.

Concerning the phrase anger resteth in the bosom of fools, Adam Clarke's commentary says:

"A wise man, off his guard, may feel it for a moment: but in him it cannot rest: it is a fire which he immediately casts out of his breast. But the fool - the man who is under the dominion of his own tempers, harbors and fosters it, till it takes the form of malice, and then excites him to seek full revenge on those whom he deems enemies …"

(Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ecclesiastes/7-9.html, "Albert Clarke Commentary")

And in his commentary on this verse, Mark Dunagan points out the following:

"1. Consider the close connection between pride and anger. Humility and patience is a great check against selfish and sinful anger. This should make us seriously reevaluate our own anger. Often what triggers an angry response isn't righteous indignation, rather it is when our pride has been seriously humbled or put in its place."

"2. The fool is a person who cherishes and nourishes such anger. 'A quick temper in company with frustration is the earmark of the fool. Another mark of the fool is to welcome, harbor and entertain anger' …"

(Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ecclesiastes/7-9.html, "Mark Dunagah Commentary on the Bible")

SEPTEMBER 14

Hebrews 12:28-29 - Serving God

Verse 28: "Wherefore we
[born-again Christians,] [through faith,] receiving a kingdom [i.e., the kingdom of God, in heaven] which cannot be moved [is permanent and unchanging], let us have grace [undeserved kindness from a merciful, holy, righteous God], whereby we may serve [worship] God acceptably with reverence [great respect and awe] and godly fear [of God's hatred of sin; i.e., having a willingness to obey God, so as to not offend or displease him]:"

Verse 29: "
[The reason we should serve God with reverence and fear:] For [because] our God is a consuming fire [meaning he is very powerful and able to destroy anything and everything, especially when it has a connection to sin]."

Regarding verse 29, one Bible commentator wrote:

"IV. OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE.

"1. TO His people this is a welcome thought; for He shall consume all that is hateful and repulsive to them.

"2. To the sinful it is a thought of terror; for He shall destroy all that upon which they trust, and leave them helpless, desolate, lost …"

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/hebrews/12-29.html, "The Biblical Illustrator," "The consuming fire")

SEPTEMBER 12-13

2 Peter 2:4-8 - Warnings About Wickedness and Rebellion

Verse 4: "For if God spared not
[had no mercy on] the angels that sinned [referring to the angels who, along with Satan, had rebelled against God], but cast [threw] them down to hell [from heaven], and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved [restrained from freedom, or held captive] unto judgment [until the Great White Throne Judgment, which will take place in heaven someday];"

Verse 5: "And
[God] spared not the old world [meaning everything that was alive on the earth (i.e., people, animals, birds, etc.) when the ark was built], but saved Noah the eighth person [there were seven others (family members) besides himself on the ark], [who was] a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;"

Verse 6: "And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes
[by raining fire and brimstone down on them from heaven,] [God] condemned them with an overthrow [meaning he condemned and destroyed those cities and all of the people in them], making them an ensample [example] unto those [people] that after[wards] should live [in an] ungodly [manner];"

Verses 7-8: "And
[God] delivered just [the righteous, morally upright] Lot, [who was] vexed [afflicted, oppressed, burdened] with the filthy conversation [lifestyle] of the wicked: (For that righteous man [Lot] dwelling [living] among them [the people of Sodom and Gomorrah], in seeing and hearing [the horrible things that they did and said], vexed [tormented] his righteous soul from day to day [constantly] with their unlawful deeds;)"

Regarding verse 6, one Bible commentator wrote: "It has well been said that if God spares today's cities from judgment, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah." Apparently, it was Ruth Graham who originally made that statement because, in a letter entitled "My Heart Aches for America," Billy Graham wrote:

"Some years ago, my wife, Ruth, was reading the draft of a book I was writing. When she finished a section describing the terrible downward spiral of our nation's moral standards and the idolatry of worshiping false gods such as technology and sex, she startled me by exclaiming, 'If God doesn't punish America, He'll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.'

"She was probably thinking of a passage in Ezekiel where God tells why He brought those cities to ruin. 'Now this was the sin of … Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen' (Ezekiel 16:49-50, NIV).

"I wonder what Ruth would think of America if she were alive today. In the years since she made that remark, millions of babies have been aborted and our nation seems largely unconcerned. Self-centered indulgence, pride, and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle."

(Source for Billy Graham quote: https://billygraham.org/story/billy-graham-my-heart-aches-for-america/)

SEPTEMBER 11

Romans 12:19-20 - The Apostle Paul Teaches About Vengeance (Retaliation, Revenge)
Writing to the saints (born-again Christians) in Rome about revenge, the apostle Paul said:

Verse 19: "Dearly beloved [an expression of tenderness], avenge not yourselves [don't seek revenge, meaning don't harm or punish people who have hurt you and/or have hurt or destroyed someone or something you care about], but rather [instead] give [the proper] place unto [God's] wrath [anger] [in other words, leave the matter in God's hands; allow him (and sometimes the judges in a court of law) to punish the offender(s) rather than doing it yourself]: [you shouldn't avenge yourselves] for [because] it is written [in Deuteronomy 32:35--see Note 1 below], Vengeance is mine; I will repay [or pay him (or her) back], saith [says] the Lord [God]."

Verse 20: "Therefore if thine
[your] enemy hunger, feed him [or her]; if he [or she] thirst [is thirsty], give him [or her] [something to] drink: for in so doing thou shalt [you shall] heap coals of fire [burning coals] on his [or her] head [in other words, you will make the person feel pain in his (or her) conscience, such as shame, remorse, etc. (see Note 2 below), or (as suggested in Matthew Henry's commentary--see Note 3 below) you will '[m]elt him into repentance and friendship, …' (similar to 'melting a person's heart')]. Be not [don't be] overcome of [by] evil, but overcome evil with good."
________________________

Note 1: Deuteronomy 32:35: "To me [God] belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste."

Note 2:
In his commentary on verse 20, Albert Barnes says: "… In regard to this passage we may remark,

"(1) That the way to promote 'peace' is to do good even to enemies.

"(2) the way to bring a man to repentance is to do him good. On this principle God is acting continually. He does good to all, even to the rebellious; and he designs that his goodness should lead people to repentance; Romans 2:4. People will resist wrath, anger, and power; but 'goodness' they cannot resist; it finds its way to the heart; and the conscience does its work, and the sinner is overwhelmed at the remembrance of his crimes.

"(3) if people would act on the principles of the gospel, the world would soon be at peace. No man would suffer himself many times to be overwhelmed in this way with coals of fire. It is not human nature, bad as it is; and if Christians would meet all unkindness with kindness, all malice with benevolence, and all wrong with right, peace would soon pervade the community, and even opposition to the gospel might soon die away."

(Source for above quote by Albert Barnes:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-12.html, "Verse 20")

Note 3:
Source for Matthew Henry quote: www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/romans/12.html, "Verses 6-21,"  "(v. 20)"

SEPTEMBER 4-10

Genesis 19:1-26 - Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
The city of Sodom was filled with wickedness and immorality and was scheduled to be destroyed by God. This story took place after God promised that he wouldn't destroy Sodom if Abraham could find at least ten righteous (morally right) people there.

Verses 1-3: "And there came two angels to Sodom at even [in the evening, after visiting Abraham]; and Lot [Abraham's nephew] sat in the gate of [at the entrance to the city of] Sodom: and Lot seeing them [the angels] rose [stood] up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground [to show respect]; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house [Lot's house], and tarry [stay] all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay [no]; but we will abide [remain, stay] in the street all night. And he [Lot] pressed upon them greatly [insisted]; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat."

Verses 4-5: "But before they
[the angels] lay down [on their beds to sleep], the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round [surrounded the house], both old [men] and young [men and boys], all the people from every quarter [every corner of the city]: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men [referring to the angels] which came in to thee [who came to your house] this night? bring them out unto us, [so] that we may know [have sex with] them."

Verses 6-8: "And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray
[beg] you, brethren [neighbors], do not [do] so wickedly [do not do such an evil thing]. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man [intimately, meaning they were virgins]; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes [he either thought that this was the lesser of two evils or that the men wouldn't be interested in them]: only unto these men [the angels] do nothing; for therefore [for this reason] came they under the shadow of my roof [i.e., for safety or protection, so he thought]."

Verses 9-11: "And they
[the men of Sodom] said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow [referring to Lot] came in to sojourn [stay here temporarily], and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee [you--Lot], than with them [the angels]. And they pressed sore [pushed hard] upon the man, even Lot [in other words, they beat him up], and came near to break the door. But the men [the angels] put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote [struck] the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great [all of the men--young and old]: so that they wearied themselves [they grew tired or exhausted trying] to find the door."

Verses 12-14: "And the men
[the angels] said unto Lot, Hast thou [have you] here any [relatives] besides [yourself]'? [your] son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place [the city of Sodom], because the cry of them [the people living there] is waxen great before the face of the LORD [which means their evil deeds had greatly offended God]; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it [Sodom]. And Lot went out, and spake [spoke] unto his sons in law, which married [or soon would marry] his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city [Sodom]. But he seemed as one that mocked [made jokes] unto his sons in law [who thought that he was kidding and, consequently, didn't heed his warning]."

Verses 15-17: "And when the morning arose
[i.e., at daybreak, dawn, when the sun came up], then the angels hastened Lot [or urged him to hurry], saying, Arise [get up], take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou [or you will] be consumed in the [punishment for the] iniquity [immorality] of the city. And while he [Lot] lingered [was reluctant to leave], the men [the angels] laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him [Lot]: and they brought him forth [out of Sodom], and set him without [outside of] the city. And it came to pass, when they [the angels] had brought them [Lot and his family] forth abroad [out of the city], that he [one of the angels] said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee [don't look behind you--an important command that Lot's wife will either forget or ignore], neither stay thou [and don't you stay] in all the plain [of Jordan]; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed [or you'll be burned up]."

Verses 18-23: "And Lot said unto them
[the angels; in particular, the angel of the Lord], Oh, not so, my Lord: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace [favor] in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed [showed] unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: Behold now, this city [Bela] is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither [there], (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. And he [the angel of the Lord] said unto him [Lot], See, I have accepted thee [granted approval] concerning this thing [Lot's request/prayer] also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. Haste thee [hurry], escape thither [there]; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into [Bela, which was renamed] Zoar."

Verses 24-26: "Then the LORD
[God] rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone [sulfur] and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he [God] overthrew [destroyed] those [two] cities, and all [of] the plain [of Jordan], and all the inhabitants of the cities [that were located there (i.e., Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, but not Zoar, where Lot had gone)], and that which grew upon the ground [e.g., trees, herbs, plants]. But his [Lot's] wife [who was following her husband] looked back from behind him [Lot] [in disobedience to God's command], and she became a pillar of salt."

The place where this happened is now called the Dead Sea, or Salt Sea.

Among other things, this story shows that:

1. God eventually gets fed up with sin and punishes it.

2. The Lord protects Christians and answers their prayers.

3. Like Lot's sons-in-law and wife, people who ignore warnings suffer the consequences.

4. "… The very presence of good men in a place helps to keep off judgments …" (Source: Matthew Henry commentary, https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/genesis/19.html, "Verses 15-23")
_________________________

Commenting on verse 16, in part, Bishop Ryle wrote:

"I. WHAT LOT WAS HIMSELF.

"1. Lot was a true believer--a converted person--a real child of God--a justified soul--a righteous man. Is any one of my readers a traveller in the narrow way which leads unto life? So also was Lot.

"2. Before we pass on, let us remember that a true Christian may have many a blemish, many a defect, many an infirmity, and yet be a true Christian nevertheless. We do not despise gold because it is mixed with much dross. We must not undervalue grace because it is accompanied by much corruption.

"II. WHAT THE TEXT TELLS US ABOUT LOT'S BEHAVIOUR. 'He lingered.' Now, there are many Christian men and Christian women in this day very like Lot. There are many real children of God who appear to know far more than they live up to, and see far more than they practise, and yet continue in this state for many years. Wonderful that they go as far as they do, and yet go no further I They hold the Head, even Christ, and love the truth. They like sound preaching, and assent to every article of Gospel doctrine, when they hear it. But still there is an indescribable something which is not satisfactory about them. They believe in heaven, and yet seem faintly to long for it; and in hell, and yet seem little to fear it. They love the Lord Jesus; but the work they do for Him is small. They hate the devil; but they often appear to tempt him to come to them. They know the time is short; but they live as if it were long. They know they have a battle to fight; yet a man might think they were at peace. They know they have a race to run; yet they often look like people sitting still. They know the Judge is at the door, and there is wrath to come; and yet they appear half asleep. Astonishing they should be what they are, and yet be nothing more! And what shall we say of these people? They often puzzle godly friends and relations. They often cause great anxiety. They often give rise to great doubts and searchings of heart. But they may be classed under one sweeping description--they are all brethren and sisters of Lot. They linger."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/genesis/19-16.html, "The Biblical Illustrator," "Lot: a beacon")
_________________________

Concerning the statement in verse 26 that Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, a GotQuestions.org article says:

"Lot ran, his daughters close behind. 'But his wife , from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt' … She lagged behind. She turned and watched the flaming sulfur fall from the sky, consuming everything she valued. Then it consumed her. The Hebrew for 'looked back' means more than to glance over one's shoulder. It means 'to regard, to consider, to pay attention to.' The Scriptures don't say whether her death was a punishment for valuing her old life so much that she hesitated in obeying, or if it was a simple consequence of her reluctance to leave her life quickly. Either she identified too much with the city--and joined it--or she neglected to fully obey God's warning, and she died."

(Source for quote: "Why was Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt?" --
https://www.gotquestions.org/pillar-of-salt.html, paragraph 2)

SEPTEMBER 3

Proverbs 3:13-16 - Wisdom

Verses 13-14: "Happy
[blessed] is the man [or woman or child] that findeth wisdom [by reading and studying the Bible and by asking God for it through prayer], and [happy is] the man [or woman or child] that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it [wisdom] is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof [of wisdom] [is better] than [the gain of] fine gold."

Verses 15-16: "She
[God's wisdom, personified, or acting like a person] is more precious [valuable] than rubies: and all the things thou canst [you can] desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days [long life] is in her [wisdom's]  right hand; and in her left hand [are] riches and honour."

Salem Bible Church has good commentaries on these verses. Verses 13-15 are in one commentary, and verse 16 is combined with the commentary on verses 17-20. If you want to read one or both of the commentaries, here are the links:

-- Verses 13-15: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-3-index/proverbs-3_13-15/
-- Verses 16-20: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-3-index/proverbs-3_16-20/

SEPTEMBER 2

1 Corinthians 15:58
[In a letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Therefore, my beloved brethren [brothers (and sisters) in Christ; i.e., fellow Christians], be ye stedfast [firm, and fixed in your faith (belief) concerning the truth of the gospel and the resurrection of the dead], unmoveable [in your expectation of having eternal life], always abounding in the work of the Lord [doing many things for God and/or the church and to promote the gospel], forasmuch as [since] ye [you] know that your labour is not in vain [fruitless, without success or results] in the Lord [when it's done under God's direction and by his influence]."

With this verse, Paul encourages the Corinthians--and all born-again Christians--to remain faithful and hopeful, and he reminds them (and us) that they (and we) will be rewarded in heaven for the things that they (and we) do for God on earth.
_________________________

In the last paragraph of his commentary on the above verse, Brad Price wrote:

"Someone has said there are three kinds of people in the church: (1) Tow boat Christians (these never go unless someone drags them along). (2) Sail boat Christians (these are only found in 'fair weather'). (3) Steam boat Christians (these are ready to go all the time). This observation, plus the fact that abounding is expressed with the present tense, reminds us that the Christian life is a life of commitment and activity. God does not want His people to work for a while then grow 'faint' or 'weary' (Galatians 6:9). Neither does He want people to 'spiritually retire' in their later years and rest on their previous accomplishments. God knows about the pitfalls that face His people so Christians are warned to 'stand fast in the faith,' 'act like men,' and 'be strong' (1 Corinthians 16:13). Even though our physical bodies weaken with age, our inward man can be 'renewed day by day' (2 Corinthians 4:16) and we can 'set our minds on what is above' (Colossians 3:2). If Christians do seem to become somewhat lax in their service to God, they should be exhorted to again turn to God and serve Him with eagerness (compare 2 Timothy 1:6-7 and Colossians 4:17)."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-corinthians/15-58.html, last commentary on the page--following the commentary from "The Bible Study New Testament")

SEPTEMBER 1

Ephesians 5:19
[In a letter to the Christians in Ephesus, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Speaking to yourselves in psalms [referring to the psalms of King David, which used to be sung in churches in Bible times] and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;"

Singing is a great way to praise and worship God. In fact, if we pay attention to the words of the hymns (for example, the kind used in Baptist churches--see Hymnary link below) while singing, it will not only give us joy but also help to strengthen our faith.

Click here for a list of "Most Popular Hymns" plus "the 250 hymns published the most frequently in modern hymnals indexed by Hymnary.org":
https://hymnary.org/browse/popular.


Previous Verses: