2019 Daily Bible Reading

Day 5 – Gen 5. Matt 5, Ezr 5 and Acts 5

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series 2019 Daily Bible Reading

Kingdom Living

Focus text: Matthew 5

How often do you think of the Kingdom of God?

If I’m honest, I don’t think about it as often as I should. More than ever, I find myself taken up with mundane things like a job, a house, a car and any other number of things that are honestly distractions from eternal matters.

Today’s reading takes us to the beginning of the Sermon of the Mount – three chapters in the Gospel according to Matthew that talk a great deal about the Kingdom of God and what it looks like to be a part of it.

Matthew 5:3-12 is a powerful portrait of what a citizen of the Kingdom looks like:

  • They are the poor in spirit – they recognize their need for God and their lack in light of that need
  • They are those who mourn at their sin and realize God is the only One who can truly comfort them in their mourning
  • They are the humble – those who recognize their lowly position in light of God’s greatness
  • They hunger and thirst for righteousness – they desire God’s righteousness intensely
  • They are merciful in their dealings with others, knowing that God has been merciful with them and continues to be merciful with them
  • They are the pure in heart – not by any merit of their own but solely by the gracious, sovereign work of God who sets them apart and causes them to desire that which is pure
  • They are peacemakers – flowing from the peace that we experience with God
  • They are those who are persecuted – persecuted because they live in line with the values of God’s Kingdom and not this world.

The Beatitudes are a reminder of kingdom living – life not in our strength and not by our merit but solely by the grace of God shown to us in Christ.

2019 Daily Bible Reading

Day 4/365 – Gen 4, Matt 4, Ezr 4 and Acts 4

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series 2019 Daily Bible Reading

Focus text: Matthew 4

When I got to today’s readings, I knew I had to cover Matthew 4!

The Temptation narrative is rich with theological meaning on so many levels but I want to highlight two of my favourite layers to that story.

Jesus succeeds where Adam failed:

Yesterday, we read Genesis 3 and the narrative of the Fall. One component of the Fall is that often missed is how the serpent’s temptation worked on three fronts:

The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom

That tactic was profoundly effective!

So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Genesis 3:6 CSB

Those three things – the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17) – come to the fore in Jesus’ temptation.

The first temptation was the temptation to turn stones into bread – a temptation to satisfy the body’s desire for food. The second temptation was the temptation for Jesus to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the Temple. Satan’s use of the Psalms suggest this was an attempt to appeal to some angelic rescue that would be seen by all – a clear appeal to pride. The final temptation involved being shown the kingdoms of the world and having them offered to Him for the low, low price of simply bowing down and worshipping Satan – an appeal to the desire of the eyes first and foremost.

But where Adam and Eve failed, Jesus glorously triumphs. The first Adam floundered in the serpent’s face in the garden – the second Adam begins His trampling of the serpent’s head in the wilderness.

Jesus succeeds where Israel failed:

Not only does Jesus succeed where Adam fails but He succeeded where Israel as a nation failed.

In the interest of brevity, I will simply note a few areas of similarity as well as contrast:

  • Israel, God’s firstborn, entered the wilderness after passing through the waters of the Red Sea
    • Jesus, God’s firstborn, entered the wilderness after passing through water in His baptism
  • Israel went into the wilderness for 40 years at the behest of God for their lack of faith in God’s direction
    • Jesus goes into the wilderness for 40 days at the leading of the Spirit
  • Israel grumbled for bread in the wilderness in a lack of faith
    • Jesus refuses bread in submission and faith in God
  • Israel constantly gave into idolatry in the wilderness
    • Jesus refused to worship Satan in the wilderness

Unlike Israel, whose history was one of constant failure and disobedience, Jesus succeeds in the wilderness!

Adam failed in the Garden and Israel failed in the wilderness – yet Jesus is the Victor over the adversary, fulfilling what was lacking in their stories…and in His obedient life, He succeeds where His elect has failed and His righteousness is imputed to their account.

Soli deo Gloria!

2019 Daily Bible Reading

Day 3/365 – Gen 3, Matt 3, Ezr 3, Acts

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series 2019 Daily Bible Reading

Focus text: Genesis 3

A pop quiz as we begin today’s meditation:

Who was the first recipient of the Gospel?

If you said Adam and Eve, you get partial credit. The first Gospel message is given to us in our first reading for today.

I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.

Genesis 3:15 CSB

The first person to hear the Gospel, ladies and gentlemen, was the Devil!

But before I get into that, I want us to take note that this is in Genesis 3. Adam and Eve and the serpent are still, as yet, in the garden of Eden – and it’s the garden of Eden that has become ground zero for the Gospel.

We often think of the Gospel as a New Testament idea, something that only makes sense in light of the Cross and the coming of Jesus. That is not entirely wrong – after all, it is the New Testament that explicitly speaks of Christ and His redeeming work.

The reality is, though, the Gospel was not plan B after our first parents screwed up but it was always plan A. The Gospel started even earlier than the garden – it began in the mind of the triune God in eternity past when the Father chose a people, the Son covenanted to die for them and the Spirit as the bond of love between the Father and Son promised to apply the work of the Son to those the Father had chosen.

When Genesis 3:15 speaks of the victory of the woman’s Seed over the serpent, that might have been news to the Devil and it might have been news to Adam and Eve – but it wasn’t news to God.

Soli deo Gloria!

2019 Daily Bible Reading

Day 2/365 – Gen 2, Matt 2, Ezr 2 and Acts 2

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series 2019 Daily Bible Reading

When the Spirit Moves

I’m beginning a new Bible reading plan this year – the first since 2014. 
In the spirit of finding a way to stay motivated, I’ll be writing a short reflection 
based on each day’s reading. 
It won’t be amazing material but I trust it’ll help me stay grounded. 

Focus passage: Acts 2

Much is made of the person and work of the Holy Spirit in our day. With the advent of the Pentecostal movement in the 1900s and the charismatic renewal in the 1960s, interest in who the Holy Spirit is and what the Holy Spirit does has never been higher. Yet, with this increase of interest, there has arguably never been more confusion on the subject as there is at present.

Acts 2 and the events of the day of Pentecost provides us with some valuable lessons about what happens when the Spirit is truly at work:

  1. When the Spirit is at work, there is empowered proclamation (v1-4)
  2. When the Spirit is at work, God is valued as supreme (v5-11)
  3. When the Spirit is at work, Jesus is lifted up – in His life, His death and resurrection (v12-36)
  4. When the Spirit is at work, conviction, repentance and faith are born in the hearts of God’s elect (v37-41)
  5. When the Spirit is at work, the church behaves like the church (v42-47)

Perhaps in all the discussions about tongues, healing and prophecy, we are all in danger of losing sight of what truly happens when the Spirit moves.

2019 might be a good time to rediscover the Holy Spirit.

I recommend Arthur W. Pink’s fantastic book The Holy Spirit for a 
worthwhile treatment of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. 
You can order a free print copy or download a PDF or ePub edition 
from the friends at Chapel Library.

2019 Daily Bible Reading

Day 1/365 – Gen 1, Matt 1, Ezr 1 and Acts 1

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series 2019 Daily Bible Reading

Of Beginnings – Old and New

I’m beginning a new Bible reading plan this year – the first since 2014. In the spirit of finding a way to stay motivated, I’ll be writing a short reflection based on each day’s reading. It won’t be amazing material but I trust it’ll help me stay grounded. 

It’s highly fascinating that my walk through the Word in 2019 begins on January 1 with four beginnings: the beginning of human history in Genesis, the beginning of the Messiah in Matthew, the (new) beginning of Israel in Ezra after the exile and the beginnings of the church in Acts.

Why does God take such great pains to emphasize beginnings?

Might I suggest that God is concerned with beginnings because He is faithful? He goes to great details about how things begin so we can see His faithfulness in seeing them through to the end.

He creates – and in the end, that creation, though it will fall, is gloriously restored as the redeemed people of God live in His presence under His rule and blessing.

He calls out believers and grants them a glorious new beginning – one as His Church, His body, His bride.

He calls forth His people out of exile and in the end, that people will come out of the exile of sin and turn to the Messiah sent for them (Romans 11)

He sends His Son – in the most ordinary way possible, through human beings flawed and fallible – so that those who turn from their sins and trust in Him can have a new beginning.

A beginning crafted from the foundation of the world.