4 September 2017 Bible Reading
In today’s reading from 2 Corinthians, we read of the repentant attitude of the members of the congregation in Corinth. Because of this passage, many of us are familiar with the phrase “godly sorrow”. We see here what godly sorrow really is: the intense desire and commitment to change.
your sorrow led to repentance
Godly sorrow will change us and motivate us to be sorrowful enough to repent. As you read the passage today, take note of the words the Holy Spirit uses to describe godly sorrow:
- clearing of yourselves
While regret is an aspect of true repentance, the emotion of sorrow in and of itself is not repentance. Godly sorrow leads to a change in our thinking, our actions and our lives. It puts us in the right attitude so we can repent. In contrast, worldly sorrow is concerned more with the punishment or consequences. Godly sorrow is concerned more with the willingness to change.
7 A good name is better than fine perfume; and the day of death better than the day of one’s birth. 2 It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men, and the living should take this to heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the face the heart is made good. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. 5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. 6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity. 7 Surely extortion makes the wise man foolish; and a bribe destroys the understanding. 8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning.
The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. 9 Don’t be hasty in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools. 10 Don’t say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For you do not ask wisely about this.
11 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance. Yes, it is more excellent for those who see the sun. 12 For wisdom is a defense, even as money is a defense; but the excellency of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
13 Consider the work of God, for who can make that straight, which he has made crooked? 14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; yes, God has made the one side by side with the other, to the end that man should not find out anything after him.
15 All this have I seen in my days of vanity: there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who lives long in his evildoing. 16 Don’t be overly righteous, neither make yourself overly wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Don’t be too wicked, neither be foolish. Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you should take hold of this. Yes, also from that don’t withdraw your hand; for he who fears God will come out of them all. 19 Wisdom is a strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city. 20 Surely there is not a righteous man on earth, who does good and doesn’t sin. 21 Also don’t take heed to all words that are spoken, lest you hear your servant curse you; 22 for often your own heart knows that you yourself have likewise cursed others. 23 All this have I proved in wisdom. I said, “I will be wise”; but it was far from me. 24 That which is, is far off and exceedingly deep. Who can find it out? 25 I turned around, and my heart sought to know and to search out, and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know that wickedness is stupidity, and that foolishness is madness.
26 I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and traps, whose hands are chains. Whoever pleases God shall escape from her; but the sinner will be ensnared by her.
27 “Behold, I have found this,” says the Preacher, “to one another, to find out the scheme; 28 which my soul still seeks; but I have not found. One man among a thousand have I found; but I have not found a woman among all those. 29 Behold, this only have I found: that God made man upright; but they search for many schemes.”
8 Who is like the wise man? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man’s wisdom makes his face shine, and the hardness of his face is changed. 2 I say, “Keep the king’s command!” because of the oath to God. 3 Don’t be hasty to go out of his presence. Don’t persist in an evil thing, for he does whatever pleases him, 4 for the king’s word is supreme. Who can say to him, “What are you doing?” 5 Whoever keeps the commandment shall not come to harm, and his wise heart will know the time and procedure. 6 For there is a time and procedure for every purpose, although the misery of man is heavy on him. 7 For he doesn’t know that which will be; for who can tell him how it will be? 8 There is no man who has power over the spirit to contain the spirit; neither does he have power over the day of death. There is no discharge in war; neither shall wickedness deliver those who practice it.
9 All this have I seen, and applied my mind to every work that is done under the sun. There is a time in which one man has power over another to his hurt. 10 So I saw the wicked buried. Indeed they came also from holiness. They went and were forgotten in the city where they did this. This also is vanity. 11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12 Though a sinner commits crimes a hundred times, and lives long, yet surely I know that it will be better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him. 13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he lengthen days like a shadow; because he doesn’t fear God.
14 There is a vanity which is done on the earth, that there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked. Again, there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 Then I commended mirth, because a man has no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be joyful: for that will accompany him in his labor all the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.
16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on the earth (for also there is that neither day nor night sees sleep with his eyes), 17 then I saw all the work of God, that man can’t find out the work that is done under the sun, because however much a man labors to seek it out, yet he won’t find it. Yes even though a wise man thinks he can comprehend it, he won’t be able to find it.
9 For all this I laid to my heart, even to explore all this: that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God; whether it is love or hatred, man doesn’t know it; all is before them. 2 All things come alike to all. There is one event to the righteous and to the wicked; to the good, to the clean, to the unclean, to him who sacrifices, and to him who doesn’t sacrifice. As is the good, so is the sinner; he who takes an oath, as he who fears an oath. 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one event to all: yes also, the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4 For to him who is joined with all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead don’t know anything, neither do they have any more a reward; for their memory is forgotten. 6 Also their love, their hatred, and their envy has perished long ago; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.
7 Go your way—eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already accepted your works. 8 Let your garments be always white, and don’t let your head lack oil. 9 Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your life of vanity, which he has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity: for that is your portion in life, and in your labor in which you labor under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, where you are going.
11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all. 12 For man also doesn’t know his time. As the fish that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare, even so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly on them.
13 I have also seen wisdom under the sun in this way, and it seemed great to me. 14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it. 15 Now a poor wise man was found in it, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. 16 Then I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” Nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. 17 The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the cry of him who rules among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war; but one sinner destroys much good.
2 Corinthians 7:8-16
8 For though I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it. For I see that my letter made you sorry, though just for a while. 9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly way, that you might suffer loss by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For behold, this same thing, that you were made sorry in a godly way, what earnest care it worked in you. Yes, what defense, indignation, fear, longing, zeal, and vengeance! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be pure in the matter. 12 So although I wrote to you, I wrote not for his cause that did the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered the wrong, but that your earnest care for us might be revealed in you in the sight of God. 13 Therefore we have been comforted. In our comfort we rejoiced the more exceedingly for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him on your behalf, I was not disappointed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, so our glorying also which I made before Titus was found to be truth. 15 His affection is more abundantly toward you, while he remembers all of your obedience, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16 I rejoice that in everything I am confident concerning you.
A Song. A Psalm by the sons of Korah.
48 Great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised,
in the city of our God, in his holy mountain.
2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth,
is Mount Zion, on the north sides,
the city of the great King.
3 God has shown himself in her citadels as a refuge.
4 For, behold, the kings assembled themselves,
they passed by together.
5 They saw it, then they were amazed.
They were dismayed.
They hurried away.
6 Trembling took hold of them there,
pain, as of a woman in travail.
7 With the east wind, you break the ships of Tarshish.
8 As we have heard, so we have seen,
in the city of Yahweh of Armies, in the city of our God.
God will establish it forever.
9 We have thought about your loving kindness, God,
in the middle of your temple.
10 As is your name, God,
so is your praise to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is full of righteousness.
11 Let Mount Zion be glad!
Let the daughters of Judah rejoice,
Because of your judgments.
12 Walk about Zion, and go around her.
Number its towers.
13 Mark well her bulwarks.
Consider her palaces,
that you may tell it to the next generation.
14 For this God is our God forever and ever.
He will be our guide even to death.
17 Turn your ear, and listen to the words of the wise.
Apply your heart to my teaching.
18 For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you,
if all of them are ready on your lips.
19 That your trust may be in Yahweh,
I teach you today, even you.