Monthly Archives: March 2016

My Delight is the Lord, March 31

March 31, Thursday: God’s People

Scripture Reading: Exodus 15:1-18

Moses’ Music

David is the one remembered as the “sweet singer of Israel” (2 Sam. 23:1). We may not think of Moses in terms of music, but at least twice he is attributed with penning songs which Israel sang (here and Deut. 32:1-43). One of the Psalms is attributed to Moses (90). Then, in heaven, it’s the song of Moses that is being sung (Rev. 15:3). The music of Moses cannot be denied. This should remind of us something–music is important to God. It’s important in the church. It ought to be important to our faith. I’m afraid that for some believers, the extent of their thought process is that we should sing and that it should be a cappella. That’s it. I’ll defend both of those positions. But for our attention and concern and emphasis in our music to be only that is indefensible. I don’t have a talent for music. But my faith has a need for it. Let’s not shortchange something God intends to play such an integral role in our spiritual journey.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What event does this song commemorate?
  • What significance is there to God being called, “my father’s God” (v. 2)
  • In what different ways is God described? (vv. 1-18)
  • What does this song foresee? (v. 17)

My Delight is the Lord, March 30

March 30, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Matthew 10:1-42

Does God Need Me?

Does God need man? I believe the answer to that question is no. God does not need man. God, as God, is fully, completely and totally self-sufficient. No outside aid, assistance, input, service, provision, or furnishing is needed by Him. None. That being said, is it not remarkable–and incredibly so–that God has obviously chosen to engage man. And not just as some sort of an amusement. Instead, He’s chosen to engage man directly in carrying out His will and purpose. Jesus chose 12 apostles. Though those positions are no longer available or even necessary, God still wants to involve each of us. He invites us. It’s not based on anyone’s superior ability or skill. These 12 certainly weren’t the very best and the brightest available. They were, though, willing to place themselves into His hands, for His use, and to His glory. That’s precisely what He wants from me and you.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What were the apostles task on this mission? (vv. 7-8)
  • Should Jesus’ messengers expect to be well received? (vv. 16-18)
  • Who will be saved? (v. 22)
  • In what way does Jesus bring a sword? (vv. 34-37)

My Delight is the Lord, March 29

March 29, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:1-14

No Judging

Jesus says, and I quote, ‘‘Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you” (v. 6). Who are these people? Who are these ones to whom what is holy and precious should not be given? Whom does Jesus consider to be “dogs” and “pigs”? He doesn’t tell us. As He does so often–to our exasperation–He leaves it up to us to figure out. We have to make a determination for ourselves who it is that will, not just be unreceptive, but will treat with disgrace and even violence the invaluable gospel. We have to make a judgment call, right? But wait! Just five verses previous Jesus also said, “Judge not” (v. 1). So what’s going on here? Either Jesus is contradicting Himself or His instruction to not judge does not mean, as is often thought, no judging of any and every kind. This is a classic example of how  context must guide our interpretation?

Questions to Ponder:

  • How can one know there is a speck in anyone’s eye? (vv. 3-5)
  • What is God’s disposition toward us and our requests? (vv. 7-11)
  • Why is the called the “golden rule”? (v. 12)
  • Is there more than one way to get to God? (vv. 13-14)

My Delight is the Lord, March 28

March 28, Monday: God is…

Scripture Reading: Psalm 10

God Far Away?

“God, what is your problem?” Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Who says anything like that to God? Does even the thought of such make you uneasy and nervous? To answer the question, the writer of this Psalm says it, “Why, O LORD, do you stand afar off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (v. 1). Why would such a thing be thought, much less written down? It’s because of experience. Look at vv. 2-11. Every verse is a description of what seen out of the wicked. From all appearances, God doesn’t care and isn’t doing anything about it. So, “Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted” (v. 12). This is how it seems, but it’s not how it is. “But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands” (v. 14). Here’s something to think about, the Bible shows us people willing to express their thoughts and feelings about God. Do we allow ourselves to do the same?

Questions to Ponder:

  • Does God ever feel “far away” to you? (v. 1)
  • How different are the wicked then (vv. 2-11) from the wicked now?
  • How are those described who put their trust in God? (v. 14)
  • What is suggested by the description “man who is of the earth”? (v. 18)

My Delight is the Lord, March 27

March 27, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 29

That Voice!

Do you remember when your mother used your middle name? That, along with the tone of her voice, let you know there was trouble in your immediate future. The distinct enunciation of each syllable of every word was unmistakable. That voice meant something. God’s voice means something. It is powerful and full of majesty (v. 4). That voice is so glorious and formidable that it is able to bring out of nothing into existence whatever it calls (Heb. 11:3). That voice is the unifying and stabilizing force holding the universe and all it contains together (Heb. 1:3). That voice has such authority that the very forces of nature are subject to it (Matt. 8:27), spirit beings submit (Mk. 1:27), and the dead–the unresponsive, irreparable, irreversible, unrecoverable dead–obey what it says (Jn. 11:43-44). Need we go on? The only entity unresponsive to the voice of God in all creation is the stubborn will of man.  God is glorified when His voice is obeyed (vv. 1-2). Is glory the result of His voice in my life? Or is it something else?

Questions to Ponder:

  • Who is called on to ascribe glory to God? (v. 1)
  • What is necessary on the worshipper’s part? (v. 2)
  • What does the voice of God accomplish? (vv. 3-9)
  • God is pictured in what role? (v. 10)

My Delight is the Lord, March 26

March 26, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

Scripture Reading: Exodus 5:1-23

Success?

Look, God created this world, He’s the ruler of the universe, He is sovereign Lord over all. Right? Does it not then follow that if we do what He says we should anticipate marvelous success in these endeavors? Surely that’s true. But it’s not. That’s not skepticism or doubt or lack of faith talking, that’s God Himself. Think about what is happening with Moses and Aaron. They are where they are, doing what they are doing, because God called them to do it. He even provides His supernatural backing to verify His messengers and their request. The people of Israel, based on all of this, are enthusiastically on board. But it is a total flop, an absolute failure. Instead of securing freedom, their labors and harsh treatment are only intensified. Moses looks like a fool. Pharaoh is contemptuous. The Israelites loathe him. “Why did you ever send me?” He pleads (v. 22). Would you have quit? What God wants from us is faithfulness to His call, no matter what. Leave the outcomes to Him.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What was Pharaoh’s retort to Moses’ request? (v. 2)
  • Of what were the Israelites deprived to carry out their required task? (v. 7)
  • What was the Israelites punishment for failing to make their quota? (v. 14)
  • Of what were Moses and Aaron blamed? (v. 21)

My Delight is the Lord, March 25

March 25, Friday: God’s Story (1)

Scripture Reading: Exodus 3:1-4:17

Holy Ground and Work

It’s a fact that is hard to escape; when the Bible tells of people who encounter God in a direct way, they end up with a job to do. Granted, these aren’t just your ordinary, every day, common (I hate to say it that way) encounters; they are quite special. Adam ended up tending the garden (Gen. 2:15). Moses got a job he didn’t want (Ex. 3:10). Young Samuel was given a hard message to deliver (1 Sam. 3:10ff). Elijah received a series of tasks to accomplish (1 Kings 19:9ff). Isaiah was sent by God to proclaim His word (Isa. 6:8-9). Saul of Tarsus was given a responsibility of monumental importance (Acts 9:15). There it is; if you meet God you get a job. So, here’s a question; if I am not busily engaged in the work of the Lord can I in any way make a claim to have encountered God in any sense of the word? Get busy!

Questions to Ponder:

  • What does it mean to be on “holy ground”? (3:5)
  • What was Moses’ response to being in God’s presence? (3:6)
  • What was Moses’ first objection? (3:11)
  • What do you learn from Moses’ objections? (3:11, 13; 4:1, 10, 13)

My Delight is the Lord, March 24

March 24, Thursday: God’s People

Scripture Reading: Exodus 4:18-31

Moving Time

Have you ever moved? That is, from one place of residence to another? What a monumental task. What do you take with you? What do you leave behind? What do you rid yourself of?  What a job! Moses moved because God told him to. He was headed to Egypt. We’re told of only three things he took; his family (wife and sons), the mode of transportation (a donkey), and, finally, “Moses took the staff of God in his hand” (v.  20). This had been his shepherd’s staff (see 4:2), but no sheep were going on this trip. It was the staff through which God promised to do mighty works. It was now “God’s staff”. God still works in and through and with His people. As Moses already had a staff, we already have what God can use. Will you put what you have into God’s hands for His service? Take what you have and make it God’s.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Of whom did Moses ask permission to go to Egypt? (v. 18)
  • How did God regard Israel? (v. 22)
  • What is going on in vv. 24-26?
  • What was the response of the people to the return of Moses? (v. 31)

My Delight is the Lord, March 23

March 23, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: John 3:1-21

Born Again

“You must be born again” (v. 7). If Jesus says I “must,” then I better understand what He’s talking about. Nicodemus was a smart, respected, religious man and struggled with it. So, might I. I believe the basic point is this, as a Jew, he thought his standing in God’s favor was based primarily on his physical descent from Abraham, that is, his birth in the flesh. Jesus says fleshly birth has nothing to do with spiritual condition (v. 6). Nothing. One’s spiritual place is predicated on spiritual processes. So those process–Jesus stayed with the idea of “birth” here–better originate from God. Literally, born “again” is actually born “from above.” One can only be right with God by the means He has initiated and put into place through Jesus. That’s what “must” happen. Now, the next critical concern is knowing exactly what those “means” are. That is another lesson.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What does it mean that Nicodemus was a “ruler”? (v. 1)
  • Why did Nicodemus come to Jesus by night? (v. 2)
  • How did he know Jesus was “from God”? (v. 2)
  • Why did God send His Son? (v. 17)

My Delight is the Lord, March 22

March 22, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:19-34

Retirement Preparation

What are you doing to prepare for retirement? Wait, I’m not talking about saving money or investment plans or pensions or 401Ks or mutual funds or even social security and life insurance. First of all, you don’t even know that you’ll ever arrive at that kind of retirement. What assurance do you have that you’ll ever get there? I’m talking about guaranteed retirement, one in which every person, without exception, will participate. That is retirement from this physical existence to that which follows this life. Jesus talks pretty straight on this point. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven (vv. 19-20). Thinking about the investment of your time, energy, planning, thought, effort, emotion, and, yes, even money; where do yours land right now, in heaven or on earth?

Questions to Ponder:

  • What’s the point of speaking about moths, rust, and thieves? (v. 19)
  • How is the eye the lamp of the body? (v. 22)
  • What ought to be the relationship of our money and God? (v. 24)
  • What about your life are you most anxious right now? (v. 25)