Both our New and Old Testament readings talk about covenants today. As we’ve discussed, covenants are agreements between two parties (God is always one of them in the Bible) where both sides have something to uphold. Our Old Testament reading shows God’s faithfulness to his covenant with Israel despite their total lack of regard for their end of the bargain. Then in the New Testament reading we see God’s new covenant through Christ. This is the covenant we’re under. Our part of the bargain is to receive Christ’s salvation and live accordingly. Let’s make a renewed commitment to our portion of the covenant today.
44-58 – The Israelites looked down on places like Sodom and Samaria for their sins and because they did not have the special bond with God that the Israelites had. Here God puts the Israelites in their place by placing them lower than those nations.
59-63 – As poorly as the Israelites have held to their covenant with God, God reiterates his commitment to the covenant.
11-21 – These verses explain the parable found earlier in the chapter. The parable tells of Jerusalem/Judah’s unfaithfulness. They trusted in the power of other nations instead of that of God. Judah’s fate for unfaithfulness is destruction.
22-24 – Yes! We’re talking about Jesus here. All kinds of people will find rest with Christ and social statuses will flip flop.
This section describes the new covenant that was established through Christ.
8-12 – Jeremiah 31:31-34 is quoted here.
13 – This is to say that the original covenant is now replaced by the new. Christ’s covenant is what we live under. God’s first covenant wasn’t bad, this one is kind of like a new edition that we should adhere to from now on.
This psalm is another example of God’s faithfulness repaid by Israel’s lack of faith and unfaithfulness.
30-31 – Often acts of faithfulness are “counted as righteousness” to the person who is faithful.
7 – This is very true of our culture. We are not “hungry” for anything because all our needs are met so we tend to be ungrateful for what we have. Those in need are often grateful for anything and everything made available to them.
Only 8 weeks to go to complete our Year of the Bible! Pretty incredible, eh?
This week, we have a bit of a cornucopia of readings. We’ll spend time in Philemon, Hebrews, Lamentations, and Ezekiel, as well as the usual suspects Proverbs and Psalms.
Something you might want to note this week is the connection and resolution between the Old and New Testaments. Both Lamentations and the prophet Ezekiel are longing for redemption and connection with God. They’re experiencing destruction and separation due to sin. But then we read Hebrews, and other portions of the New Testament and we see that the redemption those in the Old Testament longed for has been realized through Jesus.
Sometimes it is hard to read the prophets and other portions of the Old Testament because the people are being punished and are crying out. But the blessing of reading both the Old and New Testaments at the same time is we immediately get to see God’s answer. We have Christ.
As many of you have thanked me for these notes or mentioned something you noticed about them, I am continually thankful for your faithfulness. This, of course, makes me feel very biblical because, Paul, in many of his letters, including today’s 2 Thessalonians reading, thanks God for various believers’ faithfulness. Know that your faithfulness in reading studying Scripture is blessing me immensely! Thank you!!
1-10 – God, once again, gives the house of David (the king of Judah) the opportunity to repent.
30 – This verse is problematic because it seems to have God break his promise that the line of David would always be in power. But wait…
1-2 – Judah’s rulers were supposed to care for the people but they led them into destruction instead.
5-6 – Who does this sound like God is describing? JESUS!! This is a messianic prophecy, which fulfills God’s covenant that David’s line would always reigns and solves the problem of corrupt leadership for Judah.
2 Thessalonians 1:1-12:
1-4 – Paul and his companions continue to be thankful for the faithfulness of the Thessalonians.
5-10 – The Thessalonians faced great persecution because of their faith. Paul encourages them that their suffering would be justified and rectified by Jesus.
1-8 – Asaph calls upon God to aid God’s people against their enemies.
9-18 – Asaph knew he could ask this because he had seen God squash enemies for the sake of his people before.
These verses give clear, simple ways to bless and harm others.
Today’s Isaiah reading talks about folks who play the part and go through the motions but don’t actually live faithfully or love God fully. This is still an issue in churches today. We show up and perform faithful looking acts, but have no intention of allowing ourselves to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.
16-18 – Here Isaiah refers to a cornerstone. Some believe that this is a Messianic prophecy like when Jesus is referred to as the cornerstone on which others will break themselves.
23-29 – Just as the farmer knows the proper ways to care for his crops, God knows the proper ways to care for his people.
9-12 – The Holy Spirit reveals more of God to those who believe.
13-16 – Many people claimed to love and follow God, they even participated in many of the rituals, but their hearts and actions were not faithful.
22-24 – God foretells a time when the Israelites will return to faithfulness.
23-29 – People, as we still do today, were constantly looking for what separated them or made them better or more worthy. Paul makes it clear that once you have been baptized into the faith, we are all equal in the sight of the Lord and heirs to God’s inheritance.
4-7 – Jesus’ being a Jew and being born under the law gave him legitimacy to the Jews.
1-7 – David repeats himself regarding his trust in who God is and how he offers great protection. It might be helpful sometimes to repeat to ourselves reasons why we trust in God.
As a culture, we are terrible at trusting God. Most of it is due to our conditioning. We have the means to take care of most things ourselves. We might pray about a situation, but ultimately we know we’ll be the ones to fix it. When we lose a job, we pray about it, but when we get a new job we normally credit ourselves with our diligent work. Prayer was mostly lip service. In today’s psalm, David trusts God in a dire situation. We can learn a lot from his depth of reliance on God.
5-19 – God used Assyria to punish Israel when Assyria toppled Israel, but now God is speaking against them because they have overstepped their bounds and are going after Jerusalem.
20-23 – Though the Israelites in the Northern Kingdom were occupied by Assyria and only a few remained, they were able to have hope because God said they would eventually be able to return to relying on him.
24-27 – God assures Judah that they will not be overtaken by Assyria like Israel was.
1-16 – This is another Messianic prophecy. The root of Jesse refers to Jesse, David’s father. Jesus was from David’s line and thus part of Jesse’s family. This passage refers to the great power and influence the Messiah would have.
2 Corinthians 12:11-21:
14-15 – Paul describes himself as a type of spiritual father to the Corinthians explaining that he was not trying to get anything from them. He was just trying to offer them salvation. His goal was to give to them, not take away.
20-21 – Paul was fearful that the Corinthians were not actually living faithfully and he would be confronted with a failure in his ministry.
David, though faced with a life-threatening situation, is able to put his full trust in God. He makes a powerful statement saying, “what can flesh do to me?” He understands that God is in control no matter how scary circumstances look.
This is a warning against false kindness and false generosity.
Have you ever been betrayed by a friend? Or worse, have you ever betrayed a friend? In today’s psalm, David feels the pain of betrayal at the hands of a friend. Though this is always the risk, we know that God designed us to be in relationship and that, though betrayal is excruciating, the benefits of relationship are worth the risk.
11-15 – The Lord becomes a safe place to those who follow him but becomes a stumbling block for those who oppose him.
8-21 – This foretells the coming demise of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Though God’s hand is still available, the people continue to walk towards evil and destruction.
2 Corinthians 12:1-10:
7-9 – Most theologians believe that Paul did have some sort of infirmity that he wanted to get rid of but could not. This kept him humble and may have also been a hindrance from moving quickly and traveling easily.
10 – It is often our difficulties that cause us to better relate to others with difficult conditions. They also allow us to be more thankful. Paul also realized that these are often the places where we are actually strongest.
12-15 – David was betrayed by a friend, which, as we all know, hurts much more than when we’re hurt by an enemy or stranger.
16-19 – David has great trust in the Lord to take care of him despite the ill intentions of his enemies.
Though wealth seems to bring earthly status, it is fleeting and not worth spinning our wheels over.
Isaiah becomes one of the most bold, confident mouthpieces for God in his years as a prophet, but in his calling, which we’ll read today, he’s timid. He, like so many others in Scripture, feels unworthy of what God is calling him to do. When God calls us, he also gives us the ability to fulfill that calling.
1-4 – This sets the scene for Isaiah’s calling to be God’s prophet. God is described as vast and powerful.
5 – It is very common for folks in the Bible to be hesitant to accept their callings. They often have excuses.
6-7 – God always has a solution for people’s excuses.
8 – Yet another example of a person in Scripture who answers, “Here I am”.
9-13 – God is fed up with the Israelites unfaithfulness. He sends Isaiah to speak a message of repentance but knows the people won’t listen.
1-9 – Syria and Israel are in cahoots to attack Jerusalem, which is part of Judah. Isaiah is to assure Judah that Syria and Israel will not prevail.
14 – This is a clear prophecy of Jesus’ birth, which wouldn’t happen for over 400 years, but is also specifically talking about Isaiah’s son, Immanuel.
2 Corinthians 11:16-33:
19-21 – Apparently the Corinthians were very patient with those who wronged them. Paul admits he did not have that kind of strength.
22-29 – These are Paul’s credentials. This is what he’s been willing to endure for the sake of Christ.
David writes this Psalm after being ratted out. He has been betrayed but his hope is still in the Lord because he knows God has taken care of him before and will continue to do so.
One of the great benefits of reading the Bible in its entirety is seeing the prophecies and expectations over centuries fulfilled in Christ’s coming. In today’s 2 Corinthians reading, Paul maps out a number of these fulfillments. What prophecy that Jesus fulfills is most powerful to you?
2-7 – Job believes if he could get an audience with God, God would agree that he had been far too righteous to receive such a harsh and heavy hand.
1-25 – Job explains that often, throughout life, the poor have difficulties and the wicked reap the benefit. He seems to explain that God doesn’t seem to be watching, but in the end he explains that everyone is brought low in the end.
1-6 – Bildad quickly retorts that God is simply greater than humans and cannot be compared.
1-6 – Here Job resolves not to turn his back on God, but to remain faithful.
7-23 – Here Job lays out how he hopes his enemies are treated in the end.
2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11:
20 – All the sacrifices, laws, and prophecies given for thousands of years were fulfilled in Christ. We know that everything God promises us becomes a “yes” through Christ and his offer of salvation.
1-4 – Paul’s intentions did not go over well with the Corinthian church. His visit seems to have caused them pain when he meant for it to show them his love for them.
5-11 – Paul urges the group to forgive those who sin against the group. Amongst believers, this is very important so the devil doesn’t have an easy way in.
1-3 – Here David explains how God will repay those who have cared for the poor in life.
4-13 – This is encouragement not to listen to what others say of you, but to believe what God says about you.
6 – It is difficult to guide and discipline a child. In our society, it is even harder to assure they are raised in the faith. As difficult as it is in the moment, it is the easiest way to assure they will be faithful for a lifetime.