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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
God gave the Israelites 613 laws – both do’s and dont’s. Here’s a brief explanation of why they’re there, which ones we’re supposed to follow, and a little tax code…just kidding…no tax code. Just making sure you’re paying attention.
Some of the laws Moses is sharing with the Israelites in today’s Deuteronomy reading may sound repetitive…because they are. We’ve heard them in Leviticus when he originally gave them the law. And while it may seem redundant, I know I sometimes have to hear things more than once to get it right. How about you?
- Not being allowed to enter the assembly of God is the focus of the first part of the reading. There are two explanations of what this might refer to. Some people say the phrase means that those are the people who are not allowed to marry, but more likely, this is describing the people who are not allowed to participate in Israel’s cultural practices such as military and legal affairs.
- 1-4 – This should not be read as encouragement to divorce. In the New Testament Jesus explains that Moses gave instructions for divorce because the Israelites’ hearts were hard. In other words, they were doing it anyway so Moses gave them parameters. These are Moses’ parameters.
- 16 – Certain parts of Scripture explain that sins are passed down through generations and/or certain consequences (like not being a part of the assembly of God) can be passed down. This, however, prohibits a father being killed for his son’s sins and vice versa.
- 19-22 – The Israelites are continually reminded to provide for travelers, orphans, and widows because they were once in a position where they could not provide for themselves.
- 7-10 – One of the few times in Scripture where a woman disrespects a man. And it’s funny that the man’s house is now called “the house of him who had his sandal pulled off” (though it wasn’t funny at the time).
- 13-16 – Weights were used for buying and selling agricultural products. Some people would try to cheat by using an unfair weight and causing others to pay too much for what they received.
- 13-15 – Tyre and Sidon were gentile cities while Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum were all Jewish cities who had seen miracles and heard Jesus’ preaching. The Jewish cities, despite their exposure to Jesus refused to repent. Jesus uses these gentile cities, who the Israelites looked down upon because they were not God’s chosen people, to show the unrepentant cities that his message trumped their heritage and self-righteousness.
- 25-37 – This is the parable of the Good Samaritan. Samaritans were despised by the Jews. In our context it might read that a pastor, and a prominent church member passed by the injured man, but a drug dealer took care of him.
- 12 – We often want the wealth and success of someone who gained it illegitimately because it seemed easy, but we should find joy in the fruit born by righteous efforts.
As has been a continual theme throughout the first 5 books of the Bible, known as the Torah, God asks the Israelites to go to any and every length to avoid temptations that would draw them towards other gods. We think some of them sound extreme, but we could probably stand to cut a few things out of our lives that tempt us away from God.
- 1-3 – We often wonder if God puts us through tests. Though our theology would lean towards “no”, this is an example of the Israelites’ faith being tested through false prophets.
- 6-11 – The Israelites were instructed to go to any length to not be led away from God. We could probably cut certain things out of our lives in order to avoid being tempted by other gods.
- The rules Moses is telling the Israelites are not new ones. He is reiterating ones that were given in Leviticus.
- 28-29 – Their tithe was used to take care of those who could not take care of themselves.
- 1 – The 7th year was known as the Jubilee when all debts were forgiven and possessions were returned to their rightful owner.
- 6 – It was important for the Israelites not to borrow from anyone else so that no one else could boast that they had contributed to Israel’s wealth or prosperity. God alone was the giver of their blessings.
- 13 – This continual reminder should keep Israel from ever having pride in their own accomplishments but in God’s alone.
- 48 – Here Jesus attributes the woman’s healing to her own faith. Sometimes he would attribute the miracle to the person and sometimes to God. What makes this difference?
- Jesus tells Jairus and his wife not to tell of the miracle he performed but he did not tell the bleeding woman not to tell anyone.
- 20-21 – Often we feel alone and desperate when we are at our lowest, but this reminds us that God raises up again in time.
Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”, Marc Antony’s speech beginning “Friends, Romans, Countrymen”, and now you’ll know Moses’ Deuteronomy. This is Moses’ most important speech. It is also his farewell speech. Check it out:
There’s a lot to look forward to this week! Finishing Leviticus and starting Numbers, getting into some of Marks parables, and some beautiful psalms that are relatable and noteworthy, and, of course, more wisdom and folly.
There are still a few significant laws to read through in Leviticus, but don’t be deterred! Think of God’s law like bumpers on a bowling lane. The laws keep you in the area that’s good for you and benefits the overall goal. For instance, this week, there’s a law teaching a certain way to reap your harvest. It may seem irrelevant to us, or could be construed as bossy or restrictive, but it actually was designed as an ancient way of feeding the poor. You just got bumped back in the lane.
In Mark, this week, we get to start delving into parables – Jesus’ somewhat cryptic stories that, when understood, help explain the nature and kingdom of God. We also continue through a number of miracle stories. One, in particular, depicts the disciples not being able to heal because of their lack of faith. Jesus steps in and completes the healing. Isn’t it comforting that in this story, as well as others like Peter walking on the water, when our faith falls short, Jesus steps in and fills the gap? I wonder what faith gaps of mine he’s filling?
Finally, be encouraged! After this week, we will have completed 4 books of the Bible. That may sound small considering there are 66 total, but a lot of them are very short and you’ve already learned a huge chunk of the history of how we got where we are today. You’re doing great!!
Now that we’re a week into Mark, you’ve probably noticed that some stories are repeated in multiple gospels while others are only in one. The reason something is or isn’t included in a gospel is based on whether the writer felt it was significant in explaining to people the identity and importance of Jesus.
- 9 – What it meant to be “cut off from your people” is uncertain. Some thoughts are that it entailed the death penalty, or a curse to die young and childless, or to be excommunicated from your people.
- 4-5 – The reason we should follow God’s laws is simple – because he is the Lord our God.
- 26-30 – The Syrophenician woman was a gentile. While Jesus’ statement sounds harsh, Jesus makes it very clear he came first for the Jews. Note that he still heals the woman’s daughter.
- Both Matthew and Mark record two large feeding stories, one of 4,000 and one of 5,000, which makes it more likely that it was not simply one event they were trying to emphasize.
- 4 – Was David’s sin not considering the poor? This makes sense considering the first few verses.
We’ve posted this one before, but come on, we could all understand holiness a little better, couldn’t we? In fact, understanding holiness keeps us safe, keeps us within God’s will, and keeps us clean. That’s all good news!
This is a wineskin. When new wine was placed in a wineskin, it would continue to ferment and create gases. These gases, in an old wineskin, which had already been stretched to its limit, would rupture it. Like new wine in an old wineskin, Jesus’ mission and ministry could not be contained by the constraints of the old law. The parameters needed to be adjusted.
- Even unintentional sins were taken seriously and punished.
- Atonement for unintentional sins or unintentional uncleanness is significant because holiness and sin cannot come into contact. The atonement for these sins was simply to protect the sinner.
- 17 – Jesus came for sinners and the broken.
- 21-22 – New cloth and wineskins represent the new law through Jesus. The old law has been fulfilled through Christ.
- 23-28 – The religious leaders were concerned with the law and Jesus was more concerned with the intention behind the law.
- 1-6 – Key verses for hope for healing
- 5-6 – The expanse of God is hard to fathom.
- Plus, enjoy another classic youth group worship song. It’s based on this Psalm.
Vs. 2 – Intriguing considering our cultural priorities
We all know the old song, “I fought the law and the law won.” And it’s true, both in ancient times and today, we fight the law, but we shouldn’t! Of course, it’s the wrong thing to do, but even more than that, the law is for our good, so we should want to follow it!