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bible reading may 6



Bible reading for May 6. 

Numbers 14.

"But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD..." (Numbers 14:21) 

PREVIOUSLY IN NUMBERS. Twelve scouts are sent into the promised land to gather information.  Ten of the twelve give disheartening reports and the people of Israel are now ready to stone Moses, hold elections for a new leader, and go back to Egypt. Seriously, like a coup. Joshua and Caleb call the people to trust God and move forward at the Lord's direction. But the opponents they will face seem unbeatable and the Israelites feel like grasshoppers in comparison.  So, after one year of emancipation the people are ready to give up and go back to making bricks.

A FORTY-YEAR TIMEOUT. Moses intercedes again for God's rebellious people and they are forgiven and spared, but must wait a generation before entering the land.  Fear must be replaced by faith. The slavish mindset must be replaced with a mindset of freedom.  Wilderness lessons would be needed to turn wimps into warriors.  Some of the group make a hasty turnaround and go off to battle, but get beaten badly.  This looked like a good intention, but it was presumptuous, because they were still not listening to what God was saying through Moses.

THE POWER OF GOD.  With "outstretched arm" God delivered the children of Israel (Ex 6:6). The salvation of his people -- both in sign and wonder, judgment and forgiveness -- is a display of God's glorious power.  The people were called to believe and move forward in faith on God's promises (14:11). In that way they had left Egypt, and in that way they would enter Canaan. Due to their unbelief, however, it would be for the next generation to enter the land accompanied by God's power.  

CHRISTUS VICTOR. In the fullness of time Christ defeated the power of Satan. In power Christ rose from the grave. In power the gospel has gone forth, despite murderous opposition from the world. So Paul writes, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." (Rom 1:16). It is God's power that opens our eyes to the good news of forgiveness. It is his power that gives us new desires to know, trust, and follow him. His transforming power enables us to resist being conformed to this worldly age (Rom 12:2). He gives us power to follow Christ (Eph 3:16, 20) and to deny fleshly desires (Rom 8:13). And he strengthens us with power to overcome the lies of Satan (Rev 12:11). Our salvation glorifies God in his power. And so, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord (14:21). 

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS HARDER THAN YOU THOUGHT. As a pastor through the years I've heard people say to me, "I didn't sign up for this!" Or, "It shouldn't be this hard..."  I'm sure we've all felt that way. The Christian life is longer and harder than what many of us thought when we first received Christ. But we forget that the Christian life is a call to war, to wrestle, and to bring down strongholds. The battlefield is where we die to self, make difficult choices, break bad habits, walk with endurance, confess the faith, love others, and fulfill God's will, all while being attacked by worldly thinking, the pull of the flesh, and unseen evil powers. Learning to be like Jesus is not a Sunday picnic. Many of us thought this would be an easy thing!  But the Apostle Paul teaches us, "Put on the whole armor of God..." (Eph 6:11-16) And, "Fight the good fight of faith!" (1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7) 


================  

Psalm 50.

"You thought that I was just like you..." (Psalm 50:21 NASV) 

LEGO GOD. "The Jesus I believe in would never judge."  "That's not how I conceive of God, I think he's more like..."  You've heard it. You and I have said something like it.  We tend to make God into the image we want, someone we can get along with, which often is just a version of ourselves.  Like so many Lego (TM) blocks we construct a God with the traits we find desirable in a deity. But the God of the Bible isn't like that.  "I am who I am" (Ex 3:14) means that he is the living and true God, the One Who Is (Yahweh, the LORD)(Isa 45:14-22). Closely related to this truth is the attribute (characteristic) of God's self-existence. He is not dependent upon anything outside of himself for his existence (John 5:26; Rom 11:33-36). Theologians sometimes call this independence of God his "aseity", from the Latin term meaning "from himself".  

WHAT HE'S LOOKING FOR. Many of the hearers of this psalm felt they could do what they wanted as long as they were giving to support the temple in Jerusalem.  They felt that God needed their sacrifices and would reward them accordingly. But we can't relate to the Lord as we would to a car dealer or realtor.  We don't negotiate for better features on the life we want.  He doesn't need anything from us.  What he desires from us is gratitude for who he is and what he's done.  Such gratitude results in a changed life.  We are reconciled to God and also to life the way he designed it to be lived. We are reconciled to his standards, his promises, and to the fact that he is God and we are not (Isa 40:18-26; Rev 4:8-11).  

DO YOU KNOW YOUR GOD?  Have you studied, and do you think about, the attributes of God as revealed in the Scriptures?  Today we've read about God's power shown in salvation, his judgment and mercy, and about his self-existence and freedom from need. Every believer should have a good systematic theology on the bookshelf. I would recommend works by any of the following authors: John Calvin (The Institutes), Herman Bavinck, Louis Berkhof, Wayne Grudem, John Frame, or Michael Horton.  Perhaps a good place to start is to read Knowing God by J. I. Packer. 


Image above: photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. 
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The NET Bible is a free, online resource, and a ministry of bible.org.


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