THE WHOLE BIBLE STORY IN 195 CAREFULLY SELECTED READINGS

5 READINGS PER WEEK TO THE END OF 2022

     

    A BIBLE READING SCHEME DESIGNED BY REV CUPPLES

    TO BRING YOU THROUGH THE WHOLE BIBLE STORY IN 195 CAREFULLY SELECTED READINGS

    Readings for the week beginning 24th July 

    • One or two questions on each passage to help you find a way in
    • a Christ-centred, gospel-proclaiming focus in keeping with how Jesus himself read the Old testament

    Obadiah – a hugely unknown book. Little or nothing is known of the prophet or his date. Obadiah was a common name at the time. His theme is the enduring hostility shown to Judah by Edom . Edom was a nation to the south of Judah and descended from Esau. So the hostility and hatred between the brothers Jacob and Esau had endured and festered down the centuries. In vs11-14 some terrible destruction upon Judah is described and how Edom gloated over it, exploited it  and took pleasure in it. There are several applications of the message of Obadiah

    1. God will judge nations and tribes for their tribalistic conflict and hatred. Destruction will follow.
    2. Rejoicing at another’s misfortune is an especially evil thing to do – Proverbs 17:5, 24:17-18

    Personal application – is there a long-standing enmity I am aware of between me and some person or group where the God of reconciliation is calling me to be reconciled?  Is there someone experiencing misfortune where I am tempted to say ‘ they deserve it’ when in fact I should be asking’ how can I help?’

    Ezekiel 1 – Ezekiel was a priest who was called to be  prophet. His ministry started in 593 BC after the first  wave of exiles to Babylon. He himself was one of those exiles and his ministry took place there. In chs 1-24 he predicts and explains the coming fall of Jerusalem, which happened with its complete destruction in 587 BC, and the exile of most of its people. In chs 25-48 his message changes to first judgement upon many surrounding nations and then tremendous prophecies of Israel’s national and spiritual restoration including  in chs 40-48 an extremely detailed description of a rebuilt temple. Once again the message is that though God may discipline and judge his unfaithful people, his sovereign purposes of grace will triumph in the end and his people will find their glorious destiny in Him as a worshipping,  holy and united community at the end of all time.

    In ch 1 the key fact is not simply  the majesty and awesomeness of the throne but the fact that it is on wheels and appears in Babylon. The message was that God’s presence and reign were not geographically limited to Jerusalem but were universal. God as still on the throne! So apply this to yourself –  you may have had to let the past go through some traumatic event. But God still reigns in your present situation of ‘exile’ – what difference does that make to you today? How does God’s awesome greatness help you face your current experience of exile?

    Ezekiel 2-3 – Ezekiel’s call.  Look carefully at the qualities he was going to need to be a faithful messenger.  Pray for the church of Christ in the world today to be faithful in this way. What difficulties was he going to face and how will God help him?

    Ezekiel 34 – what qualities were lacking in Israel’s shepherds ie kings and rulers?  In v16 what is set out as the role of the ideal shepherd? How does Jesus, whose coming is prophesied in  vs23-24, fulfil this role as the Good Shepherd?

    Ezekiel 37 – perhaps the best known chapter in Ezekiel. Israel in exile is pictured as a heap of dry bones – lifeless and with no hope.  But her spiritual and national restoration is described here . How will God accomplish this? If the church of today and any day is to be a mighty army for the Lord  what does this passage tell us about where the life-giving power will come from?  How does passage show that in the church we need both God’s Word preached and His Spirit to come in power?  In what ways can this powerful passage give you hope for hopeless situations?

    If you Christian life of life in general looks and feels like that valley of dry bones, what does this passage tell us about where you will find hope of recovery and restoration?

    ENNISKILLEN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

    A BIBLE READING SCHEME DESIGNED BY REV CUPPLES

    TO BRING YOU THROUGH THE WHOLE BIBLE STORY IN 195 CAREFULLY SELECTED READINGS

    5 READINGS for the week beginning 3rd July  

    • One or two questions on each passage to help you find a way in 
    • a Christ-centred, gospel-proclaiming  focus in keeping with how Jesus himself read the Old Testament

    Although the stories of the Old Testament often revolve around God’s dealings with kings, or the nation of Israel, or the southern kingdom of Judah, or depict battles, there are important lessons to be learned about God’s grace, and what God requires of us in faithfulness and the keeping of the covenant we have entered with him.

     2 Chronicles 15 – the majority of the kings of both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah were corrupt,  unfaithful and wicked. But there were good ones. Asa started well ( ch 14) . If you read  into ch 16 you find he finished badly; but in chapter 15 he  receives a prophetic word from God calling him to fully seek the Lord.  How does he do this and what are the resulting blessings from God?  What stands out for you about Asa’s reforms? Some of these ‘reform’ stories with the tearing down of idols foreshadow the cleansing of the temple by Christ, our true King who leads us into true worship.

    Micah 6 – another prophet of social justice, Micah prophesied to both the northern and southern kingdoms, highlighting oppression of the poor. Ch 6 is set out like a court case with God bringing a lawsuit against his people. It is best known for  vs6-8, especially v8.  As you seek to walk with God ask him to deepen within you the love of justice, the quality of mercy and the spirit of humility. For a NT echo compare the parable of the Pharisee and the publican Luke 18:9-14.

    2 Chronicles 20 – one of my favourite OT stories. Tiny Judah is facing absolute annihilation from an overwhelming threat – a vast army from Moab and Ammon.  Look at the leadership given by Jehoshaphat. What does he do in response? How then does God guide and what great promise is given in v  15.  They go forth in praise to battle and God turns the enemy soldiers against one another.  How does this illustrate the great principle spelt out in Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.”

    Isaiah 6 – one of the most powerful passages in the Old Testament. All the key elements of spiritual renewal are here. Look for them and ponder them – awareness of the holiness  and majesty of God; awareness of personal sin; experience of God’s cleansing and mercy; hearing and obeying God’s call to service. Ask God now to bring you through the experience of deep down spiritual renewal that you need in His way and in His time. Are you wholly available for His service whatever He may ask you to do?

    Isaiah 25 –  in vs 1-5 just enjoy the different elements in this song of praise. Which would you echo?  But vs 6-8 are the  verses  fulfilled by Jesus when he fed the 5000 and the 4000 – a feast on a hillside proclaiming that God’s day of salvation had come.  That miracle in turn was a sign of the day when God would bring about the full and final victory over evil and death itself.

    He will wipe away every tear from their eyes – a refrain you can follow through Isaiah and the whole Bible – Isaiah  30:19,  51:11,  65:19, Revelation 7:17, 21:4. Praise God for that promised day when all your tears will be forever wiped away. One day all the sorrow of this world will be swallowed up in joy and glory.

     

    TO BRING YOU THROUGH THE WHOLE BIBLE STORY IN 195 CAREFULLY SELECTED READINGS

    5 READINGS for the week beginning 19 June

    • One or two questions on each passage to help you find a way in
    • a Christ-centred, gospel-proclaiming focus in keeping with how Jesus himself read the Old Testament

     

    1 Kings 17- -we have left behind now the glories of the reigns of David and Solomon. Two hundred years have passed and the united kingdom has been divided into two kingdoms  hostile to each other – 10 tribes in the northern kingdom, and the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin in the south. The stories of Elijah are set in the northern kingdom. Elijah is a massive figure  in OT history, and takes a lone stand against the apostasy of the leaders. His arch enemy is the weak king Ahab, dominated by the wicked  foreign queen Jezebel.

    In ch 17 we read 2 stories  of divine provision for Elijah. What do you need to ask the Lord for in your life right now?

    The widow gave Elijah a meal from her last handful of flour, but received a promise that her supplies of flour and oil would never run out. Consider this story in the light of Jesus words in Matthew 6:33.

    Consider the story of the raising of her son in light of Luke 7:11-17. What are signs and wonders meant to point to?

    I Kings 18 – the showdown between Elijah  and the prophets of Baal. One of the most famous stories of the Old Testament. What is the difference between the idol Baal and the true and living God of Israel whom Elijah calls upon?  The answer is found in Jeremiah 10:1-16 if you can take the time to read it. Modern idols that people look to for life will also let them down. Look for life and salvation only in the living and true God.

    2 Kings 5 – Elijah was followed by Elisha. Once again we see a problem that the false gods of Aram could not cure. The great and  mighty Naaman could not beat his leprosy. He was prepared to do some great deeds to earn  and obtain his healing, but was called on to wash in the humble, muddy river Jordan. What do you think is the message to Naaman and to all who would seek and find God’s salvation? Compare Luke 18:9-14. What is the great barrier that keeps many from finding Christ? What about yourself?

    Joel 2 –  we do not know the date of Joel’s prophecy but we know the occasion of it – an  invasion of locusts had completely and utterly devastated the land. Everything was ruined. Joel saw in it the hand of God in judgment. Their impact is described in vs 1-11. But focus on the call to repentance – a much used word but read vs 12-17 closely – what elements do you see here in true and deep repentance before the Lord? Then what wonderful  promises are made in vs18-32. The fulfilment of vs28-32 is of course the Day of Pentecost, where Peter quotes these very words in Acts 2 vs17-21. What is God saying to you today – is it a call to repentance? Or a call to him to grant you more of His Holy Spirit?

    Jonah 3-4 – as children we all sang about Jonah and the whale. He ran away from God’s call but God took stern measures to get him back on track. He preaches judgment in the great  and wicked city of Nineveh. Along side the threat of God’s wrath, another feature of God’s character is highlighted in both these chapters. What is it Jonah lacked  in his own life? What is the level of your involvement in God’s mission in the world?  What do you need most – more courage, or more compassion?

     

    A BIBLE READING SCHEME DESIGNED BY REV CUPPLES

     

    Readings for the week beginning 12 June

    • One or two questions on each passage to help you find a way in
    • a Christ-centred, gospel-proclaiming focus in keeping with how Jesus himself read the Old testament

    “He said to them ( the disciples after the resurrection) “This is what I told you when I was still with you; everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” Luke 23 :44-45

    This was the 3-fold division of the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament. It’s all about Jesus.

    So before you read each day , pause and pray – Lord, you have sent your Holy Spirit to be our teacher and to show Christ to us. May you open our minds to understand the Scriptures  and to see Christ and all He has done for us as their central theme, as you did with your first disciples long ago.

     

    Proverbs 4 – everyone loves the book of Proverbs, mainly written by Solomon, for its sharp insights into human life. Remember it does not spell out divine promises, but general observations about how life plays out, principles that generally hold true. Here in ch 4 the benefits of wisdom are spelt out. How do you seek wisdom in life? How does this passage link with Matthew 7:24-27,

     

    Proverbs 10 – here begin the long lists of individual Proverbs. Choose one or two to reflect on especially. Look up another New Testament text on wisdom found in James  3:13-18

     

    Proverbs 18 –  many verses in this chapter refer to the use of our tongue. What does James 3:1-9 also teach us about our tongues? Ask God to help you fulfil Ephesians 4:29 and use your words only for helping others.

     

    Song of Songs 2  – this very rarely read Bible book is a poem about love – but what love is it talking about?  Human romantic love for sure; but many down the years have interpreted it as a picture of Christ’s love for and delight in his people, as his bride. Read ch 2, and you may wish to read others. Do you really feel deep down in your heart that God loves you in this way? That he likes you and takes pleasure in you? He can do this because believes are his children. Ask God to make His love for you more real to you in your life.

     

    Ecclesiastes 3 – Ecclesiastes is also part of the section in the Old Testament known as ‘wisdom literature’. It too is a strange and difficult book. Is the author somewhat cynical about life, that it is all meaningless in the end? Or  is he a believer trying to tell us that God’s gifts should not be everything to us, for this life will end, and God alone must be our all in all? Read ch 3 and take a moment to reflect on the different seasons you have known in life and how God has been with you in them all, or maybe how at times you have wandered away from the Lord. Link it in to the great promise of Romans 8:28 – God works all things for the good of them that love him. Praise God for this  great truth that governs our whole lives.

    READINGS FOR WEEK 9 BEGINNING  29 MAY

    TO BRING YOU THROUGH THE WHOLE BIBLE STORY IN 195 CAREFULLY SELECTED READINGS

    5 READINGS PER WEEK TO THE END OF 2022

    • One or two questions on each passage to help you find a way in
    • a Christ-centred, gospel-proclaiming focus in keeping with how Jesus himself read the Old testament

     

    1 Samuel 25 – Jesus said Blessed are the peacemakers and in this passage we have a wonderful example of a peacemaker. Look carefully at the wonderful character of Abigail, wife of the fool Nabal. What fine qualities do you see in Abigail that you can bring to your relationships? What attitudes do you see that really help with conflict resolution?

     

    1 Chronicles 17 – God says it is not David, but one of his sons who is to build the temple in Jerusalem. But he then says to David that his  son will reign over Israel for ever. The angel Gabriel tells Mary that this promise will be fulfilled in her child in Luke 1:32. How is God building his house around the world today? What kind of house is it?

     

    Psalm 103 – one of the greatest of the Psalms.  Look carefully at, list and thank God for the amazing range of blessings noted in this Psalm. Which ones are especially important for you at this time?

     

    2 Samuel 11 – the story of David and his adultery with Bathsheba is one of the most sobering, chilling and sad stories in Scripture. Yet it tells us that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.  So in today’s reading we think about the deceitfulness and power of sin. Why did David fall into sin in the first sin? How did one wrong lead to another? Whom had David forgotten in all this as he flexed his kingly muscles, gave in to his desires and abused his power?

     

     2 Samuel 12 – now the consequences.  God speaks the powerful convicting prophetic word through Nathan the prophet.  Look very carefully at the mixture of judgement and grace that God ordains for David. What negative consequences from his sin does God announce?  What  act of grace on God’s part shows that while sin carries its consequences, God’s grace can still have the last word in our lives?

    READINGS FOR WEEK 8 BEGINNING  22 MAY

    TO BRING YOU THROUGH THE WHOLE BIBLE STORY IN 195 CAREFULLY SELECTED READINGS

    5 READINGS PER WEEK TO THE END OF 2022

    • One or two questions on each passage to help you find a way in
    • a Christ-centred, gospel-proclaiming focus in keeping with how Jesus himself read the Old testament

    Are you learning how to interpret the Bible? First question is NOT what should I do or be. It is what does this passage teach me about my need for redemption, what God has done for me through the  His Son Jesus the Messiah, and what am I called to believe and receive from him?

    So we see pictures of Jesus in Adam, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon and Samson – all leaders and heads of families who through their great work brought blessing and deliverance to others. Exactly what Jesus does for his family. These Bible characters are not first and foremost examples for us to follow but miniature pictures of the big message of the Bible – the gospel of what Jesus is and has done.

    We  now come to a person of whom more is written in the Old Testament than any other person – King David.

    David was a highly gifted man – chosen in 1st Samuel 16 to replace Saul. God said “Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart.” In David God had cultivated a praying and praising heart that wrote many of the Psalms;   a courageous, believing heart that could face Goliath; a caring, shepherd heart that could look after the people of Israel; a devoted, loyal heart that loved Jonathan and led his men  faithfully. Yet  like all  human leaders, he was a flawed hero – as we will see later. The Perfect King from God had not yet come.

    Over the next two weeks,  we will intersperse David’s  stories with some of his wonderful Psalms.

    Psalm 23 – the best loved of all the Psalms. Just thank God for the comfort these words have brought to a countless multitude of believers down 3000 years. reflect on each phrase and how Jesus the Shepherd King has followed you with His goodness and mercy all your life and renew your trust in Him right now for the future.

    1 Samuel 17 – one of the greatest stories in the Bible  and in all literature. God’s true, chosen and anointed King overcomes the great enemy of God’s people and delivers them. From whom and what does Jesus deliver us?  How does this story of David, and pointing to Jesus, empower you to have bolder faith in the face of all the ‘enemies’  and threats you are facing in life? remember don’t start by saying – how can I be like David? Ask – how is David like Jesus and how does his victory teach me about the victory Jesus has won for me.

    Psalm 19 – God is not silent. How does the Psalmist hear the voice of God? Ask God to give you that same pleasure, delight, joy and fulfilment in hearing God’s Word as the Psalmist also enjoyed. Thank God for all His Word has meant to you on your journey in life.

    1 Samuel 20 – a long chapter,  but a tale of a friendship that David described after Jonathan’s death in these words  “I grieve for you my brother Jonathan; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.” 2nd Samuel 1:26  What marks of that deep, faithful friendship do you see here? How does it reflect the friendship we find  in Jesus and how can you enhance and enrich your close relationships? How can you offer to others the friendship you have found in Christ?

    Psalm 27  –  could you meditate on these words and then either write down, or express in your own words the  heartfelt  sentiments of the Psalmist – his trust,  his confidence,  his deepest desires, his requests. What most strikes you about the writer of this Psalm?

    READINGS FOR WEEK 7, BEGINNING 16 MAY

    5 READINGS PER WEEK TO THE END OF 2022

    • One or two questions on each passage to help you find a way in
    • a Christ-centred, gospel-proclaiming focus in keeping with how Jesus himself read the Old testament

     

    Judges 7 – Gideon’s victory is an example of something that runs through the entire Bible – a weak human instrument wins a mighty victory for the people of God because God is with them.  This happens over and over in the Old Testament eg David and Goliath.  But consider above all how it is found in its supreme form in the weakness of Jesus on the cross and the scope of his victory there.

     

    Judges 16 –  – consider first  the flaws in Samson’s character – the perils of complacency when you have  power and strength. let him that standeth take heed lest he fall. Is there any area of your life where complacency has set in? Then consider how Samson too in his death is a picture of Christ.

     

    Ruth 1 and 2 –  – in her loss and bitterness of soul Naomi finds  the unexpected and unequalled blessing of Ruth coming into her life. How has God blessed you in your losses? Consider the great pledge of loyalty from Ruth as a test of the vows you have made to your spouse and to the Lord’s people.  How is Boaz a picture of Christ in his lovingkindness to Ruth?

     

    1 Samuel  3 – ask the Lord if some message you are receiving right now in your life may in fact be his voice, his call to you? Consider Samuel’s humble, willing and beautiful response – is that your attitude to the Word of the Lord? His task was to give Eli bad news – do you avoid difficult conversations for the sake of peace?

     

    1 Samuel 16 – the theme continues of God’s choice not being man’s choice. What do you think it was about David that made him so suited to be Israel’s next king?  Think about his Psalms, his shepherding, his encounters with lions and bears. What qualities was God nurturing in him that are ones we also ought to seek?

    • One or two questions on each passage to help you find a way in
    • a Christ-centred, gospel-proclaiming focus in keeping with how Jesus himself read the Old testament

    Let’s paint the big picture – after the creation and fall of humanity in Genesis, God sets in motion a plan of redemption for the world – the curse brought about by sin will be reversed and blessing will come to all nations through the seed of Abraham – meaning both the physical descendants of Abraham but primarily the Messiah, who will appear in history as Jesus of Nazareth.

    To model the meaning of salvation, the Israelites are delivered from the bondage of Egypt by God’s mighty hand,  saved by the blood of a lamb,  brought into relationship with God by his free love and grace, and then given the 10 commandments as a guide for holiness and how to live as a free , God-serving people..

    Despite the dramatic and marvellous demonstrations of God’s power on their behalf in the plagues, and the red Sea, through their unbelief they fail to enter the land of promise, the inheritance promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and wander for 40 years in the wilderness until that unbelieving generation are dead. Now Moses has died and under the leadership of Joshua they will enter  the land of promise, Canaan. This is a picture of  kingdom of God – the land of plenty into which God brings his people.

    So after Adam, Noah, Abraham, Joseph and Moses, Joshua now becomes another ‘type’ or  model of Jesus – the leader of God’s people who leads them into possession of their God-given inheritance.

    Joshua 1 – look first at the reassurance God gives Joshua. How would this have helped him as the new leader after Moses? What promises does God make and in turn what will be required of Joshua if his leadership and conquest are to be successful?   What reassurance can you take from this passage right now?

    Joshua 2 – in the Old Testament various individuals appear in the story who have come to trust the true and living God – Naaman, Ruth, and here it is a prostitute called Rahab. She is recorded in the NT for her faith – Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:24-25. So read carefully and  build up a picture of the different elements in Rahab’s faith in the true God and its expression in action.

    Joshua 6 – various natural explanations have been put forward to explain the fall of the walls of Jericho. But whatever the explanation – scientific or miraculous – the victory was won when the people did things God’s way and not their own. Is there any situation in life you have been trying to solve with your own wisdom, where you need to stop now and ask God to show you how He wants you to address it?

    Joshua 24 – Joshua is now near the end of his life and gathers the people at Shechem to renew their covenant with the Lord. He reviews the history of all God has done for them and in v24 says that he and his household will serve the Lord. How could you whether by prayer, instruction or example enable or at least encourage your family circle to serve the Lord with all their heart?

    Judges 6 – after the settlement in Canaan, society degenerated in the land. Israel was ruled over by others and Judges tells the story of various ‘judges’ or deliverers who were raised up to bring freedom – -Deborah, Gideon, Samson the most famous. Again these figures all point to the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s deliverer sent for us. How does God overcome Gideon’s natural weakness and fear to convince him he is chosen to deliver the Israelites? How might this apply to you? If you want to link to a NT reading, try 1st Corinthians 1:18-31.

    WEEK FIVE – May 2-6th

    A BIBLE READING SCHEME DESIGNED BY REV CUPPLES – 5 READINGS PER WEEK TO THE END OF 2022
    TO BRING YOU THROUGH THE WHOLE BIBLE STORY IN 195 CAREFULLY SELECTED READINGS
    • One or two questions on each passage to help you find a way in
    • a Christ-centred, gospel-proclaiming focus in line with how Jesus read the Old Testament

     

    Where are we in the story? The Israelites have been delivered from slavery in Egypt. After only a few months they come to the borders of Canaan and send spies to bring back a report on the land. So first we will read about how they received that report and refused to enter the land of promise.

    Numbers 13 – the 12 spies, one from each tribe, brought back a report and also clusters of grapes.  What do you see as the difference between Caleb and Joshua who wanted to go in and take possession of the land, and the 10 spies who did not? read Joshua 14:6-15 – here we read of Caleb obtaining his inheritance some 40 years later when the Israelites did enter the land. What can we learn from such a great man?

     

    Numbers 14 – what was the main cause of the failure to enter Canaan? How might this same reason be holding you back in your spiritual life? Look at the disastrous consequences that follow when we do not really obey the will of the Lord for us?

     

    After wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, the Israelites now stand once again on the borders of the promised land.

    Deuteronomy 6 – the book of Deuteronomy is Moses’s final speech to the people before he dies. From v4 of this chapter we have Israel’s Creed – the ‘shema’ which is Hebrew for the word to ‘Hear’.  What fundamental truths are taught about God in this passage and  what guidance is given to help us find ways to remember our beliefs, and also warning to avoid lapsing from them?

     

    Deuteronomy 8 – Moses warns them here against forgetting the Lord when they become prosperous. Why does material affluence lead so many way from the Lord? How does money rival God? Look at  verse 3 – Jesus quotes this when he is  tempted by the devil in Matthew 4:4.  What is needed if we are to experience true life?

     

    Deuteronomy 14:22 – 15:18 – these commands from the Lord cover tithes, cancellation of debts and freeing servants – thinking about it overall what kind of attitude is encouraged here in us towards both God and other people? In what way are these commands reflected in how God himself has treated us?

    WEEK FOUR – April 25-29th

    A BIBLE READING SCHEME DESIGNED BY REV CUPPLES – 5 READINGS PER WEEK TO THE END OF 2022
    TO BRING YOU THROUGH THE WHOLE BIBLE STORY IN 195 CAREFULLY SELECTED READINGS
    • One or two questions on each passage to help you find a way in
    • a Christ-centred, gospel-proclaiming focus in line with how Jesus read the Old Testament
    Where we have got to now in the big story? Isaac declared Jacob the heir of the Abrahamic covenant promise. Despite Jacob’s bad character, this was God’s choice. Joseph’s life speaks of Christ powerfully – he suffers, is raised to the place of power and authority; forgives his brothers, delivers them, brings them close to him, and protects and provides for them in the land of Goshen – such a picture of our Saviour and what he does for us. Now some 400 years later ( around 1250 BC) Moses is called by God to be another deliverer to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and present us with the most important picture of salvation in the whole Bible – the exodus.
    Exodus 12:1-42 – the 9 plagues have fallen upon Egypt. The 10th is the death of all the firstborn, but the Israelites escape God’s judgment by sheltering beneath the blood of a lamb that has been slain. Why do you think this Passover feast was the central feast in Israel’s annual calendar of observances? Why is the Lord’s Supper, the Christian Passover, so important for us to observe?
    Exodus 14 – one of the most famous and mighty acts of deliverance of God’s people recorded in Scripture – the crossing of the Red Sea. Again think of the links with Jesus. God saves them completely apart from their efforts or deserving. The judgment that fell on the Egyptians. Think of and thank God for how all your enemies have been defeated by the Lord Jesus Christ – guilt, death, Satan, slavery. What do you praise God for most today? is there something you are held in fear of that you should claim victory over today?
    Exodus 20 – the ten commandments. Notice first that in v2 God has already redeemed these people so keeping the commandments is not the way for them to become God’s people. But it is the way they are to live. People often think of rules as oppressive. But these are the guidelines for how freed people should live. Consider how each commandment is able to set you free and what it sets you free from.
    Exodus 32 – this terrible falling away is shocking because it comes so soon after the miracle of the Red Sea. As you read the story, what do you pick up about why the Israelites wanted an object to worship? What constant weakness do you see here in human nature against which we must guard ourselves?
    Leviticus 19 – we will do just one chapter of Leviticus, a book often held up to ridicule in the modern world. But as you read through these practical laws which spelled out the holiness God required, ask yourself how society would be a better place if everybody lived in these ways? Is there one that challenges you and stands out as especially relevant for you?

    WEEK THREE – April 18-22nd

    A BIBLE READING SCHEME DESIGNED BY REV CUPPLES – 5 READINGS PER WEEK TO THE END OF 2022

    TO BRING YOU THROUGH THE WHOLE BIBLE STORY IN 195 CAREFULLY SELECTED READINGS

    • One or two questions on each passage to help you find a way in
    • a Christ-centred, gospel-proclaiming focus in keeping with how Jesus himself read the Old testament

    Let’s review things so far – the first 2 weeks

    Genesis 1 – Christ the second Adam is also the image of God and will rule over and bless the restored world

    Genesis 2 – in his kingdom humans,  animals and environment will be restored to perfect harmony and fulfil God’s perfect will

    Genesis 3 and 4 – sin enters and escalates but there is the promise of the seed of the woman crushing the serpent

    Genesis 6-8 – The story of Noah and the ark picture the salvation that Christ will bring to his family, delivering them from the final judgment of God on the world

    Genesis – 12,14,15, 22,  – God calls Abram and covenants with him that through his seed all nations of the earth will be blessed – Jesus in the fulness of time is that  seed who rolls back the curse and refills the  earth with its original blessing.

    Genesis 27 – Despite his sin and deception, Jacob, the one chosen by God as the heir of the promise,  is blessed by Isaac. The reason Isaac’s word of blessing is presented as having the power to bring about that which it proclaims is because it is passing on to the chosen seed the original Word of God to Abram which must come to pass. See chapter 28:3-4

    This week’s readings.

     Genesis 28 – Jacob the heir of the covenant promise is met by God in a dream, the ladder being a picture of God communicating with Jacob. Consider the wonderful promise of  vs13-15 and how it expresses to you as a child of Abraham that God is with you and for you. Jacob responded with a vow in vs20-2. What is your response?

    Genesis 37 – we come now to Jacob’s favourite son Joseph. Joseph had dreams given by God about his future that one day he would be in a place of high authority. He was rejected by his brothers. In what way does this foreshadow Christ’s rejection by his own people? is there any point at which you are resisting Christ’s proper lordship over your life?

    Genesis 41 – Joseph has now been falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and thrown in prison, and forgotten by the baker.  Now he is dramatically raised from prison to be the means of deliverance for his brothers and to bring blessing to the whole surrounding nations. How again do you see a foreshadowing here of Christ’s death, resurrection and exaltation to God’s right hand from where he bestows salvation? How do you think Joseph was sustained through all his times of trial?

    Genesis 45 – Joseph is now reconciled to his brothers. Read this very carefully. What are the marks of true and total forgiveness that Joseph demonstrates here to those who so deeply wronged him?  In your hurt  and struggle to forgive how would a perspective like vs4-7 be of help to you?

    Exodus 3 – one the Bible’s great incidents. God’s people are groaning in slavery now for centuries but God has decided that now is the time to end their slavery and bring them to the land of promise. So he chooses a deliverer – Moses, another foreshadowing of Christ. What does God say and show to Moses to enable and empower him  to accept this massive calling and mission? How does this encourage you in your walk of

    WEEK TWO – April 11-15th

    A BIBLE READING SCHEME DESIGNED BY REV CUPPLES – 5 READINGS PER WEEK TO THE END OF 2022

    TO BRING YOU THROUGH THE WHOLE BIBLE STORY IN 195 CAREFULLY SELECTED READINGS

     

     

     One or two questions on each passage to help you find a way in

     a Christ-centred, gospel-proclaiming focus in keeping with how Jesus himself read the Old testament

     

    “He said to them ( the disciples after the resurrection) “This is what I told you when I was still with you; everything

    must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” Luke 23 :44-45

     

    So before you read each day , pause and pray – Lord, you have sent your Holy Spirit to be our teacher and to show Christ to us. May you open our minds to understand the Scriptures and to see Christ and all He has done for us as their central theme, as you did with your first disciples long ago.

     

    The Bible is a story in 4 parts, a drama with 4 acts – creation, fall, redemption, new creation.

    This is God telling us that this is the true story of our world and as a result this story helps us understand what is going on in the world, what God is doing, who we are, and how we are to live.

    The created world has fallen into sin; the judgement of the flood has taken place but Noah and his family are a new beginning. But sin continues and at Babel mankind is scattered and divided. Now we come to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the patriarchs, and God moves to put in motion his great plan of worldwide redemption.

     

    Genesis ch 12 – Abraham is the father of all believers. Here God calls him to be the beginning of the nation through whom the Saviour would come. Look at the promises of vs2-3 – first see how theya re fulfilled in this chapter. then ponder the greater scope of this promise – that through the seed of Abraham the universal curse will be rolled back and blessing will extend to all peoples on earth.. If you want to follow up this reading consider Galatians 3:6-14 and Revelation 7:9-12 where these words reach their final fulfilment.

     

    Genesis chapter 14 – the interesting figure here is the priest Melchizedek. Hebrews 7 sees Christ as his fulfilment. What ways does Melchizedek resemble Jesus in his high priestly role in this encounter with Abraham.

    Notice also how Abraham was able to defend his household against the attacks of enemy kings – . cf v12 with Matthew 12:25-29 – Jesus is the stronger man protecting his own possessions and plundering those of the enemy.

     

    Genesis chapter 15 – v6 is quoted in Romans 4 to show that Abraham was saved by faith and not by good works.

    What blessings are promised to Abraham and to his seed in this chapter?

     

    Genesis chapter 22 – the great and final test of Abraham’s faith. Will he sacrifice his only son in obedience to God. Isaac was born 25 years after Abraham and Sarah were promised a son!! Now Go d says – sacrifice him! Look up Hebrews 11:17-19 to get an insight into Abraham’s mind and faith at this moment.

    In what way is the provision of the ram a picture of God’s provision for our salvation?

    Genesis chapter 27 – a highly dysfunctional family. Domineering, pushy mother Rebecca favours Jacob and Jacob fully co-operates in the deception of Isaac. It seems so unfair against the seemingly upright Esau. But Jacob , unworthy though he was, had one great quality which obtained him the blessing – he wanted it really badly. he was prepared to do anything to get it. Look up Jeremiah 29:11-13. God had chosen Jacob and for all his faults Jacob sought and found the blessing of the Lord.

     

    More of Jacob next week. Are you seeking the Lord with all your heart?