Are you a leader in any arena? If so, you’ll notice that leadership comes with responsibility. If you’re a leader, that means you have followers and that ultimately means that you are, at least in part, responsible for those who follow you. In today’s Ezekiel reading we see examples of good and bad leadership. Ezekiel heeded the call of leadership and shared God’s message with the people. At the same time, many religious leaders led people away from God and towards other gods. Leadership should always be taken seriously.
- 1-9 – Ezekiel was tasked with sharing God’s messages of repentance to Israel. If he did so and the Israelites did not turn away from their sins, their destruction was on their own heads. If Ezekiel didn’t share the message, their destruction was on him.
- 10-20 – God does not and did not delight in destroying people. He gave them every opportunity to turn around, but they continued to choose not to.
- 2 – This is not referring to shepherds of white fluffy animals, but the leaders of the Israelites who were supposed to be leading them towards God.
- 7-10 – God was not pleased with the leaders’ negligence towards the people, so God committed to rescuing the people.
- 20-24 – God is referring to Jesus here when he talks about bringing all his people together under one. Jesus was in the line of David.
- 1-2 – This reminds us to be kind and caring to everyone in our midst.
- 4-5 – The things believers should and shouldn’t do stay pretty consistent throughout the New Testament.
- 15-16 – To be faithful we need to praise God and serve others.
- 1-8 – A great deal of the Bible is focused on who we should focus on and worship. Too often we get distracted and choose to offer our affections elsewhere.
- These tools and metals are referring to a purifying process. This is to suggest that a fool cannot be separated from his folly.
Grace is a funny thing. Some churches emphasize it more than others, but for many of us it’s hard to comprehend, hard to accept, and hard to offer to others. Grace is intended as a free gift, one that cannot be earned. God offers grace to us through the death and resurrection of Christ. We can’t earn our sins away. We can only accept God’s free gift. Ephesians explains it nicely. Check it out.
- 17-24 – God promises to take care of those in need and also challenges other gods to try to do the same. He taunts other gods asking them to do something good or bad if they’re capable.
- 1-9 – Some believe this is referring to the call of servants and general and what God would have each of us do. Others focus this on a particular servant and most often associate the passage with Christ. In Jesus’ first public address found in Luke 4, he quotes verses 6 and 7.
- 18-25 – Israel, who God originally called to be his servants, failed to hear and see God’s messages.
- 1-13 – Such comforting words God speaks to his people reminding them that he will restore them and that he calls them by name. God is always faithful in his promises.
- 1-2 – The price for sin is death. When we sin but have not accepted God’s grace and forgiveness through Christ, we are dead in our sin.
- 4-10 – God offers us grace, which is a free gift, so no one can consider themselves higher or greater than anyone else. We are all in need of the good gifts of God through salvation.
- 18-22 – Though grace should humble us, it also exalts us to equality with all the saints. We are heirs to God’s kingdom with Jesus and all the saints.
- 1-2 – It is interesting that the psalmist asks that Gods’ face to “shine upon them”. People did not see God but when Moses was in God’s presence, his face shone afterwards. We also know that, when Jesus spent time with God on the Mount of Transfiguration, his clothes shone after being with him.
- Warnings against indulging in alcohol in excess. We lose our ability to control ourselves and thus cannot give God control.
When God warns you of something, you should definitely listen. God knew that he was a better king than any human could ever be, but back in 1 Samuel the Israelites insisted on a human king like all the other nations. In today’s reading, just four kings later, the consequences of poor decisions by human kings is becoming painfully obvious. Israel has now split into two nations, weakening them and setting them up for their ultimate demise.
1 Kings 12:20-13:34:
- It’s about to start getting confusing with who was king of where when. Here’s a simple chart to help you keep them straight.
- 25-33 – Jeroboam has every reason to trust God because he had made it clear that he would keep him in power because of his great love for David. Jeroboam almost immediately loses trust and builds golden calves so the wouldn’t lose his portion of Israelites.
- 11-25 – This story gets confusing with the old prophet and the original prophet and the man of God. Note that the prophet should have listened to God above anything else. Ultimately, listening to the other prophet caused his death.
- 33-34 – Jeroboam continued to stray further and further from God’s will.
- 26 – Sometimes the consequences of our previous sins linger.
- 36-43 – Despite an unfortunate nickname, Tabitha was a great asset to those around her. She served and provided for those around her. Her resurrection also brought many people to faith.
- 11-12 – In our 1 Kings reading we are currently seeing God trying to find ways to keep David’s line in the throne though they continually turn against him.
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.
Today’s proverb reminds us of something we all know but struggle to practice. We should listen first and speak later. Words can be destructive, especially when we aren’t even sure what we’re talking about.
- 16-26 – Achan took riches from another nation and was punished for it. Dating as far back as Abraham, the Israelites were supposed to refuse the riches of other nations so they wouldn’t be tempted to credit that nation with their blessings.
- 1-17 – The Israelites attempted to conquer Ai before but were vulnerable because someone in the camp had been unfaithful. Like all things that start badly, God made good out of it. The people of Ai were overconfident and pursued the Israelites into an ambush.
- 10-13 – Convicting passage. We often think our small bouts with unfaithfulness are no big deal. Instead, God asks us to be faithful in the little things so we can be entrusted with the big stuff. Our small decisions and actions do matter.
- 14-15 – Pharisees were held in high regard in society. They were much more holy than most people according to the law and could look down on others. Jesus reminds them that the law matters but most things that we exalt are not what matter to God.
- 3-4 – These are commands God gives us throughout Scripture. Serving those who are unable to serve themselves is later described as the purest form of religion.
- We should be slow to speak and quick to listen. Our words are often destructive and are best not spoken.
Whether you’re teaching someone to paint the fence or run the nation of Israel, mentoring is beneficial. In fact, mentoring is crucial to the continued success of civilization. One generation passes down knowledge, skill and experience to the next. In today’s Deuteronomy reading, we see Moses pass the torch to a young, faithful, military leader, Joshua.
- 1-6 – Moses hands the reigns over to Joshua and reminds he and the Israelites that God goes with them and won’t forsake them so they have no reason to fear.
- 16-18 – As Moses is about to die, this must have been hard information to hear about the people he loves and has led for so long.
- 23 – Joshua was qualified to take over for Moses because he was a great military leader, when the 12 spies went to check out the Promised Land, only he and Caleb trusted that God would protect them against the larger inhabitants of the land, and he was called and appointed by God.
- 1-27 – Though all of Deuteronomy is a type of farewell speech from Moses, this section is his song regarding the unfaithfulness of the Israelites during his tenure. At the end he says that if it were up to him he would have destroyed them.
- 10 – Though this is a confusing verse, one explanation is that if one were to reject Jesus while he was on earth, the Holy Spirit was still to be unleashed at Pentecost and could still reveal the identity of Christ to that person. If however, you were to reject the Holy Spirit, there were no other persons of the Trinity to be sent.
- 13-31 – Jesus is not denouncing savings, clothing, or food and drink. He is, however, denouncing seeking these things first and not God. We often fall into the trap of providing for ourselves at the expense of building ourselves up spiritually first.
- This Psalm recounts the Israelites’ tendencies to half-heartedly return to God when they faced consequences for their unfaithfulness. We often question God’s punishments but fail to recognize the unfaithfulness of humanity. We also often point the finger at biblical characters like the Israelites and the disciples who perpetually fail God and fail to see that we do the same thing.
- 22 – When we do the things God calls us to (i.e. serve the poor, love our neighbor, honor our parents, etc.) he is delighted in us. This is how we please God.