Thursday, June 4, 2009

Today's Bible Readings

The readings continue daily... so here are some more comments for today!

Genesis 8

A warning chapter. Moses reminds Israel how he provided for them in the desert.
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Deut 8:3)
This is one of two references in today's readings that Jesus uses to argue with the devil when he is tempted in the desert (see Matthew 4). Yet another example of how often when you read different passages of the bible they all link up together!

In this chapter God explains how wonderful the land will be for it is truly "a good land" (v7-9). Then he warns them:
10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
What is the risk? When life is good, they will forget God. They will forget he is the source of their blessing and instead they will claim that they are responsible for the good times themselves.
17 You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.
When are you tempted to claim blessing as something you brought upon yourself? From your wise desicions? Or your careful planning? Instead, we should thank God for his many blessings upon us. As it says in v18:
18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth...
Even our abilities to do things well come from God.

Psalm 91

Here is the second passage which is used in the account of Jesus' temptation in Matthew, although interestingly, it is used by Satan to try to tempt Jesus:
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
Jesus rebukes Satan for using this verse against him, saying "Do not put the Lord your God to the test" (Matthew 4:5-7). I guess this helps to show us that anyone can use part of the bible to their own means and out of context. Perhaps we should take it as a warning to be careful as we use the word of God?

I found the last few verses of this Psalm struck me:
14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."
In this passage we can see that God is with 'him' (perhaps the one in v1-2 who trusts in the Lord?). God will be with him in trouble, protect him, rescue him and he show him salvation. A reminder perhaps, that God is with us at all times and in all circumstances.

Revelation 6

An interesting reading, which evokes a number of images of judgement. Following on from ch 5 having found the Lamb who alone was worthy to open the scrolls, here the scrolls are opened. There is a strong picture of judgement at the end here and the fear that results, for everyone wants to hide:
16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"
There is great truth to the phrase "The great and dreadful day of the Lord" (Joel 2:31, Mal 4:5. The day of God's judgement is certainly real. However there is also great promise, as Joel also says:
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
(Joel 2:13b)

Let's thank God that while he judges, he is also slow to anger and abounding in love.

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