Let’s read the Bible together in a year!
Hey FCC Fam!!!
I’ve been thinking it’d be great to read the Bible together in a year. That way we can hold each other accountable and know that we’re all drawing from the same everlasting well of God’s truth each and everyday! This Sunday you’ll find a beautiful two sided reading plan on sturdy card stock stuffed in your bulletin. I’m also going to include a downloadable version with this email (in Link). This reading plan was put together by a Church in Nashville and it is super simple. We’re just going to go straight through the Bible together. Who knew that you only need to read about 3-4 chapters a day? Immanuel Church also has a smart phone app you can download that features their Pastor’s (Ray Ortlund) notes on tricky topics as well. Very cool. Let’s start a great journey together!
I’m going to try to send an email out each day talking about what we’ve read (Lord Willing). Since today is already Jan. 2, we’ll call it “Day 2”
Day one’s reading was Genesis 1-3
These are some of the most important chapters in the God’s Word. They explain to us where we come from and where we’re going (Dust to Dust, Ashes to Ashes.). The great thing about the Word of God is it is both beautifully written and true. In these chapters we learn the origin of the World, of the animal kingdom, of people, as well as the notion of a day of rest (the Sabbath), we learn that Adam had a job, and that work is pre-fal, in other words work is good (He took care of the Garden of Eden and named the animals), we learn of man and woman’s unique relationship to one another (it’s not good for man to be alone Gen. 2.18 and the woman was made to be the man’s helper (because men need all the help we can get) Gen. 2.20, we also see the pattern of marriage before The Fall established, back when all things were called “Good” by God: one man, one woman, until death do them part, Gen. 2.24.
In Gensis 3 we learn of the consequences of listening to any voice other than God our Lord and maker. The world is plunged into sin by disobedience and the lie that somehow a good and merciful God is holding out on us. A lie many of us still believe. But we also hear the first good news, in Genesis 3.15 when we hear the promise that a son born of a woman (Mary & Jesus) would defeat the Enemy.
Day two reading was Genesis 4-7
Right off the bat in Chapter 4 we learn that all children are a gift from God. This is one reason the Church of Jesus Christ has always been pro-life. Thankfully, the Church of Jesus Christ has always been pro grace for sinners as well!
In Gen. 4:7 We see God dealing with the second human generation’s struggle with sin and rebellion.
“If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (NASB)
We learn from this that man is responsible for his actions, and God has always dealt with His children as a gracious Father, urging us to love what is good.
In Genesis 4 we see the first murder in human history. What we will learn as we go through Genesis is that sin grows from generation to generation where it is not sifted by the power of worshiping the One true God. This is why the Church, and corporate worship (all of us together on Sunday morning) is still vital and important. Adam and Eve disobey God law regarding eating from a tree, Adam and Eve’s children murder each other. The progression is always swift and downward.
In Genesis 4.10 we have one of the most important verses for understanding God’s love for all Human life. “He said, what have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to ME from the ground”. (NASB)
All life is sacred. All of it.
In Genesis 5 We have the first of many Genealogies in the Bible. Why are Genealogies important? By the time we reach the NT we will see that not only is Jesus fully God and Fully Man; not only is He true God and True man, but that we have His family tree: His birth certificate, if you will. Evidence.
By Genesis 6 we already see how bad our collective sin has become. Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Here is the problem of human kind: we have the knowledge of good and evil without the consistent ability to choose and do the good we know we ought to do. Adam and Eve ate from a forbidden tree, in Noah’s day all people did was think evil thoughts (v. 5). We see the downward spiral of Romans 1 playing out, play by play here in Genesis.
Noah obeys the voice of God. Did you know that Noah’s Ark is more than just a cool story, but rather also a picture of our redemption and safety in Christ?
1 Peter 3:17-22
17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
Isn’t that cool?
In chapter 7 we read of the flood. I think in our own lives we’ve seen that sin only brings death and punishment. The flood was an actual event, a judgement from a real, Holy God. We learn what we’ve already been learning in Romans, that the wages of sin is always death, and that God is our only refuge against the deluge.
God is so good to us despite ourselves!
Wasn’t that fun?
Won’t you come read with me?
Standing in awe of His mercy,
~ Pastor Evan
Dear FCC Family!
In Day 3 of our Journey through the Bible we encounter the end of The Great Flood. There must have been days when it seemed as though it would never stop raining, but God always comes through with His promises. Perhaps you’ve been in the same boat. : )
In Genesis 8…
Noah, his family, and all the remaining animals on planet Earth disembark from the Ark. In v. 20 Noah builds an altar and offers up animal sacrifice.
In Genesis 7.21b we are again reminded of our great need for a savior, “… for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done) (KJV). It is a popular notion today that the idea of total depravity is simply some kind of legalistic, Puritanical idea. It’s not. It’s a truth taught all throughout Scripture. We need a Savior.
In Genesis 9…
God makes a covenant with Noah and his descendants, which would be all of us.
The Noahic Covenant says
v.1 Humans are to be fruitful and multiply.
v. 2-3 Humans have dominion over the Earth which includes the animal and plant kingdoms.
v.4-6 The Death Penalty. In these verses God is making a covenant of human government, not mob rule. In this case Noah is sort of the king of the world at this point. One can guess how important it was at this point in human history for Noah’s family not to murder one another, as humans also were an endangered species.
As with with most things, everything changes when Christ comes upon the stage of Human history. His teaching is that we are to forgive our enemies. Personal vengeance is not for us to take. The government may well issue the death penalty in cases where it deems it just. I would caution the Christian though: just because death is an option does not mean it is an option you must take, nor is it something to relish or celebrate. The government can take life, but that does not mean that it must, nor that it is always in the right to do so, often it is not. God has ordained that you live in a democracy. This is good, and this is a blessing, but it also means that we don’t get to shrug our shoulders and say “The King did it”. We are all in some fashion responsible for what our government does, even when it unjustly executes the innocent, which does happen. The Christian must fight the fleshly desire to see bloodshed. This is also the point. Man is made in the image of God. All life is precious.
v. 7 Once again God commands Noah and his family to be fruitful and multiply, an urgent command as humanity is an endangered species at this juncture of history.
v.9 Is why we would say the Noahic Covenant still applies to us. “And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you…”
In verses 11-16 God promises to never again flood the world. The Rainbow is the symbol of God’s holy burning wrath against sin, and His mercy toward the guilty. That’s what it means.
Toward the end of chapter 9 we learn that despite wiping out the vast majority of humanity: sin still persists as our deepest and oldest enemy. Indeed, without a sinful world to tempt Noah, he still, nonetheless, manages to plant a vineyard and get drunk, all by himself. Humanity’s problem is one we all carry around with us in our heart. Noah is naked and drunk: no way for a father to behave.
There are also the strange actions of Ham at this point in v. 22. This is a mysterious and bizarre episode. Many commentators have all sorts of explanations for what occurred between Ham and Noah, but what is clear is that Ham was one sick monkey of a pervert, and he tried to get his brothers to dishonor their father as well. They did not take the bait. The brothers take every precaution to not see Noah’s nakedness by backing into the tent while they covered him up.
The result of this is Ham is cursed, and Ham would go on to father the people of Canaan. In other words the cultures which would ultimately be the foil to Israel, (the protagonist of the Old Testament’s story), were founded by pervy Ham. Leadership matters, and many cultural sins have their beginnings somewhere.
It should also be noted that Ham is the father of the Canaanites, not of Africa. Racists have tried to argue that Africans were the descendants of Ham in a weak tea attempt to justify slavery. That is horrible hermeneutics. That’s not what the Bible teaches.
So it is that Ham is cursed, and as far as we know from the Biblical record, Noah never apologizes or repents of his drunken ways. I guess it’s good to be king of the world, regardless of how small that world may be. We learn that even the best of men need redemption in Christ.
Noah dies at 950 years old.
In Genesis 10 we have more genealogy and the spread of the brothers.
Thanks for reading with me!
After Darkness Light
~ Pastor Evan
DAY 4 of our Most Excellent Adventure Through The Bible.
Dear FCC Family,
In Genesis 11…
The historical account picks up some generations after the sons of Noah spread out across the globe. The Bible tells us the people of planet Earth were of one language and colonized a plain in Shinar. If you’re reading KJV you no doubt noted in verse 3 that they “had slime for mortar”. : )
They decided to build a great tower. God is not against architectural achievement, but He is quite focused upon the heart. God opposes the proud. The reason these folks desired to build a tower was to reach to heaven and make a name for themselves (v. 4). Despite their grand boasting we see God’s humor when He “comes down” to see the little tower (v.5). He does not seem to be too impressed.
God confuses their language to humble their pride. I’ve long wondered what language we’ll all speak in Heaven. Perhaps Hebrew? Perhaps we’ll speak our own language and we’ll just understand one another, like the day of Pentecost, or how Star Trek’s universal translator works. Perhaps we’ll speak this long lost pre Babel language? Maybe it’s the language of Eden. Who knows? We’ll find out on That Day.
We have a genealogy that takes us to Abram, the father of many, the first Patriarch.
We learn early on the central drama of Abram’s life: he has no children.
God commands Abam to leave his homeland for the promised land. God promises to make childless Abram the father of a great nation. v. 1-2
In v.3 we have a promise from God to Abram, which we have no reason to believe has changed, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and cure him that curses thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed”
Surely all the nations of the earth have been blessed by Abram’s descendent, Jesus of Nazareth.
Abram was 75 when he starts his most excellent adventure.
Abram builds an altar to the Lord, and called upon His name at Bethel, which is a name you may recognize in the names of many Churches.
In verse 10 Abram goes to Egypt because of a famine. Abram asks Sarai to lie about being his wife because she’s good looking and Abram fears the Egyptians will murder him to get to her. Abram fails as a husband and a man of God. Lying doesn’t look good on anybody. We will see that Abram’s integrity is weak, and that this flaw will be passed down to his children.
We learn once again, that all men, even great men, need the salvation that only comes from Jesus Christ. Thankfully God loves sinners.
Abram was a rancher. That was the family business. The family’s herd grows too large for the land and they decide to split up.
Lot is given first dibs and picks the land around Sodom and Gomorrah. v. 13 says the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly. It may indicate something about Lot’s heart that he wanted to be there. He probably didn’t go as a missionary.
Meanwhile Abram goes his own way and keeps building altars to the Lord v.18
There’s a war between the city states of Canaan. They take Abram’s nephew Lot hostage. Now it’s Abram to the rescue. He takes 318 men (which tells you how large of an operation Abram is running) and they form a posse to go rescue Lot.
v. 15 Abram attacks in the dead of night! And wins.
The Chapter closes with the curious case of Melchizedek, King of Salem In v.16-24.
He is the King of Righteousness, the king of Peace, reigning in Jerusalem. He is a Priest-King, and he serves bread and wine. Abram pays a tithe to him. Melchizedek blesses Abram. Hebrews 7 talks more about this fascinating fellow. He is no doubt a picture of Christ.
Thanks for reading with me!
After Darkness, Light
~ Pastor Evan