How precious is the Word of our God! We at St. Mark's and Immanuel are working on a challenge to read through our Bibles. The daily reading schedule is posted here each week. Please join us.
Read Through Your Bible in Two Years Challenge
Reading Through The Bible — Week 16
3/15 Friday. Read Deuteronomy 24:1-22
· If time is short focus on v.18-22
· More regulations… Did you note a repeated thought in the chapter? “Remember where you came from” God keeps saying. If we remember how we, though undeserving, have been blessed; then we will be more apt to treat our neighbor with justice and fairness.
· Jesus’ comments on v.1-4 are worth reviewing in Matthew 19. Divorce is NOT God’s will, not His plan; every divorce involves sin. However Israel was not perfect, neither are we. Divorce is “allowed” only as a rare concession when a marriage partner has been sinfully deserted by their unfaithful spouse.
· I think today I will pray for the many poor who others take advantage of,… and also that more people would have a greater respect for God’s great gift of marriage.
3/16 Saturday. Read Deuteronomy 25:1—26:19
· If time is short focus on 26:1-19
· Chapter 25 continues regulations for life in Israel. You might note that Paul uses v.4 as evidence that called workers should be given an fair wage, if it is true for the ox, it ought to be also for the one who shares God’s Word with you. (1 Cor. 9:9-14)
· Note v.16. God cares about honesty, fairness, and justice.
· Chapter 26 deals with: 1. First fruits… remembering the goodness, the rescue, the salvation of God, take the first of your crop, the best, the cream of the crop, stop harvesting and trust the Lord will provide the rest, and bring that first fruit to thank the Lord. 2. An every three year tithe for the poor… and extra tithe (1/10th) of your income set aside for those less fortunate than you. 3. Reminder of the gracious covenant God made with you… (Remember today that we are under the new covenant, sealed to you in your baptism, which simply says, “God has forgiven all your sin… period.”… What a powerful incentive for you to do all you do today to His glory!) So concludes Moses second address in Deuteronomy.
3/16 Sunday. We take a Sabbath rest from our Bible readings and join together for our weekly worship service. The Scripture we focus on for this 2nd Sunday of Lent are these:
Old Testament Lesson: Jeremiah 26:8-15 Jeremiah was rejected because he did not tell the people what they wanted to hear. Though threatened with death, he was resolute in his mission and faithfully proclaimed the Word of the Lord. Notice the invitation to repentance and mercy by the Lord of free and faithful grace that follows Jeremiah’s wake-up call. But it was a call that fell on many deaf ears. This section of Jeremiah ends with the murder of Godly men. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem!
Epistle Lesson: Philippians 3:17—4:1 Paul contrasts the journey through life of those who are enemies of the cross of Christ and those who embrace it. Be it our journey through Lent, or our journey from grace to glory, our focus remains on the message of the cross. It is only in Jesus that we can find strength to be resolute on our journey to follow Him.
Gospel Lesson: Luke 13:31-35 Prophets had been murdered for centuries by the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Yet Jesus was resolute in His mission. He would not be intimidated by Pharisaical lies or enemies of the cross. He would press on toward His goal to redeem humankind from the violence of sin, gathering the elect beneath His eternal wings.
Reading Through The Bible — Week 17
3/18 Monday. Read Deuteronomy 27:1-26
· If time is short focus on v.1-10
· After crossing the Jordan into the land of promise, they were to enact a visual drama of the covenant made on Mt. Sinai. It included an altar, plastered stones on which were written the laws of God. This, on Mt. Ebal from which half of the tribes would shout the curses; while the other six tribes would gather across the valley on Mt. Gerizim to shout God’s blessings.
· God Himself has orchestrated an equally dramatic enactment of His new covenant as God’s people gather around His table, and He says, “This is My body given for you… My blood shed for you for the forgiveness of all your sins.” And we do the same thing in our Christmas dramas, our special Lenten services, our solemn dark Good Friday services, and our victorious Resurrection and Ascension services. We are God’s covenant people!
3/19 Tuesday. Read Deuteronomy 28:1-68
· If time is short focus on 1-14
· 14 verses of blessings and 54 verses of the most horrible curses you can imagine. These are not just bad & good things. A blessing can only come from God; the curse is the judgment of God.
· The scary thing is that the most horrendous of these curses actually take place some 800 years down the road, when after the failure of kings, priest, and prophet to bring them back to obedience to God, Jerusalem is destroyed and they are taken captive to Babylon.
· “What curses does the law pronounce
Against the one who fails but once!
But in the gospel Christ appears,
Pard’ning the guilt of num’rous years.
My soul, no more attempt to draw
Your life and comfort from the law.
Flee to the hope the gospel gives;
The one who trusts the promise lives.” (CW:286:3,4)
3/20 Wednesday. Read Deuteronomy 29:1-29
· If time is short focus on v.1-15
· Moses final address is a renewal of the covenant on Mt. Sinai.
Verse 4 jumped out at me: God has been so good, rescuing from slavery in Egypt; even the smallest details: their clothes and sandals did not wear out on those 40 years of wilderness wandering; He graciously enters a covenant relationship with them. But what good are all God’s blessings unless He gives us eyes to see them… to · recognize them as gifts of His love. God does not fail in His faithfulness; but we do. That’s why Martin Luther said the life of the Christian is one of daily repentance. Lord give us the eyes of faith to see, to hear, to understand.
3/21 Thursday. Read Deuteronomy 30:1-20
· If time is short focus on v.11-20
· Think of what a comfort v.1-10 will be when they are in the future in captivity in Babylon! God gives us just the right promises we need to hold us up in every trial, so we need never give in to despair.
· “The Word is very near you” (v.14). And at no time in history is that more true than today. How blessed we are to have such ready access to the Word of God! The question is… are we drawing near to the Word?
· “Choose life!” The same choice is before us every day. And let us never forget, “the LORD is your life!” (v.20). “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life”… said our dear Savior.
3/22 Friday. Read Deuteronomy 31:1-30
· If time is short focus on v.1-13
· Verse 6, a familiar verse of victorious faith, is more than, “Be tough.” They could be strong and courageous BECAUSE of the promises of God that precede… and so can we!
· Here we have the beginnings of our written Bible. Moses is instructed to write down the Word of God, and store it in the Ark of the Covenant. There it would first be a testimony against them. They could compare their wayward lives against it. But it was not just to be a silent testimony, but a living witness to be reviewed and relearned in every generation. Every generation is just one generation away from forgetting our God!
3/23 Saturday. Read Deuteronomy 32:1-52
· If time is short focus on v.1-43
· There is something about songs, isn’t there? They get stuck in your mind and you can’t get them out. I’m sure that’s what Moses wanted to happen with this song which summed up his message of the covenant… blessings and curses… law and gospel. Do you have a favorite hymn that keeps you focused on the heart of your faith… take out your hymnal and meditate on it and let it loop in your mind today.
· And meditate on a couple key verses of Moses’ hymn: Put v.2 “Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” & v.47 “They are not just idle words for you — they are your life.” together to remind you why you are involved in this reading project.
· Verse 6 “Is this the way you repay the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you.” together with v.10,11 “In a desert land He found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him, He guarded him as the apple of His eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions.” leads to confession & repentance.
· And finally verse 39 “See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides Me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of My hand.”. Is it not when we forget and lose sight of this truth that we fail as Israel would so often?
3/24 Sunday. We have come to the third Sunday of Lent. Our lessons for today encourage our repentance. May God bless your worship this Lord’s Day!
Luke 13:1-9: Traipsing along our journey in the uncertainty of self-righteous self-reliance will only lead to ruin and destruction. Christ calls each of us to closely examine our lives for the fruit of repentance. The gardener is patient and long suffering, but knows well, that a tree without fruit will be cut down. However, bending to the gardener’s hand in true repentance will lead to a fruitful life here and eternal life hereafter.
Exodus 3:1-8b,10-15: Flames of fire that did not consume. Ground too holy for sandals, but not for sinful flesh. God appearing in power, but calling himself the LORD, the God of free and faithful love. Such are the contradictions of Law and Gospel. Today, Christ calls on us to be fruitful followers, and in this lesson He gives us the motivation to do it: our God is the great I AM, the God of the living, the God of deliverance for His people and forgiveness for His children.
1 Corinthians 10:1-13: The Lord had delivered His people in spectacular fashion. Israel had every reason to trust whole-heartedly in His promises, relying on their Rock, the Christ. Yet so many served their own bodies, even seeking the favor of other false gods. Let Israel’s example serve as warning. Turn from temptation, leave sin behind, trust in the Lord’s faithfulness to forgive, bear abundant fruit, and follow the Way out of this world to eternal life.