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June 7: Pride Comes Before a Fall

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Kings 11, Psalm 119:49-56, Luke 2:21-40, Ephesians 4:1-16 1 Kings 11: Is this the saddest sentence in Scripture (v. 1-2)? Perhaps we cannot say that—we can think of sentences attributed to Judas, or Ananias and Sapphira—but this opening sentence to chapter 11 certainly numbers among the greatest disappointments. What had Solomon not been given? What else could he have possibly desired? Was he not wise? And why then did he turn from the path of wisdom to folly, and forsake pure-hearted obedience to God (v. 3-8)? The answer to these questions, at one level, is quite simple. Solomon loved many foreign women (v. 1). And where the heart is, there soon goes the will, the devotion, and the center of spiritual gravity. He began to worship the gods that these pagan believers brought with them (v. 5)—and so disobeyed the specific instruction given to him by God himself (v. 2,...

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June 6: Treasure in Heaven

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Kings 9-10, Psalm 119:41-48, Luke 2:1-20, Ephesians 3:14-21 1 Kings 9-10: At the moment of highest success, God appears again to Solomon for the second time (9:2). And this time God’s word to Solomon is both affirming and warning (9:3-9). The continued blessing of God towards Solomon, his heirs, the temple he has built, is a conditional promise based upon Solomon’s ongoing obedience, and that of his children too. “But if you turn aside from following me…” (9:6), God says—there is a warning, a warning that Solomon and many, if not all of his children, evidently failed to heed. While our salvation is entirely of grace, such salvation must evidence itself in true faithfulness to God. A man who worships other gods of stock and tone, of money and sensuality and personal vain ambition, is proving that he is not truly following God after all. “Choose this day,” as Joshua...

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June 5: Celebrate with Joy!

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Kings 8, Psalm 119:33-40, Luke 1:67-80, Ephesians 3:1-13 1 Kings 8: Now comes the time to consecrate and celebrate. First the ark itself is brought into the temple (v. 1-11). In the ark, we are told, is nothing but the tablets of stone that Moses put there at Horeb (v. 9). Many sacrifices, so many that they cannot be counted, are performed as the ark is brought into the temple (v. 5), and once there “a cloud filled the house of the Lord” (v. 10). Symbolizing God’s presence, “the glory of the Lord filled the house” (v. 11). Solomon then “blesses the Lord”; that is, he declares that the Lord is blessed—and does so by way of celebrating and praising God that he has kept his promises to his people (v. 12-21). He then offers a prayer of dedication (v. 22-53). Note that he does not think that God literally...

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June 4: A Tale of Two Houses

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Kings 6-7, Psalm 119:25-32, Luke 1:57-66, Ephesians 2:11-22 1 Kings 6-7: These two chapters describe the building of two houses. The first is the house of the Lord. We are given very precise dates for when the building of this house began (6:1). This is a significant moment in the life of Israel. Plus, the dates are specifically marked by the Exodus. This house is the fulfillment of a long promise to God’s people that they are to come out and worship God. Now Solomon is building this house of God. Lots of details are given regarding the shape and material of the house, depicted visually in many a study Bible or commentary so you can imagine what it would have been like. For our purposes, the most significant stipulation is in verses 11-13. The blessing that the building of the house seems to represent is, Solomon must remember, conditional...

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June 3: True Wisdom

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Kings 4-5, Psalm 119:17-24, Luke 1:39-56, Ephesians 2:1-10 1 Kings 4-5: The story of Solomon’s excellence continues. He is now king over all Israel, and the author tells how he administered his domain through wise delegation to various high officials and with their responsibilities appropriately defined (4:1-19). The people of God are now as many as the sand by the sea (4:20); the promises of the expansive number of the people of God given so long ago to Abraham are now beginning to be fulfilled. What is more, they are prospering financially as well—we are told of the government not just running a surplus but having bountiful wealth poured into it (4:21-28). Plus, Solomon himself has wisdom like the sand on the seashore too: the people are numerous, according to God’s promise, and Solomon’s wisdom is expansive also according to God’s promise (4:29-34). There is not, apparently, a cloud on the...

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June 2: Wisdom

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Kings 2-3, Psalm 119:9-16, Luke 1:26-38, Ephesians 1:15-23 1 Kings 2-3: David’s final instructions to Solomon are suitably brutal (2:5-9). How are we to think of these things? Is this a final sign of David’s less than mature spirituality, seeking vengeance with the last breath of his body? Or is it a real-politic leadership that, while plainly inappropriate for a New Testament church leader, in the world of secular state leadership, requires life and death decisions be made—and be made on occasion with decisive force? To my mind, the text seems, if understood in right context, to suggest the latter. As Solomon, in one way or another, fulfills his father’s instructions to kill this one and that one (2:28-46), he is doing so with an expressed intention not of vengeance but of justice. David has sworn to not act in justice on certain individuals himself, but that does not mean...

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June 1: Succession Battle

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Kings 1, Psalm 119:1-8, Luke 1:1-25, Ephesians 1:1-14 1 Kings 1: David is now old and advanced in years, and like many older people is finding it hard to stay warm (1:1). David’s servants come up with a novel solution: they find a young (and beautiful) woman to come and sleep with David (1:2-4)—physical contact but not sexual. It is a strange solution, and one about which the author of 1 Kings remains stonily silent. Perhaps it was an opportunity for Abishag. At any rate, given David’s advanced years, perhaps also bed-bound by now, one of David’s sons, Adonijah, decides that the time is ripe to make himself king (1:5). He is looking forward to the apparently imminent moment when his father will die, and so he gathers around him some of the powerful men of the land and tells them that one day he will be king. Adonijah had...

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May 26-31, 2016

In keeping with the Bible reading plan we are using, the last days of each month are designated as “free days.” May 26-31 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 May 26-31, but will pick back up on June 1, 2016, with 1 Kings. 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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May 25: Great David’s Greater Son

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Samuel 23-24, Psalm 118, Mark 16, Galatians 6 2 Samuel 23-24: David’s last words are characteristic of him. They begin, editorially, to describe who he was: raised up by God, anointed, the sweet psalmist of Israel (23:1). Clearly, this last description meant much to David for he begins by telling of the words he was given by God: “The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me” (23:2). He tells how a ruler who rules justly by God’s word is one who “dawns on people like the morning light” (23:3-4). Authority itself is not bad. Bad authority is bad; good authority is a blessing from God and sheds light on us like the dawn. On the other hand, “worthless men” are like “thorns that are thrown away” (23:6). David understands the might, love, and holy justice of God. He is a man who lived in the fear of the Lord. We...

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May 24: Worthy to Be Praised

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Samuel 22, Psalm 117, Mark 15:42-47, Galatians 5:13-26 2 Samuel 22: This chapter is one long song, written by David, to praise God for his deliverance. David realizes now that he is finally established: all his enemies are defeated, and he has been rescued from Saul and the nefarious effects of Saul’s reign. David’s response—as a man after God’s own heart—is praise. David recognizes whence came the source of all his victories: from God. The image of “rock” is used, and repeated, and reflects a fortress image of God as our safety and security. The song refers back to Hannah’s prophetic prayer at the beginning of 1 Samuel—“the horn” is exalted (1 Samuel 2:1, 10; 2 Samuel 22:3). This symbol of strength is connected to the “anointed” (2 Samuel 22:51; 1 Samuel 2:10), meaning first David, but then by prophetic extension over the horizon to the Anointed, the Messiah Jesus...

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