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.

January 23 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 46:1-47:31:

  • 2 – Once again, a servant of God hears his voice and responds, “Here I am.” It should be an aspirational goal that we begin to respond to God’s callings with “Here I am.”
  • 26-27 – Now all of Jacob’s family moved to Egypt where Joseph was in control.
  • 9 – This is an interesting admission. Though Jacob clearly served God in a variety of ways and was blessed abundantly. Jacob should not be viewed as a moral role model, but an example of God using flawed people for his grand purposes.
  • 23-26 – Because of Joseph’s shrewdness, the Egyptian government is able to sustain all the people through the famine and gain all the land. He then implements a 20% tax to ensure the Pharaoh will have enough grain forever.
  • 27 – This is how the Israelites ended up in Egypt, which eventually put them in slavery. Check out the full explanation here.

Matthew 15:1-28:

  • 1-9 – Once again, The Pharisees are tied to the law to justify themselves. They continually seek out ways to questions Jesus’ actions, but Jesus rarely answers to them. Like now, he calls them out for their own sins. Here Jesus recognizes the Pharisees denying their elderly parents’ financial support in order to gain wealth while saying their giving to God.
  • 10-11 – A common theme throughout the New Testament is that good trees bear good fruit. Jesus uses this again to explain that you can tell the heart of a person based on what comes out of them.
  • 21-28 – This is a difficult passage. The unnamed woman is a gentile and Jesus originally denies her request claiming that his mission is strictly for the Jews. It is interesting that he says this while withdrawing from the Jews to a city filled with gentiles. It is possibly he was simply testing her faith because he doesn’t send her away like the disciples encourage him to do. Ultimately, her persistence and faith are rewarded.

Psalms 19:1-14:

  • 7-11 – David delights in God’s commandments and the laws that govern him. The law is perverted by religious authorities, particularly in Jesus’ time, to allow them to withhold love, mercy, and goodness. When we delight in and see the goodness in the law, we don’t have that tendency.

Proverbs 4:14-19:

  • 14-15 – We often allow ourselves to get too close to temptation assuming we are strong enough to withstand it. The proverb wisely encourages us to avoid it altogether.

January 18 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 37:1-38:30:

  • 3 – Joseph was also the firstborn of his beloved wife Rachel.
  • 4-11 – Joseph was, to some extent, set up for failure, but he also did not help himself by sharing a dream that indicated that he would rule over his brothers.
  • 13 – The response, “Here I am” runs throughout the Bible. It is a response of willingness and honor.
  • 18-24 – Reuben, the oldest brother keeps the other brothers from killing Joseph out of envy and anger. They throw him into a cistern, a deep pit meant to collect rain water, which was important in such an arid climate.
  • 28 – Through a long series of events we will soon read about, Joseph is taken to Egypt, where all the Israelites eventually end up enslaved. It is amazing how the brothers’ sin ends up in the enslavement of the whole nation.
  • 1-30 – This is a series of Judah and his family being sinful and facing the consequences. Two of his sons were killed for not doing right in the sight of the Lord. He was unfair to Tamar and she ends up pregnant by tricking him. Overall, it sounds very dysfunctional.

Matthew 12:22-45:

  • 22-28 – Jesus makes a good point of how he couldn’t possibly cast out demons by the power of a demon. This would clearly not work. But if the Pharisees admit that Jesus works by the power of God, they have to acknowledge his connection to God and ultimately that he has the same authority as God.
  • 31-32 – This is a difficult section, but the best explanation I’ve heard is: many people denied that Jesus was the Son of God when Jesus was alive. They, however, had another chance to be forgiven when the Holy Spirit was sent after Jesus died. Those who continued to denounce Jesus and the Holy Spirit once the Holy Spirit came, had no other option for revelation and would not get another chance to believe.
  • 35 – This is why we can’t expect to ingest all the evil things of this world and still produce good fruit. We will produce what we consume.
  • 38-41 – Even the Ninevites, who were considered extremely wicked, repented when Jonah brought a message of repentance. The people of Jesus’ day had a far greater witness in Christ than Jonah and yet they still didn’t believe.

Psalm 16:1-11:

  • 1 – David knew what it was to be protected or to take refuge in the Lord. This requires a great deal of vulnerability and trust.
  • 5 – David also realized that God was his provision. We often try to provide for ourselves.

Proverbs 3:27-32:

  • This is a variety of ways to live in harmony with those around you and to treat them with kindness and dignity. We are called to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

January 14 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 30:1-31:16:

  • 1-6 – This is one of many examples in Scripture of barrenness driving people to desperate acts. Not all desperate acts were sinful. Hannah was driven to prayer and dedicating her child to God’s service. Offspring, particularly male, were a woman’s greatest value so you can understand why people would become so desperate.
  • 14-15 – Mandrakes were a fruit that was, and still are today, used for help in child-bearing. Clearly Rachel was hoping these would do the trick, but they didn’t.
  • 22 – God “remembering” Rachel means that he heard and answered her prayers. He did not necessarily forget her, but that’s what it felt like to Rachel.
  • 33-39 – Neither Laban or Jacob were being 100% on the up and up. Both were skewing the situation in their own favor.
  • 11- “Here I am!” is a common response when called by God or one of his angels. It is a response of willingness and alertness.

Matthew 10:1-25:

  • 1 – Jesus had modeled for his disciples what could be done and then he sent them out to replicate his ministry. This is the ideal discipleship model.
  • 5-6 – Jesus’ ministry was initially to the people of Israel. Many of them rejected him so his message was opened up to gentiles as well.
  • 7-15 – The gospel is a message offered to us, but never forced upon us. Jesus instructs the disciples to offer the good news to the townspeople, but the people themselves had to choose to accept it or not.
  • 19-20 – Encouragement for all of us to evangelize without fear.

Psalm 12:1-8:

  • 6 – The silver purification process is very intense. The metal is heated until it becomes a liquid so that impurities can rise to the top and be scraped off. This happens over and over. Just think what could happen if we allowed our words to be scrutinized to such a degree.

Proverbs 3:13-15:

  • Many of us who went through youth group in the 90s will recognize this verse as having been made into a worship song.

Cut it some slack, it’s been around a while.

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.