Bible Through the Year: Episode 26

Week 26 Devotion

This week marks the halfway point in the year and the halfway point in our journey of reading through the Bible in 2017. So if you have made it this far then congratulations you are halfway to your goal.

Now, this week we will continue to read about the steady downward decline of the nation of Israel and Judah. It really is depressing to read how King after king does what is evil in the sight of the Lord. The same nation that once stood before Moses and declared their allegiance to Yahweh, the same people who stood before Joshua and renewed their devotion to Yahweh, the same tribes that once rallied around David to worship the Lord are now eagerly wandering away from God to worship and serve idols in the high places. And their new Kings are leading them into this idolatry.

At this time, even the prophets suffer because of the lack of integrity and honesty in the people. It is truly a sad state of affairs to see just how quickly and how thoroughly the people abandon their God and watch their society fall into wickedness. But we do see a few high points along the way.

We meet the prophet Elijah and we get to see God flex His power a little bit in the battle between Yahweh and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. We see God’s judgment on the wicked King Ahab and his wife Jezebel. The book ends with Jehoshaphat reigning in Judah and surprisingly he does what is right in the sight of the Lord, but the high places housing idols temples still remain and will come into play later as we read 2 Kings.

We will also be reading the book of Obadiah which is the shortest book in the Old Testament, but it is still a very important book. Through this prophet, God brings accusations against the nation of Edom and He promises to bring judgment down upon them for their sin. But this book also brings up the history of Israel so it causes us to look back in time to the early days before Israel was a nation. This book also looks forward to the time of God’s future blessing on Jerusalem and all the nations of the World.

Here is something to Meditate on…

Some battles never seem to end. The battle of the sexes that began in the Garden of Eden is still going on today. The battle between brothers that began with Esau and Jacob, well that one is what we are going to read about in 2 Chronicles 21 and in the book of Obadiah.

Way back before Israel was a nation, even before Jacob was named Israel, there was a conflict between two brothers that are still playing out in Judea. Jacob and Esau were the sons of Isaac and one day Esau came home from hunting in the fields and he was so hungry that he thought he might die. So he made a bargain with his brother Jacob, “my birthright for a bowl of bean soup.” I didn’t say it was a good bargain, but a deals a deal. Jacob accepted the deal, gave him a bowl of soup and that’s how the conflict began.

Some time after this, Jacob deceived their father into blessing him in Esau’s place and then Jacob ran away with his brother’s birthright and his blessing. Years later these two brothers were able to reconcile, for the most part, but their descendants never forgot what happened between them. Israel was descended from Jacob and Edom was descended from Esau and here in 2 Chronicles 21:8-10 we see that old conflict rise up again.

But there is even more to it. In the book, of Obadiah we see God pronounce judgment upon Edom for the way they treated the people of Israel. The backstory to this book is that when Babylon came and took Israel into captivity, Edom was there to take advantage of God’s people. During that time, Edom plunders their cities and abused the people excessively. So this book is about how God plans to bring judgment on Edom for their treatment of God’s people.

Now here’s the first thing we can meditate on: Israel going into captivity was God’s was of judging them for their sin but even in the midst of them getting what they deserved, God still cares about His people. He still loves them and He still vows to protect them from their enemies…amazing.

But the second thing we can meditate on about this book is that even though God plans to bring judgment on Edom and all nations, there is also a day of hope. The fire of God’s judgment will come but a Savior will also come and go up to Mt. Zion. God will deal with the evil in the world but He will also establish his Kingdom of Peace to rule over all the nations. So judgment will come but after it will come a time of peace where God’s Savior reigns and that’s not just the point of the book of Obadiah, that’s the point of the whole Bible.

Here is something to Discuss…

The battle between God and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18 is one of the greatest stories in the Bible. It starts out with the reality that the people of Israel have begun to worship idols instead of Yahweh but the whole scene comes together when Elijah the prophet confronts King Ahab for leading God’s people into idolatry. Ahab calls Elijah, “the troubler of Israel” because it was Elijah who prayed for the rain to cease and ushered in 3 and half years of drought.

But Elijah responds, “I’m not the one causing trouble in Israel, you are because you have abandoned the commandments of God and have followed the Baals.” So it’s a challenge. One man serves God while the other serves Baal and the time has come to see whose is the one true God.

But try as they might the prophets of Baal can’t get their god to respond to their prayers. They set up an altar and a sacrifice but when they pray for Baal to show himself he does nothing. And Elijah takes advantage of the situation. He starts mocking not only the prophets but also their false god. He tells the prophets, “Maybe Baal is asleep and you just need to shout a little bit louder. Or maybe he is in the bathroom and you just need to wait until he is done…” it’s all rather humorous.

But when Elijah’s time comes he is all business. He rebuilds the altar, places the sacrifice upon it, has the servants douse the altar with water 3 times and then he comes near to the altar calling out for God to show Himself and let these people know that He is the only God in Israel. And that’s exactly what God does.

God consumes the sacrifice, the water, even the alter itself with fire. The prophets of Baal were revealed to be false prophets and Baal was shown to be a false god. When the people saw this they all bowed down and declared, “The Lord, He is God; The Lord, He is God.”

Here’s what I want you to discuss…God changed the hearts of His people by answering Elijah’s prayer and by demonstrating His power. God worked that day to do something that the false prophets couldn’t do and He answered His servant’s prayers and the result was that the people believed. This is a picture of what happens each time someone believes the gospel.

It is not man’s power that brings about salvation but God’s power. Salvation is a work of God accomplished by Christ on the cross. And this salvation is applied when God changes a man’s heart often in response to the prayers of those who love him. Even here in 1 Kings, we see a picture of the gospel. We see a picture of God’s coming salvation not just for Israel but for all who repent and believe in Christ.

Here is something to pray about…

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months, it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours…let that sink in. Elijah was just a man, but he was a faithful man and he cried out to God and God heard his prayer and gave him what he asked for.

There are needs that each of us has in our minds right now and we need to pray that God would meet those needs. There are people in our lives that we long to see come to saving faith in Christ and we need to pray for them today. There are struggles that we face each day and we need to confess our sins to God, to one another and pray that God would hear our prayer for victory over sin.

Take some time to read over and meditate on James 5:16-18 then slow down and pray to God about the things in your life and on your heart.



Bible Through the Year: Episode 25

Week 25 Devotion

This week we will be finishing up one book of wisdom literature (Proverbs) and we will begin another book in the wisdom literature (Ecclesiastes). So here in the introduction let’s talk about this new book that we will read this week.

The heading or title for the book of Ecclesiastes is the Hebrew word Qoheleth which means Preacher. The book falls into the category of wisdom literature and as such, it is often associated with King Solomon, but scholars aren’t sure if Solomon wrote this book or if it was simply inspired by the wisdom that he taught. Either way, the book opens with this phrase, “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, King in Jerusalem.”

But the internal evidence and the most natural reading of the text itself argues, in my opinion, for Solomon as the author of the book. 1. The title itself fits with Solomon, 2. The profile of the preacher and his experiences in life unmistakably point to Solomon (I Kings 2-11), 3. The wisdom of the preacher which surpasses all in Jerusalem fits with Solomon (I Kings 2), 4. And the role of the one who taught the people wisdom; all of these as well as others that we will see along the way point to Solomon the son of David and Bathsheba as the preacher and primary author of the book.

But what about the background of this book. The life of Solomon was one of unbridled indulgence which seems to stand in opposition to the measure of wisdom that he was given by God that surpassed all the men of the earth. This book shows a man who sought to find pleasure, fulfillment, meaning, and purpose in everything that this world had to offer only to discover that true meaning and purpose could not be found “under the sun” but as it were “beyond it” in fearing and obeying God.

But an even bigger question is, “What is this book about?” Well, let’s work through that by meditating on this book, discussing this book and praying about this book.

Here is something to Meditate on…

One of the major themes to this book is the vanity of life. The preacher repeats himself over and over saying, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” The Hebrew term here is Hevel and the Preacher uses this term more than 40 times in the book and this term means smoke or vapor in some translations it means meaningless. But it’s a little more complicated than that.

So why does the Preacher use this term to describe life? In order to understand the answer to this question, we will have to read the book and as we do we will see three themes that come up over and over. The first theme has to do with the unavoidable march of time and here is how the Preacher brings this up.

Eccl 1:4 A generation goes, and a generation comes,

but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises, and the sun goes down,

and hastens to the place where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south

and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind,

and on its circuits, the wind returns. 7 All streams run to the sea,

but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow,

there they flow again…9 What has been is what will be,

and what has been done is what will be done,

and there is nothing new under the sun.

His point here is that time simply marches on and we will be born, live, die and be forgotten. This is a fairly pessimistic view of life but it does put things in perspective a little bit. We aren’t the center of the universe. Our accomplishments on this earth are small and will soon be a thing of the past. Time will outlast us all.

The second theme that we see in this book is that death comes for us all (Eccl 9:1-6). Whether it comes quickly or slowly it comes for all, the righteous and the unrighteous alike. Death doesn’t care about your wealth or how much you’ve accomplished in life. It is the great equalizer that makes all mankind equal. Once again this is pretty pessimistic but it causes us to take stock of our lives and not to simply live for this life.

But then he is going to turn it around and point out that since death is coming for all of us we need to recognize what is good in this world and enjoy it with friends and family. He seems to strike a balance between frustration and celebration in the face of the vanity of life. In other words, the realities of this fallen world should not blind us to the beauty of the world God created and we should not despise the good gifts of God such as “relationships, food, drink and satisfying work.”[1]

The third theme is the random and unpredictable nature of life in this fallen world.

Eccl 9:11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

Life in this fallen world is complex. But these three things can be seen everywhere you look. Time marches on, death comes for all, and along the way life is unpredictable. This is the Preacher’s wisdom and it comes by observing the world and the way things go in life. But there is more for us to learn about life.

Take some time to meditate as you read this book. Think about how these same truths are still at work today, but how we in Christ can find joy and pleasure in the little things. If these things are true, then what is our hope? If these things are true, then what should be the primary focus of our lives?

Here is something to Discuss…

During Solomon’s life he sought to find meaning in everything that this world had to offer but found his pursuit to be in vain. But in the end he did discover the true meaning of life and it wasn’t something he found “under the sun” it was something he found “beyond the sun.”

A fourth theme that we see in this book is that there is wisdom in fearing the Lord. Time marches on, death comes for us all, life is unpredictable but the fear of the Lord is the whole duty of man. The Preacher wants us to understand the emptiness, meaninglessness of living today for the purpose of today only and he wants us to look beyond today and live in the fear of God.

The Preacher assumes the role of a wisdom teacher pointing out that there is no need to seek meaning and pleasure in the things of this world because they cannot satisfy the deep longing of our soul which cries out for eternity, longing to find peace with God. The answer to our need and our emptiness is in the gifts that come from the hand of God but not just good friends, good food, and good wine. The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus and only this can bring peace to our sin-sick souls.

Discuss how the three main themes of time, death, and unpredictability are meant to lead us to a proper fear of the Lord. Discuss the many passages where we are instructed to find pleasure in the gifts of God? Discuss how our joy in those gifts is meant to bring us greater joy in the Giver.

Here is something to pray about …

This book is meant to humble us and to bring us to our knees before God. We are not in control of this universe, we aren’t even in control of our lives. In the vast expanse of the universe, our lives are but a blip on the map, a blur that is hardly recognizable to those who will come after us. But in the eyes of God, we matter.

Let the gospel have the final word in the wisdom to be gained from the Preacher. Does God care about you? Does God think of you as meaningless? Does God love you? How do you know?

1 John 4:8…God is love. 9 In this, the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

Pray that you would come to understand the wisdom of Ecclesiastes and that you would stop searching for meaning under the sun. Pray that God would plant your soul firmly in the truth that the meaning of life and the joy of eternity is to be found in the Son. While you’re at it, praise God that He has loved us through Christ and made us His people forever.


[1] ESV Study Bible, Introduction to Ecclesiastes pg 1195.


Bible Through the Year: Episode 24

Week 24 Devotion

So this week we get back to jumping around again between all these different books and the point of this is to help us understand what is taking place at this time in Israel. With Solomon on the throne, we are witnessing the high point of the nation. There is peace, there is wealth, there is plenty of food and drink, there is a wise king on the throne and all the nations want a front row seat to the glory that is God’s people.

But also, at the center of it all is this magnificent temple of God that is being built in the city of Jerusalem. This week we are going to read about the temple construction. We are going to read about the planning, preparation, architecture, artwork, and construction of what became known as Solomon’s temple. If you have a good study Bible with illustrations of the temple, then I recommend that you take some time to look at those illustrations and try to picture in your mind the beauty and grandeur of this temple where the people of God would come to worship and make sacrifices to the Lord.

We are also going to see the Ark brought into the Temple, Solomon will make an amazing dedication speech and then the Lord is going to appear before Solomon with promises of blessing but also warnings about sin and disobedience. This appearance of God marks a turning point in the story because rather than follow the Lord the King will actually turn away and the decline of Israel begins.

Also, this week we will be reading the end of the book of Psalms and the last five books serve as a the grand-finale. These five Psalms are like the end of the greatest fourth-of-July fireworks show you have ever seen and they all focus on giving praise to the Lord. So we will look at that in just a minute.

Here is something to Meditate on…

The Temple of God in Israel is easily one of the most magnificent structures in the Ancient Near Eastern world and for Solomon to build it was the single greatest achievement of his life. Solomon knew that the temple of Yahweh must reflect the greatness of God because this temple was to be the location on earth where the presence of God would dwell in the midst of the people. It’s beauty and glory would need to be a reflection of the beauty and glory of the God that dwelt in it.

The temple was also the place on earth where God and man could meet together. It was a bridge between Heaven and Earth, and whether we realize it or not, it is designed to be like the Garden of Eden, which was the original place where God and man walked together. How is the temple like the Garden? Notice that the temple itself is walled off from the outside world much like the garden was separated from the outside world. The sanctuary is filled with plants and trees, with animals and angels, all of these are meant to give the picture of the Garden where God and man walked together in the presence of creation.

But the inner sanctuary, the holiest place, is different. In order to come into that place one had to pass through a curtain, one had to be a priest who had been purified and cleansed in order to enter, and then that priest had to pass by the two Cherubim that guarded the presence of God. This is symbolic of the angels that God placed at the edge of the Garden after Adam and Eve sinned, whose job it was to keep them out and away from the tree of the life.

When the high priest would come into the inner sanctuary to present an offering to God, he was being allowed to come past the angel guards and meet with God in the only place on earth where such access to the Creator could be experienced. And then only after sacrifices of atonement for sin had been made and ritual cleansing had been performed.

The magnificence of the temple was breathtaking but it was all intended to show the profound separation that exists between God and man. Sin has caused that separation it still does to this day even though the temple is no longer standing. But the temple is no longer on earth because it had served its purpose.

Today there is still only one way to come into the presence of God. It still requires atonement, forgiveness, and cleansing; but all that is required has been provided by Jesus Christ. With Christ’s first coming the problem of our sin was dealt with and by his resurrection, the problem of death is no more. We now have access to God through faith in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the bridge that overcomes our sin and brings us into the presence of God. And God now dwells not in the temple made by hands but in us, He dwells in the hearts of His people. Take some time to meditate on this reality and praise God that we now have access directly to Him through Jesus.

Here is something to Discuss…

The last five Psalms in the Psalter all begin the same way:

“Praise the Lord!”

And these five psalms serve as the conclusion to the entire collection and the only appropriate response to who God is and to what He has done. We are to praise the Lord!

But what does it mean to praise God? We might have a tendency to think of praise in a formal, perhaps even a stiff sort of way. But that is not what praise means. We naturally praise what we love. A husband praises his wife when he says to her, “Honey you look gorgeous.” A hiker praises the landscape when he stops to declare, “What a view.”

A child praises his newly opened toy when he/she shouts at the top of their lungs, “Thank you, mommy, it’s just what I wanted.” A reader praises their favorite book when they insist to their friend, “You have to read this book, it is incredible.”

We naturally praise with our mouths what we already enjoy in our hearts and the point of these Psalms is to give guidance and direction to the praise that should flow out of our hearts toward God. We praise Him because He is our God and there is none like Him. We praise Him because there is salvation in no other name than the name of our God. We praise Him because He builds us up, He heals the broken-hearted, He brings justice to the earth, He knows us, loves us, and cares for us.

“Everything that has breath should praise the Lord!”

One of the clearest pieces of evidence of spiritual life and health in our soul and in our church is that praise for God comes easy. But is that what we experience? Do you long to gather with the church to praise the Lord, no matter what songs we might be singing? Do you long to be alone in the car so you can crank up the praise music and sing your heart out to the Lord? Do you long to praise the Lord?

God deserves our praise, yes, but oh that we would be filled with a spirit of praise. Let’s take the time to think on this and then talk with others about how they engage in the worship of God. Take some time to ask others how they worship God in private, how they prepare their hearts to worship God on Sunday, what do they focus their minds on in worship and how do they express that worship.

Here is something to pray about …

For all the blessings that God gave to Solomon, it comes as a bit of a surprise that the king turns away from the Lord. I mean we know that it’s coming and we also know that the same potential rests in our hearts as well, but it still takes us by surprise. Here is the wisest man in the world and the wealthiest man in the world. Solomon was the king of one of the most powerful nations on earth. He had every earthly thing that one could possess and yet he turned from following God.

The scriptures tell us that his wives led him away from obeying the Lord. He disobeyed the command of God to marry all these foreign women in the first place (1 Kings 11) but then the women themselves turned his heart away from God and led him to worship other gods, their gods. It’s a tragic story and all the more frightening because we just don’t see it coming. There is nothing in his life up to this point that would indicate that he would allow this to happen, but it does.

So here is how I want us to pray this week. Let’s pray that God would not only make us wise but also that He would keep us faithful. Let’s pray that we would be wise enough to protect our hearts and lives from the type of temptations that would pull our hearts away from Christ. Let’s pray that God would make us wise enough and humble enough to confess our sins to others and heed their counsel when our hearts begin to go astray. Let’s pray that God would protect our hearts, our marriages, our homes, and our churches.

Even though things might be going great right now we need God to protect our tomorrow, so let’s pray to that end.



Bible Through the Year: Episode 23

Week 23 Devotion

The book of Proverbs falls into the category of “Wisdom Literature” along with Job, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs and the Psalms. Many consider the book of James to be a New Testament book that falls into the same category. These books are filled with poetry as well as short catchy statements that make them easy to remember because the wisdom literature is meant to shape the way we live. These books emphasize the need to understand and attain wisdom from God for all of life, including our relationship with God.

The book of Proverbs is filled with short statements that are intended to reveal the foolishness of worldly wisdom and the superiority of God’s wisdom. As we read the book we learn how to be wise in our dealings with money, sex, power, time, family, and a whole host of other things. But the main theme and purpose of the book is not to memorize all of these wise sayings. The main theme of the book is to help the reader to fear the Lord because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

I would add one more theme which can be found in every book of the Bible and it is that the book of Proverbs is helping lead us to Jesus.

Here is something to Meditate on…

One of the things that stand out as you read this book is that God offers wisdom to us. He doesn’t want us to remain in the dark. He doesn’t want us to remain immature and ignorant. He wants us to grow up and gain understanding. So like a good father, God has given us His Word to lead us in that process of growing and learning.

God wants us to be mature men and women who know Him, love Him, and fear Him. He wants us to be wise men and women who do what is right. He wants us to help others to know and do what is right so that we can be at peace with all men and enjoy fellowship with God.

In one sense you could say that God wants us to grow to be perfectly God-fearing and wise men and women. But the problem is that with sin in our hearts we will always fall short of this standard. So try as we might to be wise we will fail, but in our failure, there is grace to be found.

Jesus truly and perfectly lived the wise and God-honoring life that we could not. In fact, He is the voice of God’s wisdom that calls out from the streets to lead us away from the adulterous women and into a relationship with God. According to the Old Testament, the Messiah would be anointed with “The Spirit of Wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord (Isa 11:2).” According to the New Testament, Jesus is God’s gift of wisdom to sinners (1 Cor 1:30).

Solomon was incredibly smart, but Jesus was wiser even than Solomon (Matt 12:42). Jesus spoke with both wisdom and authority, truth and grace, and with this combination, He amazed people. No one, not even the law experts (Pharisees) could out-think Jesus and if we will follow His Word it will lead us to both wisdom and peace. And in the end, we will be with Him because true godly wisdom will never lead us away from Christ but straight into His arms.

Meditate on this. Think deeply about the fact that the book of Proverbs will not be fulfilled by us but that it has been fulfilled for us. It will help us to grow in both wisdom and godliness while at the same time it will humble us and make us remember just how foolish we are. But the picture of wisdom that it holds out to us is none other than Jesus who saves us from our foolishness, who leads us like a friend to deeper understanding, and who will bring us to dwell with God in perfect peace.

Here is something to Discuss…

Let’s discuss how to read these proverbs. One way to read these proverbs is to understand that they are like probabilities. For instance, if you fear the Lord and you walk according to His wisdom making good and wise choices, then life will most likely go well for you. But if you don’t fear the Lord and you live foolishly things will most likely not go well for you. But these things don’t always play out exactly in that way.

Sometimes fearing the Lord and living according to His Word will lead to persecution and sometimes living foolishly is celebrated by a godless culture. This doesn’t mean that proverbs aren’t true but that life in this sinful world is complex and we can’t simply break it down into a decision tree that will always lead to peace and happiness.

Another way to read the proverbs is to understand that they are not promises, meaning they are not formulas for success. For instance, many of us have known godly people who died at a young age, but Proverb 10:27 says, “The fear of the Lord prolongs your life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.” This doesn’t mean that the person in question was just faking godliness and was secretly wicked deep down. But rather it shows us that life in this fallen world is not filled with guarantees.

It is always wise to fear the Lord, this is a general rule of faith and it is always worth heading but even the godliest among us might die young. Think of Jesus who died at the age of 33. The point is that life is too complex for a guaranteed set of formulas. Wisdom statements are wonderfully helpful and we need all of the wisdom that God offers us. But we also need the fear of the Lord.

This fear of the Lord is not about being terrified of God but is about seeing, loving and relating God with true reverence and awe. It is an understanding of the universe that places God at the center and brings us to a point of humility that says I need to center my life on God’s character and His Word.

Perhaps, you have more to add to this discussion. Take some time to think about how we can read this book to gain from it all that God intends. Discuss with your family, friends or small group; how to receive God’s practical guidance as well as to grow in the fear of the Lord.

Here is something to pray about in the Proverbs…

One of the key themes in the first 9 chapters of this book is to focus on one generation passing down wisdom to the next generation. In chapters 1-9 we read ten speeches from a father to a son and this is not just a narrative tool, it is intended to be the pattern for our lives as well. We too should be learning wisdom from the previous generation and passing it down to our children.

So this week let’s pray that God would allow us to be wise in how we listen to our parents, our elders, and those wise leaders that God has placed in our lives. Let’s pray for patience to hear what they have to say and the ability to learn wisdom from their words and their lives.

Let’s also pray that we would fear the Lord and seek to pass wisdom on to others, especially the next generation. Let’s pray that God would help us mature and grow in wisdom and understanding so that we can be a help to those who will come after us.



Bible Through the Year: Episode 22

Week 22 Devotion

As the rule of King David comes to a close we are left with all sorts of great stories from his life but the nation of Israel as a whole was left with something else, unity. God allowed David to unite all of the 12 tribes of Israel into one Kingdom and that kingdom was more powerful than those surrounding it and it was also just what God had promised to do. But now that David is no longer ruling over the nation the question is, “What is going to happen next?” and that is where the books of Kings steps in.

The books of 1st and 2nd Kings tell us of the rulers that came after David starting with his son Solomon. These books start off with a great deal of hope and promise but it doesn’t take long before we see things beginning to go in the wrong direction. We are going to read about how this newly united nation gets split into two and how the kings in the north and most of the kings in the south lead the nation into idolatry.

By the end of the book, we will have seen the Kingdom of Israel will have been run into the ground, or more specifically carried off into Exile in Babylon. These books show the decline of the nation of Israel from King David all the way to Exile.

But this week we will also be reading the Song of Songs, which is 8 chapters of love poetry centered around the relationship between a man and his wife to be. Now this book is interesting in that it refers to Solomon as the main male character but the main voice in the book is that of a woman, in fact, Solomon, as far as we can tell, never speaks. It would also be odd to put Solomon in this story because he is known to have had more than 700 wives, hardly making him a model of romance and devotion.

In this lengthy series of poems, we are taught the power and danger of love through the winding pattern of one young couple's relationship. Their love is intense and it causes them to not only desire one another but also to seek one another out. When the find each other there is joy in their physical attraction but just when things start to warm up the two lovers have separated again and the hunt continues. In the end, we are left with a concluding poem about the power and danger of love which we will talk about in a few minutes.

But first, let’s find something that we can discuss as we begin to read the book of 1st Kings.

Here is something to Discuss…

The book of 1st Kings opens at the close of David’s life and the transfer of power to his son Solomon but before that takes place there is a problem. David has another son named Adonijah who recognizes an opportunity to seize control of the nation. But his plan backfires when Nathan the prophet and Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon find out about Adonijah’s plans. What happens next is that David is brought into the picture and he sets the record straight that his son Solomon is to be his successor. Solomon is anointed, Adonijah is made to step aside and then King David passes the throne to Solomon by charging him to stay faithful to the Word of God.

In chapter 2 David reaches back to the book of Deuteronomy and he lays before Solomon the responsibility of being king over the people of God. David tells him,

“Keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in His ways and keeping His statutes, His commandments, His rules and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, that the Lord may establish His word that He spoke to me…” – 1 Kings 2:3-4

This is great advice and in many ways, I believe this is what made David a man after God’s own heart. He was committed to God’s Word as a man and as a king, and he wants the same thing for his son.

What a great legacy for us as parents to pass on to our children. “If you will be faithful to God and His Word, life will not be easy but God will take care of you, comfort you and bless you.” The most important legacy that we can leave to our own children is to trust God and obey His Word.

In the beginning of his reign, Solomon does follow the counsel of his father. In chapter 3 we read that Solomon loved the Lord, walked according to the instruction of his father David, and only sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. This phrase “high places” is a bit confusing because it is often used to refer to the worship of idols but here is seems clear that these high places served as public altars where Yahweh is worshiped.

We also read of Solomon’s request for Wisdom and how God granted him that request. Then in chapter 4, we see the scope of God’s blessing on Solomon and the nation of Israel. These first 10 chapters of 1 Kings represent the high point for the nation of Israel. In this time they are experiencing wealth, wisdom, and peace like never before, all of which came from God’s hand.

But the elephant in the room is the fact that none of these things last and the question is why not? What happened to bring this to a halt? Did it happen quickly or over time? Were there warning signs that we could see? And if so, how can we who live in the wealthiest nation in the world learn from the mistakes of the past?

Take some time to discuss how and why God blessed Solomon and Israel in the way that we see here in 1 Kings 1-4. But then also discuss how we have a tendency to turn God’s good gifts into something that turns our hearts away from the giver. Because that is what we are going to see happen as we continue to read this book.

Here is something to Meditate on…Song of Songs

The Song of Songs is a beautiful book and it is unlike any other in the Scriptures. It is poetry and the Bible has its fair share of poetry but none of it is quite like this book. The Song of Songs, or the Song of Solomon, is about the love between a man and his wife to be. It is a book about the beauty and intensity of love. It is about the joy and excitement of romance and the almost unbridled anticipation of sexuality that comes with marriage.

There are two main characters in this book; a young shepherdess and a young shepherd. They have a fiercely strong attraction to one another but they are not yet married so they must wait to be together fully. But they are eager to express their love for one another and this book gives us a glimpse into their hearts as they think about each other, catch glances of each other and even how they feel and talk when they finally meet up.

The Hebrew title is Song of Songs and the way we should understand this title is that this is the Best of Songs. The point is to say that love is the greatest song to be sung. But this love is also dangerously strong.

Song of Songs 8:6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm,

for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave.

Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord.

Ray Ortlund offers us a paraphrase that helps us with this verse:

“Make me near and dear to yourself. Wear your wedding ring with pride. Why? Because our love is powerful in its finality. When I give myself to you, I can’t take it back. Marriage changes both of us permanently. Like death, in getting married we lose someone – our single selves. But it’s a death we gladly die, in order to belong to one another for the rest of our days, come what may. And the vows of marriage, if broken, cannot be betrayed without fierce pain. Marriage is such an intense, human experience, ‘the very flame of the Lord,’ because it is God’s love burning in our love.”

Love is not a game because the love the between a man and his wife ultimately point to the love that God has for His bride, the church. God created human sexuality and He gives it to us as a gift that we are to enjoy to the full, but within the boundaries that God set’s up around it. Because the purity that God wants us to maintain in our marriage bed is just a shadow of the purity that Christ died to establish the relationship between Himself and the church.

There is plenty for us to meditate on as we read the Song of Songs. Think about the joy of marital intimacy that God wants us to have. Think about the excitement and anticipation that God declares a good thing in our relationship. Think about the romance and sensuality of this book. But also keep in mind the picture of Christ’s love for the church.

Here is something to pray about in the Proverbs…

How often do you pray for wisdom? I do it all the time because I am constantly in positions where I know that I am in over my head. I need wisdom from God. If I am to lead people in a godly direction, if I am to give counsel that is wise and faithful to Scripture, If I am to make the right decisions in life; then I need God to give me wisdom.

Here in the book of Proverbs, we are told that wisdom is there to be gained but the path to wisdom begins with an acknowledgment that God is, and that He is to be loved, revered, even feared above everything else. Godly wisdom begins when I humble my heart and accept that God is, that He deserves my worship and devotion and that all I am and have I owe to Him.  

As we begin to read through the book of Proverbs this week I want us to cry out to God to make us wise. Cry out for God to let us grow in a right kind of godly fear. Pray that we would increase in knowledge of God as we read His Word, and that his Word would produce the fruit of godly wisdom in our hearts, minds and lives.



Bible Through the Year: Episode 21

Week 21 Devotion

This week we are going to read about David in his twilight years and see what happens to him after the sin with Bathsheba and the problems with his son Absalom. We’ve been following David since his childhood and along the way, we’ve seen some pretty amazing scenes from his life. But at this point in the story, he is older and is beginning to slow down and reflect upon all that God has brought him through.

In 2 Samuel 22 we read David’s song of Deliverance where he recounts all that God did for him throughout his life. This song also appears in the Book of Psalms as Psalm 18 and it recounts how God has been gracious to his people by establishing the house of David over them and it is David’s testimony of God’s protection throughout his life.

It would have been real nice if that had been the final chapter in David’s life, but it’s not. The final chapter of 2 Samuel shows David fall into sin yet again when he calls for a census of the people and then confesses that he has sinned before God. The text doesn’t tell us why it was sinful for David to do this but in 1 Chronicles 21 we read the same story and learn that God was displeased with what David had done.

So we are left to wonder what was David’s sin in calling for a census? Was it pride? Was it simply David taking initiative in a direction that God hadn’t led him? Was it connected to some military plan on David’s part that God hadn’t approved? Was it associated with David’s desire for money to be gained through a census tax? We don’t know, but we do know that in the end, this decision brought about God’s judgment on David and the people of Israel.

So as we’ve seen David’s story unfold and now come to the end we are left with some big questions: Why did God choose this man to not only be king but also to be the earthly great-grandfather to Jesus? What was it about David that made him a “man after God’s own heart?”

Here is something to Discuss…

What was it about David that made him a man after God’s own heart? Going back to the time of David’s anointing as the next king over Israel we have to recognize that there was nothing that he had done to earn that blessing. At that point, David was just a child and God’s choice of David over all the other men in Israel was not to prove David’s worth but to prove God’s worth.

Saul, on the other hand, was a man that fit the mold of what people had come to expect of a king. He was tall, strong and handsome. He was the type of man that other men want to follow. He was the type of man that most women are naturally attracted to. He was a man’s man, but he wasn’t exactly God’s man.

David was God’s, man. He wasn’t the most imposing figure in the eyes of men, but he was a young man who trusted God with his life. He was first a man who loved God and who possessed a bold and fearless faith in the power and might of God. David was jealous for God’s glory and was even willing to walk out on the battlefield with no armor to face the greatest champion and war-hardened soldier in the entire Philistine army simply because that soldier was mocking David’s God.

So one of the factors that I think contributes to David being a man after God’s own heart was his uncommon trust in the providence of God and the desire for God to be glorified no matter what it might cost him.

We also learn that David was a man with a tender heart that leaned toward poetry and praise; both of which were directed as worship to God. His heart was sensitive to the emotion of life and he expressed that emotion in the writing of songs of praise. As king, he organized a group of Levites to take on the responsibility of leading worship around the temple. David also played instruments and was himself a singer who sought to engage with God through the emotional vehicle that is music.

In other words, he wasn’t just a military strategist nor was he simply a systematic theologian; he was a man who worshiped God with all of his heart, mind, soul and strength.

But there is at least one more thing that might have contributed to David being a man after God’s own heart and it has to do with one of the duties of kings. In Deuteronomy 17 God tells Israel that when they come into the Promised Land He will give to them a king. And in order that this king doesn’t lead the people into sin God requires him to do this:

Deut 17:18 “And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.

The heart of the king was to be led by the word of God and David was a man who sought to follow in this statute. No, he didn’t do this perfectly but it seems to have been his common practice to meditate on God’s Word. In 2 Samuel 22:22 David writes:

22 For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not wickedly departed from my God.

23 For all his rules were before me, and from his statutes I did not turn aside.

So what was it that caused God to call David a man after his own heart? Was it one thing? Was a combination of things? Perhaps you think it is related to something I haven’t mentioned, if so that’s ok. The reason I want to ask this question and encourage you to discuss it is so that we can think not just about David but ourselves. I want to be a man who pursues the heart of God and I want us to be people who pursue the heart of God. So let’s take some time to study, think and discuss what that truly means.

Here is something to Meditate on…

Psalm 57 recounts a time in David’s life when he was on the run from king Saul. You will remember that Saul had been hunting David down out of jealousy and he was intent on taking David’s life. But in David’s desire not to stretch out his hand toward God’s anointed, he would flee from Saul and often took up hiding in caves so as not to force combat with the king.

This Psalm in particular gives us a glimpse into the emotional struggle that David was going through in those times. He was filled with grief over the situation. He was afraid for his life and lamenting the event that was taking place. But here in Psalm 57 we see that one of the ways that David would seek to comfort his soul in these times was to remember the merciful promises of God and to sing about them.

In verse 6 we read that David’s soul is bowed down, which is a reference to the brokenness and sorrow that he feels. It’s not hard to imagine feeling this way. Most of us can identify with times of sorrow, deep sorrow, perhaps not related to the same circumstance but we know what it feels like to be fearful, hurt and overcome with deep sadness.

But the thing I want us to learn from this psalm is not the fact that we can identify with David’s emotion, but I want us to see what David does to address the sorrow in his heart…he sings. In verses 7-11 David battles against sadness and fear by praising God. He remembers God’s love, he sets his mind on God’s faithfulness, and then he wakes up at dawn and begins to sing.

He writes, “I will sing and make melody…I will awake the dawn…Awake, my glory…awake, o harp and lyre…I will give thanks…I will sing praises…Be exalted o God, above the Heavens.”

Is this a strategy that we employ when our soul is bowed down? It should be. Let us remember to turn to the Psalms and sing to the Lord from them. Let us practice the soul restoring discipline of praising God. There are a whole host of songs that we can sing to the Lord but don’t neglect to sing the Psalms. Let your songs of praise be filled with the deep truths of God’s Word and let the joy of the Lord be our strength, especially in times of deep sorrow.

Here is something to pray about…

As our study of David’s life comes to a close we have plenty to think about and learn from, but I want us to pray about one specific thing. David was a great man but he was also a deeply flawed man, but in His Mercy God used David to accomplish great things in the world. I want us to pray that God would use us, imperfect though we be, to accomplish His purpose in the world.

Let’s pray that we would be sensitive to our sin, broken over our sin and quick to confess it, seeking God’s forgiveness. But also let’s pray that God would use us to accomplish his purpose of salvation in the lives of others.

Let’s pray that God would teach us to be men and women after His heart. Let’s pray that we would be able to leave a godly legacy for others to follow.


Bible Through the Year: Episode 20

Week 20 Devotion

This week the story of David is going to take a very decisive turn and it all hinges on David’s sin with Bathsheba. Last week we read of David’s victories in battle and about his kindness to the son of Jonathon, but this week we read about his fall from God’s favor as he commits adultery and murder and then has to face the consequences of his actions.

David’s story began when he was just a boy and had been anointed by Samuel as the next king over Israel. Then he took on larger than life status as he defeated Goliath and became the most successful general in Saul’s army. The people began to sing his praises but before long he found himself on the run from the jealousy of the king. But even then God protected David.

After Saul died and David rose up to finally become king, the blessing of God upon his life and rule was evident. Military victories came one after another. The nation of Israel was able to secure her borders. A capital city was established in Jerusalem, the Ark of God was brought back into the midst of the people and then God made a covenant with David to establish his kingdom forever.

We can look on this first half of David’s life as his time under the favor of God, but the next section of David’s life will be marked by his time under the discipline of God. But what happened to cause this shift from God’s favor to God’s discipline?

Here is something to Meditate on…

In 2 Samuel 11, the shift takes place and we find out early on that something is wrong. It’s spring time and this is the time when kings are normally going out to war but David is not where he should be. He is home in Jerusalem. This is the first sign that something is out of place. He should be out with his men, sleeping under the stars, meditating on the Torah and shoring up battle plans that will help secure peace in Israel. Instead, David is resting in his new palace while his men are at war.

Next, we read that “late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of his house, he looked over and saw a woman bathing; and he noticed that she was very beautiful.” Again, the point is being made that David is not where he should be. His men are arranged in battle formations, sleeping in tents and maintaining a war-time intensity in their lives, but David is at home on his couch. And when he pulls himself up from his rest he goes up to the roof to watch his friend’s wife taking a bath.

I know that this story is well-known to most of us but if we can get past our familiarity then maybe we can see just how shocked we should be at what we are reading. Yes, David is a man which means that His heart is filled with sin just like the rest of us, but this is completely unlike the David we have come to know. He has been a man after God’s own heart. He has been a man willing to put his very life on the line for the glory of the Lord. This is a man that fought the urge to defend his own life in order to honor the anointed king Saul. But here we see that David is not where he should be, he is dishonoring the commitment of his men, and he is about to commit grievous sin against one of his closest friends.

David knew Urriah. Urriah the Hittite was one of David’s personal body guards and even if he didn’t know that Bathsheba was Urriah’s wife in the beginning, it becomes apparent early enough that David still had time to walk away and repent. But he didn’t repent. He should have recognized the situation and turned away but instead, he indulged his desire and had his servants bring Bathsheba to him. He gave in to the temptation of his flesh.

Then sin becomes multiplied. They commit adultery with one another, she gets pregnant and David comes up with an elaborate scheme to try and hide their sin. When his plans fail David sends Urriah to his death on the battle-field and it was the sinful king himself who signed Urriah’s death warrant.

The story is not over but at this point, it would be wise for all of us to take the time to meditate on what we’ve seen so far. David has had plenty of red flags waving at him but he has ignored them all. To begin with, he was not in the right place, he was not doing the right thing, not seeking to honor the Lord, his friendship or his position as king; but David ignored all the signs. And if we are honest, most of the time when we fall into sin it’s because we did the same thing.

There were plenty of signs that we needed to turn back but we didn’t. There were plenty of people telling us to go another direction but we ignored their counsel. Our sin doesn’t take us by surprise but rather it grows in us as we harden our hearts against the counsel of the word, our friends and the Spirit of God.

We need to learn how to guard our hearts against minor things becoming major sins. We need to be honest with ourselves about what we are doing, why we are doing it and where it will lead if we don’t stop and seek the Lord. Take the time to read over David’s sin with Bathsheba and recognize all the places where he had a decision to make and made the wrong one. Then spend some time thinking through your own current life situation and try to identify the decisions in front of you that will lead to honoring God or that might lead you into sin.

Here is something to discuss…

In 2 Samuel 12, we see the aftermath of David’s sin continue to cause destruction in his life, his family and eventually in the nation of Israel. Chapter 11 ends with this phrase, “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” David thought that he had put a nice bow on the situation but our sin will find us out. God was displeased with David and He sent the prophet Nathan to rebuke the wayward king.

Nathan tells a convicting story and in the end, confronts David over his sin with Bathsheba. But the lasting impact is seen in that there will be consequences for what David has done. Sometimes the consequences are natural and sometimes they are supernatural but there are always consequences when we sin against God. In this case, God is going to let David experience the destruction that sin brings. His child is going to die, His family is going to become fractured, and the nation will be weaker as a result.

Take some time to discuss the consequences of David’s sin that we read in 2 Samuel 12:7-15. Then as you continue reading throughout the week notice how the discipline of the Lord follows David from this point forward. Then as difficult as it may be perhaps we can discuss the consequences of our own sin. The point of such a discussion would not be to place an unnecessary focus on our past but to see how unintended and painful consequences can result from our sinful decisions.

Here is something to pray about…

One of the things that we can take comfort in through the story of David’s sin is that God’s mercy does not depart from the king. David feels the consequences keenly but he also experiences the steady grace of God. He and Bathsheba are able to have another son and his name is Solomon or Jedidiah in the Hebrew, which means, “Beloved of the Lord.” The love of God was not taken from David and the promise that God made to him did eventually come to pass.

But all of this produced in David a deep sorrow over his sin and this sorrow is recorded for us in Psalm 51. Take the time to read over this psalm this week and pay special attention to the progression of David’s repentance. His sorrow is real but it does produce the fruit of repentance as well as restoration. By the end of the psalm, David is ready to share his story of God’s grace to others so that they can avoid the same mistakes that he made.

That should be our prayer this week. Let’s pray that we can learn from this episode in David’s life how to repent quickly, how to seek the Lord early when temptation comes our way, how to own our sin when it happens and not make things worse, and how to journey through repentance to the point of full restoration and renewed joy.



Bible Through the Year: Episode 19

Week 19 Devotion

This week the story of David and His role as King of Israel will continue and our reading will highlight his military strength and success as well as His kindness and grace. These two characteristics have not been seen side by side in most of our reading so far this year but in David, we see strength and grace held in a unique balance.

If we did a straw poll on the most important Old Testament figures who would come to mind? Of course, there’s Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Jacob or Israel and his twelve sons, Moses. There is a host of prophets that might come to mind like Daniel, Isaiah, and Jonah. There are even some villains like Pharaoh and Goliath. But at some level, David has to weigh in as one of the most important figures in all of Scripture. After all, David bears the title of the “man after God’s own heart.” He was a man like no other, a warrior, a poet, a shepherd, and a king whose throne God would promise to establish forever.

Over the last few weeks, our reading has reacquainted us with the life of this important Biblical figure. He was the youngest of 8 sons in the house of a shepherd in Bethlehem named Jesse. We met David in I Samuel 16 as the Prophet Samuel is sent to anoint the next king of Israel. This is an awkward time in the life of Israel because they have just been given their first true king in Saul, but Saul disobeyed the commands of God and the Lord promised to take the kingdom away from him giving it to someone else.

So Samuel came to the house of Jesse with the intention of anointing the man God had chosen to rule as king over Israel. Jesse lined up his 7 oldest sons in front of the prophet but God had not chosen any of them. Then David, as an afterthought, was summoned in from the fields and as soon as David came in the Lord spoke to Samuel saying, “Arise, and anoint him in the midst of his brothers (I Sam 16:13).” On that day and from that day forward the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David.

David was a fearless shepherd and a skillful musician. He was a warrior poet who played musical instruments as well as he wielded the sword. He played the Lyre, a 7-stringed instrument very similar to a guitar, and he wrote songs of worship to God.

David was the only man in the army of Israel who trusted that victory belonged to God and not the strength of men. He alone faced the giant Goliath with confidence even though He was only a teenager. But the most important thing from David’s life was not all of his unique accomplishments but rather the fact that God made a unique covenant with him and we are going to read about that this week in 2 Samuel 7.

Here is something to Meditate on…

In 2 Samuel 7, David has come to the point in his life when he wants to do something significant to honor and glorify God. By God’s mercy David has become king over all the nation of Israel. In the strength of The Lord David has led his army to successfully beat back the enemies surrounding them. As a blessing from God David was able to establish Jerusalem as the king’s city and the capital of Israel. Then as a blessing to cap off all of these accomplishments, David oversaw the reintroduction of the Ark of God into the midst of the people within the walls of Jerusalem.

Then on a more personal note, David had been able to settle down in a house and the Lord gave him a period of rest from fighting against Israel’s enemies. So naturally, David wants to thank God and his idea is to build God a temple. He wants to make the dwelling place of God more permanent by trading the tent/tabernacle for a full-fledged house made of cedar and gold. But God has another plan.

God says, “I know you think I have blessed you up to this point but I want you to know that there is more to come. You want to build me a house? But what’s actually going to happen is that I am going to build you a house and I will raise up your offspring to build a house for my name and I will establish his throne and kingdom forever.”

God even goes on to say, “I will be to him a father and he shall be to me a son.” Now in one sense this is a reference to David’s son Solomon who would, in fact, become king and build a temple to house the ark of God, but the bigger picture to this promise from God is that this is pointing to the future when a better king would rise and establish a better kingdom that would last forever.

This covenant promise from God to David is about Jesus our perfect king who would come from the family line of David, who would save God’s people from their greatest enemy and establish the eternal kingdom of God. Take some time to think about and study up on the connections between David and Jesus. Check out the genealogies in Matthew and Luke to see the direct line from David to Christ.

Take some time to think about David’s significant but lesser role as warrior king and defender of God’s people and compare that to Jesus’ greater role as a warrior king and defender of God’s people.

Here is something to discuss…

In 2 Samuel 9 we see another side of David that should make us think ahead and compare David to Jesus. In this chapter, we see that David has once again been victorious in battle and has come to the point of wanting to show honor and grace to his fallen friend Jonathon. So he calls on the lead servant in charge of former king Saul’s house. This servant's name is Ziba and when he stands before David he hears a request he couldn’t have been anticipating.

David wants to show kindness to any living relatives of Saul especially any descendants of Jonathon. Now the reason this is so odd is the fact that in those days it was common for a new king to put the former king’s family to death in order to secure the throne for himself, but David is not like other kings. David is a king after God’s own heart and one of the ways that we see this is in his desire to show mercy and grace to others, in this case to the physically disabled son of Jonathon.

Mephibosheth was injured as a child when his servant was trying to rush him to safety and dropped him resulting in permanent damage to his feet. But David overlooks Mephibosheth’s brokenness and not only shows him kindness but restores all of his father’s land to him and then gives him a place at the king’s table as an adopted son.

First, let’s recognize that this is an incredible show of kindness on David’s part. He is willing to lay conventional wisdom aside and trust that being gracious to others, even potential threats, is a God-glorifying thing to do. But the bigger picture in this is how David foreshadows the unparalleled grace of Jesus to us.

We are the broken grandsons of a failed king in Adam. We are the desperate daughters who have no inheritance because it was squandered by the sins of the previous generation. Jesus is the better David who invites us in, forgives the sins of the past, restores our inheritance and gives us a seat at the King’s table.

Take some time to read through 2 Samuel 9 this week and discuss the similarities between David’s kindness to Mephibosheth and Jesus’ kindness to us.

Here is something to pray about…

This week I want us to all read and pray through Psalm 67. This psalm served as our call to worship a few weeks ago when our morning worship was devoted to Mission and we heard a report from the mission field in India. It was an appropriate psalm for that day because it is about God’s glory, grace and salvation spreading out to all the nations.

Take some time this week to read through Psalm 67 and pray hat God would continue to raise up laborers to send out into the fields of the world. Pray that God would raise up laborers among us who will faithfully take the gospel to the mission field of our own city, state, and nation. Pray that you would be faithful to obey the call of God to be and make disciples for the glory of Christ and the gospel.

Pray for the church in Haiti, in Hungary and India. Pray for the families we support around the world. Pray for God to bless Cornerstone that we would see men and women rise up and heed the call to bring the good news of God’s grace to the nations so that all the peoples would praise our God.