March 25 – Daily Notes – Amanda

scrooge mcduck

Many of us individually and all of us as a society are wealthy in comparison to the rest of the world. We, for the most part, have everything we need and many of the things we want. It is important that we do not begin to rely on these things as our hope our or salvation. Today’s Proverb warns us against this and shows us a better alternative.

Deuteronomy 4:1-49:

  • 1 – Listening and knowing what God calls us to do is good, but the doing is where faithfulness really comes in.
  • 9 – The people of ancient Israel passed down information by telling stories. God’s faithfulness was remembered through an oral tradition.
  • 25-29 – God knows that we will stray at times and he promises that when we discover the error of our ways and turn back and seek him that he will be there ready for us.
  • 32-40 – Moses reminds the Israelites that there are no other gods like our God and that he has proven himself and his faithfulness to them in a variety of ways.

Luke 6:39-7:10:

  • 39-40 – We cannot lead others in things that we don’t know. We have to have faith in order to lead others to faith.
  • 41-42 – It is far easier for us to recognize and address other people’s flaws than to admit and deal with our own.
  • 45 – We cannot expect to do good work for the Lord when our norm is to fill our hearts with filth.
  • 46-49 – Hearing God’s word and putting it into action prepares us for the difficult times.
  • 1-10 – A couple of significant things about this passage: 1) The centurion is a Roman official and yet has faith that even amazes Jesus. 2) This is one of the few stories where Jewish religious authorities are painted in a positive light.

Psalm 68:1-18:

  • 7-10 – So much of the Bible refers back to itself. This passage refers back to God’s provision for the Israelites in the desert. We too should seek comfort and build our faith on the goodness of God to people throughout history.

Proverbs 11:28:

  • Because we have so much, it is so easy for us to rely on our own wealth and abilities to take care of ourselves. This Proverb warns that this strategy will ultimately fail.

March 24 – Daily Notes – Amanda

BOGO

The law that Moses gave the Israelites was very just. If you sinned, you paid for it. If you sinned against someone, you had to give them back an equal amount. In our Luke reading today, Jesus introduces different ways to extend grace. Grace is like the greatest buy one get one free sale ever! You get far more than you deserve. If someone steals your cow, instead of asking for it back, give them another. It was revolutionary then and it still is today.

Deuteronomy 2:1-3:29:

  • Note that God had given specific land to people other than the Israelites, namely Lot and Esau. Esau was from the same family as the Israelites, but wasn’t included in the Promised Land because he gave up his birth right as a young man.
  • As the Israelites were faithful in trusting God and respecting the borders he gave them, he was faithful in giving them what he promised.

Luke 6:12-38:

  • 13-16 – The full list of disciples. Most often they are listed with only a few of them together.
  • 20-26 – Matthew’s account of the beatitudes only includes blessings while Luke’s records blessings and woes.
  • 27-31 – God’s law given to Moses for the Israelites was based on justice. If you kill your neighbors cow, you give him one that’s just as good. But Jesus introduces opportunities to offer grace and to give people better than what they deserve.
  • Much of Jesus’ teaching was countercultural.

Psalm 67:1-7:

  • The Psalmist asks that God be gracious to him so that he can then make God more known. This should be the purpose for the blessings we request.

Proverbs 11:27:

  • If you look for trouble, you’ll find it.

March 23 – Daily Notes – Amanda

leap of faith 2

We have been tainted by a very small group of people who take advantage of peoples’ faith, asking them to give money in order to prove their faith. These faithful folks are promised more financial blessings if they go ahead and give from what they have. Though today’s Proverb may sound like it’s saying the same thing, our blessings can come in a variety of forms and many blessings we receive are far more valuable than money.

Numbers 36:1/Deuteronomy 1:46:

  • The Book of Numbers was about counting the tribes, establishing rules to live and function by, and getting the Israelites to the Promised Land.
  • 9-18 – Until now, Moses was the Israelites leader, judge, and connection to God. In this statement he spreads the power amongst leaders and judges of the individual tribes.
  • 30-31 – It’s helpful to look back at God’s faithfulness in our past so we can be assured that he will continue to be faithful.
  • 39 – God kept his promise to give the Promised Land to the Israelites. He did not give it to the older generation because they were unfaithful, but saved it for the younger generation.

Luke 5:29-6:11:

  • 29 – Tax collectors were some of the most despised people in this society. They were known for charging way too much for taxes and gaining wealth at the expense of others.
  • 29-32 – This is true of us today as well. Jesus wants people who are willing to admit their failures and recognize their need for a Savior. He grants the wishes of those who believe they can handle things on their own and don’t need help.
  • 36-39 – Jesus’ new ideas and ways of practicing faith did not fit into the Pharisees’ older ways of thinking. Old practices were cherished and had value in that society, so bringing in a new way of acting/thinking was threatening.
  • 1-5 – Jesus uses David as an example because he was such a well-respected figure.
  • 1-11 – Jesus’ point was not to dishonor the Sabbath. He realized God’s desire for us to rest on the Sabbath was for our good. If some action was necessary for someone’s wellbeing, that trumped the need to rest.

Psalm 66:1-20:

  • It is important to celebrate the good things God has done in order to share his goodness and faithfulness with others.

Proverbs 11:24-26:

  • This should not be mistaken for “the prosperity gospel” that God wants to make all the faithful people rich. Vs. 24 might sound like this, but often we go richer and things far more important than money when we choose to trust God with our finances.

March 22 – Daily Notes – Amanda

feeling small

Today’s Psalm reminds us how vast, great, and capable our God is. Is the God who set the earth in motion, raised the mountains to their heights, and created boundaries for the oceans overwhelmed by our problems? Of course not! He is able to care for you no matter what is going on.

Numbers 33:40-35:34:

  • 50-56 – God actually gives an explanation here for why he’s asking the Israelites to drive other people out of their land. If people are left, they will hinder the Israelites.
  • 2 – Earlier in Numbers God explained that the Levites would not receive an inheritance, but instead would receive what was offered to God. This command is another way God provided for the Levites.
  • 11 – They had specific cities of refuge for people who accidentally killed people, but God makes it clear what defines an accidental death and who should not have access to the cities of refuge.

Luke 5:12-28:

  • 16 – We often think we’re too busy to pray or spend time with God. This is clearly an indictment on that because Jesus needed to teach and heal crowds of people and yet he made a point to get away and pray.
  • 22 – The scribes and Pharisees had not audibly expressed their concerns, but Jesus knew them anyway. They must have been a little thrown off when Jesus addressed their unspoken criticisms.
  • 26 – When we see God move, whether in our lives or someone else’s, we are moved and amazed.

Psalm 65:1-13:

  • Seeing God’s power, creativity, and control in nature can remind us of what he can do in our lives. What can be so big in your life that the God who built the mountains and controls roaring seas can’t handle?

March 20 – Daily Notes – Amanda

pursuit

In today’s psalm, David sounds like a man who would not let anything stand in the way of his pursuit of God. He hungered and thirsted for God. This relentless pursuit leaves me feeling both convicted, “I don’t think I have that kind of passion.” and inspired, “I want to pursue God with that kind of fire.” What about you?

Numbers 30:1-31:54:

  • Killing the women and male children seems extremely harsh, but the Israelites were always tempted to mix with other nations when they weren’t completely wiped out. Moses reminds them of their indiscretions in Peor caused by their unwillingness to follow God’s commands completely.

Luke 4:1-30:

  • During Jesus’ temptation he is physically weak but is filled with the Holy Spirit. This can teach us a lot about what we truly need.
  • Both Jesus and the devil use Scripture. Jesus uses it to remain faithful to God. The devil twists it to try to cause Jesus to sin.
  • 18-19 – Jesus establishes his purpose throughout his ministry.
  • 24-30 – Jesus’ words are offensive to those in the synagogue because he is suggesting that they will not be healed. They try to kill him but clearly his purpose wouldn’t be fulfilled through that death so he is able to escape from them.

Psalm 63:1-11:

  • The fervor with which David seeks and longs for God is both convicting and inspiring.

March 19 – Daily Notes – Amanda

awkward family photo

Families are a funny thing. In today’s Luke reading we find a different lineage for Jesus. Don’t worry though! This is Mary’s lineage even though it ends with Joseph. It was common for people to call themselves the “father” of a son-in-law. Now, go on and go take a family picture you’ll regret in 5-10 years.

Numbers 28:16-29:40:

  • Most of us tend to read through the explanations of offerings simply to get through that section. Today, try reading it as if you were an Israelite who actually needed to know the details in order to follow God’s law.
  • Burnt offerings are often followed with a description that it has a “pleasing aroma to the Lord.” Since we no longer offer burnt offerings, what do you think we offer that presents God with a pleasing aroma?
  • Considering the quantities of the feast that starts in vs. 12, the Israelites must have had massive herds.

Luke 3:23-38:

  • Note that in Matthew we already read a lineage for Joseph and it was different than this list. Most theologians believe that this is actually Mary’s lineage since most of the birth narrative and beginning of the book focus on her.

Psalm 62:1-12:

  • Interesting that David, multiple times, says my soul waits for “God alone”. Too often, when under pressure, we’re not willing to wait for God but put our trust in anything and everything else.

Proverbs 11:18-19:

  • Note that it may not be much comfort to us that good wins out in this verse. Though the wicked’s wages are deceptive, they still earn wages.

March 18 – Daily Notes – Amanda

sheep

Sheep and shepherds are a big deal in Scripture. Like in other passages, today’s Numbers reading refers to the Israelites as “sheep without a shepherd.” Sheep without a shepherd are pretty hopeless. They can’t protect themselves or take care of themselves. The shepherd is crucial. When we get to John, Jesus refers to himself as “the good shepherd.” I wonder if there’s any correlation?

Numbers 26:52-28:15:

  • 1-11 – All inheritance was passed down through male offspring until this story. This was probably shocking to the Israelites because women were seen as property, not landowners.
  • 17 – In Matthew, Jesus looks at the people of Israel and has compassion on them describing them then too as “sheep without a shepherd.”
  • Joshua becomes Moses successor. He also becomes the first official judge of Israel.

Luke 3:1-22:

  • John the Baptist was a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy that there would be one to prepare the way for the Lord.
  • 7-9 – John is speaking to Jews who relied on their heritage as their means to righteousness and connection with God. John is explaining that their lives should reflect repentance and living for God.
  • 10-14 – John’s teaching sounds a lot like things Jesus would say. He is teaching how to be honorable, generous, and humble.
  • 22 – God’s confirmation of Christ’s identity.

Psalm 61:1-8:

  • Beautiful imagery of God’s protection. David describes him as a “rock higher than I”, “refuge”, “strong tower”, “shelter of your wings”.

Proverbs 11:16-17:

  • This verse is problematic in that the Proverbs usually teach that unrighteous behavior leads to our downfall, but here it follows that suit except when speaking of violent men.

March 16 – Daily Notes – Amanda

suffering

Suffering is terrible. It is particularly hard when it comes by no fault of your own. Today’s Psalm is a good one to turn to when your suffering blind sides you and there was nothing you could have done to prevent it. Turns to God, not to despair.

Numbers 24:1-25:18:

  • 3-9 – Through Balaam’s obedience to God, he is blessed with a greater understanding and insight to God’s plan, provision, and protection for the Israelites. He expresses this in this oracle.
  • 1-5 – God takes idolatry and worship of other gods very seriously.
  • 9 – A plague killing 24,000 people seems harsh, but God’s plan was to set the Israelites apart. When they intermixed with other nations, they often fell to the temptation of worshipping other gods. Clearly this Israelite who took the Midianite woman did so without regard to the congregation and interfered with worship in doing so.

Luke 2:1-35:

  • 8-15 – The first people to find out about Jesus’ birth are shepherds, one of the lowliest jobs in their society.
  • Simeon offers a special blessing for Jesus because it had been revealed to him who Jesus was. Notice that he also is described as having the Holy Spirit upon him. The Holy Spirit was active and working in people well before Jesus officially sent him to the disciples after his resurrection and ascension.

Psalm 59:1-17:

  • This Psalm is good for times when we suffer through no fault of our own. David calls out to God and trusts him to take care of him.

March 14 – Daily Notes – Amanda

As special as Buddy the Elf’s song for his dad is…there are some really cool songs people in the Bible sing for God based on a specific experience. Today, we read Mary’s Magnificat, or her song of praise to God for choosing her to be the mother of Jesus. What would you write your song to God about?

Numbers 21:1-22:20:

  • 4-9 – One of the stranger stories in Scripture. Though it does fall in line with the overall themes of the Israelites relationship with God. The Israelites complain, God gets angry and punishes them, they cry out for mercy, and God offers mercy.
  • Balaam consistently goes to the Lord for guidance before taking any action. He makes a powerful statement in vs. 18, “Though Balak were to give me his house of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the Lord my God to do less or more.”

Luke 1:26-56:

  • Luke’s birth narrative is more from Mary’s perspective.
  • 30 – “Do not be afraid” is a common greeting when people encounter God, God’s presence, or angels.
  • 37 – Elizabeth’s pregnancy was used as a testament for Mary that nothing was impossible. Pregnancy in old age. Pregnancy in virginity. God is not bound by our human constraints.
  • 38 – A powerful statement of submission to God’s will no matter what.
  • 39-45 – Elizabeth and her unborn baby, John, both recognize the identity of Christ even before his birth.
  • 46-55 – Like Hannah in the Old Testament and Zechariah, Mary praises God for her pregnancy through a song or poem-like piece. It is often referred to as “Mary’s Magnificat”.

Psalm 57:1-11:

  • Though David is constantly up against major enemies, he continually finds ways to praise and rely on God in the midst of it.

March 12 – Daily Notes – Amanda

priestly-garments

Remember these from Exodus? These were the priestly garments. They were worn by the Levites. The Levites were a tribe set apart to be the priests who handled sacrifices, atonement, and all sorts of other special tasks. Today’s Numbers reading gives us a helpful rundown of the Levites.

Numbers 16:41-18:32:

  • 48 – God spared the rest of the people because Aaron guarded them.
  • 8-11 – Aaron and his family are given everything that is offered to the Lord. They receive this instead of an inheritance because the Lord is to be their portion.
  • The Levites also got no inheritance of the people of Israel. Instead, they got the tithes offered to God.
  • 26 – The Levites were supposed to tithe off of the tithes they received. This is kind of like pastors tithing since they are paid by the tithes of the church members.

Mark 16:1-20:

  • It is significant that the first witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection are women. Women’s testimony in court or otherwise did not count.
  • 16-18 – These verses have been used to justify some of the more extreme versions of Christianity.

Psalm 55:1-23:

  • David feels particularly tortured because he is being betrayed by someone he once felt close to.
  • 22 – A great reminder that we can cast our worries, burdens, difficulties, etc. on God and he will carry them for us.