Notes from my Bible Study for January 31, 2010

Today’s Reading: Psalm 30, Genesis 27:41‐28:9, 2 Chronicles 4, Luke 20:45‐21:38

Psalm 30 – What is the most down you’ve ever been? If you are a human being, and I am assuming if you are reading this blog you are :), then you have had periods of time that you are discouraged, upset, or downright depressed.

Life includes a series of good days and bad days. When we are stuck in the bad days, we can find ourselves wondering if the good ones will ever come again. Psalm 30 includes timeless truth for those who struggle with depression. Our God is a God who loves to turn mourning into dancing. He is a God that can take the worst days and turn them into the best.

Two verses I want to highlight here.

Verse five says, “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

Verse eleven says, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,”

That is the power of Christ in us. When we struggle, it’s important to ask, “Why?” Is our struggle our doing, God’s doing, or someone or something else’s doing? If it’s our doing, then confess it. God is a God of grace. Our weeping may last for a night, but rejoicing will come in the morning.

If it is God’s doing, remember that God is sovereign and good. His plans for us remain good. They are greater than our plans are for ourselves. Trust.

If the pain is coming from someone or something else, remember that God is greater than any force, person, or situation that can come into our lives. He will take care of us. One day, our mourning will turn into dancing.

Genesis 27:41-28:9 – The drama in the life of the family of Isaac and Rebekah continues in this section. Isaac is close to death when Esau determines in his heart that he will kill his brother upon Isaac’s death. Rebekah hears of Esau’s plan and sends Jacob to live with his uncle Laban. She tells Isaac how displeased she is at the Hittite women that Esau had married. She commands Jacob to marry a woman from Laban’s homeland.

When Esau gets wind of this, he realizes that his choice of wives must have displeased his father. So, he added a third wife. This time he marries the daughter of Ishmael, the son of Abraham. Therefore, he marries his cousin.

2 Chronicles 4 – This chapter speaks of all of the temple furnishings that Solomon and Huram-Abi made for the temple. So many items needed to be constructed for temple worship. I’m constantly stuck at the detail that went into the temple and the worship of Jehovah. There were such incredible preparations that went into worshipping God. I wonder if we have lost something in our 21st century worship of God. Have we lost some of the wonder and awe with which the people approached the LORD.

Luke 20:45-21:38 – There are three distinct events that are recorded in this section of Scripture. The first is a teaching that Jesus gave regarding the religious leaders of that day. He warned those listening to him to be careful about those that they were holding up as being godly men. Many of these religious leaders were just making a show of their love for God. They worshipped God publicly, but they had hearts that were far from God. They were living their lives for the praise of men, not the honor of God.

As a religious leader (a pastor), I am constantly questioning my motives. Why do I pray the way I do, speak the way I do, act the way I do? Am I doing my “job” for God’s glory or mine? Any time I get in the way, I am ineffective. We need to be a people that live for His renown.

The second event was the offering that a widow gave at the temple. She was poor and gave the modern equivalent of a few cents. There were others who gave much larger gifts. Their gifts were presented in front of men, with great pomp and circumstance. These people, according to Jesus had received their reward in full. The widow’s gift was greater than that of those who made great show of their gifts. She gave out of a heart of love and true sacrifice. The others gave to make a show. We need to examine our motives in giving to Christ.

Finally, Jesus gave his listeners signs of the end of the age in this passage. It’s one of the most famous passages in all of Scripture dedicated to what the world will look like when Christ returns. I remember listening to a pastor recently who said, “The world has never looked more like the world that Jesus said He would return to than the world we live in today.”

As you read this passage, what are some things that stick out to you about the days that Christ will return? Why is it important for us to study biblical prophecy? How can the study of biblical prophecy help us grow in our faith? What are some of the dangers in studying biblical prophecy?

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