March 16, 2018 | Mark and Scott McAndrew
I Corinthians 7-8 | Sunday: 1 Corinthians 7 has fascinated me (Mark) for many years now. It is a long chapter with a whole lot of helpful insights on singleness, marriage and remarriage after the death of a spouse.
I think one of the important points to mention is that Paul is not demanding singleness in this chapter. Paul is speaking into a society where singleness was largely frowned upon and somewhat rare (with widowhood being the exception).
Paul may be encouraging believers to consider the single life because of present persecution they may have been facing (that is one way to understand 7:25-26).
Don’t forget Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 4:1-5.
Genesis 44-47 | Monday: Much like last week, we spent four Sundays on these four chapters. Critically important, yet often overlooked, is the transformation of Judah in chapter 44. It’s hard to overstate how important this is to the story of the Bible. Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. For more on this, see the first sermon listed below.
Genesis 45 shows is that God is sovereign even over the evil deeds of those who sin against us. In Joseph’s own words to his treacherous brothers, “And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. . . . And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (v. 5, 7-8).
Joseph’s statements are breathtaking and worthy of much thought and meditation. What does this mean about the evils that we endure in our own lives? For more on this, see the second sermon below.
Genesis 46 contains another fascinating parallel to Christ. Here the brothers are told to go tell the good news that the beloved son who was thought to be dead is now alive. For more, see sermon three below.
Genesis 46-48 is about when God interrupts our plans. “God puts us in desperate places in order to make us desperate for Him.” For more, see sermon four below.
1) For an NAC sermon on Genesis 44 (the transformation of Judah), see here.
2) For an NAC sermon on Genesis 45 (the total sovereignty of God over evil), see here.
3) For an NAC sermon on Genesis 45-46 (go and tell the good news!), see here.
4) For an NAC sermon on Genesis 46-48 (when God interrupts your plans), see here.
I Samuel 6-10 | Tuesday: Here we see the people of Israel ask for a king:
4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”
6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”
-1 Samuel 8:4-9
If Judges ended showing how badly Israel needed a king, why was it wrong for Israel to ask God for a king?
The answer is surely their motive.
They did not want a human king who would righteously reflect God’s holy character. No, they wanted a human king so that they would look and be just like the other nations.
To quote Vaughan Roberts: “The problem is that Israel wanted a king instead of God rather than a king under God.”
The Lord responds by giving them exactly what they want. If Israel wants a king who will make them like the other nations, then a worldly king they will get.
Psalms 33-35 | Wednesday: Psalm 33 begins like this:
“Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright.
Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.”
Tim Keller comments on this Psalm with these words:
“Praise is inner health made audible…. [W]e were created not for praise in general but to worship something supremely, to have our thoughts and hearts captivated. We need to draw our hearts from fixation on other things and become enraptured with the beauty of the Lord. One of the main ways to do this is to use skillful music in our worship and private devotion.”
John Piper has written a short devotional on Psalm 34:8 (Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!), which you can read here.
The Gospel Transformation Bible contains some helpful notes on Psalm 35:
“Surrendering all vengeance to Christ means that Christians are prepared even to suffer, if that is how Christ chooses to defeat their enemies. Their constant prayer must be that all of Chirst’s enemies would be conquered first by conversion….
Whatever difficulties imprecatory psalms such as this one raise, the ultimate truth they teach is that the curses David pronounces really should fall on us. Our sin deserves cursing. But such curses have fallen instead on the Savior.
He substituted himself in our place, so that the Father can truly say to our souls, ‘I am your salvation!'”
Job 23-24 | Thursday: In Job 22 we begin the final round of speeches between Job and his “miserable comforters.” D.A. Carson once again provides helpful insight.
“The comforters have nothing new to say, and are winding down. Job’s persistent defense of his integrity, though it does not convince them, grinds them into sullen silence. Eliphaz’s last speech (Job 22), though it extends the limits of his poetic imagery, does not extend the argument; it merely restates it...
While he responds with some arguments he has used before, Job embarks on a new line of thought (Job 23). He does not now charge God with injustice but with absence, with inaccessibility: “If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling!” (23:3). This is not a longing to escape and go to heaven; it is a passionate and frustrated desire to present his case before the Almighty (23:4).
Job is not frightened that God will respond with terrifying power and crush him (23:6); he is frightened, rather, that God will simply ignore him.
However, no geographical search Job can undertake will find God (23:8-9). Job’s words are quite unlike the modern literary protest that God is so absent that he must be dead. Job is not “waiting for Godot.” His faith in God is at one level unwavering. He is perfectly convinced that God knows where Job is, and knows all about the fundamental integrity of his life (23:9-11).
This integrity is not the bravado of a self-defined independent; Job has carefully followed the words of God, cherishing them more than his daily food (23:12).
That is why God’s absence is not only puzzling, but terrifying (23:13-17). Job’s continued confidence in God’s sovereignty and knowledge are precisely what he finds so terrifying, for the empirical evidence is that, at least in this life, the just can be crushed and the wicked may escape. The “comforters” claim that Job should be afraid of God’s justice; Job himself is frightened by God’s absence.
When such days come, it is vital to remember the end of the book—the end of the book of Job, and the end of the Bible.”
Isaiah 62-66 | Friday: Isaiah 63:1-6 contains one of the most vivid pictures of the wrath of God coming down on the nations. As shocking and graphic as the language is here, we must remember that Revelation references this very passage and applies it to Jesus Himself at His return (see Revelation 19:15).
We must also remember that the wrath described in Isaiah 63 came down in a unique way on Jesus on the cross. The One who executes judgment on the last Day is the One who received our judgment on Good Friday.
We often are familiar with the language of the New Heavens and the New Earth from Revelation 21-22, and rightly so. However, we should remember that John is borrowing much of his language in Revelation from Isaiah 65-66.
Isaiah 66:1-2 shows us the premium God places on humility before His word.
Mark 3-4 | Saturday: The Gospel Transformation Bible contains these notes on the end of Mark 3:
“Jesus never calls his followers to sever ties with their natural families…He does, however, exhort each follower to place the call of Christ above all ties to the natural family.
The hyperbolic language of Matthew 10:35 and Luke 14:26 should not be interpreted as a call to family antipathy but as a clear reminder of the priority of Christ’s claim upon his disciples—his purposes must outweigh all other loyalties.”
John Piper give us some helpful wisdom from this excerpt from his sermon on Mark 4:
“[Mark 4:20] says that good soil is the key to a fruitful hearing of the Word. I have said it several times before and no doubt will again: devote some time Saturday night and Sunday morning to prepare your heart for hearing the Word of God. The more you take time to humble yourself and purify your heart in prayer and tune the receiver of your mind into the wavelength of Christ, the more powerfully you will hear the Word and the more deeply you will worship.
Don’t play into the hands of Satan by staying up so late Saturday night that you can’t stay awake in worship or in Sunday School. He constantly lies to you telling you that what you’re doing at 10:00 Saturday night is more important than being rested to give your best ear to God’s Word on Sunday morning…
I believe that if we as a church formed the habit of conscientiously preparing our hearts for hearing God’s Word, the Lord might speak with such power that amazing changes would come into our lives for God’s glory and for our joy.
So, let’s resolve to take time for meditation and prayer and solitude and quiet walks…so that the soil of our heart is plowed deep for the Word of God….
Be like rich…farmland, deeply plowed, free of thorns, free of rocks, moist from the rains of the Spirit, and then receive the power-packed seed of the Word of God. And this church will overflow with fruit—thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold.”