SIGNIFICANT CHANGE

This is my last post for the foreseeable future. I’ve been praying about sharpening in focus of my attention, wanting to spend more time with my family and church family, and the Lord has brought together multiple layers of counsel all towards this same change. I’ve been so transformed by years of reading through the Bible that I really want to pass this joyful discipline on to others! Still do, but trying to focus in on what my part in God’s Kingdom should be. I’m going to continue posting at the end of the year my through-the-Bible reading plan. The non-italicized daily readings are the “family readings” from the classic M’Cheyne plan. Then I have two italicized “Optional Readings”. I list a few verses from Proverbs (I really prefer this way of taking in a little daily wisdom from Proverbs rather than ONLY by reading a whole chapter from Proverbs each day when you encounter it every 2 years, like in the M’Cheyne plan). My plan also includes another optional reading which includes a small portion of Psalms (or a small NT portion when the M’Cheyne plan is just in the OT).  If time is short, I’d read the non-italicized readings (that’s the classic M’Cheyne “family reading” plan), and the several verses from Proverbs.  You can download the PDF or print it here (scroll down and find the Bible reading plan): https://redmondmusic.com/God-and-the-Bible

Also on my blog site (this one where you’re reading now) there are pages that list some of my helpful tips and tools. Worth reading through, I think, but I’ll summarize my top tips and tools here:

  1. Keep reading. You WILL fall behind (we’re half way through the year and I’m more than a week behind this year), but keep reading. The first time all the way through the Bible took me 2-3 years, because I was pondering and being transformed in every area of life. Then I went through a second time and saw much more, and that keeps happening!

  2. Don’t get stuck on the sections filled with detail or things you don’t understand yet. I really recommend the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for their summaries and overviews of sections. I also encourage a more detailed study Bible (my two favorites are the ESV Study Bible and John MacArthur’s Study Bible – that one is available in several translations – get something other than ESV for balance and comparison). But the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible will give you a short summary of a section, have a helpful thought about how it fits into the whole story of the Bible and highlight pointers to Jesus. If I only had money and time for one resource when reading through the Bible it would be this one, followed by a good detailed study Bible.  The study Bible notes of course are NOT inspired, so spend by far MOST of your time in God’s inspired Word and use the study notes as helpful tools (and ALL of them have some areas I’d disagree with, so don’t take my endorsement as an endorsement of every comment / idea).

  3. I haven’t been through every single one, but all the overviews I HAVE gone through have been VERY helpful (though I regularly find something I somewhat disagree with or would have done different). Before each new section of the Bible or each new book of the Bible, I’d try these approximately 10 minute videos: https://bibleproject.com/explore/  You have to scroll down the page to get to the “Old Testament Overviews” and the “New Testament Overviews”. Friends tell me I’d have more disagreement with some of the OTHER videos, but I’ve found these overviews VERY helpful for getting a flavor of the next section in the Bible that I’m about to read through.

    I’ve also been really helped / nourished / encouraged / convicted by the hour-ish overview SERMONS at www.capbap.org   Once there, go to the search bar and type “The Message of ___________” (in place of the blank type in the book of the Bible you’re getting ready to read through.

  4. The Bible will regularly confront you with a radically different perspective than what’s everywhere around you, and that can be shocking / offensive / troubling. A few thoughts: A) You MAY have misunderstood or found one of those sections that has been fulfilled now and mostly serves today as a preparation for the message about Jesus. For instance, we’re NOT to be making blood sacrifices anymore – Jesus is the perfect final sacrifice. A brief look at one of the study Bibles I recommend would help in this case.  B) When (not if) you come across something that’s very counter-cultural, don’t duck and dodge and try to squirm out of what God has said. If 2 Tim 3:16-17 is true (it is!), you’re reading God’s inspired and authoritative Word! Notice how much of 2 Tim 3:16 involve correction / rebuke. That’s ALWAYS painful at first, but Proverbs is FILLED with encouragements of the great value to the person that receives correction humbly and grows.  C) Keep reading. God powerfully uses His Word to reveal Himself and to change people, and at least go all the way through the Book that has most revolutionized world history and see if God does a miracle in your life and understanding by the end.

  5. Maybe do this after your first read through (that takes 2 years on the plan I use), but I’ve been really helped by D.A. Carson’s devotional books that go through the M’Cheyne plan. He has two volumes so far (Vol 1 covers the readings for this year, and Vol 2 covers next year’s readings), and is planning a third I think. Wherever you get books, search for his last name and this title: For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word. He was particularly helpful for me in the book of Job, and also in reading the OT prophets. He has a different end times view than me… It looks to me (and lots of other believers) that Gentile believers are “grafted in” to the promises made to Israel – Rom 11 and that one day Israel will come to see Jesus as their Messiah. Carson sees a different emphasis, but what most clearly comes through is Carson’s love for God (and for Israel) and desire that we see the significant victory that Jesus has ALREADY won (though he consistently cautions about being prepared for the hard things in this life). Summary – he doesn’t PUSH his views where Christians disagree and has gently helped me consider some views more fully. I finish almost all of his devotional readings feeling both encouraged and humbled. And that’s what I encounter all through God’s Word 😊

June 3, 2022

(Deuteronomy 7, Psalm 90; Optional 1 Corinthians 8, Proverbs 26:10-12)

Click the following link to see every day’s through-the-Bible readings and reflections. Once there, you can sign up on my “FREE daily email” page and get daily reminders in your inbox: www.2Tim3v16.wordpress.com

See May 11 for SPECIAL NOTE on format change… 

Deuteronomy 7 – Yahweh’s sovereign choice of Israel should give confidence that He will keep His promise and bring them in to the land, just as He said He would (compare His choice of believers today and connection to bringing them all the way to glory in Rom 8:29-30; Jn 6:39, 44; Heb 12:2; Phil 1:6). All this should guard them from fear of the powerful enemy and give them confidence in GOD (not self confidence) – v 17-24. But they should NOT think that God chose them because they had something in THEM that would lead to His choice. No, this is UNCODITIONAL ELECTION – He chose them because He delighted to set His love on them (compare Deut 7:6-8, Rom 9:10-18, 1 Cor 1:26-31).

I’m increasingly seeing that God regularly both humbles AND encourages His people. In this chapter, they are to be HUMBLED by 1) how prone they are to wander away from the one true God (v 2-5, 25-26).  2) God’s choice of them as His people was NOT because of something in THEM that was better than others, but because of God’s gracious setting of His love on them (v 6-8). They should be ENCOURAGED that God HAS chosen them to belong to Him (v 6-8), that He (the Almighty God) is FOR them and WILL keep all the promises He’s made.

PSALM 90 – Note the title – a prayer of Moses, right around the time of our readings in Deuteronomy. The Psalm is a sober reflection on the fragility of human life in this fallen world (especially poignant as the previous generation that disobeyed God in Num 13-14 has now died off within 40 years). And the eternal power of Almighty God.

Ps 90:12 – One of my most used prayers in a tragedy where life is cut short or someone is very sick and facing the fragility of life, and Ps 90:14 is a wonderful prayer to start the day.

Optional 1 Cor 8 – 1 Cor 8-10 and Rom 14 help us think through issues where God has left room for believers to glorify Him in different ways. 1 Cor 8 teaches it’s important that we EDUCATE our conscience, but also that correct knowledge isn’t nearly the most important thing, but having love that BUILDS UP the body of Christ. When you put these chapters together, you get some helpful questions and principles that help to evaluate what WE should do in these less clear areas of life. Some of the questions we should ask: What’s my motive / goal? How will this impact my testimony / witness? How will this impact my brothers and sisters in Christ? Again, I highly recommend the book Conscience (by Naselli and Crowley) – wonderfully and practically applies Scriptures like this section of 1 Corinthians and Rom 14 (and it’s short enough to actually read 😊).

June 2, 2022

(Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 89; Optional 1 Corinthians 7:32-40, Proverbs 26:6-9)

Click the following link to see every day’s through-the-Bible readings and reflections. Once there, you can sign up on my “FREE daily email” page and get daily reminders in your inbox: www.2Tim3v16.wordpress.com

See May 11 for SPECIAL NOTE on format change… 

Deuteronomy 6 – One of the key chapters in the Bible, one of the most often referenced in the NT, and well worth re-visiting and meditating on regularly…  This is a great chapter on proper fear of God (including both sober warnings for those that don’t and beautiful promises for those that do). This chapter includes 2 of 3 of the Bible responses Jesus used in battling Satan’s temptations. This chapter includes what Jesus repeatedly calls the Greatest Commandment (love God fully and with all of you) and includes the “Shema” (the famous Hebrew prayer that many devoted Jewish people aim to start and end each day – vs 4ff – “Hear, O Israel…”).

Deut 6:1-7 – Notice the multi-generational calling. 1) Each individual that hears this is responsible to first fear / trust / love God themselves (v 6). But we’ll never do this perfectly, so don’t wait for that, but  2) seek to diligently and intentionally pass these truths / commands on to the NEXT generations (v 2, 7).

Deut 6:6-7 – These verses (and Ps 78:1-8) led my wife and I to homeschool our kids for a significant portion of their education. Whatever form of schooling you feel led by God towards, this section is VERY clear that the human family (not first the church family and certainly not the government) is responsible before God to point upcoming generations towards Him.

How does this fit with 1 Cor 7:29-38 (clearly showing benefits of singleness for those that God calls to that)? Paul himself is a great example – it’s strongly implied he used his singleness to focus on PRAYING for the families God put in His life (implied in 2 Cor 11:28 and in his many greetings and close knowledge of families at the end of most of his letters to the churches). And he both commended the physical family and their obedience to Deut 6:6-7 (see 2 Tim 1:5, 3:14-15), AND supplemented / supported the physical family by mentoring some younger guys (1 Tim 1:2, Titus 1:4). What a beautiful progression… Paul meets Timothy and apparently saw both huge potential and likely a gap where Paul could help (see Acts 16:1-3 and note that Timothy’s physical father is NOT mentioned in 2 Tim 1:5). And see the sweetness of (and powerful implications for physical fathers) Phil 2:19-22 and how Paul and Timothy ministered together like a father-son team.

PSALM 89 – From ESV Study Bible summary of this Psalm: [”This psalm is for those who acknowledge the house of David as their legitimate ruler, i.e., for the united kingdom under David and Solomon, and for Judah after the division. (The prophets also instructed the people of the northern kingdom that their hope lay with David’s house, cf. Hos. 3:5; Amos 9:11.) Crises during this period, including the exile to Babylon, would have been suitable occasions to sing this psalm. Christians sing this too, recognizing that, in Jesus, God has kept his promises to David, forcefully displaying his steadfast love and faithfulness. Under no circumstances will God ever “reject” (Ps. 89:38) Jesus; and even though God may be displeased with his people, and chastise them, he will not allow their mission to fail. As this psalm reassured God’s people of old, so it reassures Christians that God’s steadfast love and faithfulness are a solid foundation for the promise to David, even when it feels like God has abandoned that promise.”]

Optional 1 Cor 7:32-40 – See notes above about how beautifully this fits with Deut 6.

June 1, 2022

(Deuteronomy 5, Psalm 88; Optional 1 Corinthians 7:25-35, Proverbs 26:1-5)

Click the following link to see every day’s through-the-Bible readings and reflections. Once there, you can sign up on my “FREE daily email” page and get daily reminders in your inbox: www.2Tim3v16.wordpress.com

See May 11 for SPECIAL NOTE on format change… 

Deuteronomy 5 – Deut 5:3 – In my margin I’ve written an old theological truism: “God has no grandchildren!” Moses (directed by God) is calling THIS generation to a fresh commitment to trusting and obeying Yahweh.

Deut 5:6 – We don’t EARN God’s favor by our obedience. HE initiates the relationship, rescues us from our bondage (in OUR case our bondage to sin), THEN calls us to RESPOND in trusting, loving obedience.

Deut 5:23-28 – The need for a MEDIATOR. Moses was a wonderful POINTER to Jesus here (and see Deut 18:15-16 cf Acts 3:22-23, 7:35-38), but Jesus is the PERFECT fulfillment of the Mediator we need (1 Tim 2:5)! There are religious groups that attempt to insert other mediators along with Jesus, and this distracts / diminishes from the unique worship due to Jesus.

Deut 5:28-29 – A beautiful glimpse into the heart of God! This doesn’t take away from the absolute sovereignty of God over the heart in Deut 29:4, but DOES show a sweet desire of God (on one level) for Israel to have an obedient heart, but did not at THIS time (though He will one day – see Deut 30:6, Exek 36:26-27). God is sovereign AND we are responsible – this is one of those verses that makes my mind whirl and be humbled and drives me back to Deut 29:29!

One more thought here…  Sometimes believers tell me they feel guilty proclaiming their commitment to love and obey God, KNOWING they’re NOT going to even close to perfectly keep that proclaimed desire. But note that God is pleased with their response, even though later He will have Moses remind them that they ARE still “prone to wander” (cf hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and the very sad song in Deut 32). There ARE times when it’s VERY appropriate to proclaim that our deep desire and commitment is to love and obey God! (And we should also humbly remember that we ARE prone to wander and cry out to Him to Him for help – kind of like one of my favorite prayers in Mk 9:24).

PSALM 86-87 – Ps 88 – A cry to God when a believer has been in darkness a long time and FEELS unheard (v 1-2), FEELING rejected and abandoned by God (v 14). This and Psalm 39 are the two darkest. Most Psalms of lament have a turning point where there’s clear hope. But this darkness (v 6, 12, 18 – “darkness” is the last word in Hebrew and permeates this Psalm) has been going on a long time (v 8-9, 15).  Tiny rays of hope…

  1. Calling Yahweh “God of my salvation” (v 1) is a tiny reminder that He has rescued us out of deepest darkness to become our personal salvation.

  2. The whole Psalm IS directed to God, and there’s no threatening to leave for another option, like in Exodus and Numbers where the people kept threatening to get a new leader and go back to Egypt. This is much more like Peter in Jn 6:68 – “to whom shwall we go? YOU have the words of eternal life.”

  3. As Christians, we know that Jesus took the righteous judgment we deserve (and notice the deep DARKNESS that occurred in the middle of the day on the cross), so that believers now have a much clearer revelation that even when we FEEL abandoned, the TRUTH is in Heb 13:5b and Matt 28:20b (He is WITH US).

Optional 1 Cor 7:25-35 – Reasons why God calls some to be single and freed up to additionally focus on His Kingdom advancement in these last days (“undivided devotion to the Lord”). Note that the selfish modern extended “playtime” of many young adults is NOT in view here at all!

Optional Prov 25:21-28  – Prov 26:2 – cf Num 23:19-23, Deut 23:3-6. There’s no “jinxing” God’s people! There’s also a movement among Christians that really saddens me… There are some who are convinced of generational “curses”. They think that your ancestor’s sins can trap you and that you must find out about them, confess them and turn from them. Those who are adopted and don’t know their family background would seem to be stuck here, except that verses like this disprove the idea. And don’t forgot how Jesus took the real curse of God’s righteous judgment and PAID IN FULL and believers are RELEASED (Gal 3:13).

Prov 26:4-5 – One of the best examples of a paradox (a SEEMING contradiction), and one of my favorite illustrations of TWO DITCHES – there IS a time and a way to ANSWER a fool, and there is a time to NOT answer a fool. These verses give guardrails to keep us from going into the ditches.

May 31, 2022

(Deuteronomy 4, Psalm 86-87; Optional 1 Corinthians 7:17-24, Proverbs 25:21-28)

Click the following link to see every day’s through-the-Bible readings and reflections. Once there, you can sign up on my “FREE daily email” page and get daily reminders in your inbox: www.2Tim3v16.wordpress.com

See May 11 for SPECIAL NOTE on format change… 

Deuteronomy 4 – Sometimes we overcomplicate things. This chapter is a simple and necessary reminder of the importance of the basics – listen to and obey God’s Word. VERY CAREFULLY (v 9, 15) guard your heart / soul (NOT “follow your heart”), and carefully shun idolatry. Still needed for God’s people today (see the last verse of 1 Jn).

Deut 4:2 – Pharisees ADDED to God’s Word, and though you might THINK that adding extra rules might help (Col 2:23 – “APPEARANCE of wisdom”), Deut 4:2, Col 2:19, and Mk 7:8-13 make clear that human additions push God to the side in favor of human tradition. Sadducees SUBTRACTED from God’s Word (didn’t believe in the supernatural, etc). Deut 4:2 warns about BOTH ditches (as did Jesus in Matt 16:12). Gal 5:9 warns of the danger of “a LITTLE leaven” of legalism. What we need is God’s Word in totality, as is. Not dodging or choosing to emphasize what we’re most comfortable with.

Deut 4:6-8 – Though these verses specially apply to Israel, these three ways that obeying God’s laws would lead to a flourishing nation have wonderful implications / applications for ANY country that wants to truly flourish. Compare Proverbs 14:34 – “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

PSALM 86-87 – Ps 86:11 – Wonderful prayer before reading / studying / hearing God’s Word!

Ps 87:4 – Helpful comment from John MacArthur Study Bible: [“Rahab and Babylon. Rahab was a monster of ancient pagan mythology and symbolized Egypt in the OT (cf. Ps. 89:10; Is. 30:7; 51:9). Two of the superpowers of the ancient world, fierce enemies of Israel, will one day worship the Lord in Zion (cf. Is. 19:19–25). Philistia … Tyre … Ethiopia. Three more Gentile nations, ancient enemies of Israel, whose descendants will worship the Lord in Jerusalem (cf. Is. 14:28–32; 18:1–7). This multinational worship is pictured as a great joy to the Lord Himself.”]

Optional 1 Cor 7:17-24 – 1 Cor 7:21-22 – By FAR the most important thing about your life is if you belong to the Lord. If so, being a slave to another human doesn’t matter so much. It’s clear that if you can be free that IS some better, but you can’t be free from slavery a Christian IS free where it REALLY matters.

Optional Prov 25:21-28  – v 21-22 – I have a cross written in my margin (to remind me this is referred to in the NT) with “Rom 12:20”.

v 27 – Easy to get too much of a good thing (also see v 16, 17).

V 28 – HUGE importance of self-control.

May 30, 2022

(Deuteronomy 3, Psalm 85; Optional 1 Corinthians 7:1-16, Proverbs 25:15-20)

Click the following link to see every day’s through-the-Bible readings and reflections. Once there, you can sign up on my “FREE daily email” page and get daily reminders in your inbox: www.2Tim3v16.wordpress.com

See May 11 for SPECIAL NOTE on format change… 

Deuteronomy3 – Reviewing the victory God gave over Og (for parallel account, see Num 21:31-35). Details about the strength and size of the enemy and their fortifications (see Deut 3:5, 11) which so caused Israel to fear and disobey God in the LAST generation (see Num 13:27-14:11). But God EASILY overcomes any obstacle. After hundreds of years, the wickedness of His enemies has reached the level of complete judgment AND it’s time to give His people possession of the land He promised them (all hundreds of years before to Abraham in Gen 15:12-16).

Deut 3:21-22 – Joshua really was mightily used by God, but there are strong hints that he might have regularly struggled with fear / feeling inadequate for what God had called him to do. At least there are regular reminders by God for him NOT to be crippled by fear but to trust God and HIS ability to help Joshua complete what God had called him to. (Also see v 28)

Very helpful note from ESV Gospel Transformation Bible: [“There is a pattern repeated throughout Deuteronomy: hope for the future is rooted in the past. What God did to Sihon and Og should encourage Joshua and the covenant people with regard to what God would do to the kingdoms in the land of Canaan (v. 21). The ultimate expression of this pattern is the hope for our future resurrection, rooted in the past resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:20–23).”]

PSALM 85 – Prayer for revival (especially v 4-7).

Optional 1 Cor 7:1-16 – This is a vital chapter to understanding what God says to NT believers about marriage, singleness, divorce, etc. SO counter-cultural and needs to be regularly read and meditated on! VERY clear that the ONLY place God designed for expressing sexuality is between a husband and wife in marriage (and clear that God DOES intend for husbands and wives to regularly encourage each other in the marriage bed). Also see the clarity in Heb 13:4.

Optional Prov 25:15-20  – v 15 – Huge importance of gentle, persuasive, patient TALK.

V 16 – Importance of DISCIPLINE / controlling appetites.

V 20 – Importance of TIMING (this verse shows the opposite of v 11).

May 29, 2022

(Deuteronomy 2, Psalm 83-84; Optional 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, Proverbs 25:11-14)

Click the following link to see every day’s through-the-Bible readings and reflections. Once there, you can sign up on my “FREE daily email” page and get daily reminders in your inbox: www.2Tim3v16.wordpress.com

See May 11 for SPECIAL NOTE on format change… 

Deuteronomy 2 – Deut 2:1-23 – Note the careful LIMITING of Israel to land that God had promised to THEM, along with the clear reminder that He has also given OTHER land to other groups. God chose Israel in a special way, but is sovereign over ALL people and every detail of their lives (see Acts 17:26).

Deut 2:24-37 – Retelling (from Num 21:21ff, but this parallel in Deut has significant new details) the story of how God gave Israel victory over King Sihon. Note that there was an OFFER OF PEACE (v 26), but God had ordained that this was time for judgment on their wickedness (and had prophesied this hundreds of years before to Abraham – see Gen 15:12-16).

Deut 2:24-33 – This is a great paragraph for seeing both the absolute sovereignty of God AND the responsibility of people for our meaningful decisions / actions. So I’ve written “S” by v 24 (“I have given…”), v 25 (“I will…put the dread and fear of you on the peoples”), v 30!, 31, 33 “God gave him over”). And written “R” by v 26 (Israel was to give a real offer of peace and Sihon should have taken it), 32, 33b (“we defeated him”). And we also see the accent Scripture consistently places in this discussion… God is the ULTIMATE, INDEPENDENT Actor, and His people are actively involved, but as DEPENDENT actors. We see all of this summarized in v 33. If you wonder “Since God is absolutely sovereign (as v 30 makes so clear), how can He hold the unrepentant accountable?” Then you read Rom 9:14-24.

PSALM 83-84 – Ps 83 – Sounds bossy towards God at first, but as you keep reading it’s obviously a cry of desperation. It has several “imprecatory prayers,” calling down God’s righteous judgment on the oppressing wicked.

Ps 83:9-12 – Remembering great victories from the past that God has won in judgment over His enemies. Yet another reminder of the need to go through the Bible regularly and know these Bible stories that we can incorporate into our prayer life!

Ps 83:13-18 – This prayer for God to act when the wicked seem unstoppable I find very helpful for believers today. Here’s how this often comes out in my prayer life: “Lord, these folks are doing awful things and I ask you to stop them. I know that you can terrify them so that they come to worship You, Father, and I ask that You do that (see Acts 9). But if they WON’T turn, would You show Your power and Your righteous judgment and stop the awful damage they’re doing.”

Ps 84:10 – Note the title of this Psalm – “sons of Korah”. They WERE indeed “doorkeeper” (1 Chron 9:19) as well as worship leaders (2 Chron 20:19). And they were these things because the first generation of “sons of Korah” listened to the warning in Num 16:26 to get away from the tents of the wicked (who weren’t happy with “just” being doorkeepers for God – see Num 16:8-10). Those that didn’t heed the warning of coming judgment got destroyed (Num 16:27-33), but the sons of Korah DID heed the warning and lived (Num 26:11). And understood the sweet honor and privilege of getting to serve the King of kings and His people!

Optional 1 Cor 6:12-20 – v 12, 19-20 have been so helpful in growing in the Lord and making decisions as to what should be and shouldn’t be in my life. Don’t flirt with sin!

May 28, 2022

(Deuteronomy 1, Psalm 81-82; Optional 1 Corinthians 6:1-11, Proverbs 25:6-10)

Click the following link to see every day’s through-the-Bible readings and reflections. Once there, you can sign up on my “FREE daily email” page and get daily reminders in your inbox: www.2Tim3v16.wordpress.com

See May 11 for SPECIAL NOTE on format change… 

Deuteronomy 1 – Deuteronomy means “second law”. It’s a re-telling and summary of where God has taken Israel over the past 40 years, the decision of the previous generation to disobey God and NOT enter the promised land when God commanded, leading to the 40 years in the wilderness (that’s what most of Numbers was about). Now they’re again on the verge of the Promised Land (where the previous generation was in Num 13-14), and Deuteronomy is Moses spending his last days and weeks (see Num 31:1-2) prepping the next generation to NOT be like their fathers and this time TRUST AND OBEY God.  

Deut 1:9-18 – See parallel in Ex 18:8-27. Principles found here are reflected in so much of American government and judicial system. And wise leadership everywhere. Vs 16-18 are a wonderful charge to anyone in leadership or part of seeking biblical justice, and would also make wonderful prayer requests for those that are.

Deut 1:20-21 – I’m always tracing the theme that God is absolutely sovereign over all things (so I’ve written “S” by v 20) AND that humans are responsible for our decisions and actions (so I’ve written “R” by v 21). We so BOTH throughout Scripture, often right next to each other like here.

Deut 1:37 – MOST of this section is parallel with Israel’s disobedience in Num 13-14, but THIS verse is Moses making a passing reference to his OWN dishonoring of God in Num 20:10-13 (interesting inspired commentary on that story in Ps 106:32-33).

Deut 1:41 – This initially SOUNDS like confession of sin and repentance, but it’s really just more rebellion (see Deut 1:43 and Num 14:39-46). We sometimes are so grieved at the consequences of our sin that we think “One more time of doing things my way will set things right again.” NEVER! The consequences of sin ARE painful, but they get MORE so the deeper into disobedience we go. By God’s grace, trust and obey Him TODAY (even if it’s harder now because of sinful consequences).

Deut 1:43-45 – Beware saying simply: “Prayer works”! Compare Ps 66:18 – “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.”

PSALM 81-82 – Ps 81 has so much overlap with the opening of Deuteronomy! They’re both a review of how God has wonderfully worked among His people and how prone His people are to wander. Which is shown to be sinful, sad and stupid. And we see the sweetness of what CAN be true in vs 13-16!

Ps 81:11-12 – The world prizes following your heart, but God presents this as part of His terrifying judgment! Compare Rom 1:24, 26, 28 and Ps 78:29-31.

Ps 82 – Commentators disagree on who the “gods” are in this chapter (it can also be translated “mighty ones”). These are either angels who have disobeyed and become demons or earthly leaders who SHOULD have used their God-given authority for JUSTICE (compare Rom 13:1-6 and note all the overlap with Deut 1:16-17).

Optional 1 Cor 6:1-11 – Let the simplicity and clarity of vs 1, 7 strike us and be obeyed!

1 Cor 6:9-11 – God saves people from ANY kind of sinful background, but that sin is NO LONGER your identity! “Such WERE some of you…” Even though Christians still struggle with sin (and too often fall and repent and by God’s grace get back to obeying), the sin defines who we USED to be before being “washed…sanctified…justified”!

May 27, 2022

(Numbers 36, Psalm 80; Optional 1 Corinthians 5, Proverbs 25:1-5)

Click the following link to see every day’s through-the-Bible readings and reflections. Once there, you can sign up on my “FREE daily email” page and get daily reminders in your inbox: www.2Tim3v16.wordpress.com

See May 11 for SPECIAL NOTE on format change… 

NUMBERS 36 – God inspired that the daughters of Zelophehad appear yet again to close out this book (see also Num 27). A few notes… 1) They’re ALMOST in the Promised Land and reflecting on possible inheritance problems. They’re trusting that God WILL keep His promises and the land will soon be theirs.  2) Vs 6 – These ladies were to marry whom they chose (very counter-cultural to those who believe men make all the decisions), but within certain parameters (similar to Christians today – see 1 Cor 7:39, 2 Cor 6:14).  3) The obedience of these ladies to all that the Lord commanded (Num 36:10) is a model to all believers and a refreshing oasis in the midst of lots of rebellion and sin.

Next is Deuteronomy! Wonderful 8-minute video overview of Deuteronomy (and really a bit on the whole Pentateuch – first 5 books): https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/deuteronomy/

If you can make the time (and I’d really encourage you do even if a few days from now), here’s about an hour-ish sermon overview of Deuteronomy (filled with some great applications). This link brings you to a page where you can either listen or download the sermon audio:  https://www.capitolhillbaptist.org/sermon/whats-past-is-prologue-the-message-of-deuteronomy/

PSALM 80 – This is after some very sad event in the life of Israel. The Psalm starts calling out to God as the Shepherd of His people, and we’re reminded that our Shepherd leads us into (and one day through) some very dark valleys.

Ps 80:3, 7, 19 – The repeating prayer chorus of this Psalm.

Ps 80:8-18 – Helpful summary from ESV Gospel Transformation Bible: [“God was faithful to redeem his people in the past by transplanting them as a tender shoot from Egypt to the Promised Land (Ps. 80:8–11). Changing metaphors, Asaph assures that the Father will restore vitality to his favored “son” in the future (vv. 14–18). While Israel is the immediate referent, the Son of Man eventually fulfilled all righteousness for God’s people (Matt. 2:15).”]

Ps 80:17-18 – Note that OUR proper response is completely DEPENDENT on God’s sovereign grace and HIS decisive action. Our decisions and actions really do matter, but when we get something right, God gets the ultimate credit and glory!

Optional 1 Cor 5 – Vital for reminding the church on the huge importance of church discipline, but NOT being surprised that lost people are defined by sin. But we ARE to call those that call themselves believers to repentance and if they refuse to repent, we’re to take obey God’s clear direction.

Optional Prov 25:1-5 – So relevant to the news that many areas not prosecuting crime, and calling it mercy or restorative justice. But these verses are clear that there IS real authority vested by God in the government, and that part of BIBLICAL justice is careful investigation and proper prosecution so that wickedness is punished.

May 26, 2022

(Numbers 35, Psalm 79; Optional 1 Corinthians 4:7-21, Proverbs 24:28-34)

Click the following link to see every day’s through-the-Bible readings and reflections. Once there, you can sign up on my “FREE daily email” page and get daily reminders in your inbox: www.2Tim3v16.wordpress.com

See May 11 for SPECIAL NOTE on format change… 

NUMBERS 35 – Among the 48 towns scattered through Israel that were allotted to the Levites (which would put experts in God’s law sprinkled through the land to instruct the people and point them to the Lord and His way) were to be 6 “cities of refuge.” If someone killed someone unintentionally (manslaughter), they could flee to one of these towns and find shelter until there could be an investigation and trial.

Num 35:25-28 – Even if it was unintentional, the death of one of God’s image bearers is so important that it demanded significant life change and restricted freedom for the person who committed manslaughter. If they took this lightly, they could be executed (v 26-27). Notice that there was only full freedom once the high priest died (v 28). What a powerful pointer to Jesus, the high priest of all who trust Him, who purchased our full freedom with His own death.

PSALM 79 – Written after the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC. The original Asaph (see Psalm title) was during King David’s time (about hundreds of years before), so this is likely written by someone from a worship choir named in his honor. He knows they deserve punishment, but is calling out for mercy in the midst of the judgment (v 8, 11). And wisely cries out to God based on God’s own glory and reputation (v 6, 9-10, 12). No matter what God chooses to do, note the unswerving commitment to thanking and praising Him (v 13).