Notes from my Bible Study for February 18, 2010

Psalm 49, Genesis 44, 2 Chronicles 22, Acts 15:36‐17:15

Psalm 49 – Psalm 49 reads more like a Proverb, for it is full of practical wisdom. Often times those who live righteous lives can get distracted by the world around them. It’s easy to ask questions like, “Why do those who completely ignore God seem to get ahead in life.” The writers remind us that every one of us will eventually die. To live a life that ignores God is not only ignorant, it is also eternally devastating.

The psalm ends with these words: 20 Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

God, give us understanding. Help us to be a people who know and understand You, and live for Your glory and renown.

Genesis 44 – The drama in Joseph’s story intensifies in this chapter as he tests his brothers to see if they have truly changed. After Benjamin is falsely accused of stealing, Judah speaks up for all of the brothers, and offers to take the place of Benjamin as Joseph’s slave.

There would be One who would come from the line of Judah many generations later, who would give His life as a ransom for you and for me. Jesus Christ came into the world from the family line of Judah.

2 Chronicles 22 – Sad days continue for the divided kingdom of Judah and Israel. Judah’s kings had been mostly righteous, and Israel’s kings had all been wicked. The marriage of Ahab’s daughter to Jehoram, had brought Baal worship to Judah. Now both Judah and Israel were following false gods. After Jehoram’s death, Ahaziah became king, but he only lasted a year; following in the ways of his father, and even allying with the king of Israel to make war. That foolish decision would cost him his life.

God preserves His covenant to David by sparing the life of Joash, hiding him for six years as Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and wife of Jehoram ruled in her son’s place. How sad that Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter was now the ruler of Judah!

Acts 15:36-17:15 – The passage begins with the dispute between Paul and Barnabas that God used to grow His church. Paul and Barnabas both had a heart for discipleship. They wanted to strengthen the believers that they had visited on their first missionary journey. Barnabas, the encourager who saw the good in others when other people could not (including Paul, after his conversion) wanted to bring John Mark along. Paul wanted nothing to do with it because John Mark had abandoned them on the first missionary journey. So, they divided and went their separate ways.

Silas joined Paul and Mark joined Barnabas, and they all made disciples.

Paul would meet Timothy, early in this journey. Timothy would become like a son to him. By the end of his life, Paul would want both Timothy and John by his side. He would eventually reconcile.

Sometimes our disputes with others are a way for God to work so that He can accomplish even greater works in our lives. It’s okay to disagree with others. It’s okay choose to part ways. But, it’s never okay to stop loving and stop hoping in someone else.

I’m blown away as I see the fruit of Paul and Silas’ ministry. These men praised God in all circumstances. When in jail, they sang praises and trusted God. They saw jail as an opportunity to share Christ with their captors. When God provided for escape, they shared Christ.

One last thought from these passages. The Berean church was made up of some extraordinary followers of Jesus. Acts 17:11 tells us that they studied the Scriptures to make sure that what Paul and Silas told them was true: “11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”

All of us should do the same thing. We need to be in the Word, studying it to make sure that what we hear from pastors and teachers is true.