Day 82: Intricacy and Goodness

Joshua 6-8; Luke 2:22-52

Key Verses

Joshua 8:1-2
And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land. And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king.”

Luke 2:28-32
Simeon took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”

 

We have read of Abraham’s descendants moving to Egypt to escape the famine, of the people being enslaved by the Egyptians, of God’s amazing rescue mission. He indeed brought great judgment on Egypt and the people came out with great possessions. We’ve read of the giving of the law, of the building of the tabernacle, of the marching to Canaan, and of the people’s failure to enter the land. We’ve read in Numbers of the 40 years of wandering and we’ve listened to Moses reiterate the law in Deuteronomy.

And now, finally…the people begin to possess the land. In Genesis 15, God prophesied to Abraham that his ancestors would be enslaved in Egypt and would not possess the land until the 4th generation. Why did God make them wait so long? Because the iniquity of the Amorites was not complete. You see, God used every circumstance and weaved each failure as he orchestrated the perfect plan to both bless His people and bring judgment on a very sinful people. If Israel had taken the land earlier, it would have not been fair to the Amorites (one of the main peoples who lived in Canaan) for “the iniquity of the Amorites [was] not yet complete” (Gen 15:16).

God’s plans for the nations are intricate, complicated and good. But somehow God manages the same intricacy and goodness in His plans for individuals.

Consider Simeon in Luke’s passage. He is but one man. But like all people of faith, he was important to God. God had plans for him. Plans that included seeing the promised Messiah before he died. And God weaved and orchestrated so that Simeon, as an old man, would see Jesus as a 40-day-old infant.

And then God used Simeon, the individual, to prophesy God’s plan for the nations.

God’s ways are intricate and complicated. But most of all, they are good.

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Day 79: An End and a Beginning

Deuteronomy 33-34; Luke 1:26-56

Key Verses

Deuteronomy 34:4-5
And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.

Luke 1:30-33
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Today we read of the death of Moses and the conception of Jesus. It is the end of the law-giver and the beginning of the law-Fulfiller. It is the end of the shadow and the beginning of the full-color glory.

The end of Deuteronomy marks the end of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament). All the themes of the Pentateuch find their fulfillment in Christ.

  • The promises of the Abrahamic covenant, specifically “All the nations are blessed through Abraham and his descendants”Genesis 12:1-3), point forward to all nations being blessed through Jesus.
  • The climax of the Pentateuch, God coming down to fill the Tabernacle with His glory (Exodus 40:34-38), points forward to Christ coming to earth to reveal His glory to the world.
  • And finally, “Jesus is seen as the new and greater Moses. As Moses declared God’s law for Israel, so Jesus declared and embodied God’s word to the nations. As Moses suffered and died outside the land so that his people could enter it, so the Son of God died on earth so that his people might enter heaven” (from the article “Introduction to the Pentateuch” ESV Study Bible, Crossway).

Imagine if the people of Moses’ day could look forward and see the fulfillment of the promises in Jesus… It would have been beyond their imagination! Just as the ultimate fulfillment that Revelation describes is beyond our imagination :) It is no wonder that C.S. Lewis referred to our life on this earth as the “Shadowlands.”

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).

Day 66: Israel’s Beginning and End

Deuteronomy 1:1-3:11; Mark 11:1-19

Key Verses

Deuteronomy 2:7
These forty years the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.

Mark 11:17
And [Jesus] was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”

Today we begin Deuteronomy.  The ‘experts’ say that it is structured similarly to ancient treaty documents. (I’ve never read an ancient treaty, so I wouldn’t know!)

In any case, Deuteronomy is important because it contains the final words of Moses. We will watch as he recounts their history, reminds the people of the law and implores them passionately to obey all that the Lord has commanded. It’s a powerful book, rich in theology and insight into the character of God.

Deuteronomy begins with the people just east of the Jordan river. They are poised to cross the Jordan and take the land. The promised land. Moses begins his final treatise by recounting the last 40+ years – beginning at Mt. Sinai (Horeb) and following the Israelites through the wilderness, to their failure to obey and take the land – to their 38 years of wanderings – on to their recent victories over King Sihon and King Og.

It has been a long journey – a journey which began hundreds of years earlier with God giving the covenant to Abraham…

I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3).

And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8).

We are on the brink of all the promises being fulfilled…all except one: “and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” We know that this promise is fulfilled in Jesus – the Savior that comes from Abraham’s family line.

In today’s reading from Mark, we see Him enter Jerusalem as their King. On the surface, it is a joyous entry, but His entry is a sad shadow of his future glory. He enters Jerusalem to find her spiritually dead. The fig tree, a symbol of Israel, has no fruit and Jesus curses the tree as a symbolic cursing of the fruitlessness of the Jews. He enters his temple to find it corrupt and defiled. He is King – but His people are unworthy. They need a savior – a priest to make peace between them and God. And only after the sacrifice is offered can the final promise be fulfilled – all the people’s of the earth are blessed because of Abraham’s family line – because of Jesus – our priest and King – who gave His life as a ransom for many!

Day 82: Intricacy and Goodness

Joshua 6-8; Luke 2:22-52

And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”

“Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Genesis 15:7; 13-16).

These are the words that God spoke to Abraham hundreds of years earlier. We have read of Abraham’s descendants moving to Egypt to escape the famine, of the people being enslaved by the Egyptians, of God’s amazing rescue mission. He indeed brought great judgment on Egypt and the people came out with great possessions. We’ve read of the giving of the law, of the building of the tabernacle, of the marching to Canaan, and of the people’s failure to enter the land. We’ve read in Numbers of the 40 years of wandering and we’ve listened to Moses reiterate the law in Deuteronomy.

And now, finally…the people begin to posses the land. The iniquity of the Amorites is complete. You see, God used every circumstance and weaved each failure as he orchestrated the perfect plan to both bless His people and bring judgment on a very sinful people. If Israel had taken the land earlier, it would have not been fair to the Amorites (one of the main peoples who lived in Canaan) for “the iniquity of the Amorites [was] not yet complete” (Gen 15:16).

God’s plans for nations are intricate, complicated and good. But somehow God manages the same intricacy and goodness in His plans for individuals.

Consider Simeon in Luke’s passage. He is but one man. But like all people of faith, he was important to God. God had plans for him. Plans that included seeing the promised Messiah before he died. And God weaved and orchestrated so that Simeon, as an old man, would see Jesus as a 40-day-old infant.

And then God used Simeon, the individual, to prophesy God’s plan for the nations.

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).

God’s ways are intricate and complicated. But most of all, they are good.

Day 79: An End and a Beginning

Deuteronomy 33-34; Luke 1:26-56

Today we read of the death of Moses and the conception of Jesus. It is the end of the law-giver and the beginning of the law-Fulfiller. It is the end of the shadow and the beginning of full-color glory.

The end of Deuteronomy marks the end of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament). All the themes of the Pentateuch find their fulfillment in Christ.

  • The promises of the Abrahamic covenant, specifically “All the nations are blessed through Abraham and his descendants” (Genesis 12:1-3), point forward to all nations being blessed through Jesus. 
  • The climax of the Pentateuch, God coming down to fill the Tabernacle with His glory (Exodus 40:34-38), points forward to Christ coming to earth to reveal His glory to the world.
  • And finally, “Jesus is seen as the new and greater Moses. As Moses declared God’s law for Israel, so Jesus declares and embodies God’s word to the nations. As Moses suffered and died outside the land so that his people could enter it, so the Son of God died on earth so that his people might enter heaven” (from article “Introduction to the Pentateuch” ESV Study Bible, Crossway).

Imagine if the people of Moses’ day could look forward to see the fulfillment of the promises in Jesus… It would have been beyond their imagination! Just as the ultimate fulfillment that Revelation describes is beyond our imagination :) It is no wonder that C.S. Lewis referred to our life on this earth as the “Shadowlands.”

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).

Day 66: Israel’s beginning and end

Deuteronomy 1:1-3:11; Mark 11:1-19

Today we begin Deuteronomy.  The ‘experts’ say that it is structured similarly to ancient treaty documents. (I’ve never read an ancient treaty, so I wouldn’t know!)

In any case, Deuteronomy is important because it contains the final words of Moses. We will watch as he recounts their history, reminds the people of the law and implores them passionately to obey all that the Lord has commanded. It’s a powerful book, rich in theology and insight into the character of God.

Deuteronomy begins with the people just east of the Jordan river. They are poised to cross the Jordan and take the land. The promised land. Moses begins his final treatise by recounting the last 40+ years – beginning at Mt. Sinai (Horeb) and following the Israelites through the wilderness, to their failure to obey and take the land – to their 38 years of wanderings – on to their recent victories over King Sihon and King Og.

It has been a long journey – a journey which began hundreds of years earlier with God giving the covenant to Abraham…

I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3).

And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8).

We are on the brink of all the promises being fulfilled…all except one: “and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” We know that this promise is fulfilled in Jesus – the Savior that comes from Abraham’s family line.

In today’s reading from Mark, we see Him enter Jerusalem as their King. On the surface, it is a joyous entry, but His entry is a sad shadow of his future glory. He enters Jerusalem to find her spiritually dead. The fig tree, a symbol of Israel, has no fruit and Jesus curses the tree as a symbolic cursing of the fruitlessness of the Jews. He enters his temple to find it corrupt and defiled. He is King – but His people are unworthy. They need a savior – a priest to make peace between them and God. And only after the sacrifice is offered can the final promise be fulfilled – all the people’s of the earth are blessed because of Abraham’s family line – because of Jesus – our priest and King – who gave His life as a ransom for many!