Reading the Scriptures Together - Week of May 27, 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 32: Repent! Forgiveness is Available, Forgiveness is Sweet.
Monday: Psalm 32
Take time to read the Psalm that we considered on Sunday. The notes from the message are available on our website. As you read here are some questions to consider: What does this Psalm teach us about God’s forgiveness? How often do I take time to praise God for His full and complete forgiveness of my sins? What does this Psalm say about the unrepentant sinner? Are there things that you are holding onto that you need to repent of? Consider this: Confession is like opening the floodgate of a dam. When there is not confession, the waters pile up behind the dam, creating immense pressures on the wall, but as soon as the floodgate is opened, the waters subside and the pressures diminish. (Peter Craigie – Word Biblical Commentary)
Tuesday: Genesis 3
Psalm 32 has a lot to say about the pain and the shame that come along with living in disobedience to God and Adam and Eve are a vivid example of consequences of sin. In Genesis 1 and 2 we have descriptions of the Garden of Eden; it was a place of beauty and abundance. Adam and Eve had everything they needed and most importantly, they lived in perfect harmony with God. As chapter 2 ends we are told that they lived without shame, but in chapter 3 everything changes. The serpent comes with his deceitful ways and ultimately Adam and Eve choose to disobey the command of God. They sinned and their sin caused separation, and their sin caused shame. In verses 7-8 we are told that because of their shame they hid and tried to cover themselves. Adam and Eve are an effective reminder of shame that comes from sin. As the story progresses we also have the first example of how seriously God takes sin. The punishment he extends is significant but as the chapter ends we are also reminded of His grace and mercy. God lovingly clothes them, allows them to live and still uses them as the parents of the human race. Their story is a reminder that even when we experience the deepest shame and regret over our sins God stands ready to forgive. There may be consequences for our sins, but forgiveness is available.
Wednesday: Romans 4
In Psalm 32:2 we read that the forgiven are blessed (happy) because God doesn’t count their iniquity against them. It’s as if there is a ledger where all of our sins are recorded, but God, in His mercy, doesn’t charge those sins to our account. For those who trust in Jesus He takes the punishment for our sin on Himself. While Psalm 32 reminds us of what God doesn’t count toward us (our sin), in Romans 4 we are told what God does count for us – our faith is counted for righteousness (in Romans 4:7-8 Paul quotes Psalm 32:1-2). This is what is called the ‘Great Exchange’: Christ takes our sin on Himself and through faith we are credited with His righteousness. In Romans 4 Paul uses the example of Abraham. Abraham wasn’t justified (forgiven, saved) based on the good things that he did - he was justified through faith. His faith was counted to Him as righteousness (the righteousness that is needed in order to be saved). Our hope is the same: Righteousness will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification (Romans 4:24-25). Praise God, forgiveness is available!
Thursday: Luke 17:11-19
Psalm 32 is a good reminder of the incredible forgiveness that we have received. As the Psalm ends we are reminded to rejoice and to praise God for His gift. With this in mind, consider this story from Luke 17 - Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem and he meets ten people who have a deadly disease. He completely heals all ten of their diseases and yet only one returns to give Him thanks. The main point of this story is not that this man received healing, although that is amazing, the main point is that he responded in praise and worship and thanksgiving to his healer. Just like the lepers, we all find ourselves in a desperate situation; a situation that we cannot save ourselves from. Just like the lepers, there is only one person who can offer us hope, Jesus. Just like the lepers, Jesus desires for our healing to lead us to praise, worship and thanks. Read the story and then take time to thank God for the incredible gift of His forgiveness.
Friday: Psalm 34
Read Psalm 34 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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