'Are we there yet?': Philippians 1.3–11 (26 March 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters.

Pray

Pray

Lord, have mercy. Cleanse me. Still my mind. Help me to listen as you speak.

Read

Read

Making the Altar for Burning Offerings

1For burning offerings, he made an altar out of acacia wood. It was square, 2.2 metres long and 2.2 metres wide, and it was 1.3 metres high. 2He made the projections at the top of the four corners, so that they formed one piece with the altar. He covered it all with bronze. 3He also made all the equipment for the altar: the pans, the shovels, the bowls, the hooks, and the firepans. All this equipment was made of bronze. 4He made a bronze grating and put it under the rim of the altar, so that it reached halfway up the altar. 5He made four carrying rings and put them on the four corners. 6He made carrying poles of acacia wood, covered them with bronze, 7and put them in the rings on each side of the altar. The altar was made of boards and was hollow.

Making the Bronze Basin

8He made the bronze basin and its bronze base out of the mirrors belonging to the women who served at the entrance of the Tent of the LORD's presence.

The Enclosure for the Tent of the LORD's Presence

9For the Tent of the LORD's presence he made the enclosure out of fine linen curtains. On the south side the curtains were 44 metres long, 10supported by twenty bronze posts in twenty bronze bases, with hooks and rods made of silver. 11The enclosure was the same on the north side. 12On the west side there were curtains 22 metres long, with ten posts and ten bases and with hooks and rods made of silver. 13On the east side, where the entrance was, the enclosure was also 22 metres wide. 14-15On each side of the entrance there were 6.6 metres of curtains, with three posts and three bases. 16All the curtains round the enclosure were made of fine linen. 17The bases for the posts were made of bronze, and the hooks, the rods, and the covering of the tops of the posts were made of silver. All the posts round the enclosure were connected with silver rods. 18The curtain for the entrance of the enclosure was made of fine linen woven with blue, purple, and red wool and decorated with embroidery. It was nine metres long and two metres high, like the curtains of the enclosure. 19It was supported by four posts in four bronze bases. Their hooks, the covering of their tops, and their rods were made of silver. 20All the pegs for the Tent and for the surrounding enclosure were made of bronze.

Metals Used in the Tent of the LORD's Presence

21Here is a list of the amounts of the metals used in the Tent of the LORD's presence, where the two stone tablets were kept on which the Ten Commandments were written. The list was ordered by Moses and made by the Levites who worked under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest.

22Bezalel, the son of Uri and grandson of Hur, from the tribe of Judah, made everything that the LORD had commanded. 23His helper, Oholiab son of Ahisamach, from the tribe of Dan, was an engraver, a designer, and a weaver of fine linen and of blue, purple, and red wool.

24All the gold that had been dedicated to the LORD for the sacred Tent weighed one tonne, weighed according to the official standard. 25The silver from the census of the community weighed 3.43 tonnes, weighed according to the official standard. 26This amount equalled the total paid by all persons enrolled in the census, each one paying the required amount, weighed according to the official standard. There were 603,550 men twenty years old or older enrolled in the census. 27Of the silver, 3.4 tonnes were used to make the hundred bases for the sacred Tent and for the curtain, 34 kilogrammes for each base. 28With the remaining thirty kilogrammes of silver Bezalel made the rods, the hooks for the posts, and the covering for their tops. 29The bronze which was dedicated to the LORD amounted to 2.425 tonnes. 30With it he made the bases for the entrance of the Tent of the LORD's presence, the bronze altar with its bronze grating, all the equipment for the altar, 31the bases for the surrounding enclosure and for the entrance of the enclosure, and all the pegs for the Tent and the surrounding enclosure.

Jesus Prays for his Disciples

1After Jesus finished saying this, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your Son, so that the Son may give glory to you. 2For you gave him authority over all humanity, so that he might give eternal life to all those you gave him. 3And eternal life means knowing you, the only true God, and knowing Jesus Christ, whom you sent. 4I have shown your glory on earth; I have finished the work you gave me to do. 5Father! Give me glory in your presence now, the same glory I had with you before the world was made.

6“I have made you known to those you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me. They have obeyed your word, 7and now they know that everything you gave me comes from you. 8I gave them the message that you gave me, and they received it; they know that it is true that I came from you, and they believe that you sent me.

9“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those you gave me, for they belong to you. 10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine; and my glory is shown through them. 11And now I am coming to you; I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world. Holy Father! Keep them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one just as you and I are one. 12While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me. I protected them, and not one of them was lost, except the man who was bound to be lost — so that the scripture might come true. 13And now I am coming to you, and I say these things in the world so that they might have my joy in their hearts in all its fullness. 14I gave them your message, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the Evil One. 16Just as I do not belong to the world, they do not belong to the world. 17Dedicate them to yourself by means of the truth; your word is truth. 18I sent them into the world, just as you sent me into the world. 19And for their sake I dedicate myself to you, in order that they, too, may be truly dedicated to you.

20“I pray not only for them, but also for those who believe in me because of their message. 21I pray that they may all be one. Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they be one, so that the world will believe that you sent me. 22I gave them the same glory you gave me, so that they may be one, just as you and I are one: 23I in them and you in me, so that they may be completely one, in order that the world may know that you sent me and that you love them as you love me.

24“Father! You have given them to me, and I want them to be with me where I am, so that they may see my glory, the glory you gave me; for you loved me before the world was made. 25Righteous Father! The world does not know you, but I know you, and these know that you sent me. 26I made you known to them, and I will continue to do so, in order that the love you have for me may be in them, and so that I also may be in them.”

1Homes are made by the wisdom of women, but are destroyed by foolishness.

2Be honest and you show that you have reverence for the LORD; be dishonest and you show that you do not.

3Proud fools talk too much; the words of the wise protect them.

4Without any oxen to pull the plough your barn will be empty, but with them it will be full of corn.

5A reliable witness always tells the truth, but an unreliable one tells nothing but lies.

6Conceited people can never become wise, but intelligent people learn easily.

7Stay away from foolish people; they have nothing to teach you.

8Why is a clever person wise? Because he knows what to do. Why is a stupid person foolish? Because he only thinks he knows.

9Foolish people don't care if they sin, but good people want to be forgiven.

10Your joy is your own; your bitterness is your own. No one can share them with you.

11A good person's house will still be standing after an evildoer's house has been destroyed.

12What you think is the right road may lead to death.

13Laughter may hide sadness. When happiness is gone, sorrow is always there.

14Bad people will get what they deserve. Good people will be rewarded for their deeds.

15A fool will believe anything; sensible people watch their step.

16Wise people are careful to stay out of trouble, but stupid people are careless and act too quickly.

17People with a hot temper do foolish things; wiser people remain calm.

18Ignorant people get what their foolishness deserves, but the clever are rewarded with knowledge.

19Evil people will have to bow down to the righteous and humbly beg their favour.

20No one likes the poor, not even their neighbours, but the rich have many friends.

21If you want to be happy, be kind to the poor; it is a sin to despise anyone.

22You will earn the trust and respect of others if you work for good; if you work for evil, you are making a mistake.

23Work and you will earn a living; if you sit around talking you will be poor.

24Wise people are rewarded with wealth, but fools are known by their foolishness.

25A witness saves lives when he tells the truth; when he tells lies, he betrays people.

26Reverence for the LORD gives confidence and security to a man and his family.

27Do you want to avoid death? Reverence for the LORD is a fountain of life.

28A king's greatness depends on how many people he rules; without them he is nothing.

29If you stay calm, you are wise, but if you have a hot temper, you only show how stupid you are.

30Peace of mind makes the body healthy, but jealousy is like a cancer.

31If you oppress poor people, you insult the God who made them; but kindness shown to the poor is an act of worship.

32Wicked people bring about their own downfall by their evil deeds, but good people are protected by their integrity.

33Wisdom is in every thought of intelligent people; fools know nothing about wisdom.

34Righteousness makes a nation great; sin is a disgrace to any nation.

35Kings are pleased with competent officials, but they punish those who fail them.

1From Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus —

To all God's people in Philippi who are in union with Christ Jesus, including the church leaders and helpers:

2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Paul's Prayer for his Readers

3I thank my God for you every time I think of you; 4and every time I pray for you all, I pray with joy 5because of the way in which you have helped me in the work of the gospel from the very first day until now. 6And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus. 7You are always in my heart! And so it is only right for me to feel as I do about you. For you have all shared with me in this privilege that God has given me, both now that I am in prison and also while I was free to defend the gospel and establish it firmly. 8God is my witness that I am telling the truth when I say that my deep feeling for you all comes from the heart of Christ Jesus himself.

9I pray that your love will keep on growing more and more, together with true knowledge and perfect judgement, 10so that you will be able to choose what is best. Then you will be free from all impurity and blame on the Day of Christ. 11Your lives will be filled with the truly good qualities which only Jesus Christ can produce, for the glory and praise of God.

To Live is Christ

12I want you to know, my brothers and sisters, that the things that have happened to me have really helped the progress of the gospel. 13As a result, the whole palace guard and all the others here know that I am in prison because I am a servant of Christ. 14And my being in prison has given most of the brothers and sisters more confidence in the Lord, so that they grow bolder all the time to preach the message fearlessly.

15Of course some of them preach Christ because they are jealous and quarrelsome, but others from genuine goodwill. 16These do so from love, because they know that God has given me the work of defending the gospel. 17The others do not proclaim Christ sincerely, but from a spirit of selfish ambition; they think that they will make more trouble for me while I am in prison.

18It does not matter! I am happy about it — so long as Christ is preached in every way possible, whether from wrong or right motives. And I will continue to be happy, 19because I know that by means of your prayers and the help which comes from the Spirit of Jesus Christ I shall be set free. 20My deep desire and hope is that I shall never fail in my duty, but that at all times, and especially just now, I shall be full of courage, so that with my whole being I shall bring honour to Christ, whether I live or die. 21For what is life? To me, it is Christ. Death, then, will bring more. 22But if by continuing to live I can do more worthwhile work, then I am not sure which I should choose. 23I am pulled in two directions. I want very much to leave this life and be with Christ, which is a far better thing; 24but for your sake it is much more important that I remain alive. 25I am sure of this, and so I know that I will stay. I will stay on with you all, to add to your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that when I am with you again, you will have even more reason to be proud of me in your life in union with Christ Jesus.

27Now, the important thing is that your way of life should be as the gospel of Christ requires, so that, whether or not I am able to go and see you, I will hear that you are standing firm with one common purpose and that with only one desire you are fighting together for the faith of the gospel. 28Don't be afraid of your enemies; always be courageous, and this will prove to them that they will lose and that you will win, because it is God who gives you the victory. 29For you have been given the privilege of serving Christ, not only by believing in him, but also by suffering for him. 30Now you can take part with me in the battle. It is the same battle you saw me fighting in the past, and as you hear, the one I am fighting still.

Reflect

Daily Reflection: Philippians 1

In the middle of the first century, the Apostle Paul wrote to a Christian fellowship in the Greek city of Philippi. The congregation had started out as a house church which Paul himself had previously founded (see Acts 16). Meanwhile, he had been detained for his faith; yet, despite writing from prison, Paul stresses the joy of being a Christian that doesn’t depend on external circumstances.

The opening chapter of the letter reminds us of the themes we explored over the past few days: a young church, gathered by Christ, empowered by the Spirit, but under pressure from those who oppose it.

Today’s passage starts off with a concern to which Paul will keep returning: that his fellow-Christians in Philippi wouldn’t crack under pressure, 'so that on the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless' (verse 10); 'that you are standing firm' (verse 27); 'work out your own salvation with fear and trembling' (2.12); 'let us hold fast to what we have attained' (3.16). As external opposition mounted, the temptation to fall away from Christ kept lurking in the shadows.

Despite being their mentor and a giant of the faith, Paul reminds not only his readers but himself that he isn’t there yet. If even he saw the need to 'press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus' (Philippians 3.14), how could not we?

Pray

Pray

Thank you, Father, that my salvation is secure in your Son and that you are with me now, through your Spirit. Help me to live worthily of my calling and to keep sight of the final goal.

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