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Showing posts from June, 2020

bible reading july 1

Bible reading for July 1.  Joshua 3. "Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan." (Joshua 3:11)  CROSSING THE JORDAN. This chapter records a miracle like that of crossing the Red Sea. Most of the miracles in the Bible take place during these three periods: Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, and Jesus and the Apostles. Miracles, even in the Bible, do not happen all the time.  "A miracle is an event in the external world that is wrought by the immediate power of God" (J. Gresham Machen).  They are meant to be believed, not deconstructed by science (as if). The inheritance and settling of the promised land will involve the use of ordinary means: marching, fighting, destroying idols, dividing the land, settling, planting, etc. But as they passed through the Jordan (at flood stage), just like passing through the Red Sea leaving Egypt, they were to realize that their redemption was an extraordinary

bible reading june 30

Bible reading for June 30.  Joshua 2. "Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father's house, and give me a sure sign..." (Joshua 2:12)  SPY MISSION. The Israeli Mossad agents slipped across the border into enemy territory... No, wait, that was a movie... But this is a little like that: two Israelites on a mission to reconnoiter the land before Israel crosses the Jordan into the promised land. Jericho was on the eastern border, not a large city, but heavily fortified. The spies find shelter at Rahab's house, probably an inn. She is described as a prostitute (inns also served as brothels in that day). Her confession to them is remarkable: the Canaanites are very frightened of the Israelites. She hides the two men from the authorities and asks from them kindness (Heb., hesed ) in return for their lives. It is clear she now believed that the Lord (Heb., Yahweh ) is God and seeks shelter

bible reading june 29

Bible reading for June 29.  Joshua 1. "No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you." (Joshua 1:5)  THEN YOU WILL HAVE SUCCESS. If we look for one word to summarize the book of Joshua it might be "conquest," or better, as Prof Hendricks suggested, "success". The tribes of Israel finally enter the land promised to them by God. This has been a long-awaited event. It was nearly 500 years earlier that God said to Abram, "To your offspring I will give this land" (Gen 12:7) . The Lord was patient toward the previous inhabitants (Gen 15:16). Joshua rather than Moses now becomes the central figure in Israel's history. We hear the call to be strong and courageous, since all the odds, naturally speaking, are against them (vv 6, 7, 9, 18). And again, courage and strength would be related to their thinking, talking about, and doing God&#

bible reading weekend june 27

Bible reading for June 27-28.  Deuteronomy 32-34. "The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he." (Deuteronomy 32:4) A SAD SONG (32).   The immediate future looks bright (e.g., the book of Joshua), but not so the generations which will follow. This song, one of the last things Moses wrote, will serve as a witness against them (vv 21, 28). That means when future generations depart from covenant loyalty to the Lord and receive the consequences of their sins, they will see that this was foretold, and then return to the Lord for mercy. Several times the Lord is called "the Rock" (vv 4, 15, 18, 30, 31), which means that Israel will never find security and stability in any other god but the Lord (vv 31, 37). "Jeshurun" (32:15; 33:5, 26) is a name given to God's people, meaning "upright one", which refers not only to their calling to walk in righteousness, b

bible reading june 26

Bible reading for June 26.  Deuteronomy 31. "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)   TIME FOR COURAGE. Moses will soon die; Joshua will take leadership of the nation (vv 1-8). As they enter the land the Israelites are outnumbered and outclassed militarily. The call for strength and courage (vv 6, 7, 23) echoes throughout Scripture for all of God's people (Josh 1:6-9; 1 Chron 22:13; 28:20; 2 Chron 32:7; Acts 23:11; Phil 1:20; Rev 21:7-8). "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might" (Eph 6:10) . It takes strength from the Lord to do his will and to stand fast against the lies of Satan and the hostility of the world. Mark Twain once wrote, "Courage is the mastery of fear, not the absence of fear." So it is. And we find courage and strength to overcome fear by God's promises and presence.  

bible reading june 25

Bible reading for June 25.  Deuteronomy 30. "But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil."  (Deuteronomy 30:14-15)  RETURN, BE RESTORED. Judgment will eventually follow apostasy, but the Lord is quick to receive and to bless those who turn back to him (vv 1-10). He delights in prospering his people. The Mosaic covenant, though it revealed the weakness and sinfulness of people, nonetheless was not a performance-based relationship, though some teachers down through history sought to turn it into such.  At the heart was God's desire for his people to trust him, love him, and be faithful to him.  It was relational not meritorious. So, later, when Paul quotes this passage (vv 11-14) in his letter to the Romans (Rom 10:5-10) he compares the giving of the Law to the giving of God's Son, who came from heaven, died, and rose from the dead on our behalf. Wh

bible reading june 24

Bible reading for June 24.  Deuteronomy 29. "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." (Deuteronomy 29:29)  COVENANT RENEWAL. Before entering the promised land the Israelites, led by Moses, renew their covenant with the Lord (v 1). They are witnesses of God's glory and works (v 2-3, 5-8).  But as confident as they feel at the time, Moses says that there is something lacking in them (v 4): "But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear." The prophets later will say that they (and we) would need a new and better covenant in which God works upon their hearts (Jer 31:33; 32:40; Ezek 36:26-27). This inability to understand and perceive the things of God characterized the Jews all the way up to Jesus day, including even the well-educated. Nicodemus, for example, a leading rabbi, did not

bible reading june 23

Bible reading for June 23.  Deuteronomy 28:20-68. "Whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, you shall be left few in number, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God." (Deuteronomy 28:62)  THE CURSES. This list of curses, God's judgment upon unfaithfulness, is shocking to read. What it should highlight to us is that humankind can be reduced to almost nothing. Just as the chaotic earth was turned into order and fruitfulness (Genesis 1), so judgment is a return to disorder and barrenness. It's like having a porcelain teacup that has been broken into several pieces -- you can hold it together with a gentle grasp and support of your hand. It's beautiful. But should you release your grip, even a little bit, the pieces fall apart again. The beauty and marvel of creation comes from God's hand.  He holds it together.  And all the blessedness of marriage, children, work, health, strength, and a community at peace can be lost at the

bible reading june 22

Bible reading for June 22.  Deuteronomy 27:1 -- 28:19. "And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God." (Deuteronomy 28:2)  BLESSINGS AND CURSES. Chapters 27 through 30 are the culmination of the second giving of the Law, confirming the Mosaic covenant with the people entering the promised land (27:9). Both blessings and curses are promised. The New Testament speaks of the "curse of the law", which is actually the curse of human sin, for the law reveals and aggravates sin in us (Rom 7:7-14; Gal 3:10-24). When judgment comes upon the people of Israel in subsequent history, it is in accord with what God said would happen in these chapters. God is faithful to keep his promises. What should be noted, however, is that the Lord abounds in love and is slow to anger (Ex 34:6; Num 14:18). So, as you read the OT you will see that the people of God seemed to experience more blessings than they did curses from

bible reading weekend june 20

Bible reading for June 20 weekend.  Deuteronomy 25-26. "And you shall rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you."  (Deuteronomy 26:11)  JUSTICE, continued. Chapters 25 and 26 give more instructions before Israel enters the land. Levirate marriage (25:5-10) may seem odd to us, since we live in a culture where marriage (or cohabitation) is considered only in terms of romance or personal fulfillment. In the ancient world marriage and children made the difference between survival or not, and perpetuating a family name or not. God's plan for marriage includes love and tenderness, to be sure, but also family security and nurture for future generations. Then also, a fair and consistent measure of exchange (25:13-16) is foundational for a just society. Any intent to deceive, even by an ounce or two, is considered an abomination.  REMEMBRANCE AND JOY. After settling the n

bible reading june 19

Bible reading for June 19.  Deuteronomy 24. "...but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this."  (Deuteronomy 24:18)  JUSTICE. The laws in this section pertain to the protection of weaker and more vulnerable people. Jesus clarified that this teaching on divorce (vv 1-4) was a concession and not a commandment (Matt 19:3-10). God's will from the beginning has been that "...a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Gen 2:24) . This chapter also addresses taking pledges (collateral) on loans, but making sure to protect the life and dignity of the borrower.  The poor were to be allowed to glean in the fields during harvest. Israel's own history of slavery was to be remembered so that they would be kind to the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the resident alien.  Question for thought : what are some of

bible reading june 18

Bible reading for June 18.  Deuteronomy 23. "You shall not give up to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall dwell with you, in your midst, in the place that he shall choose within one of your towns, wherever it suits him. You shall not wrong him." (Deuteronomy 23:15-16)  PURITY (vv 1-18). It seems that one key theme here is purity. Purity of congregational worship, of personal sanitation, and of sexuality (vv 1-18). Some groups were excluded from worship with Israel. God is not racist, since he created humanity, and all ethnicities will be gathered around his throne (Rev 5:9-10; 7:9). There really is only one race -- the human race. But the groups excluded from worship in Jerusalem were nearby nations who were hostile to Israel. By God's grace there were exceptions: Rahab (a Canaanite) and Ruth (a Moabite). Faith made the difference and brought them into fellowship with God's people.  Nor is God against the disabled -- think of