Romans 9-10 | Sunday: Romans 9-11 is challenging. What is really going on here?
Paul just finished Romans 8 on the mountain top of God’s promises. Why the sudden shift in tone to the agony and anguish of Romans 9:1-4? Paul knows his audience. As we finish Romans 8 many people are wondering, what about the Jews? God made promises to Israel and yet most of Israel has rejected their Messiah. Does this mean God’s promises can’t be trust? Has God’s word failed?
If God lied to Israel, then the promises of Romans 8 are compromised.
For more, you can watch this:
For a full, in-depth message on Romans 9, see this by John Piper.
Genesis 16-19 | Monday: Chapter 16 is “a poignant reminder of the strong temptation to take matters into our own hands when God’s promises seem to be beyond fulfillment. Sarai’s desire for children to fulfill God’s promise bypassed her calling to trust the Lord and his own timing. . . . God’s people are called to trust him no matter how hopeless his promises may seem” (GTB, p. 24).
Note the echo of Adam and Eve in the action of Sarah and Abraham. In both cases you have sinfully passive men exercising bad leadership (or no leadership) and wives taking the initiative into their own hands and leading their husbands into further disobedience:
“[Eve] took…and…gave some…to her husband…and he ate” (Gen 3:6).
“Sarai…took Hagar…and gave her to…her husband as a wife” (Gen 16:3).
Genesis 17 is about the covenant of circumcision. Here is a great, brief explanation of this strange Old Covenant sign:
Genesis 18-19: For an NAC sermon covering Sodom and Gomorrah, listen here.
Joshua 21-24 | Tuesday: The suspicion between the tribes in chapter 22 points to the fact that “[e]veryone – Yahweh, Joshua, and the Israelites – seem to expect a short honeymoon. Once more the superiority of the new covenant is exhibited, with no less than God himself – the Holy Spirit – as the Alter of Witness a permanently indwelling Gift who seals our reconciliation and a deposit guaranteeing our final redemption” (GTB, p. 294).
Joshua 23-24 are is the powerful final word spoken by Joshua to the people before his death. There is much that can be applied to our lives here.
See the kind of person Abraham was when God called him. How should this encourage us?
“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan, and made his offspring many.'” (Joshua 24:2-3)
Psalm 12-14 | Wednesday: Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” Tim Keller writes, “Every sin is a kind of practical atheism – it is acting as if God were not there” (The Song of Jesus, p. 20).
Both Psalm 12 and 14 are quoted by Paul in Romans 3 as describing all of us before the Spirit changes our hearts. We are all born “uttering lies” and “flattering” our neighbors. “There is none who does good” or who “seek after God.” When we read the descriptions of evil doers, we should say, “That is who I was by nature. I seek after God now only because of grace.”
For a confessional on Romans 3, listen to Jerry Ediger here.
Job 9-10 | Thursday: Job speaks of his conflict with the Lord by saying, “There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both. Let him take his rod away from me, and let not dread of him terrify me. Then I would speak without fear of him, for I am not so in myself” (9:33-35).
How does this point toward the gospel message?
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
Could this mediator be the arbiter Job longed for?
Aren’t you thankful that you’re living on this side of the cross?
Isaiah 23-28 | Friday: This is not an Isaiah reading you want to skip! After spending several chapters predicting the destruction of specific nations in Isaiah’s own day, the prophet then looks forward to the final judgment of the whole world (ch 24) and the resurrected dead enjoying an eternal feast in the New Jerusalem (ch 25).
“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food. . . . He will swallow up death forever” (25:6-8).
Matthew 11-13 | Saturday: Matthew 11-12 tells us how people are responding to Jesus.
“Resistance to Jesus’ ministry has appeared occasionally but now begins to build significantly, occasioned first by the innocuous questions of John the Baptist, then through the overt hostility of the Jewish religious leaders” (ESV Study Bible, p 1842).
First, there are those, like John the Baptist, who are struggling with doubt about Jesus (see 11:2-3). Second, there are some who think Jesus may actually be the Christ, the son of David (see 12:23). Third, there are those, like the religious leaders, who are outright opposed to Jesus and even want to have Him killed (see 12:14, 24).
Matthew 13 is packed with parables. Why? The parables were a sign of judgment (see Mark 4:10-12). Likely the people were in such a dead spiritual place (as seen in the previous two chapters) that were Jesus to tell them plainly about the kingdom, it would have caused Him to be killed prematurely.
The parables are meant to mask the truth. That’s why Jesus says, “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive” (13:14). Those who truly want to know the meaning of the parables must come to Jesus in private and ask – which is exactly what the disciples do. “His disciples came to him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable'” (13:36).
For an NAC sermon on Matthew 11 (John the Baptist, doubt, and rest), listen here.