Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday, May 31st: 2 Kings 24-25, Matthew 17 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Kings 24-25; Matthew 17

In Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 we are given a long list of blessings that will follow faith and obedience, as well as a long list of curses that will follow disobedience.  Both 1 and 2 Kings is a historical record of exactly how that unfolded for Israel.  The good kings led the people in faithful living and benefited from the blessings of God, and the evil kings led the people into faithlessness and received the promised curses, culminating in the conquest and exile of first Israel, and then Judah, as we read in today's final passage in 2 Kings.  God always keep His Word, and He will remain true to the promises in His covenant - both in the OT and the gospel message of the NT.

There is also a huge reminder in Kings that often the greatest danger to the church is the culture in which we live, and the temptation to conform to what is generally acceptable in our culture.  We should not act exactly the same as everyone around us.  We should be different.  And if we are not different, we need to take a good, long, hard look at our hearts and lives.

It's not mentioned much in this passage, but from others in the OT we know, that there is always a remnant of the faithful.  The faithful will never be wiped out entirely - God always has a remnant.

But the hope of Kings is the promise of the Perfect King, who came in the flesh at the incarnation, who already reigns, but who will reign perfectly and eternally at the Second Coming, and who will finally put things right for His people and the world.

Rayburn sums it up....
Kings is a summons to faithfulness, largely to be sure in the negative. It warns us what happens to the unfaithful in the church. It is also a summons to count on and look for and await the coming of the King, the King of Kings. How fortunate we are to live when we do. The King has already come; how much easier for us to look for his coming again.

In out Matthew passage we see the incredible account of the transfiguration - when the glory of Jesus as God is revealed over the humbleness of Jesus as man.  What was the disciples reaction to this short glimpse of the glory of God?  Terror.  Absolute terror.

Our sinfulness cowers in terror at the holiness of God.

How amazing that One so Holy would have love and compassion on us so sinful.  That He would sacrifice His only Son in order to have relationship with us.  Amazing grace!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Hosea 1-4; Matthew 18:1-20

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday, May 30th: 2 Kings 22-23, Matthew 16 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Kings 22-23; Matthew 16

Sorry for the delay in today's post!

It's interesting to note that Manasseh was grew up during the time when his father, King Hezekiah, was at his weakest point spiritually speaking.  And interesting that Manasseh finally repented (not spoken of here, but described in Chronicles) after more than 50 years of dismantling what remained of Judah's loyalty to God - which possibly explains his son Amon's ungodliness, but his grandson Josiah's godliness.  Perhaps his repentance was too late for Amon to benefit from, but not too late for Josiah.

Judah experienced an incredible revival under King Josiah, but unfortunately it was not enough to undo the damage caused by Manasseh and the ungodly kinds before him.  Eventually God's patience runs out - a warning for us today!

Ray Vanderlaan (RVL) has some very interesting thoughts on our Matthew passage, particularly the portion where Jesus is speaking to Peter at Caesaria Philippi.....

Before going to Jerusalem, Jesus took his disciples to Caesarea Philippi, a place famous for its paganism — and place so evil that the rabbis taught that the Messiah would overthrow its power.
(Mat 16:13-19)  When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Notice Peter’s reference to the “Living God,” evidently in contrast to the pagan idols that were there.
RVL argues that “this rock” refers to the very rock where the idols sat and fertility practices took place. In effect, Jesus said, my church will come and overtake this paganism.
Jesus said the “gates of hell” would not stand against his church. But gates are defensive structures. Therefore, the image is that the gates of hades would not defeat conquest by the church. We are to be on the offense. We are called to go into the very heart of hell.
Our attitude is often to be defensive, to build gates, rather than to challenge and knock down gates.
Thus, Vander Laan, argues, Christian churches and schools should be training grounds for challenging and defeating Satan. (At the time these lessons were taught, RVL was a teacher in a Christian high school.)
Now, Jesus spent 3 years training his disciples in a controlled setting, and then he sent them out into the world — equipped with the Spirit. Christian schools need to be staging areas for how to go out into the world and confront evil, not defensive structures to protect us from the world.
There is a spiritual war, and we need to be on the offensive!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  2 Kings 24-25; Matthew 17

Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday, 29 May 2015: 2 Kings 19-21, Matthew 15:21-39 ~ Elizabeth

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Kings 19-21; Matthew 15:21-39

Through Isaiah, the Lord comforts Hezekiah and promises to defeat the mocking Assyrians with a mere word. Do not mock God or misuse His name! He regards words greatly and will answer you according to your words. Though His Word of rebuke has deadly force, His Word of comfort has life-giving force, as He demonstrated at creation and in the Gospel of His Son, our King. The Lord shakes the Assyrian’s confidence with a report about the Egyptians coming to Judah’s aid. Today, have confidence in God’s Word, though scoffers and critics may despise it. What the Lord promises, He performs and works salvation for all who trust in Him. Placing Sennacherib’s words before the Lord, Hezekiah asks the Lord to distinguish Himself from the idols of the nations. The Lord mockingly explains for Hezekiah how He planned for the rise and fall of Sennacherib to fulfill His purposes. When hard times disturb you, take comfort in the truth that all the intrigues of the nations and politicians are subject to the Lord’s plans for His creation and Church. The Lord responded to David, Hezekiah’s ancestor and forefather of Jesus, our Savior. He will likewise respond to our prayers.
The Lord heeds Hezekiah’s prayer and heals him. At times, people wonder whether prayer really matters to God, as He already knows all things and what will happen. This passage removes any excuse for holding your tongue in the hour of need. Call on the Lord, as He invites you to do, and trust, like faithful Hezekiah, that the Lord indeed hears and answers for His mercy’s sake, which He has revealed to us in Christ. Hezekiah displays unusual callousness in a spiritual matter, gladly accepting a prophecy condemning his descendants.

Ironically, faithful Hezekiah leaves his throne to the worst king in Judah’s history, Manasseh, who had 55 years to thoroughly corrupt the people. Make parenthood and family among your highest priorities, by which you may serve not only this generation, but generations to come. The Lord makes you and your family the object of His love and mercy in giving His one and only Son for you.

In our Matthew reading today, we meet a Canaanite woman, a descendant of the OT race that Israel was ordered to exterminate because of their idol worship. This Gentile woman addressed Jesus in the same way as two Jewish blind men. In contrast to the Pharisees who were spiritually blind, she was not. When Jesus remained silent, making to response to the woman’s cry for mercy, the disciples begged Him to get rid of her. Jesus reminded His disciples that His mission was limited to the people of Israel. Jesus answered the mother with a pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct. Because of the proverbial nature of His statement, He may not be calling her a dog. In fact, He used the term referring to a house pet, rather than the more derogatory term. This astute woman matched Jesus’ maxim with one of her own: Pets get the scraps that fall from the table. “O woman, great is your faith!” Second time Jesus commended the faith of a Gentile. IN contrast, Jesus repeatedly chided His disciples for their lack of faith. This persistent Canaanite woman gains Jesus’ praise for believing that He will help her sick daughter. In time of need, we often either fail to pray with such determination or only ask hesitantly. Instead, we ought to “pray without ceasing”. Jesus hears all prayers offered in His name, and He will answer in His own time and way as is best for us. Therefore, we can pray with confidence. 

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  2 Kings 22-23; Matthew 16

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thursday, May 28th: 2 Kings 17-18, Matthew 15:1-20 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Kings 17-18; Matthew 15:1-20

After the misery of reading all about Israel's decline into spiritual depravity, I loved reading about Hezekiah's passion for God.

One part I found interesting was the smashing of the bronze snake Moses had made.  Originally this bronze snake symbolized God's presence and power, and was a reminder to the people of His mercy and forgiveness.  Unfortunately, it had become an object of worship instead of a reminder of whom to worship, and Hezekiah rightly had it destroyed.  Even something that was not made to be an idol can become an idol by the way people use them.  We have to be careful not to do the same thing - worship creation instead of the Creator, worship money instead of stewarding it for the kingdom, etc.
Our NT passage was a reminder that the heart of man is inherently sinful.  We are not intrinsically good.  We need a spiritual heart transplant.  Thankfully, that's exactly what salvation is.  God gives us a new heart, and puts new passions within us.  This new heart will manifest itself in our actions, of course, but we need to always remember that everything flows from the heart.  We also need to remember to nurture our new heart with spiritual food and not deprive it by filling our minds with trash.

 Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 2 Kings 19-21; Matthew 15:21-39

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday, May 27th: 2 Kings 15-16, Matthew 14:22-36 ~ tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Kings 15-16; Matthew 14:22-36

Over and over we're reading that the kings did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.   Robert Rayburn aptly points out.... We should shudder at the lasting effect of one man’s infidelity and disobedience. Generations virtually without thought followed Jeroboam in the course he had set. What was so natural for them because Jeroboam had made it normal in Israel was to lead to their ruin and destruction.

Two big reminders in there for us.  We need to make sure we are not blindly committing sin because it is normal.  And we need to be careful not to set up any sinful habits that our children will blindly follow after us.

Watching the steady decline of Israel into stubborn unrepentant sin - despite the preaching of Hosea, Amos, Micah, and Isaiah - unfortunately reminds me of the spiritual decline of Canada and America.  Yes, there is a faithful remnant, but a large portion of the church has simply succumbed to society's worldview and is, quite frankly, dying.  Therein lies the challenge for us - if the light is dying, how much more must we ensure that we do not keep our candle under the basket.

In our NT passage, I always love the story of Jesus walking on the water, and Peter's willingness to get out of the boat.  Yes, he falters and gives in to his fear - but originally he stepped out in faith, and when he did falter, he knew exactly who to turn to for help.  His faith was well-placed - Jesus always stands ready to rescue us when we recognize our inability to save ourselves and call on Him to save us.

I believe, help my unbelief!

 Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 2 Kings 17-18; Matthew 15:1-20

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tuesday, May 26th: 2 Kings 13-14, Matthew 14: 1-21 ~ Nathan

In our Old Testament reading we read of many kings of Israel and Judah who did evil in the eyes of the Lord. But when the prophet Elisha gets sick and is about to die,  king Joash of Israel,  who also did evil in the eyes of the Lord and wouldn't have listened to Elisha,  got emotional and cried. This shows that all the while he was doing evil,  King Joash still respected Elisha and didn't feel comfortable knowing Elisha would soon be gone.  This is like when a loved one passes away,  we often wait too long to tell them how much we loved and cared for them.

The miracle in chapter 13: 20-21, where a dead man is thrown into Elisha's grave then becomes alive again after touching Elisha's bones, would have been both awesome to see and shocking at the same time. God used Elisha here again,  at least He used his body,  after he had died,  to perform this miracle.

In our New Testament reading,  I find it amazing how Jesus handles the crowds that followed Him, even though He was feeling real down. He had just heard of the murder of John the Baptist, who was a great man of God, and Jesus needed time to deal with His sorrow.

But a crowd of approx 5000 people had followed Him and it was getting late and they hadn't eaten. Jesus could have said He had had a tough day and wanted to be left alone, but instead had compassion on the crowd and felt a need to feed them, which He did. This shows me how much He loved them,  and loves us. He put the crowds needs before His own. A good reminder for me to think of others and not myself all the time.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday, May 25: 2 Kings 10-12, Matthew 13:31-58 by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Kings 10-12, Matthew 13:31-58

The first thing that stuck out to me was that the Bible is full of just as much blood and gore, mystery and plotting, kidnapping and hiding, as many of the blockbuster movies, books, and tv shows. What a horrible first couple of verses.

The next thing I noticed was this verse: 21 Joash was seven years old when he became king.

I teach Grade 1 and quite honestly most Grade 1 students need help wiping their noses, keeping their fingers out of their noses, and putting their shoes on the right feet. I can't imagine any of my Grade 1 friends ruling a country and all the responsibility that goes with that. Yet, he "Joash did what pleased God for as long as he lived. " It reminded me that God can use us no matter what my age or perceived ability is. 

In Matthew, Jesus speaks to the people in such wisdom to increase understanding of what he was saying. So often it is when something is explained to us in terms that we can understand that things become clear to us. Jesus used  life examples so that people could truly get his message. 

I think one of the most profound parts of today's reading was this:

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

53 And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, 54 and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

Jesus was adored and revered by thousands who came to him to hear him speak, to be healed, and to be fed (physically and spiritually). However, in his own hometown, he was gossiped about, put down, and basically scoffed out of town. Were they just jealous? Was it because of his suspicious arrival during Mary and Joseph's courtship? Was it because the rest of his siblings were so "ordinary"?

Many small towns in our province boast on huge billboards to announce that they are home to certain NHL hockey stars. They want people to know that it was from their town where it all began. Jesus got no recognition like that. In fact, the Bible says that he chose not to demonstrate his miracles there because of their unbelief.

I think sometimes I am guilty of the same fault when I think about lack of recognition. I've been a Christian for as long as I can remember. I don't have a big "conversion" story where God literally turned my life around from obvious sin and rebellion that sometimes I don't broadcast my salvation to others. Sometimes hearing about how some testimonies of conversion are so dramatic makes my life story seems somewhat boring. Sometimes they share how God protected them or demonstrated clearly how He was leading them. Maybe because they are new Christians hearing and learning new things for the first time that they are more receptive and I don't always listen as closely because God has been a part of my life for so long....maybe?? Do I boast on the billboard of my life that God has been in my life (hometown) from the beginning? Have I been more reluctant to acknowledge God in my life because He's been there for so long? Or does God do less obvious and less spectacular miracles in my life because of my unbelief?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 2 Kings 13-14; Matthew 14:1-21

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday, May 24th: 2 Kings 7-9, Matthew 13:1-30 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Kings 7-9; Matthew 13:1-30

In our OT passage today we again see the sovereignty of God displayed - both in the battles/famine and in the rise and fall of the kings of Judah and Israel.

One thing that is important to note is how much an unbelieving spouse contributed to the downfall of a king and, therefore, a kingdom.  We saw it with Solomon, and we see it again with Jehoram, as well as Ahaziah (whose mother was Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel).  The long term spiritual impact on a family cannot be underestimated when we choose to go outside of God's will and marry someone who is not a believer.  This is a vital truth that we need to teach to our children - who they choose to marry is so key to their lives and the lives of their children and their children after them.

In our NT passage it can be somewhat discouraging to read the parable of the sower and how much of the seed falls on unfruitful ground.  It can make us discouraged to bother sowing the seed.  But the truth is - some seed falls on faithful ground, and we cannot always tell what soil is good soil and what is not.  It is the job of the Holy Spirit to prepare the soil, it is our job to spread the seed.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 2 Kings 10-12; Matthew 13:31-58

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Saturday, May 23rd: 2 Kings 4-6, Matthew 12:24-50 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Kings 4-6; Matthew 12:24-50

In the account of Naaman and God curing him of his leprosy through Elisha, we see that we need to humble ourselves before God and His sovereignty.  God doesn't do what we want the way we want Him to as though we had any say - God is in control, and we need to be willing to obey His voice even when it goes contrary to what we think is best.

It is also a picture of the gospel message.  We see a man in need, he hears the message of good news from the servant girl, there is supernatural deliverance, there is a work of grace, there is a command to obey something seemingly absurd, there is faith (however weak or halting it may be), there is a baptism, and a confession of the Lord as God.

We see from Gehazi, the dire consequences of sin - in his case greed and deceit.  We cannot hide our sin from God. We reap what we sow.

The account of the floating axe shows that God cares about every detail in our lives.

The account of Elisha's servant being able to see the supernatural is a great reminder to us that there is such an unseen world - and that we have to have faith without seeing it by sight, or we will live in spiritual blindness until it is too late.

The portion in Matthew that stood out to me was that a tree is known by it's fruit.  What kind of fruit am I producing?

 Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  2 Kings 7-9; Matthew 13:1-30

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday May 22, 2015: 2 Kings 1-3, Matthew 12:1-23 ~ Elizabeth

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Kings 1-3; Matthew 12:1-23

In early Hebrew tradition, 1 and 2 Kings were not separate books but were one long document, as the flow of the story itself shows. In the beginning of this part of the narrative, King Ahaziah and his troops show disdain for the Lord and His servant Elijah and are condemned with fire and death. Today the Lord would have us treat His servants with proper respect, pray for them, and hear His Word from them. In this sinful world, God’s Word is rare and precious, preserving our lives and delivering us from all condemnation. In Christ, we need not fear our enemies or His wrath.

After briefly noting Ahaziah’s death and before taking up the account of his successor’s reign, the author records the end of Elijah’s ministry and the first deeds of his disciple Elisha. When the Lord takes Elijah to heaven, He also bestows Elijah’s office and authority on Elisha, his chief disciple. The burning desire to serve God and His people through faithful leadership is proper. If we set our hearts on such noble service, and walk and talk with the Lord’s servants to learn from them His Word and wisdom, the Lord will prepare us for our calling. The heavenly Father will send His Spirit to embolden and uplift us, through Jesus, His Son. Through three miracles, the Lord removes all doubts about Elisha as Elijah’s successor. As the Lord calls us to service, He will prepare and support us. Though miracles may not follow us (as with Elisha) we have God’s miraculous Word in the pages of Holy Scripture by which the Lord will bless us with the comfort of salvation and equip us for every good work.

King Jehoram led Jehoshaphat and the Edomites against Moab on an ill-conceived military campaign, which had some success due to the Lords intervention through Elisha. Today, do not equate poor planning with faith. For all your endeavors, seek God’s blessing through prayer and make your plans through the wisdom of His Word. The Lord grants us wisdom and thoughtful hearts so that we may honor Him with our deeds. Thankfully, He planned for our victory over evil and our everlasting salvation in the person of His Son, Jesus, who offered Himself freely for the sins of all people.

In our reading from Matthew, God’s purpose in giving the Sabbath law was to provide physical rest for His people. But those in Jesus’ day who tried to follow all the Sabbath regulations imposed by the Pharisees found that the law had become a heavy burden, a yoke on their necks. We keep the Sabbath Day holy when “we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it” (Luther’s Small Catechism). Jesus offers true rest, the yoke of the Gospel. 

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 2 Kings 4-6; Matthew 12:24-50

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thursday, May 21st: 1 Kings 21-22, Matthew 11 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Kings 21-22; Matthew 11

The story of Naboth's vineyard and the absolute cruelty of Ahab and Jezebel has always resonated with me.  The absolute injustice of it all is shocking to us.  Imagine Naboth's wife - losing her husband, and (according to 2 Kings 9:26) her sons to a charge that was completely false - so devastating!

But we serve a God of justice.   And because Ahab destroyed Naboth's inheritance, God would destroy Ahab's inheritance and destroy his family line.  We won't always see earthly justice, but we are guaranteed eternal justice.

Thankfully, we also serve a God of mercy.  After all, we have all acted unjustly.  No, not to the extent that Ahab did, but unjustly all the same.   It's a difference in degree, not in kind.  God was willing to extend mercy to Ahab - but his repentance was superficial and short lived.  The good news is, that if God was willing to extend mercy to Ahab, a man of horrendous evil, He is also willing to extend mercy to us.

In our NT passage we see Jesus reply to John's question with, as Ray van der Laan explains, a remez.  Generally, a remez is a way of quoting a bible passage in such a way as to emphasize the portion you omitted.  In Isaiah, it is prophesied numerous times that the Messiah would make the blind see, the lame walk, lepers cleansed, deaf healed, and the prisoners set free.  Except Jesus did not quote the portion about the release of the prisoners - telling John that, though Jesus was indeed the Messiah, John would not be released as he expected, but that he would die in prison.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 2 Kings 1-3; Matthew 12:1-23

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday, May 20th: 1 Kings 19-20, Matthew 10:21-42 ~ Nathan

Chapter 19 starts off just after Elijah has performed a miracle (with God's help) making it visible to all who were there that God is the only true God and Baal was a fake. Elijah went on to kill all the prophets of Baal afterwards.

In chapter 19 we read how Elijah is running for his life after Jezebel threatens to kill him for what he did to the prophets of Baal. Elijah is terrified but God helps him again and shows himself to Elijah in a few more miracles. First God sends an angel to give Elijah food,  then He reveals himself to Elijah by causing a massive wind that breaks off a part of a mountain,  followed by an earthquake and fire.  God then spoke to Elijah in a gentle voice giving him instructions to go back and anoint Elisha as the next prophet.

Even though Israel and Judah keep sinning against God,  God still provides prophets to help those that want to obey God. It says in verse 18 that there were approximately 7000 in Israel that still obeyed God. Those 7000 reminded me of the Christians in North America. We Christians were once in the majority here in Canada (like all of Israel once followed God) and Canada's laws were based upon what the Bible  teaches. We are now in the minority and our nation doesn't seem to want anything to do with God. And yet God still provides good leaders in our churches . This makes me appreciate our pastors and church leaders. 

In our New Testament reading we read more about how difficult it is to follow Christ. This goes along with what I mentioned earlier that struck me,  about God's followers being in the minority back in Elijah's day. The same thing is true today,  Christians are in the minority here, and shouldn't expect to have it easy. In fact, we can expect persecution in some form and need to be ready to respond in a way that honours God and shows that we are proud to follow him, and not ashamed.

That is my prayer and goal,  to not be ashamed anytime,  that I'm a follower of Christ.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tuesday, May 19th: 1 Kings 16-18, Matthew 10:1-20 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Kings 16-18; Matthew 10:1-20

The first thing that struck me about our OT passage is God's sovereignty and how He is able to use sin and sinful men, sinlessly.  The rise and fall or each king was no accident.  God's hand is firmly in control.  Time after time we read about something coming to pass just as God said it would - including entire families being destroyed.

Another thing is that each king, and the nation under him, was judged according to his heart and deeds.  It never says that the king followed God faithfully and that God wiped out his family line.  We are all personally responsible to God for our actions.

Another thing is God's timing.  God is oftentimes very patient in dealing out justice, but what He says will happen will happen, in His time.  It doesn't matter how much time has passed, the promise still stands.  God had decreed, through Joshua, hundreds of years earlier, that whomever rebuilt Jericho would do it at the cost of his firstborn and lastborn.  The people may have thought it was irrelevant by now, after all, so much time had passed.  But God's promises are timeless, and Heil lost his firstborn and lastborn son when he rebuilt Jericho, exactly as God had promised.

Sin and its consequences always seem to multiply over time.  Each king in Israel got progressively worse and worse.

Rayburn points out that even though our nation is certainly not Israel, and we are not under covenant with God as a nation, the same principles still hold true from all countries today.

  1. History is a divine plot and God is in absolute control;
  2. The prospects of a people are directly related to their moral condition;
  3. Each nation as each man is directly responsible to God and accountable for its behavior;
  4. And God’s time is not ours; we cannot measure his approval or disapproval in the moment, but only when he finally acts to exercise his judgment in the world according to his Word.
Our NT is a good reminder that our faith is missional, and we must share what we believe with those around us, no matter the cost.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Kings 19-20; Matthew 10:21-42

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday, May 18th: 1 Kings 14-15; Matthew 9:18-38 ~ Conrad

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: 1 Kings 14-15; Matthew 9:18-38

In our 1 Kings passage we read about Jeroboam's son, Abijah is sick, and Jeroboam wants a little prophetic knowledge concerning him. So Jeroboam has his wife disguise herself and head out to see Ahijah, a prophet who told Jeroboam that one day he would be king.

What is interesting is that Jeroboam knew that Ahijah was able to prophesy.  So wouldn't Ahijah also be able to prophecy that Jeroboam's wife would be coming to him in a disguise?

Well he did know.  He was not fooled, despite his eyesight being poor from old age.  He not only knew but also prophesied that, because of Jeroboam's sin, Abijah would die upon her return......and that's exactly what happened.  He also prophesied that Jeroboam's lineage would be cut off. After 22 years of reigning on the throne in Israel, Jeroboam dies, leaving the throne to another son, Nadab, but he was killed two years later resulting in the extinction of Jeroboam's descendants.

We read that Solomon's son, Rehoboam, isn't doing any better with Judah.  "Judah did evil in the eyes of the Lord.  By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than their father had done."  In The Message translation it said "They set new records in sin, surpassing anything their ancestors had done."

Everything that God had gotten rid of when He brought Israel into the land, was now back.  How frustrating that would have been for God!

Rehoboam has a 17-year rocky ride as King.  Being continually at war with Jeroboam added to his losing campaign against the Egyptian king, Shishak who comes in and takes all of Solomon's accumulated wealth from the palace and temple, and then he dies.

Rehoboam's boy, Abijah, takes over after his death, but reigns only 3 years.  According to 1 Kings 15:3 he didn't serve the One True God.  He is compared in a bad way to David in this verse. David is commended for having a "perfect heart" before God here.

No doubt, David would have been a tough king to follow after he had been continually doing what was right in the eye's of the Lord.  But these kings had no intentions of that!

So Abijah's three-year mission as king of Judah was characterized as a Northern/Southern Kingdom of Israel unification period, but it failed. He died after tremendous bloodshed with nothing to show for his efforts.

There's a lesson to be learned here.  The kingdom split because of Solomon's tolerance for paganism. The split of Israel into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms was done by the hand of God. Therefore, restoring the Kingdom of Israel as it was during Solomon's reign could only have been accomplished by King Abijah serving the one true God of Israel. However, he did not have any interest in that; instead, "he walked in all the sins of his father."  Abijah missed the point - the spiritual point. The forced reunification of Israel was not the remedy for a spiritual problem...yet Abijah was not in tune with God and did not see that.

Abijah's boy, Asa, becomes king - a good king - not perfect, but a good king. It's about time. Asa rids the land of the male prostitutes and removes all the idols his father had made. He got rid of most of the high places in the cities of Judah, and his heart was fully committed to the Lord.

Asa had a large army, but it was nothing compared to the Ethiopian army of 1 million that attacks Judah.  God enables Judah to pursue them as they fled back toward Ethiopia and wipe out this massive army. What a miracle and a testimony to the power of God!

But Asa didn't always rely on God for help.  When Baasha, King of Israel builds Ramah right outside Jerusalem for the purpose of interrupting Judah's trade routes He calls the King of Syria (Benhadad) for assistance.  The immediate good news?  It worked.  Baasha did evacuate Ramah and give up the idea of attacking Jerusalem.  The bad news?  God sends a prophet, Hanani, to tell Asa that, because he didn't rely on God like before against the Ethiopians, it'll be war for the rest of his days of his life.

With all the good Asa did before the Lord, his life ends with a lapse of spiritual insight accompanied by bad judgment.

I always think, it's not how you start, it's how you finish.  How true with Asa!

In our NT passage, we read about many miracles that Jesus performed.  Jesus performed them because the people in need had faith in Jesus that He could do it.  Is my faith that strong?

We are called at the end of Matthew chapter 9 to work in the harvest "to the sheep without a shepherd".  Jesus showed compassion for these people who are lost and helpless.  We are to too.  "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few."

God knows all, and provided wisdom to Ahijah, the prophet.  Do we try to disguise ourselves to God
as Jeroboam did with his wife?  Are we in tune with God?  Or are we like Abijah?  Having good intentions, but not seeking God.  Do we forget what God has done for us in the past as Asa did, and eventually no relying on God down the road and trying to accomplish things on our own strength?  Are we prepared to work in the harvest and show compassion to the lost?  Is are faith as strong as it should be?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Kings 16-18; Matthew 10:1-20

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday, May 17th: 1 Kings 12-13, Matthew 9:1-17 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Kings 12-13; Matthew 9:1-17

What struck me about our OT passage was Rehoboam's foolish decision to listen to the advice of his friends, who were simply telling him what he wanted to hear, instead of listening to the wise advice of his father's older advisors.  We need to be careful in the friends we choose, because, as much as we may like to try to convince ourselves otherwise, they will influence us and the decisions we make.  We need to be humble enough to listen to those who give us advice we don't want to hear.  We need to be discerning enough to filter the bad advice from the good.  We need to be wise enough to overlook what we want to be true, to see what is actually true - as always, this is done by filtering things through the Word and a biblical worldview.

In our NT passage, I was struck by both the faith of the paralytic, and even more so, the faith of his friends.  They were the ones that did the work it took to get him to Jesus, and they would not have done that if they were not sure that their faith was well placed.

Over and over, Jesus contrasted the false teachings of the pharisees (salvation by works) with the true message of the gospel (salvation by grace).  You cannot combine the two teachings (the wineskin analogy).  You cannot teach that you are first saved by grace but then need to have works in order to maintain your salvation.  You cannot teach that you must do everything you can to achieve salvation and then trust Christ to make up the difference.  No!  It is salvation by grace - and all the work is done by Jesus Christ.  The works that we do are not to earn salvation, but rather to express our love and thankfulness to Christ for what He has done for us, and as a result of our desire to grow more and more like Him every day.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Kings 14-15; Matthew 9:18-38

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday, May 16th: 1 Kings 10-11; Matthew 8:18-34 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Kings 10-11; Matthew 8:18-34

In our OT passage the Queen of Sheba rightly sees that with a king like Solomon, the people couldn't help but be happy.  How much more should we be joyful, who have a much greater King than Solomon!  When we are not happy, or do not feel priviledged or favoured, it is because we have forgotten who our King is, what His kingdom is (and will be) like, and the priviledge of belonging to it.  We may not be guaranteed earthly wealth, but the treasure awaiting us in heaven will make all earthly treasure pale in comparison.  We must never forget how priviledged we are to serve a King such as ours!  This doesn't mean our circumstances will always be wonderful, happiness due to circumstances is only superficial anyway.  It means we can always be joyful, no matter our circumstances, because of who our King is, and because of our faith in His coming perfect and eternal kingdom.

Unfortunately, Solomon begins to forget this himself, despite all his wisdom.  The Bible never shies away from brutal honesty about the lives of its greatest heroes, and Solomon is no exception.  Yes, he was wiser and richer than anyone in the world, but he allowed his wives and their idol worship to turn his heart away from being fully devoted to God.  And by the time of his death, he had managed to seal the doom of his kingdom due to his own foolishness and sensuality.

How could such a wise man become so foolish?  How could He become so careless of the Lord's favour and God's law?  It is clear from the rest of the OT and NT that Solomon was repentant and died a believer, but how tragic is the second half of his reign!

There are a few reasons for this deterioration in Solomon's spiritual life.  First, he became willing to compromise with secular culture when he married more than one woman (against God's specific command to kings), and specifically married Canaanite women, all for political advantage.  We need to remember not to allow the ordinary thinking and behaviour of our culture to become acceptable to us as believers. We cannot compromise on things the Bible clearly forbids.

In Solomon's case the lure of the culture was strengthen by the lusts of the flesh.  The sin of promiscuity has many serious consequences - Solomon (and his children) did not escape them, and neither will we, if we give in to temptation.

And, like the lyrics in the Casting Crowns song, it was a slow fade.  Solomon didn't go from righteous living to idol worship in a day.  It happened in small steps, one after another, each one getting progressively worse.  What started off as amassing horses and wealth against God's law, eventually became full out idol worship.  First horses, then gold, than many wives, then idol worship.  It was a slow fade.  We need to be so careful that we don't start justifying small sins to ourselves and allow them to lead us so far in the wrong direction that we no longer know where we are.  Our spiritual lives are subject to the law of decline - if we want to remain spiritual strong, we need to be proactive about it!

In our NT passage we see very clearly that Jesus does not promise earthly riches to those who follow Him.  There is no prosperity gospel in the NT.

I always love the stories of Jesus calming the storms - it would have been absolutely amazing to be there and witness such an amazing miracle.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Kings 12-13; Matthew 9:1-17

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday, May 15th: 1 Kings 8-9, Matthew 8:1-17 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Kings 8-9; Matthew 8:1-17

In our OT passage today we read about the dedication of the temple.  Solomon's prayer is both theological and personal.

He is appealing to God on the basis of things God has done and said.  Solomon knows that God chose the people of Israel and that He made the Davidic covenant, and he is praying with that as his foundation.  We, too, should pray using the Bible as the basis for our prayers.  We know what God has promised and we can appeal to Him based on those promises because He is faithful.

Rayburn: it is to be our commitment as Christians to make our prayers as much like this prayer as we can and then our lives like our prayers! Profoundly theological – the expression of our confidence in God, in his electing and redeeming love, in the promises of his Word – and deeply personal, the expression of our own hearts, our own love, our own need, in sincerity and seriousness.

In our Matthew passage we see Jesus using miracles to prove His supernatural power as the Son of God.  What I love about these miracles is that Jesus didn't just do a bunch of meaningless miracles, like use lightning to draw pictures in the sky. No,  His miracles weren't designed just to impress.  They also evidenced His great compassion for the least of these, and His salvation - He was doing something for them that they couldn't do for themselves and that no one else could do for them.  He never turned anyone away.  He can heal, not only our bodies, but more importantly, our souls.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Kings 10-11; Matthew 8:18-34

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thursday, May 14th: 1 Kings 6-7, Matthew 7 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Kings 6-7; Matthew 7

In today's passage it mentions that it took Solomon 7 years to build the temple and 13 years to build the palace.  I've often wondered if that was a negative comment, or simply a statement of fact.

Rayburn's sermon discusses this and he had some great points I hadn't thought of before.  It does seem like there was some excess involved in the building of the palace, but there is no suggestion that the temple was too small or built "cheaply" in any way.  In fact, there is gold everywhere in the temple, but not in the palace.  The building of the palace is inserted into the middle of the account of the building of the temple which seems to say that the temple is the main thing and the palace is less important.  The palace would, by it's very purpose and nature, be a larger complex requiring a variety of buildings and would naturally take longer to build.

Rayburn goes on.....
You spend much more of your time at work, whatever your work may be, than you do at church. Is that wrong? Are you, for that reason, worldly? You spend more of your time at home with your family than you do worshipping God or directly involved in some ministry? Is that wrong? Are you, in that way, demonstrating that you care more about other things than you do for the glory of God?

No; of course not. We would say, and rightly, that to be a faithful worker, to support our families, to build in our homes a happy and holy life for our children is not being worldly. To do such things, in fact, is to glorify God because it amounts to fulfilling his will for our lives and the callings that he has given us as his children. Solomon was not belittling God by serving Israel as her king; he was not showing himself more interested in his work than the worship of God by building a palace complex. He was glorifying God by doing and doing well the work God had given him to do.

This is everywhere the Bible’s perspective: whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all to the glory of God. Solomon was no doubt right to think that he was giving glory to God not only by building for him the most glorious, costly, and beautiful sanctuary in the world but as well by building an impressive complex of government halls, offices, and palaces. Israel was Yahweh’s people and he was Yahweh’s king! The palace should reflect that fact as the temple did. He would not have thought, and we should not think, that if we work at our calling we are subtracting from God’s glory.

He goes on to use the example of marriage.  In the NT Paul wishes that all Christians could remain single as he was so to be free to devote themselves entirely to the work of God, but he's knows it's not possible and not the calling of every individual.  In other words, when people get married, they cannot be only completely devoted to God - some of that time and energy and commitment now needs to be invested into your spouse.  Is this wrong?  Far from it!  It is precisely what God expects of us, demands of us!  It would not be glorifying to God to neglect your spouse in order to work on a church project, and it would not have glorified God for Solomon to devote himself entirely to the temple and ignore his duties as Israel's king.  We definitely need to have the church and worship as priorities in our lives, but it is not only in church that we are able to give glory to God.  We each serve Him in the areas that He has called us to serve.  We are to be people of both the temple and the palace.

Our Matthew passage contains the most widely known verse in the Bible, and one that non-Christians love to pull out and use completely out of context in order to avoid any negative criticism about their lifestyle.   "Judge not, lest ye be judged".    It's easy to understand why people like their assumptions of what this verse says - nobody can condemn their behaviour without bringing condemnation on themselves.  

First, Jesus is not speaking to people whose behaviour is bad and letting them know they don't need to worry about being criticized.   He's speaking to His disciples (and us!) and letting them know that they need to be humble in their attitude and speech towards others.  We need to live with an awareness of our own sin, and God's grace to us in forgiving that sin, and be likewise generous and merciful when it comes to those around us.

Obviously, we are still to discern between right and wrong.  He is not even forbidding us from condemning certain men or behaviour (see v 6 and 15 of this same passage).  And we are later instructed to hold our fellow believers accountable with the goal of repentance and reconciliation.

Rayburn sites a quote from John Stott "Do not judge is not a requirement to be blind, but rather a plea to be generous" in our estimation of others and their conduct.  Rayburn also adds....
I know of no wiser or more incisive comment or interpretation of Matthew 7:1 than Johann Albrecht Bengel’s four words:   sine scientia, amore, necessitate. That is, do not judge another unless you really have all the facts, unless you are motivated by love for him, and unless it is really necessary for you to intervene.  Do not judge without knowledge, without love, and without necessity....

The reason we should not judge others in the way Jesus forbids here, without knowledge, without love, and without a need to do so, is because it is not right for Christians to have a censorious spirit when they have been treated with such mercy by God.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Kings 8-9; Matthew 8:1-17

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wednesday, May 13th: 1 Kings 3-5, Matthew 6:19-34 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Kings 3-5; Matthew 6:19-34

In our OT passage today, we see Solomon show signs of wisdom - by asking for wisdom.  He was wise enough to know that being able to discern right from wrong was crucial in his role as King, and he was wise enough to know that he wasn't wise enough on his own.

Can we say the same?

Are we wise enough to know that we ought to pursue wisdom and discernment?
Are we wise enough to know that wisdom does not come from within ourselves, but rather from God - the author of wisdom?
Are we wise enough to desire wisdom over everything else the world offers instead - power, money, prestige, etc?

As we'll see later in the OT, Solomon's wisdom was not enough to keep him wholly devoted to God.  Not only do we need the ability to determine right from wrong - we need the desire to chose rightly when we know what we ought to do.  Solomon did not always choose rightly.  We need to desire, not only wisdom, but the Author of wisdom.

This Matthew text fit very well with our OT passage.....
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
What are you (and I) pursuing?  Where is your treasure?  Where is your heart?

I also found it awesome that Solomon is mentioned in our NT passage - I love how God is able to speak through His Word by "coincidentally" matching up "random" passages in this way.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Kings 6-7; Matthew 7

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tuesday, May 12th: 1 Kings 1-2, Matthew 6:1-8 ~ Nathan

In 1 Kings 1 we read how one of King David's sons wanted to place himself on the throne,  instead of following procedure.  His name was Adonijah,  he was a spoiled child who grew up to be proud.
Adonijah set himself up to become King, only to have Solomon move ahead of him to take his rightful spot on the throne. Solomon was promised the throne by his father King David.  After Solomon became king,  he could have had Adonijah killed for trying to step ahead of Solomon, but instead gave him a second chance.

As King David lay on his death bed,  he gave Solomon some final advice. After telling Solomon to follow all the commands of the Lord,  he goes in to tell Solomon to settle a few old scores David had from men who crossed him.

Later in chapter 2 Adonijah pushes Solomon again,  this time he pays with his life. Solomon later has opportunity to kill both of the men that his father wanted him to kill,  and he gets the opportunity and kills both. Now he has full control of his kingdom.

This passage says to me to be patient. God will accomplish His will at His time. He will create opportunities for us at His time.

In the passage from Matthew 6:1-18, we read about Jesus teaching about  giving,  prayer and fasting. In all three He says to do these things in private and not for show, like hypocrites. We need to take time daily to be by ourselves reading the Bible and praying, not doing it for others to see and be impressed,  but rather so that we can grow stronger in our faith and closer to the people God wants us to be. God cares about our true relationship with Him, not a fake relationship we put on for others to see.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015 Jonah 1-4; Matthew 5:27-48 by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is  Jonah 1-4; Matthew 5:27-48

Scripture: Matthew 5:43-48

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[c] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Observation: Do the hard stuff because it will be what no one else would do.

Application: The story of Jonah can apply to this passage. God commands us to love our enemies. Love the people we can't stand. Love the sinners...and we are all sinners...and pray for those who intend to hurt us. Hmmmm....that doesn't sound like something that is easy to do. And. It. Isn't.

When Jonah was called to Nineveh, he was called to the city of sinners. Nineveh was evil to its core. Jonah literally wanted nothing to do with this city. He bought a ticket in the opposite direction to get away from loving his enemy. Of course, Jonah learned the hard way that we can never out run God and ended up getting a crash course in God's "time out chair" to reflect, repent, and receive God's mercy and forgiveness.

Unfortunately, Jonah still doesn't fully comprehend God's message when Jonah's message is not only heard but received by the people of Nineveh. When they reflect, repent, and receive God's mercy and forgiveness Jonah is furious. They become even more detestable in Jonah's eyes and Jonah wishes he could die instead of living with the knowledge that they have been saved despite living their evil ways in the past. Jonah can't even see that the Ninavites are just like him....sinners who have been redeemed.

It's easy to love the people you like. It's downright difficult to love the people you don't and people don't usually do it. However, when they do, God can use their love to draw them closer to Him. When we love as Christ loves it stands out. It makes people wonder why. What am I doing to make people wonder why?

Prayer: Lord, you are the God of love. You have demonstrated perfect love to us. We  constantly fall short of your perfection. Thank you for your abundant love and mercy. Help us to model those same things when we are interacting with others. Give us ability to love like you do so that others may wonder why. Amen.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Kings 1-2; Matthew 6:1-18

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday, May 10th: Numbers 35-36, Matthew 5:1-26 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Numbers 35-36; Matthew 5:1-26

In Numbers 35 we see that the people were to be intolerant of sin, but impartial to the accused in order that justice would be served.  It is wrong to overlook wrongdoing, but it is also wrong to jump to conclusions.  It's a good reminder for us to stand up for justice, protect those who have not yet been proven guilty, and to listen to all sides of the story before making judgment.

As Chapter 36 shows us, there are always exceptions to the rule.  Wise leaders are able to sort out the legitimate concerns and make sure that justice is done in these cases.

In Matthew we have the passage that probably demonstrates how counter-cultural the biblical worldview is more than any other passage.

I liked this quote from my Life Application Bible....
The Beatitudes can be understood in at least four ways: (1) They are a code of ethics for the disciples and a standard of conduct for all believers. (2) They contrast kingdom values (what is eternal) with worldly values (what is temporary). (3) They contrast the superficial "faith" of the Pharisees with the real faith Christ wants.  (4) They show how the Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in the new kingdom.  These beatitudes are not multiple choice - pick what you like and leave the rest. They must be taken as a whole. They describe what we should be like as Christ's followers.

I know MacArthur has pointed out that the attitudes described in the Beatitudes are essential to the gospel message.  Only those who recognize how poor in spirit they are, who mourn their lost condition, are humble enough to recognize they cannot save themselves, and who long to be made righteous will accept the gift of salvation, and in return show mercy to others.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Jonah 1-4; Matthew 5:27-48

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Saturday, May 9th: Numbers 32-34, Matthew 4 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Numbers 32-34; Matthew 4

In Chapters 32 we see two and half tribes deciding to opt out of the Promised Land for what they determined to be greener pastures. It seems that they were originally also attempting to opt out of the coming conflict, but they exhibited some spiritual maturity when they capitulated to Moses' argument that they could not and should not. To at least some degree, they gave in to worldly temptation and unbelief by choosing these greener pastures over the Promised Land God intended for them.

An argument could also be made that God's plan was flexible and He allowed the Promised Land to be enlarged as long as it was done the right way.

What is likely key in this passage is Moses' argument and how he persuaded them not to sin.  Moses' first point is that the sin of one can negatively affect the faithfulness of others.  Your sin does not only affect you.  Moses did not want their disinterest in the Promised Land from discouraging the other Israelites.   His second point was that if they chose to sin, God would not allow that sin to go unnoticed or unpunished.

Both those points are true for us as well.  Our sin affects those around us.  And, even though the sins of believers are forgiven through the blood of Jesus, we are not absolved of the consequences of our sin.  The Bible gives example after example of this - the death of David's son due to his sin of adultery and murder is just one such example.  God will not be mocked, and we do reap what we sow, and grace is not a license to sin.

There are many reasons to obey God.  Chief of which should be because we love Him and are grateful for His redemptive work in our lives.  But other reasons include the fact that our sin will always be brought to light, we cannot escape earthly consequences for our sins, others depend on our faithfulness, and others are damaged by our faithlessness.

In our Matthew passage, what struck me (and ties in well with the theme from Numbers 32) was the temptation of Jesus.  Even though Satan tried to twist the very words of God to entice Him to sin, Jesus did not take the easy way out.  He obeyed His Father out of love, and gave us an example in His faithfulness.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Numbers 35-36; Matthew 5:1-26