A blessed Summer to you all, I spent a week of continuing education to get up all the rest of verses ready to go, meaning they will roll out like clockwork for the rest of the year and you can always read with us (no more delay!). I am trying to keep ahead of your reading with comments.
Here is what we are doing each day.
Monday: Salvation History
Tuesday: Historical Criticism
Wednesday: Reader Response
Thursday: Law and Gospel
Friday: Textual Criticism
Saturday: Sabbath—just read and pray
Jun7ThuJune 7, 2018
[2Co 8:1-24 RSV] 1 We want you to know, brethren, about the grace of God which has been shown in the churches of Macedo'nia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints-- 5 and this, not as we expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. 6 Accordingly we have urged Titus that as he had already made a beginning, he should also complete among you this gracious work. 7 Now as you excel in everything--in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in your love for us--see that you excel in this gracious work also. 8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 10 And in this matter I give my advice: it is best for you now to complete what a year ago you began not only to do but to desire, 11 so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he has not. 13 I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, 14 but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, "He who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack." 16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own accord. 18 With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel; 19 and not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work which we are carrying on, for the glory of the Lord and to show our good will. 20 We intend that no one should blame us about this liberal gift which we are administering, 21 for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of men. 22 And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found earnest in many matters, but who is now more earnest than ever because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker in your service; and as for our brethren, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 So give proof, before the churches, of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.
[2Ki 20:1-21 RSV] 1 In those days Hezeki'ah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, "Thus says the LORD, 'Set your house in order; for you shall die, you shall not recover.'" 2 Then Hezeki'ah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3 "Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in thy sight." And Hezeki'ah wept bitterly. 4 And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: 5 "Turn back, and say to Hezeki'ah the prince of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you; on the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. 6 And I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David's sake." 7 And Isaiah said, "Bring a cake of figs. And let them take and lay it on the boil, that he may recover." 8 And Hezeki'ah said to Isaiah, "What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the LORD on the third day?" 9 And Isaiah said, "This is the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he has promised: shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or go back ten steps?" 10 And Hezeki'ah answered, "It is an easy thing for the shadow to lengthen ten steps; rather let the shadow go back ten steps." 11 And Isaiah the prophet cried to the LORD; and he brought the shadow back ten steps, by which the sun had declined on the dial of Ahaz. 12 At that time Mero'dach-bal'adan the son of Bal'adan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezeki'ah; for he heard that Hezeki'ah had been sick. 13 And Hezeki'ah welcomed them, and he showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses; there was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezeki'ah did not show them. 14 Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezeki'ah, and said to him, "What did these men say? And whence did they come to you?" And Hezeki'ah said, "They have come from a far country, from Babylon." 15 He said, "What have they seen in your house?" And Hezeki'ah answered, "They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them." 16 Then Isaiah said to Hezeki'ah, "Hear the word of the LORD: 17 Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the LORD. 18 And some of your own sons, who are born to you, shall be taken away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon." 19 Then said Hezeki'ah to Isaiah, "The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good." For he thought, "Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?" 20 The rest of the deeds of Hezeki'ah, and all his might, and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 21 And Hezeki'ah slept with his fathers; and Manas'seh his son reigned in his stead.
[2Ki 21:1-26 RSV] 1 Manas'seh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Heph'zibah. 2 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. 3 For he rebuilt the high places which Hezeki'ah his father had destroyed; and he erected altars for Ba'al, and made an Ashe'rah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them. 4 And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, "In Jerusalem will I put my name." 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 6 And he burned his son as an offering, and practiced soothsaying and augury, and dealt with mediums and with wizards. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 7 And the graven image of Ashe'rah that he had made he set in the house of which the LORD said to David and to Solomon his son, "In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name for ever; 8 and I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander any more out of the land which I gave to their fathers, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them." 9 But they did not listen, and Manas'seh seduced them to do more evil than the nations had done whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel. 10 And the LORD said by his servants the prophets, 11 "Because Manas'seh king of Judah has committed these abominations, and has done things more wicked than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols; 12 therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such evil that the ears of every one who hears of it will tingle. 13 And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Sama'ria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab; and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. 14 And I will cast off the remnant of my heritage, and give them into the hand of their enemies, and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, 15 because they have done what is evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day." 16 Moreover Manas'seh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides the sin which he made Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. 17 Now the rest of the acts of Manas'seh, and all that he did, and the sin that he committed, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 18 And Manas'seh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his house, in the garden of Uzza; and Amon his son reigned in his stead. 19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Meshul'lemeth the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. 20 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as Manas'seh his father had done. 21 He walked in all the way in which his father walked, and served the idols that his father served, and worshiped them; 22 he forsook the LORD, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the LORD. 23 And the servants of Amon conspired against him, and killed the king in his house. 24 But the people of the land slew all those who had conspired against King Amon, and the people of the land made Josi'ah his son king in his stead. 25 Now the rest of the acts of Amon which he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 26 And he was buried in his tomb in the garden of Uzza; and Josi'ah his son reigned in his stead.
[Nah 2:1-13 RSV] 1 The shatterer has come up against you. Man the ramparts; watch the road; gird your loins; collect all your strength. 2 (For the LORD is restoring the majesty of Jacob as the majesty of Israel, for plunderers have stripped them and ruined their branches.) 3 The shield of his mighty men is red, his soldiers are clothed in scarlet. The chariots flash like flame when mustered in array; the chargers prance. 4 The chariots rage in the streets, they rush to and fro through the squares; they gleam like torches, they dart like lightning. 5 The officers are summoned, they stumble as they go, they hasten to the wall, the mantelet is set up. 6 The river gates are opened, the palace is in dismay; 7 its mistress is stripped, she is carried off, her maidens lamenting, moaning like doves, and beating their breasts. 8 Nin'eveh is like a pool whose waters run away. "Halt! Halt!" they cry; but none turns back. 9 Plunder the silver, plunder the gold! There is no end of treasure, or wealth of every precious thing. 10 Desolate! Desolation and ruin! Hearts faint and knees tremble, anguish is on all loins, all faces grow pale! 11 Where is the lions' den, the cave of the young lions, where the lion brought his prey, where his cubs were, with none to disturb? 12 The lion tore enough for his whelps and strangled prey for his lionesses; he filled his caves with prey and his dens with torn flesh. 13 Behold, I am against you, says the LORD of hosts, and I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions; I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall no more be heard.
From Pastor Tim
Law and Gospel
Today we hear Paul using Law and Gospel in his letter to the Corinthians, you see the issue at hand is support for the Church, and Paul has realized that the Corinthians don’t really want to offer much for the ministry. He starts then by telling them the plight of the churches in Macedo’nia and then pointing out how much they have given. “3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints-- 5 and this, not as we expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.” That right there is the law, Paul is comparing rich Corinth to the backwater Macedo’nia and has found Corinth lacking. It is like when your parents would say, “But your brother ate his peas,” in order to get you to finish yours. These comparisons are always of the law, because when we start competing there will always be winners and losers. No matter if we win or lose we all lose because we have been divided. The law does divide and judge because that is its purpose. And although it divides it is important that there are standards in this world, for even the winners of these comparisons are still not perfect. However it is also very effective.
Yet Paul goes from this argument to one of Gospel, in the end it is not a competition to see who can support most or best, it is rather a blessing to give because we have been given so much. Paul writes, “7 Now as you excel in everything--in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in your love for us--see that you excel in this gracious work also. 8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” In the end they are to give only for the love of God who first gave to them. This does not promote competition or the law but nothing but God’s grace. When we do stewardship, I like Paul, like to put a little Law and Gospel in there.
We are reading through the Bible in order to celebrate the anniversary of the reformation, we would invite you to join us where ever we are, or you could just start reading daily. Remember Luther wanted to get Scripture into the hand of everyone so they would grow to know God better. Join us!