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bible reading may 3-4




Bible reading for May 3 --4

May 3 -- Song of Solomon 8 and Hebrews 8

May 4 -- Isaiah 1 and Hebrews 9 

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"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD." (Song of Solomon 8:6) 

FINAL CHAPTER (ch 8). The couple's love continues to grow and mature. For a good summary of this concluding chapter see Constable's notes here. One note on the "little sister" (6:8-10)... This a poetic expression of the Shulammite's older brothers protecting their sister's purity in her earlier years. The Bible teaches the primacy of the family in guarding the purity and sexuality of the children. It is not the place of the schools or government or media to override parents in their role of teaching children about God's design for human sexuality. Our culture is seriously perverted in this regard.  

THE POWER OF LOVE. Why did God include the Song of Solomon in the Scriptures? It's so different. It's not law, or history, or an account of a miracle, or prophecy about the future. This book validates the beauty of marital love, including all its romance and sexuality. It is telling us of the power of love which needs to be directed to the right person and at the right time. Most people have felt the power of love in one form or another:  

"The power of love is a curious thing
Make a one man weep, make another man sing
Change a hawk to a little white dove
More than a feeling, that's the power of love." 

-- Huey Lewis and the News

THE FLAME OF THE LORD. But more, this Song (King Solomon, not Huey Lewis) is pointing us to the love of God which brings us into an eternal covenant relationship with the Lord himself. A seal (v 6) signifies the exclusive ownership of something by another. "I am his, and he is mine." God's love is as strong as death -- stronger, as seen in the death and resurrection of Christ. His jealousy -- here in a good sense as protecting the relationship from all intruders -- will prevail forever. Nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ, as Paul says, "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom 8:38-39). Why not thank God today for his protective love, his eternal commitment, his desire to keep us close to him, and his delight in our own love for him? 

BEGINNING ISAIAH. We now start the section of the Old Testament called "the Prophets". More on this in the next post. But as you read chapter one try to identify and list the sins that God (through Isaiah) is calling out. What are they? Are any of these conditions similar to sins in the church today? Which ones?

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"For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second." (8:7) 

A BETTER COVENANT (ch 8). Jesus -- superior to angels, Moses, Joshua, and Aaron -- also brings a better covenant, which is superior to the old. The new covenant was promised by the very prophets who lived under the old covenant (Jer 31:31-34). Under the old covenant God's law stood outside of the people, so to speak, in teaching and convicting their hearts concerning righteousness. The new covenant, enacted by our Lord Jesus, takes God's law and writes it upon our hearts, bringing about a lasting change. There will be forgiveness, God's gracious commitment, and a changed heart which has a kind of new guidance system (or gyroscopic action), so to speak, which ever draws the heart Godward (Jer 32:39-41; cf Ezek 36:26-27). The point is, it was Jesus who brought that new covenant relationship to us, not Moses or Joshua or Aaron. Hebrews makes it clear that there are many things in the OT that are "copies and shadows" of heavenly things (v 5). Jesus is the Reality to which these things point: "These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ" (Col 2:17).    

SHADOWS (ch 9). And now the pinnacle of the argument of Hebrews -- Christ's work of atonement, and the effect of that work, is eternally superior to any other way of approaching God. We read that the tabernacle and its service is a copy, a pattern, a shadow of heavenly realities (9:1-10). The blood of sacrificial animals cannot actually cleanse the heart and conscience of sin before God. Only Jesus' death can bring forgiveness, cleansing, and redemption (9:11-26). What's left for us is not to make more sacrifices, but to rest in what he has done and await eagerly for his return (9:27-28). Verse 27 tells us that there is no reincarnation or second chances after death: "...it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment..." (cf Ps 78:39).   

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Image credit. Photo by Stormy All on Unsplash. About this newsletter: I post three times a week on my Bible reading, following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Subscribe at https://buttondown.email/Sandy. 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. Another resource I recommend is the NET Bible with its excellent notes at netbible.org.  



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