April 25 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Celine dion

In today’s Judges reading, we see a song from Deborah and Barak praising God for their success and blessings. What if, every time we received a major blessing from the Lord, we wrote and sang a praise song for him? That would be such a cool testimony that people could know for generations. Think about it next time God blesses you in a major way.

Judges 4:1-5:31:

  • 4 – Deborah was the only recorded female judge.
  • 8-10 – Barak would not go without Deborah. Whether it was God or Deborah he did not trust, his lack of trust resulted in not him, but a woman, receiving the glory of a war victory.
  • 1-31 – It was common for people who experienced the greatness and favor of God to write and sing a song praising him for his blessings. In the Old Testament a few are: Moses, Deborah and Barak, Hannah, and in the New Testament we see Mary and Zechariah.

Luke 23:35-53:

  • 41-42 – We often don’t know how to pray when we’re not sure of God’s will. This is a great example of how to pray. God wants to know your heart, but ultimately wants us to submit to his will.
  • 44-46 – Clearly the disciples did not understand the magnitude of the situation or the agony through which Jesus was going.
  • 52-53 – Jesus calls the chief priests out explaining that they obviously didn’t view him as a dangerous criminal because they had had many other easier opportunities to arrest him.

Psalm 94:1-23:

  • 6-11 – Those who seek to disprove God often attempt to outsmart him or disprove him by our own standards and understanding. The Psalmist makes it clear that the one who formed the eye can see as much and more than we see.

April 24 – Daily Notes – Amanda

handshake

Covenants are a big deal throughout Scripture. They are promises made between God and the people where both sides have a part to play. Today, we read about the covenant God makes with humanity through Christ and his blood. We are a part of that covenant. Our part is to accept the free gift of grace offered to us and God’s part is to offer us salvation.

Judges 2:10-3:31:

  • 10 – It was the job of the older generations to teach the younger generations the goodness of God. There are several times in Scripture where monuments are built or parents are instructed to teach their children the Scriptures. Clearly this generation had failed to do so.
  • 11-16 – God instructed the Israelite to drive everyone out of the Promised Land when they moved in because intermixing would tempt them to worship other gods. The Israelites did not completely obey and God was right.
  • 18-19 – The Israelites didn’t have any sort of all-encompassing leader or king. Instead, God raised up judges to try to help guide them.
  • 7-11 – Sometimes we struggle to understand why God would allow bad things to happen to the Israelites, but this makes it clear the Israelites served another king for 8 years and worshipped his gods. But when the Israelites cried out to God, he raised up a leader and returned to them.
  • 15-30 – An interesting story where it’s hard not to get distracted by the details. A couple of key points: 1) Ehud being left-handed allowed him to conceal his sword. Guards would have checked the left thigh for weapons. 2) When Israelites worshipped and honored God, he protected them and gave others over into their hands.

Luke 22:14-34:

  • 20 – There were several covenants between God and the Israelites in the Old Testament. This is the first found in the New Testament and is through the blood of Christ and is offered to everyone, not just the Israelites.
  • 28-30 – For the first time Jesus offers his disciples a position in eternity.
  • 31-34 – Peter is the most zealous disciple. He is committed to following Jesus anywhere, but Jesus knows that he even he has limits and weaknesses and he too will deny Jesus.

Psalm 92:1-93:5:

  • 1-3 – It is crucial for us to give God thanks and praise for all the good things he has done and for how good he is. He deserves it and it reminds us of where our blessings derive.

April 23 – Daily Notes – Amanda

dv1395027

Note the significance of Jesus, the lamb of God, shedding his blood for the people on Passover in relation to what happened on the first Passover.

Judges 1:1-2:9:

  • Judges, for many generations, were the leaders of Israelites. It was not normally an authoritarian leader, but one who relayed God’s plans for the people and helped guide them in following God’s commands. They often led the Israelites into battles as well.
  • 2 – Judah is the appointed leader after Joshua’s death.
  • 6-7 – Based on the information in verse 7, Adoni-Bezek had his fingers and toes cut off because he had performed the same punishment on many other kings.
  • 21-36 – The Israelites had been clearly instructed to remove the current inhabitants from their land, but many of the tribes allowed Canaanites to remain in their land. God wanted the Canaanites out of the promised land because they would influence the Israelites to form allegiances with other gods.
  • 1-5 – God remains faithful in his part of the covenant, but the Israelites fail to do their part so though God will not forsake them, he will also not be able to protect them from the influences of the Canaanites.
  • 6-9 – Joshua doesn’t die twice, it’s just two accounts of the same event.

Luke 21:29-22:13:

  • 3-6 – Though Jesus knew it had to happen, it still must have been extremely hurtful to Jesus that one of his chosen, closest friends and followers not only betrayed him, but sought out an opportunity to betray him.
  • 7-13 – It is quite symbolic that Jesus is killed at the Passover. During the original Passover, the Israelites’ first born were saved by the blood of a lamb that was wiped on the doorframe. Christ’s blood, through his death, also saved all of us who choose to be covered by it.

Psalm 90:1-91:16:

  • 1-7 – God can protect us from so many of our hardships and struggles. When we choose to abide in his shelter, we don’t have to worry about the consequences of sin, because we’re not choosing to sin. This is not to be mistaken as saying, when we abide in God nothing bad will ever happen to us.

Proverbs 13:24-25:

  • This proverb encourages boundaries and discipline for children to assure they know and follow the Lord throughout their lives.

April 22 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Joshua 24:1-33:

  • 1-14 – Joshua recounts a series of God’s faithfulness to them from the beginning of his covenant with Israel to their present day. He then asks them to follow him faithfully because of this faithfulness.
  • 15 – A powerful line in the sand type of verse. Joshua can’t force the Israelites to respond to God’s faithfulness with faithfulness of their own, but he makes a pledge for himself and his family to do so.
  • 19-28 – Joshua was hesitant to believe and accept the devotion of the Israelites because he had seen their unfaithfulness in the past and knew they still had idols in their possessions. The Israelites insist that they are committed.
  • 31 – The sign of a good leader – all the Israelites followed God while Joshua led them.

Luke 21:1-28:

  • 1-4 – God does not care about the amount we give but about our faithfulness in trusting him enough to give.
  • 14-15 – We know this to be true because he continually is able to confound the religious authorities when they attempt to stump him with impossible questions.
  • 20-24 – Just a few decades after Jesus’ death, the Romans destroy Jerusalem and persecute the Christians. Jesus is foretelling this and letting people know that it truly will be terrible.

Psalm 89:38-52:

  • 46 – In this instance, the psalmist is referring to being exiled when he says the Lord is hiding his face from him.

Proverbs 13:20-23:

  • 22 – There are many verses in the proverbs about the wisdom of preparing and working hard. Leaving an inheritance for your children requires both of these things.

April 21 – Daily Notes – Amanda

brett favre

In today’s Luke reading, Jesus talks about David’s relationship to and knowledge of the Messiah in a similar way that we have celebrity endorsements. It gives validity to choosing All Spice, Oil of Olay or Ford for us. For the Jews, associating something with King David gave it automatic clout.

Joshua 22:21-23:16:

  • 21-29 – The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh were on the opposite side of the Jordan from the rest of the tribes. They feared that this physical barrier would eventually cause the other tribes to disown them. The altar they built was not intended to compete with the true altar, but as a reminder that they too worshipped God.
  • 12-13 – God’s desire was to separate the Israelites from other people groups because he knew if they intermingled, the other groups would turn the Israelites to other gods. His desire was to protect them. If they chose not to follow his directions, he could not protect them from the consequences he lists.

Luke 20:27-47:

  • 27-40 – Once again, Jesus goes beyond the Mosaic Law. He doesn’t discount it, but moves beyond it. Where the Sadducees, who were known for putting a very heavy emphasis on the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible), were focused on the details of the law, Jesus shifts to what it will be like during the resurrection. At the time, the issue they brought up will no longer be an issue.
  • 41-44 – David was a highly respected legend to the Jews of Jesus’ time. Here, because of their admiration for David, he makes it clear that even David submitted to the authority of the Messiah.

Psalm 89:14-37:

  • This Psalm reminds its readers of the covenant made with David that his line would be on the throne of Israel for all generations. This Psalm is most likely written for the Israelites while in exile. They were most likely questioning the validity of God’s promise.

Proverbs 13:17-19:

  • 19 – This reminds us that it can quickly become apparent what kind of company you keep depending on whether or not they consider your attempts to turn away from evil an abomination or not.

April 20 – Daily Notes – Amanda

makes no sense

Some things just don’t make sense…to us. In today’s reading in Joshua we read a verse that we could read over quickly and never think about it again. It says, “And the Lord gave them rest on every side.” The context, however, is that they had just taken over lands from other nations and normally this would have caused an uprising somewhere. The other context, though, is that God promised them peace, which trumps everything. God makes crooked paths straight.

Joshua 21:1-22:20:

  • 1-3 – The Levites, which were the priests, were given no inheritance by God, but they were instructed to take what was given to God as theirs. The Israelites pony up cities and pasturelands to fulfill this stipulation.
  • 44 – Nations were at war over borders, property, and power constantly. It is very unusual that Israel would have taken land from a number of nations and then had a time of complete peace.
  • 45 – We can trust that the promises God makes us are true. He does not fail.
  • 1-6 – Joshua commends these tribes for obeying God’s commands well and clearly the tribes are blessed because of it. God’s requests of us are simple, but it is up to us to choose to follow or not.
  • 16 – The sin they’re referring to building an altar that would compete with the one God commanded. God had designated where he wanted to receive offerings and this was not it. Though the Israelites may have built it with good intentions, they did not seek God in their decision.

Luke 20:1-26:

  • 1-8 – Jesus frequently answers a question with a question to avoid falling into the traps of religious leaders.
  • 9-18 – This parable represents God sending multiple prophets to try and bring the Israelites back to God, but each was rejected. Finally God sends his Son, Jesus, and he is not only rejected but killed.
  • 21-26 – Jesus shows that Caesar’s image was on the coin so it’s fine to give Caesar the coin, but God’s image is on each of us so we are to give ourselves fully to him.

Psalm 89:1-13:

  • 3-4 – David’s throne through all generations was fulfilled when Jesus, from the line of David, filled the throne forever.

Proverbs 13:15-16:

  • 16 – This is reminiscent of the saying, “If someone tells you they’re crazy, believe them.”

April 19 – Daily Notes – Amanda

palm sunday

Today we read Luke’s account of Palm Sunday known as The Triumphal Entry. Jesus has been preparing for this day for a large portion of his earthly ministry. On this day, he said “yes” not only to entering into Jerusalem, but also to arrest, betrayal, beatings, and a humiliating death. Here’s a sermon that goes deeper into this concept.

Joshua 19:1-20:9:

  • This passage explains the boundaries and contents of the land each tribe received as an inheritance. The map mentioned in chapter 15 is a helpful visual.

Luke 19:28-48:

  • 28-35 – After 10 chapters of heading towards Jerusalem, Jesus finally enters the city. He rode an unridden colt to fulfill Scripture.
  • 36-38 – During this scene, which we celebrate on Palm Sunday, Jesus’ followers are showing him many signs of praise and honor.
  • 39-40 – Jesus answers the Pharisees explaining that someone was going to praise him and reveal his identity whether it be his disciples or even if rocks had to do it.
  • 41-44 – Jesus is foretelling when the Romans would destroy Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
  • 46 – Merchants were selling animals to be used for sacrifices. Jesus did not like that people were seeking to profit off others’ sins.

Psalm 88:1-18:

  • Most Psalms, even when lamenting, crying out to God, or feeling forsaken, end with praise, adoration, and a reminder that God is still good and in control. This is one of the few that does not.

Proverbs 13:12-14:

  • 13-14 – These verses explain the benefit of God’s word and wisdom. God does not simply want us to grow in these things as busy work, but because they are life-giving and necessary.

April 18 – Daily Notes – Amanda

scared kitten

What are you afraid of? Once again, even though they’d already gotten in trouble and punished for it…not to mention that God had assured them there was no reason to be afraid, the Israelites are afraid of people inhabiting the land God promised them. Though are definitely scary things in life, please don’t ever be afraid of whether or not God will be faithful to his promises to you.

Joshua 16:1-18:28:

  • 10 – The Canaanites were descendants of Noah’s son Ham who was sent away after he dishonored his father.
  • 3-4 – In Numbers 26:33 and 27:1-11, Zelphehad’s daughters initiate an agreement so that they too can receive inheritance since their father had no brothers. This is that agreement being enacted.
  • 14-18 – Yet again, the Israelites are fearful of the people who already possessed the land. God gave them authority to oust all the inhabitants, but the tribe of Joseph is afraid of the Canaanites because of their fancy chariots.
  • 1-6 – The tribe representatives took account of what there was in the various territories of land still left to be distributed. Though casting lots is normally considered a bad thing, Joshua casts lots before the Lord to distribute the remaining land to the remaining tribes. Presumably, because it was done “before the Lord”, it’s an acceptable practice.

Luke 19:1-27:

  • 1-10 – Tax collectors were hated figures because they collected taxes required by the Roman government (already disliked) and added considerable charges on top of the taxes for their own profit. It felt like betrayal to the Jews for Jesus to befriend a tax collector. Note that an encounter with Jesus was all it took for Zacchaeus to change his ways and repent double and even fourfold.
  • 11-27 – There is a lot going in this parable. A few key things to note are 1) The parable parallels the coming of the kingdom. Because the king goes away for a while, this explains that Jesus will be gone for a time and the kingdom of God will not be immediate on earth. 2) The nobleman represents Jesus. 3) All followers of Jesus are given callings/commissions and some day we will have to answer for what we did in those realms.

Psalm 87:1-7:

  • 2 – Zion is the hill that Jerusalem was built on.

Proverbs 13:11:

  • Most often, wealth gained little by little takes time and effort to grow. This inevitably grows the wealthy person’s appreciation for it.

April 17 – Daily Notes – Amanda

money happiness

Have you ever heard someone say, “money can’t buy happiness” and then someone responds, “but it can buy me a lot of stuff that makes me happy”? It’s a fair point…kind of. And honestly the story of the rich young ruler in Luke isn’t really about money. It’s about where God ranks in the things we love. As we cling desperately to God, everything else should be held with a loose grip.

Joshua 15:1-63:

  • This is somewhat difficult to understand because we’re not familiar with the landscape of ancient Israel. Check out the Joshua 15 map to give you a better idea of where all these landmarks are and what land belonged to what tribe. YOTB - joshua_twelve_tribes - Joshua 15
  • Though this passage may have seemed a little dry, it is a reminder of what excellent records the Israelites kept of their history, inheritance, possessions, and families.

Luke 18:18-43:

  • 18-25 – The deepest issue is not that of wealth, but of how wealth tends to have control over us. The rich young ruler loved God but loved his stuff more and was sad to have to let it go. When we allow our wealth to take hold of us, it is impossible to serve God first.
  • 27 – We sometimes interpret this to mean that because of God, we are able to do anything, but we forget that is actually God’s power and strength at work. He can do all things.
  • 28-30 – An encouragement to all those who have sacrificed for the gospel.
  • 31 – The journey to Jerusalem first mentioned in chapter 9 is still in progress.
  • 42-43 – Like the blind man, when we act in faith, God works, and others are drawn to God through his work. Acting in faith brings great results.

Psalm 86:1-17:

  • 11-12 – This is a lovely image of God teaching us his ways for our benefit so that we might in return follow those ways. God doesn’t give us unreasonable requests, he gives us what we need to do what he asks us to do.

Proverbs 3:9-10:

  • 9 – A reminder that evil does not win out. It can be frustrating when evil seems to get the upper hand, but in the end, Jesus wins.

April 16 – Daily Notes – Amanda

judge judy

Do you ever wonder if God answers prayers? In today’s Luke reading there is a parable that reminds us that God does hear us. Don’t make the make mistake of equating God with the judge. But if even the unrighteous judge hears persistent requests, how much more will God?

Joshua 13:1-14:15:

  • 13 – It is unclear why the Geshurites and Maacathites were allowed to stay on Israel’s land while all others are driven out. It could be that they didn’t pose a threat of causing the Israelites to be unfaithful to God.
  • 8-12 – Caleb and Joshua were the only two who trusted the Lord to give them the land like he promised even though it looked impossible. Because Caleb “wholly followed the Lord” he was blessed with an inheritance and good health.
  • 12 – The Anakim were legendary people and are believed to have been giants.

Luke 18:1-17:

  • 1-8 – As is explained in verse 1, this parable encourages the hearers to pray and not lose heart, but it should not be mistaken that the judge represents God. The judge is meant to be an unrighteous man, but the comparison is made that if even he can be persuaded to do the right thing with persistence, how much more will God hear our prayers?
  • 9-14 – This is a warning against self-righteousness, which is an easy trap for those of us who do our best to faithfully follow Christ. It is far easier to see ourselves as the justified tax collector than the Pharisee.

Psalm 85:1-13:

  • Based on the first 3 verses, this is most likely written about the beginning of the Israelites’ return from exile. They can begin to see God’s goodness being restored to them, but they have still have not fully returned to the prosperity they once knew. They’re still asking if God is angry, but they’re aware of his faithfulness.

Proverbs 13:7-8:

  • This is similar to a comparison made in Proverbs 12:9. Because of the honor/shame society the Israelites lived in, they would much rather be seen as honorable or as having wealth, whether it was true or not, so they would not receive shame.