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Highlights From Recent Bible Readings

Some highlights from recent readings through my modified Horner Bible Reading plan:

Joshua 24:32 closes the book of Joshua with a note about Joseph’s bones, brought up from Egypt and buried at Shechem.  The same day’s reading included the well-known chapter Hebrews 11 — which includes an interesting comment about Joseph’s bones in Hebrews 11:22:  “By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.” Both of these verses recall the original incident; Hebrews 11 tells us that Joseph spoke of this by faith; Joshua 24:32 tells us that Joseph’s burial wish was carried out, as a way of confirming the truth of all that Joseph had spoken of:  the exodus, that his descendants would one day return to the land promised to Abraham and his family.  Joseph looked forward to the future day of resurrection, too, in his desire to be buried in that land, to be in that land when his body would one day be resurrected.

Genesis 18 (List 2) gives one example of that which is described in Hebrews 13:2 (List 3, same day’s readings):  “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Lists 7 and 8 now feature Jeremiah and Revelation, and here I note that both men were prophets to the nations.  Jeremiah 1:10 gives Jeremiah’s commissioning:  “See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”  Revelation 10:11, at the end of the vision of the mighty angel and the little scroll, tells John that he “must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”  Both Jeremiah and John had a strong message of judgment to all who will not repent.

Mercy and Judgment:   Several recent readings deal with these contrasting attributes of God.  James 2, the chapter on faith with deeds, emphasizes the importance of showing mercy to one another, tells us that mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13), with the stern warning that judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.

Several of my other readings for the day — Genesis 19, Judges 3 and 4, and Jeremiah 7 and 8 — show various aspects of God’s judgment and mercy.  Lest we focus solely on God’s judgment and forget His mercy, Genesis 19 tells the story of the deliverance of Lot from Sodom. Genesis 19:16 expresses that the Lord was merciful to Lot; the end of the chapter also tells us that the Lord rescued Lot from Sodom, for Abraham’s sake (v. 29): “So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.”

Judges 3 and 4 show the common pattern throughout this book, of the people disobeying the Lord, then judgment, followed by deliverance from the judgment.  Jeremiah 7 and 8 are in a section full of judgment, to remind us of the seriousness of sin — sin similar to the time of the Judges but now even worse, such that in Jeremiah 7 the Lord even tells Jeremiah not to pray for the people:  “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you.”

Psalm 104 is a wonderful psalm of praise to the creator God, expressing thanks to God for His wonders, for His care and concern for His creatures.

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