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March 2: Guards

March 02, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 3-4; Psalm 49; Matthew 21:33-46; Romans 1:18-32 Numbers 3-4: These chapters consist of more organizing and logistics. This time there is some extra particular theological rationale: as God redeemed his people at the Passover, so his people are to live like redeemed people. The firstborn son which is, in a sense, Israel, redeemed by God, is God’s, and the Levites operate as token of that in their special service to God in the temple. What is striking about this part of the organization is the necessity for guarding the tent of meeting from God’s people. There is a barrier, and unholy things cannot touch the holy. Moses and the priests camp on the east (3:38), the Kohathites to the south (3:29), the Merarites to the north (3:35), and the Gershonites to the west (3:23) (those being the sons of Levi, 3:17). Special guard…

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March 1: A Journey in the Wilderness

March 01, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 1-2; Psalm 48; Matthew 21:23-32; Romans 1:1-17 Numbers 1-2: The book of “Numbers” describes how God’s people journey in the wilderness, first to the border of the Promised Land, and then, because of their disobedience, in the wilderness another forty years instead of entering the Promised Land. The Hebrew title, then, for the book is in many ways more exact: “in the wilderness.” (The English title “numbers” comes from the prominent censuses in the book.) That said, the book begins with a lengthy census of the tribes and clans of Israel (1:1-46), and a description of how they are to be organized according to each clan (2:34). Evidently, Moses had an extraordinarily large responsibility in taking care of this number of people, this congregation being a massive group of individuals, families, and children. There is the necessity of organization, and they set out…

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February 26-29, 2016

February 26, 2016:

In keeping with the Bible reading plan we are using, the last days of each month are designated as "free days." February 26-29 then are intended to allow you to catch up on reading you may have missed or to study passages more in depth that intrigued you during the first 25 days of the month. With this in mind, God Centered Bible will not have a devotional for February 26-29, but will pick back up on March 1, 2016, with the Book of Numbers. We welcome your comments also during these days with insights you've found during the first 25 days. To receive God Centered Bible devotionals directly in your inbox, sign up here.

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February 25: Covenant Fidelity

February 25, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Leviticus 26-27; Psalm 47; Matthew 21:12-22; Acts 28:17-31 Leviticus 26-27: Leviticus concludes with promises and warnings. Undergirding all is the sovereign plan of God to use his people to bring in a Redeemer that will finally rescue his people from their sin. “I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the Lord” (Lev. 26:45). Even though discipline will come for disobedience, God’s covenant will not be finally revoked, and his plan will remain. That said, there are very real, great, and significant consequences for obedience, as well as for disobedience. Obedience to God results in blessing: all things being equal, the world works in such a way that following God and his law tends to result in blessing. This…

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Sermon Video: Why the Future Is Bright for Christianity

February 24, 2016:

Below, on February 21, 2016, Josh Moody preached a message on “Why the Future Is Bright for Christianity" in the sermon series “Confident.” Taken from Romans 8:23-25, this message is about how we live in the "now and not yet," both groaning and hoping, and how we can resolve to live in light of these truths. Discussion questions about this sermon can be found here.

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February 24: God and the Poor

February 24, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Leviticus 24-25; Psalm 46; Matthew 21:1-11; Acts 28:1-16 Leviticus 24-25: These chapters begin with regulations for worship—the lamps and the bread (24:1-9)—and then are interrupted by an event where a man whose father was an Egyptian and whose mother was an Israelite got into fight with another Israelite and in the tussle ended up blaspheming God’s name (24:10-16). It is unclear what the right judgment is for this offense, and God then reveals his will to Moses: the man who blasphemed shall be put to death. This, again, seems uncontrollably harsh to modern readers, and we are to remember once more that we no longer live in a theocracy, and that the only solution to all of our sins is the atoning work of Christ on the cross. God explains the justice of the situation by then giving the undergirding principle of justice: eye for…

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February 23: Feasts!

February 23, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Leviticus 21-23; Psalm 45; Matthew 20:17-34; Acts 27:27-44 Leviticus 21-23: Leviticus 21 explains how the office of priest does not exclude him from having to have both real and ceremonial holiness, and in fact the standards are higher for him and his family. It also stipulates exactly what degrees of next of kin can eat of the food from the ceremonial cult and what degrees cannot, presumably to protect against its abuse. The general picture given is that both animals that are sacrificed, and the ones doing the sacrifice, are set apart as special, in order to indicate the holiness of God and his purity, and their holiness and the purity of God is in no way to be sullied. Leviticus 23 lists the appointed feasts. Of great interest for Old Testament aficionados and New Testament exegetical geeks alike, it is fascinating to see not…

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February 22: Be Holy

February 22, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Leviticus 18-20; Psalm 44; Matthew 20:1-16; Acts 27:1-26 Leviticus 18-20: These chapters obviously have some tricky elements to them, and it is worth reading them in a slightly unusual way in order to be able to unpack their meaning. Start with the end in mind! If you look at verses 22 to 26 of chapter 20, you will see God gives the explanatory grid that undergirds all these instructions—an explanation that is also interwoven throughout all the different laws, expressed in various ways in these chapters. God says, "You shall therefore keep all my statutes and all my rules and do them, that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out.  And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested…

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February 21: Atonement

February 21, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Leviticus 16-17; Psalm 43; Matthew 19:16-30; Acts 26:19-32 Leviticus 16-17: Now at last we come to slightly more familiar territory! The Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month, a special fast day, where God’s people are to have their sins “atoned,” or paid for, the punishment that they deserve is taken, as God’s holy wrath against an unholy people is propitiated. There are various instructions, summarized far more briefly in Numbers 29:7-11, that show how the priest is to act on this special day. There is also the somewhat mysteriously named “Azazel” goat (16:6-10) (as it is transliterated, literally rendered, from the Hebrew in the ESV version, or as it is traditionally translated “scapegoat,” reflecting the thinking that the word was meaning the goat that was sent away). But however mysterious or otherwise may be the actual name of the goat, its…

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February 20: God with Us

February 20, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Leviticus 14-15; Psalm 42; Matthew 19:1-15; Acts 26:1-18 Leviticus 14-15: Once again we are diving into the precise regulations for maintaining healthy communal living in a tight-knit, ancient society, immersed at a time without modern medical procedures, modern plumbing or building materials, and the like. Various skin diseases could easily spread; mold in houses could easily spread; human “emissions” and bleeding could carry infection, and various laws are required. However, what is interesting about these laws is that the grounding of them—indicated over and over again by the stipulation that sacrifices are required for the reintroduction of the unclean into the community—is that such order has a witnessing component to it. Leviticus 15:31: “Thus you shall keep the people of Israel separate from their uncleanness, lest they die in their uncleanness by defiling my tabernacle that is in their midst.” It is also worth noting,…

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