I. Background Information
- Sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice (v 2): the Jews burned sweet smelling incense in the Temple as a symbol of prayers rising to God. Here Paul is comparing Jesus’ giving of His life for us with this incense and saying it was very pleasing to God.
- Greediness is a form of idol worship (v 5): worshiping statures of gods was a common practice of the ancient cultures in Israel, but it was strictly forbidden by God in the Bible. It is seen as worshiping false gods instead of the true God. Greed is a type of idol worship because people are depending on money for their security instead of trusting in God to take care of them.
- Wrath (v 6): anger and punishment.
- Filled with the Spirit (v 18): instead of seeking pleasure in alcohol (drunk with wine), Paul encourages us to let God fill us with the joy and peace and life that comes from knowing and serving Him – sort of being filled up with Him instead of wine.
- Underline main ideas as you read.
Love continues to be the theme in this chapter. Paul uses the picture of darkness in contrast to light. We used to follow the values and practices of the world, but now we must be completely different – like darkness that changes to light. He especially mentions the areas of sex and money which are at the heart of so much sin. He ends the first section with the famous words that we should be filled with the Spirit. The world thinks that pleasure and completeness are found in sex or money or alcohol, but Paul says we will find much more as we follow Jesus and know God more each day. We will find that each day is filled with reasons to sing and thank God.
IV. Daily Thoughts (write out your answers)
- What did you learn today? Write down a few thoughts you have about what you read.
- What questions do you have after reading and thinking?
- Is there anything you think God wants you to do based on what you read today?
- For what people or situations do you need to thank God today?
- For what people or situations do you need to ask God’s help today?
- Take time to talk to God about these things. (talk and listen)