February 26 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Leviticus 19:1-20:21:

  • 9-10 – This was an ancient way of assuring the poor had food.
  • 13-14 – Care for people with special needs
  • 27 – This is why Hassidic Jews have the long, dangling, curly side burns and beards.

Mark 8:11-38:

  • Note the religious leaders and Jesus were constantly at odds. The religious leaders were nervous about Jesus’ movement getting traction. They constantly tried to discount his ministry.
  • 33 – A harsh criticism of Peter, but Jesus knew what he was here to do.
  • 34 – What is your cross?

Psalm 42:1-11:

  • Note that this Psalm is not written by David but it still, though filled with lament, begins and ends with praise.

February 24 – Daily Notes – Amanda

change-of-plans

It may be a bit confusing that we’re reading Leviticus, where we learn that all kinds of things, including a number of creatures, are unclean. And now, in Mark, we hear Jesus going back on that and saying, “Actually, no, there are no unclean animals. They’re all fine to eat. The truth is, in Jesus, the holiness people were trying to achieve by following the law, was fulfilled. Thus, what was unclean is now made clean.

Leviticus 15:1-16:28:

  • Some things that we consider very personal must have been more public in their culture to help others avoid becoming unclean because of you.
  • 19-30 – Women were unclean during their period but did not have to give an offering for it. Women did have to give a sin offering if they had some other type of blood discharge.
  • 8 – “Azalel’s” meaning is unknown.
  • 20-22 – The goat that is set free into the wilderness is where we get the term “scapegoat”. All the sins were placed on this goat though none were actually his.

Mark 7:1-23:

  • 1-7 – The Pharisees were so tied to the law that they continually watched the disciples to see when they would trip up. Jesus calls out the flawed thinking of the Pharisees by quoting Isaiah in verses 6-7. It is easy to give God lip service, but it matters much more where our hearts are committed.
  • 14-19 – Jesus declares all foods clean. Earlier in our reading in Leviticus, many animals, birds, and swimming creatures were deemed unclean to eat.

February 4 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Exodus 19:16-21:21:

  • 22 – Consecrate themselves – to cleanse themselves of sins through ceremonial washings because God cannot be near sin
  • 3 – begins the 10 Commandments
  • 12 – honor your father and mother is the only commandment that comes with a promise
  • 20 – Our fear of God and his power is often what keeps us from sinning. Many of us have lost this fear
  • 1-11 – Slavery passages are obviously problematic. This could be a case, like divorce, that was a practice the Israelites were already engaged in and the law simply gave parameters on how it could be done as faithfully as possible.

Matthew 23:13-39:

  • 13-36 – The scribes and Pharisees are criticized for following the laws and forcing others to but forgetting the things God really valued – justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
  • 25-26 – There are many references throughout the New Testament that remind us that a clean heart is better than clean hands.
  • 37-39 – Prophets had been sent to Jerusalem and ousted by the religious leaders. Jesus suffered the same fate.

Psalm 28:1-9:

  • Throughout most of his Psalms, David expresses his great trust in God despite his current circumstances.

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 12 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 26:17-27:46:

  • 1-29 – Rebekah and Jacob tricked Isaac to bless him instead of Esau. Jacob had already tricked Esau out of his birthright and now he attempts to steal his father’s dying blessing. Jacob is sneaky and a liar and yet, he seems to be blessed over and over.
  • 30-42 – When Esau lost his birthright, it was, in large portion, his own fault. In this case, however, he was simply obeying his father and due to his mother and brother’s trickery, he loses his blessing as well. Esau’s anger is understandable.
  • 46 – Jacob has to flea because of his and his mother’s deceitfulness. Rebekah is afraid Jacob will marry a Hittite woman while he is among them, but if that were to happen it would be a consequence of her sin.

 

Matthew 9:1-17:

  • 1-8 – The Pharisees think Jesus is blaspheming because they don’t realize his divinity and think forgiveness is not something he can offer.
  • 10-13 – The Pharisees were far more concerned with the practices of holiness while Jesus was focused on redemption. Jesus quotes the prophet Hosea saying, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” In other words, God desires for us to offer love and grace that lead to change rather than simply going through the motions.
  • 16-17 – The new emphases of the faith Jesus brought could not be contained by the constraints of the old law and practices.

 

Psalm 10:16-18:

  • 17 – There are a number of times when Scripture mentions God hearing the cries of the afflicted. Most notably, God hears the cries of the Israelites in Egypt, which starts the process of a mass exodus.

 

Proverbs 3:9-10:

  • 9 – It is easy to give from the leftovers of our abundance, but it takes real trust to give God your first and bust.

January 3 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 5:1-7:24:

  • 24: The book of Hebrews also mentions Enoch and how, because he pleased God, he did not experience death but was simply taken.
  • 25-27 – Methuselah is the oldest recorded person in the Bible.
  • 6 – A powerful verse suggesting the extreme extent of man’s wickedness and the degree to which it pains God.
  • 8-9 – Noah seems to be the only person on earth who is purposefully walking with God.
  • 22 & 7:5 – It is noted throughout the Bible when people follow God’s instructions exactly. This should be our goal too.

 

Matthew 3:7-4:11:

  • 7-10 – John recognized that the Pharisees and Saducees were not getting baptized to put their faith in the Lord, but simply to check the box like they tended to do. Their lives did not bear the fruit of a life of repentance.
  • 14 – John understandably felt unworthy to baptize Jesus.
  • 17 – A powerful image for any witnesses that day as Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit and publicly professed by God.
  • Note that the devil twists the meaning of Scripture to try to tempt Jesus. If we don’t know Scripture, how much more could the devil do this to us?

 

Psalms 3:1-8:

  • Though David continually faced formidable foes, he is just as frequently confessing his faith in God’s ability to protect him.

 

Proverbs 1:10-19:

Temptation is so enticing and it knows our weak spots. Ultimately, sin destroys us.