Notes from my Bible Study for March 29, 2010

Today’s Reading: Psalm 88, Exodus 34, Esther 1, 1 Corinthians 6

Psalm 88 – This is another of the psalms of lament. The Sons of Korah write about a time where they felt the heavy hand of God upon their lives. They equate their feeling to that of dying. The psalmists plead with the Lord to spare their lives so that they might continue to serve the Lord. What is so interesting about this Psalm is that there is no place where the authors state their belief that God will rescue them or strengthen them.

There are times in life where our struggles seem so difficult that it is tough to imagine that we will ever come out of it. God was no less able to deliver in this Psalm than in any other, but there is no mention of God’s deliverance. I believe that this Psalm was written in one of those dark nights of the soul in the lives of the writers. God is faithful even in our darkest of days.

Exodus 34 – Moses meets with God for forty days and nights as God once again writes the Ten Commandments on the stone tablets and establishes His covenant with His people. The amazing thing that happens in this chapter is that Moses’ face begins to glow. When he spends time with God, the people know it, because His face literally reflects God’s glory. He begins to cover his face with a veil in between meetings with God. What a special relationship Moses had with the Lord. The people did not become impatient this time. They believed that Moses would come back down from the mountain. They did not turn to false gods.

I’m glad God was patient with a stubborn people. He reflects that patience today as well. If you have breath today, thank God for another chance to live for Him, and vow to follow Him and only Him today.

Esther 1 – The book of Esther is one of the Old Testament’s most interesting books. It is in this book that we get the phrase that we were put here for “such a time as this.”

The first chapter of Esther shows us the moral backdrop that Esther found herself thrust into. King Ahasuerus was a wicked man. Married to Queen Vashti, the two monarchs found themselves living in luxury. The king loved excess. He and his Queen hosted a party that lasted 180 days. Towards the end of the celebration, the King asked his wife to come show off her beauty to the men of the kingdom. She refused, and he became enraged. This began a series of events that God used to rescue His people.

1 Corinthians 6 – Paul continues to teach the church at Corinth the dangers of sexual immorality. Remember, this is a church that was rife with sexual sin. Paul let’s the church no in no uncertain terms the danger of choosing to walk in a manner of sexual sin. This type of sin will destroy not only a person, but can destroy a church and a family.

Paul also takes time in this chapter to talk about exercising spiritual freedom in areas that are not profitable to him, and how this is not do his advantage.

Notes from my Bible Study for March 28, 2010

Today’s Reading: Psalm 87, Exodus 33, Nehemiah 13, 1 Corinthians 5

Psalm 87 – Psalm 87 celebrates the city of Zion (Jerusalem) and the God who has chosen to dwell there (Jehovah). The Sons of Korah, as worship leaders for the people, wanted the people to recognize how blessed they were to be the chosen people of God. If you are a Christian today, you too should celebrate that Christ has chosen you. He has paved the way for you to become a son or daughter of Christ, forgiving your sins and reconciling you unto a relationship with the Father.

Exodus 33 – The relationship that Moses had with God was an extraordinary one. He spoke with God as a man speaks with a friend. The Children of Israel must have been blown away by the daily display of Moses talking with God. As Moses met with God, signaled by the pillar of cloud descending upon the tent of meeting, God met with His friend. That’s right, like King David, centuries later, Moses was a friend of God. May we also be a friend of God. We have access to God through prayer. Take it. Spend time with God. He desires friendship with you.

Nehemiah 13 – The book of Nehemiah ends with the final reforms that Nehemiah would bring to Israel. I’m struck by Nehemiah’s absolute commitment to making sure that the people didn’t make the mistakes or fall into the same sins as they had in the past. He quickly confronts sin in this passage. He exhorts the people to live holy, set apart lives. They are not to follow in the ways of their pagan neighbors. They are not to marry their pagan neighbors. They are not to desecrate the temple by working on the Sabbath or selling their wares outside of it. He is quick to point out the sin of the nation and make definitive steps to correct the sinful actions of the people. He ends this chapter, and the book of Nehemiah with this prayer: Remember me, O my God, for good. Now, that’s how I want to be remembered by God!

1 Corinthians 5 – Sexual immorality has no place in the body of Christ. Paul has heard about a specific case that was being tolerated in the Corinthian church. The man who was involved in immorality with his stepmother was actually boasting about his conquest! Apparently, the Corinthian church had done nothing to stop the behavior. Paul warns them that tolerating such behavior could destroy the entire church. It was important that this man be disciplined and asked to leave the local body of believers. Paul gives one of the strongest arguments in all of Scripture for church discipline in verses 9-13, which says, 9I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges those outside. Purge the evil person from among you.