Mark 1:12-13 CSB – 12 Immediately the Spirit drove him [Jesus] into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels were serving him.
Psalm 91:1-16 CSB –1 The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say concerning the LORD, who is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust: 3 He himself will rescue you from the bird trap, from the destructive plague. 4 He will cover you with his feathers; you will take refuge under his wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. 5 You will not fear the terror of the night, the arrow that flies by day, 6 the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon. 7 Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you. 8 You will only see it with your eyes and witness the punishment of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the LORD — my refuge, the Most High — your dwelling place, 10 no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent. 11 For he will give his angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. 12 They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the young lion and the serpent. 14 Because he has his heart set on me, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows my name. 15 When he calls out to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will rescue him and give him honor. 16 I will satisfy him with a long life and show him my salvation.It seems so easy to say, Jesus was tempted, yet he was without sin (Hebrews 4:15) because, after all, Jesus is God . . .But remember all that Jesus “laid aside” (Philippians 2:5-10) and what it really means that he took on the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man. He was hungry and exhausted, after 40 days in the wilderness with no food. He wasn’t staying at a hotel or even a state park run campground; he was in the wilderness, alone, exposed to the elements. He was there because the Spirit told him to go . . .If you read the temptation account in the gospels, especially in Matthew’s account, you see how Jesus conquered the devil’s schemes. He relied on the Word of God. He quoted God’s Word. He depended on the Father. Maybe this psalm was in his mind . . .Jesus’ example in dealing with temptation is so helpful. I can’t deal with temptation in my own strength. Not shouldn’t; can’t; as in, unable. “In Christ” is not just a comfy-sounding phrase that makes everything feel warm and fuzzy — I must have a Redeemer. As I am powerless to save myself, to earn a place in heaven — I am powerless to fight sin in my own strength.The hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour,” written in the late 1800s, is just as true today . . .1 I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord;no tender voice like thine can peace afford.Refrain:I need thee, O I need thee; every hour I need thee!O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.2 I need thee every hour, stay thou near by;temptations lose their power when thou art nigh. [Refrain]3 I need thee every hour, in joy or pain;come quickly, and abide, or life is vain. [Refrain]4 I need thee every hour; teach me thy will,and thy rich promises in me fulfill. [Refrain]Authors: Annie S. Hawks; Robert Lowry (refrain)Source: Hymns of Promise: a large print songbook #113And, in needing Christ to fight temptation, there is no “magic potion.” Jesus relied on God’s Word, believing God’s truth. That was his “way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13) and God’s Word is ours as well. Knowing God’s Word renews our mind. Believing God’s Word and relying on the power of the Holy Spirit helps us to say “no” to sin.Psalm 119:10-11 CSB – 10 I have sought you with all my heart; don’t let me wander from your commands. 11 I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you.Psalm 119:101-105 CSB – 101 I have kept my feet from every evil path to follow your word. 102 I have not turned from your judgments, for you yourself have instructed me. 103 How sweet your word is to my taste — sweeter than honey in my mouth. 104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every false way. 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.
Thank you, God, for not leaving us to battle sin on our own. Thank you that you never leave us nor forsake us. Thank you for giving us this example in your precious word. Thank you, Jesus, for enduring temptation for us. What a Savior!amen
Exodus 29-40; James 1-5
We saw man’s depravity and God’s incredible mercy.We saw the law introduced, and the results of “law without faith.”Temptation is real. Sin is costly.
James 4:4 CSB – 4 You adulterous people! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the friend of the world becomes the enemy of God.
Romans 8:7-8 CSB – 7 The mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit to God’s law. Indeed, it is unable to do so. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Knowing this makes the debacle of the golden calf not at all surprising. Knowing this makes the favoritism, the wars and quarrels not at all surprising.
Knowing this is why we so desperately need Jesus. Without his complete payment for all our sin, his complete fulfillment of God’s law we are truly without hope.
Romans 8:9-10 CSB – 9 You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. 10 Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.
James 4:6-8 CSB – 6 But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 7 Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
God’s mercy is incredible! Not only does he give the law again to Moses after the golden calf, and then complete the tabernacle so that he can meet with the people . . .but God gives us the Holy Spirit so that we can actually live in obedience to God’s law!
As we move into our reading of Job, I would like to give a “spoiler alert;” read chapter 42 to see who God said had a right idea about God and his ways, and who did not. Keep that in mind as you read the opinions and observations of Job and his friends.
Thank you for joining me on this journey. Our God is amazing!
Exodus 14-28; 1 and 2 Thessalonians; Philemon
It is so easy to get bogged down in an onslaught of detail. Details are important. Details merit study and consideration. All Scripture is inspired (breathed out) by God, and is profitable . . .2 Timothy 3 reminds us. “All” means, yes, even the lists of names; even the measurements of buildings; even the selection of jewels for the breastplate. It is all profitable, or God would not have included it in his word.
Remember, though, that this venture is an “overview and a salt lick.” In an overview, you do not seek to absorb every single detail of every single word. You are reading to answer the generalized question — What do I learn about God? How does God relate to the different characters encountered in his word?
In this overview style of reading, you will encounter “salt lick” passages/chapters/books. Those are the ones that you say, “I want to come back to this and study deeper.” That is where you absorb detail, memorize, turn around to appreciate all the facets . . .
So, please, don’t give up because buildings and bowls and turbans and cubits are not your “cup of tea.” Appreciate the truth that God cares about detail. God is a God of order. Consider “how” the different artisans made all of these various items (remember, they were slaves in Egypt for 430 years, and their “skill set” was making bricks from straw to construct pyramids. They did not engineer or decorate; they collected straw, mixed it with mud, put it in a form, let it dry, picked it up and put it where someone told them to put it). God gave them their skills, and their wisdom (Exodus 28).
Consider that God designed all of this detail so that he could meet with his people. (Exodus 25, for instance). The sovereign of all creation wants to meet personally with his people!
Consider the different laws and rules for how to interact as a society. Remember, they were slaves for 430 years (to give perspective, A.D. 1589 was 430 years before now, 2019). The Israelites had had no “voice” politically, or in the marketplace, or even in religious life, for longer than anyone could remember. And now, they were embarking on a journey to become a nation in a new place, with no experience. And God took the time to teach them how to live . . .
What else did you “consider” in your reading? Yes, I know that I didn’t even get to the Thessalonians . . . but you certainly are welcome to comment . . .