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Week 2 April 8, 2020

What we are reading this week:

• Genesis 8-14

• Isaiah 8-14

• Psalms 8-14

• Matthew 8-14

Welcome to week two! I'm posting this a day early (we should be reading the "sevens" today), but this will give you a head start on preparing to read this week.

Were you able to keep up? I fell behind one day this week, and the reality of how hard it is to catch up reared its ugly head. I need some of the Word every day, not huge chunks sporadically!

Enjoy the post and enjoy your read! Please don't hesitate to post your own thoughts and/or questions.


Notes on Genesis

Opening up the ark and stepping out into a brand, new world must have been overwhelmingly exhilarating as well as terrifying. Everything new. Everything else dead and gone. The lay of the land was most likely severely transformed. I personally think the mountains were formed during this storm, and that would have been something to see for the first time!


Birds are significant throughout the Bible. In Jesus’ parables, they were indications of evil (see Matthew 13.4). Yet the Holy Spirit came down descended “like a dove” at Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3.16).

In the story of Noah, the raven settled sooner than the dove. This because the raven would have scavenged a carcass. A dove, being a clean animal, would not do this.

Noah had seven pairs of each of the clean animals, so there were plenty to offer in sacrifices without eliminating any species (8.20).


Covenants were common between God and his people. There was normally an altar or some other article built in remembrance. In the case of Noah, God used the rainbow.


Many are familiar with the phrase, “Be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” This was given to Adam, to Noah, and to Jacob.


We find the first genealogy in chapter ten. I always look through these for items of interest that the casual observer would miss.

1. One of Ham’s sons is Egypt. Yes, the name of the nation had a namesake. This has to be the most enduring name of any nation based on someone’s name in world history.

2. Eber, from verse 25, is the name from which we get Hebrew.

Do some of your own hunting!


Chapter 11 is the Tower of Babel. Things are still pretty primitive. For what it’s worth, Job probably lived somewhere between chapter nine and chapter twelve of Genesis.


We meet Abraham (Abram) for the first time in chapter 12. We don’t get an indication why God chose him (he came from a pagan family), but he was a good choice. Notice the promises given him in the first three verses.

A famine drives him to Egypt. Everyone seems to go to Egypt when there is trouble, from Joseph and his brothers to Mary and Joseph; and there are several other instances throughout the Bible, as well.


God blesses Abram and his nephew Lot. They are both blessed so much that they have to separate in chapter 13. Abram gives Lot the choice, and he selfishly chooses the best land for himself… the land of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Starting in verse 14, God renews and clarifies some of the promises to Abram.


In chapter 14, Abram will bail out Lot from a terrifying experience, before the Sodom and Gomorrah issue.


And we meet Melchizedek in 14.18. He is a fascinating character, but in many ways is more significant in a symbolic than actual way.


Notes on Isaiah

The promise of the son in chapter seven is fulfilled partially by Isaiah’s own son in 8.14. Its full realization will be through the birth of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us.


There are many “woes” throughout Isaiah, it’s almost a theme song. There are some powerful verses to note. See, e.g., 8.12-14, 17.


Isaiah 9 opens full Messianic. We’re familiar with these verses, especially verse 6.


However, what will become a recurring phrase is brought in for the first time at the end of verse 12 regarding the wretched spiritual state of the people of God: “Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.”


Chapter 11 is also Messianic, from verses 1-5, then turns to the Millennium for the remainder of the chapter.


Chapter twelve is a psalm of praise.


We find an amazing encounter in chapter 14 of what appears to be the humiliating entrance of Satan into hell, as the onlookers are shocked at how feeble and small he appears to be for all the press he has been given.


Notes on Matthew

The action is fast and furious. In your reading, do not rush through the gospels. We see in this week’ chapters the full array of Jesus’ ministry on display: healing the sick, casting out demons, calming the storm, teaching, putting up with criticism. Note the references to the Old Testament. Matthew was written to the Jew, and he is documenting Jesus as Messiah throughout.

In chapter ten, he sends the disciples out on a test run. It surprises and amazes me that he did this, because these guys were so completely clueless at this time, it seems like they would only be knowledgeable enough to be dangerous.

However, we know that Jesus knew what he was doing!

In his commissioning of this project in this chapter, he also launches into some end times issues.


In chapter 11, John the Baptist is in prison, and is discouraged. Jesus sends him a word of encouragement, and then spends time commending his ministry. John was the only true peer Jesus ever had.


Jesus will begin to stir up his enemies. When he claims in 12.6 that he is greater than the Temple, there should be no surprise when we read of plans for his death eight verses later.


We find great stretches of teaching here, and we need to hang onto every word. However, Mary and Jesus’ family thought that he had gone off the deep end, and tried to contain him in 12.46-50.


The greatest collection of Jesus’ parables are found together in chapter 13. His genius in teaching is on full display, as he uses simple things that everyone understands to explain the magnificent Kingdom of God.


John is killed at the opening of chapter 14. If you read all of the gospel accounts of this, you will see that this was very, very hard on Jesus. As he fed the five thousand that day, the crowds were delighted, but he was hurting badly inside.

Walking on the water that night, we see the disciples amazed, but Jesus again was dealing with deep pain, and perhaps made this walk to get as far away from others as he could (see Mark 6.48c).


Notes on Psalms

Chapter eight is one that you would do well to consider memorizing in its entirety. It’s only nine verses (and two of them are identical!).


In 11.5, we read for the only time that I know of in the Bible people that God hates. It says he hates the wicked “with a passion.” I had a very judgmental person use this verse to explain why it was okay to hate the people he was street-preaching to. How would you respond to him?


If you have been waiting on God for a long time for something, spend some quality time in Psalm 13.

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