Monthly Archives: August 2016

My Delight is the Lord, August 31

God Needed a Donkey

August 31, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:1-11

God needed a donkey. So, what should He do? His options are much more numerous and expansive than ours would be. What He did, in the person of Jesus, was send two disciples to the home of a person who had one and asked to use theirs. Now there’s an interesting thought–Jesus borrowed something. But here’s the point, Jesus knew that His request would be honored without hesitation. That donkey was for the Lord’s use. God wants to use what you and I have as well. God has lots of options for caring for the needy, supporting the church, and spreading the gospel. But with regard to what you and I have, the message is the same as it was to that donkey owner, “The Lord needs them” (v. 3). What’s your response?

Questions to Ponder:

  • Where did this crowd come from? (v. 8)
  • What does “Hosanna” mean? (v. 9)
  • What role of Jesus’ is being emphasized here? (vv. 5, 9)
  • How is Jesus identified? (v. 11)

My Delight is the Lord, August 30

Let God In

August 30, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Psalm 51

We all wear masks, we all put up barriers. It’s natural. It’s an emotional defense mechanism. There are things about ourselves that no one else knows. Even with ones to whom we have “opened up,” some things are still held in reserve. We just don’t want to be that vulnerable. We carefully conceal any chinks in our armor and are quite cautious not to allow any blood into the water. It’s understandable. What is not understandable is to think we can do that with God. On the most fundamental level, we’ll never have a viable relationship with God until we open ourselves totally, completely, and absolutely with our Creator. “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart” (v. 6). Let God in, all the way in!

Questions to Ponder:

  • Upon what basis is an appeal made to God? (v. 1)
  • In what way is our sin “only” against God? (v. 4)
  • What two requests are made of God in v. 10?
  • In what sacrifice is God interested? (v. 17)

My Delight is the Lord, August 29

Call Your Shot

August 29, Monday: God is…

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 43:1-13

Growing up I liked playing H-O-R-S-E. Being the youngest, smallest boy in the neighborhood was a disadvantage at regular basketball. This game leveled the field a bit. One variation of that game is that you have to call your shot. That is, you have to say, before you shoot, what you are doing; such as a bank shot or a swish or whatever. You can make the basket and still fail. Have we lost sight of this incredible demonstration of God’s greatness? that He, without fail, has consistently called His shots? His deeds were magnificent all by themselves, but He also said beforehand what He was going to do, then He did it. Also from the playground, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can do it.” He says, “I declared and saved and proclaimed” (v. 12). No greater support exists for the reality that “I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior” (v. 11).

Questions to Ponder:

  • Upon what basis can God make a claim on His people? (v. 1)
  • For what purpose has man been created? (v. 7)
  • What are the nations unable to produce? (v. 9)
  • To what are God’s people witnesses? (vv. 11-12)

My Delight is the Lord, August 28

Just Four Words

August 28, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 89

Quick, what four words best capture you? “Just four?” you may complain. I’m sure four won’t give the whole picture, but it does make one prioritize doesn’t it? Now, what about God? What four words best capture Him? I know, I know, the list of words necessary is endless, just as He is, but again, prioritize. How about these: righteousness, justice, steadfast love (yes, I now this is two words, but work with me here), and faithfulness? I’m not suggesting that this is the list, but it’s the four selected in this Psalm, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you” (v. 14). Ok, now here’s an important question, how well versed are you in these traits/qualities of God? Can we, in any meaningful way, think of God in these terms? We need not only to think often and deeply and accurately about God, we need to think of Him in the way He is presented to us. I’d say we all have some work to do here.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What two traits of God begin this Psalm? (v. 1)
  • What is the “council of the holy ones”? (v. 7)
  • What role does the moon play? (v. 37)
  • What is a possible historical setting for this Psalm? (vv. 38-45)

My Delight is the Lord, August 27

The Very Good From the Very Bad

August 27, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 11:1-12:18

Talk about a dysfunctional family. Grandma Athaliah “destroyed all the royal family” (11:1). After her son, Ahaziah the king, was killed, she eliminated all the potential heirs to the throne.  That is, she killed all her grandkids. (Now there’s a sentence you don’t write very often.) Well, at least she thought she did. One grandson, Joash was saved. Seven years later, Athaliah was ousted (killed, is what she was) and Joash (also known as Jehoash) became the child-king. Incredibly he “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days” (12:2). Certainly we would all love to have strong, stable, God-fearing families. That would be God’s preference as well. But, not everyone is so blessed. And, even when that is not the case, it does not spell automatic spiritual doom. Joash is testament to that. As was his own experience, the influence for good sometimes comes from somewhere else (Jehoida the priest in this instance; 12:2). Never fear, dysfunctional family or not, good and right can still prevail!

Questions to Ponder:

  • Who had killed Ahaziah? (see 9:24-28)
  • Who orchestrated Athaliah’s ouster? (11:4-8)
  • In what act did Jehoida lead the people? (11:17)
  • What project did Joash undertake? (12:4-5)

My Delight is the Lord, August 26

Don’t Miss the Insignificant

August 26, Friday: God’s Story (1)

Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 5:1-27

One extremely helpful approach to Bible study (especially with regard to historical events) is to consider all of the different persons involved. In this instance there are, of course, the primary players, Elisha and Naaman with much to be learned from them. But, there is also Naaman’s wise servant as well as Gehazi and his sin. But don’t forget the person who brought Elisha to Naaman’s attention in the first place, the little captive Hebrew girl who served Naaman’s wife. We don’t often think of her. Yet, her part to play in all of this was critically important. It was not her unfair and unjust treatment–which were true–but glory to God that rightly captures the focus of this story. Don’t miss the lesson from this “insignificant” player.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What was Naaman’s reaction to Elisha’s instruction? (v. 11)
  • What was Naaman’s servant’s reasoning? (v. 13)
  • What kept Naaman a leper?
  • What was Gehazi’s error? (v. 20)

My Delight is the Lord, August 24

The Best, Not the Good

August 25, Thursday: God’s People

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 6:1-23

Have you ever heard that the enemy of the best is not the bad or worst, it’s the good? I heard (or rather read) that first from Stephen Covey. Here’s the real danger of this reality, we have a hard time seeing something that is “good” as being a problem. But it can be worse than just a problem, it can be a threat. Is not David’s effort to move the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem a graphic illustration of this truth? He didn’t need convinced of the benefit and gravity of transporting this singular spiritual item from a private residence to the capital city.  Nothing but a brand new cart would do for such a lofty task (v. 3). Such a thought was good, but it wasn’t the best. Unfortunate for Uzzah, the good turned into an enemy. Our intentions are meaningless (or worse), no matter how good they may be, if we disregard God’s instruction. What He says is the best.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How is God designated in v. 2?
  • What does Perez-uzzah mean? (v. 8)
  • What was David’s emotional reaction? (v. 9)
  • Where was the ark placed? (v. 17)

My Delight is the Lord, August 24

Powerful and Caring

August 24, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: John 11:1-53

The account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is remarkable to the extreme. That Jesus could speak to the dead and the dead respond just defies our understanding. It’s been observed that it’s a good thing Jesus called him by name or the whole cemetery would have come out of their graves. Is there any greater evidence to the divinity of the Nazarene than this? But wait. Of no less wonderment is that one of such exalted and lofty place has such care and tender compassion on the pain and sorrow of lowly man. Yes, I thrill at believing in a Savior who possesses authority over death, but no less than that I know He cares deeply for me.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How did Lazarus’ illness “not lead to death”? (v. 4)
  • What prompted the disciples’ hesitation? (v. 8)
  • Did Martha anticipate what Jesus would do? (vv. 21-22)
  • To what does Martha confess? (v. 27)

My Delight is the Lord, August 23

Where Are You Headed?

August 23, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 5:11-6:12

It’s not so much where you are as it is where you are headed. Not that where you are is unimportant, but you can be where you should be, and still be in trouble. As the bit of homespun wisdom goes, you can be on the right track, but you’ll still get run over if you just sit there. Spiritually speaking, too many have just “sat there” after they dried themselves from the water of baptism. This text contains some of the strongest wording in Scripture and it’s all about the failure of Christians to continually grow in the faith. The seriousness of their situation is also seen in other statements; such as warning about neglecting “such a great salvation” (2:3) or guarding against an “evil, unbelieving heart” (3:12) or the danger of “refusing him who is speaking” (12:25).  It’s all connected. If we are “just sitting there” spiritually, we put ourselves in an incredibly precarious position.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How is these Christians’ condition described in 5:11?
  • What was their failing? (5:12)
  • What’s the difference between milk and solid food? (v. 12)
  • What makes up the “elementary doctrine” (6:1-2)

My Delight is the Lord, August 22

God’s Complaint

August 22, Monday: God is…

Scripture Reading: Psalm 50

God has a complaint and we better listen up. It’s not with the irreligious or the unbeliever (at least not in this text). Rather, it is with His own people. Here it is: you hate discipline and you cast my words behind you (v. 17). They hadn’t rejected His word per se, they hadn’t said it really wasn’t His word. They instead had failed to allow it to function as God intended. His word is supposed to discipline, that is, to convict, correct, admonish, and instruct His people. When that doesn’t happen, it is not because of a failure on God’s part but rather a failure on man’s part to obey and submit. As Paul affirms this inspired word is profitable for “teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). But what if we fail to be taught, reproved, corrected and trained by it? Is God really impressed that we extol the Bible as God-breathed while resisting the very purposed for which it is given? Hating the discipline of God’s word is not in our best interest.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Who (what) is summoned by God? For what purpose? (v. 1)
  • How is God responding to worship? (v. 9)
  • In what sacrifice is God most interested? (v. 14)

Why did people conclude that God was like them? (v. 21)