Reading the Scriptures Together - Week of July 22, 2018
Reading the Scriptures Together is a weekly post that is intended to serve as an extension of our Sunday Sermons. This reading plan is a compliment to the sermon, Psalm 51: A Prayer of Repentance and A God of Mercy.
Monday: Psalm 51
Take time to read the Psalm that we considered on Sunday. Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of repentance and his request for mercy following his sin with Bathsheba and the death of Uriah. As you read consider taking notes using these categories: What does this Psalm teach us about sin and the nature of sin? What does it teach us about God’s character and the way He forgives? After reading, prayerfully consider your own life: Are there sins in your life that you have been unwilling to repent of? If so, allow this Psalm to give you words for your repentance. If you have been forgiven, are you living in a way that displays gratitude and praise for that forgiveness? As those who have been forgiven much, we should be people of much gratitude and praise.
Tuesday: 2 Samuel 11
In 2 Samuel 11 we have the backstory of Psalm 51 - David’s sin with Bathsheba and his efforts to cover his sin. While it can be easy to read this chapter and shake our heads at David’s sinful choices we must remember that the heart behind his actions is not unique; David sinned and we sin also. Something else that is not unique is the way David dealt (or didn’t deal) with his sin. Instead of confessing his sin and accepting the consequences David tried to hide what he had done; this is a common temptation for us all. There are many reasons why we may be tempted to hide our sins: (1) We may have convinced ourselves that our sins aren’t that serious and don’t need to be dealt with; (2) We may enjoy our sins and want to continue in them; (3) We may be unwilling to accept the consequences that will follow if others find out; (4) We may be convinced that God will not forgive our sins – we have sinned too much or our sins are too big. Of course each of these (and other reasons like them) are lies that we choose to believe. As we consider the incredible lengths that David went to in order to conceal his sin we should ask ourselves if there are areas in our lives where we are doing the same thing. If so, what lies do you believe that are keeping you from confessing your sin and choosing to obey God? It is never too late to repent; forgiveness is available. As we look to Psalm 51 David is a great example of humble repentance and the incredible forgiveness of God.
Wednesday: 2 Samuel 12
2 Samuel 12 is the account of David being confronted by the prophet Nathan on his sin. As we consider this story there are several important themes that we should reflect on. First, consider how gracious God was to confront David on his sin and bring him to a place of repentance. David had gone to great lengths to hide and cover his sin, but God intervened and saved him from continuing in a state of un-repentance. In the same way God uses His Word, the Holy Spirit and other people in our lives to make us aware of our sin. While these confrontations may be difficult we should thank God for the many ways that He uses to call us back. A second theme that is presented in this chapter is the reality that sin has consequences. While David repented of his sins and God granted forgiveness (vs. 13) there were still very serious consequences that David and his family would have to face. This should remind us that while God is gracious and merciful, He is also just. If we choose to sin there will be consequences for our sins. A third truth that we see in this passage is that while sin can be very destructive God can use even the worst circumstances to accomplish His good plan. David’s sin, as egregious as it was, could not thwart God’s plans. God, in His sovereignty, chose to use the sinful union of David and Bathsheba to give birth to Solomon and begin a family line that would ultimately lead to Jesus. Praise God that He is bigger than our sins and His plan of salvation cannot be thwarted.
Thursday: 1 John 1
1 John 1 we have some of the most helpful verses in the Bible regarding the seriousness of our sin, our ongoing struggle with sin and also the kindness of God to grant forgiveness. Starting in verse 5 John describes the holiness of God (God is light) and how those who are in relationship with Him must also be holy (walk in the light). But while we are called to holiness John makes it clear that we will still sin, in in fact, anyone who says they don’t sin is a liar. So how can those who still sin remain in fellowship with the God of light? Our only hope is Jesus. Through the blood of Jesus forgiveness is available, and if we confess our sins God is faithful to forgive. As we consider the story of David in 2 Samuel 11 we are reminded of the temptation to conceal sin and how at times we may be hesitant seek forgiveness, but 1 John 1 is an encouraging reminder of both the reality of sin and the availability of forgiveness. Yes, we are sinners and we will sin, but when we sin we have the promise of forgiveness through the blood of Jesus. This is truly good news!
Friday: Psalm 52
Read Psalm 52 in preparation for our service on Sunday. As you read ask yourself these questions: What does this Psalm teach us about God? What does this Psalm teach us about ourselves? Also, take time to write down questions that you have about the Psalm, then come on Sunday and listen for answers to those questions.
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