OT Reading – February 11

Nehemiah 8-9

Nehemiah 8

Ezra Reads the Law

8 And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel. Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. He read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law. Ezra the scribe stood at a wooden podium which they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand; and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam on his left hand. Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. Then Ezra blessed the Lord the great God. And all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, explained the law to the people while the people remained in their place. They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.

“This Day Is Holy”

Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 11 So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 All the people went away to eat, to drink, to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been made known to them.

Feast of Booths Restored

13 Then on the second day the heads of fathers’ households of all the people, the priests and the Levites were gathered to Ezra the scribe that they might gain insight into the words of the law. 14 They found written in the law how the Lord had commanded through Moses that the sons of Israel should live in booths during the feast of the seventh month.15 So they proclaimed and circulated a proclamation in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the hills, and bring olive branches and wild olive branches, myrtle branches, palm branches and branches of other leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written.” 16 So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each on his roof, and in their courts and in the courts of the house of God, and in the square at the Water Gate and in the square at the Gate of Ephraim. 17 The entire assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in them. The sons of Israel had indeed not done so from the days of Joshua the son of Nun to that day. And there was great rejoicing. 18 He read from the book of the law of God daily, from the first day to the last day. And they celebrated the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly according to the ordinance.

 

Nehemiah 9

The People Confess Their Sin

9 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth and with dirt upon them. The descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. While they stood in their place, they read from the book of the law of the Lord their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God. Now on the Levites’ platform stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani and Chenani, and they cried with a loud voice to the Lord their God.

Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah, said, “Arise, bless the Lord your God forever and ever!

O may Your glorious name be blessed And exalted above all blessing and praise! “You alone are the Lord. You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before You. “You are the Lord God, Who chose Abram And brought him out from Ur of the Chaldees, And gave him the name Abraham. “You found his heart faithful before You, And made a covenant with him To give him the land of the Canaanite, Of the Hittite and the Amorite, Of the Perizzite, the Jebusite and the Girgashite— To give it to his descendants. And You have fulfilled Your promise, For You are righteous.

“You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, And heard their cry by the Red Sea. 10 “Then You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh, Against all his servants and all the people of his land; For You knew that they acted arrogantly toward them, And made a name for Yourself as it is this day. 11 “You divided the sea before them, So they passed through the midst of the sea on dry ground; And their pursuers You hurled into the depths, Like a stone into raging waters. 12 “And with a pillar of cloud You led them by day, And with a pillar of fire by night To light for them the way In which they were to go. 13 “Then You came down on Mount Sinai, And spoke with them from heaven; You gave them just ordinances and true laws, Good statutes and commandments. 14 “So You made known to them Your holy sabbath, And laid down for them commandments, statutes and law, Through Your servant Moses. 15 “You provided bread from heaven for them for their hunger, You brought forth water from a rock for them for their thirst, And You told them to enter in order to possess The land which You swore to give them.

16 “But they, our fathers, acted arrogantly; They became stubborn and would not listen to Your commandments. 17 “They refused to listen, And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them; So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a God of forgiveness, Gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness; And You did not forsake them. 18 “Even when they made for themselves A calf of molten metal And said, ‘This is your God Who brought you up from Egypt,’ And committed great blasphemies, 19 You, in Your great compassion, Did not forsake them in the wilderness; The pillar of cloud did not leave them by day, To guide them on their way, Nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go. 20 “You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth, And You gave them water for their thirst. 21 “Indeed, forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want; Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell. 22 “You also gave them kingdoms and peoples, And allotted them to them as a boundary. They took possession of the land of Sihon the king of Heshbon And the land of Og the king of Bashan. 23 “You made their sons numerous as the stars of heaven, And You brought them into the land Which You had told their fathers to enter and possess. 24 “So their sons entered and possessed the land. And You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, And You gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land, To do with them as they desired. 25 “They captured fortified cities and a fertile land. They took possession of houses full of every good thing, Hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive groves, Fruit trees in abundance. So they ate, were filled and grew fat, And reveled in Your great goodness.

26 “But they became disobedient and rebelled against You, And cast Your law behind their backs And killed Your prophets who had admonished them So that they might return to You, And they committed great blasphemies. 27 “Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their oppressors who oppressed them, But when they cried to You in the time of their distress, You heard from heaven, and according to Your great compassion You gave them deliverers who delivered them from the hand of their oppressors. 28 “But as soon as they had rest, they did evil again before You; Therefore You abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they ruled over them. When they cried again to You, You heard from heaven, And many times You rescued them according to Your compassion, 29 And admonished them in order to turn them back to Your law. Yet they acted arrogantly and did not listen to Your commandments but sinned against Your ordinances, By which if a man observes them he shall live. And they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck, and would not listen. 30 “However, You bore with them for many years, And admonished them by Your Spirit through Your prophets, Yet they would not give ear. Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. 31 “Nevertheless, in Your great compassion You did not make an end of them or forsake them, For You are a gracious and compassionate God.

32 “Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and lovingkindness, Do not let all the hardship seem insignificant before You, Which has come upon us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers and on all Your people, From the days of the kings of Assyria to this day. 33 “However, You are just in all that has come upon us; For You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly. 34 “For our kings, our leaders, our priests and our fathers have not kept Your law Or paid attention to Your commandments and Your admonitions with which You have admonished them. 35 “But they, in their own kingdom, With Your great goodness which You gave them, With the broad and rich land which You set before them, Did not serve You or turn from their evil deeds. 36 “Behold, we are slaves today, And as to the land which You gave to our fathers to eat of its fruit and its bounty, Behold, we are slaves in it. 37 “Its abundant produce is for the kings Whom You have set over us because of our sins; They also rule over our bodies And over our cattle as they please, So we are in great distress.

A Covenant Results

38 “Now because of all this We are making an agreement in writing; And on the sealed document are the names of our leaders, our Levites and our priests.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

November 20 – OT Reading

Ezekiel 16-19

Ezekiel 16

God’s Grace to Unfaithful Jerusalem

16 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem, “Your origin and your birth are from the land of the Canaanite, your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing; you were not rubbed with salt or even wrapped in cloths. No eye looked with pity on you to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you. Rather you were thrown out into the open field,for you were abhorred on the day you were born.

“When I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!’ I made you numerous like plants of the field. Then you grew up, became tall and reached the age for fine ornaments; your breasts were formed and your hair had grown. Yet you were naked and bare.

“Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine,” declares the Lord God. “Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. 10 I also clothed you with embroidered cloth and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk. 11 I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands and a necklace around your neck. 12 I also put a ring in your nostril, earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, honey and oil; so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. 14 Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you,” declares the Lord God.

15 “But you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passer-by who might be willing16 You took some of your clothes, made for yourself high places of various colors and played the harlot on them, which should never come about nor happen. 17 You also took your beautiful jewels made of My gold and of My silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images that you might play the harlot with them. 18 Then you took your embroidered cloth and covered them, and offered My oil and My incense before them. 19 Also My bread which I gave you, fine flour, oil and honey with which I fed you, you would offer before them for a soothing aroma; so it happened,” declares the Lord God. 20 “Moreover, you took your sons and daughters whom you had borne to Me and sacrificed them to idols to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter? 21 You slaughtered My children and offered them up to idols by causing them to pass through the fire22 Besides all your abominations and harlotries you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare and squirming in your blood.

23 “Then it came about after all your wickedness (‘Woe, woe to you!’ declares the Lord God), 24 that you built yourself a shrine and made yourself a high place in every square. 25 You built yourself a high place at the top of every street and made your beauty abominable, and you spread your legs to every passer-by to multiply your harlotry. 26 You also played the harlot with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, and multiplied your harlotry to make Me angry. 27 Behold now, I have stretched out My hand against you and diminished your rations. And I delivered you up to the desire of those who hate you, the daughters of the Philistines, who are ashamed of your lewd conduct. 28 Moreover, you played the harlot with the Assyrians because you were not satisfied; you played the harlot with them and still were not satisfied. 29 You also multiplied your harlotry with the land of merchants, Chaldea, yet even with this you were not satisfied.”’”

30 “How languishing is your heart,” declares the Lord God, “while you do all these things, the actions of a bold-faced harlot. 31 When you built your shrine at the beginning of every street and made your high place in every square, in disdaining money, you were not like a harlot. 32 You adulteress wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband! 33 Men give gifts to all harlots, but you give your gifts to all your lovers to bribe them to come to you from every direction for your harlotries. 34 Thus you are different from those women in your harlotries, in that no one plays the harlot as you do, because you give money and no money is given you; thus you are different.”

35 Therefore, O harlot, hear the word of the Lord. 36 Thus says the Lord God, “Because your lewdness was poured out and your nakedness uncovered through your harlotries with your lovers and with all your detestable idols, and because of the blood of your sons which you gave to idols, 37 therefore, behold, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, even all those whom you loved and all those whom you hated. So I will gather them against you from every direction and expose your nakedness to them that they may see all your nakedness. 38 Thus I will judge you like women who commit adultery or shed blood are judged; and I will bring on you the blood of wrath and jealousy. 39 I will also give you into the hands of your lovers, and they will tear down your shrines, demolish your high places, strip you of your clothing, take away your jewels, and will leave you naked and bare. 40 They will incite a crowd against you and they will stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords. 41 They will burn your houses with fire and execute judgments on you in the sight of many women. Then I will stop you from playing the harlot, and you will also no longer pay your lovers. 42 So I will calm My fury against you and My jealousy will depart from you, and I will be pacified and angry no more. 43 Because you have not remembered the days of your youth but have enraged Me by all these things, behold, I in turn will bring your conduct down on your own head,” declares the Lord God, “so that you will not commit this lewdness on top of all your other abominations.

44 “Behold, everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb concerning you, saying, ‘Like mother, like daughter.’ 45 You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and children. You are also the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. 46 Now your older sister is Samaria, who lives north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lives south of you, is Sodom with her daughters. 47 Yet you have not merely walked in their ways or done according to their abominations; but, as if that were too little, you acted more corruptly in all your conduct than they. 48 As I live,” declares the Lord God, “Sodom, your sister and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. 50 Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it. 51 Furthermore, Samaria did not commit half of your sins, for you have multiplied your abominations more than they. Thus you have made your sisters appear righteous by all your abominations which you have committed. 52 Also bear your disgrace in that you have made judgment favorable for your sisters. Because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. Yes, be also ashamed and bear your disgrace, in that you made your sisters appear righteous.

53 “Nevertheless, I will restore their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, and along with them your own captivity, 54 in order that you may bear your humiliation and feel ashamed for all that you have done when you become a consolation to them. 55 Your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will return to their former state, and you with your daughters will also return to your former state. 56 As the name of your sister Sodom was not heard from your lips in your day of pride, 57 before your wickedness was uncovered, so now you have become the reproach of the daughters of Edom and of all who are around her, of the daughters of the Philistines—those surrounding you who despise you. 58 You have borne the penalty of your lewdness and abominations,” the Lord declares. 59 For thus says the Lord God, “I will also do with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath by breaking the covenant.

The Covenant Remembered

60 “Nevertheless, I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. 61 Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed when you receive your sisters, both your older and your younger; and I will give them to you as daughters, but not because of your covenant. 62 Thus I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, 63 so that you may remember and be ashamed and never open your mouth anymore because of your humiliation, when I have forgiven you for all that you have done,” the Lord God declares.

 

Ezekiel 17

Parable of Two Eagles and a Vine

17 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, propound a riddle and speak a parable to the house of Israel, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “A great eagle with great wings, long pinions and a full plumage of many colors came to Lebanon and took away the top of the cedar. He plucked off the topmost of its young twigs and brought it to a land of merchants; he set it in a city of traders. He also took some of the seed of the land and planted it in fertile soil. He placed it beside abundant waters; he set it like a willow. Then it sprouted and became a low, spreading vine with its branches turned toward him, but its roots remained under it. So it became a vine and yielded shoots and sent out branches.

“But there was another great eagle with great wings and much plumage; and behold, this vine bent its roots toward him and sent out its branches toward him from the beds where it was planted, that he might water it. It was planted in good soil beside abundant waters, that it might yield branches and bear fruit and become a splendid vine.”’ Say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Will it thrive? Will he not pull up its roots and cut off its fruit, so that it withers—so that all its sprouting leaves wither? And neither by great strength nor by many people can it be raised from its roots again10 Behold, though it is planted, will it thrive? Will it not completely wither as soon as the east wind strikes it—wither on the beds where it grew?”’”

Zedekiah’s Rebellion

11 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 12 “Say now to the rebellious house, ‘Do you not know what these things mean?’ Say, ‘Behold, the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, took its king and princes and brought them to him in Babylon. 13 He took one of the royal family and made a covenant with him, putting him under oath. He also took away the mighty of the land, 14 that the kingdom might be in subjection, not exalting itself, but keeping his covenant that it might continue. 15 But he rebelled against him by sending his envoys to Egypt that they might give him horses and many troops. Will he succeed? Will he who does such things escape? Can he indeed break the covenant and escape? 16 As I live,’ declares the Lord God, ‘Surely in the country of the king who put him on the throne, whose oath he despised and whose covenant he broke, in Babylon he shall die.17 Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company will not help him in the war, when they cast up ramps and build siege walls to cut off many lives. 18 Now he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, and behold, he pledged his allegiance, yet did all these things; he shall not escape.’”19 Therefore, thus says the Lord God, “As I live, surely My oath which he despised and My covenant which he broke, I will inflict on his head. 20 I will spread My net over him, and he will be caught in My snare. Then I will bring him to Babylon and enter into judgment with him there regarding the unfaithful act which he has committed against Me. 21 All the choice men in all his troops will fall by the sword, and the survivors will be scattered to every wind; and you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken.”

22 Thus says the Lord God, “I will also take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and set it out; I will pluck from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one and I will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 On the high mountain of Israel I will plant it, that it may bring forth boughs and bear fruit and become a stately cedar. And birds of every kind will nest under it; they will nest in the shade of its branches. 24 All the trees of the field will know that I am the Lord; I bring down the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will perform it.”

 

Ezekiel 18

God Deals Justly with Individuals

18 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying,

‘The fathers eat the sour grapes, But the children’s teeth are set on edge’?

As I live,” declares the Lord God, “you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore. Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.

“But if a man is righteous and practices justice and righteousness, and does not eat at the mountain shrines or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, or defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman during her menstrual period— if a man does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, does not commit robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing, if he does not lend money on interest or take increase, if he keeps his hand from iniquity and executes true justice between man and man, if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully—he is righteous and will surely live,” declares the Lord God.

10 “Then he may have a violent son who sheds blood and who does any of these things to a brother11 (though he himself did not do any of these things), that is, he even eats at the mountain shrines, and defiles his neighbor’s wife, 12 oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore a pledge, but lifts up his eyes to the idols and commits abomination, 13 he lends money on interest and takes increase; will he live? He will not live! He has committed all these abominations, he will surely be put to death; his blood will be on his own head.

14 “Now behold, he has a son who has observed all his father’s sins which he committed, and observing does not do likewise. 15 He does not eat at the mountain shrines or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, or defile his neighbor’s wife, 16 or oppress anyone, or retain a pledge, or commit robbery, but he gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing, 17 he keeps his hand from the poor, does not take interest or increase, but executes My ordinances, and walks in My statutes; he will not die for his father’s iniquity, he will surely live. 18 As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was not good among his people, behold, he will die for his iniquity.

19 “Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity?’ When the son has practiced justice and righteousness and has observed all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live. 20 The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.

21 “But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live. 23 Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?

24 “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die. 25 Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ Hear now, O house of Israel! Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die. 27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life. 28 Because he considered and turned away from all his transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 But the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ Are My ways not right, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not right?

30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct,” declares the Lord God. “Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you. 31 Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord God. “Therefore, repent and live.”

 

Ezekiel 19

Lament for the Princes of Israel

19 “As for you, take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel and say,

‘What was your mother? A lioness among lions! She lay down among young lions, She reared her cubs. ‘When she brought up one of her cubs, He became a lion, And he learned to tear his prey; He devoured men. ‘Then nations heard about him; He was captured in their pit, And they brought him with hooks To the land of Egypt. ‘When she saw, as she waited, That her hope was lost, She took another of her cubs And made him a young lion. ‘And he walked about among the lions; He became a young lion, He learned to tear his prey; He devoured men. ‘He destroyed their fortified towers And laid waste their cities; And the land and its fullness were appalled Because of the sound of his roaring. ‘Then nations set against him On every side from their provinces, And they spread their net over him; He was captured in their pit. ‘They put him in a cage with hooks And brought him to the king of Babylon; They brought him in hunting nets So that his voice would be heard no more On the mountains of Israel. 10 ‘Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard, Planted by the waters; It was fruitful and full of branches Because of abundant waters. 11 ‘And it had strong branches fit for scepters of rulers, And its height was raised above the clouds So that it was seen in its height with the mass of its branches. 12 ‘But it was plucked up in fury; It was cast down to the ground; And the east wind dried up its fruit. Its strong branch was torn off So that it withered; The fire consumed it. 13 ‘And now it is planted in the wilderness, In a dry and thirsty land. 14 ‘And fire has gone out from its branch; It has consumed its shoots and fruit, So that there is not in it a strong branch, A scepter to rule.’”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

June 25 – OT Reading

Psalm 89/96/100-101/105/132

Psalm 89

The Lord’s Covenant with David, and Israel’s Afflictions.

A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

89 I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever; To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth. 2 For I have said, “Lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness.” 3 “I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, I will establish your seed forever And build up your throne to all generations.” Selah.

5 The heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones. 6 For who in the skies is comparable to the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty is like the Lord, 7 A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him? 8 O Lord God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty Lord? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. 9 You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them. 10 You Yourself crushed Rahab like one who is slain; You scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.

11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all it contains, You have founded them. 12 The north and the south, You have created them; Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name. 13 You have a strong arm; Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted. 14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. 15 How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance. 16 In Your name they rejoice all the day, And by Your righteousness they are exalted. 17 For You are the glory of their strength, And by Your favor our horn is exalted. 18 For our shield belongs to the Lord, And our king to the Holy One of Israel.

19 Once You spoke in vision to Your godly ones, And said, “I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. 20 “I have found David My servant; With My holy oil I have anointed him, 21 With whom My hand will be established; My arm also will strengthen him. 22 “The enemy will not deceive him, Nor the son of wickedness afflict him. 23 “But I shall crush his adversaries before him, And strike those who hate him. 24 “My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him, And in My name his horn will be exalted. 25 “I shall also set his hand on the sea And his right hand on the rivers. 26 “He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 27 “I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. 28 “My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall be confirmed to him. 29 “So I will establish his descendants forever And his throne as the days of heaven.

30 “If his sons forsake My law And do not walk in My judgments, 31 If they violate My statutes And do not keep My commandments, 32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod And their iniquity with stripes. 33 “But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. 34 “My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. 35 “Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. 36 “His descendants shall endure forever And his throne as the sun before Me. 37 “It shall be established forever like the moon, And the witness in the sky is faithful.” Selah.

38 But You have cast off and rejected, You have been full of wrath against Your anointed. 39 You have spurned the covenant of Your servant; You have profaned his crown in the dust. 40 You have broken down all his walls; You have brought his strongholds to ruin. 41 All who pass along the way plunder him; He has become a reproach to his neighbors. 42 You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries; You have made all his enemies rejoice. 43 You also turn back the edge of his sword And have not made him stand in battle. 44 You have made his splendor to cease And cast his throne to the ground. 45 You have shortened the days of his youth; You have covered him with shame. Selah.

46 How long, O Lord? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath burn like fire? 47 Remember what my span of life is; For what vanity You have created all the sons of men! 48 What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah.

49 Where are Your former lovingkindnesses, O Lord, Which You swore to David in Your faithfulness? 50 Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Your servants; How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples, 51 With which Your enemies have reproached, O Lord, With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed.

52 Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.

 

Psalm 96

A Call to Worship the Lord the Righteous Judge.

96 Sing to the Lord a new song; Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. 3 Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens. 6 Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of His name; Bring an offering and come into His courts. 9 Worship the Lord in holy attire; Tremble before Him, all the earth. 10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.”

11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; Let the sea roar, and all it contains; 12 Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy 13 Before the Lord, for He is coming, For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His faithfulness.

 

Psalm 100

All Men Exhorted to Praise God.

A Psalm for Thanksgiving.

100 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. 3 Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.

 

Psalm 101

The Psalmist’s Profession of Uprightness.

A Psalm of David.

101 I will sing of lovingkindness and justice, To You, O Lord, I will sing praises. I will give heed to the blameless way. When will You come to me? I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. 3 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me. 4 A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil. 5 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.

6 My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me. 7 He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me. Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land, So as to cut off from the city of the Lord all those who do iniquity.

 

Psalm 105

The Lord’s Wonderful Works in Behalf of Israel.

105 Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples. 2 Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. 3 Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. 4 Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually. 5 Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth, 6 O seed of Abraham, His servant, O sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! 7 He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth.

8 He has remembered His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, 9 The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. 10 Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, 11 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan As the portion of your inheritance,” 12 When they were only a few men in number, Very few, and strangers in it. 13 And they wandered about from nation to nation, From one kingdom to another people. 14 He permitted no man to oppress them, And He reproved kings for their sakes: 15 “Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.”

16 And He called for a famine upon the land; He broke the whole staff of bread. 17 He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. 18 They afflicted his feet with fetters, He himself was laid in irons; 19 Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the Lord tested him. 20 The king sent and released him, The ruler of peoples, and set him free. 21 He made him lord of his house And ruler over all his possessions, 22 To imprison his princes at will, That he might teach his elders wisdom. 23 Israel also came into Egypt; Thus Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham. 24 And He caused His people to be very fruitful, And made them stronger than their adversaries.

25 He turned their heart to hate His people, To deal craftily with His servants. 26 He sent Moses His servant, And Aaron, whom He had chosen. 27 They performed His wondrous acts among them, And miracles in the land of Ham. 28 He sent darkness and made it dark; And they did not rebel against His words. 29 He turned their waters into blood And caused their fish to die. 30 Their land swarmed with frogs Even in the chambers of their kings. 31 He spoke, and there came a swarm of flies And gnats in all their territory. 32 He gave them hail for rain, And flaming fire in their land. 33 He struck down their vines also and their fig trees, And shattered the trees of their territory. 34 He spoke, and locusts came, And young locusts, even without number, 35 And ate up all vegetation in their land, And ate up the fruit of their ground. 36 He also struck down all the firstborn in their land, The first fruits of all their vigor.

37 Then He brought them out with silver and gold, And among His tribes there was not one who stumbled. 38 Egypt was glad when they departed, For the dread of them had fallen upon them. 39 He spread a cloud for a covering, And fire to illumine by night. 40 They asked, and He brought quail, And satisfied them with the bread of heaven. 41 He opened the rock and water flowed out; It ran in the dry places like a river. 42 For He remembered His holy word With Abraham His servant; 43 And He brought forth His people with joy, His chosen ones with a joyful shout. 44 He gave them also the lands of the nations, That they might take possession of the fruit of the peoples’ labor, 45 So that they might keep His statutes And observe His laws, Praise the Lord!

 

Psalm 132

Prayer for the Lord’s Blessing upon the Sanctuary.

A Song of Ascents.

132 Remember, O Lord, on David’s behalf, All his affliction; 2 How he swore to the Lord And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, 3 “Surely I will not enter my house, Nor lie on my bed; 4 I will not give sleep to my eyes Or slumber to my eyelids, 5 Until I find a place for the Lord, A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah, We found it in the field of Jaar. 7 Let us go into His dwelling place; Let us worship at His footstool. 8 Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. 9 Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, And let Your godly ones sing for joy.

10 For the sake of David Your servant, Do not turn away the face of Your anointed. 11 The Lord has sworn to David A truth from which He will not turn back: “Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne. 12 “If your sons will keep My covenant And My testimony which I will teach them, Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever.”

13 For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. 14 “This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. 15 “I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her needy with bread. 16 “Her priests also I will clothe with salvation, And her godly ones will sing aloud for joy. 17 “There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth; I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed. 18 “His enemies I will clothe with shame, But upon himself his crown shall shine.”

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

May 26 – OT Reading

1 Samuel 18

Jonathan and David

18 Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. 2 Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt. 5 So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

6 It happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments. 7 The women sang as they played, and said,

“Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”

Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.

Saul Turns against David

10 Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and a spear was in Saul’s hand. 11 Saul hurled the spear for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David escaped from his presence twice.

12 Now Saul was afraid of David, for the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul.13 Therefore Saul removed him from his presence and appointed him as his commander of a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. 14 David was prospering in all his ways for the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, and he went out and came in before them.

17 Then Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife, only be a valiant man for me and fight the Lord’s battles.” For Saul thought, “My hand shall not be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.” 18 But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be the king’s son-in-law?” 19 So it came about at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife.

David Marries Saul’s Daughter

20 Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. When they told Saul, the thing was agreeable to him. 21 Saul thought, “I will give her to him that she may become a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David, “For a second time you may be my son-in-law today.” 22 Then Saul commanded his servants, “Speak to David secretly, saying, ‘Behold, the king delights in you, and all his servants love you; now therefore, become the king’s son-in-law.’” 23 So Saul’s servants spoke these words to David. But David said, “Is it trivial in your sight to become the king’s son-in-law, since I am a poor man and lightly esteemed?” 24 The servants of Saul reported to him according to these words which David spoke. 25 Saul then said, “Thus you shall say to David, ‘The king does not desire any dowry except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.’” Now Saul planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. 26 When his servants told David these words, it pleased David to become the king’s son-in-law. Before the days had expired 27 David rose up and went, he and his men, and struck down two hundred men among the Philistines. Then David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full number to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. So Saul gave him Michal his daughter for a wife. 28 When Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, 29 then Saul was even more afraid of David. Thus Saul was David’s enemy continually.

30 Then the commanders of the Philistines went out to battle, and it happened as often as they went out, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. So his name was highly esteemed.

1 Samuel 19

David Protected from Saul

19 Now Saul told Jonathan his son and all his servants to put David to death. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, greatly delighted in David. So Jonathan told David saying, “Saul my father is seeking to put you to death. Now therefore, please be on guard in the morning, and stay in a secret place and hide yourself. 3 I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak with my father about you; if I find out anything, then I will tell you.”4 Then Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Do not let the king sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial to you. 5 For he took his life in his hand and struck the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great deliverance for all Israel; you saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by putting David to death without a cause?” 6 Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan, and Saul vowed, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death.” 7 Then Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these words. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as formerly.

8 When there was war again, David went out and fought with the Philistines and defeated them with great slaughter, so that they fled before him. 9 Now there was an evil spirit from the Lord on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, and David was playing the harp with his hand. 10 Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, so that he stuck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night.

11 Then Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch him, in order to put him to death in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, told him, saying, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be put to death.” 12 So Michal let David down through a window, and he went out and fled and escaped. 13 Michal took the household idol and laid it on the bed, and put a quilt of goats’ hair at its head, and covered it with clothes. 14 When Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” 15 Then Saul sent messengers to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me on his bed, that I may put him to death.” 16 When the messengers entered, behold, the household idol was on the bed with the quilt of goats’ hair at its head. 17 So Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me like this and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?” And Michal said to Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go! Why should I put you to death?’”

18 Now David fled and escaped and came to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and stayed in Naioth. 19 It was told Saul, saying, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied. 21 When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. So Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. 22 Then he himself went to Ramah and came as far as the large well that is in Secu; and he asked and said, “Where are Samuel and David?” And someone said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.” 23 He proceeded there to Naioth in Ramah; and the Spirit of God came upon him also, so that he went along prophesying continually until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24 He also stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Therefore they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

1 Samuel 20

David and Jonathan Covenant

20 Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my iniquity? And what is my sin before your father, that he is seeking my life?” 2 He said to him, “Far from it, you shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. So why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so!” 3 Yet David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your sight, and he has said, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be grieved.’ But truly as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is hardly a step between me and death.” Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 5 So David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I ought to sit down to eat with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field until the third evening. 6 If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city, because it is the yearly sacrifice there for the whole family.’7 If he says, ‘It is good,’ your servant will be safe; but if he is very angry, know that he has decided on evil. 8 Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. But if there is iniquity in me, put me to death yourself; for why then should you bring me to your father?” 9 Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! For if I should indeed learn that evil has been decided by my father to come upon you, then would I not tell you about it?” 10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?” 11 Jonathan said to David, “Come, and let us go out into the field.” So both of them went out to the field.

12 Then Jonathan said to David, “The Lord, the God of Israel, be witness! When I have sounded out my father about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if there is good feeling toward David, shall I not then send to you and make it known to you? 13 If it please my father to do you harm, may the Lord do so to Jonathan and more also, if I do not make it known to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And may the Lord be with you as He has been with my father. 14 If I am still alive, will you not show me the lovingkindness of the Lord, that I may not die?15 You shall not cut off your lovingkindness from my house forever, not even when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord require it at the hands of David’s enemies.”17 Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life.

18 Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed because your seat will be empty.19 When you have stayed for three days, you shall go down quickly and come to the place where you hid yourself on that eventful day, and you shall remain by the stone Ezel.20 I will shoot three arrows to the side, as though I shot at a target. 21 And behold, I will send the lad, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I specifically say to the lad, ‘Behold, the arrows are on this side of you, get them,’ then come; for there is safety for you and no harm, as the Lord lives. 22 But if I say to the youth, ‘Behold, the arrows are beyond you,’ go, for the Lord has sent you away. 23 As for the agreement of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever.”

24 So David hid in the field; and when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 The king sat on his seat as usual, the seat by the wall; then Jonathan rose up and Abner sat down by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty.26 Nevertheless Saul did not speak anything that day, for he thought, “It is an accident, he is not clean, surely he is not clean.” 27 It came about the next day, the second day of the new moon, that David’s place was empty; so Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan then answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem, 29 for he said, ‘Please let me go, since our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to attend. And now, if I have found favor in your sight, please let me get away that I may see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

Saul Is Angry with Jonathan

30 Then Saul’s anger burned against Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you are choosing the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness?31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Therefore now, send and bring him to me, for he must surely die.” 32 But Jonathan answered Saul his father and said to him, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 Then Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him down; so Jonathan knew that his father had decided to put David to death.34 Then Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did not eat food on the second day of the new moon, for he was grieved over David because his father had dishonored him.

35 Now it came about in the morning that Jonathan went out into the field for the appointment with David, and a little lad was with him. 36 He said to his lad, “Run, find now the arrows which I am about to shoot.” As the lad was running, he shot an arrow past him. 37 When the lad reached the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the lad and said, “Is not the arrow beyond you?”38 And Jonathan called after the lad, “Hurry, be quick, do not stay!” And Jonathan’s lad picked up the arrow and came to his master. 39 But the lad was not aware of anything; only Jonathan and David knew about the matter. 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to his lad and said to him, “Go, bring them to the city.” 41 When the lad was gone, David rose from the south side and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed three times. And they kissed each other and wept together, but David wept the more. 42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.’” Then he rose and departed, while Jonathan went into the city.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

God’s Story

Genesis 15 – Resurrection Sunday

Easter. What’s in it for you? What is your hope today? A good job. A loving marriage. Well-behaved kids. Cool parents. Bright future. New romance. All good things. Maybe you have begin to think about your own mortality and your hope is in a legacy, leaving a mark on planet earth so that 100 years from now, folks know that you were here? But it’s clear…if your hope is based on earthy things, they are all destined to fail. Everything ends up in either the graveyard or the junkyard. The things of this world will pass away.

Abram’s hope is clear…the promises that God had made to him. Land. Seed, aka Jesus. Blessing. Blesser of the nations. Abram believes God, and He reckons it to him as righteousness. Abram’s faith made him righteous before God…not his obedience or lack thereof. His faith. Period. Hebrews tells us that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. What was Abram believing…Genesis 3.15. That God would provide the Head-crushing Seed of the Woman, aka Jesus, to rescue and provide the way back to paradise, to restore the relationship with Creator God and life in His kingdom, that through Him all the families of the earth would be blessed. And ultimately Abram’s hope is resurrection. The promises that God had made…descendants, land, blessing to the nations were not realized in Abram’s life. He would only fully realize them in resurrection. Hebrews tells us he was looking for a better country, a heavenly city. Abram looked forward to Jesus.

The Son of Promise has come. The Genesis 3:15 Head-crushing Seed of the Woman, our Rescuer, Jesus rent the veil between heaven and earth, between time and eternity and stepped onto the world stage. Jesus, who came to do what we could not do….provide the way back to God. To conquer sin and death. To restore the image so that we might return to Paradise, to provide the promise of life. That by faith in Jesus, who lived the life that we were supposed to live, totally obedient and dependent on God, who died the death we deserved…the death that has been ours by birthright since the garden. The death that was surely required for our rebellion, that through faith in Him we could participate in the most absurd gift exchange in the universe…His righteousness for our sin…so that we can have life…a different kind of life, real life, eternal life with Father God in His kingdom. I don’t understand it, but am amazed by it. That is our promise, that just as Jesus conquered sin through His death and death through His resurrection, so sin and death for us are over and done with if we believe. Abram was promised a kingdom and a legacy for His faith. So are we. When God Himself, in smoke and fire walked between those bloody animals, He made that walk for you as much as He made it for Abram. He is preparing that kingdom even now, and has set another a day in the eternal calendar to return once more to this earth and set up a kingdom that will have no end. We have been called to set out on a journey, to a place He will show us, in an act of faith. Faith because we have no power at all to make that promise happen. We have no way in and of ourselves to go to that kingdom or to reign there. But that promise has been made to us.

Do you know the amazing love of God today? Do you want to?

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Genesis series. Listen online at:http://www.centralchristian.org, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster