First off, HAPPY EASTER!!! I hope you feel the love of Jesus throughout your day!
This week we have a number of noteworthy verses, passages, and events to read. For starters, in Joshua, there is a really powerful verse that we should all claim for our families. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Joshua has done everything possible to lead the Israelites towards faithfulness and yet they are easily tempted by the presumed glamour of other nations’ gods. So he draws a line in the sand and tells them all to choose who they’ll serve. But he doesn’t have to choose, because he already has.
And this week in Luke we begin reading his account of Holy Week, beginning with the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. As you read through Jesus’ last week of life (it will extend into next week’s reading) remember all that we just remembered and celebrated. I don’t want to spoil anything for next week, so I’ll just leave it at that.
We also get to see a cool way that Scripture all ties together. In Friday’s psalm, the psalmist reminds us of the covenant God made with David and how God promised that David’s line would be on the throne forever. As was affirmed in Matthew and Luke, Jesus’ line runs directly from David. When Jesus dies and resurrects, which we know he’s about to do, he becomes the everlasting king. David’s line truly does remain on the throne forever.
Throughout the gospels, being prepared for the coming of Christ is likened to “staying awake”. How do you think we become prepared for Christ’s arrival? The most obvious way is to live faithfully. Today’s reading reminds us that “staying awake” is an ongoing process.
- 32 – Sodom and Gomorrah were two towns in Genesis that God destroyed because of their egregious sins. They are often referred to when someone is trying to describe the worst of the worst.
- 28-43 – Moses’ song challenges those who have sought or relied on other gods. He assures the Israelites that Yahweh is the only God worth serving and that he will reign alone in the end.
- 50-52 – God commands Moses to see but not experience the land he had promised them. Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because he was unfaithful when bringing water forth from the rock.
- 35-38 – Remaining awake alludes to believing in Christ and remaining faithful over time.
- 41-48 – Jesus knew he would soon be killed and would not be with his disciples or other followers anymore. His instructions were to continue to do what Jesus had taught them to do while he was present. He also describes the consequences if they were not faithful in this.
- 51-53 – The division Jesus brings is whether or not you will follow him. Some would choose to follow him while others would choose to stay in their old ways. This would cause division.
- The psalmist explains the rebellious actions that caused the Israelites to be exiled and how God allowed it to happen. He vacated his presence with them and he removed his glory so that the Israelites’ enemies would be victorious.
Today’s Psalm reminds us to look to our past to gain hope for our future. This may seem odd to those of us with troubled pasts, but we’re not looking for our own successes or failures, we’re looking for God’s faithfulness. When we see God’s faithfulness in our past, it reminds us that he will be faithful again and again.
- 1-19 – Moses clearly explains to the Israelites what is required of them and what the outcomes of both decisions will be. They can choose obedience and blessings or disobedience and curses.
- 20-68 – All of these verses describe the breadth of curses the Israelites will receive if they choose not to follow the Lord’s commands. Every aspect of their lives will be slowly destroyed.
- 17-23 – The people who accused Jesus of casting out demons by the devil’s power were simply trying to come up with any reason to explain away his abilities. Jesus explains how this can’t possibly be the case because why would Satan send some one who was constantly opposing his work. Jesus also requires that if these people call into question Jesus’ means of exorcism, they would need to call into question Jewish exorcists’ means as well.
- 27-28 – Jesus consistently redirects people to his main point. He’s not arguing that his mother should not be blessed, but instead redirecting this woman and the crowd to what he came to earth to teach.
- 29-30 – Jonah’s message to Nineveh was to repent or be destroyed. Jesus’ message was basically the same for the Israelites.
- This Psalm is a reminder to those who feel lost or forgotten by God to look back on his faithfulness in the past to give them hope that he is near and still faithful.
- 19-20 – God’s faithfulness to the Israelites in the desert seems to be the event later Israelites looked to the most as a sign of God’s faithfulness.
- Think about how true this has been in your own life. Careless words can be so hurtful and wise words so healing. This can be a reminder to us to choose wise words for others.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 17 – Are we still faithful when we feel separated and/or forgotten by God?