Reading the Scriptures Together: Week of April 22, 2018

Reading the Scriptures Together is a weekly post that is intended to serve as an extension of our Sunday Sermons. This reading plan is a compliment to the sermon, Psalm 6: A Psalm of Anguish.

Monday: Psalm 6

Take time to read the Psalm that we considered on Sunday. The notes from the message are attached to the weekly email and are available on our website. Since this is a short Psalm try reading it three times. The first time through focus on the suffering David was experiencing and do your best to feel the pain that he was feeling. The second time, read the Psalm with a careful eye to David’s trust in God. While he pleads with God for mercy and relief there are several reminders of David’s confidence in God. Lastly, read the Psalm a third time and pay careful attention to God’s response – God hears David and delivers him. After reading take time to pray and ask God to give you the kind of trust in His character that David had, even in suffering.

Tuesday: Lamentations 3

In many ways Lamentations 3 is an expanded version of Psalm 6. While they have different authors, both passages speak of significant suffering and also reveal a deep-rooted trust in the character of God. The chapter can be divided this way: In verses 1-20 the speaker carefully and vividly describes the pain of his situation. Because of his sin he is experiencing the discipline of God and suffering under the weight of this discipline, however in verse 21 there is a transition. While the writer is in the midst of pain he remembers the character of God. He knows that God is good and desires good for His people. He sees the benefit of responding favorably to the discipline of God (vs. 21-33). In verses 34-47 there is a reminder of God’s justice and then a call for others to search their hearts and respond to the correction of God. In verses 48-66 there is a final acknowledgment of suffering and a plea to God for deliverance. Once again we hear a sense of confidence that God can and will save His people.

Wednesday: Hebrews 12

In Psalm 6 we were reminded that God will bring difficulties into our lives as a means of encouraging our repentance and Hebrews 12 provides an expanded teaching on this work of God. The chapter begins with an exhortation: because of the examples of faith that we have been given (see chapter 11) and more importantly, because of the sacrifice of Jesus we should give ourselves wholly to the pursuit of holiness and the work of God (vs. 1-2). In verses 3-17 we read how God (like a good father) lovingly disciplines His children and we are encouraged to respond favorably to that discipline. In the final section of the chapter (vs. 18-29) we are reminded of the holiness of God and also of the great end for which we are striving. God’s holiness was on full display at Mt. Sinai and as we approach God we must come with reverent fear (vs. 18-24). As we pursue Him we look forward to the day when all that is evil will be removed and God will establish His unshakeable kingdom. Our holiness should be motivated by the anticipation of joining Him in His kingdom (vs. 25-29).

Thursday: Luke 18

Luke 18 is made up of several different teachings from Jesus as he interacts with various people. The chapter begins with two parables that help us think more fully about how we approach God, specifically when we need forgiveness and desire mercy (think of this in light of David’s prayer in Psalm 6). In verses 1-8 we have parable about a widow who persistently asks a judge for justice. Because of her regular requests the judge hears and answers her, how much more will our God hear and answer the requests of those who are His. In verses 9-14 we have the parable that we discussed on Sunday of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector; God is attentive to those who come to Him in humility, but opposes those who exalt in themselves. As we suffer we must come to God in humble acknowledgement of His wisdom and of His calling on our lives. This same theme is carried on in the next two interactions (with children and then the rich ruler) as Jesus calls for humility and a willingness to value Him more than our own position or possessions. The chapter ends with a brief foretelling of the death of Jesus (vs. 31-34) and an account of Jesus healing a blind beggar. Once again we have an example of someone who believed that Jesus would show mercy and asked humbly. Jesus heals him and the blind man’s reaction leads to the praise of God throughout his community. We should pray that God will use our deliverance as means of evoking praise.

Friday: Psalm 16

Read Psalm 16 in preparation for our service on Sunday. As you read ask yourself these questions: What does this teach us about God? What does this teach us about ourselves? Also, take time to write down questions that you have about the Psalm, then come on Sunday and listen for answers to those questions.

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