Notes from my Bible Study for January 14, 2010

Passages Read: Psalm 13, Genesis 14, 1 Chronicles 14, Luke 8:22‐56

Psalm 13 – Years ago, DC Talk recorded a song entitled, The Hard Way. It was a song that dealt with the stubbornness of some of us when it came to what God wanted to teach us. Aren’t you glad that God loves even stubborn people?

In Psalm 13:5 David writes, “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.”

No matter what we do, no matter what our past, no matter what we will do in the future; God’s love for us remains steadfast.

As a pastor, I talk to so many hurting people. Not a week goes by where I am not in conversations with people who feel like their entire world is crashing. The good news is, God knows. He knows right where you are. He knows where you have been. He knows right where you will be. And, His love for you remains steadfast.

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone in our lives loved us with that type of love? Without God, that type of love is impossible. The best friendships, the best marriages, the best parent/child relationships, the best jobs are all impacted by love that doesn’t remain steadfast.

If God has called us to be like Him, and if His love is steadfast, then by His power, we too can show this kind of love.

So, let’s stop learning the hard way. Let’s stop running in every direction but the direction that will lead to fulfillment. Run to God’s open arms. Let your hear rejoice in His salvation. And, show that type of love to others.

Genesis 14 – This is an interesting chapter as Abram shows himself to be dependent upon God and God alone for his provisions. I have always been fascinated by Melchizedek, King of Salem. Some scholars believe that Salem is short for Jerusalem, and that Melchizedek was actually an early high priest/king of Jerusalem. He shows himself to be righteous as he blesses Abram.

Abram rejects the King of Sodom’s suggestion that Abram take the goods from the peoples that were just defeated in battle; showing that God alone is where his provision comes from.

1 Chronicles 14 – We learn a lot about why David was so blessed by God as a leader in 1 Chronicles 14. Before entering into battle with the dreaded Philistines, David sought God. Verse ten tells us that “David inquired of God, ‘Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Go up, and I will give them into your hand.'”

This was one of the most important battles of his early monarchy. And, David refused to go to battle with the enemy before first doing battle on his knees before God.

God did give him the victory of the Philistines. But, the Philistines were a mighty adversary. So, the Philistines now go on another raid against Israel. David again goes to God to inquire if he should go to battle. God again answers that he should.

Verses 16-17 show us the results of David’s obedience to God.

16 And David did as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army from Gibeon to Gezer. 17 And the fame of David went out into all lands, and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations.

Luke 8:22-56 – The power of Jesus is so evident in Luke 8:22-56. In verses 22-25 we read an account of Jesus calming a storm. In a boat, with His disciples, Jesus is sound asleep. A enormous storm comes. On this boat are some veteran fishermen. Even they are afraid at this storm. So, they awaken Jesus. (Interesting how the humanity of Jesus is shown here. Jesus got tired. So tired, that he could sleep through a ferocious storm.)

Jesus responds by rebuking the wind and the raging waves. The Bible simply states that they ceased and there was a calm. Jesus then looks at the disciples and says, “Where is your faith?”

I love the response of the disciples, “Who is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”

Later on in the chapter Jesus heals a man from demons and the crowd is blown away. Then he heals a woman and Jairus’ daughter. There can be no doubt that Jesus is the Christ.

So, where is your faith today? Is it in yourself, in others, or in God? Place it in Jesus today.

Notes from my Bible Study for January 13, 2010

Passages Read: Psalm 12, Genesis 13:2‐18, 1 Chronicles 13, Luke 8:4‐21

Psalm 12 – 12 The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

What a description of God’s words! There is nothing false in them. His words are absolutely true. They are absolutely pure. There is no impurity in them. They are strong words, in other words they can be counted on. Aren’t you glad you can count on the word of God? Every word of it!

Genesis 13:2-18 – Can you imagine what Abram must have been thinking as God spoke to him in Genesis 13:14-17? God made a promise to Abram that was unlike any he had made with any other man before. He told Abram that he would have offspring as numerous as dust. Dust can’t be counted, and neither would Abram’s future offspring. That is quite a thing to promise to an old man that is too old to bear children. He also promised Abram all of the land around him as far as the eye could see. Wow! He was already very rich in livestock, silver and gold. Now, he would be rich in family. Remember, Abram didn’t have any children at this point. What a promise!

God has fulfilled that promise. Abram’s offspring are too numerous to count. The generations that have followed are the Children of Israel.

1 Chronicles 13 – It had been a long time since the Ark of the Covenant had been treated with the respect that it deserved. The Ark has always been a mysterious thing. Containing the stone tablets of God’s covenant with His children, the ark was to be treated with dignity. It had been largely ignored during Saul’s reign, placed in the small town of Kiriath-Jearim. Now the ark is being transported to Jerusalem. Along the way, the Israelites decide to carry the ark on a cart. This went against God’s regulations that the ark be carried on a pole by Levites. Somewhere along the way the oxen who were pulling the cart with the ark stumbled. Uzzah put out his hand to stop the ark from falling, and he was struck dead.

There are many who wonder why God would do such a thing. God was communicating to the people just how serious He was about respecting Him. How the people treated the ark was symbolic about how they treated God. They had ignored God’s regulations, and God was setting the standard.

We have no idea what happened to the ark. But, we do learn a valuable lesson from this encounter. How we treat God matters. God cares. He may not strike us dead for our lack of reverence, but nonetheless, He takes note of how casually we use His name, break His commands, or go our own way. May we recognize the awesome holiness of God!

Luke 8:4-21 – Jesus loved to teach by telling stories. In Luke 8:4-21 he tells us two parables, the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Lamp.

The Parable of the Sower talks about several different types of soil that a sower sows his seed on. He throws some seed along the path, and that seed is trampled underfoot. Some seed falls on the rock and quickly withers away because of a lack of moisture. Some falls among thorns and when it grows it is choked out by the roots. Some of the seed falls on good soil and grows and yields a hundredfold.

Many pastor’s have preached messages on this passage and said, “What kind of soil are you?”

But, I wonder if the point is less about the soil and more about the sowing. Maybe the point of the parable is that we would become sowers, recognizing that not every seed we throw will bear fruit, but we need to thrown the seed. Remember, the seed is the Word of God. Let’s keep working to get His Word heard, but not just heard, let’s live incarnationally and let it be seen!