In keeping with the Bible reading plan we are using, the last days of each month are designated as “free days.” April 26-30 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…

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Ruth 4, Psalm 94, Mark 9:14-32, 1 Corinthians 16 Ruth 4: The rest of the story is simply told, and nonetheless beautiful and powerful for that. Boaz has purposed to “redeem” Ruth (Ruth 3:12-13), and so goes to the town gate (4:1), where important transactions such as this were taken place in public. He asks the relative who…

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Ruth 2-3, Psalm 93, Mark 9:1-13, 1 Corinthians 15:29-58   Ruth 2-3: The romance starts to grow and we begin increasingly to get a sense that this is part of a larger, majestic, and divinely appointed story of redemption. Ruth “happened” to go to the field where her kinsman-redeemer was present to protect her (2:3). This little narrative…

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Ruth 1, Psalm 92, Mark 8:31-38, 1 Corinthians 15:1-28   Ruth 1: Ruth is one of the most beautiful stories in the Old Testament. Finely crafted, it resonates with romance and intrigue, the soft light of summer evenings and the warmth of long summer days. Throughout this story there is an emphasis upon the sovereignty of God and…

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Judges 20-21, Psalm 91, Mark 8:22-30, 1 Corinthians 14:26-40 Judges 20-21: The last line of today’s reading once again summarizes the chaos that is unfolding upon Israel: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (21:25). This time the chaos is intermixed with religious devotion and attempts to…

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Judges 19, Psalm 90, Mark 8:14-21, 1 Corinthians 14:1-25 Judges 19: Judges 19 begins with the repeated warning that things are decaying: “In those days there was no king in Israel” (v. 1). Without moral authority, without a commitment to God as the Judge, without a sense of what is right and what is wrong ruling, then the…

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Judges 17-18, Psalm 89:19-52, Mark 8:1-13, 1 Corinthians 13 Judges 17-18: Matthew Henry comments about this part of the story of Judges that “spiritual distempers are not so soon cured as caught.” It is a wise observation, because the story here tells how one man’s idolatry spread piece-by-piece to a great city, Shiloh, and had a great impact.…

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Judges 16, Psalm 89:1-18, Mark 7:24-37, 1 Corinthians 12:14-31   Judges 16: The famous story, beautifully traced out in Milton’s Samson Agonistes, is a lesson to all who think that morality does not matter if you have ability. Samson “went,” “saw,” and then “went in” (v. 1). At each step he had an opportunity to reverse his decline.…

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Judges 13-15, Psalm 88, Mark 7:1-23, 1 Corinthians 12:1-13 Judges 13-15: Samson is perhaps the strangest of these judges, almost a crypto-superhero figure with enormous powers and odd/questionable behavior. It begins purely enough with this mother and father having a supernatural visit from an angel of the Lord, who announces that they are to have a child—in language…

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Why Did It Happen? Like you, I have seen a number of different theological comments about COVID-19. Why did it happen? Why did God allow it to happen? What sort of answer might Christians have to this crisis? Perhaps also like you, I have not found any of the theological reflections particularly satisfying. People seem to…

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