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Archive for April, 2011

Bible Reading Commitment, Encouragement, and Challenge

April 30 – 1 Chronicles 1-2

Observe with some (Interpretation in Parentheses)

  • The first 9 chapters of 1 Chronicles are pretty much genealogy, and many of us cringe when approaching these texts because there are so many names, most of whom we don’t know and most of whom we can’t even pronounce their names.
  • BUT, imagine yourself in the shoes of a Jewish man in those days.
  • The time period is at the very end or shortly after the exile when Judah returns to the promised land after many, many years
  • You were not born in the promised land, and here you are returning to the land which supposedly has special purpose
  • And so 1 and 2 Chronicles are written to remind people of HISTORY, how they are connected to the promises of God that stretch all the way back to the first man, Adam.
  • 1 Chronicles begins with Adam, and traces the line of God’s promise.

How Points to Christ

  • And the lineage and genealogy of God’s promise ultimately ends with Jesus Christ
  • When the New Testament comes and Jesus is born, the last genealogy is given.
  • The ultimate Promised Son has been born!

Apply

  • God is FAITHFUL to keep His promises
  • Please pray that I would fight by unbelief at many times in my life and fight to believe God’s promises
  • And please pray that I would put all my hope in Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of all God’s promises

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May God increase our desire for His glory to spread to all nations and peoples – Joshua Project!

Please pray for the …

Population: 4,359,000

Language: Panjabi, Western

Religion: Islam

Evangelical: 0.00%

For more details…

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Bible Reading Commitment, Encouragement, and Challenge

April 29 – 2 Kings 23-25

Observe with some (Interpretation in Parentheses)

  • Josiah is a great king, giving much hope that he is the promised King to lead the nation
  • Josiah got rid of much outward idol worship
  • Josiah re-established the Passover
  • Josiah sought to establish the words of the Law of God
  • God Himself declares Josiah to be one of the greatest kings, saying in 23:25, “Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.”
  • BUT, is Josiah the promised King?
  • NO, unfortunately no.
  • While Josiah was one of the best human kings helping reform Israel outwardly, he still could not address the fundamental problem with Israel and all humanity, the problem of idolatry in the heart
  • Josiah could remove physical idols, but he could not re-create the heart to remove the idols of the heart
  • Josiah could re-establish the Passover, but He could not stir up the people’s affections of the heart to love the One True God above everything else

How Points to Christ

  • Who is needed is King Jesus, who dies and resurrects to change hearts, to give people new hearts, making them new creations
  • Jesus is the perfect, promised King who is able, through His life, death, and resurrection to reverse all the effects of sin and the sinful fall
  • Jesus is the promised King who changes people from within, and with a changed heart, outward life changes as well.

Apply

  • This truth is very humbling and also very encouraging as a pastor
  • It is humbling because no matter how hard I “try” as a pastor, I can never successfully change people’s hearts
  • But it is also very encouraging because Jesus has come, lived a perfect life, died as a substitute, and resurrected in victory
  • There is hope for change through Jesus
  • It is encouraging because I simply need to faithfully hold out the glory of Jesus in all the Scriptures and pray fervently for God to use Jesus to re-create and change people’s hearts
  • I am very challenged to grow in prayer as God alone can change hearts

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May God increase our desire for His glory to spread to all nations and peoples – Joshua Project!

Please pray for the …

Population: 514,000

Language: Arabic, North Levantine

Religion: Other/Small

Evangelical: 0.00%

For more details…

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Bible Reading Commitment, Encouragement, and Challenge

April 28 – 2 Kings 20-22

Observe with some (Interpretation in Parentheses)

  • Pride is deadly.
  • Pride comes before the fall.
  • King Hezekiah seems to have a mixture of both humility and pride.
  • He recognizes that his LIFE is in the Lord’s hand, and thus he regularly prays humbly for God to spare his life, both in war against Assyria and in a serious illness
  • Yet, even in Hezekiah’s “humble” prayer, we see hints of his deadly pride
  • He prays not based on God’s abundant mercy, but asking God to remember his “faithfulness and righteousness.” (20:3)
  • However, before even chapter 20 ends, we see Hezekiah’s self-centered pride in full display
  • When envoys from Babylon come to visit, Hezekiah proudly showed them all the wealth and treasures that he had accumulated.
  • (Though Hezekiah may have recognized that his LIFE is in the Lord’s hand, he didn’t really get it – he thought the wealth he accumulated was based on his own successes, not God’s grace)
  • (Life and wealth are gifts from the Lord – not a right we have and not something we obtain and keep on our own)
  • Even after hearing Isaiah’s prophesy against his house and the entire nation, Hezekiah doesn’t humble himself
  • He continues his self-centered pride and simply rejoices because he has peace in his day, even though destruction, war, and exile are predicted because of Judah’s sin
  • And beginning with the reign of Hezekiah’s son Manasseh, we see wickedness and God’s promised discipline expressed all the more clearly
  • And even though Josiah, a great, righteous, God-fearing, Word-centered King comes, it is not enough to change Judah’s punishment of exile because of their many sins.

How Points to Christ

  • Even the greatest human kings, like Hezekiah and Josiah were greatly insufficient to change people’s hearts to worship and serve the Lord
  • Who is needed is King Jesus, who dies and resurrects to change hearts, to give people new hearts, making them new creations
  • Jesus is the perfect, promised King who is able, through His life, death, and resurrection to reverse all the effects of sin and the sinful fall

Apply

  • Pride comes before the fall
  • Please pray that I would never put my hope or the basis of my prayers based on my filthy, deluded righteousness
  • Please pray that I would boast in nothing but the cross of Jesus Christ and His imputed righteousness
  • Pride comes so easily
  • Humility is so hard
  • Fighting for humility (from a right understanding of the Gospel) will require much discipline
  • May God’s church be characterized by humility and not pride, trusting in God’s promised King, Jesus Christ!

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May God increase our desire for His glory to spread to all nations and peoples – Joshua Project!

Please pray for the …

Population: 854,000

Language: Panjabi, Eastern

Religion: Other/Small

Evangelical: 1.50%

For more details…

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Bible Reading Commitment, Encouragement, and Challenge

April 27 – 2 Kings 18-19

Observe with some (Interpretation in Parentheses)

  • In the midst of all the wicked and sinful kings, in these chapters we see a glimmer of hope and we see the basis of hope
  • The King of Assyria has conquered so many lands, and now they come to Jerusalem to fight against Judah and King Hezekiah
  • In the beginning of chapter 18, we saw that the king of Assyria successful captured Samaria and Israel
  • But, God is clear that the King of Assyria was only able to conquer Israel because God allowed it
  • Israel was exiled because they did not obey the voice of the LORD their God but transgressed his covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. They neither listened nor obeyed. (18:12)
  • Judah, as a sinful people, was no different than Israel
  • BUT, the difference was that all the military successes of the King of Assyria made him proud
  • The difference was that the King of Assyria thought it was his might and strength that gave him military victory, and he mocked the King of Kings and the God of Creation
  • In addition, Hezekiah humbles himself, recognizes his impending defeat unless God acts for His own glory
  • Hezekiah’s humble prayer is powerful:
  • Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: “O LORD, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.” (19:15-19)
  • And God does indeed ACT and SAVE for HIS OWN GLORY!
  • While Judah slept, God acted
  • While Judah slept, God sent ONE ANGEL who destroyed 185,000 military trained men in the army of Assyria
  • God sent one angel to save His people for His glory
  • (It is NEVER a good idea to mock God – God will act to defend His glory)
  • (Judah didn’t deserve salvation because they also had sinned grievously against the Lord and transgressed His covenant)
  • (But God gives grace to the humble and God acts for His glory)

How Points to Christ

  • The ultimate way God saves His people is through Jesus Christ, and Jesus experienced what we deserved
  • Jesus, at his betrayal and arrest, said that if He willed, twelve legions of angels would be ready to fight and defend Him
  • But in order to truly save sinners, God chose NOT to send an angel to defend and save Jesus
  • God gave Jesus over to death on the cross, and God poured out His wrath on Jesus for sinners
  • In order to save sinners, in Jesus’ darkest hour, God chose not to save Jesus, but killed Jesus as the righteous substitute for sinners

Apply

  • Be thankful
  • God did not spare Jesus so that He could spare us!
  • Be humble
  • God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble
  • Pray for God’s glory
  • God is the ONLY GOD – may He alone be worshiped and praised in all the world
  • So please pray that I and God’s church would be passionate in evangelism and missions

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