Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Tag: Psalms 50

Keeping In Step

February 26 – Today’s Readings – Luke 1-2 and Psalms 56

Welcome to the book of Luke. The writer (Luke) is the same man who wrote the book of Acts. He was a physician, travelled extensively with the Apostle Paul and seemingly became his long-term helper and scribe. He obviously did a lot of first hand research before he wrote this account because he includes things in his Gospel that other writers skip over. For example, the first two chapters of the book would probably have come from extensive interviews with Mary (Jesus’ mother) and perhaps Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mom).

Here is a thought for you. At the age of twelve, Jesus stayed behind at the temple and spent three or four days speaking with and listening to the teachers of the Law. When His behaviour was questioned by His parents He simply replied, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” So, at the age of twelve, Jesus was already keenly aware of who His Father was. He was also very comfortable being in the Temple where the Law was taught and discussed. His parents, on the other hand, didn’t understand much of what He was saying – so it wasn’t Mary and Joseph who had been “planting Messiah ideas” in Jesus’ young mind. No, He already had divine revelation of who He was – yet He went back home with His parents and was subject to them till He began His public ministry at the age of thirty! Imagine, eighteen years of knowing who you are and what your mission will be – yet not doing anything about it till The Father said, “go”.

There is a lesson here for us. We must continually strive to do and say things when the Spirit tells us to and not before. If we keep in step with the Spirit, we will find ourselves working alongside God – not out of step and on our own like Moses was when, at an early age he took matters into his own hands and killed an Egyptian. There are divine appointments for us in life – a divine schedule for us to keep in step with – divine opportunities that require patience on our part – and open doors that require faith and boldness to step through. But consider this – Jesus accomplished more in three years of Holy Spirit led ministry than anyone else has ever achieved in a lifetime. Be patient and pray – wait on the Lord – but as He speaks to you, be working in step with the Spirit – ready to run!

On an unrelated note – did you notice the link between faith in God and victory over fear in our lives? (Psalm 56: 3,4&11). Into what kinds of situations does the Devil bring fear? – Your finances? – Your future? – Your relationships? – Imaginary situations like movies? Only in Christ is our life safe from fear, both present and future. Only in Christ are we secure, knowing that our lives are “hid” in Him and that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Even death itself has been defeated and becomes a welcome thing where we can meet the Lord face to face. Remember John 4:18 says that “perfect love drives out fear”. I wonder if the opposite is also true – that perfect fear drives out love? Enjoy a “fearless” day.

Questions:

1. Give an example of a Spirit-led appointment you have had this week.

2. In which areas of your life do you feel that you are still in “God’s waiting room” the way Jesus was till the age of 30?

3. Make some further observations on the link between “faith” and “victory over fear”.

Let’s Talk About Clean And Unclean

February 20 – Today’s Readings – Leviticus 10-12 and Psalms 50

I would like you to consider a couple of thoughts about the “clean”, the “unclean”, and the “purifications” today. Some of these “dietary laws” seem to have been instituted because they simply made sense in the era and the situations these people found themselves in. The unclean animals, birds, and sea creatures mentioned are often thought of as very edible or even as delicacies in today’s world of refrigeration, pasteurization, and regulated sanitary food preparation. Some dietary specialists agree however that had we lived in primitive times like the people in Leviticus, eating these foods would have resulted in far more potential health problems than eating the “clean” foods. In order to stop the spread of disease the Israelites needed to carefully wash and eat only those things that were less likely to harm them. All the emphasis on washing food and hands has now come full circle and is still, to this day, the best method of preventing the spread of disease in our world.

Concerning the laws of purification – I feel that once again many of these rules made sense for the day in which they were instituted. Which woman, after giving birth, wouldn’t appreciate a month or two “off” before resuming her regular duties? Even though she was labelled “unclean” this law afforded her a better chance to “lay low” for a while till she felt strong. To this day there are similar recommendations made for many women after childbirth though we men would be in deep trouble if used words like “unclean” to describe our wives or daughters!

If many of the laws were for the protection and health of the people, why did Jesus “redeem us from the curse of the law”? (Galatians 3:13) One of the reasons is because the Law became a religion and a bondage all of its own! These people were held captive to rules and structure and their very salvation depended on keeping all the details of this “slave master”. The “natural man” could not possibly adhere to these decrees and the Law became an instrument of condemnation for the people because they had to keep all these rules (so they were told), or they could not be righteous before God. Father God knew that only GRACE and God’s amazing LOVE would lead to a new birth in Christ and would be the solution for the citizens of the world. Being religious could never free them from the bondage of the Law or the tyranny of Sin.

What is the outcome of this discussion? You and I have been set free from religious bondage, but God takes His “Law” and writes it on our hearts. We live by the Spirit and please God because we move from a position of righteousness and are internally motivated by the Holy Spirit. We are hidden in Christ so we fulfill the Law in the inner man.

With the advent of the Church under Jesus Christ, the dietary and cleansing laws of Moses went by the wayside, but you might still want to consider what you eat and whether you wash your hands regularly – not because you have to but because you are “free” to live healthy.

Questions:

1. Which “unclean” habits is the Holy Spirit encouraging you to alter so you can live a fuller, richer life?

2. How do we focus on things like “diet” in our lives without getting condemned by our lack of discipline or by legalism?

Speak!

August 20 – Today’s Readings – Ezekiel 1-3 and Psalms 50

Ezekiel 2:3-7 reads, “He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.”

Ezekiel is obviously a book that is not easily understood. There are sections that are very clear and obvious – but much of what we read today provides only an “image or mirror” of things that are not of this earth and will only be understood in the heavenly realm.

What is obvious however is that God gave Ezekiel a shocking vision. The reason? Probably to impress on him that this really was the Lord dealing with him. The message was also clear. God was putting a burden on Ezekiel to speak to a rebellious people on His behalf. The Lord did not leave it at that however – he told Ezekiel that if he did not speak as he was instructed, he would be held accountable concerning the people’s sins.

I’m wondering if this message of being “a watchman” does not relate to us in certain ways. When we see a lost world or a wayward friend making choices leading to separation with God – and do not speak to them in the Name of the Lord, will we too not have to answer to the Lord for our lack of speaking up – for not encouraging these people to change their minds? Indeed, the Gospel needs to be preached to all mankind so that all nations can see the goodness of God and so they can come to Christ. On one level or another, we become “watchmen” in our world. We must be willing to speak when God instructs us to – and we must close our mouths when God instructs us to. This is what it means to be entrusted with the very life-giving message of Christ. I encourage you to be led by the Spirit this week in your conversations and actions so that those who come in contact with you also come into contact with the Living God.

Questions:

1. If we too are living amongst an obstinate and stubborn people, how should we conduct ourselves as a testimony?
2. In which ways are you a “watchman” over the people in your life?

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