If you already have a regular devotion habit that's great! If not, use this section to help you to study the bible every day!
Sword Practice Tip:
"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword." (Hebrews 4:12)
From this episode of Ask Pastor John: "I often find myself totally blank after reading a bible text, what do I do?" John Piper gives three motivations for reading the bible 1) fullness of joy comes from listening to what God has to say to us through the Bible, 2) God has designed that we be sanctified, made holy, by God's Word 3) we are enabled to keep on believing through God's Word.
The Partial Kingdom (Israel): Study based on God's Big Picture: Tracing the storyline of the bible, by Vaughan Roberts.
The whole bible actually tells one big story of God's Kingdom! In the past few weeks we already looked at what the kingdom was set up to be, what went wrong and God's promise to rescue his people.
This week we look at how the history of the nation of Israel partially fulfils God's promises to Abraham for people, blessings, land and king. In the rest of Genesis and Exodus we see God fulfil his promise to give Abraham many descendants whom he calls to be his chosen people. In Exodus to Leviticus we see how God's rule and blessing are bestowed on this chosen people. It is important at this point to notice that God saves the Israelite people from slavery before he establishes his law with them (Exodus 20:2). Obeying God's law was never meant to be a way to earn God's acceptance, instead we should think of God's laws as the way for enjoying his blessings after he has already accepted you into his covenant people. In Numbers to Joshua we see how God brings his chosen people into the land that he promised to them. There is one more promise that is hinted at throughout this early part of the bible: that God will establish a promised king and we see this play out in Judges to 2 Chronicles. The Old Testament stories are not all peaches and cream though, we see again and again how human sinfulness gets in the way of God's fulfilment of his promises... and in the end as a judgement on their sinfulness Israel is lead into exile by Babylon. We're left feeling like: surely there's got to be something better than this! Watch this space for the next part of God's Big Picture...
Please use the study guide below to help you discover more about the Partial Kingdom for yourself from the Bible itself.
Monday: Exodus 19:1-7 - What has God already done for the Israelites? What does he promise in the future? It is impossible for the people to what God has commanded in verse 5, how can God's promise still be fulfilled?
Tuesday: Exodus 19:1-13 - What do we learn about God from this passage? Does verse 12 challenge the way you think about God? How should we relate to such a God?
Wednesday: Exodus 20:1-17- Why should Christians want to obey them? Which ones do you find especially hard to obey? What practical steps can you take to counter this difficulty?
Friday: Matthew 1:1, John 2:18-22, Acts 2:24-36, Romans 1:1-4 - What do these verses say about Jesus' fulfilment of the promises about the king in 2 Samuel 7:12-16? What implication does this have for how we should relate to Jesus?
If you have a question, feel free to post it below!