Categories
Chronological Bible Study

Genesis 22-24; Psalms 46-47

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Assigned Reading: Genesis 22-24; Psalms 46-47

Psalms –

Chapter 46: Where do we find our refuge – our strength? In Job 12, we are reminded of this essential truth –

To God belongs wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are His… To Him belong strength and insight; both deceived and deceiver are His (Job 12:13, 16).

The psalmist knew where he could find some really good strength. The kind that keeps one going and seeking God – no matter how many trials came their way. I want this kind of faith, where it doesn’t matter what happens – because they chose to trust the Lord Almighty and did not waver from faith to utter fear of what may come. The Lord, our God, is great, and we can know Him – experience Him – on an incredibly intimate level. Our strength and refuge comes solely through trusting in the Lord God Almighty and coming to know His Son Jesus Christ!

Chapter 47: As we approach our new president’s inauguration, we are reminded that earthly kings and presidents are no match for God. The God we serve reminds us that every single one of us belong to Him, and His power is more important than anything else. God is over all. God is soo worthy of all our praise and devotion. God raises up leaders, and tears them down. When nations disassemble, God is still the reigning champion of the world. Jesus Christ is our King!

He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved… Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises (Psalms 47:4, 6).

Genesis –

Abraham was tested, to see where his allegiance was: Did Abraham have a bigger love for his son Isaac or God? This would be a difficult thing, for any of us, but especially so for Abraham – knowing how many years they (Abraham and Sarah) waited to have a child of their own. This was quite possibly the most difficult worship session and act of obedience that Abraham would have faced in his lifetime.

Abraham’s faith was abounding, and grew even with this act of giving his son, Isaac, to God. Abraham showed he withheld nothing in his life from God – our heavenly Father.

In our own lives, what are we withholding from our relationship with God through Jesus Christ?

Our faith is determined by what we are willing to give God. When His strong, yet small with our heavy list of earthly distractions, voice calls us to give Him something, we learn much by our willingness to surrender to God. Perhaps, the Holy Spirit is prompting us to visit our neighbor or to go on a mission trip. We learn a lot about our faith in Jesus Christ, in these moments.

As I listen to these chapters, we learn about a man of integrity. While he slipped and fell in his decisions, he did not take advantage of others. He willfully paid the asking price for a place to bury his beloved wife – Sarah. Westley’s notes show us the heart of both men in chapter 23.

The land is worth four hundred shekels of silver — About fifty pounds of our money, but what is that between me and thee? – He would rather oblige his friend than have so much money.John Wesley (on verse 15)

Abraham’s integrity passed down to how he chose a wife for Isaac. Here is where we find the concept of courting. Abraham’s servant became his hands and feet, to find a suitable wife for Isaac. This would a woman who would have had a similar background as Isaac – in terms of their faith in the One True God.

Abraham, his father, initiated the search of finding a wife for his son. It wasn’t that Isaac would have been unwise in his decision. Rather than being a trait of tradition, such a courtship reflected Abraham’s deep love for his son – Isaac

This courtship is even a picture of how God leads us to His Son Jesus Christ out of His abundance of love for us!

At the time, Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah and he loved her deeply. Abraham’s legacy would impact Isaac and the way he lived.

Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean (Genesis 25:20).

What a joyous moment this must have been. Isaac was alone for forty years, and now has met his wife. The one he would live with and do life with, as they worshiped God.

Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death (Genesis 24:67).

Categories
Chronological Bible Study

Job 29-31; Psalm 26-27

jan-11

Assigned Reading for January 11: Psalm 26-27; Job 29-31

Psalms –

Chapter 26 – What is a different way of putting what David is saying?

Lord God, I need You to free me.

Essentially, this is what he is saying. He is showing all of us that these are the kind of prayers worth praying. The result of such honest prayers is watching God show up like never before.

How are we intentionally seeking God through His Son Jesus Christ?

His heart cry was to lead a blameless life and to be mindful of God’s unfailing love. This serves as an important example for me, because I need to be mindful of God and His kind of love. I need to move out things, so I can be focused on Him and the things He is leading me to do.

Chapter 27 – God is greater than anything that could try to cling to our lives. We don’t have to be afraid anymore, because we have Jesus and God is on our side! My heart is safely kept by God, and He will protect it. He will guide me, and give me the confidence to trust Him increasingly more.

Job –

In chapters 29-31, Job makes his final defense. During the reading of Job, I have had some mixed emotions about this man of God who held to integrity and ran from evil. He spoke as a man. A very desperate man. He spoke bluntly to God, which is difficult to read as God is holy. Unlike us, God is holy. Yet, God saw fit to allow Job to speak such words. Job was holding onto his faith, but it was also being stretched – extended beyond its previous capacity.

As I began reading, these first few verses bring some heartfelt questions to mind.

How are we realizing God is watching over us? And, how are we enjoying an intimate friendship with God?

Job is recounting his former deeds, and how he was a man of integrity. He was spoken well of, offered counsel, and helped anyone he could. As he spoke, you can tell he was speaking genuinely. However, those days are long gone. During his testing, he was not respected – rather he was shamed by his community.

Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man when he cries for help in his distress. Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor? Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness. The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me (Job 30:24-27).

This is where Job stood. As he stood here, he wondered what was going on. It seemed like God was attacking him, but Job had an enemy he did not know. Job continued to show himself as a person who feared God and ran from evil.  As Job recounted his deeds, his heart was being searched. And soon, God would answer him.

Categories
Discipleship Journal

Discipleship Journal Reading Plan: Day 34

Mt 11:20-30; Acts 16:16-40; Ps 26; Ex 7-9

Matthew: Despite Jesus’ mighty works, many remained unrepentant. Having seen Jesus and the works of God, they still rejected the truth and the message of Jesus Christ coming as Savior of the world. Jesus remarks that it would be better to be Sodom on the Day of Judgment. If Sodom had seen the works of God, they would have repented. Are you repenting? This is what we are called to ask ourselves. Following Jesus’ rebuke of these unbeliever, Jesus thanks the Father. God has hidden these things from the wise. You can be wise in this world, and but God has chosen to revealed His truth to even little children! God chooses to reveal His truth to the humble. We are invited to come to Jesus. Come to Him–not just know facts, but  intimately know Jesus as our Savior. We know the eternal rest that He has to offer: the forgiveness of sins, freedom from legalism, and freedom from guilt of trying to earn salvation. All we need to do is: Come. Come to Him. Come to Jesus, and come humbly.
Memorable Verses: Matthew 11:25, 27, 28-30.

Acts: A slave girl (who was possessed) walked around with Paul and Silas proclaiming that they are sharing the way that one can truly be saved. As all this is going on, Paul casts out the demon from the girl. Her owners are outraged (as their motive was for profit). The men were beaten and thrown in prison. This becomes how a prison guard comes to know Jesus Christ–him and his family is saved! The guard bandages their wounds, feeds them, and is filled with joy for the gift of salvation and Jesus’ peace has come upon him and his household! What speaks out to me is the prison guard’s response–not only his response to hearing Paul and Silas wholeheartedly praise God after all they endured, but his action after believing in Christ. He immediately went toward movement to take care of these men. He began to wash their wounds.
Memorable Verse: Acts 16:31
Prison Guard’s Actions: Acts 16:33-34
The Apostles’ Boldness: Acts 16:36-40

Psalm: As much as I’d like to, I’m not sure I can even come to close to praying King David’s prayer where he says, “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.” I mean, can I really honestly pray that prayer? I know my failures all too often. Many times have I failed. Not only do I fail God daily, I fail me too. I fail others. I guess the big point is that I really fail.

In my study Bible (ESV), it has the following commentary:

  • 26:1-3 Prayer for Vindication. For God to vindicate the worshiper is for God to distinguish between the faithful and the impious; perhaps there is the additional nuance of showing the distinction publicly… The faithful are those who take the covenant to heart, and who as a general pattern of life have walked in their integrity and have trusted in the Lord without wavering. They also keep God’s steadfast love…before their eyes and walk in God’s faithfulness–ie, they live by the grace revealed in Ex. 34:6.
  • 26.4-8 Claim of Innocence. Here the psalm describes some of the features of the faithful covenant participant: he refuses to join with the unfaithful (hypocrites, evildoers, wicked) in their crooked schemes, because he renounces their values (cf. 1:1); and he aims to take part in public worship with moral innocence and with delight (love, 26:8) (On the glory as God’s special presence in the sanctuary, see Ex. 40:34-35)
  • 26.9-10 Separate from the Bloodthirsty. These verses amplify the prayer for vindication in v. 1, namely, the desire to be treated differently from the unfaithful.
  • 26.11-12 Confidence and Commitment. The person who owes this ideal, who determines to walk in his integrity, may be sure of God’s continuing care.

I love the help of my study Bible’s commentary, as I seek to “take apart” and “put together” the Scriptures: to know Him and His Truth more. Because of Christ, I can be judged in such a way that I do not have to fear or worry. Jesus Christ has taken all my punishment and continues to forgive me as I fail Him. I love how the commentary for 26.11-12 say it perfectly. I can walk in a pleasing way to the Lord, because of His continuing care. God continues to have abundant, overflowing compassion to me–even when I fail Him. A lot of self-examining questions could be asked, as I study this passage alone. Just a few:

  1. Do I make a habit of self-examining my self and my walk with God?
  2. Do I pursue a life of integrity?
  3. Are there any ways of falsehood that I cling to?
  4. Am I honest?
  5. Do I deliberately pursue God?
  6. Do I have a daily time with Him?
  7. Do I regularly humbly confess my sins to the Lord?
  8. Am I careful who I hang around? (Bad company corrupts good character)
  9. Do I have a heart of thanksgiving–praising Him for His good works? Is it becoming a habit yet? Or, is there room for improvement?

Song: “10,000 Reasons”

Exodus: God is showing the entire world, just who He is! Pharaoh’s heart stayed very stubborn…even through the water turning to blood, frogs, gnats, and flies covering the land, livestock died, festering boils, and a plague of hail. Whew! That’s a lot of mighty works, still Pharaoh refused. He refused to know God even. He refused to let God’s people go. Let me say that again… he refused to know God. He continued to trust in his stubborn heart instead. Every time a moment of relief came, Pharaoh became stubborn again. That’s reveals a lot, as many today face particular situations. Relief came, but Pharaoh’s heart became hard-hearted again. He went back to his old ways. He wouldn’t listen… What I feel my lesson in this is: Be content. Often we want situations to change, and may even offer a vow or promise. Pharaoh’s was that he would “let God’s people go”, yet when the time came he refused to let them go. Relief came, but he failed to keep his word. Relief may have been wanted, but not enough to keep his word. Not enough to learn from the experience. Not enough to recognize and obey God’s Sovereignty. There wasn’t a heart change…Instead, we should be Content in whatever situation you are in. Be genuinely humble. Seeking His face. Recognizing His Sovereignty!
Memorable Verses: Ex. 8:15, 19, 32
Pharaoh Confessed: Ex. 9:27-30, 35