Notes from my Bible Study for February 7, 2010

Today’s Reading: Psalm 37, Genesis 34, 2 Chronicles 11, Acts 3:1‐4:31

Psalm 37 – Psalm 37 is a song that speaks of the faithfulness of God towards his children.

There are few verses that spoke powerfully to me. The first is verse four, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

I wonder if we truly delight ourselves in the LORD. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about the irreducible core of the Christian life an awful lot. That irreducible core is to love God, love others, and make disciples as we go. We won’t get the rest of the Christian life right if we don’t first delight ourselves in God. Is God our all consuming passion, or a cosmic genie in the sky?

I was also blessed by verses 23-26, which say: “23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,when he delights in his way;24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.26 He is ever lending generously,and his children become a blessing.”

The Lord has taken care of my family in more ways that I can count. These verses resonate with me. They reflect the God that I know. I praise Him for His faithfulness today!

Genesis 34 – Here we read a sad chapter from Israel’s history. Dinah, the daughter of Jacob had been raped by a man named Shechem. When her brothers found out this news, they were determined to take things into their own hands. They wanted vengeance on the man who did such things to their sister and to his entire family.

In the end, Simeon and Levi kill all of Shechem’s male relatives. They take the plunder, (wives, children, land, etc. for themselves).

Jacob is not pleased by this impulsive revenge; worried that others will now take vengeance on his own family.

2 Chronicles 11 – 2 Chronicles 11 tells the story of Rehoboam’s reign over the kingdom of Judah. The man who started his reign poorly seemed to redeem himself in the end. Remember yesterday’s reading says that he surrounded himself with peers for advisers, and ignored the advice of the elders who had reigned with his father, Solomon. That got him into deep trouble, and divided the kingdom of Israel into two the nation of Judah and the nation of Israel.

I’m glad that we can change our minds when we have made poor choices. How good to read of Rehoboam’s revival by the end of 2 Chronicles 11.

Acts 3:1-4:31 – There is something so amazing about seeing a person wholeheartedly following Jesus Christ. Peter and John were men like that. In this passage of Scipture we see Peter and John heal a man who had been lame from birth with just these words, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”

I guarantee you that the lame man was more excited about walking than he would have been about any amount of money that Peter and John could have offered him.

By the end of the day, Peter and John were arrested. Their crime? Proclaiming the powerful name of Jesus.

That did not deter Peter and John. They used their new platform to continue to be a witness for Christ.

The people took notice of the boldness of Peter and John. Look at verse 13, “13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”

May the same be said of us! Have you been with Jesus? If so, your life will reflect it. Keep working through the Challenge and let Christ shape you!

Notes from my Bible Study for February 6, 2010

Today’s Reading: Psalm 36, Genesis 33, 2 Chronicles 10, Acts 2

Psalm 36 – King David wrote some pretty scary words in Psalm 36:1-4, the scariest of which are, “there is no fear of God before his eyes.”

He was speaking about the wicked. To live one’s life with no fear of the Lord is a certain path to destruction. It may not happen in this life, but it surely will in the hereafter.

Remember, in Psalm 14:1, David told us that it was the fool who says in his heart that there is no God. The wicked person has not only said such thing in his heart, but has acted upon that belief with callous disregard for the Lord.

May you live your life with a constant awareness and holy reverence for the Lord.

Genesis 33 – What a beautiful story of redemption! Esau had every reason to hold bitterness towards his brother, Jacob. But, God had blessed Esau. When Esau saw Jacob, he chose to run towards him with unabashed love. A note in my Bible described this run as the run of the father in Jesus’ story of the Prodigal Son.

It’s interesting that Jacob compares seeing Esau’s face with the face of God, for he had just wrestled God the night before.

Both God and Esau showed Jacob unmerited favor.

There are people in almost every person’s life that need to be shown unmerited favor. Esau had no human reason to show such love to his brother. His love helped change Jacob. Who can you show love like this to? Who can you forgive? Who can you reconcile with? Maybe God will use you to change them for good.

2 Chronicles 10 – Rehoboam was the grandson of King David, the son of King Solomon, and a very stupid leader. It was under his leadership that the nation of Israel was divided. His stubborn refusal to listen to the wise counsel of his father’s advisers, in favor of listening to his younger peers, led to incredible rebellion in the nation.

As a pastor, I want to always keep verse 8 in front of me, as a reminder about what happens when we don’t respect the heritage of a church, a nation, a family, etc.

8 But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him.

Acts 2 – Acts 2 is the chapter of the Bible where everything changed! After Jesus ascended to heaven, the apostles gathered in the upper room, praying and waiting for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

I love the way Acts 2 describes the coming of the Holy Spirit. There could be no doubt that this was the Spirit that Jesus promised. It would have been amazing to be in that upper room, but what happened next was even more incredible.

Peter, the impulsive, Jesus-denying, foot-in-mouth, act before you think, incredible leader of a man; spoke to thousands about the God who had so marvelously restored and forgiven him. And everyone in the crowd heard Peter’s sermon in his own language. What a sermon! Three thousand people came to faith in Christ, and the early church started!

The description of the early church in Acts 2:42-47 shows a group of people who understood the irreducible core of the Christian life – love God, love others and make disciples as you go.