~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Deuteronomy 9:1-10:22 ~ Luke 8:4-21
Psalm 69:19-36 ~ Proverbs 12:2-3
Old Testament - Okay, I'm really getting into the New Living Translation little commentary headers before sections of our readings - as I discussed in yesterday's post, these are not from the original text so should not be considered Biblical text. Nonetheless, I personally do find them useful. And I really do like the first header in Deuteronomy chapter 9 today in the NLT - "Victory by God's Grace." You'll note that you won't actually find the word "grace" in any of the verses that follow. However, I think we do get a good overview of how grace works in this section, and verse 6 gives an example of grace - "I will say it again: The LORD your God is not giving you this good land because you are righteous, for you are not--you are a stubborn people." This verse made me chuckle a bit when I read it. Because it is true. The Israelites were a stubborn people, as we've seen in our readings. And yet, God was still showing grace by giving them the Promised Land. This verse primarily made me chuckle because I think that we, today, are still a stubborn people. Not a lot has changed in 3,000+ years. We humans are still a stubborn people. And God is still a God of grace. Then and now. God shows us humans his grace. Thank goodness...
Later in Deuteronomy chapter 9 we read about the golden calf, and we get a great reminder of how Moses truly was a mediator between God and the Israelites - in some ways foreshadowing the mediator role that Jesus is now between God and all humankind. Verses 18 & 19 demonstrate Moses' mediator role well - "Then for forty days and nights I lay prostrate before the LORD, neither eating bread nor drinking water. I did this because you had sinned by doing what the LORD hated, thus making him very angry. How I feared for you, for the LORD was ready to destroy you. But again he listened to me." And check out this amazing image below of Moses laying prostrate before God on behalf the Israelites... can you imagine doing this for 40 days and nights for someone? Particularly for someone who just sinned greatly against God? Moses is amazing...
Wow. Deuteronomy chapter 10 verses 17 through 22 are about as inspiring of a speech as any from Moses. What a great exhortation for the Israelites to love and be obedient to God. There are surely some words of wisdom for us in these verses today as well - ""The LORD your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and takes no bribes. He gives justice to orphans and widows. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. You, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. You must fear the LORD your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone. He is your God, the one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done mighty miracles that you yourselves have seen. When your ancestors went down into Egypt, there were only seventy of them. But now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky!"
New Testament - Today in Luke chapter 8 we read the story of the farmer scattering seed. This parable is an opportunity for us to examine the condition of our hearts. Are our hearts rocky, thorny, or are they fertile soil? The condition of our hearts will dictate how receptive we are to Jesus, the Word of God made flesh. Jesus is the farmer still scattering the see of his Word among humankind today. Is your heart receptive to the Word of God? Per verse 15, will you "hear God's message, cling to it, and steadily produce a huge harvest"?
As you are receiving God's Word in your heart, check out verse 18 in today's readings - "So be sure to pay attention to what you hear. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But to those who are not listening, even what they think they have will be taken away from them." This is a powerful truth. When we are open to God's Word and really study it we will be given more and more insight over time. It should be a lifelong journey of learning from God's Word. I know there are many of you going through the One Year Bible for more than the 1st time - one of you has even gone through the One Year Bible 16 years in a row! And my hunch is that if we were to ask the person going through the OYB for the 16th year if she was still learning and gaining new insights from God through his Word, the answer would be a resounding yes! I do worry to a degree when someone goes through the Bible in its entirety once, and then kind of puts it on the shelf. I think that is risky. I know that we're not all called to read the Bible in its entirety in One Year every year, but I do think it is extremely wise for us to be engaged in the Bible in some way each and every day. Otherwise, perhaps, as the end of the verse above says, "to those who are not listening, even what they think they have will be taken away from them." Let us pray that our love of learning from God's Word each and every day will not be taken away from us.
Bible.org's commentary on Luke chapter 8's reading today, titled "Parable of the Soils," is at this link.
Psalms - I love Psalm 69 verse 33 today - "For the LORD hears the cries of his needy ones; he does not despise his people who are oppressed." God hears the cries of his needy ones. Perhaps the question is then, do we hear the cries of God's needy ones? Do we hear the cries of those starving today? Sick from lack of clean water? Suffering from HIV / AIDS? Spiritually poor? Needing a friend? How is the soil of our hearts if we are not hearing these cries? Should we be hearing these cries? And if we do hear them, what then should we do? Remember Jesus' words in Matthew chapter 25 verses 34-36 "‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’"
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 12 verse 3 is a bit convicting for me personally - "Wickedness never brings stability; only the godly have deep roots." I oftentimes in my life feel a bit unstable. I jump from church to church. Job to job. Interest to interest. The roots don't seem so deep sometimes. I know the roots are deep with Jesus - and that's the one area that really matters - but I do worry about how my roots don't seem so deep in other areas of my life. I appreciate this Proverb. I have something to learn here... How about you? How are your roots? Are they deep? Are they stable? Primarily, how are your roots with Jesus today? Are they growing each and every day?
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!