March 20 – Daily Notes – Amanda

pursuit

In today’s psalm, David sounds like a man who would not let anything stand in the way of his pursuit of God. He hungered and thirsted for God. This relentless pursuit leaves me feeling both convicted, “I don’t think I have that kind of passion.” and inspired, “I want to pursue God with that kind of fire.” What about you?

Numbers 30:1-31:54:

  • Killing the women and male children seems extremely harsh, but the Israelites were always tempted to mix with other nations when they weren’t completely wiped out. Moses reminds them of their indiscretions in Peor caused by their unwillingness to follow God’s commands completely.

Luke 4:1-30:

  • During Jesus’ temptation he is physically weak but is filled with the Holy Spirit. This can teach us a lot about what we truly need.
  • Both Jesus and the devil use Scripture. Jesus uses it to remain faithful to God. The devil twists it to try to cause Jesus to sin.
  • 18-19 – Jesus establishes his purpose throughout his ministry.
  • 24-30 – Jesus’ words are offensive to those in the synagogue because he is suggesting that they will not be healed. They try to kill him but clearly his purpose wouldn’t be fulfilled through that death so he is able to escape from them.

Psalm 63:1-11:

  • The fervor with which David seeks and longs for God is both convicting and inspiring.

March 1 – Daily Notes – Amanda

oprah

The Year of Jubilee sounds a little like the Oprah when she gave everyone in her audience cars. People get to return home. Debts are forgiven. You don’t have to work in the field. It sounds great! God created it for rest, restoration, and hope, and you can see where it would offer just that.

Leviticus 24:1-25:46:

  • 10-16 – If the blasphemer had been fully Egyptian or from any other nation, he would not have been held to the same standard but because he was an Israelite, he was subject to their law.
  • 8-9 – The number 7 in the Bible represents completion.
  • 13-17 – The year of jubilee resulted in restoration of the way things should be, joy, and rest.
  • Israelites were intended to care for one another, not profit off of one another.

Mark 10:13-31:

  • 15 – How do you think a child would receive the kingdom of God?
  • 17-22 – Though this young man is often seen in a negative light, note that Jesus looks on him and loves him. The young man simply had his priorities out of order. He loved his things more than he wanted to follow Jesus.
  • 29-30 – What we sacrifice for God, he repays 100x.
  • 31 – Much of Jesus’ ministry was combatting cultural norms and flipping them upside down.

Psalm 44:9-26:

  • 17 – Are we still faithful when we feel separated and/or forgotten by God?

Leprosy, Blood, and Semen (!)

Leviticus 13-16 seems obsessed with how leprosy, blood, and semen make people ceremonially unclean.  To modern readers, all the details about what to do if you happen to touch blood, or be menstruating, or have an emission of semen, etc., seem crazy.  But to the Israelites, this was actually helpful information.

pablo-4

 

Leviticus 15:31 explains why.  The Lord tells Moses:

“Thus you shall keep the people of Israel separate from their uncleanness, lest they die in their uncleanness by wdefiling my tabernacle that is in their midst.”

It was a matter of life and death that the Israelites not enter the presence of God in an unclean state, so the purity laws in Leviticus are meant to help the Israelites know when they are unclean, and to know how to become clean again.  Note that “clean” and “unclean” are not moral categories–good people would become ritually unclean all the time.

When Jesus came along, he explained (see today’s reading in Mark 7:1-23–great timing!) that though the ancient people thought that external circumstances could make a person unclean, in fact it is what comes out of a person’s heart-internal circumstances–that make a person unclean.  So, we no longer concern ourselves with ritual uncleanness, because Jesus’s death (the ultimate sacrifice) makes all who trust in him clean before God.

–AF

February 22 – Daily Notes – Amanda

bald

I find verse 40 in today’s Leviticus reading really funny. Can’t you see all the middle-aged Israelite men running up to Moses wondering what ritual cleansing they needed to undergo in order to stop their plight? “No, it’s cool man, you’re just going bald. Nothing to worry about.”

Leviticus 13:1-59:

  • Interesting that the priests even had power over medical conditions.
  • 40 – You laughed at this one, right?
  • 48 – The warp is the longitudinal thread in a woven fabric and the woof is the latitudinal thread.

Mark 6:1-29::

  • 1-6 – Instead of astonished and amazed at Jesus’ words and deeds, his hometown became angry because he was only a carpenter’s son from a small town.
  • 10-11 – It was customary to welcome travelers into your home.
  • 12-13 – The disciples watch Jesus for a while and then he invites them to be a part of his ministry.

February 12 – Daily Notes – Amanda

dog-licking-window

Moses spends 40 days in the presence of God, fasting the entire time. Jesus, too, completed a 40 day fast. Fasting is a fairly foreign concept to us American consumers. It’s not just about powering through the time and not eating. We are supposed to allow our desire for food, or whatever we’ve given up, to remind us of our need for God. As much as we want food, we want God more.

Exodus 34:1-35:9:

  • 10 – God makes another covenant with Israel.
  • God was very explicit not to leave any remnants of other gods in their land so they weren’t tempted to worship them.
  • 26 – We are called to give to God off the top. Give to him first before we buy or pay for other things.
  • 28 – Jesus also did a 40 day fast.
  • 30-35 – It is believed that Moses’ face shone from the glory of the Lord.

Matthew 27:15-31:

  • 15-23 – It must have been so hurtful to Jesus that the crowds asked for a criminal to be released instead of him.
  • Crucifixion was already a humiliating punishment, but the soldiers saw to it that Jesus was even more humiliated than normal.

Psalm 33:12-22:

  • 16-17 – Just like today, people of ancient Israel put their hope in everything but the Lord.

Proverbs 9:1-6:

  • Wisdom is something we can all gain if willing.

February 6 – Daily Notes – Amanda

baby bonding.jpg

We require clear instructions. Otherwise, we tend to find ways to mess up. Though they may seem tedious, God gives the Israelites very specific instructions on how to construct the Tabernacle. This was basically a portable temple, or place of worship, that they could pack up and move whenever they needed to wander to a new location in the desert.

Exodus 23:14-25:40:

  • 15 – Feast of Unleavened Bread is Passover
  • 1-7 – These were special offerings requested so the Israelites could build a tabernacle for God.
  • 8-9 – The Tabernacle was God’s mobile house. The Israelites couldn’t build a temple yet because they were still nomadic.
  • 9-40 – Like with Noah, when building his ark, God gives Moses very specific construction instructions.

Matthew 24:29-51:

  • 34 – This tends to be problematic for people because clearly all the people in that generation have since died. Some people interpret it to mean that the Jews will still be in existence until the second coming. Others believe that fulfillment simply requires the beginning of the age and not the full second coming. Of course, no one knows for sure.
  • 40-42 – verses like these are where ideas for things like the “Left Behind” series come from
  • 44 – Jesus’ warning is for those of us who know the truths of Jesus. He warns us not to neglect those truths but be faithful even as we wait and don’t know how long we’ll be waiting.

Psalm 30:1-12:

  • 5 – Encouragement that trouble is always temporary
  • 11-12 – Beautiful imagery of God’s restoration through our trials. What if we all were so aware of God’s part in our getting through difficult times?

January 26 – Daily Notes – Amanda

i-am

In today’s reading, Moses asks for God’s name. He responds, “I AM WHO I AM”. To ears in our culture, this may sound like a sarcastic or defensive response. Instead, God is sharing his eternal nature and the consistency of his character. I am who I was. I am who I am. I am who I will always be. Let God’s response be a comfort to you.

Exodus 2:11-3:22:

  • 11-15 – Moses acted out in anger and though he thought he got away with it, people saw. Though he had grown up in Pharaoh’s house, he was still a Hebrew who had now killed an Egyptian.
  • 23-25 – God heard the Israelites’ cries and acted accordingly. This gives us hope that God hears our cries for help as well.
  • 1 – Jethro and Reuel are the same person.
  • 2 – One of the many ways God goes beyond the laws that confine us.
  • 4 – One of the many characters who answers God’s call with, “Here I am.” This is a statement of readiness and openness.
  • 9-12 – It is pretty incredible that Moses, when the God of the universe makes a request of him, gives a simple excuse of not having authority. Clearly God is his authority.
  • 14 – “I AM WHO I AM” has great meaning. Mainly it means that God is the same God he was yesterday, is today, and will be forever. There is no other word that can define him fully.
  • 19-20 – It’s not that God wanted to send down plagues on the Egyptians, but he knew it would be necessary in order to get Pharaoh to cooperate.

Matthew 17:10-27:

  • 12 – John the Baptist was seen as the second coming of Elijah, but he too was rejected.
  • 14-21 – Once again, the disciples’ faith fails to be effective. Jesus, however, is able to step into the gap the disciples’ faith leaves and heals the boy. This is similar to when Peter’s faith is not strong enough for him to walk on the water. Jesus fills the gap.
  • 24-27 – Jews struggled with Roman taxation. Jesus instructs Peter to pay the tax, but shows God’s ultimate power and sovereignty by providing the payment in a fish’s mouth.

Psalm 22:1-18:

  • 1 – Jesus quotes this verse when on the cross and about to die.
  • 8 – This too is reminiscent of the Roman soldiers mocking Jesus that he should be able to take himself down from the cross.
  • 16-18 – Though written by David centuries before Jesus walked the earth, this psalm lists several events of Jesus’ crucifixion – here: pierced hands and feet and casting lots for his clothing.

Proverbs 5:7-14:

  • This is the continuation of yesterday’s urges to avoid temptation. This portion explains the aftermath of when temptation is not avoided.