Notes from my Bible Study for February 22, 2010

Psalm 53, Genesis 47:27‐48:22, 2 Chronicles 26, Acts 19:23‐20:16

Psalm 53 – God is constantly scanning the world to see if there are any who understand and seek after God. David uses this psalm to underscore the fact that there is no one like our God. There is no one who does good. It is the fool who says in his heart that there is no God. May we not be foolish. Seek after God with all your heart!’

Genesis 47:27-48:22 – Jacob was old. At 147 years old, his days on this earth would soon be over. This passage records the tender conversation that took place between Jacob and his favorite son, Joseph. It also records the blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh. As had been the case with Jacob and Esau, Ephraim is blessed as the firstborn even though Manasseh was the older child. This was not a mistake. Jacob knew what he was doing. God would indeed bless the Ephraimites.

2 Chronicles 26 – The old adage, “Pride goes before the fall,” is evident in the story of Uzziah. His early reign was marked with great achievement. But, Uzziah became pride. He began to think that the rules didn’t apply to him. So, he did what was not allowed in the temple of God. He burned incense. This was a job that was reserved for the priest, not the king. When confronted, in his arrogance, Uzziah insisted that he be allowed to burn incense. He then acquired leprosy, and lived with it the rest of his life. He would eventually die, isolated, because of his pride.

Acts 19:23‐20:16 – Once again the Apostle Paul faced opposition to his ministry. It’s something that those who serve the Lord should expect. In this case, the opposition that Paul felt caused him to leave Ephesus. I believe this is because God had plans for Paul that were to happen elsewhere.

When Paul left Ephesus he encouraged believers in other regions, even raising one man from the dead. That would have never happened if Paul had still been in Ephesus.

Notes from my Bible Study for February 21, 2010

Today’s Reading: Psalm 52, Genesis 47:13‐26, 2 Chronicles 25, Acts 18:23‐19:22

Psalm 52 – As you read through the Psalms, the theme of trust runs through and through. Psalm 52 is one of those psalms that reflects David’s trust of the Lord. David is once again being pursued by evil men, but instead of spending his time in worry and fear, David turns the table on his enemy.

In essence David is saying, “Listen, Bub! I’m not the one who needs to be afraid. You are coming against the Lord’s anointed, and the Lord. Keep messing with God, and you will be the one who pays the price.”

God doesn’t promise us that Christians won’t face difficult times. He doesn’t even guarantee victory over our enemies. David felt assured that God would work on his behalf. If God chose not to, it would be okay, because David would have no regrets for how he was living his life.

Bottom line is this: live for God, not for men. Fear God, not men. Follow Him, no matter where He leads, and you will have no regret.

Genesis 47:13-26 – Joseph was a shrewd negotiator, and a wise leader. While the people of Egypt and Canaan may have grown to regret their decision to give themselves and their land as servants to Pharaoh, their decision saved their lives.

Joseph did not take all of the land. He took 20% and left 80% for the people. This allowed the ruling class to have enough food to provide for the nation in the event of the famine. The people worked hard, and their lives were spared.

2 Chronicles 25 – If there is a key verse in 2 Chronicles 25, it has to be verse two, “And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart.”

The verse was speaking of Amaziah, the king of Judah. This king was 25 years old when he became king, and reigned in Jerusalem for 29 years. His worship of god was halfhearted, for he also worshipped false gods in the form of idols.

At first, Amaziah’s devotion to God was not complete, because he refused to destroy the idols of his predecessors. It wasn’t like he actually worshipped idols. But, given enough time, halfhearted worship becomes false worship.

Eventually, Amaziah worshiped idols captured from an enemy army, and then he hardened his heart, refusing to listen to godly counsel from a prophet. This led to Amaziah’s downfall. The king felt the sting of God’s judgment in the form of his death. May we not be hardhearted people.

Acts 18:23-19:22 – Apollos was a man who loved the Lord, and spoke boldly of Christ in Ephesus. It was clear to the church leaders that Apollos had the hand of God upon him as he spoke. But, he didn’t understand everything about God. He had a basic misunderstanding about what baptism was all about.

Priscilla and Aquila did something beautiful for Apollos. They took him aside and “explained the way of God more accurately” to him. What a beautiful picture of the growth of a servant of God. He didn’t allow his pride to get in the way of his learning. He took their words and became a better communicator. Apollos is an example of a person who didn’t have it all together, but someone who was used in a mighty way by God.

We shouldn’t be afraid of allowing God to shape us through other people. We also shouldn’t think we have to have it all together for God to use us. He used Apollos and He can use you!