BIBLE 2018 | Week 14

March 30, 2018 | Mark and Scott McAndrew

I Corinthians 11-12 | Sunday: 1 Corinthians 11 is a very challenging passage. Should women wear head coverings today when they pray? What does it mean that “nature itself teaches” that its a disgrace for a man to have long hair?

The best single in-depth analysis of this passage I’ve seen is by Tom Schreiner, here.

1 Corinthians 12 is about unity in the gospel rather than disunity in pride. Paul writes,

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

The Corinthians were comparing themselves with one another. They would boast, “I can teach better than you!” “I can speak in tongues more than you!” “I can prophesy more than you!” etc. Paul essentially says, “Listen, there are all kinds of gifts, but only one Spirit who gives them. He didn’t give us spiritual gifts so we could make much of ourselves but to love others with our gifts.

This is why the next chapter is the “love chapter.”

For a very helpful lecture on 1 Corinthians 12 called “The Unity of the Body and the Diversity of Gifts”, see this by D.A. Carson.

Exodus 1-4 | Monday: Exodus reminds us of Genesis in many ways. God told Adam and Eve to be “fruit” and “multiply.” Now Israel is being fruitful in the land and increasing greatly.

In Exodus 1 we see God’s hatred of the equivalent of abortion. We also see how He honors the Hebrew midwives who help save the Israelite infants after birth. Scripture names them (Shiphrah and Puah), but never names Pharaoh.

In Exodus 2 we see the birth and early life of Moses, which in many ways gives us a preview of the early life of the “Prophet who is to come” who will mirror Moses in so many ways.

I Samuel 16-20 | Tuesday: In these chapters see Samuel anoint David in light of the fact that he will one day be king and his defeat of Goliath.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart‘” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Jerry Ediger helps us meditate on the above passage here.

For a video message on David and Goliath and how these events point toward Christ, see especially the second half of this message by Keller.

Psalms 39-41 | Wednesday: The Gospel Transformation Bible has some helpful notes on Psalm 39, 40, & 41. For Psalm 39 the notes tell us that this Psalm:

“is the cry of one who suddenly feels the futility and shortness of his own time on earth. Indeed, the fall in Genesis 3 did introduce a futility and frustration into our earthly lives. In the gospel, however, we are promised that this earthly life is not all we have. Rather, those united to Christ stand to inherit the entire world (Matt. 5:5; 25:34; 1 Cor. 3:21). Here and now, we are ‘sojourners,’ strangers (Ps. 39:12). But it will not always be so.” 

The notes for Psalm 40 point out that verses 12-17:
 
“poignantly anticipate Christ’s own Gethsemane experience and death on the cross. The Priest himself became sin on our behalf. That substitution must move our hearts to “love (his) salvation” and to “say continually, ‘Great is the LORD!'” (vv. 12-17). Believers should read through this psalm first with the effort to make it their own prayer. Then we should read it again with the comfort that, because Christ prayed it perfectly, he can enable his disciples where our faith is weak.” 
The notes for Psalm 41 tell us that David in this Psalm is voicing:
 
“every person’s need for redeeming grace. All are physically ‘poor’ (v. 1). If that realization does not dawn on us through the ‘sickbed’ (v. 3), it will certainly come whenever we face death (v. 2). Such experiences should drive us to David’s Greater Son, who came to provide holistic salvation. Jesus went about healing in his day to provide a foretaste for what life in his future kingdom would look like (Luke 4:17-19; James 5:15).”

Job 27-28 | Thursday: D.A. Carson again provides helpful insight on the book of Job. He says this about Job 27: 

“Here are all the tensions in Job’s position. Job puts himself under an oath (“As surely as God lives”) to make his point. He will never admit his opponents are right, for this would mean denying that he has lived his life with integrity:

‘Till I die, I will not deny my integrity. I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live’ (27:5-6).

But ironically, the God by whom Job swears, whose greatness Job has praised in chapter 26, the God who provides the very breath in Job’s nostrils (27:3), is also, Job insists, the God “who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made me taste bitterness of soul” (27:2-3).

More irony: this does not mean that God is corrupt or unjust. Job recognizes that God calls unjust and wicked people to account (27:7-10)—often in this life (27:11-23), but finally in death. This is not Job’s final position, of course; the drama is not yet over.” 

Then he comments on Job 28 with these words: 

“People do not often understand just how rare real wisdom is. According to chapter 28, Job understands. The chapter is a poetic reflection on this very theme: ‘But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell?’ (28:12).
 
Job lists the places wisdom is not found and concludes, ‘It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing, concealed even from the birds of the air. Destruction and Death say, ‘Only a rumor of it has reached our ears’ (28:21-22). Where then is wisdom found? ‘God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens’ (28:23-24). And what is God’s own summary? ‘The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding” (28:28). Doubtless in the context of the book of Job this chapter accomplishes several things. It pricks the pretensions of the ‘comforters’ who think themselves so wise.  
 
It demonstrates that despite his protests, Job is still profoundly God-centered in all his thinking. Even while he publicly raises questions about God’s fairness in his own case, Job insists that all wisdom finally rests in God. Moreover, because such wisdom is irretrievably tied to shunning evil, Job demonstrates by his poetic utterance that not only does he retain humility of mind before the Almighty, but his commitment to righteous living is profoundly tied to his faith in God’s wisdom, to his own sheer God-centeredness.” 

Jeremiah 7-11 | Friday: These chapters of Jeremiah pick up the themes from last week’s reading. The prophet is lamenting the idolatry of his own people. He knows how dishonoring this is to the Lord and what the consequences of this will be; namely, the eventual destruction of Jerusalem under the hand of foreign armies who worship false gods themselves.

Mark 7-8 | Saturday: In Mark 7 Jesus responds to the Pharisee’s with these words: “ And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 

“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

Matthew Henry points out that the Pharisee’s:

“pretend it is for the glory of God that they impose those things…but really their heart is far from God, and is governed by nothing but ambition and covetousness. They would be thought hereby to appropriate themselves as a holy people to the Lord their God, when really it is the furthest thing in their thought.”  

How do we fight against honoring the Lord with our lips when our heart is far from Him, or how do we fight to keep our hearts close to Christ? John Piper is helpful when he says:

“And the answer would seem to be that we get up in the morning and we get our hearts fixed on Christ. We go to him and renew our satisfaction in him through his word. And then we enter the day seeking to express and increase that satisfaction in all that God is for us in Jesus.”  

John Piper points out something that is repeated in Mark 8, 9, & 10, when he says:
Three times in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus tells his disciples in detail that he is going to Jerusalem to be killed and to rise from the dead. I want you to feel the force of this. So let’s read all three. 
 
First, Mark 8:31: “And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.” 
 
Second, Mark 9:31: “He was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.’” 
 
Third, Mark 10:33–34: “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” 
 
One thing is clear. This is important to Mark and to Jesus. At least four things stand out in each foretelling of Jesus’ suffering. One is that he is going to die. Second, this death is intentional. He intends it. He means for it to happen. He is not running from it, but walking into it. Third, it will not be suicide; it will be murder. And the murderers are mentioned in each text. Fourth, he will rise from the dead. Not at some uncertain time in the future like us, but precisely in three days. His death is appointed and his resurrection is appointed. They will happen on schedule. 
 
What is not mentioned in each of those texts is why. Mark gives us the clearest statement of that after the three predictions. In Mark 10:45, Jesus says, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” This is the great central fact of history and of our lives. Jesus, the Son of Man, the exalted human, divine God-man, came—was sent by God the Father—to give his life as a ransom for many.
 
Our sin had, as it were, kidnapped us and put us in a prison of our own making, far from God, in the chains of iniquity, under God’s holy wrath, and powerless to free ourselves. One of the images the Bible uses for our liberation is ransom. A ransom had to be paid. 
 
But listen to Psalm 49:7–8, “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice.”
 
n other words, no mere man can ransom another man’s soul. And you can’t ransom your own. Then listen to verse 15 of that psalm: “But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol.” Man can’t. God will.
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