Notes from my Bible Study for May 5, 2010

Today’s Reading: Psalm 124, Numbers 5, Isaiah 41, Philippians 1:27-2:11

Psalm 124 – 1b If it had not been the Lord who was on our side—

8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

The first half of Psalm 124:1 and Psalm 128:8 are bookends in a chapter that speaks of God’s great deliverance for the Children of Israel.

Have you ever been where the people of Israel were? Have you found yourself in a place where all you could do was stand back and look in awe at all that God had done on your behalf? How would you finish this phrase: If it had not been the Lord who was on our side?

I praise God that He is for those who seek His face. He loves His children. May we, like the Children of Israel rejoice at what God has done.

Numbers 5 – Numbers 5 gives details as to how the Children of Israel were to handle leprosy, sins against others, and sexual sin.

I really like verses 5-7:

5 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 6 “Speak to the people of Israel, When a man or woman commits any of the sins that people commit by breaking faith with the Lord, and that person realizes his guilt, 7 he shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong.

True repentance meant making restitution for the sin that was committed, and adding 20% more to the value of what was taken.

Isaiah 41 – 10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

The role of the prophet was a difficult one. Men like Isaiah were called by God to deliver unpopular messages to people who were often times living in sin. Sometimes the prophet gave a message to a nation that was following God, but was still going to go through trial.

God gives Isaiah and the nation of Israel comfort in Isaiah 41:10. The same God who promised to uphold Isaiah, promises to uphold us. God doesn’t promise us that life won’t be tough. In fact, the Bible is full of passages that speak about the difficulty that we will endure this side of Heaven. Through it all, God will hold us up. When you go through a difficult time, remember that it is God who promises to be with you. I can’t think of anyone else that I would want with me more.

Philippians 1:27-2:11 – 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, 9 being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I love the book of Philippians! In these verses Paul gives us some of the most beautiful verses ever written on the sacrificial love of Christ. Rather than comment on them, I’d like you to read the verses once again. Read them slowly, reflecting on each phrase. What is God saying to you?

Notes from my Bible Study for May 4, 2010

Today’s Reading: Psalm 123, Numbers 3-4, Isaiah 40, Philippians 1:1-26

Psalm 123 – 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us.

Is this how you look at God? It really is a beautiful picture of our relationship with Christ. He is our master. We are dependent upon Him. God expects His children to living in confident expectation of Him. He loves to work on behalf of His people, for His glory.

Numbers 3-4 – Numbers 3-4 records the census that was taken during the time of that Moses was on Mount Sinai. The children of Israel took great care to make sure that the people were counted. One of the great things about biblical genealogies is that they create a verifiable historical record of the people who were present on the earth at the time of significant historical periods.

Isaiah 40 – 31 but l they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings m like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 is one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture. I can’t tell you how many works of art that I have seen in my lifetime that have these words etched on a piece of canvas or clay. There is something so comforting about these words.

When I was a young youth pastor living in Washington D.C., I was invited along with our Senior Pastor to have lunch in the Senate Dining Room. Richard Halverson, the Chaplain of the Senate was our host. Many pastors were invited to lunch that day, including an inner-city pastor friend of Halverson’s. Dr. Halverson asked his old friend to share with the rest of us his interpretation of Isaiah 40:31.

He said, “Oh, my brothers. Let me tell you. The Lord is so good! He is worth serving with all of our hearts. Brothers, we need to serve God like these waiters are serving us. I’m sick and tired of Christians sitting on their rear ends waiting for God to bless them. Friends, we will have our strength when we spend it on the Lord. They that wait, they that serve the Lord tirelessly, they are gonna have their strength renewed. They will rise up with wings as eagles. They will run and not faint! Brothers, we’ve gotta spend our lives serving the Lord.”

Now, I’m pretty sure that my brother in Christ had the interpretation of the Hebrew word “wait” a little wrong. I believe that we are to wait on God and on God’s timing. But, I liked what my brother said too. We need to spend our lives serving the Lord. There is no endeavor that is greater. Serve the Lord, and watch what He does.

Philippians 1:1-26 – 3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Paul loved the church at Philippi. These spiritual children of his were precious in his sight. He wanted to see them experience the joy that comes from being a follower of Jesus. I’m amazed, every time I read this letter, that Paul was chained between two prison guards when he wrote it. This is a man who had such joy in Christ that even in the worst of circumstance he could rejoice.

Verses 3-6 are encouraging verses to me in my Christian life. They remind me that God is at work in my life. I’m glad that God has begun a new work in me. I want my life to bring glory to Him.