Bible reading for weekend May 30-31.
"You shall not fear them, for it is the LORD your God who fights for you." (Deuteronomy 3:22)
A BIG FIGHT (3). The Rephaim, or Rephaites (Gen 14:5; Deut 2:11), were related in some way to the Anakim (Deut 1:28; 2:10, 11, 21). The Canaanites, and associated people groups, were formidable. They were technologically superior and at least some of the warriors were of unusual size. In a few instances God commanded total extermination. Why was this "ban" (or, being "devoted to destruction") necessary? It was a unique and unrepeatable historical event for Israel. I've posted before on this, but here are some considerations by Markus Zehnder at Biola: "Violence against the Canaanites in Deuteronomy and Joshua Reconsidered", (Biola blog, September 18, 2019).
HEARING BUT NOT SEEING (4). Moses reminds the Israelites that at Sinai God was not seen, but rather, he was heard. There is no other God but the Lord, and no images of him are to be made. Words are his choice of medium to communicate to his people. God's people are to be a people of the Book. Believers are to be careful to remember and teach his words, and to add nothing or take anything away from them. Verse 24 is cited in Hebrews 12: Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire" (Heb 12:28-29). Though our covenantal relationship to God is through his Son (the New Covenant) and our home is the heavenly Zion (the new Jerusalem), God's nature still remains unchanged. He is, and always will be, the Holy God.
"Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever." (Psalm 86:11-12)
REVIVE US AGAIN (85). This psalm, attributed to the sons of Korah, has a similar theme with Asaph's psalm, that of restoring God's people (cf Ps 80). Three times the blessing of the land, or dwelling in the land, is mentioned (vv 1, 9, 12). God's inheritance involves the blessing of having God's own presence (the Lord), the blessing of righteous rule (his law), and the blessing of bountiful creation (the land). Graeme Goldsworthy summarizes this theme which runs throughout Scripture as, "God's people, in God's place, under God's rule."
A PRAYER (86). This psalm is a prayer of David. Note: not all of David's psalms appear only in the first two books of Psalms. This is a lament, not specifically tagged to some event in his life, but appropriate for the wider community of God's people. (Us too!). The recent psalms we are reading seem more related to the community of God's people, and focus upon the land and city God has chosen. Make this psalm your own prayer: "Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth..."
GLORIOUS CITY (87). The City of God is the place where God chooses to manifest his glorious presence to his people. There's an earthly Jerusalem, for which God still has a plan, and there is a heavenly Jerusalem (Heb 12:22; Rev 21:10) which will come down from heaven from God. Through Christ by faith we are "enrolled" there (vv 5-6; Heb 12:23). The holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, is our home town! This community, gathered around Christ as Lord, is a source which inspires songs and celebration. Here's one...
Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God;
he whose word cannot be broken
formed thee for his own abode;
on the Rock of Ages founded,
what can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation's walls surrounded,
thou may'st smile at all thy foes.
--John Newton (1725-1807)
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.
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