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Showing posts from May, 2018

TAKE UP THE CHALLENGE

Jesus taught that all scripture testifies about him so that in him we might have life (John 5v39-40). King David taught that it is only by living according to God's word that we're kept on the right path (Psalm 119v9). What then could be better than reading the entire Bible? Click the menu to read about the program, choose a month or Bible book - or just work through the blog posts day by day.

(152) 1 June : Proverbs 14v9 / Numbers 29v12-30v16 / Psalm 36v10-12

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 14:9
Understanding to grow in The section of repeated instructions for worship concludes with limits on vows that reflect the particular responsibility and authority given to men within Israelite households. The principle is that oaths are binding and so should not be made rashly. Jesus makes just this point: “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’, ‘No’; anything beyond that comes from the evil one.” (Matt 5v37). The fact that the vows of widowed or divorced women stand, show these laws don’t suggest women are not spiritually mature or responsible enough to make oaths. Rather, they seek to maintain order within households. They remind us of the need to consider not just ourselves, but those close to us in the commit…

(151) 31 May : Proverbs 14v8 / Numbers 27v12-29v11 / Psalm 36v5-9

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 14:8
Understanding to grow in Each generation needs to hear God's word afresh as a reminder of what he has always required of his people. New leaders can seek after newness and novelty in the knowledge of God. But his desires for his people are true and so unchanging. So it is that we see Joshua take Moses' place. And immediately, the key offerings and festivals that God has instituted forty years previously at Sinai are repeated. It's a word to both leaders and parents today, to ensure those they hand the baton onto maintain the ways of the Lord. As you read note what we learn of Joshua and his role.
Numbers 27:12-29:11
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me…

(150) 30 May : Proverbs 14v6-7 / Numbers 25v1-27v11 / Psalm 36v1-4

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 14:6-7
Understanding to grow in Great temptation can be tied to where we live. Here it is not just the practices of the surrounding people. By marrying them Israel were drawn to their false gods. Once more God’s holy anger is provoked in plague. Such idolatry carries the death penalty in Israel. So the leaders are called to kill the guilty and expose them before God as a way of showing this is his justice, and turning his anger away. It is for this reason that Phinehas’ act is one of commendable zeal for God’s honour. Paul rightly uses this event to warn us off sexual immorality (1 Cor 10v8). Israel at this point are just over the Jordon river from Jericho with the land in sight. So after forty years the people then …

(149) 29 May : Proverbs 14v5 / Numbers 23-24 / Psalm 35v23-28

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 14:5
Understanding to grow in Balaam may have initially sought a message of curse from God by “divination” (22v7, 24v1). The idea is to offer sacrifices on high places to gain the god's favour so they reveal whatever is sought, and are perhaps be bribed to act in a certain way (22v40, 23v1-4, 14-16, 28-30). God’s response doesn't justify the practice. He responds only to state that he is committed to his covenant with the patriarchs. The first oracle stresses he will not curse Israel, and that they are the promised great nation, set-apart from all others. The second, that God will not change his mind as to his promise to bless them, and that no sorcery or people can come against them. Realising God cannot be …

(148) 28 May : Proverbs 14v4 / Numbers 22 / Psalm 35v18-22

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 14:4
Understanding to grow in The plains of Moab are where Israel remain for the rest of Numbers and Deuteronomy. Moab’s terror shows that God’s purpose of bringing the nations to know he is God is being fulfilled. They send messengers to ask Balaam, a pagan prophet, to “curse” Israel. But he can only say or do what God commands, and God commands he doesn’t curse Israel “because they are blessed” - fulfilling God's promise to Abraham (Gen 12v1-3). The point is that no nation or anything else can keep them from their promised land. This is how certain the culmination of God's blessings is for us in Christ (Rom 8v37-39). When offered reward by a second delegation, Balaam goes as God told him to. But God's a…

(145) 25 May : Proverbs 14v3 / Numbers 20v1-21v35 / Psalm 35v11-17

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 14:3
Understanding to grow in More grumbling. More grace. It's a reminder of how slow we are to learn to and appreciate God. As the water comes from the rock Moses and Aaron are at fault too. Their error is in the words "must we" (20v10). They should have pointed to God as the giver. And there's suggestion they may not have done because they weren't sure if he would act (v12). This lack of faith is why Aaron and then Moses die without entering the land. What follows is bitty. The priesthood passes to Aaron's son. Nations attack. God looks after Israel. Yet they grumble again, provoking his anger and leading to death by snakes. But with God repentance brings forgiveness. So they confess their…

(144) 24 May : Proverbs 14v2 / Numbers 18-19 / Psalm 35v4-10

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 14:2
Understanding to grow in God neglects none of his people. Here he clarifies the responsibilities of the priests (descended from Aaron) and Levites (the wider tribe). They will not receive a portion of the land like the rest of Israel, and so the LORD ensures they take a share of the people's offerings - just as ministers of the gospel are to receive provision from the giving of Christians. Believers are now titled God's royal priesthood (1 Pet 2v9). And we can be sure he will grant us our share in the inheritance to come. The note on receiving firstborn humans or animals offered to the LORD (18v15) refers to those that might be dedicated to the LORD's service as Samuel was (1 Sam 1v22). The instructi…

(143) 23 May : Proverbs 14v1 / Numbers 16-17 / Psalm 35v1-3

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 14:1
Understanding to grow in It seems out of jeleousy these Levites resented God setting Aaron's family apart as priests, and Moses' leadership too. So they allowed everyday Israelites to engage in the priestly role of offering incense. This was serious. It treated the LORD with "contempt" (16v30) because it rejected his commands and structures. The dramatic punishment should have been enough for the people to learn the lesson. But still they grumbled, proving the need of the priests to make atonement when God's wrath subsequently broke out. Aaron is further vindicated as the LORD enables only his staff to bud. It warns us over grumbling against faithful leaders in the church or resenting it wh…

(142) 22 May : Proverbs 13v25 / Numbers 15 / Psalm 34v15-22

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:25
Understanding to grow in Following God keeping an entire generation from the land, chapter 15 affirms that the people will eventually enter. Most striking is that aliens are counted “the same before the LORD” once more displaying his wider concern. Offerings are specified for when the community or one person unintentionally sins, and the seriousness of intentional and so defiant sins is stressed. This is to “despise” God’s word. We should take note. Intentional sin implies unbelief. In Israel such people were to be “cut off” (ie. destroyed in some way by the LORD). This is immediately seen in God’s instructions over the Sabbath breaker. Knowing that this was the great sign of God’s covenant relationship with Isra…

(141) 21 May : Proverbs 13v24 / Numbers 13-14 / Psalm 34v8-14

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:24
Understanding to grow in It's all about faith. Israel are on the border of their promised land and spies are sent to explore it. Caleb and Joshua knew that if God was for them, none could be against them. And so they return trusting him, confident the people could take the land. The other spies saw things only from the human level. Convinced they would be overcome, they spread their fear amongst the people fuelling rebellion not just against Moses and Aaron, but against the Lord. Again God was rightly provoked, and again Moses interceded, but out of a concern that God would not be glorified before the nations if he didn't take the people into the land. The result is the entire generation failing to inherit …

(138) 18 May : Proverbs 13v23 / Numbers 10v11-12v16 / Psalm 34v4-7

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:23
Understanding to grow in We are quick to forget God's goodness, and so so quick to grumble. The Israelites head out, travelling just as the LORD leads. Yet despite his presence, despite his delivering them from Egypt and leading them to their own land, the people twice complain about their hardships, and then Aaron and Miriam do too. All three events provoke God's wrath, needing Moses to intercede just as Christ stands in the gap for us. Their repetition shows how slow we are to learn our lessons, and the vindication of Moses shows we should accept the leaders God has chosen for us. Chapter 11 focuses on how the people gumble over food, seeing their past life through rose tinted spectacles. It leads Moses t…

(137) 17 May : Proverbs 13v22 / Numbers 7v89-10v10 / Psalm 34v1-3

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:22
Understanding to grow in Everything is to be done exactly “as the LORD commanded.” That's the lesson. God spoke audibly to Moses from above the ark so Moses could know just what he wanted. And his instructions are carried out. As in Revelation, the lamps represent the people in the presence of God, called to reflect his glory (Rev 1v12ff). The Levites are purified so that by serving the tabernacle they can assist the priests in making atonement for the people. Retirement at fifty would ensure the men remained fit enough to do the work. The instructions on the Passover highlight that no-one is to miss the feast because it was the key way of remembering God’s deliverance as the Lord's Supper is for us (Heb 10…

(136) 16 May : Proverbs 13v21 / Numbers 7v1-88 / Psalm 33v16-22

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:21
Understanding to grow in We now revert a month to the anointing and consecration of the tabernacle, when the tribal heads who would count the people a month later “made offerings.” It may be placed here so the book could begin stressing the amount of people being made ready to move. The basis of God’s presence and blessing in the work of the tabernacle is also stressed. The gifts are for transporting the tabernacle and the offerings made there. The repetition stresses all was done exactly as God commanded, and that everyone in Israel was to benefit. It also stresses how much had to be given, and how much is needed to deal with sin. What challenges us is the readiness of the people to give to the work of the taberna…

(135) 15 May : Proverbs 13v20 / Numbers 5-6 / Psalm 33v10-15

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:20
Understanding to grow in As in Leviticus, we see that all that is "unclean" must be kept outside the camp because of God's purity and perfection. God mercifully enables people to approach him not by lowering his standards but by making them clean, now through Christ. We also see God's concern with keeping society together when people sin. Not only is confession and atonement required, but restitution to the victim. The test of the potentially unfaithful wife is probably here because of the centrality of marriage in passing the faith to the next generation and imaging God's own covenant commitment. The dramatic ritual would have been a powerful deterrent. But it also protects any innocent wife …

(134) 14 May : Proverbs 13v19 / Numbers 3-4 / Psalm 33v6-9

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:19
Understanding to grow in The various clans from the tribe of Levi are now numbered and given their respective tasks. The Levites were set-apart from the rest for looking after the things of worship at the tabernacle where God was present with the ark. Aaron's descendents were to serve as priests and the other clans were to assist in caring for the tabernacle itself (3v5). Two things strike home. The first are the various different roles God assigns. Likewise, he gifts different Christians for different roles within the church - whether as individuals or in teams. And as with the Levites, he decides what we do. So there should be no resentment at not having or being equipped for certain tasks we might prefer. Sec…

(131) 11 May : Proverbs 13v18 / Numbers 1-2 / Psalm 33v1-5

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:18
Understanding to grow in Numbers begins with...numbers: the reason for its title. Note the total. 603,550 men over twenty, and not including Levites (1v46). That must make the total number of Israelites that left Egypt over 2 million. Quite a number for Moses to lead and God to provide for. The Levites were to care for the tabernacle of God's presence where the ark was kept, setting it up, taking it down and carrying it. The rest were being counted in readiness for battle - in anticipation of God fulfilling his promise and taking the people into the land. They were to camp in formation around the tabernacle with their clans and families. And Judah was to lead them out - just as Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Ju…

(130) 10 May : Proverbs 13v17 / Acts 27-28 / Psalm 32v8-11

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:17
Understanding to grow in So within thity or so years, the gospel was being boldly poclaimed in Rome - the centre of the world. Indeed, the conclusion of the book suggests one of Luke's main purposes is to show how the gospel went to the Gentiles with the Jews largely rejected it. Moreover, God's protection of Paul and the way that gained the attention of the sailors and islanders demonstrates his power and purpose behind the gospel's success. It should encourage and embolden us in our own evangelistic efforts. As you read note the different ways God ensured people heard of him. Acts 27-28
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Chri…

(129) 9 May : Proverbs 13v16 / Acts 25-26 / Psalm 32v1-7

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:16

Understanding to grow in Jesus had promised his disciples "you will be brought before kings and governors," and that he would give them sufficient words and wisdom (Lk 21v12-15). Here we see just that. And it should encourage us to speak up when opportunity comes to us too. As you read, note what Paul teaches about Christ.
Acts 25-26

Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’s the main thing it teaches me about his will for me or the world? Then pray that home.
Devotion to offer up You could read this aloud and perhaps as a springboard to further prayer. Psalm 32:1-7
·For introductions to the …

(128) 8 May : Proverbs 13v15 / Acts 23v12-24v27 / Psalm 31v21-24

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:15

Understanding to grow in Paul's case before Felix is important in showing the charges of the Jews were groundless, and so commending faith in Christ to Jews. Paul also sets an example of perseverence under trial for his faith, being imprisoned for two years; and of persistence in taking every opportunity during that time to speak of Christ. As often happens, rather than acknowledge the truth of what he hears, Felix backs off when he recognizes its seriousness (24v25). As you read note how God is at work protecting Paul.
Acts 23:12-24:27

Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’s the main thing i…

(127) 7 May : Proverbs 13v13-14 / Acts 21v27-23v11 / Psalm 31v16-20

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:13-14

Understanding to grow in Paul is now in Jerusalem, and the prophecies given about him are fulfilled (20v23, 21v11-14). We should consider his courage - choosing at the risk of his own life to address those baying for his blood. We should also consider his testimony. Paul's conversion is one of the great foundation stones of Christian faith. Nothing can explain such a change from persecutor to preacher, but that he did indeed see and hear from the risen Christ. As this passage shows, Paul had absolutely nothing to gain from becoming a Christian, but for potential death. However, no matter how compelling the evidence for faith, those whose hearts are hard will not be moved. Paul's hearers therefore seek …

(124) 4 May : Proverbs 13v12 / Acts 20v1-21v26 / Psalm 31v11-15

BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, yor family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 13:12

Understanding to grow in One theme today is the fellowship not just between Paul's ministry team but between Paul and those he ministered to. The gospel builds a community of genuine love. But more dominant is the theme of Paul's ministry itself. It is affirmed by James (Jesus' half-brother) and the elders in Jerusalem. And it is not challenged by them urging Paul to show he was living in obedience to the law. Their intent was to show Jewish Christians that Paul was not undermining their freedom to keep living according to their inherited Old Testament practices if they wanted to - as long as they were trusting Christ alone for salvation. As you read note the different ways the importance of preaching…