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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, miraculous act of God. 

REMOVING BARRIERS. The ark, a gold-encased box holding God's "testimony" (the ten commandments), symbolized God's presence to Israel. As the priests stood with the ark in the now-empty river bed, the nation could see that God himself was removing the impassable barriers for his people:  at the Red Sea, at the Jordan, and later at the cross and empty tomb of Jesus -- the curtain in the temple which set apart the Holy of Holies was torn in two (Matt 27:51) and the stone was rolled away to show that the impenetrable barrier of death-to-life had been passed. The way to the tree of life that was blocked at Adam's fall (Gen 3:24) is once again opened by Jesus' salvation (Rev 22:2, 14). God goes before his people and opens the way for them. 

IT'S SUPERNATURAL.  Our salvation -- past, present, and future -- is the work of Christ (Eph 2:10; Heb 10:10-14). We are protected by God's power through faith (1 Pet 1:5) and his grace enables us to serve him, and to grow in him (1 Cor 15:10; Col 2:19; Phil 2:13). Though the Christian life involves many "ordinary" means, like prayer, going to church, reading the Bible, raising our children, working faithfully, keeping integrity, making good decisions, and sharing Christ, still, the Christian life is a supernatural life, through and through, because it is the risen Christ working in us through his Spirit. Francis Schaeffer wrote,  

"[Salvation] is a single piece, and yet a flowing stream.  I became a Christian once for all upon the basis of the finished work of Christ through faith; that is justification.  The Christian life, sanctification, operates on the same basis, but moment by moment.  There is the same base (Christ's work) and the same instrument (faith); the only difference is that one is once for all and the other is moment by moment.  The whole unity of biblical teaching stands solid at this place.  If we try to live the Christian life in our own strength we will have sorrow, but if we live in this way, we will not only serve the Lord, but in place of sorrow, he will be our song.  That is the difference.  The 'how' of the Christian life is the power of the crucified and risen Lord, through the agency of the indwelling Holy Spirit, by faith moment by moment." (Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality, p. 79.)

TAKEAWAY: Are you daily aware that your life with Christ is a supernatural life? That your salvation from beginning to end is a miraculous work of God in Christ? 

================  

Psalms 126-128.

"He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him." (Psalm 126:6) 

SONGS OF ASCENT. These fifteen psalms (120-134) are called the psalms of ascent, because traditionally they were recited on the way to worship at the temple on Mount Zion (Jerusalem). Each psalm has a particular theme related to being a pilgrim on the way to God's house. Here are the next three themes: joy, fruitfulness, and blessing.  

JOY (126). Walking as a pilgrim on a long journey can be a tiring and cheerless task. Think: long, long, hot, dry hike. This psalm reminds them (and us) that after the hardships of the journey, God will fill our mouths with laughter (Ps 16:11; Heb 12:2, 11; Rev 21:4). Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit within us (Gal 5:22), especially as we consider the goal of our journey. We should pray this for ourselves and for others: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope" (Rom 15:13).   

FRUITFULNESS (127). Family and children are a blessing. Not all are able to have this joy on the journey, but those of us with families should surely count them as blessings which the Lord has given. In any case all of us are given people for whom we can love and care...the widow, the orphan, the poor, the immigrant, etc. Further, without the Lord any of our labors would be in vain (Jn 15:4-5). As sojourners in this world we should be "always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Cor 15:58).

BLESSING (128). Prosperity under the Mosaic covenant is often described in material ways, but it is never simply that. It is the enjoyment of life walking with the Lord who generously provides. What is commended is the ability to enjoy whatever the Lord has provided (Eccl 2:24; 3:13; 9:9) and the privilege of passing on biblical truth to future generations (Deut 6:7; Ps 78:5-6; Eph 6:4). Our Lord Jesus expands the blessing to include the relationships we have with others in his kingdom (Mk 10:29-30).  

TAKEAWAY:  How goes your journey with the Lord? Is it characterized by joy, by fruitfulness, and with a sense of his blessing?  


Image credit: Photo by Fredrick Suwandi 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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