To download the Bible reading plan that our faith family started on January 1st, visit this site. There is also a guide to personal worship that you can download from that site. If you haven’t been reading along thus far, no worries! Jump on in with the current day’s reading.

Readings for This Week
Genesis 50, Exodus 1-6, & Luke 3-9

Where We Are In The Story ~ Old Testament (Genesis & Exodus)

Background of Exodus: The title “exodus” comes from the Greek word meaning “going out” or “departure” and describes the major event that occurs in the book. Exodus opens where Genesis leaves off – the descendants of Abraham are living in Egypt instead of in the Promised Land. The events in Exodus occur approximately four hundred years after Jacob’s family moved to Egypt, and as prophesied in Genesis 15, Abraham’s descendants became slaves. While Genesis highlights God as Creator, Exodus focuses on God as the Deliverer of His people, for He keeps His promise to free His people and to bring them back to the land of promise.

Structure of Exodus:

  • Exodus 1-18 focuses on the deliverance of the people Israel from Egypt and God’s provision for His people.

  • Exodus 18-24 explains God’s covenant with Israel.

  • Exodus 25-31 provides instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle and explanation for the priestly role.

  • Exodus 32-34 describes God’s response to His people’s idolatry.

  • Exodus 35-40

This Week in the Old Testament: Exodus 1 gives an overview of the nation of Israel in the 400 years or so between Joseph’s death and Moses’ birth. The people of Israel became numerous, and because of this, Pharaoh enslaved them and even began to regulate the Israelite population through murdering their male children. However, Pharaoh’s actions could not thwart God’s plan to deliver His people, and Exodus 2 introduces the man whom God would use to lead His people out of slavery. Exodus 1-2 also depict two groups of people who trusted God: the midwives whose fear of God was greater than their fear of man (even a man as powerful as Pharaoh) and Moses’ mother who trusted God to take care of her son when she placed him in the basket on the Nile. Acts 7:23-29 indicates that Moses had some understanding that God would use him in a special way, but when watching an unjust situation occur (Ex. 2:11-22), Moses took matters into his own hands and had to flee to Midian as a result.

Through the burning bush in Exodus 3, God calls Moses to lead the Israelites, and because of Moses’ insecurity, he tries to decline. He brings up his inadequacy (Ex. 3:11), his ineffectiveness (Ex. 4:1), and his incompetence (Ex. 4:10), but God instructs him to go and promises His presence and His power. In Exodus 4, God gives Moses two demonstrations of power to prove to the Israelites and to the Egyptians that God had sent him – the snake and the leprosy. Serpents were sacred in Egypt, and by transforming a staff into a snake then by having Moses’ snake consume the snakes of Pharaoh’s magicians, God demonstrates control over the spiritual powers and forces of Egypt. Through the sign of leprosy, God displays His power over illness, health, and life.

God informed Moses in advance that Pharaoh would “harden his heart” and refuse to release the Israelites (Ex. 4:21-23), but Pharaoh’s stubbornness led to a greater demonstration of God’s power and glory. Ten times in Exodus 4-14, Yahweh is the subject who hardens Pharaoh’s heart, but these same chapters also include ten references to Pharaoh hardening his own heart. Man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty both are at work in this story.

Where We Are In The Story ~ New Testament (Luke)

Background of Luke: In Luke 1: 1-4, Luke explains why he wrote this book – for his friend Theophilus (and for us) to have certainty regarding the identity of Jesus and the beliefs that Christ-followers commit themselves to. While Matthew focuses on Jesus as the Promised Messiah and Mark emphasizes that He is the Son of God, Luke depicts Jesus as Savior.

This Week in the New Testament: Unlike the other Gospels, Luke delves more into the birth and life of John the Baptist, and he does so to demonstrate the fulfillment of God’s promises with regards to the Messiah and to the Messiah’s forerunner. In Luke 4:16-30, Jesus claims to fulfill the role promised in Isaiah 61, and Luke 4-9 provides snapshots of Jesus fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecies on a small scale through healing the sick and liberating those who were demon-possessed. Luke 4-9 also describes the opposition Jesus faced in His earthly ministry from people in His hometown (Lk. 4:16-30) and from the scribes and Pharisees (Lk. 5:17-6:11). But throughout the Gospel, Luke describes the triumph of God over the opposition of people and demons, for nothing can hinder His purpose and plan. Luke 6:20-49 also contains a shorter version of Jesus’ teachings from the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 4-7), and Luke’s version is often called the “Sermon on the Plain.”