Daily Encouragement

March 29 – Where do famines come from?

March 29
Deuteronomy 11:1-12:32
Luke 8:22-39
Psalm 70:1-5
Proverbs 12:4

Deuteronomy 11:1 – How do we show love? By trusting God. How do we keep his statutes? By obeying God.  We just need to trust and obey.

Deuteronomy 11:7 – Why should we trust God? Because we’ve seen what He has done.

Deuteronomy 11:17 – God warned that He would shut up the heaven. Did He ever do this after this warning? Yes!

  • Ruth 1:1 in Bethlehem (because of Judges 21:25)?
  • 2 Samuel 21:1 in the United Kingdom (why did it take David three years to ask God?)
  • 1 Kings 17:1 in Israel (because of 1 Kings 16:33)
  • 2 Kings 4:38 in Gilgal (on the whole, Gilgal hasn’t been a site of good things)
  • 2 Kings 6:25 in Samaria (not specified, general sinfulness)
  • 2 Kings 8:1 in Israel (God called it)
  • 2 Kings 25:3 in Jerusalem (because of 2 Kings 24:19-20)
  • Nehemiah 5:3 in Jerusalem (because of Nehemiah 1:7)
  • Acts 11:28 (prophesied)

How do you stop a famine? Hearken! (v. 13)

Deuteronomy 12:5 – What was the city that the LORD put his name there? (this is the first usage of this phrase).

 

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Author’s photograph from the Mount of Olives

Deuteronomy 12:8 – This is the first usage of “right in his own eyes.”

Luke 8:24 – This is exercising the power assigned to God in Psalm 65:7, 89:9, 107:29, and attributed to God in Jonah 1:15

Psalm 70:5 – God uses the phrase poor and needy 17 times. If this Psalm seemed familiar, it looks very similar to Psalm 40:13-17 (like Psalm 53 and Psalm 14 being similar to each other), and Matthew Henry thinks that’s why it is called a Psalm of Remembrance. Sometimes in a hymnal it lists the verse and the chorus, and other times just the chorus. It could be that this “chorus” was used in worship by the Israelites as well. Spurgeon says “As we have the words of this Psalm twice in the letter, let them be doubly with us in spirit.”

Proverbs 12:4 – Good advice for the young man looking for a wife, and a great commendation to the woman who exemplifies virtue!

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Daily Encouragement

March 28 – Sinai U’s Commencement Speech

March 28
Deuteronomy 9:1-10:22
Luke 8:4-21
Psalm 69:19-36
Proverbs 12:2-3

Deuteronomy 9:4 – Let’s count: “Speak not…for my righteousness” (v.4)…. “Not for thy righteousness” (v.5)…. “not…for thy righteousness” (v.6)…. “ye have been rebellious” (v.7)… “the LORD was angry with you” (v.8)…. “ye had sinned against the LORD” (v.16)…. “all your sins which ye sinned” (v.18)…. “the LORD was wroth against you” (v.19)…. “ye provoked the LORD to wrath” (v.22)…. “ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD” (v.23)…. “Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.” (v.24)… “the LORD had said he would destroy you” (v.25)…. “he hated them” (v.28)…. 13 times in 24 verses. Not your typical Commencement Address for graduates of Sinai U.

Deuteronomy 10:12 – Now we get to the summary:

  • Fear God
  • Love God
  • Serve God
  • Obey God.

Deuteronomy 10:19 – What are the commands for the Israelites to do for strangers? Have consistent laws (Exodus 12:49, Leviticus 24:22, Numbers 9:14, 15:15-16, Deuteronomy 1:16), Not oppress them (Exodus 22:21, Leviticus 19:33-34, 24:22), but love them (Deuteronomy 10:18-19), and do justice (Deuteronomy 24:17-18, 27:19).

Marten_van_Valckenborch_-_Parable_of_the_sower_(September)

Luke 8:5 – Have you been sowing lately?

Psalm 69:24 – Another imprecatory Psalm, not seeking personal revenge, but begging God to intervene and avenge us.

Proverbs 12:3 – An interesting parallel to the house of sand vs the house of rock.

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Daily Encouragement

March 27 – Meet Joanna!

March 27
Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20
Luke 7:36-8:3
Psalm 69:1-18
Proverbs 12:1

Deuteronomy 7:4 – God cares about who you marry. 2 Corinthians 6:14 warns about being unequally yoked. I Kings 11:2-4 reiterates this warning to Solomon and says that the women led him astray.

20150425_142803
Author’s photo, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. Note the two missing corners, and the cracks on the two remaining corners.

Deuteronomy 7:5 – The LORD does not believe all roads lead to Heaven. He commanded destruction of pagan altars. In Judges 6:25 God commanded Gideon to destroy the altar to the false gods, as did Josiah in 2 Kings 23:8.

Deuteronomy 7:18 – We are commanded to remember the works of God.

Deuteronomy 7:25 – Sometimes we want to repurpose things used in the service of Satan to other purposes.  But God says we must utterly separate from the worship of other gods.

Deuteronomy 8:10-11 – On March 30, 1863, Abraham Lincoln echoed these words:

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Luke 8:3 – We are introduced to Joanna, the wife of Chuza, who financially supported Jesus. Throughout history God has used people of means to support His work – Frederick the Wise who supported Luther, John Thornton who partly supported John Newton, Cyrus McCormick who supported Moody, Lyman Stewart who funded the Fundamentals and started the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (B.I.O.L.A.), amongst others. Interestingly this financial support may be from gratitude – Joanna may have been the mother of the child healed by Jesus in John 4. Today many Christian ministries are supported by faithful older women who are grateful for what the LORD has done in their life.

Psalm 69:5 – Don’t be afraid to admit your faults to the LORD, He knows them already.

Proverbs 12:1 – What do you love?

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Daily Encouragement

March 26 – The Deuteronomy, the Shema, and the Mezuzah

March 26
Deuteronomy 5:1-6:25
Luke 7:11-35
Psalm 68:19-35
Proverbs 11:29-31

Deuteronomy 5:7-21 – If you missed this in Exodus 20, we have the Deuteronomy (Second Law). Why is this important? This was the covenant of verse 2, spoken by the LORD “face to face.”

Deuteronomy 5:29 – Why can’t people keep God’s commandments? They need a new heart! (Ezekiel 36:26).

Deuteronomy 6:4 – is the Shema:

The Shema is one of only two prayers that are specifically commanded in Torah (the other is Birkat Ha-Mazon — grace after meals). It is the oldest fixed daily prayer in Judaism, recited morning and night since ancient times. It consists of three biblical passages, two of which specifically say to speak of these things “when you lie down and when you rise up.” This commandment is fulfilled by including the Shema in the liturgy for Ma’ariv (evening services) and Shacharit (morning services). Traditional prayerbooks also include a Bedtime Shema, a series of passages including the Shema to be read at home before going to bed at night. –Judaism 101

  • v.2 – The best prescription for long life isn’t an herbal supplement but fearing the Lord and keeping his commandments!
  • v.5 is the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:37-38).
  • v.6 says you should memorize this passage

Deuteronomy 6:9 – The Mezuzah is affixed to the door of devout Jewish homes (and hotel rooms)! What’s on the doorpost of your home?

Deuteronomy 6:25 – You can obtain righteousness by the law – IF – you fulfill all the commandments of the LORD. All 613, all the time. We can’t, but Someone did (2 Corinthians 5:21)!

Luke 7:22 – a reference to Isaiah 35:4-6

Psalm 68:20 – The one who obtained the righteousness of Deuteronomy 6:25, who preached salvation from Isaiah 35:4, as testified in Luke 7:22, was the God of Salvation of Psalm 68:20.

Proverbs 11:30 – Is this an ancient text for an evangelism conference? Yes!

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Daily Encouragement

March 25 – The House on the Rock

March 25
Deuteronomy 4:1-49
Luke 6:39-7:10
Psalm 68:1-18
Proverbs 11:28

Deuteronomy 4:2 – Interesting parallel to Revelation 22:18-19.

Deuteronomy 4:6 – What is the purpose of the law? Wisdom that transcends earthly wisdom. To make the nation a model for the nations. In Ronald Reagan’s farewell address, he referred to the Puritan vision of a shining city upon a hill.

Deuteronomy 4:8 – There is a purpose for the 613 laws we’ve read in the Pentateuch!

Deuteronomy 4:13 – This is the only mention of the phrase “ten commandments” in the Bible. Forget them? We’ll see them again tomorrow!

Deuteronomy 4:32 – In the 2,600 years from Creation to this passage – God had dealt with man in a unique manner. This chapter is emphasizing the uniqueness of His dealings with Israel. The system of dispensationalism recognizes that God deals with different people in different ways at different times. We’ve seen:

  • Innocence (God’s dealings with Adam)
  • Conscience (God’s dealings after the fall)
  • Government (God’s dealings with Noah)
  • Covenant (God’s dealings with Abraham)
  • Law (God’s dealings with Moses)

For the next 1,400 years, we’ll be under law until we see God’s dealings with all of humanity thru a new way that unites Jew and Gentile in one body, the church. But no matter what dispensation we find – there’s only one obligation – Obey! (v.40).

Luke 6:46 – Speaking of obedience – if we do not obey, why do we refer to Jesus as Lord?

Luke 6:48 – Being from Wisconsin, when I hear about the house on the rock, I think of

the_house_on_the_rock_01
The House on the Rock, Dodgeville, WI

Whatever your mental picture of a house on a rock is, its surely more solid than the house built on the sand. And of course we have to share the Sunday School song:

Luke 7:8 – Speaking of Lordship, the Centurion who had favors owed to him by the Jews, sent to Jesus a message that conveyed that while others were under him, he was under Jesus. This faith was marvelled at by Jesus (v.9).

Psalm 68:15 – From the Treasury of David:

An high hill as the hill of Bashan, or rather, “a mount of peaks is Bashan.” It does not appear that Zion is compared with Bashan, but contrasted with it. Zion certainly was not a high hill comparatively; and it is here conceded that Bashan is a greater mount, but not so glorious, for the Lord in choosing Zion had exalted it above the loftier hills. The loftiness of nature is made as nothing before the Lord. He chooses as pleases him, and, according to the counsel of his own will, he selects Zion, and passes by the proud, uplifted peaks of Bashan; thus doth he make the base things of this world, and things that are despised, to become monuments of his grace and sovereignty.

Proverbs 11:28 – Reiterated in 1 Timothy 6:7.

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Daily Encouragement

March 24 – 38 Years of Waiting, a Night of Prayer

March 24
Deuteronomy 2:1-3:29
Luke 6:12-38
Psalm 67:1-7
Proverbs 11:27

Deuteronomy 2:14 – 38 years between Kadeshbarnea and the brook Zared. Waiting for the generation to die off.

Deuteronomy 2:36-37 – Nothing was outside their reach, except what was outside of God’s Will.

Luke 6:12 – That’s a powerful model of prayer.

Bible_manual._Introductory_course_on_the_Bible,_for_teachers_training_classes_and_Bible_classes_(1922)_(14586262848)

Luke 6:22 – Paul Washer told a memorable story about this passage at the VCY Rally about the pastor who began to worry because nobody had persecuted him in a couple days.

Luke 6:38 – From Earl Martin –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPuoB08OVlI

Psalm 67:3 – From the beautiful Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, “Let All the People Praise Thee“, or for a more chorale version try this from the Atlanta Master Chorale.

Proverbs 11:27 – What are you seeking?

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Daily Encouragement

March 23 – A limited pool for courtship?

March 23
Numbers 36:1-Deuteronomy 1:46
Luke 5:29-6:11
Psalm 66:1-20
Proverbs 11:24-26

Numbers 36:8 – This might seem that your options are limited, but considering Numbers 1:35, there were 32,200 able-bodied men in the tribe of Manasseh, and a few of them should be eligible bachelors.

Numbers 36:10 – Numbers 26:33, 27:1, also talk about the daughters of Zelophehad, but the best thing that can be said about them, is that they obeyed the LORD even in an ‘arbitrary’ action. By marrying within the tribe, they protected the distinction of the tribes, so that by the time of the birth of the Messiah, it would be clear what tribe He was from.

Deuteronomy 1 – Moses is reminding the tribes of what they have seen, because the adults who rejected God’s offer had died off, and a new generation was being shown God’s mercy and grace.

Luke 5:30 – I’ve yet to see a positive use of the word ‘murmur’ in the Bible. Notice what happened to the murmurers in Luke 6:11 at the end of today’s reading.

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Luke 6:1 describes a controversial Sabbath snack

Luke 6:6 – “And they were filled with madness.” Jesus took madness out of the possessed, yet the madness possessed others (similar to Mark 5:13). Ever notice today that the hatred of Jesus seems a bit irrational? It’s always been.

Psalm 66:1 – This is an echo of the classic Psalm 100.

Psalm 66:18 – Prayers not answered? Check in with 1 John 1:9.

Proverbs 11:26 – This seems to extol the virtues of Joseph, the manager of the wealth of Egypt.

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Daily Encouragement

March 22 – Moral Authority for Warfare

March 22
Numbers 33:40-35:34
Luke 5:12-28
Psalm 65:1-13
Proverbs 11:23

Numbers 33:52 – Why do the Israelites have the moral authority to engage in offensive warfare? v.53 gives the reason, because the Creator of the land, people, and law has given it to Israel. He made (and therefore has the rights to possess, use, and dispose of) the place they dwell, the inhabitants, and the rules of the game. If the LORD is not the Creator of the earth, man, and law, there is no moral authority to displace another people group under norms of reciprocity – either the gold or silver rule. But if the LORD is the Creator of the earth – He can give land to whomever He desires. If He is the Creator of man – He can give orders to whomever He desires. If He is the Creator of law – He can give judgment whenever He desires. And if He’s the Creator of moral authority – how can you argue the Creator of moral authority is immoral?

Numbers 34:2 – The same Creator who owns the entire earth, set borders for His people.  This is an interesting concept to ponder.

Numbers 35:30 – While this may seem dry, this is actually the “Criminal Procedure” of Israel. Today’s criminal procedure is much more complex.

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Today’s events in Luke occur in the city of Capernaum, right on the Sea of Galilee. https://www.flickr.com/photos/upyernoz/2996887011/

Luke 5:16 – Interesting contrast to the “televangelists” of today.

Psalm 65:7 – This is an interesting prophecy of David. A few hundred years later God would calm the Mediterranean, and a thousand years later Jesus would calm the Galilee (Jonah 1:15, Matthew 8:26).

Proverbs 11:23 – An interesting parallel to Job 23:10

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Daily Encouragement

March 21 – The Exodus Route

March 21
Numbers 32:1-33:39
Luke 4:31-5:11
Psalm 64:1-10
Proverbs 11:22

Numbers 32:29 – This will be fulfilled in Joshua 22:2

Numbers 33 – While there are many theories of the Exodus, Bible.Ca has a nice map and possible details of the route.

maps-bible-archeology-exodus-route-overview
http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-exodus-route-kadesh-barnea-jordan.htm

Numbers 33:38 – Aaron has had an interesting life – and now it has come to an end, just a few months before entering the Promised Land.

Luke 5:5,8,10 – Simon the passionate – always has the first word, and the last word! But God was able to use him and He can use you too!

Psalm 64:10 – Are you glad in the LORD? Or are you not trusting in Him?

Proverbs 11:22 – A vivid comparison, no?

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Daily Encouragement

March 20 – Is God Immoral?

March 20
Numbers 30:1-31:54
Luke 4:1-30
Psalm 63:1-11
Proverbs 11:20-21

Numbers 30 – It’s amazing that a string of words coming out of your mouth can be so significant that God spends an entire chapter on it. (On a side note – in Rhetorical Criticism class in graduate school, we discussed communication theory, and there are debates as to whether words have inherent meanings). That God cares about your words is obvious not only in the Old Testament but also in the New (Matthew 5:33-37). Ligonier Ministries has an interesting commentary:

Understanding common first-century Jewish practices helps us see what our Savior was getting at in His teaching on oaths and vows. To keep people from breaking the law’s rules regarding our promises (Num. 30:1–2), Jewish teachers and leaders invented a system by which they could determine whether a vow had to be kept. Extrabiblical literature indicates that many rabbis did not consider it a sin to break a vow if it was not made explicitly in the name of God. Oaths made in the name of heaven or even the gold of the temple were not regarded as ultimately binding. As we might expect from sinners, this led to people making oaths by persons or objects other than God to give them an out in case they did not keep their word…..

Jesus’ teaching leads us to conclude that it is better not to make a vow than to swear an oath that we have no intention of keeping. It also reinforces the point that oaths and vows should not be made on just any occasion, but they should be reserved only for occasions of great import and lasting significance. In other cases, we should let our yes be yes and our no be no. But in all circumstances, we must strive to keep our word.

https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/jesus-teaching-on-oaths/

Numbers 31:17 – This sounds like a violent, capricious leader ordering his followers to do something grossly immoral. Is the God of the Bible that told Moses to kill the Midianites (v.2), any better than the Allah of the Koran that commands followers to “slay them wherever ye find them” (Sura 2:191, among many other verses)?

If God were just our “fellow man” he would have no right to command the death of his “fellow man.” But God is not a “fellow man” – He is our Creator (Genesis 2:7). By virtue of His creation of us, we are His property. The historical rights of property include Possession, Use, and Disposition. God, our Creator, has the right to use and dispose of us how He wishes. Throughout the New Testament, the concept that God is our slavemaster is evident (Matthew 23:10, John 13:3, Colossians 4:1, Ephesians 6:9).

Our Creator and Master has set the “laws of nature” and has warned us from day one that sin results in death (Genesis 2:17). He has the right to call in the judgment on us at any time, but has been so merciful to us by not exercising His wrath immediately. But justice delayed is not justice denied. And the death of the Canaanites was just the beginning of the troubles they would face – after death, they would enter sheol. As we saw earlier our sin was so repugnant to God, the Israelites would offer over a million sheep to the Lord as part of their corporate reconciliation, not counting the individual offerings. Death is a consequence of sin.

But the Good News is that if we believe on the only begotten Son, we shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). How is that possible? Because while we were yet sinners, God’s Son died for us, in our place (Romans 5:6)!

Unfortunately this is not a popular message today. I was talking with a friend of mine that did not know Jesus and He was so offended by the idea that God had ownership rights to Him and would allow His Son to die for him, that He said He’d rather go to hell than serve a God like that.

temptation
Ary Scheffer, The Temptation of Christ

Luke 4:7 – Revelation 11:15 says that all the kingdoms of the world will become the kingdoms of Jesus Christ. Satan’s offer is something that will be coming in due time, but Satan will offer it faster (by at least 2,000 years), and easier (without the cross). Satan’s shortcut is often offered today – the joys of marriage before the commitment of a wedding, or maybe financial gain without work.

Luke 4:20 – Jesus closed the book in the middle of the verse. Isaiah 61:2 continues “and the day of vengeance of our God.” Jesus was not fulfilling the second half of the verse, only the first half. When He comes again He will fulfill the second half.

Luke 4:29 – On most Israel tours, you will see the Mount of Precipice, where this happened. Good preaching gets results, sometimes positive, and sometimes negative.

800px-PikiWiki_Israel_30995_Mount_Precipice
Dr. Avishai Teicher via the PikiWiki – Israel free image collection project

Psalm 63John Zimmer recorded a beautiful song based on this text, enjoy it

Proverbs 11:21 – As we saw with Jesus’ temptation – though the wicked look like they will be successful faster, God will deliver the righteous and punish the wicked!

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