February 7th One Year Bible Readings
Exodus 26:1-27:21 ~ Matthew 25:1-30 ~ Psalm 31:1-8 ~ Proverbs 8:1-11
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Old Testament - Today in Exodus chapters 26 & 27 we read about God's plans for the Tabernacle, the Altar and the Courtyard. I have to admit, I have zoned out a bit when reading these chapters in years past. But for some reason this year these details were fascinating to me today! Why the change? I'm not 100% sure, other than I do think repeated study of the Bible year after year does bear fruit and does grow our interest in every iota of God's Word. So, if by chance you felt like you were zoning out a bit when reading these chapters today, don't be discouraged. The interest will definitely come with time and further study of all of God's Word. Let me recommend to you that you don't skim over chapters like these though. Please do read each word. If you skim this year, you'll skim next year and you'll miss out on the fruit that will come from this study. I have found images really help my understanding of chapters like these, so I'll post up a few images, which will hopefully help you visualize what we've read about today. Below are a couple of images of the tabernacle and its layout:
A replica of the Altar of Burnt Offering in the outer court:
A replica of the Courtyard, looking toward the tabernacle (you'll see the altar in the foreground and the basin for washing on the left, which we'll read about in chapter 30):
And a replica inside the Tabernacle chamber / Holy Place, looking toward the curtain that cordoned off the Holy of Holies / the Ark of the Covenant. That's the altar of incense just before the curtain, which we'll read about in Exodus chapter 30. The lampstand is on the left, and the table for the Bread of the Presence is on the right. (see replica images in yesterday's post below for more details on these and a replica image of the ark):
New Testament - Today in Matthew chapter 25 we read about the 10 bridesmaids and verse 13 certainly stands out as Jesus teaches: ""So stay awake and be prepared, because you do not know the day or hour of my return." What do you think it means in our lives today to be "awake" and ready for Jesus' return? Are you "awake" this very moment and ready for Jesus' return? One of the most important points of this parable is that when Jesus returns you won't be able to barter or buy your way into the Kingdom. (as the 5 un-wise bridesmaids tried to do). You yourself will be ultimately responsible for your own spiritual condition! Have you owned up to this responsibility? Below is a watercolor by William Blake from 1822 of the parable of the ten bridesmaids:
Today we read in Matthew chapter 25 verses 14 through 30 Jesus’ “Parable of the Talents.” This story of the three servants has often been a parable I have struggled with. For a long time I didn't get what was so wrong about the guy who buried the money. "He at least gave back to the master the same amount he was originally given," I thought. "What's so wrong with that?" Well, as I read this parable again, the thing that really stands out to me is that this parable is not talking about simply money. . . but I think it is talking about our very lives and our time here on earth. I read it now as if God gives each of us a certain amount of time to live on this earth and a certain amount of gifts and skills. And then, we have to ask ourselves - will we simply just go through life very stably & comfortably with those gifts and skills – perhaps even just going through the motions and serving ourselves – to the extent that when God calls us home, we have really not produced much of anything in our lives? What if we spend our time & gifts in such a way that by the end of it we haven't really blessed or served others? We simply give back to God at the end of our lives what God gave to us and nothing more. OR - is it possible that God is calling each of us to do so much more with our lives? Is God calling us to really use the time, gifts and skills he has given us for something bigger than ourselves? Is God calling us to produce a great harvest of loving and serving and blessing others in our lives? So that when we arrive at heaven's gate at the end of our lives we will hear verse 21 from God Himself - "The master was full of praise. `Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's celebrate together!'" How about your life today? Are you multiplying the skills and gifts that God has given you in your life? Are you investing your skills and gifts in loving service of others? Are you at least "doubling" God's investment in you?
Great commentary on Matthew chapter 25 titled "The Parables in the Olivet Discourse" is online at bible.org at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 31 verse 1 is such a powerful start to this powerful Psalm of David's - "O LORD, I have come to you for protection; don't let me be put to shame. Rescue me, for you always do what is right." In your life today, do you need protection from something? If so, will you run to God for your protection? Do you believe that God can rescue you? Do you believe that God can save you from shame? Do you believe that God always does what is right?
Did you catch that verse 5 from this Psalm were Jesus' last words on the cross.... "Into your hands I commit my spirit." (NIV) Here it is from Luke 23:46 - "Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last."
Proverbs - I love the beginning of Proverbs chapter 8 with the imagery of Wisdom calling out to all humankind! Do you hear the call of wisdom in your life today??
Today we read in Proverbs chapter 8 verses 10 & 11: "Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge over pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can be compared with it.”
Worship God: Today's readings in Matthew today about the Parable of the Talents reminded me of the fantastic Matthew West song called "The Motions." Here are two video versions of this song, below. The first video is a great live version of the song. The second video is from a documentary shows Matthew going through vocal cord surgery, which is quite a scary thing for any of us to go through, much less a singer..
Are you just going through the Motions? Click here for Eternal Motion!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." Proverbs 8:10-11 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you would choose wisdom each day in your life, over money. Pray that growing in the wisdom of the Lord would be more important to you than climbing the corporate ladder.
Comments from You and Questions of the Day: Based on Proverbs 8:10-11 above, Are you seeking God’s instruction in your life above all else? Do you agree with this Proverb that wisdom is far more valuable than riches? Is reading the Bible each day this year adding to your wisdom? Are you seeking to do more than just read the Bible this year? Are you diving into further study of the Bible? Are you allowing your study of the Bible to transform you? Are you allowing the Bible to change how you think, act, and live? Are you allowing the Bible to give you godly wisdom? Will you accept God’s free gift of Biblical wisdom each and every day of your life? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!