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Judges 1 to 3

The book of Judges covers a period of several hundred years following the conquest of Canaan, during which time individual leaders called judges ruled the people. Their task was primarily to expelSee More the enemy from the land. Throughout this period of Israel’s history we can observe a tragic cycle: rebellion against God; followed by the judgement of God, usually in the form of foreign invasion; the cry of the children of Israel for God to help; and a “judge” then sent to save them. This cycle is repeated numerous time throughout the book. Tragically, the people never seemed to learn that rebellion against God is a sure road to disaster. The grimm lesson of Judges is that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Sin takes many forms, from the sophisticated sins of kings to the barbaric events that close the book, but the net result is always the same: When people do their own thing, chaos and destruction are the inevitable outcomes (Judges 21:25). Through it all, however, God in His faithfulness saves the people when they truly repent and turn to Him. Written by Samuel, according to Jewish tradition.

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Exodus 8 to 12

Exodus deals with the significant facts surrounding Israel’s emergence as a nation. The book describes Moses’ great leadership in accepting God’s call to return to Egypt and leadSee More God’s people to freedom. God sent the ten devastating plagues upon Egypt because Pharaoh refused to obey his command to let the people go. The ceremony of Passover was established during the last plague and became a permanent memorial of God’s deliverance of Israel. The Israelites crossed the sea and arrived at Mt. Sinai, where God gave the ten commandments and the plan for the Tabernacle and renewed his covenant with the nation. The power of God over evil becomes evident in his defeat of the enemies of his people and his deliverance of his people from bondage, but God expects his people to trust and obey him in return. Worship in the Tabernacle and adherence to the law were two aspects of Israel’s obedience. The New Testament sees the Passover lamb as a figure of Christ, the Lamb of God (1 Corinthians 5:7).                       

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1 Timothy

Paul wrote this letter near the end of his life. He addressed it to his associate Timothy, whom he had left in Ephesus to correct some problems in the church there. The Ephesian church struggled withSee More doctrine, church practice, church government, and various aspects of Christian living; Paul gave Timothy instructions concerning these matters. He also wrote to encourage Timothy so that he would not become weary in his Christian life but would live wholeheartedly for the glory of God. Paul also includes specific regulations for the ordination of church officers. The importance of right belief and right behavior forms the theme of this book. Paul stresses that we must know the truth and defend it when false doctrines arise. We must also be very careful to live lives that are consistent with that doctrine so that Satan will not get an advantage over the people of God. Paul also emphasizes the importance of choosing dedicated and pure-hearted believers to lead the church.

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Psalms 39 to 49

According to Jewish tradition, David wrote 73 Psalms; Asaph wrote 12; the sons of Korah wrote 9; Solomon wrote 2; Heman (with the sons of Korah), Ethan, and Moses each wrote 1; and 51 Psalms areSee More anonymous. The New Testament ascribes two of the anonymous Psalms (Psalms 2 and 95) to David (see Acts 4:25; Hebrews 4:7). Written between the time of Moses (about 1440 BC) and the Babylonian captivity (586 BC).
The favorite book of today was also a favorite in antiquity and was used then in much the same way we use a hymn book today, for public and private worship. In Psalms we can see the different ways in which believers over several centuries related to God. The bring to God every human mood and feeling—sorrow and joy, anger and peace, doubt and faith, repentance and praise. They recount God’s past faithfulness, their present struggles, and their visions of a glorious future. Numerous portions of the Psalms also portray God’s Messiah, Jesus Christ, in his suffering and in his glory. The book of Psalms teaches principally that God has a personal concern for his people and that he wants us to come to him just as we are. We need not solve our problems before we go to him—-we go to him for the solutions. Wherever we are, however we feel, whatever we have done—-if we offer ourselves to God, he will help us and give us strength to live again.