God, According to God

Daily Scripture readings for July, set #13:

– Exodus 34
– Psalm 36
– Matthew 15:21-39
– Acts 21:27-40

“Round Two” of God’s laws written on stone tablets takes place in Exodus 34, with God again declaring his covenant with Israel. What jumps out at me as I read today is God’s description of himself found in verses 6-7: “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Verse seven seems like a very direct reference to Original Sin and the curse from the garden. Most of us tend to leave that part out as we think about God and who he is, but God himself is very intentional in including it as HE describes who he is.

Speaking of “the curse” of sin, Psalm 36 contains an important reminder for me on the deceitfulness of wickedness. “The wicked” is described in verse 2 this way: “For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.” I’m not fooling anybody but myself when I imagine that my sin will not be found out.

Matthew 15 has a ton of potent teachings from Jesus, some of which I should have commented on yesterday:
1. “So for the sake of your tradition you have made the Word of God” (vs 6). Ouch.
2. “It is not what goes into a mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth” (vs 11). See Careless Facebooking. Ouch again.
3. “He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’” (vs 24). Who was Jesus sent for? Sunday school answer: everyone. Jesus’ answer in Matthew 15: the lost sheep of Israel ONLY.
4. Interestingly, verses 32-38 are a VERY similar situation to the previous chapter.

Acts 21 contains additional details on Paul’s missionary journeys, and I’m realizing how BOLD Paul is as I read these past few chapters. He just goes for it… no worrying, no tiring, no faltering. Even getting arrested doesn’t dull his instinct to look for opportunities to preach. Paul walks what he talks: “For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (vs 13).

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