This week we begin a four week reading from Philippians and continue with Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem in Matthew and the Israelite’s journey to the Promised Land in Exodus.
Exodus 16:2-15 – Verse 1 will give you the context of where the Israelites are and how long they have been moving. You may also want to read the entire chapter for the full story. Why did the Israelites complain? Who did they complain to (or against)? What was God’s response to Moses? What were the Israelites instructed to do five days a week? And on the sixth day? What about the seventh day? What was special about the seventh day?
Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45 – This Psalm is a hymn of praise to God recounting the history from Abraham to Moses. How would you categorize verses 1-6? And verses 37-45?
Jonah 3:10-4:11 – Jonah is a very short book and you should read all of it. Chapter 3:1-9 are essential in setting up our reading. What did Jonah do when he got to Nineveh? What was his message? What did the Ninevites do? What was God’s response to the Ninevites? What was Jonah’s response to God and why? What do you surmise the central message of Jonah to be (don’t worry about the fish, Nineveh, or even Jonah)?
Psalm 145:1-8 – My Bible titles this psalm as “The Greatness and the Goodness of God”. Is that an appropriate title? Does verse 8 sound familiar?
Philippians 1:21-30 – The Philippians are the people of the city of Philippi. Check the maps in the back of your Bible and you will find a map of Paul’s journeys. Locate Philippi. You may want to read Acts 16 also. Is Paul ready to die (I don’t think this is about suicide, but about his possible execution) or is there still a purpose to his living? Which is better? How should the Philippians live? What are the struggles that Paul had and is now having and the Philippians are having?
Matthew 20:1-16 – We have hopped right over Jesus’s teaching on divorce (we’ll get it when we get back to Mark next year) and his encounter with children and the rich young man and some oft quoted verses. Check out verses 23-26 (Joke: How do you get a camel through the eye of a needle? With a really good blender.) and verse 30. Our verses are a parable concerning the story of the rich young ruler. Compare 20:16 to 19:30 to get the connection. To what can the kingdom of heaven be compared? How many times does the landowner go to hire workers? How long did the first hired work? How about the last hired? What did they get paid? What was the complaint and the response? (We seem to have a lot of complaining in Exodus, Jonah, and here in Matthew.)
May the Lord bless you as you read His Good Word.