April 12 – Daily Notes – Amanda

touching the stove

Today’s Luke, Psalm, and Proverbs reading all have a similar theme. There is wise instruction, which would offer protection, but the hearer refuses to listen. In the Prodigal Son parable, the young man squanders his inheritance and leaves his father’s home. In the psalm, the Israelites are finally allowed to feel the consequences of their wayward ways, and the proverb reminds us that when we are wise we listen to the faithful instruction of those who love us. Seems like God might be trying to tell some of us something…

Joshua 5:1-7:15:

  • 1 – Clearly other nations had heard of the power of the God of Israel. Though they worshipped other gods, they knew of the wonders God had performed.
  • 10-12 – A powerful illustration that God provides for us in different ways, but he always provides.
  • 15 – The parallels between Joshua and Moses continue. When God called Moses from the burning bush, he also told Moses to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground.
  • 1-25 – Joshua toppling the walls of Jericho is a fairly familiar story, but often we don’t know why or when it happened. Now we see that Jericho was part of the Promised Land that Israel was to take it over.
  • 25 – Phrases like, “to this day” in Scripture remind us that the stories of the Bible were told by actual people about actual events. This culture had an oral tradition meaning they passed down their history and faith through telling stories to one another. These stories were repeated again and again. Clearly, when the book of Joshua was written down, Rahab was still living under Israelite protection.

Luke 15:1-32:

  • The three parables in this section all have to do with God’s willingness to pursue anyone who is sinning and straying. It also describes the joy that occurs when anyone repents from their sins and chooses to follow Christ.
  • 12 – This is the younger son basically telling his father he wishes he was dead because inheritances were not normally distributed until the father was dead.
  • 15-16 – This would have been detestable to the Jews listening to Jesus because Jews viewed pigs as unclean animals.
  • 22 – The ring the story speaks of is a family ring designating that the son is fully embraced back into the family.
  • 11-32 – This familiar parable, often called, “The Prodigal Son,” is easy to relate to. A wayward child sins and then returns and is welcomed back by a gracious, loving father. The older, faithful brother is angry because the younger son’s shortcomings are seemingly being celebrated simply because he’s returned home. It is easy for us to relate to the father or the younger son. It is hard for us to relate to the older son, though most likely, that’s the role that many of us play.

Psalm 81:1-16:

  • 12 – It is explained that God finally gave the Israelites what they wanted. They didn’t want to obey God’s commands, but they didn’t think about how that meant God could no longer protect them. This is like when a parent finally allows their disobedient child to experience the consequences of their actions.

Proverbs 13:1:

  • This Proverb relates perfectly to the parable of the Prodigal Son as well as the Psalm. Both the father to the son and God to the Israelites gave wise counsel on how to live. They had the choice to listen or to choose their own way. When we choose our own way, we suffer the consequences.

What to Expect – Week 15

leave-it-to-beaver

What stories do/will you tell your kids? Are they stories about how your grandpa used to always take you to the same river to fish on weekends? Or how you got your first crush? Or how your mom used to celebrate your birthday with a special dessert? Without fail, we pass down memories to our kids, but we’re not always intentional about which memories we pass down. In this week’s Joshua reading (hooray! A new book!), God instructs the Israelites to build a monument so generations of their offspring will see it and ask why it’s there.

This is the week when Moses dies and Joshua officially takes over. Though Moses’ death was certainly sad because he had been the leader of the Israelites for decades, his death was necessary for them to move into the Promised Land. The monument the tribes of Israel built commemorated God’s faithfulness in bringing them out of Egypt, through the desert, and into the Promised Land.

This week in Luke, we read a great deal of Jesus’ teachings. Some to pay particular attention to are found in Wednesday’s readings. These three parables teach us the lengths to which God will go to welcome a sinner into his fold. Maybe you need to hear this personally or maybe you know someone who does. Take a second or two and send it if there’s someone who needs to hear that hopeful message today.

Also, this week’s Psalms can teach us a lot about faithfulness and what happens when we’re not. The Israelites rebelled against God over and over expecting him to keep his end of the bargain when they refused to. As it turns out, when we don’t hold up our end of the deal, we have to face the consequences on our own.

This week will lead you right up to Easter! I’d encourage you to read the story of Jesus’ sacrifice in addition to your daily readings to be prepared for the greatness of the resurrection.

April 7 – Daily Notes – Amanda

miyagi

Whether you’re teaching someone to paint the fence or run the nation of Israel, mentoring is beneficial. In fact, mentoring is crucial to the continued success of civilization. One generation passes down knowledge, skill and experience to the next. In today’s Deuteronomy reading, we see Moses pass the torch to a young, faithful, military leader, Joshua.

Deuteronomy 31:1-32:27:

  • 1-6 – Moses hands the reigns over to Joshua and reminds he and the Israelites that God goes with them and won’t forsake them so they have no reason to fear.
  • 16-18 – As Moses is about to die, this must have been hard information to hear about the people he loves and has led for so long.
  • 23 – Joshua was qualified to take over for Moses because he was a great military leader, when the 12 spies went to check out the Promised Land, only he and Caleb trusted that God would protect them against the larger inhabitants of the land, and he was called and appointed by God.
  • 1-27 – Though all of Deuteronomy is a type of farewell speech from Moses, this section is his song regarding the unfaithfulness of the Israelites during his tenure. At the end he says that if it were up to him he would have destroyed them.

Luke 12:8-34:

  • 10 – Though this is a confusing verse, one explanation is that if one were to reject Jesus while he was on earth, the Holy Spirit was still to be unleashed at Pentecost and could still reveal the identity of Christ to that person. If however, you were to reject the Holy Spirit, there were no other persons of the Trinity to be sent.
  • 13-31 – Jesus is not denouncing savings, clothing, or food and drink. He is, however, denouncing seeking these things first and not God. We often fall into the trap of providing for ourselves at the expense of building ourselves up spiritually first.

Psalm 78:32-55:

  • This Psalm recounts the Israelites’ tendencies to half-heartedly return to God when they faced consequences for their unfaithfulness. We often question God’s punishments but fail to recognize the unfaithfulness of humanity. We also often point the finger at biblical characters like the Israelites and the disciples who perpetually fail God and fail to see that we do the same thing.

Proverbs 12:21-23:

  • 22 – When we do the things God calls us to (i.e. serve the poor, love our neighbor, honor our parents, etc.) he is delighted in us. This is how we please God.

January 9 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 20:1-22:24:

  • 1-18 – Once again, Abraham almost gets someone in trouble by telling them Sarah is his sister. God intervenes and protects Abraham, Sarah, and Abimelech. Though Abimelech may have lived in a land that did not fear God prior to this episode, now he is willing to make accommodations and offer blessings to God’s prophet, Abraham.
  • 1-7 – What is impossible for man is still possible for God. This story reminds us that God’s promises are true. They may not happen right when we expect or want, but God will be true to his promises.
  • 15-21 – Though Ishmael was not the son through which the covenant would be fulfilled, he was still Abraham’s child and God provided for him.
  • 1 – “Here I am” is the response given by many biblical characters when called specifically by God: Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, etc. This is a sign of willingness and openness to God’s call.
  • 2-12 – God tested Abraham’s faithfulness. Clearly Abraham saw everything he had as a blessing from God and would give anything that God asked for. He even, in verse 8, explains that he trusted God to provide.
  • 13-14 – In many stories in Scripture characters name locations after the way God showed up in that place. This place was called “Jehoveh-Jireh” or “The Lord Provides” because God did not actually require Abraham to sacrifice his son. He provided the sacrifice for him.

Matthew 7:15-29:

  • 15-20 – This is a good tip on how you can recognize if someone is for good and for God or not. Are they bearing the fruit that God provides: love, joy, peace, etc.?
  • 24-27 – We are capable of all kinds of great things, but if our foundation is not built on God, it’s all for naught.
  • 28-29 – This specifically contrasts the scribes’ authority with the authority of Christ meaning that the scribes were not leading through God.

Psalm 9:1-12:

  • 9-10 – Confirmation that when we seek God, he will be faithful to meet us. He does not hide from or forsake us.

Proverbs 2:16-22:

  • 20-22 – We often try to ignore the consequences of our actions assuming they won’t catch up to us. These verses remind us that there are consequences for wicked actions. It is not because of cruelty from God that we are cut off. It is because of our own wickedness.