March 4, Reading 1 – Exodus 23:10-33

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

The Sabbath principle worked too for the land – it had to lie fallow every seventh year. It is only in the last one hundred years that we have come to understand again that this is a good idea. The three great festivals are paralleled with the three great events of Jesus’ ministry:– His death and resurrection – Passover, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit – the Feast of Pentecost celebrating the beginning of the harvest, and the Marriage of the Lamb – the Feast of Tabernacles at the end of harvest.

SJA Notes

* Dear God, please teach us from Your word today.

“Little by little I will drive them out from before you,”

Our God is the almighty all-powerful God, the One who spun creation into being with His WORD.

But we know from His word that He often works in small ways, where meekness and humility are the hallmarks of His measure.

God knew that Israel could not cope with having the promised land conquered all at once. Instead He gave (Joshua who would lead) them a way forward.

Little by little.

God knows us too. He often works in our lives little by little.

A patient direction, a long-suffering helping hand, a quiet word here and a gentle leading there.

He works in the little bits of daily communion we have with Him. He writes His word on our hearts over years of faithful walking – Wisdom that only comes about through years and experiences that He works for our good!

* Gracious Father,

Thank You that You are at work in us, as You worked for Israel.

Thank You that You often choose to work little by little, grinding away our sharp edges over many days and years, effecting sanctification in us. Making us more like Jesus, step by step.

Please may we grow in our love for and knowledge of You Lord God – Please teach us Your ways!

Amen.

March 4, Reading 2 – Psalm 66, 67

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

Come and see! Come and listen! Psalm 66 is exuberant in joy at the wonder of God’s grace in salvation. The Psalmist rejoices over God’s way through the Red Sea and the dry Jordan. We rejoice at the way of Christ – crucifixion and resurrection.

SJA Notes

* Dear God Above, we would see Jesus today – His death and resurrection – the sign that Jonah foreshadowed.

“For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.”

David knows a deep and important truth about God.

God refines His people, purifies them, as metals through fire.

Peter takes hold of this though in the first chapter of 1 Peter,

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

This is a big sentence. You can see the vision of gold being refined through fire.

God’s word is clear. The world will hate God’s people because it hates God. And so persecution will come.

Here we have the activity of God overlaying hard times – various trials – In His sovereignty, working good out of bad.

God tries us to refine us, to remove the dross! To make us more like Jesus!

So that we are better able to serve Him, better able to show His love to those around us, better able to walk in obedience of the truth for a sincere brotherly love (keep reading 1 Peter).

* God Above,

Thank You that You are a refining fire.

Please help us love from a pure heart today, walking in obedience.

Amen.


March 4, Reading 3 – Acts 13:1-25

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

On this first missionary journey, Barnabas was the leader. In the confrontation with Bar-Jesus before Sergius Paulus, Saul takes the lead. (From this point on in Acts, Luke refers to him by his Roman name Paul.) What does this incident tell you about Barnabas as a person?

SJA Notes

* Lord God, thank You for this day. Please help us hear Your word in our ears, please write it on our hearts.

“Manaen, a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, …”

The Lord calls us from all walks of life, from the lowly through to the proud and lofty.

Look at one member of the church in Antioch.

Manaen, a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch.

Herod!

This is the Herod (a titled name) that treated Jesus with contempt and mockery, seen in Luke 23:6-12.

And yet God called a close friend of his, saving into His kingdom.

God does not operate as we would, God does not show the partiality we would.

Sometimes we can forget our God calls such as these.

This is a good reminder that the lost who Jesus came to save, these lost can be found from all of life, across the global, from the least to the greatest in human perspective, from all the great spectrum of humanity.

* Father God,

Please save our loved ones Lord, those friends and family who do not know You.

Please save those folk we meet regularly and those we bump into now and then.

Please save the poor and homeless, please save the rich and powerful, please save from the betweens.

Amen.