Showing posts from 2017

One Year Bible: Day 70 - Leviticus 23:1-24:23; Mark 15:33-47; Psalm 32:1-11

Leviticus 23 gives a description of “the appointed feasts of the Lord” (Leviticus 23:2, 44). At the heart of this chapter lies “the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord” (Leviticus 23:28). Each of the festivals had their place in keeping the people in a right relationship with God. In the death of Jesus Christ, there is atonement. He died to bring us into a right relationship with God. He bore the divine sentence of judgment upon Himself – “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34) – so that we might know the blessing of which the Psalmist speaks: “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven” (Psalm 32:1).

One Year Bible: Day 69 - Leviticus 21:1-22:33; Mark 15:1-32; Psalm 31:19-24

An offering of sacrifice to the Lord “must be without defect pr blemish to be acceptable” (Leviticus 22:21). In Mark 15:15, we have the great statement concerning the sinless Son of God taking the sinner’s place – “Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged and handed Him over to be crucified.” “Praise be to the Lord, for He showed His wonderful love to me when I was in a beseiged city” (Psalm 31:21). The Cross was, for Jesus, a beseiged city. When He cried out to God, it was like the prayer of the Psalmist – “In my alarm I said, ‘I am cut off from Your sight!’” God answered the Psalmist’s prayer – “Yet You heard my cry for mercy when I called to You for help” (Psalm 31:22). God answered Jesus’ prayer when He raised Him from the dead. To those who believe in the crucified and risen Christ, God says, “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:24).

One Year Bible: Day 68 - Leviticus 19:1-20:27; Mark 14:43-72; Proverbs 6:30-35

Central to the teaching of Leviticus is its emphasis on the holiness of God and His purpose of making His people holy: “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. Keep My decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy … You are to be holy to Me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be My own” (Leviticus 20:7-8, 26). We are commanded to “be holy.” We have the Lord’s promise that He will make us holy – holy to the Lord, different from those who live according to worldly standards. Jesus was perfectly holy, yet He did not defend Himself when He was falsely accused by evil men (Mark 14:55-61). He “confessed our sin”, took our place, bearing the punishment for our sins. We must not be ashamed to confess Him – “Yes, I am with Jesus. Yes, I am His disciple” (contrast Peter’s denial in Mark 14:66-72). there is judgment for those who destroy themselves by going the world’s way rather than the Lor…

One Year Bible: Day 67 - Leviticus 17:1-18:30; Mark 14:17-42; Psalm 31:9-18

“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar, it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” (Leviticus 17:11). The Old Testament principle, cited in Hebrews – “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins” finds its fulfilment in the death of Christ – “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He says to His disciples, “This is My blood of the covenant which is poured out for many” (Mark 14:24). Psalm 31:9-13 sounds very much like a description of Christ’s suffering on the Cross. This is followed by these great words: “But I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God’” (Psalm 31:14). The Psalmist goes on to say that “the wicked” will “lie silent in the grave” (Psalm 31:17). This is in contrast to Christ who rose from the grave.

One Year Bible: Day 66 - Leviticus 15:1-16:34; Mark 13:32-14:16; Psalm 31:1-8

At the heart of the book of Leviticus, with all its meticulous detail, there is this great statement regarding the spiritual purpose of it all: “atonement will be made for you, to cleans you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins” (Leviticus 16:30). When we come to the New Testament, we find Jesus Christ, not only celebrating the Passover but fulfilling the Passover. He is the Passover Lamb. In Psalm 31:5, we read the words spoken by Christ on the Cross: “Into Your hands, I commit My spirit.” These words are followed by the prayer: “redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.” God’s answer to prayer was, in the case of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Resurrection. The risen Christ might truly echo the words of the Psalmist: “I will be glad and rejoice in Your love, for You saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place” (Psalm 31:7-8).

One Year Bible: Day 65 - Leviticus 14:1-57; Mark 13:1-31; Psalm 30:8-12

We are cleansed by the sacrifice of “the sin offering” which “makes atonement” for us “before the Lord” (Leviticus 14:18). Only those who have received cleansing from their sins through faith in Christ will enjoy the glory of heaven when the Lord returns (Mark 13:27). Psalm 30:8-12 gives an account of faith in the Lord. Realizing the danger of judgment (Psalm 30:9), the Psalmist calls upon the Lord, crying to Him for mercy (Psalm 30:8). God answers the prayer, turning the Psalmist’s “wailing into dancing” and clothing him with joy (Psalm 30:11). The Psalmist sings to the Lord from his heart – “O Lord my God, I will give You thanks for ever” (Psalm 30:12).

One Year Bible: Day 64 - Leviticus 13:1-59; Mark 12:28-44; Proverbs 6:20-29

Leviticus 13 continues to emphasize the importance of being clean. the clean life is a life characterized by love for God and love for our neighbour (Mark 12:29-31). This is “more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices” (Mark 12:33). The clean life is the life which is lived in the light of God’s holy Word: “these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light” (Proverbs 6:23).

One Year Bible: Day 63 - Leviticus 11:1-12:8; Mark 12:13-27; Psalm 30:1-7

The Psalmist says, “I will exalt You, O Lord, for You lifted me out of the depths” (Psalm 30:10. In Leviticus 11-12, there is a great emphasis on the need for cleansing. In Christ, we have been cleansed. We exalt Him because He has lifted us out of the darkness of our sin. The Psalmist says, “O Lord, You brought me up from the grave” (Psalm 30:3). Jesus speaks of “the resurrection” (Mark 12:23). He is looking beyond His resurrection. He is speaking of our resurrection. We will be raised in Him. We will be raised to eternal life.

One Year Bible: Day 62 - Leviticus 9:1-10:20; Mark 11:27-12:12; Psalm 29:1-11

In the sacrificial system, everything was to be done “as the Lord has commanded” (Leviticus 9:7; Leviticus 10:15). This was the foundation of Jesus’ authority. He lived His whole life in perfect obedience to the Father’s will. Only those who, through faith, are in union with Him, will recognize the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who refuse Christ, seeking to take salvation into their own hands (Mark 12:6-8), show that they do not understand that Christ alone has the authority to be the foundation of our salvation. When we consider the greatness of God’s salvation, we give glory to Him (Psalm 29:2,9) and the glory appears among us (Leviticus 9:23).

One Year Bible: Day 61 - Leviticus 7:11-8:36; Mark 11:1-25; Psalm 28:1-9

The priest entered the holy place on behalf of the people. Jesus entered the holy city, Jerusalem, on behalf of the people. The priest entered with a sacrifice. Jesus Himself became the Sacrifice. Through Jesus Christ, the perfect Sacrifice for our sins, we are able to come to God and know that our prayer is heard and answered: “Hear my cry for mercy as I call to You for help, as I lift up my hands toward Your Most Holy Place” (Psalm 28:2).

One Year Bible: Day 60 - Leviticus 5:14-7:10; Mark 10:32-52; Proverbs 6:12-19

“The sin offering is to be slaughtered before the Lord … it is most holy” (Leviticus 6:25). Concerning the death of Jesus, the human story is this: “the chief priests and the teachers of the law will condemn Him to death” (Mark 10:33-34). There is, however, also the divine side of His Story. Jesus is the Priest who makes atonement for sin by becoming the sin offering. He came “to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Those who have been redeemed by the Lord are to live as those who are being sanctified by Him. Scripture teaches us about sanctification by showing us what we are not to be (Proverbs 6:12-19) as well as what we are to be.

One Year Bible: Day 59 - Leviticus 4:1-5:13; Mark 10:13-31; Psalm 27:7-14

The most important thing of all is to be in a right relationship with God. This is the point which is emphasized in Israel’s sacrificial system. All other relationships are secondary to our relationship with God. Jesus makes this point in Mark 10:29-30 - Leave all your loved ones for Him and the Gospel and you will “receive a hundred times as much in this present age ... and in the age to come eternal life.” The Psalmist affirms that his relationship with God is more important than anything else: “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psalm 27:10).

One Year Bible: Day 58 - Leviticus 1:1-3:17; Mark 9:33-10:12; Psalm 27:1-6

The offerings were to be “made to the Lord”. They were to be “pleasing to the Lord.” These recurring phrases emphasize the importance of keeping the Lord at the centre of all that we do. We are not to argue about who is the greatest (Mark 9:34). There is one Name that is above every name. It is the Name of Jesus. Our sacrifice is to be the sacrifice of joy. Let us, with gladness, bring our sacrifice of joy to the Lord - “at His tabernacle I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord” (Psalm 27:6).

One Year Bible: Day 57 - Exodus 39:1-40:38; Mark 9:2-32; Psalm 26:1-12

“The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34-35). There is, however, an even greater demonstration of God’s glory - in Christ. Concerning Christ, God says, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!” (Mark 9:7). The glory of God, revealed through the ministries of Moses and Elijah (the law and the prophets), was nothing compared with the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 8:8). The Psalmist says, “Lord, I love the house where You live, the place where Your glory dwells” (Psalm 26:8). Why do we go to the House of the Lord? - “in the great assembly I will praise the Lord” (Psalm 26:12).

One Year Bible: Day 56 - Exodus 37:1-38:31; Mark 8:14-9:1; Proverbs 6:1-11

Jesus warns His disciples against the godless influence of the Pharisees. Their influence on people is classed along with the evil influence of Herod (Matthew 8:15). The Pharisees had become obsessed with the externals of religion but they had lost the awareness of God’s glory. They conformed to the details (the kind of thing we find in Exodus 37-38), but they had missed the real meaning of worship - giving glory to God. To those who bound by an evil legalism, God’s Word says, “Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler” (Proverbs 6:5). The freedom which Christ gives is not freedom without discipline. Scripture says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” (Proverbs 6:6).

One Year Bible: Day 55 - Exodus 35:1-36:38; Mark 7:31-8:13; Psalm 25:16-22

“The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done” (Exodus 36:5). “The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven baskets full of broken pieces that were left over” (Mark 8:8). Jesus always has more to give than we are able to receive. Our response is to be an increased generosity in our giving to Him. We face the multiplying of troubles - “The troubles of my heart have multiplied” - and the increase of opposition - “See how my enemies have increased” (Psalm 25:17,19). In this deeply distressing situation, the multiplying of God’s saving grace and the increase of His keeping power - “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in You. Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles!” (Psalm 25:21-22).

One Year Bible: Day 54 - Exodus 33:7-34:35; Mark 7:1-30; Psalm 25:8-15

What a difference there is between Moses, coming down from Mount Sinai, and the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. Moses had “the two tablets of the testimony in his hands” and “his face was radiant” (Exodus 24:29-30). Concerning the Pharisees, Jesus, quoting Isaiah 29:13, said, “These people honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me” (Mark 7:6). How can we be radiant, like Moses, and not hypocritical, like the Pharisees? -  “My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare” (Psalm 25:15).

One Year Bible: Day 53 - Exodus 31:1-33:6; Mark 6:30-56; Psalm 25:1-7

Moses calls to the people, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me” (Exodus 33:26). Jesus also invites His apostles to “come” - “Come with Me ... to a quiet place” (Mark 6:31). To come with Jesus to a quiet place is not to discover a place of permanent tranquility. Jesus and His apostles were soon surrounded by “a large crowd” - “The number of the man ... was five thousand” (Mark 6:34,44). Jesus takes us to “the quiet place” so that we may receive strength for the task of bringing the Bread of Life to those who are learning to pray the prayer of the Psalmist: “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Saviour” (Psalm 25:4-5).

One Year Bible: Day 52 - Exodus 29:1-30:38; Mark 6:6b-29; Proverbs 5:15-23

Some people thought that Jesus was “a prophet like one of the prophets of long ago” (Mark 6:15). He was more than a prophet. He was also greater than the priests of whom we read in Exodus 29. When we look at an evil king such as Herod, it is encouraging to know that, in face of such tyranny, there is a greater King, the King of kings, our Lord Jesus Christ. To know Jesus as Prophet, Priest and King is to have no need to run to anyone else - “None but Christ can satisfy” (Read Proverbs 5:18-20 and move beyond this to the true, spiritual satisfaction which Christ alone can bring to us.)

One Year Bible: Day 51 - Exodus 27:1-28:43; Mark 5:21-6:6a; Psalm 24:1-10

"Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart" (Exodus 28:29). This bearing of the names on the heart is seen supremely in Jesus. He was not prepared to let the woman, who had touched the hem of His garment, slip away unnoticed. Jesus wanted to her personally - “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:34). He bore her name on His heart of love. The Lord, who bears us on His heart, is the God of perfect holiness: “Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD” (Exodus 28:36). “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3-4). There is only One who meets these requirements - our Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel proclaims that this Saviour, perfect in holiness and perfect in love, shares the blessing with us.

One Year Bible: Day 50 - Exodus 25:1-26:37; Mark 4:30-5:20; Psalm 23:1-6

The Lord’s people were in the wilderness. Nevertheless, the Lord’s presence, symbolized by the tabernacle, was with them (Exodus 25-26). Jesus’ disciples were caught in the storm. Nevertheless, the Lord was with them, and He brought peace (Mark 4:35-41). The greatest wilderness, the greatest storm is death itself. Through faith, we can say, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me” (Psalm 23:4).

One Year Bible: Day 49 - Exodus 23:1-24:18; Mark 3:31-4:29; Psalm 22:22-31

The people of Israel were called by God to celebrate His goodness:  “Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field” (Exodus 23:16). A good harvest is used by Jesus as a symbol of a rich, spiritual harvest - “Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown” (Mark 4:20). The linking of the physical and the spiritual is found in Psalm 22:26 - “The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise Him.”

One Year Bible: Day 48 - Exodus 21:1-22:31; Mark 2:18-3:30; Proverbs 5:1-14

There is a world of difference between legal obedience and Gospel obedience. It is the difference between “old wine” and “new wine” (Mark 2:21-22). The religion of the Pharisees was legalistic. The obedience of Jesus was truly spiritual. These men could not stand Jesus – “the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus” (Mark 3:6). Forget the mighty redemption of God (Exodus 20:1), and you are left with a whole lot of rules and regulations” (Exodus 21-22). If you become obsessed with the rules and regulations, you will have no real love for the Redeemer and His redemption. If our lives are to have real spiritual depth and not mere religious observance, we need to “pay attention to (God’s) wisdom” and “listen well to (His) words of insight” (Proverbs 5:1).

One Year Bible: Day 47 - Exodus 19:1-20:26; Mark 1:29-2:17; Psalm 22:12-21

Those who seek to be mighty before men must learn to be humble before God. “Moses went up to God… “, “Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak” (Exodus 19:3,7). “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed”, “He travelled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons” (Mark 1:35,39). The Psalmist was unable to speak for the Lord; “My mouth is dried up… my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth” (Psalm 22:15). What did he do? He prayed – “But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me” (Psalm 22:19).

One Year Bible: Day 46 - Exodus 17:1-18:27; Mark 1:1-28; Psalm 22:1-11

The life of faith is never an easy life. We have to do battle with the world, the flesh and the devil. We see the influence of the world in Exodus 17:3 – “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt… ?” We may also see this as the influence of the flesh. The world appeals to our desire for the things of the flesh. The influence of the world and the flesh is also seen in Psalm 22. We see the Psalmist’s feeling that God is far from him – “Why are You so far from saving me… ?” (Psalm 22:1). The Psalmist’s sense of abandonment is seized upon by the world – ”All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads” (Psalm 22:7). The ultimate origin of temptation is the devil – Jesus was “tempted by Satan” (Mark 1:13). In our conflict with the world, the flesh and the devil, we, like Jesus – “angels attended Him” (Mark 1:13) – can know the strength and victory which God gives.

One Year Bible: Day 45 - Exodus 15:1-16:36; Matthew 28:1-20; Psalm 21:8-13

The great Old Testament events of redemption have taken place – the Exodus from Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea. Now, the Lord’s people must make their way through the wilderness. The great New Testament events of redemption have taken place – the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To His people, the Lord says, “Surely I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). To both Israel and the Church, God gives His promise: “Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed” (Psalm 21:11). The victory is the Lord’s. He gives His victory to us.

One Year Bible: Day 44 - Exodus 13:1-14:31; Matthew 27:45-66; Proverbs 4:20-27

“The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left” (Exodus 14:21-22). “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51). The dividing of the waters and the tearing of the curtain are the results of the mighty activity of God. They are signs of His great work of redemption. ”Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you” (Proverbs 4:25). This is what the Israelites had to do, as they were going through the Red Sea. This is what we must do, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and saying from the heart, “Surely, He was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54).

One Year Bible: Day 43 - Exodus 11:1-12:51; Matthew 27:11-44; Psalm 21:1-7

In Exodus 12:13, we read of the Passover – “when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” In the story of Christ’s crucifixion, we have the message of His blood being shed for sinners. This is illustrated in the events of Jesus being crucified and Barabbas being set free. the chief priests and the teachers of the law did not understand what was really happening. God was bringing salvation to sinners through the death of Christ, the sinless Saviour. In Christ, there are “eternal blessings” (Psalm 16:6). These blessings are given to us by God.

One Year Bible: Day 42 - Exodus 9:1-10:29; Matthew 26:69-27:10; Psalm 20:1-9

The tragedies of Pharaoh and Judas continue – “the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart … Moses replied … I will never appear before you again” (Exodus 10:27-28). Judas “went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5). This is the tragedy of those whose hearts are hardened against the Lord. The opportunity of grace comes. It is missed. It is never so near again. This is the tragedy of spiritual suicide. The contrast between Pharaoh and Israel is clear: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the Name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm” (Psalm 20:7-8). The contrast between Judas and Jesus is clear: “I know that the Lord gives victory to His anointed (Christ). He answers him from His heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of His right hand” (Psalm 20:6). The Resurrection is God’s answer to prayer of the Christ: “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

One Year Bible: Day 41 - Exodus 6:13-8:32; Matthew 26:47-68; Psalm 19:7-14

There is a clear similarity between Pharaoh and Judas. Pharaoh said, “I will let you go …” (Exodus 8:28). He didn’t keep his promise. ”Judas said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed Jesus” (Matthew 26:49). He betrayed Jesus. How are we to avoid this hypocrisy, this marked discrepancy between our words and our actions? Psalm 19:7 points the way – “The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.”

One Year Bible: Day 40 - Exodus 4:1-6:12; Matthew 26:31-46; Proverbs 4:10-19

Moses was not eloquent. God made him a mighty man of faith. Peter denied his Lord. God restored him and established him in Christ. We are inadequate and unworthy. God can do great things in us and through us. The Lord is leading His people on to better things: “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (Proverbs 4:18).

One Year Bible: Day 39 - Exodus 1:1-3:22; Matthew 26:1-30; Psalm 19:1-6

The mighty redemption of God in the Old Testament was focused on the Exodus. The mighty redemption in the New Testament is focused on the Cross – Jesus’ ‘exodus’ or ‘departure’. The Exodus led to “the land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:17). The Cross leads to the “Father’s Kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). As we concentrate on these mighty once-for-all events of redemption, we must never forget the ongoing activity of divine revelation: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech” (Psalm 19:1-2).

One Year Bible: Day 38 - Job 40:3-42:17; Matthew 25:14-46; Psalm 18:43-50

“The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first” (Job 42:12). “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance” (Matthew 25:29). Both of these statements occur within the context of the call to be faithful to God. This faithfulness to God is not something in which man himself glories – “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?” (Matthew 25:37). In view of the Lord’s blessing, His people say, “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Saviour!” (Psalm 18:46).

One Year Bible: Day 37 - Job 38:1-40:2; Matthew 24:32-25:13; Psalm 18:37-42

The story of our life is only understood once we see the full picture. The book of Job is not understood by reading the words of Job and his ‘comforters’. We must also hear the Word of the Lord. The history of God’s salvation is not understood by reading only about Christ’s first coming. We must look on to His Second Coming. Concerning that Coming, we might imagine Jesus Christ speaking to the Father in the words of the Psalmist: “You armed me with strength for battle; You humbled my adversaries before me” (Psalm 18:39; see also Philippians 2:9-11 and 1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

One Year Bible: Day 36 - Job 35:1-37:24; Matthew 24:1-31; Proverbs 4:1-9

The Return of the Lord will be “with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). Even in the rather arrogant words of Elihu, in his proud rebuke of Job, there is the recognition of the power and glory of the Lord’s coming – “God comes in awesome majesty” (Job 37:22). The Lord of power, glory and majesty is also the God of grace who desires to share all of this with us – He will “present you with a crown of splendour” (Proverbs 4:9). This is a great Gospel truth – the grace of God. Sadly, it was something which didn’t really figure in Elihu’s thinking.

One Year Bible: Day 35 - Job 33:1-34:37; Matthew 23:1-39; Psalm 18:25-36

There is a great similarity between Job’s ‘comforters’ and the Pharisees. Job’s ‘comforters’ say, “Should God then reward you on your terms, when you refuse to repent? … Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight … To his sin he adds rebellion … and multiplies his words against God” (Job 34:33-37). To the Pharisees, Jesus says, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the Kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to” (Matthew 23:13-14). There is, however, a better way – “You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty” (Psalm 18:27).

One Year Bible: Day 34 - Job 30:1-32:22; Matthew 22:15-46; Psalm 18:16-24

There were hypocrites trying to condemn Job. There were “hypocrites … trying to trap” Jesus (Matthew 22:18). In both cases, they had to give up – “they had found no way to refute Job” (Job 32:3); “No-one could say a word in reply” to Jesus (Matthew 22:46). The testimony of God’s people is summed up in Psalm 18:17-18: “He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support.”

One Year Bible: Day 33 - Job 25:1-29:25; Matthew 21:33-22:14; Psalm 18:7-15

There is a judgment of God. Job’s ‘friends’ brought no comfort to him. They failed to discern the presence and purpose of God in Job’s sufferings. All the prophets of God and, above all, the Son of God, encountered persecution. There will, however, come a day when the enemies of the Lord will be brought to judgment: “The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot His arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning He routed them” (Psalm 18:13-14).

One Year Bible: Day 32 - Job 22:1-24:25; Matthew 21:18-32; Proverbs 3:21-35

Job 23:10 contains a spiritual gem – “He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Failure to bear fruit leads to judgment (Matthew 21:19; John 15:16). When we face testing and purging, we must not lose sight of the presence of God. Whatever difficulties there may be, we stand on the Lord’s promises – “you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble … the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared” (Proverbs 3:23,26).

One Year Bible - Day 31: Job 19:1-21:34; Matthew 21:1-17; Psalm 18:1-6

Among Job’s many words of anguish, there are these tremendous words – “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes – I, and not another” (Job 19:25-27). We must not lose patience. Before Jesus was raised, He went to the Cross. The Psalmist had this testimony – “I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies” (Psalm 18:3). This great testimony did not come easily – “The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me” (Psalm 18:4-5). For us, as for Jesus, out of death comes resurrection.

One Year Bible - Day 30: Job 15:1-18:21; Matthew 20:20-34; Psalm 17:13-15

God doesn’t abandon us when we’re suffering. When Jesus asked His disciples, ”Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” (Matthew 20:22), He was teaching them that there would be suffering. There’s a great difference between the way in which worldly people and godly people react to suffering. ”Men of this world whose reward is in this life” (Psalm 17:14) don’t see any eternal purpose in suffering. The believer looks beyond the suffering to the glory which is yet to come: “And I, in righteousness, I shall see Your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15).

One Year Bible - Day 29: Job 11:1-14:22; Matthew 20:1-19; Psalm 17:6-12

Jesus’ parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) teaches us that all that we have, apart from our sin, is received from God as a gift of His grace. We must remember this when, like Job, we are going through hard times. We don’t have the right to expect everything to be going great all the time. When we are enjoying the Lord’s blessing, we must never forget that this is not something we have earned. It’s the blessing of His grace, the blessing which has been given to us by the Lord. The more we come to know His blessing, the more we will have confidence to say, “I call on You, O God, for You will answer me” (Psalm 17:6).

One Year Bible - Day 28: Job 8:1-10:22; Matthew 19:16-30; Proverbs 3:11-20

When we face difficult circumstances, as Job did and as the Lord’s disciples did (Matthew 19:29), we must never forget that the Lord’s purpose is good and His long-term goal is our good –  “eternal life” (Matthew 19:29). What is to be our attitude to suffering? – “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3:11-12). Whether our suffering arises from unfavourable circumstances or human hostility, we must never doubt that all of these things are under the control of God and are used by Him to make us more obedient to Him and more pleasing to Him.

One Year Bible - Day 27: Job 4:1-7:21; Matthew 19:1-15; Psalm 17:1-5

Bereavement, hardship, divorce – the Word of God speaks of these difficulties in Job and in the words of Jesus. These things can bring on deep depression. We see this in Job’s reaction to his bereavement and hardship. In such circumstances, we must take our thoughts to the Lord, even if, as in the case of Job, the pouring out of the soul to the Lord doesn’t seem to be a very positive thing. It is to the Lord that we cry. When we do this, we keep open our lifeline to Him. He will renew our strength. He will lift us out of our trouble. Whatever trouble we face, we must learn to say, with the Psalmist:  ”Hear, O Lord, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer … ” (Psalm 17:1).

One Year Bible - Day 26: Job 1:1-3:26; Matthew 18:10-35; Psalm 16:1-11

In the life of faith, we will face many difficulties. For Job, there was great suffering. For Jesus’ disciples, there was the pain of loss when Jesus was taken from them. For all of God’s people, there is something better still to come: “You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand” (Psalm 16:11). We must not look only at the things that are happening now. We must look also at the glory which is yet to come.

One Year Bible - Day 25: Genesis 49:1-50:26; Matthew 17:14-18:9; Psalm 15:1-5

In Genesis 49, we read of Jacob’s blessings on his sons. In Matthew 18:1-4, we read of the disciples asking Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” Jesus replied to them, “whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” In the Kingdom of heaven, the glory doesn’t belong to man. It belongs to the Lord. It’s not about man’s greatness. In the Kingdom of heaven, we see the greatness of God – “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise” (Psalm 145:3). Our worship is to be expressed in our lives as well as our words – “ Lord, who may dwell in Your sanctuary? …  The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous … Whoever does these things will never be shaken” (Psalm 15:1-2,5).

One Year Bible - Day 24: Genesis 47:13-48:22; Matthew 16:21-17:13; Proverbs 3:1-10

In Genesis and Matthew, we see Jacob and Joseph looking to the future. It is to be a future of blessing. For both, death was near. the future, however, was life. In Jacob’s time, the expectation concerned an earthly land – “God will be with you and take you back to the land of your fathers” (Genesis 48:21). In Christ, our expectation concerns a heavenly land – “the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done” (Matthew 16:27). In Proverbs 3:1-2, we read, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.” While earthly prosperity is a gift of God for which we must be grateful, the greatest gift of God is heavenly – “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

One Year Bible - Day 23: Genesis 45:1-47:12; Matthew 16:1-20; Psalm 14:1-7

Joseph makes himself known to his brothers: “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!” (Genesis 45:4). Jesus makes Himself known to His disciples (Matthew 16:13-17). In Joseph’s self-identification, there is a statement about why God had sent him into Egypt – “it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you … God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:5,7). Jesus was sent by God to call out the “Church” by an even greater deliverance – deliverance from “the gates of hell” (Matthew 16:18). Joseph said, “God has made me lord of all Egypt” (Genesis 45:8).  Concerning Jesus, Scripture declares that God has made Him Lord of all – He has “the keys of the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19). The words, spoken by Joseph’s brothers to their father, Jacob, bring out another connection with Jesus. “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt” (Genesis 45:26). Jesus is alive and He…

One Year Bible - Day 22: Genesis 43:1-44:34; Matthew 15:10-39; Psalm 13:1-6

We noted a parallel between Joseph and Jesus – the time of testing for Joseph’s family and Jesus’ disciples and the revelation of love coming to them from Joseph and Jesus. Here, we note another parallel between Joseph and Jesus. Joseph gives food to his own family and also to the whole land of Egypt. Jesus gives food to His own disciples and also to a great multitude – “four thousand, besides women and children” (Matthew 15:38). There is an important principle here – the Bread of Life is not only for the Church. It’s also for the world, the multitudes who are hungry for the spiritual food which only Christ can give to them. To hunger for the presence of the Lord, while feeling that He is far away, is a painful thing. This was the experience of the Psalmist in Psalm 13:1. He was facing very difficult circumstances. His enemies were saying, “I have overcome him.” His foes were rejoicing when he fell (Psalm 13:2,4). Despite all of this, he continued to trust in the Lord. H…

One Year Bible - Day 21: Genesis 41:41-42:38; Matthew 14:22-15:9; Psalm 12:1-8

We may see a parallel between Joseph and “the twelve” (his eleven brothers and his father, Jacob) and Jesus and “the twelve” (His disciples). Joseph is leading them into a situation of testing. His long-term intention is to show them that He loves them. Jesus comes to “the twelve” in their time of testing. He shows them that He loves them. Joseph reveals his identity to his family brothers. Jesus reveals His identity – “those who were in the boat worshipped Him, saying,  ‘Truly You are the Son of God’” (Matthew 14:33). In Psalm 12:7, we have the great declaration of faith – “You, Lord, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked.” In both stories – Joseph and Jesus, we see the salvation and protection of God. In Genesis 50:20, we read of God’s purpose in the events of the Joseph story – “the saving of many lives.” In the story of “Jesus … walking on the lake”, the “terrified” disciples became worshipping disciples (Matthew 14:25-26,33). This is w…

One Year Bible - Day 20: Genesis 40:1-41:40; Matthew 14:1-21; Proverbs 2:12-22

Joseph was the forgotten man. He asked the chief cup bearer to remember him (Genesis 40:14). The chief cup bearer forgot Joseph (Genesis 40:23). He wasn’t remembered until “two full years had passed” (Genesis 41:1). As he languished in prison, these two years must have seemed a very long time. Nevertheless, Joseph kept close to God, and when the time came for him to speak for God, he was ready. Joseph didn’t seek glory for himself – “I cannot do it.” He gave all the glory to God – “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires” (Genesis 41:16). John the Baptist was also imprisoned (Matthew 14:3). For John, unlike Joseph, there was to be no release. Whatever our circumstances, we must seek to honour God. The important thing is not the outcome of our adverse circumstances. It’s our faithfulness in these difficult times. Whatever is happening to us, we must remain in “the straight paths” and must not “walk in dark ways” (Proverbs 2:13).

One Year Bible - Day 19: Genesis 38:1-39:23; Matthew 13:36-58; Psalm 11:1-7

What a contrast there is between the unrestrained lust of Judah (Genesis 38) and the sexual restraint of Joseph  – “How then can I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). Joseph was unjustly treated, and put in prison. Nevertheless, God’s purpose was not hindered – “the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did” (Genesis 39:23). When we read of Joseph, being thrown into slavery and, later on, into prison, we see the similarity to Jesus – “Only in his home town and in his own house is a prophet without honour” (Matthew 13:57). Whenever things are going badly (Joseph in prison, Jesus – “a prophet without honour”), we must remember – “The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord is on His heavenly throne” (Psalm 11:4). We must learn to say, “In the Lord, I take refuge” (Psalm 11:1). We must rest in this assurance: “upright men will see His face” (Psalm 11:7).

One Year Bible - Day 18: Genesis 36:1-37:36; Matthew 13:18-35; Psalm 10:12-18

When Joseph spoke of his dream, “his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind” (Genesis 37:11). Jacob was becoming aware that Joseph was the man whom God had chosen to carry the purpose of God forward into the next generation. Joseph’s dreams had been given to him by the Lord. God was indicating to him the “new thing” (Isaiah 43:19) that He was about to do. God spoke to Joseph through dreams. God spoke through Jesus in parables (Matthew 13). Whether we’re reading about Joseph’s dream concerning God’s continuing purpose or Jesus’ parables of the Kingdom, we must remember this: “The Lord is King for ever and ever” (Psalm 10:16). Jacob “struggled with God” before he was “blessed” by God (Genesis 32:28-29). The blessing of God comes to us as we live in obedience to Him – “whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:50). When the Word of God comes to us, Jesus says to us, “He who has ears, let him hear…

One Year Bible - Day 17: Genesis 34:1-35:29; Matthew 12:46-13:17; Psalm 10:1-11

We have read about two times of blessing in Jacob’s life (Genesis 28:10-22; Genesis 32:22-32). Here’s a third time when the Lord blessed him (Genesis 35:9-12). The Lord’s blessing doesn’t come only once. He blesses His people again and again. He leads us on to a closer walk with Himself. The blessing of God doesn’t pass automatically from one generation to another. Isaac had been blessed by God. Esau turned away from God. He missed out on God’s blessing. The blessing of God is not to be taken for granted.

One Year Bible - Day 16: Genesis 32:1-33:20; Matthew 12:22-45; Proverbs 2:1-11

In Genesis 28:10-22, we read about a turning-point in Jacob’s life. Here, in Genesis 32:22-32, we have another turning-point. It’s summed up in Genesis 32:28 – “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” Jacob may “have overcome”, but there is no-one who has overcome so mightily as our Lord Jesus Christ. He “drove out demons by the Spirit of God” and, in Him, we are overcomers –  ”They triumphed over him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11). Victory comes from the Lord – “He holds victory in store for the upright” (Proverbs 2:7). He is our “shield”; He “guards” and “protects” us in the heat of the battle (Proverbs 2:7-8). As we walk in the pathway of victory, we are led in “every good path” (Proverbs 2:9). We are led in a way which, the Lord says, “will be pleasant to your soul” (Proverbs 2:10).