Today’s psalm is beautiful. If you’ve ever felt abandoned, unwanted, unworthy, or unloved, read this psalm. God so intricately knit you together. Allow yourself to be amazed by the care God took to make you. He took that same care to make each of us. You are loved. You were made on purpose. You are wanted and known by the one true God.
- 1-6 – Haggai is given the message to rebuild the temple. He was a contemporary of Zerubbabel, who we read about in Ezra. Haggai supported Zerubbabel as he led the effort to rebuild the temple.
- 1-9 – Haggai is called to spur on Zerubbabel and Joshua to rebuild the temple even though they weren’t familiar with the glory of the first one.
- 12-19 – Though confusing to interpret, this passage seems to make it clear that though impurity is easily spread, purity is not. God is displeased that the Israelites have returned and built their own houses and begun to farm but have not focused on his house. He reminds them that he controls what they have no matter how much effort they put in.
- 23 – Zerubbabel is in the line of David. The signet ring would be a sign that God had placed his favor on him and would be the sign that David’s line had, as God said it would, returned to the throne.
- 1-14 – The two witnesses were witnesses for God. The people of the earth end up killing them and then a large portion of the city and its inhabitants are killed. Those who remain see what happened and repent and give glory to God.
- 15-19 – This seems like it could be the ending. God’s kingdom officially comes to earth with the blowing of the 7th trumpet. Wrath is poured out on the evil people and joy and celebration is amongst the faithful.
- In one of the most beautiful and poetic psalms, David recounts all the ways God’s knowledge of humanity and him specifically are vast and complete. He recognizes that God was there as he was formed and God knows every bit of his innermost being.
- 15-16 – These verses explore the depth of greed out there. No one is specifically identified as possessing these qualities, but the qualities are made clear.
I have posted today’s proverb on my husband’s mirror. I feel it’s just a good reminder.
1 Chronicles 7:1-8:40:
- Many of the tribes, after naming their genealogies, describe their men as “mighty warriors”. Israelite men over the age of 20 were expected to fight in wars. Still to this day, all Israeli men, now at the age of 18, are required to spend 4 years in the army. Women are now required to serve 2 years.
- 27 – This is the Joshua who was mentored by Moses.
- 9 – Ancient Jews timed their sailing seasons around the various festivals because of the weather that accompanied those times of years. Sailing after the Fast, which was the Day of Atonement, which was around September, was treacherous.
- 3-9 – Clearly David is confident that he is on God’s side and obeying God’s will in the situation he’s referring to. He even asks God to judge him according to his own righteousness, which I don’t feel like any of us would be willing to do.
Note the significance of Jesus, the lamb of God, shedding his blood for the people on Passover in relation to what happened on the first Passover.
- Judges, for many generations, were the leaders of Israelites. It was not normally an authoritarian leader, but one who relayed God’s plans for the people and helped guide them in following God’s commands. They often led the Israelites into battles as well.
- 2 – Judah is the appointed leader after Joshua’s death.
- 6-7 – Based on the information in verse 7, Adoni-Bezek had his fingers and toes cut off because he had performed the same punishment on many other kings.
- 21-36 – The Israelites had been clearly instructed to remove the current inhabitants from their land, but many of the tribes allowed Canaanites to remain in their land. God wanted the Canaanites out of the promised land because they would influence the Israelites to form allegiances with other gods.
- 1-5 – God remains faithful in his part of the covenant, but the Israelites fail to do their part so though God will not forsake them, he will also not be able to protect them from the influences of the Canaanites.
- 6-9 – Joshua doesn’t die twice, it’s just two accounts of the same event.
- 3-6 – Though Jesus knew it had to happen, it still must have been extremely hurtful to Jesus that one of his chosen, closest friends and followers not only betrayed him, but sought out an opportunity to betray him.
- 7-13 – It is quite symbolic that Jesus is killed at the Passover. During the original Passover, the Israelites’ first born were saved by the blood of a lamb that was wiped on the doorframe. Christ’s blood, through his death, also saved all of us who choose to be covered by it.
- 1-7 – God can protect us from so many of our hardships and struggles. When we choose to abide in his shelter, we don’t have to worry about the consequences of sin, because we’re not choosing to sin. This is not to be mistaken as saying, when we abide in God nothing bad will ever happen to us.
- This proverb encourages boundaries and discipline for children to assure they know and follow the Lord throughout their lives.
Some things just don’t make sense…to us. In today’s reading in Joshua we read a verse that we could read over quickly and never think about it again. It says, “And the Lord gave them rest on every side.” The context, however, is that they had just taken over lands from other nations and normally this would have caused an uprising somewhere. The other context, though, is that God promised them peace, which trumps everything. God makes crooked paths straight.
- 1-3 – The Levites, which were the priests, were given no inheritance by God, but they were instructed to take what was given to God as theirs. The Israelites pony up cities and pasturelands to fulfill this stipulation.
- 44 – Nations were at war over borders, property, and power constantly. It is very unusual that Israel would have taken land from a number of nations and then had a time of complete peace.
- 45 – We can trust that the promises God makes us are true. He does not fail.
- 1-6 – Joshua commends these tribes for obeying God’s commands well and clearly the tribes are blessed because of it. God’s requests of us are simple, but it is up to us to choose to follow or not.
- 16 – The sin they’re referring to building an altar that would compete with the one God commanded. God had designated where he wanted to receive offerings and this was not it. Though the Israelites may have built it with good intentions, they did not seek God in their decision.
- 1-8 – Jesus frequently answers a question with a question to avoid falling into the traps of religious leaders.
- 9-18 – This parable represents God sending multiple prophets to try and bring the Israelites back to God, but each was rejected. Finally God sends his Son, Jesus, and he is not only rejected but killed.
- 21-26 – Jesus shows that Caesar’s image was on the coin so it’s fine to give Caesar the coin, but God’s image is on each of us so we are to give ourselves fully to him.
- 3-4 – David’s throne through all generations was fulfilled when Jesus, from the line of David, filled the throne forever.
- 16 – This is reminiscent of the saying, “If someone tells you they’re crazy, believe them.”
Today we read Luke’s account of Palm Sunday known as The Triumphal Entry. Jesus has been preparing for this day for a large portion of his earthly ministry. On this day, he said “yes” not only to entering into Jerusalem, but also to arrest, betrayal, beatings, and a humiliating death. Here’s a sermon that goes deeper into this concept.
- This passage explains the boundaries and contents of the land each tribe received as an inheritance. The map mentioned in chapter 15 is a helpful visual.
- 28-35 – After 10 chapters of heading towards Jerusalem, Jesus finally enters the city. He rode an unridden colt to fulfill Scripture.
- 36-38 – During this scene, which we celebrate on Palm Sunday, Jesus’ followers are showing him many signs of praise and honor.
- 39-40 – Jesus answers the Pharisees explaining that someone was going to praise him and reveal his identity whether it be his disciples or even if rocks had to do it.
- 41-44 – Jesus is foretelling when the Romans would destroy Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
- 46 – Merchants were selling animals to be used for sacrifices. Jesus did not like that people were seeking to profit off others’ sins.
- Most Psalms, even when lamenting, crying out to God, or feeling forsaken, end with praise, adoration, and a reminder that God is still good and in control. This is one of the few that does not.
- 13-14 – These verses explain the benefit of God’s word and wisdom. God does not simply want us to grow in these things as busy work, but because they are life-giving and necessary.
What are you afraid of? Once again, even though they’d already gotten in trouble and punished for it…not to mention that God had assured them there was no reason to be afraid, the Israelites are afraid of people inhabiting the land God promised them. Though are definitely scary things in life, please don’t ever be afraid of whether or not God will be faithful to his promises to you.
- 10 – The Canaanites were descendants of Noah’s son Ham who was sent away after he dishonored his father.
- 3-4 – In Numbers 26:33 and 27:1-11, Zelphehad’s daughters initiate an agreement so that they too can receive inheritance since their father had no brothers. This is that agreement being enacted.
- 14-18 – Yet again, the Israelites are fearful of the people who already possessed the land. God gave them authority to oust all the inhabitants, but the tribe of Joseph is afraid of the Canaanites because of their fancy chariots.
- 1-6 – The tribe representatives took account of what there was in the various territories of land still left to be distributed. Though casting lots is normally considered a bad thing, Joshua casts lots before the Lord to distribute the remaining land to the remaining tribes. Presumably, because it was done “before the Lord”, it’s an acceptable practice.
- 1-10 – Tax collectors were hated figures because they collected taxes required by the Roman government (already disliked) and added considerable charges on top of the taxes for their own profit. It felt like betrayal to the Jews for Jesus to befriend a tax collector. Note that an encounter with Jesus was all it took for Zacchaeus to change his ways and repent double and even fourfold.
- 11-27 – There is a lot going in this parable. A few key things to note are 1) The parable parallels the coming of the kingdom. Because the king goes away for a while, this explains that Jesus will be gone for a time and the kingdom of God will not be immediate on earth. 2) The nobleman represents Jesus. 3) All followers of Jesus are given callings/commissions and some day we will have to answer for what we did in those realms.
- 2 – Zion is the hill that Jerusalem was built on.
- Most often, wealth gained little by little takes time and effort to grow. This inevitably grows the wealthy person’s appreciation for it.
Have you ever heard someone say, “money can’t buy happiness” and then someone responds, “but it can buy me a lot of stuff that makes me happy”? It’s a fair point…kind of. And honestly the story of the rich young ruler in Luke isn’t really about money. It’s about where God ranks in the things we love. As we cling desperately to God, everything else should be held with a loose grip.
- This is somewhat difficult to understand because we’re not familiar with the landscape of ancient Israel. Check out the Joshua 15 map to give you a better idea of where all these landmarks are and what land belonged to what tribe.
- Though this passage may have seemed a little dry, it is a reminder of what excellent records the Israelites kept of their history, inheritance, possessions, and families.
- 18-25 – The deepest issue is not that of wealth, but of how wealth tends to have control over us. The rich young ruler loved God but loved his stuff more and was sad to have to let it go. When we allow our wealth to take hold of us, it is impossible to serve God first.
- 27 – We sometimes interpret this to mean that because of God, we are able to do anything, but we forget that is actually God’s power and strength at work. He can do all things.
- 28-30 – An encouragement to all those who have sacrificed for the gospel.
- 31 – The journey to Jerusalem first mentioned in chapter 9 is still in progress.
- 42-43 – Like the blind man, when we act in faith, God works, and others are drawn to God through his work. Acting in faith brings great results.
- 11-12 – This is a lovely image of God teaching us his ways for our benefit so that we might in return follow those ways. God doesn’t give us unreasonable requests, he gives us what we need to do what he asks us to do.
- 9 – A reminder that evil does not win out. It can be frustrating when evil seems to get the upper hand, but in the end, Jesus wins.
Do you ever wonder if God answers prayers? In today’s Luke reading there is a parable that reminds us that God does hear us. Don’t make the make mistake of equating God with the judge. But if even the unrighteous judge hears persistent requests, how much more will God?
- 13 – It is unclear why the Geshurites and Maacathites were allowed to stay on Israel’s land while all others are driven out. It could be that they didn’t pose a threat of causing the Israelites to be unfaithful to God.
- 8-12 – Caleb and Joshua were the only two who trusted the Lord to give them the land like he promised even though it looked impossible. Because Caleb “wholly followed the Lord” he was blessed with an inheritance and good health.
- 12 – The Anakim were legendary people and are believed to have been giants.
- 1-8 – As is explained in verse 1, this parable encourages the hearers to pray and not lose heart, but it should not be mistaken that the judge represents God. The judge is meant to be an unrighteous man, but the comparison is made that if even he can be persuaded to do the right thing with persistence, how much more will God hear our prayers?
- 9-14 – This is a warning against self-righteousness, which is an easy trap for those of us who do our best to faithfully follow Christ. It is far easier to see ourselves as the justified tax collector than the Pharisee.
- Based on the first 3 verses, this is most likely written about the beginning of the Israelites’ return from exile. They can begin to see God’s goodness being restored to them, but they have still have not fully returned to the prosperity they once knew. They’re still asking if God is angry, but they’re aware of his faithfulness.
- This is similar to a comparison made in Proverbs 12:9. Because of the honor/shame society the Israelites lived in, they would much rather be seen as honorable or as having wealth, whether it was true or not, so they would not receive shame.
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.