BIBLE 2018 | Week 21

II Corinthians 11-13 | Sunday: Paul continues defending his own apostolic ministry and authority against the so-called ‘super apostles’ who were trying to discredit Paul in Corinth.

He ends the letter by asking the congregation to question, test, and examine their salvation.

Literally he says, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (13:5).

Exodus 29-32 | Monday: Exodus 32 contains the tragic event of the golden calf. It has been compared to honey moon adultery. Here Israel is at the foot of Sinai and is just entering into essentially a marriage covenant with Yahweh. And here they are breaking their marriage vow within a matter of days.

For a David Platt message on Exodus 32 (and 1 Corinthians 10) see here.

II Samuel 20-24 | Tuesday: David takes census of the people of Israel and receives a judgment from God. Why? David apparently was beginning to trust in numbers. This temptation is so big in churches today! May the Lord deliver us from the worship of numbers.

Psalms 60-62 | Wednesday: Psalm 62:8 says: “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” 

John Calvin points out that the: “expression, at all times, means both in prosperity and adversity…” 

David in this Psalm calls us to pour out our hearts before God. John Calvin comments on this and says:

David could not have suggested a better expedient than that of disburdening our cares to God, and thus, as it were, pouring out our hearts before Him…Under trying circumstances, we must comfort ourselves by reflecting that God will extend relief, provided we just freely roll them over upon his consideration.” So, have we poured out our hearts before God this week? Have we run to the throne of grace casting our cares on him, knowing that he cares for us?

Job 41-42 | Thursday: D.A. Carson gives us a reflection on Job 41:11: 

One verse, Job 41:11, demands further reflection. God speaks: “Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” Is God’s immunity from prosecution built on nothing more than raw power? 

We imagine the lowliest citizen in Nazi Germany trying to sue Hitler, and Hitler’s brutal response: “Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything in the Third Reich belongs to me.” Coming from Hitler, this would have seemed a distinctly immoral declaration. So why should God avail himself of its cosmic analog? 

First, if this were God’s only declaration about himself, it would not be a very good one. But this declaration comes within the context of the book of Job, and within the larger context of the canon of Scripture. Within the book of Job, there is common ground between Job and God: both acknowledge that in the last analysis God is just. Job is not a modern skeptic searching for reasons to dismiss God; God is not a Hitler. But if God and Job agree that God is just, at some point Job must also see that God is not a peer to drag into court. Trust in God is more important than trying to justify yourself before God—no matter how righteous you have been. 

Second, within the context of the entire canon, God has repeatedly shown his patience and forbearance toward the race of his image-bearers, who constantly challenge him and rebel against him. He is the God who with perfect holiness could have destroyed us all; he is the God who on occasion has demonstrated the terrifying potential for judgment (the Flood; Sodom and Gomorrah; the exile of his own covenant people). Above all, despite the Bible’s repeated insistence that God could rightly condemn all, he is the God who sends his own Son to die in place of a redeemed new humanity. 

Third, within such frameworks Job 41:11 is a salutary reminder that we are not independent. Even if God were not the supremely good God he is, we would have no comeback. He owns us; he owns the universe; all the authority is his, all the branches of divine government are his, the ultimate judiciary is his. There is no “outside” place from which to judge him. To pretend otherwise is futile; worse, it is part of our race’s rebellion against God—imagining he owes us something, imagining we are well placed to tell him off. Such wild fantasy is neither sensible nor good.” 

Jeremiah 42-46 | Friday: Jeremiah 44 is yet another strong reminder of the danger and evil of idolatry.

Luke 5-6 | Saturday: In Luke 6:21 Jesus says: “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” 

R.C. Sproul says that the emphasis in this passage is:

on the difference between now and later…Jesus is distinguishing between the way things are now and the way they will be when the kingdom of God is manifested and God’s justice reigns supreme…we live in a topsy-turvy world, a world where righteousness is devalued, and where unrighteousness is exalted.

The attitude of our day is: Get it now! Never mind the eternal consequences of your present actions, you only go around once.

According to this view the Sermon on the Mount is nonsense, but if this is truth from God, then he is telling us to be wise, to think in eternal categories, and not to be slaves to the present. What happens right now counts eternally, and this is the essence of the message that Jesus is giving here.

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