BIBLE 2018 | Week 20

II Corinthians 9-10 | Sunday: 2 Corinthians 8-9 is Paul’s encouragement, motivated by the generosity of Jesus (8:9), the generosity of other Christians (8:1-8), for the Corinthians to give generously for the offering he is taking up for poor Christians in Jerusalem.

2 Corinthians 10 is the beginning of Paul’s defense of himself. Some false teachers had come into the church at Corinth and tried to convince them that Paul was a false teacher. This puts Paul in the awkward position of having to defend himself and his ministry. He isn’t bragging because he is proud; he is defending his ministry because the Corinthians’ lives depend on them believing Paul’s doctrine and gospel.

For a helpful meditation on what “God loves a cheerful giver” means in 2 Corinthians 9, see this episode of Look at the Book.

Exodus 25-28 | Monday: This part of Exodus does not always make for the most compelling reading for many of us. However, it is very important. We hear about the careful instructions for how to build the tabernacle.

For more on the importance of the tabernacle, watch this by R.C. Sproul.

Here is an article from Ligonier giving 6 reasons we should care about the tabernacle described in Exodus.

II Samuel 15-19 | Tuesday: Here we see the tragic end of Absolam’s life.

For a sermon by Paul Tripp on 2 Samuel 15 called “David and Absolam” see here.

Psalms 57-59 | Wednesday: D.A. Carson comments on Psalm 57, 60, and 108 in this reflection. I know only part of this reflection deals with one of our readings from the book of Psalms this week, but as we head into our 20th week of our reading plan I thought his last two paragraphs below were a wonderful reminder of how amazing the Bible is: 

“Both Psalms 57 and 60 find David under enormous pressure. In the former, the superscription places David in flight from King Saul, and hiding in a cave; in the latter, David and his troops have been defeated. In both cases, however, the psalm ends in praise and confidence—and the respective sections on praise and confidence from these two psalms are now joined together to make Psalm 108. 
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Although Psalm 108 still hints at a stressful situation that includes some chastening by God (108:11), the tone of the whole slips away from the dark moods of the early parts of the other two psalms, and in comparison is flooded with adoration and confidence. 
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That simple fact forces us to recognize something very important. The earlier two psalms (57 and 60) will doubtless seem especially appropriate to us when we face peril—individual or corporate—or suffer some kind of humiliating defeat.
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The present psalm will ring in our ears when we pause to look back on the manifold goodness of God, reminding ourselves of the sweep of his sovereignty and his utter worthiness to receive our praise. It might prove especially useful when we are about to venture on some new initiative for which our faith demands fresh grounding. This perspective of changed application occurs because the same words are now placed in a new context. And that is the point. 
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For although all of Scripture is true and important, deserving study, reflection, and carefully applied thought, the Lord God in his wisdom did not give us a Bible of abstract principles, but highly diverse texts woven into highly diverse situations.
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Despite the diversity, of course, there is still only one sweeping storyline, and only one Mind ultimately behind it. But the rich tapestry of varied human experience reflected in the different biblical books and passages—not least in the different psalms—enables the Bible to speak to us with peculiar force and power when the “fit” between the experience of the human author and our experience is especially intimate. 
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For this astonishing wealth, God deserves reverent praise. What mind but his, what compass of understanding but his, what providential oversight over the production of Scripture but his, could produce a work so unified yet so profoundly diverse? Here, too, is reason to join our “Amen” to the words of 108:5: “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth.” 

Job 39-40 | Thursday: D.A. Carson gives us some helpful thoughts on Job 40: 

“Halfway through his long speech to Job, God gives him an opportunity to respond. Following a rhetorical question (“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?”), God says, “Let him who accuses God answer him!” (Job 40:2). 

It is vital for the understanding of this book that we do not misunderstand this challenge. God is not withdrawing his initial estimate of Job (1:1, 8). Even under the most horrible barrage from Satan and from the three “miserable comforters,” Job has not weakened his fundamental integrity nor lost his basic loyalty to the Almighty. He has not followed the advice of his suffering wife to curse God and die; he has not followed the advice of his friends and simply assumed he was suffering for sins hitherto unrecognized and therefore turned to repentance. But he has come within a whisker of blaming God for his sufferings; or, better put, he has certainly insisted that he wants his day in court, that he wants to justify himself to God.

Implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, Job has accused God of being unjust, or of being so removed that the just and the unjust seem to face the same ends. In his better moments Job steps back from the least restrained parts of his rhetoric, but he certainly feels, to say the least, that God owes him an explanation. 

But now God is saying, in effect, that the person who wants to “contend” with God—to argue out some matter—must not begin by assuming that God is wrong or by accusing the Almighty of not getting things right. That has been the thrust of the rhetorical questions (chaps. 38—39): Job has neither the knowledge nor the power to be able to stand in judgment of God. 

By this point Job has apparently absorbed the lesson: “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer—twice, but I will say no more” (40:4-5). But the question arises, Is Job really convinced that he was out of line? Does Job now really believe that, however righteous he may have been, he really does not have the right to talk to God that way? Or, devout man that he is, has he simply been cowed into quiescence?

God takes no chances: he presents Job with two more chapters (40—41) of unanswerable rhetorical questions. Once more Job is told to “brace [himself] like a man”—and then God begins: “Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?” (40:8). It is as if God wants something more from Job, something that Job recognizes only in the last chapter of the drama.” 

Jeremiah 37-41 | Friday: 

For a helpful message on Jeremiah 37-39, feel free to listen to this from Don Carson.

Luke 3-4 | Saturday: These notes from the NIV Zondervan Study Bible on Luke 4:1-13 provide some helpful insight: 

“Jesus is tested in the wilderness. Jesus’ testing recalls Israel’s experience in the wilderness…Luke explicitly connects them by mentioning “wilderness” and “forty” (vv. 1-2; cf. Num 32:13; Deut 2:7; 29:5; Neh 9:21; Amos 2:10), since the “forty days” (v. 2) recalls Israel’s “forty years” in the wilderness (Num 14:34).

More important, all three OT passages that Jesus quotes in response to the devil come from Deut 6-8…a section that calls Israel to be faithful to God in the wilderness (Deut 6:16; 8:2). Moreover, the three specific temptations also parallel three significant instances in which Israel failed in the wilderness, and later traditions such as Ps 106 that recall Israel’s faithlessness often point to these three events:

(1) Israel failed to remember God in the way “they gave in to their craving” (Ps 106:14; cf. Exod 16:1-3; Num 11:1-6.)

(2) “They made a calf and worshiped an idol” (Ps 106:19; cf. Exod 32:1-15).

(3) They tested and “rebelled against the Spirit of God” (Ps 106:33; cf. Exod 17:1-7; Num 20:1-13). Unlike Israel of old, Jesus the Son of God faithfully resists the devil’s temptations.”  

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