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Showing posts from March, 2018

(89) 30 March : Proverbs 12v13 / Exodus 39v32-40v38 / Psalm 23v4-6

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 12:13
Understanding to grow in The sanctuary is put together. At its centre is a tent split into two compartments by a curtain. In one part is the ark. This is the most holy place of God's presence only the High Priest will be able to enter once a year. In the other part is the table holding the bread of the presence, the lampstand opposite it, and the altar for burning incense infront of the curtain. The entrance to the tent is another curtain. And around it is a courtyard entered by a further curtain. In the courtyard is the altar for burnt offerings, the utensils involved in its use, and a wash basin for Moses and the High Priests to wash their hands and feet so they are clean in approaching the LORD. When every…

(88) 29 March : Proverbs 12v12 / Exodus 37v1-39v31 / Psalm 23v1-3

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 12:12
Understanding to grow in The description of how God's instructions were carried out continues. Making the point chapter 39 repeatedly stresses those for the priests were fulfilled "just as the LORD commanded Moses." The fact that it feels rather laborious to read them a second time is in some sense the point. First, it reminds us that without Christ it takes much work to be fit for God's presence - so much so, that we can never be truly fit as Israel's history proved. Second, it gives a hint of the perfection and splendour that must mark God's presence - exciting us for what heaven and the renewed creation will be (see Rev 21-22). As you read try to picture the tabernacle and priests.
Exo…

(87) 28 March : Proverbs 12v11 / Exodus 35v1-36v38 / Psalm 22v27-31

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 12:11
Understanding to grow in The repetition of God's instructions in describing the making of the taberacle stresses that everyone did just as he commanded. And they did it not reluctantly but with generosity of spirit, giving freely of their goods and skills as an offering to the LORD. The tabernacle became the temple which was a pointer to Christ and the church "in him" as the dwelling place of God (Eph 2v21-22). The Israelite's example therefore challenges us to follow God's instructions for the structure and activity of his church, and devote our money and energies to building it. The giving of the Sabbath law that begins our section sets the people's response in the context of the coven…

(86) 27 March : Proverbs 12v10 / Exodus 33v7-34v35 / Psalm 22v22-26

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 12:10
Understanding to grow in Our only hope in the light of God's holiness is his grace. It's seen here in heeding Moses and promising to go with Israel after all - something essential if the people are to take Canaan and be set-apart from the nations. It is seen in the LORD's declaration that he will show mercy and compassion to whom he wills - which presumes we are utterly dependent on this sovereign choice for any blessing. It is seen in his willingness to re-write the tablets containing the Ten Commandments and so give Israel another chance at the covenant. And it is seen in his revelation of his "glory" which is the display of his character as one who must punish, yes, but who leans more tow…

(85) 26 March : Proverbs 12v9 / Exodus 31v12-33v6 / Psalm 22v12-21

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 12:9
Understanding to grow in "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb 10v31). We've started to see this is because of his holy purity that cannot tolerate sin. So he ends his instructions to Moses on Mount Sinai by giving the Sabbath as a sign of his covenant. By setting apart one day a week to rest and remember the LORD the people are forever reminded that they are to be set-apart in obedience to him. We must understand that the death penalty for breaking the Sabbath was because remembering the LORD was citical to the nation's survival. And what follows makes the point only too clearly. With Moses up the mountain the people forget him, breaking the first two commandmen…

(82) 23 March : Proverbs 12v8 / Exodus 29v1-31v11 / Psalm 22v7-11

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, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:8
Understanding to grow in These laws govern the ordination and activity of the priests. We will see a lot more of these elabroate and seemingly strict rituals. Helpfully, the LORD tells us the reason for them (29v45-46). First, they are to enable him to dwell amongst the people. The blood paying sin's penalty, the washing of objects, offerings and priests - it's all to cleanse them from the contamination of sin so that God's holiness doesn't react by destroying them. It's a vivid reminder that being in a close relationship with God isn't an easy thing nor to be considered flippantly. His purity and perfection mean that he must act against even a hint of sin. It causes us to appreciate what …

(81) 22 March : Proverbs 12v7 / Exodus 27-28 / Psalm 22v1-6

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 12:7
Understanding to grow in The detail continues with the all important altar within the tabernacle court, and the priesthood. If God is to be present amongst a sinful people sacrifice must be made to pay the penalty for sin. Whoever might desire the role, the High Priesthood is reserved only for Aaron's male descendents. It is God who determines our station in life. Their garments are to reflect the splendour and purity of God's presence - and the gems and pomegranates in the design are another reminder the tabernacle looks to a heavenly restoration of Eden (Gen 2v12, Rev 21v19-20). Having the names of the twelve tribes enscribed on stones attached to their garments shows that the High Priest represents the…

(80) 21 March : Proverbs 12v5-6 / Exodus 25-26 / Psalm 21v8-13

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 12:5-6
Understanding to grow in Having promised to be present with Israel the LORD now gives instructions for the tabernacle (tent) he will inhabit in order to "dwell among them" (25v8). Hebrews 8v5 tells us God's concern over detail is because the tabernacle was "a copy and shadow of what was in heaven." Its exactness reflects his perfection, its precious materials his kingly majesty, and the inner holy of holies his set-apartness from sin. The ark with its atonement cover where God promises to "meet" with Moses and give his commands is a shadow of his heavenly throne where he is surrounded by the spirits of believers after death. Here it is a throne amongst his people on earth. And…

(79) 20 March : Proverbs 12v4 / Exodus 22v16-24v18 / Psalm 21v1-7

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, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:4
Understanding to grow in More laws, reflecting not just God's character but the order of creation as he has put it together to point to him. So there is concern for sexual purity, as well as for the needy who are more likely to suffer injustice, and for remembering God's provision and honouring him as the true God. With the law given God reminds the people not to rebel or turn to idols so that they can receive the fulfilment of his promise to them. The covenant is then confirmed in a way that foreshadows the Last Supper. The people affirm they will obey and their elders eat and drink in the presence of God! His presence is the big issue in this section and what will follow. It is needed for them to reach…

(78) 19 March : Proverbs 12v3 / Exodus 20v22-22v15 / Psalm 20v6-9

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 12:3
Understanding to grow in Although the primary purpose of the law was to highlight the people's inability to keep it and so move them to seek God's mercy, it was also necessary to restrain sin and order their society. Chapters 20-24 are known as the book of the law. They include detailed legislation that apply the principles of the Ten Commandments to the realities of life for Israel in the desert. In today's section we see a concern that God is rightly revered, the protection of slaves and especially women, and a respect for life and property that ensures right punishment when wrong is done and restitution for harm. The seriousness of disrespect for parents is probably because of their importance in …

(75) 16 March : Proverbs 12v2 / Exodus 18v1-20v21 / Psalm 20v1-5

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, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:2
Understanding to grow in God sometimes brings wisdom from surprising sources. In coming to acknowledge and praise God Jethro exemplifies the response God sought from the Gentile nations to the Exodus. And through his advice the system of judges in Israel is established to share the burden of administering the law. This wisdom applies for the administering of God's word in church life too. With structures in place the stage is then set. Chapter 19 builds to the highpoint of God speaking the commandments from Mount Sinai. But we must note what comes first. The LORD reminds the people of his saving them, and promises that if they will only obey, they will be his treasured possession, kingdom of priests and holy…

(74) 15 March : Proverbs 12v1 / Exodus 15v22-17v16 / Psalm 19v12-14

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, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 12:1
Understanding to grow in How ready we are to grumble, and even when we have experienced God provide. After witnessing the wonders of their Exodus Israel grumble over poisoned water. God "tests" them to see if they will obey - promising protection against ill health if they do. Yet having experienced him purify the water, they only grumble again, over lack of food. We should pause to feel the immensity of God's subsequent provision. None could imagine how a million or so could be fed. Yet they not only receive bread appear on the ground but meat fall from the sky! The terms of their collecting it would test their obedience and faith. Yet even after all this there was more grumbling. This now tested …

(73) 14 March : Proverbs 11v31 / Exodus 13v17-15v21 / Psalm 19v9-11

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, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:31
Understanding to grow in Often hardship comes and we don't know what God is doing. But we know enough. We know he can be trusted. That's where Israel fail here. God has proved himself in the plagues. They've seen him lead them out by pillar of cloud and fire. Yet as Pharoah persues them they cry out in complaint. But we know God has orchestrated the show-down at the red sea in order to glorify himself. And so Moses reassures Israel that "the LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still." (14v14). There is a lesson here about trusting God in difficulty knowing all things come from him with purpose. But the primary truth is that salvation is by grace not works, just as God in Christ de…

(72) 13 March : Proverbs 11v30 / Exodus 12v1-13v16 / Psalm 19v7-8

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 11:30
Understanding to grow in The importance of the passover festival is highlighted by the space given it and God commanding it begin Israel's year. The threat of being cut-off from Israel if not adhering to its detail is a necessary way of ensuring it is kept so that the people remember their redemption (13v8-10, 14-16). And it brings home that Israel were not spared because of being more righteous, but simply because of God's mercy. A substitute had to die for their sin, and their firstborn were then to be sort of bought back from the LORD. As with all Israel's history, God instituted the passover as a pointer to Christ. He was "the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1v29) …

(71) 12 March : Proverbs 11v29 / Exodus 9v8-11v10 / Psalm 19v1-6

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 11:29
Understanding to grow in The plagues intensify. The final killing of the firstborn is shocking as God's judgments are. However, we must remember that the Egyptian people had been prospering from the enslavement of Israel, which would have no doubt involved the death of many innocent Israelites. Moreover, Pharoah had commanded the execution of Israelite babies, and although many were saved some would have been killed as the action of Moses' mother implies (Ex 1v16, 2v3). As Israel is God's firsborn son in the sense of being the nation from the nations he chooses to inherit what he has to give, we can start to see how the punishment of the final plague therefore fits the cimes of Egypt (Ex 4v22-23). I…

(68) 9 March : Proverbs 11v28 / Exodus 7v14-9v7 / Psalm 18v46-50

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 11:28
Understanding to grow in It was in Exodus 3v18 that God instructs Moses to ask Pharoah to let the people go for three days to make sacrifices. Obviously the LORD always intended a complete leaving (3v8). It seems the lesser request was therefore to show just how stubborn Pharoah would be in not even being prepared to grant it. And this stubborness is seen all the more with each plague that passes. They demonstrate God's authority over creation and so over the false nature-gods worshipped in Egypt. They also show his care for Israel in exempting them from the plagues. And the miracle is not just in what takes place but its timing. Even when natural explanations might be given for the miraculous, their divine…

(67) 8 March : Proverbs 11v27 / Exodus 5v1-7v13 / Psalm 18v40-45

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 11:27
Understanding to grow in Pharoahs were considered divine. So this confrontation is about who is the true God. And as we saw yesterday, God's name means "I AM." Indeed, although his hardening of Pharoah's heart should not be read as meaning he makes Pharoah act against his will, it is intended to show that even the decisions of this so called god are subject to the will of the true God. He created circumstances that caused Pharoah to act just as he had always determined. Two things are worth particular notice. The first is that as people turn to the true God it brings hostility - and often because those people will no longer contribute to the wicked practices of their society from which powerfu…

(66) 7 March : Proverbs 11v26 / Exodus 3v1-4v31 / Psalm 18v37-39

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 11:26
Understanding to grow in God does not forget his promises. It is two hundred years from the time of Joseph and all may have seemed loss for Israel. But the Lord appears to Moses stressing he is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. According to his wise timing he is now fulfilling his commitments to them, just as he will do for his promises in Christ when the time comes for his return. It is in this context that God reveals his personal name to be "I AM" (Hebrew "YAHWEH" translated "THE LORD" with capitals). It highlights that he is the true God as opposed to the false gods of Egypt - self-sufficient, unchanging, and so forever as he will be seen to be. It is his power and sufficien…

(65) 6 March : Proverbs 11v24-25 / Exodus 1v1-2v25 / Psalm 18v32-36

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 11:24-25
Understanding to grow in The second book of Moses begins with God's promise being fulfilled - Abraham's descendents becoming the great nation. 1v7 reminds us that God is calling out a new humanity to be what he created humanity to be (compare with Gen 1v28). Yet this intent is immediately threatened as Pharoah plots to wipe Israel out. But God can use the most insignificant people to thwart the purposes of the most powerful: The midwives risk their own lives to honour him and save the children. God can also use even evil decisions to bring about good ends: So the attempt to destroy the babies is what leads Moses to be raised in Pharoah's household, and the altercation over the slave brings Moses …

(64) 5 March : Proverbs 11v23 / Luke 23v50-24v53 / Psalm 18v30-31

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 11:23
Understanding to grow in The resurrection turns grief into gladness. The detail is important. The body was wrapped up tightly and entombed behind a massive rock. The women saw it all so there could be no mistake when returning. Yet not only was the rock removed and the tomb empty, but they saw two resplendent men they later identify as angels who told them this was just as Jesus had predicted. We then read of two appearances to disciples. And these were no flighty hallucinations. He ate with them, walked with them, conversed with them and taught them before being seen to rise up into heaven. The key point seems to be that all this was just as scripture predicted, confirming Jesus as the promised Christ. He is t…

(61) 2 March : Proverbs 11v22 / Luke 22v39-23v49 / Psalm 18v27-29

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 11:22
Understanding to grow in The rejection of Jesus comes to a climax. Friends, soldiers, rulers, people - even God seems to be against him (23v44). With great irony, the only ones who get it are the criminal crucified next to him and the centurion putting him to death. What grace. And what assurance no matter how many our sins. The darkness highlights God's anger is being poured out on the sin that Jesus is bearing for such people. The torn curtain declares that this opens the way to God's kingdom. As you read note the different responses to Jesus and their equivalents today. Luke 22:39-23:49
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in …