Notes from my Bible Study for January 6, 2010

Passages Read Today: Psalm 5, Genesis 6, 1 Chronicles 6, Luke 3:1-22

Psalm 5 – When you read verses like Psalm 5:4-6 you get a picture of just how much God hates evil. I love how verse four says “evil may not dwell with you.” And, at the same time it can be terrifying. We are all evil. We have all abandoned the things of God for our own desires. That is why His grace is so beautiful. When He sees Christians, God does not see our sin, but His grace.

Genesis 6 – Genesis 6 is a sad chapter. It teaches us much about the holiness of God. Our wickedness grieves God. It always has and always will. But, there are those in every generation who find favor in the eyes of God. I’ve heard it said that God has a remnant who are faithful to Him in every generation. It’s tragic, that in the days of Noah, that remnant consisted only of His family. It’s interesting to note here too that the progression of man’s sin was so grave that, according to verse 5, “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Does it ever feel to you like this world is becoming a place like that? My heart broke this morning as I drove into work, listening to Minneapolis talk radio, and heard nothing but wickedness coming from my radio. The hosts were joking about how uptight Christians were about things that God clearly calls sin. May we, like Noah, be people who find favor in the eyes of the Lord.

I’m preaching through the life of Elijah at WCC right now. One of the marks of Elijah has been his continued obedience to God, no matter what it was that God asked him to do.

Noah was like this. The chapter ends with this verse: “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.” May we do likewise!

1 Chronicles 6 – There is a lot of space devoted to the descendants of Levi. This is because, their job, as the priestly line, was so important. These were the men who went to God on behalf of the people. I read a note in my ESV Study Bible today that said that this genealogy was given such prominence in the listing of genealogies because of the importance of the priestly role. The chronicler placed the line of Levi in the center of the genealogical lists to show that the role of the priests was central to Jewish life. It was a role as important as that of the king.

It was interesting to read about the men who David put in charge of the service of song in 1 Chronicles 6:31-33. How awesome to picture years of ministering in the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and then picture the day that they moved into Solomon’s temple. What a day that must have been!

The importance of the offerings was also shown in verse 49. Again, this is the chronicler’s way of showing just how important the role of the priest was.

Verse 3 struck me too. What a family! “The children of Amram: Aaron, Moses and Miriam.” There aren’t many women included in genealogies, but Miriam is included. Here role in the exodus is crucial. You don’t hear a lot about Amram in Scripture, but you do hear about his wife, who courageously defied Pharaoh and rescued her son.

Luke 3:1-22 –Jesus had high regard for John the Baptist. In Matthew 11:11, Jesus says, “11 I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

You can see why in verses like John 3:10-14. John’s message of repentence was simple enough, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Tax collectors were told to “collect no more money than you are authorized to do.” Soliders were told to “not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

John showed people how to live like people of God. He called people to act like God’s chosen people.

When Jesus comes to be baptized in verses 21-22 you see a significant thing happen. Jesus wasn’t coming for forgiveness of sins. He came as an example and to identify with humanity’s sin, which he would take upon Himself on the cross. We should follow his example in baptism.

His baptism is also one of the few occasions in Scripture where you see all three members of the Trinity shown in one place. The Father speaks, the Holy Spirit decends like a dove, and Christ is baptized.