“Live Longer And Prosper” – One Year Bible Reading – March 26

Old Testament: Deuteronomy 5:1-6:25

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Dt. 5: 1- 32   The Purpose of the Bible

I heard an extremely popular preacher say recently that the purpose of the Bible was to save people from Hell.  It is not.  The purpose of the Bible is to give mankind information to be able to have a relationship with God.  The way to have a relationship with God is first, admit that we are sinners (Rom. 3: 23), second, to understand Christ died in our place to bear our sin (Rom. 5:8), thirdly, to personally trust and believe that He did that for ME (Rom. 10: 9b, 10a).  The purpose of the ten commandments is to show us our sin.

Moses repeats the Ten Commandments found in Ex. 20.  They are of two parts.  The first part concerning God and the second part concerning man.  That is why Jesus was able to sum them up as love God with all your heart, mind, and soul and the second as love your neighbor as yourself (Mk. 12:30-31).  Paul said they could all be summed up as “do not covet” (Rom. 7: 7-9).  Francis Schaeffer says in his book True Spirituality (p. 8) that Paul saw he was a sinner when he “read that the last commandment was not to covet.”  Schaeffer says, “there are two practical tests as to when we are coveting against God or men.  First, I am to love God enough to be contented; second, I am to love men enough not to envy.”

All the Israelites who heard Moses said they would perform the law (Dt. 5: 24-27).  Moses concluded the sermon, “So you shall observe to do just as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left. You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess” (Dt. 5: 32-33).  Obedience leads to blessing.  The blessing is a relationship with the Lord.  It’s what the Bible is all about.

Dt. 6: 1- 25  Live Longer and Prosper

If you want to live a long life, obey the law and fear God.  As I write this, I can only think of how foreign this is to modern-day thinking.  Ours is a “pursuit of happiness” at any cost.  The afterlife and pleasing God does not seem to factor in anymore.  It is only through pleasing God that we arrive at “a land of milk and honey” (Dt. 6: 3).

Dt. 6: 4 is often referred to as the “Shema” which is the Hebrew word for “hear.”  ““Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!”  It points to the uniqueness of Yahweh.  The neighboring  pagan countries were polytheists.  No one could ever be sure if they were pleasing one God but ticking off another!  Yahweh was one.  He was the only One.  This does not deny the concept of three persons in the Godhead but does emphasize His unity and uniqueness.  Can you “hear” me now?

We are to love God with all our heart (cf. above and Mk. 12:30) and teach the Word to our children (Dt.6: 7).  Instead of ashes, the Israelites actually taped the Scriptures to their forehead!  They were to write them even on their doorposts (Dt.6: 8).

Moses reminded the people that when God blessed them, they should not forget God (Dt. 6: 12).  If they fell prey to false gods, God would “wipe them off the face of the earth” (Dt. 6: 15).   “Fear” is the first step in remembering God (Dt. 6: 13a) and being thankful is the second (Dt. 6:13b cf. Eph. 5: 20; 1Thes. 5: 18).

Jesus quoted Dt. 6: 15 to the devil when He was tested, “you shall not put the Lord to the test.”

Many think that God gave us marriage for our happiness.  He did.  But we fail to realize that it is for the glory of God, to raise godly offspring (Dt. 6: 20-25). 

New Testament: Luke 7:11-35

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Luke 7: 11-23  A Window On A Widow

Jesus witnessed the only son of a widow being carried out of the gate of the city of Nain in an open coffin.  The widow would have had no male in her family to protect her and provide for her.  He got up and started to speak.  Jesus had compassion on the widow and her son and told him to get up.  Most dead people don’t do that after their funeral.

There are three accounts of Jesus raising people from the dead.  One is Jairus’ daughter (Lk. 8:40-56), another is Lazarus (Jn 11:38-44). This is the first account.

Fear gripped everyone.  The word for fear was phobos which means “fear, reverence, or awe.”  It sometimes even means “terror.”  They were definitely impressed.  The verbal response was “a great prophet has arisen amongst us!” (Lk. 7: 16) indicating that “God has visited His people!” (Lk. 7:17).  Jesus had proved that the Messiah had come and that the Messiah has compassion on women, a major theme for Luke.

Luke 7: 24-27  Heh, huh?

John the Baptist was wasting away in prison.  His active ministry was no more than a year (BKC).  JB was probably itching to hear that Jesus had brought in the kingdom.  He knew that the Romans had not yet been overthrown and wondered what was going on.  So he sent messengers to Jesus to make sure he understood how things were to transpire.  Was Jesus the Christ or was there another to come?

Jesus was in the midst of performing various miracles, healings, and casting out demons.  He told John’s messengers to go back and tell JB what they had seen and heard.  He said that the happy people were the ones who didn’t stumble or become scandalized (“scandalizo” what does that sound like?) on account of Him and His signs.  In other words, “John, buck up!  It’s me!”

After this, Jesus commended John in case they thought John was a weak sister for asking such a question.  He wasn’t a reed blowing in the wind or someone living the easy, rich life or royalty.  He was a first-class prophet.  Jesus applied the prophecy of Malachi 3: 1 to John.  He was the messenger who prepares the way of the Messiah.

Luke 7: 28-35  Tribute To A Baptist

Up until that time there was no one greater than John.  Jesus said, however, after John, everyone who lived on into the Church period would have more understanding of God’s ways and be the benefactor of better blessings.  The down-and-outers were able to relate to what Jesus was saying.  Those who were full of themselves and hadn’t submitted to baptism by John like the religious leaders just didn’t get it.

That led Jesus to rant on the generation of His day.  They were like children who sit in the mall and no matter what tune they play, they can’t make people happy.  He said JB fasted and was serious so people accused him of demon-possession.  On the other hand, Jesus was joyful and liked to be with people so people accused Him of being a glutton and drunkard and hanging out with the scourge of the earth.  Jesus, characteristically cryptic, said, “Wisdom is vindicated by all her children” (Luke 7:35).  That meant, in the vernacular, “like what-ev-er!”  (Everyone reads their own thoughts into things.  Those who followed Jesus or John would understand both approaches.)

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