Week 8 February 18 - 24, 2018

The Holy Bible is the most remarkable book in the history of human literature, and its unique harmony of diversity and unity is a divine truth that even the most skeptical atheist cannot extinguish.

The Scriptures were written over the time span of more than 1,500 years, by more than 40 different authors, on three different continents (Africa, Asia, Europe), in three original languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic). These authors came from many different cultural and vocational backgrounds (fishermen, farmers, physicians, prophets), yet they all point to the same universal theme: Eternal life in the Kingdom of God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

However, what exalts the Bible over every other book ever written is the mysterious truth that Scripture is God’s living and active Word, revealing the very nature of every soul who reads it.

Hebrews 4:12-13 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

This passage promises us that every time we open our Bibles, we are reading living words from a living God, and these words speak truth into our lives about who we are and how desperately we need God’s grace.

God’s Word is described in these verses as a “two-edged sword” that cuts through to the deepest parts of our soul and gets to the root of what we think, how we feel, and why we do what we do. This book is a mirror that shows us the depth of our sinful nature, but also rescues us with a love from God that goes even deeper to redeem us and restore us.

When we flip through the pages of Scripture, God is not as concerned with bringing information to our minds as He is bringing transformation to our hearts. Only His Word can peel back all the layers of our soul like a Vidalia onion to get to the true core of who we are and what we need. His Word will cut us deep with the truth of our sin, but it will also heal us completely through the loving embrace of His Son.

If you have ever been skeptical about the truth that the Bible is the very Word of God, commit to reading it daily and watch how His words will actively move in your heart and life to bring true and everlasting change. The words of Scripture are wonderful words of life, and no reader who commits to listening and responding in faith to God after they hear Him speak will ever remain the same.

Wonderful Words of Life    

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God's Heart for the Harvest

          If you look closely throughout Scripture, you will see over and over that God’s heart belongs to the poor and needy. He yearns to meet their needs, and He chooses to do so through the abundance He provides to His covenant people. In Leviticus 23:22, God reveals His benevolent heart through a unique requirement He establishes with Israel to ensure that every fruitful harvest will overflow into the hands of the less fortunate. The Lord states, “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.”

The Life is in the Blood

          Have you ever wondered why God requires the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of sins? The answer lies in Leviticus 17:11, which states, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” This passage means that our physical life is found in our blood – that is why we cannot live without blood constantly flowing in our veins. Sin, on the other hand, is what destroys life and requires punishment from a holy and perfect Creator. So, God requires the shedding of blood because all the punishment that we deserve is placed in the blood that is shed on our behalf. For Israel, those sins were atoned for temporarily through animals. Now, as born-again Christians, the penalty of our sins is permanently paid for by the shed blood of Christ – the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!

A Firm Foundation of Godly Fear

          Scripture is clear that there is only one foundation that all true knowledge and wisdom is built upon: The fear of God. As Psalm 111:10 boldly proclaims, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!” This passage, a nearly identical echo of Proverbs 1:7, teaches us that we will know and understand what is true and right about this world when we begin by having an awesome reverence and respect for the power and nature of our Creator.

Tips to Keep You on Track

As we continue our readings through the book of Hebrews this week, pause and reflect on the deep connection between Hebrews 11 and the first two verses of Hebrews 12. In Hebrews 11, we encounter famous accounts of powerful biblical testimonies that scholars refer to as the “Hall of Faith.” After we read these inspiring stories of people like Abraham, Moses, and David, we are immediately reminded in Hebrews 12:1-2 to recognize that we have this cloud of witnesses who have already finished their race and are encouraging us to run towards Jesus who “is the founder and perfecter of our faith.”

Week 9 Readings: February 25 - March 3

-Day One:  Leviticus 24-25; Psalm 81; Hebrews 9

-Day Two:  Leviticus 26-27; Psalm 112; Hebrews 10

-Day Three:  Numbers 1-2; Psalm 64; Hebrews 11

-Day Four:  Numbers 3-5; Hebrews 12

-Day Five:  Numbers 6-7; Hebrews 13