Exodus 32-40 Highlights
- Israel falls into idolatry, worshipping a golden calf instead of God Himself
- Israel commanded to leave Mount Sinai and head toward the promised land
- God renews His covenant with Moses
- Moses’ face shines as he comes down from Mount Sinai
- The Ark of the covenant is made to be carried with Israel
- The altar and the priestly garments are made, per instructions by God
- The tabernacle is erected and is filled with the glory of the Lord
Leviticus 1-7 Highlights
- Laws for burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, guilt offerings, and priestly offerings are given to Israel as a way of atonement for them in their relationship with God
Psalms 26, 27 Highlights
- In Psalm 26, David is asking for vindication and redemption from the Lord. He recognizes this comes from God alone. He also notes that because the steadfast love of God is before His eyes, he will walk in integrity. He will avoid evil, proclaim thanksgiving aloud, and tell of God’s wondrous deeds. He is highlighting to God what He aims to do with his life, because of what God has already done for him. It is a beautiful picture of grace and our response to grace.
- In Psalm 27, David speaks of God being his salvation and stronghold, so what should he fear? If God is for us, who can be against us? God will protect, vindicate, and lift our heads. God is the beginning and the end of our lives. As such, we can trust Him with any and everything that we face.
Philippians 3-4 Highlights
Paul talks about how righteousness comes only through faith in Christ, and not at all through our works
Paul counts everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ
Because of what Christ has done, we should work hard at our sanctification – not to EARN love from God, but because we want to know Christ more because of what He has done
Paul ends by encouraging, exhorting, and praying for these believers
Hebrews 1-3 Highlights
- The author of Hebrews starts by showing us how we are living in the ‘last days’, as God has spoken now completely through His son
- Shows how Jesus is superior to the angels, as the angels are the created beings but Jesus is fully God, and through Him the Father created the world
- We are warned not to neglect our salvation so that we don’t forget it
- Jesus is the founder of our salvation because of His ‘perfect suffering’ on our behalf and in our place
- The author shows how Jesus is greater than Moses; Moses was God’s servant, but Jesus is God’s Son
- We are warned not to be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin
Exodus continues with a low moment for Israel, something that will be seen quite often as one continues to read through the Old Testament. Moses had yet to come down from Mount Sinai, so the people of Israel decide to make and idol out of gold, a golden calf, to worship instead.
One might wonder how Israel could think to do this, seeing all that God had done for them. But consider our lives; how quick and prone are we to forget God and His goodness? We literally forget constantly, deciding to put our trust or hope into something other than God. We shouldn’t look at Israel and say how, but rather recognize how often we are like them, and thank God for His daily forgiveness for our sin.
God disciplines Israel with a plague but, again, is gracious as he continues to lead and guide Moses, and Israel, toward the promised land. He renews His covenant with Israel. God is continuing to make promises and keep those promises. God is faithful! This is a great theological truth, and we can clearly see it at work and its effects in the lives of people as we read Exodus. Despite Israel’s rebellion, complaining, forgetfulness of how great God is, and faithlessness, God is remaining faithful. Let that encourage you as you continue to read the Old Testament. Israel is going to continually forget and turn from God, but God never quits relentlessly pursuing His people. If you are a child of God, a Christian, then God never quits relentlessly pursuing you. He will not leave nor forsake you. We have seen that quite a few times in the second book of our Bible.
Exodus concludes with Israel constructing the tabernacle, the ark of the covenant, the lampstand, table, and the altar that will be part of the temple where God’s presence will dwell with His people and where Israel can worship God. All of these elements are given directly from God in great detail. God is a God of the big things and the little things; things we might think are unimportant to Him. Be encouraged that God is intricately interested in the big things going on in your life, and also the very small things. Nothing is too small for God to not care.
Philippians is known as one of the ‘prison epistles’, one of the letters Paul wrote to churches while imprisoned for preaching Jesus as the Savior. The theme of this letter could be summed up in the word joy. Paul is thankful for the Philippian church, for their faithfulness and partnership in the gospel. Paul wants these brothers and sisters to see there is great joy in knowing Christ, following Christ, and even surrendering all for Christ.
Notice Paul’s ATTITUDE with regard to his circumstances. It is all joy, regardless of the circumstances he is facing. First, he is writing this from prison. Second, he wants to let his readers know that he is actually having joy over what has happened to him, because God has used them to advance the gospel. Since he has been in prison, he has had the opportunity to share the gospel with the entire imperial guard. Paul has not let his circumstances determine the joy that he has in Christ. That’s why he can write, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” One cannot write that if they don’t have joy in all circumstances. If Paul lived, he got more days to live for Christ here. If he died, he got to be with Christ, which is gain. In life or in death, there was joy for Paul.
Second, notice Paul’s joy in the GOSPEL. He writes, in chapter 2 verses 5-11, this beautiful portrait of the Christ, who left heaven with God, took the form of a servant, born in the likeness of men, humbled himself, and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Paul tells us in verses 1-4 of chapter two to look to that example and have that mind among ourselves. If we look to Jesus, there will be joy that flows from the gospel. Christ did all of that listed above for us! Let this gospel give you joy, that Christ died for your sin so you don’t have to die for it, and make you joyful to be a light to others (v. 12-18). Paul’s joy in the gospel leads to him writing in 3:8, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
Paul had every reason to boast in human accomplishments, if that were something to boast in. But Paul’s joy is in the gospel alone and in Christ’s righteousness that was freely given to him. Paul’s attitude was one of joy because he found his joy in Christ alone and nothing else.
Lastly, notice Paul’s joy he found in the hard work of sanctification. Paul presses on toward the goal of Christlikeness. Paul recognizes he isn’t perfect, but presses on daily in sanctification because, as 3:12 says, “Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Paul ‘presses on’ (i.e. works hard to grow in holiness) because Christ has saved him. For Paul, this brought joy because of what Christ had done. Christ is worth our whole lives and everything we have. This life for Paul was one of delight. It is like an athlete training for Olympic gold. It is hard work, that will not at all be easy. But there is delight. The Christian life is never promised to be one of ease, but it is always promised that there will be delight and joy because Christ has saved us.
Paul is reminding us of who we are in Christ and how who we are in Christ should shape how we think, speak, and act. Christ is our Lord and Savior and this can lead to us finding joy in the gospel, joy in our circumstances (regardless of what they are), and joy in a life of growing in holiness.