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  • Pastor John

Week 8 May 20, 2020

What we are reading this week (beginning Wednesday, May 19, 2020):

• Genesis 50

• Exodus 1-6

• Isaiah 50-56

• Luke 6-12

• Psalms 50-56

Notes on Genesis

We finish off another book! And a long one, at that!

We have just seen the death of Jacob. What a life he had lived: deceiving his brother, running from home, visions of heaven, duped into marrying the wrong woman; having four wives, twelve sons, and endless problems; reuniting with Joseph, and then dying in Egypt.

Joseph also dies in chapter 50. There well may have been other brothers that had preceded him in death.

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Jacob’s family, the Hebrews, grew and expanded quickly in their new home in Egypt until they became a threat. The new Pharaoh handed down a death sentence on Hebrew baby boys (compare that with Herod’s order in Matthew 2), and put all of them into slavery.

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Moses is born in chapter 2. His mother puts him in a basket and shoves him down the river. It is unimaginable to even try to think what that was like for her. However, her eldest daughter Miriam followed along the shore to see what would happen. And through the power and providence of God, Moses ended up back at home with his own mother, now being paid to raise her own son.

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Many years pass in chapter two. After growing up in Pharaoh’s household, Moses commits a murder, and is chased out of the kingdom. It is unclear when he became aware of the fact that he was a Hebrew.

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Moses encounters the burning bush in chapter 3, and is given his commission: Go to Pharaoh and extract about 2 million slaves who had been held for over 400 years by the most powerful man on earth. No problem with that.

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God gives Moses a primer on miracles in chapter 4. One of those (in verse 7) is not used in Pharaoh’s court, at least as far as we know per the Biblical record.

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Chapter 5: Things get worse before they get better. Pharaoh basically laughs in Moses’ face and makes life even more miserable for the Hebrews. Moses is understandably confused and upset, and his fellow Hebrews are not impressed, and not happy.

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God assures Moses in chapter 6 that he has everything in control. He sends Moses back to encourage his brothers, but they are not in the mood to hear it.

A family record of Moses is then given. At the end of the chapter, Moses begins to complain to God that he would be unable to complete his assignment.

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Notes on Isaiah

Isaiah rocks back and forth between rebuke and coming glory (chapters 50 and 51). The intensity of future glory builds through chapter 52, and at the end of the chapter, promises regarding the Messiah emerge.

However, that picture is one of a suffering servant. Chapter 53 is one of the most powerful, yet sobering in its portrayal of the torture and pain of the future Messiah.

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The focus of Chapter 54 then reverts back to the coming glory of Israel.

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The next chapter, 55, is a wonderful invitation on several levels from the Lord to us. The power of his Word is laid out beautifully in verses 8-11.

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Salvation extended to those outside Israel is outlined in chapter 56. But the chapter closes with rebukes to the wicked.

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Notes on Luke

Jesus chooses his twelve disciples in chapter 6. Then we find Luke’s version of the beatitudes in verses 20-23, but then extends into woes in 24-26.

Some may wonder why these words are different than those in Matthew. Undoubtedly, Jesus repeated his sermons many times as he traveled from place to place. These two accounts may have been from two entirely different sermons given at different places. Jesus most likely didn’t repeat himself word for word each day.

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A lot of things happen in chapter 7. Luke, always fascinated by healings, tells of the healing of a centurion’s servant. This centurion was Roman, not Jewish. But he understood authority, and could see from his Gentile perspective how things worked in the unseen spiritual world—that demons had to submit to Jesus, just like his men submitted to him, and how he himself submitted to his superiors.

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Then Jesus raises a widow’s son from the dead. This is one of three times he raises the dead. Notice that he addresses the youth in verse 14: “Young man, I say to you, get up!” He had such authority, if he had not been specific, there would have been a general resurrection!

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John the Baptist falls on hard times and sends his disciples to Jesus to see if he somehow missed something. Jesus says quite a lot about John after they find him and relay the message. “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John.” That is a ringing endorsement!

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The story of Jesus’ anointing by a sinful woman 36-50 gives us tons us insight into the nature of the kingdom of God.

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Jesus launches into parables in chapter 8. Then we see a series of miracles: calming the storm, restoring a demon-possessed man, healing a woman, and raising a little girl from the dead.

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In chapter 9, Jesus sends his disciples out on a test mission. Then he miraculously feeds five thousand (you may want to compare the four gospel versions of this event); then he has some special interaction with his disciples.

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Peter is the first to declare Jesus the Messiah (verse 20). Then Jesus predicts his death, followed by the Mount of Transfiguration. Here only nine chapters into Luke (with a total of 24), Jesus begins to make the big turn toward the cross.

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Jesus sends out the larger group of 72 disciples at the opening of chapter 10.

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Jesus then gives us the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is the only gospel with this special story. “Good Samaritan” was an oxymoron to an established Jew. Look at verses 36-37: The expert in the law could not even bring himself to say the word “Samaritan.”

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Mary and Martha is a very special story. Martha was not a bad person. She was the older sister, and had a wonderful heart. Jesus just need to make a slight adjustment in her heart, not an overhaul.

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In chapter 11, Jesus gave a teaching on prayer (including The Lord’s Prayer). Then, through some circumstances which involved demons, he sets his sights on the hypocrisy of his enemies, and unloads.

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Chapter 12 wraps up this week with a ton of teaching from Jesus on a variety of subjects.

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Notes on Psalms

Asaph, another frequent contributor, gives us Psalm 50

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Psalm 51 is one of the most beloved and recited psalms, where we find David repenting of his sin with Bathsheba.

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David writes the rest of the psalms for this week, 52-56. Read the notes at the beginning, as most of them describe specific situations that David faced when these were written.

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