Week 14 April 1-7, 2018

Wealthy art dealer and author Forrest Fenn made a decision in 2010 to bury a treasure chest in the Rocky Mountains that contains millions of dollars’ worth of gold and jewels. He then published a poem about his treasure that gives readers nine clues where the fortune is buried.

Fenn said that he created this treasure hunt because he “just wanted to give people some hope.” Unfortunately, in the last seven years more than 60,000 people have sought Fenn’s famous treasure and come up hopeless, and four people have even died while seeking after his fortune.

The truth is that the human soul is a desire factory that is desperate to find lasting hope in a dark and broken world, and we often chase after the shallow promises of earthly treasure that can never be found.

Thankfully, in Psalm 16 King David gives our fallen world a more trustworthy treasure map to find the only true source of all lasting hope. In verse 11 he says to the Lord, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” In this one verse, we learn that the foundation of lasting hope for true life, true joy, and true pleasure is found in the relational presence of the one true God.

First, David teaches us to have hope that the path of life is found in God’s relational presence. This means that when we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, God is no longer just our Creator but has now become a loving Father who desires to be relationally present with us as His children. In this new and precious reality, we realize that the truest path of life leads to intimacy with the God who created us to enjoy His sweet presence for all of eternity.

Second, we learn from David to have hope that fullness of joy is also found in God’s relational presence. The reason God has given us so many temporary joys in this world is that they were never intended to take God’s place, but simply to point to God’s presence. When we discover that joy in our achievements and possessions will not last, we can finally face the glorious truth that the fullness of our joy comes only from drawing close to God.

Finally, at the end of verse 11 David encourages us to have hope that at the right hand of God we find pleasures forevermore. In this closing statement, we are given one final reminder that being at the right hand of God will be an inexhaustible source of pleasure forever and ever. This is true today as we worship Him in spirit and truth, but this truth will reach its pinnacle after we die and are ushered directly to the throne of God to worship Him face-to-face.

So, how should we respond after reading David’s treasure map towards this true hope in God’s relational presence? We need to remember that sin is our main obstacle to intimacy with God. Even though we have been eternally forgiven of our transgressions through Christ, God cannot draw close to us relationally when we refuse to repent of lingering sin in our lives.

Therefore, we need to confess our sins on a daily basis to keep short accounts with the Lord. We also need to be aware of our temptations to sin and ask God to help us steer clear of those pitfalls. And finally, we need to stay active in the spiritual disciplines of prayer, bible reading, giving, serving, and worshipping regularly in a local church.

We must remember that our souls will relentlessly seek lasting hope in a fallen world. But when the world hands us a road map to earthly treasures, we can proclaim that true life, joy, and pleasures are not found in the hidden chests of man, but in the relational presence of God.

Real Hope in a Relational God

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Problems with Passing the Torch

The reason Moses was so adamant in Deuteronomy about the Israelites posting reminders of God’s Word all over their homes is because of the danger of not passing down the faith to the next generation. In Judges 2:10 we read, “And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.” As Christians, we need to be diligent to disciple our children in God’s Word so that what happened to the Israelite families won’t happen to ours.

Seeking Strength to Endure

Our physical bodies are forced to endure damage and deterioration over time because of our fallen world and sinful nature. But we can find hope in the life of Caleb that through God’s grace we will have the strength to accomplish God’s will for our lives. In Joshua 14:10-11 Caleb states, “And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming.”

The Power of Persistent Prayer

If you need inspiration for believing in the power of prayer, meditate on the Parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18. In this passage, Jesus teaches us that a widow ruthlessly pursued justice from an unrighteous judge and received what she requested because the judge wanted to be left alone. Therefore, if an unrighteous judge can grant the request of a pesky widow, how much more will a righteous God answer the fervent prayers of His children. Luke 18:7 says, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?”

Tips to Keep You on Track

Week 15 Readings:  April 8-14

-Day One:  Judges 7-8; Luke 22

-Day Two:  Judges 9-11; Psalm 17; Luke 23

-Day Three:  Judges 12-16; Psalm 146; Luke 24

-Day Four:  Judges 17-18; Psalm 21; Acts 1

-Day Five:  Judges 19-21; Acts 2


          In the New Testament portion of our reading this week, we will begin a study of the book of Acts. This is the primary book that chronicles the establishment and growth of the Early Church more than 2,000 years ago. The two most important events that led to the inauguration of the Church were (1) the ascension of Christ in Acts 1, and (2) the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Acts 2. As you read these chapters, focus on the connection between Christ “going up” and the Holy Spirit “coming down.” Although we would all love to be in the physical presence of Christ, when He was here on earth in human form He could only be in one place at one time. However, through the Holy Spirit who now indwells all believers, Christ can be present and active in the lives of all His people at one time.