This is not my recipe, but I get compliments every time I make it. You should try it. It’s great for barbecues, potlucks, and the like. I’d suggest the addition of a little bit of salt. You see, when we find things that are good, whether it’s a movie, recipe, or thought, we tend to share it. This is what the psalmist is calling us to do today. When God does something great in your life, tell others. Make it known so they might experience Him too.
- 1-8 – Hezekiah started out faithful, but like several other kings, made some poor choices in his later years. He shows off his wealth to his Babylonian visitor. It seems that the sin in this is trying to befriend Babylon in an effort to have an ally against Assyria. God wants Judah to seek him as their only ally.
- 1-31 – God offers comfort to his people and assurance that he will care for them. There are several beautiful passages within the chapter that can speak comfort to us today.
- 3 – This verse is quoted regarding John the Baptist who was called to prepare the way for Christ.
- 8-10 – God continues to comfort the Israelites of Judah assuring them that he will hold them up and keep them safe.
- 3-10 – Paul praises God for allowing he and his fellow believers to know God and his grace. He thanks God for his plan of salvation.
- 15-23 – This is Paul’s prayer for the church that the Ephesians would understand God’s great works and the gifts he had given them.
- 5-7 – We see another reference to God’s great act of parting the Red Sea. The psalmist, who has great faith, knows that God’s acts are incredible and invites other simply to come and see what the Lord has done.
- 16-17 – Not only does the psalmist want the reader to see God’s good works, the psalmist also wants to tell personally of the great things God has done.
- Here the proverb tries to warn of the temptations and consequences of lust.
Today we learn the Fruit of the Spirit! This is the great stuff we produce when we’re living by the Spirit. Here’s a very annoying song to help you remember what you’re intended to produce:
- 13-22 – God continues to reassure Judah that they don’t have to fear Assyria but that he will restore the righteous of their land.
- 1-14 – The prophecies continue to look to the future when all enemies of God’s people are taken care of.
- 1-22 – Assyria attacks Jerusalem. King Hezekiah has confidence that God will prevail and the Israelites will be saved from the hands of the Assyrians.
- 13-15 – Just because we are not under the law anymore does not mean our lives are meant to be a free for all. Our freedom in Christ should lead us to become more like Christ. One way we can do that is to love our neighbors as ourselves.
- 22-23 – The “fruit of the Spirit” are the things that our lives should produce when we are living through the Spirit. Paul states that neither Jews nor Gentiles would have laws against someone producing these wonderful things.
- Like in many of his psalms, David longs for God, who he relies on for protection and sustenance, to punish all his enemies and all those who do not follow God. He has such confidence in God to do so.
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.
- Solomon did not advocate laziness.
Did God make a mistake by asking people to follow the law? If we’re not supposed to follow it now, why were people intended to follow it way back when? Today’s Galatians reading explains that the law was good, and though people were not able to follow it completely, it kept them within parameters until God sent Jesus, the ultimate fulfillment of the law.
- 1-12 – This prophecy tells of a time when God’s people will be brought back together. He will redeem them and squash the other nations who are harming and oppressing them.
- 7-15 – Here, the Israelites recognize the benefits of following the Lord. They begin to seek out the Lord and recognize things like God making their paths straight.
- 1-13 – God is clearly going to restore the Israelites, even those lost in battles and exile. He has plans to save them despite how bleak it looks during their punishments of exile.
- 10-14 – Paul is explaining that it is impossible for humans to obey the law fully and the law, by its nature, requires us to obey it fully. Thus, if we attempt to be justified through the law, we are doomed to fail.
- 21-22 – Paul explains that God didn’t give the law to the people in order to doom them. It was designed for them to follow but since they were unable, he gave them Jesus.
- 1-4 – A key theme of David’s psalms is that he trusts in the Lord for protection. He has clearly experienced this to be true and believes that God will continue to protect him.
- 17 – We often do envy sinners. Life seems easier for folks who actively engage in sin and it sometimes seems like they have all the fun. We are to look to something greater and longer term.
Do you have any Scripture memorized? If not, and even if you have some, I’d encourage you to do your best to memorize Scripture. Today’s Proverb indirectly encourages it. There are probably songs you can start singing at the drop of a hat, or movie lines you can quote…that’s because you have them memorized and they’re on the tip of your tongue. When we treat Scripture like this, we are blessed through the comfort, hope, and joy Scripture brings and we can be a blessing by sharing it with others.
- 1-14 – Though not the most exciting message, this aims our sites at death because, ultimately, that’s where we’re all headed. The section also lets us know that joy is always accompanied by sorrow. God made both and we can’t really have one without the other.
- 19-22 – These verses make it clear that righteousness in humanity is very relative.
- 27-29 – In biblical poetry, women tend to be personified as either tempting seductresses or virginal and pure. This is most likely what’s going on here as Solomon explains the temptation of folly in the face of wisdom.
- 1-7 – Solomon continually retorts that what we achieve on earth is somewhat insignificant because we all die. But be sure to read through to the end to learn his final conclusion.
2 Corinthians 7:8-16:
- 9 – Paul is ok with the Corinthians feeling a little bit of pain because it led to the ultimate good of repentance.
- 13-16 – Though much of the content of Paul’s letters was rebuke and instruction, he delighted when new believers acted in Christ-like ways. This is why both he and Titus rejoiced.
- 1-8 – The psalmist calls on people to give God praise because of the great protection God had offered them in past situations.
- 9-14 – The reflections of who God is and what he has done cause the people to share of his goodness for generations to come.
- When we have words of wisdom on our lips, they are the ones that come out of our mouths first. This is the same reason we want to have Scripture memorized.
Job is a tough book to read for a number of reasons, but there are a number of takeaways. One major one is in today’s reading. Job reminds us that the Lord gives and thus it is God’s right to take those things away as well. He confirms, though that either way, whether in blessing or wanting, the name of the Lord should be blessed. Here’s a musical version of the same concept:
- 1 – “Blameless and upright” is a description very few people in the Bible receive. Noah, before the flood, was described in a similar way.
- 5 – Job even hedged his bets by sacrificing for his children just in case they were sinful without his knowledge.
- 6-12 – Satan challenged God saying that Job was only faithful because God had, until then, protected him and all his things. God disagrees and allows him to torment Job in order to prove his faithfulness.
- 20-22 – After all the turmoil and trauma Job received back to back to back, he grieved but did not curse God like Satan said he would.
- 3-6 – This time God allows Satan to strike Job with any kind of personal illness as long as he doesn’t kill him.
- 9 – This must be what Proverbs warns against when it talks about basically anything being better than living with a quarrelsome wife.
- 10 – It is obviously much easier to receive the good God gives us, but Job reminds us that we can’t expect the good without being willing to receive bad too.
- 3-26 – Job basically wishes he was never born.
1 Corinthians 14:1-17:
- 5 – Speaking in tongues, unless it is interpreted for the body, is intended to be between that person and God.
- 16-17 – Speaking in ways others can understand is important in the larger body. Paul gives the example that it then allows someone to say “amen” in agreement with what you’ve said. They can only do that if they understood what was said.
- 14-17 – These verses basically explain that wicked people and the Lord are at war over the poor and needy. The wicked try to take them down while the Lord makes sure to lift them up.
- 23-24 – Even though we stumble and struggle at times, if we are faithful, the Lord keeps us from total destruction.
- 26 – What a powerful verse! When we are lazy and sloth-y, we tend to constantly want and need. The righteous, on the other hand, are willing to give and give abundantly.
There are double-standards in the world. Some are frustrating and unfair, while others are totally necessary. In today’s 1 Corinthians reading there is a justified double-standard. It is that believers are held to one moral standard while non-believers are not. We cannot expect non-believers to abide by God’s commands, but we as believers should and should even help one another do so. Yes, it’s a double-standard, but it is a necessary one for believers and non-believers alike.
- 21-23 – Ezra told the Babylonians God would take care of them on their journey, so now he had to put his money where his mouth is. This is why he has the people all call on the Lord through fasting and prayer.
- 31 – God hears their prayers for protection on their journey and answers them.
- 1-2 – The Israelites, and particularly the priests, had just finished traveling safely, because of God’s provisions, and have just completed their burnt offering, and immediately they’re breaking one of the main laws God has given them – to be set apart.
- 6-15 – Ezra’s prayer is honest and forthcoming. He confesses God’s goodness to his people and that they continue to sin against him. Particularly starting in vs. 13, Ezra seems to be very humbled by God’s graciousness in continuing to care for them despite their continued lack of faithfulness.
1 Corinthians 5:1-13:
- 9-11 – This is an interesting perspective. This is encouraging us not to try to avoid all sinners or even those who are still caught up in sin, but to avoid those who call themselves believers and are currently engaging in any of the sins listed. As believers we are called to a higher standard.
- 12-13 – Our moral law and faithfulness to Christ is not to be expected of those who do not believe, but we are to hold our own to Christ’s standards.
- 5 – Jesus repeats the first part of this verse when dying on the cross.
- 6-8 – David continually gives acknowledgment and praise to God for providing protection from his enemies.
For us, forgiveness often feels like a given. We have Jesus and our forgiveness is free and something we could never earn. But forgiveness should never feel simple or easy. In today’s 2 Chronicles reading we see God forgive Manasseh, who had led everyone away from him. This helps us see the weight of forgiveness as well as the outcome – Manasseh returning to God. Forgiveness is powerful and something that can bring people back to God.
2 Chronicles 32:1-33:13:
- 6-8 – “Be strong and courageous” is the same encouragement Moses gave Joshua as Joshua took over leadership of the Israelites.
- 9-15 – King Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, is trying to negate Hezekiah’s encouragement to be strong and courageous by attacking God’s ability to protect them.
- 24-26 – Hezekiah has a hiccup in faithfulness, but returns to the Lord quickly avoiding any damage to his people.
- 1-2 – This is not the same Manasseh that the tribe is named for.
- 10-13 – This is an incredible show of forgiveness. Manasseh had made even Judah, the one tribe who tended to remain faithful, turn against God. When in trouble, though, he turned to God for rescue and God answered.
- 23 – Though it was such a cultural hub and despite Paul’s great fondness for Rome, it is only recorded that he went there once.
- 3 – This is the same Priscilla and Aquila from the book of Acts.
- 20-21 – Based on past reading in the Old Testament, it seems the Lord would fulfill the psalmist’s request for protection because the psalmist was upright and relying on God.
- 17 – This is so true of sin in general. The rewards of our sin are often so glamorous and exciting, but only for a short time. Ultimately they are destructive and painful.
Sometimes the details found in Scripture are tough to slog through. The details of how the temple looked and was built are definitely included in that. BUT! Take a minute to think about if you were one of the people building it. Do you think you’d think it was a total drag to have to pay attention to such detail? Or do you think it would be both humbling and uplifting to get to honor God by building his house so he could welcome you into his presence?
2 Chronicles 4:1-6:11:
- 1-22 – Though it seems like a lot of tedious details to have to read, isn’t it incredible how much time, effort, and detail the Israelites went to to make the temple incredible for the Lord. This takes great faithfulness to care this much.
- 2-10 – The Ark of the Covenant moving into the temple signified God arriving in the temple.
- 13 – This sounds like a pretty cool job.
- 3-11 – It’s important for us as individuals, but also as the body, to publicly recognize God’s answers to prayer.
- 1-6 – Paul makes a great point that we have new life in Christ and that new life is no longer subject to the law.
- 12 – The law was not bad. It made the people aware of God’s expectations and what actions were sinful.
- 13 – Sin is still the harmful thing in our lives, not the law.
- 3 – How freeing to know that God could test your heart and not find sin!
- 6-15 – It is so clear that David meant it when he would describe God as his “strong tower”, “refuge”, etc. David repeatedly calls on the Lord for protection from his enemies.
- 22 – It is better to be poor in the eyes of the world rather than to be full of dishonor.
There is a contest in today’s notes. And that’s all I have to say about that.
1 Chronicles 1:1-2:17:
- The Ancient Israelites kept incredible records and this is one of many examples of them. They start at Adam and make their way all the way to David including rulers of other nations to ensure their relevance in the overall world.
- There’s a special prize for the first person to email me (email@example.com) with the name of the 80’s cartoon included in the lineage.
- 10 – This starts a very recognizable lineage of Jesus.
- 11 – God gives Paul a clear charge. He was faithful in sharing the gospel in Jerusalem even though it wasn’t well received and he should now do the same in Rome.
- 16-35 – The Romans do not allow the Jews to kill Paul, but they also do not release him.
- Though David continually faced formidable foes, he is just as frequently confessing his faith in God’s ability to protect him.
- 15 – Often when we welcome some piece of knowledge and wisdom, we acquire even more than we sought in the first place.