Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Page 2 of 74

Why God Loves Marriage

October 11 – Today’s Readings – Malachi 1-4 and Psalms 101

Malachi 2:13-16 reads, “Another thing you do: You flood the LORD’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, ‘Why?’ It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. ‘I hate divorce,’ says the LORD God of Israel, ‘and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,’ says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.”

I deliberately chose this passage today because we need to understand the value God places on our human relationships. All of our relationships have great worth in the eyes of the Lord but the sacrament of marriage holds special meaning in His heart. Why? – Because it is a direct reflection of our relationship with Him. (Ephesians 5:25-33) There is a powerful message in Verses 13-14 where God states that He will not listen to us if we are not right with our spouses.

1 Peter 3:7 reinforces these words – “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”

I can’t think of too many things worse than God being upset with me and not listening to my prayers. After all, the very source of all life and productivity for me comes from hearing and doing the will of God. Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) He also attributed all of His good works and miracles to hearing and doing the will of the Father.

Do you still want to harbor a hard heart toward your spouse? Well then – you’re on your own! Don’t expect God to direct your path if you can’t forgive, love and have a soft heart toward your spouse.

Jesus said; “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard.” (Matthew 19:8) It’s when we harden our hearts in our relationships that we get ourselves in trouble. Think about it for a moment. Almost all sins we commit against one another are precipitated by the hardness of our hearts toward people. Do we want a close relationship with the Father? Then we must keep good relationships with one another. Let’s never forget this link.

Questions:

1. Show other places in Scripture where God directly links our human relationships to our relationship with Him.
2. Tell of an instance where you hardened your heart towards someone and it affected you spiritually.

ACTION Worship

October 10 – Today’s Readings – Zechariah 13-14 and Psalms 100

Even though there are many “tidbits” to comment on from the book of Zechariah this morning, I want shift over to the Psalms once again.

“Shout for joy”! – “Worship the LORD with gladness”! – “Know that the LORD is God”! – “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise”! – “Give thanks to him and praise his name”!

ACTION Worship is the only reasonable response of a people who have been forgiven and set free by the Lord. What kind of worship?- Shouting – Entering in – Praising – Giving Thanks – Clapping Hands – Expressing Cries of Joy (Psalm 47:1)

– Bowing Down and Kneeling (Psalm 95:6)

– Dancing and Making Music (Psalm 149:3)

How is it that we can come to the house of the Lord or into prayer and not have any physical expressions of worship to follow? How is it that we can claim to be deeply in love with Jesus and never SHOW our affection? What kind of marriage would we have if we never showed our spouse verbal or physical affection? THERE WOULD BE NO MARRIAGE AT ALL!

It’s time to “pull out the stops” in our worship. If we love the Lord we need to let Him know it verbally and physically. The Bible is full of ACTIONS and expressive WORDS of praise.

Why am I so wound up about this? – Because, some time ago, Linda and I attended a conference of Church leaders and these men and women refused to express their worship to God! They just stood there with their hands in their pockets (literally) and their mouths sealed shut while the worship team tried its best to get them singing. I really found it hard to believe that when Linda and I closed our eyes, lifted our hands and began to sing along we were scowled at. (I peeked) How must the great Lover of our Souls feel? No wonder Jesus said that if we refused to worship “the rocks and stones would cry out” (Luke 19:40).

“Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;” (1Chronicles 16:23-25)

As you go to your place of worship this Sunday (or whatever other day you gather) give God some expressive worship not just “feelings”. Don’t be like the stoic man who said to his wife – “of course I love you – I told you once thirty years ago and if I ever change my mind you will be the first to know”.

Questions:

1. Give other examples of the forms of worship mentioned in Scripture.
2. Is there any reason you can think of – cultural – personal – etc. that would stop you from worshipping God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?

They Put a Price On Jesus’ Head

October 9 – Today’s Readings – Zechariah 10-12 and Psalms 99

Zechariah 11:10-13 reads, “Then I took my staff called ‘Favour’ and broke it, revoking the covenant I had made with all the nations. It was revoked on that day, and so the afflicted of the flock who were watching me knew it was the word of the LORD. I told them, ‘If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.’ So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’- the handsome price at which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD to the potter.”

Now skip over with me and compare portions of Matthew 27:1-10 with what you’ve just read; “Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death… When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders …. So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself … So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners … Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: ‘They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded.”

What we find here is a New Testament event expressed by Old Testament Prophets – God Himself was the Shepherd but His sheep rejected Him. God’s response was to provide the “Great Shepherd”, Jesus, for the salvation of the world. The price paid? – His “salary”? – 30 pieces of silver! That was the price on the head of the Great Shepherd of our souls. The Jewish leaders were experts on the writings of Zechariah and Jeremiah. They knew these men had prophesied that the blood money paid for the Great Shepherd was going to be thrown into the house of the LORD and used to buy the potter’s field. Yet, when Judas returned the blood money, they did exactly what the prophets had foretold.

What is sad, but true is that people around the world still try to “buy” peace with God by paying off the religions they belong to – if they can do a certain number of good deeds or pay enough money, then they can “buy off” God.

In this passage, we also find that a “covenant” came to an end on that day. The contract of the “Old Testament” also ended when the curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom. [Matthew 27:51] We don’t normally think of the Old Testament as a “covenant” but in fact that is exactly what it was – much like the New Testament represents the “new covenant” in His blood. A testament is a contract that comes into effect when the “donor” dies. The New Testament came into effect the day Jesus died for our sins making us the wealthiest people imaginable. We have inherited ETERNAL LIFE!

Questions:

1. What exactly did we inherit when the New Covenant was put in place?
2. What did the world gain when God instituted the New Testament?
3. How is it possible that people “give away” their eternal gift from God by rejecting Christ?

He Is For You – Not Against You

October 8 – Today’s Readings – Zechariah 7-9 and Psalms 98

How encouraging to know that God is for us – that He is loving and merciful – that His plan for you and I is salvation and good things. Follow my meditation as I reflect on three of these beautiful verses:

Chapter 8:12 reads; “The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people.” – This is a testimony of “blessing upon blessing”! Examine your lives – even though you have trials, you are still blessed. In hard times the blessing of the Lord follows you. You are blessed coming in and blessed going out. Who or what can separate you from the love of God? “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3)
Chapter 9:9 – “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” – This is the Lord Jesus that we know – the one who brought salvation as the “Lamb of God”. He was the one who came to bless and all who trust in Him are blessed. I personally remember walking through dark valleys and finding the Lord there in the valley with me. How can I be afraid if He is with me? There is only strong confidence that we have a gentle, righteous King who is our Lord and is willing to uphold us with a strong hand. Rejoicing is part of who we are because we have the best reason in all creation to celebrate!
Chapter 9:16 declares, “The LORD their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.” – Do you wonder why you are so attractive spiritually to some people? It’s because – to those who are hungry and who are being drawn by the Holy Spirit, “you are blameless and pure, children of God without fault – shining like stars in the universe” (Philippians 2:15) You are a city on a hill – you are the light of the world! (Matthew 5:14) What a marvelous picture of how God sees us – jewels in His crown.
Its very humbling to know that He would take a burned out piece of rubble – a useless rock – that He would polish it and transform it till it became a jewel. This was not our doing; it was only the hand of God who could perform this miracle in our lives.

Questions:

1. Give an example when God felt especially close to you in a time of trial.
2. Give an example of a time of trial when God was there upholding you, even though you did not “feel” a thing.

When Things Seem To Difficult For You

October 7 – Today’s Readings – Zechariah 4-6 and Psalms 97

Zechariah 4:6-10 reads; “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty ‘What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’ Then the word of the LORD came to me: ‘The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. ‘Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.”

What a beautiful prophecy Zechariah delivered to Zerubbabel. This man was the leader of the nation and God had given him the job of rebuilding the temple of the Lord after seventy years of Babylonian slavery and captivity. Remember all the prophets who had warned the nation that there would be 70 years of judgment for their sins? Time and again they had been told of this great captivity as a direct result of their rebellion toward God. Now the seventy years were up and God was bringing groups of captives back to their land. The first instructions given were for the people to rebuild the temple – (pause and think about that one!) It had been torn down and burned by the Babylonians.

Let me digress for a moment and make comment about this rebuilding. When people drift from their commitments to Jesus, the Holy Spirit constantly reminds them of their spiritual state. As they decide to return to the Lord, the first item on the agenda is to rebuild the spiritual foundations – the “temple of the Lord” in their lives. There is no way to move further in our spiritual lives till the foundations of repentance, faith and the fear of the Lord (Hebrews 6:1-2) are restored.

This project must have appeared as a “mighty mountain” to Zerubbabel. This is why he so needed the encouragement of the Lord. I think this is true of many things that we “see” in the Spirit. We know that the projects are God’s will, but they seem far too large for mere mortals! Remember, “Nothing is impossible with God”. Mountains can move when God is managing the project. As we see God’s hand moving in difficult circumstances there can be no other response but to proclaim a “grace to it”, or “God bless it” confession.

Remember, if God asks you to do it and if you do your part, you will complete the job! It will of course be by the grace of God, but the mountain will move for God and His servant. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

For discussion:

1. Zerubbabel was supposed to rebuild a temple and a city – what “God-projects” do you need to tackle by shouting “grace to it” then putting your hand to the task?
2. Are there issues in your life that also seem to be immovable? This is the very reason God has provided His awesome grace – so that “mountains” might move! Name these immovable mountains and speak to them in Jesus’ Name!

Page 2 of 74

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén