Tuesday 18 March 2014

Bible Reading Thoughts for March 18the Reading Thoughts for March 18th

Lev 26 - we read of what God had done for Israel in breaking the yoke of bondage in Egypt and bringing them out to bring them to the promised land.

Verse 13: "I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken (lit = crush) the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright"

This echoes to what God has done for us, through the Lord Jesus Christ:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy (lit = useful), and my burden is light" (Matt 11:28-30)

As we are now are people who have had our bondage broken, and have been lifted up from that burden.  Let us indeed in our daily lives be an upright people, seeking to serve our God with all our heart, mind and soul.

     Do you, do I, want God to really “know my heart”? The concluding words of David’s Psalm 139 are some of the most challenging in Scripture.  It seems obvious that David wrote it when he had formed a most intimate relationship with God, he declares, “How precious to me are your thoughts O God!  How vast is the sum of them!  If I would count them, they are more than the sand.  I awake, and I am still with you.” [v.17,18]
     David’s meditations in this Psalm are most meaningful, he had a sense of really being “with God” and God, with him.  How intensely personal is his closing appeal to the Almighty, “Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there is any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”   But that leading by God comes at a price – the surrender of self, of our human inclinations - to God’s leading.
     David surely knew what Moses wrote at God’s direction, we read it today in Leviticus ch. 26.  The first 13 verses list all the blessings to come on the nation if they will truly serve their God who has delivered them from slavery in Egypt. “I will make my dwelling among you,” says God, “I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.” [v.11,12] 
     David was leading the people to do this – he would have fallen asleep in death  convinced that his son Solomon would complete what he had begun in making the nation, God’s people.  His Psalm explains a vital underlying factor in serving God, that, observing God’s laws, must be followed by an attitude of heart and mind that achieves a personal relationship with God.  Sadly, the rest of Leviticus 26, which details the actions of God when there is a failure to obey his laws, came terribly true for most who journeyed to the promised land under Moses..
     Our awareness - of the white and black of the paths of life – is vital for our eternal health: they are excellently summed up in the words of Jesus in the last verse of our Luke (ch.9) reading.  “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”  Our innermost thoughts as we prayerfully read God’s word each day will keep us looking forward.

“Fearfully and wonderfully made”

(March 18)

I remember searchlights as a boy. Beams of light would sweep across the sky from near where I lived. They were searching for enemy planes, if they found one they would lock on to it and the gunners would try to shoot it down. My wife Fran had gunners right near her house.
We were reminded of this by our reading of Psalm 139 today. “Oh LORD you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up … you search out my path” (Psalm 139:1-3). But David realizes that God’s power to “see” extends far beyond what we do physically. We read, “you discern my thoughts from afar … even before a word is on my tongue …” (Psalm 139:4).
In the language young people use today, they would describe as ‘awesome’ the thought that God knows our thoughts before we even put them into words. That really is a searchlight on the mind. We cannot limit the meaning to David personally.
BUT there is even more than this in what he writes, a wonderful inspiration by God! We read, “For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made … your eyes saw my unformed substance” (Psalm 139:13,14,16).
Today, clever men have unravelled some of the secrets of DNA and the human genome. David was inspired to write 3,000 years ago of his “unformed substance”, i.e DNA.
Finally, the word ‘SEARCH’ occurs again at the climax of the Psalm, “Search me O God, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts … and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23,24). Would I, would you, want to sense God’s searchlight on your thoughts? If the answer is “No” then should it not also be ‘No’ to the question as to whether we want to led by God in the way everlasting?

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