Bible reading for July 2.
"...that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, 'What do those stones mean to you?'" (Joshua 4:6)
MEMORIAL. Chapter 3 records the miraculous crossing of the Jordan River, and this chapter tells us that the nation -- now standing in the land of Canaan (enemy territory) -- nevertheless pauses to build a memorial with stones taken from the river. Miracle, then memorial. What's important here: history matters and we need to remember it. Our culture idolizes the present and discards or revises the past. Events in the past, and their consequences, do not go away just because we forget them. Often we are too quick to move forward without taking time to remember what God has done. All through biblical history we see that people are prone to forget, and then fail in the present because they forgot the past. God's people need to take measures to remember and transfer memories to succeeding generations. Christ's death and resurrection, although it occurred in history 2000 years ago, is undiminished in its affect upon us now and to eternity.
TAKEAWAY. How do you record and remember God's salvation, his providential care, and his answers to your prayers? What memorials have you placed in your life for what God has done? How are you passing this on to future generations?
"But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore." (Psalm 131:2-3)
SONGS OF ASCENT. Again, 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 in Jerusalem. Why are they in the Bible? I believe that it is because we need to know we are citizens of the kingdom of God, sojourning in this world as resident aliens, and we're on our way to the new heaven and new earth (Matt 6:33; 1 Pet 2:9-12). Each psalm has a particular theme related to being a pilgrim on the road to God's house. Here are the next three themes: persecution, hope, and trust.
PERSECUTION (129). As pilgrims, God's people are resident aliens in this world (John 18:36). As such, they will be ill-treated by others, but those who have persecuted the people of God will face his judgment (2 Thess 1:5-8). Billy Graham once said, "It is unnatural for Christianity to be popular." We must always be prepared for this.
HOPE (130). We need hope on this journey! The night will seem long and the dawn so far away. We must wait patiently and expectantly for God to fulfill all of his promises to us (Isa 40:31; Rom 15:4, 13). "Hope means expectancy when things are otherwise hopeless." (G. K. Chesterton)
TRUST (131). What a beautiful picture of childlike faith! Along this journey we must trust our Father, for we are his beloved children (Isa 49:15-16; Matt 18:3-4). He knows that we are dependent upon him! Often in this life we may be tempted to panic and to let our thoughts run wild, but like David, we must learn to compose and quiet ourselves in the presence of the Lord.
TAKEAWAY. How's your journey? Are you prepared for persecution, being patient in hope, and trusting God as his beloved child?
Image credit: Photo by Jordan Whitt 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.