Exodus 1, Job 18, Hebrews 7

Read Exodus 1, Job 18, and Hebrews 7 today. This devotional is about Exodus 1.

Mary Doogan of Glasgow, Scotland retired last year after 30 years as a midwife. During her career, she helped women deliver 5000 babies.

Her retirement was not something she celebrated, however. It was not a reward for long years of dedicated service. Instead, it was forced by the hospital where she worked which required her and other midwives to supervise abortions. The hospital did not require her to perform the abortion, but it insisted that she supervise others who aborted unborn babies. As a practicing Catholic, Mary felt like supervising abortions made her as guilty as “the driver of the getaway car in an armed robbery.” Although Mary fought legally for the right to follow her conscience, she lost. Having exhausted every means of following her conscience and keeping her job, she felt she had no choice but to retire [1].

When I first read about her story, I thought immediately of Exodus 1. The midwives in Exodus were not forced to perform abortions but they were required to kill Jewish baby boys once they had been delivered. The only difference between abortion and infanticide is the location of the child being killed but that is a meaningless distinction for everyone who accepts the Bible’s authority.

Pharaoh had political and national motives for requiring the midwives to do this. He was concerned that the population explosion among the Jews would cause them to overwhelm the Egyptians. (v. 10).

The midwives disobeyed Pharaoh’s orders. They “feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.” Although they were dishonest in the reason they gave Pharaoh (v. 18), verse 20 told us that “God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.”

Was it wrong for the midwives to lie to Pharaoh?

No.

It is never wrong to use deception to stop someone’s evil plans. God’s blessing on the midwives in verse 20 shows that he was pleased by their moral choices. They were not using deception to take advantage of someone else for their own gain or to avoid accountability for their sin. Their deception was a sincere attempt to obey God rather than a human authority who was living in defiance to God’s moral laws for his own selfish, sinful purposes.

You and I are obligated to tell the truth unless the truth will be used to commit acts of evil in defiance to God. In that one way only, deception is not just warranted but the morally righteous thing to do.

I hope you and I are never put in position where we are legally ordered to do something that is wrong. But, if we are, may we have the same faith these midwives had, obeying God and trusting him, instead of allowing fear to coerce us into doing wrong.

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5373943/Catholic-midwife-ousted-refusing-oversee-abortions.html

2 Chronicles 36, Revelation 22, Malachi 4, John 21

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Chronicles 36, Revelation 22, Malachi 4, John 21. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read Malachi 4.

Our final Old Testament reading for 2016 sums up the entire message of the Bible pretty well in 6 short verses. First, God promised his day of judgment would come and destroy everyone who does evil (v. 1). But, in verse 2, he promised those who worship him (aka, “those who revere my name”) would not only escape God’s wrath, but they would also experience God’s presence dawning in their lives like the sun rising on a clear morning. His righteousness would bring healing, not destruction, for those who worship him and they would prosper (v. 2c) and participate in God’s defeat of his enemies (v. 3).

Until that happens, however, those who revere God’s name were to remember his word in obedience (v. 4). Finally, God would work to save many who are evil doers by sending his servant Elijah to turn hearts toward him and toward one another in reconciliation (vv. 5-6). This is a great passage on which to end 2016. Jesus is coming to fulfill these words; until he does, let’s hope in his promise, worship our Father, and live in obedience to his word.

My devotionals for 2017 start tomorrow but you have to subscribe to them. You will not automatically receive them if you’re subscribed to the 66in16 mailing list but, instead, you have to re-subscribe to the new list which you can find here.

If this is the end of the line for you, thank you for reading the Bible with me this year and for subscribing to and reading my devotionals. I hope they’ve been helpful to your spiritual life. If you choose not to re-subscribe to NT17, please keep the Bible reading habit going! Find or develop some kind of devotional reading plan for yourself. BibleGateway, the site that supplied the NIV text for us to read together this year, has a huge list of devotionals you can see here that you can subscribe to and read each day.

Or, if you want to do the same reading plan we did this year, Dr. D.A. Carson has a devotional blog that does what I did with 66in16–post the reading each day and include a daily devotional from one of the readings. You can see it here and subscribe to it here.

Happy new year and thanks again for reading with me this year!

2 Chronicles 35, Revelation 21, Malachi 3, John 20

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Chronicles 35, Revelation 21, Malachi 3, John 20. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read Malachi 3.

Malachi 3 began with the promise of the coming of Messiah (v. 1), then described the day of his coming in terms of cleansing (vv. 2-4) and judgment (v. 5). Many Old Testament prophecies predict in the same paragraph events that are fulfilled many years apart. Scholars compare this to looking at mountains through a telescope. From a distance, through a telescope, the mountain peaks appear to be very close together, but in reality there are miles between them. Here’s a YouTube video that explains it pretty well. So Malachi here in verse 1 predicted the coming of Messiah which was fulfilled in Jesus’ first coming, then in verses 2-5 he prophesied about what Messiah would do which will be fulfilled in Christ’s second coming.

Verse 6 reminded Israel of God’s covenant with her and that it remains valid because of God’s unchanging nature. Then, in verse 7, God called his people to repent and return to him in obedience. Specifically, he wanted them to return by tithing (v. 8). To paraphrase Jesus, “Your heart is where your money goes,” so by depriving the Lord’s work of the tithe, God’s people were showing their distance from him through financial disobedience. Verse 9 informed the people that the whole nation was under a curse for their refusal to tithe. Verse 10 commands them to bring “the whole tithe” to the temple so that his work would be provided for: “that there may be food in my house.” Then, amazingly, God commanded his people to test him (v. 10b), promising to bless them financially (v. 10c) and protect them financially, too, if they do what he has commanded.

New Testament believers question whether or not tithing is for today or whether it is part of the Old Testament civil & ceremonial law that was fulfilled in Christ. It is true that there are no New Testament commands to tithe. But the New Testament calls us to generous giving (2 Cor 9:6-15), promises eternal abundant rewards to those who give generously (Lu 6:38), and some degree of prosperity in this life so that we can continue to give (see 2 Cor 9:10-11). I believe that tithing is an excellent financial discipline for a Christian and I have seen God bless in my life and others who give generously to his work. So while there is no legalistic demand to tithe in the New Testament, the Christian who does not tithe should consider where his heart is (see Matt 6:19-21) and review the blessings God promises in the Old and New Testaments to those who worship him through financial support. It is truly a blessing to support God’s work financially. Don’t miss out on it!

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.

2 Chronicles 34, Revelation 20, Malachi 2, John 19

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Chronicles 34, Revelation 20, Malachi 2, John 19. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read Malachi 2.

Malachi was the last prophet before the New Testament era whose prophecies were written down and included in the scriptures. This means, of course, that he lived and served the Lord after Israel and Judah had returned to the promised land after they were defeated and dislocated from the land by Assyria and Babylon. God’s people, who had struggled with idolatry all the way back to Moses, were finally cured of it after they returned to the land. Although they did not serve idols any more, they still struggled with genuine worship and service to God. Malachi wrote to God’s people to remind them of God’s love (1:1-5) and call them to genuine worship. He started with the priests who were offering damaged animals as sacrifices (1:6-14) and were not teaching the Law faithfully (2:1-9).

Starting in verse 10 Malachi broadened his audience from the priests to the Jewish people generally. He accuses them of breaking faith with God by marrying foreign women who did not worship the Lord (vv. 10-12). Although these Jewish men continued to worship the Lord (v. 13) their godless wives would eventually have turned their hearts back to idols; we’ve seen this numerous times in the Old Testament with Solomon being the highest profile example. So the Lord’s concern here was preserving the exclusive worship that the Assyrian and Babylonian defeats achieved.

The issue of foreign wives is deeper, however, than the idol worship of those foreign women. In order to marry these foreign wives, these Jewish men had divorced their Jewish wives (v. 14). Malachi reminded them that God was witness to the vows they made to their Jewish wives (v. 14) and that the spiritual problems they now faced were his judgment on their unfaithfulness (v. 13). Verse 15 reminded these Jewish men that they belonged to God who made them (v. 15a) and that what he wanted from them more than anything else was a family that worshipped him just as they did (v. 15b). Unfaithfulness and divorce destroyed God’s plan for godly families and it harmed women (v. 16) who would have to provide for themselves in a society where that was very difficult for a woman to do.

Times have changed. In the Bible only men had the legal authority to divorce; now husbands and wives both can terminate a marriage. Now, women can work to earn a living for themselves if they get divorced but in the Bible, men kept their ancestral property after a divorce so they could continue to earn a living. All a woman got when she was divorced was the bride-price her husband paid to her father when they were betrothed (engaged) and even that was sometimes spent. So a woman had only a few options when her husband divorced her–become a beggar, become a prostitute, or get remarried. Moses allowed for divorce so that women could remarry; it was designed to protect them from poverty or prostitution by forcing a man to clarify that he was completely releasing (repudiating, really) his wife. It gave her the ability to show another man that she was no longer legally bound to her first husband, so it was legally acceptable for the second man to marry her.

Although times have changed, God’s will regarding marriage has not. Those of us who worship God because of Christ made a covenant to our spouse before God. God is witness to that covenant and wants you to work together with your spouse to raise godly children. Unfaithfulness to your spouse puts God on his or her side against you (vv. 13-14) so it damages your spiritual life and jeopardizes God’s plan for your family. Divorce does the same thing which is why Jesus equated divorce with adultery and only allowed it if adultery had already occurred (Matt 5:32; 19:9).

So, protect your marriage! Guard it against outsiders who may be attracted to you and may seem attractive to you. Keep the covenant you made with your spouse and work with him or her as a team to raise a godly family and to have the loving relationship you both want from somebody.

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.

2 Chronicles 33, Revelation 19, Malachi 1, John 18

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Chronicles 33, Revelation 19, Malachi 1, John 18. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read 2 Chronicles 33.

Some human governments move back and forth like a pendulum and that’s what Judah’s leadership was like at times during the divided kingdom. After all the good that Hezekiah did during his lifetime, his son Manasseh came in and reversed it all. Verse 2 declared that, “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord” and verses 3-6 catalog his sins which included idolatry (of course), desecration of the temple, child sacrifice, divination, witchcraft, and spiritism. His actions were so evil that verse 9 said, “Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.”

God graciously sent his word to Judah (v. 10), then imposed punishment on him personally (v. 11). At his lowest point, however, “he humbled himself greatly” (v. 12b), “sought the Lord’s favor” (v. 12a) and God heard and delivered him (v. 13). This was genuine repentance, too, because verse 13c said, “Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.” He also “restored the altar of the the Lord” and “told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel.”

So, if he was truly repentant and showed genuine fruit of repentance, why did verse 2 include him among the evil kings of Judah? The answer is that the phrases, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” or “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord” describes the king’s leadership more than it does his personal walk with God. Of course, those two things are deeply linked and an ungodly leader is, of course, almost always an ungodly man. Manasseh is an unusual edge case. Although he repented, his repentance came after many years of ungodly living and ungodly leadership. His soul may have been saved after his repentance, but that did not erase the influence of his ungodly life and leadership. Despite his repentance, Manasseh was an unqualified evil influence as king of Judah, so that’s why he’ll always be considered an ungodly king, despite his repentance.

Here is a lesson for us about the foolishness of sin. I don’t know if anyone sins thinking, “I’ll just ask forgiveness for this later.” Our sinful choices usually involve more kind of self-deception and justification than that. But if anyone does think that way, they are missing a very important truth: your sin and mine leaves its mark on others. It gives them a way to justify their own sinful actions, a sort of “moral permission” that really isn’t moral at all but quiets their conscience enough to let them choose evil. If you have influence over many people, many more of those people will try out your sin for themselves. May God help us say no to sin not only for our own spiritual health but also to prevent sin from spreading to those who follow our lead.

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.

2 Chronicles 32, Revelation 18, Zechariah 14, John 17

We’re in the home stretch here! Thanks for sticking with me; hope this has been helpful to your Christian  life. If you want to get these devotionals next year (aka, this Sunday), YOU WILL HAVE TO RE-SUBSCRIBE. You can do that here: https://www.calvary-bible.org/blog/start-nt17.

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Chronicles 32, Revelation 18, Zechariah 14, John 17Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read 2 Chronicles 32.

Hezekiah honored the Lord from his heart, led Judah to honor and seek the Lord, and God blessed the nation with spiritual renewal. That did not mean, however, that Hezekiah had it easy. Here in chapter 32 he had to deal with a significant military threat from Sennacherib king of Assyria. The Assyrians had built a powerful army and were intent on subjugating as many other nations as possible to their control. In verse 1, Sennacherib picked off some of the smaller fortified cities in Judah, then set his sights on defeating Jerusalem. Remember that David chose Jerusalem to be his capital because it was built on a high hill and surrounded by other mountains which made it difficult to attack successfully. Hezekiah did what he could to prepare Jerusalem for Sennacherib’s attack. He blocked off the springs of water outside the city so it wouldn’t be easy for the Assyrian army to camp there indefinitely (vv. 2-4). He also fixed the broken sections of Jerusalem’s wall and built some towers to improve surveillance around the city (v. 5a-b). He manufactured “large numbers of weapons and shields” (v. 5d) and built an outer wall and “reinforced the terraces of the City of David” (v. 5c).

[NOTE: I wrote a couple of paragraphs about the “City of David,” then decided that information really wasn’t relevant for a devotional. I included those graphs at the very end of this devotional, after my usual conclusion, if you care to read them.]

Hezekiah also prepared his army for the attack (vv. 7-8) and held fast against the propaganda war that Sennacherib waged (vv. 9-19). Most importantly, he prayed. He and Isaiah the great prophet waged war on their knees in this moment of crisis (v. 20) and God honored them by miraculously delivering Judah from Sennacherib (vv. 21-23). Later, when he contracted a fatal illness, God honored his faith and his prayers by healing him (v. 24).

What an amazing life this man led, yet because he was a man he was not immune from sin. He had many victories and much success (vv. 27-29) but he also struggled with pride (vv. 25-26). This temptation follows many people who achieve everything, or most things, they want in life. We forget how much God and others contribute to our success and we start thinking that we have all the answers and deserve everything we’ve gotten. God hates pride and those who succumb to its temptation usually find themselves humbled in some way before him. The ultimate test of pride is whether one is repentant or not when God deals a blow to their pride. Hezekiah did repent (v. 26) and God was merciful to him to a degree (v. 26b). His story reminds us to be careful about our thoughts when things go well for us. If you’ve had a great year in 2016, I am happy for you and wish you even better things in 2017 but remember to thank and praise God rather than taking too much credit in your heart. God loves humility and rewards the humble but the proud he usually brings to humility.

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.


Let’s talk about that phrase, “The City of David” for a second. Sometimes this phrase is used to describe Jerusalem generally but, in this context and most of the time, it means something more specific. When David conquered the Jebusites and took Jerusalem from them, it was more of a garrison–a fortress–than a city. David moved right into that fortress and inhabited it but outside that fortress there were still Jebusites who lived in the open fields farming the land and using it for pasture. When David angered the Lord and an angel threatened to destroy Jerusalem, David went out of the fortress called Jerusalem and bought a field from a Jebusite named Araunah. There David sacrificed an offering to God and, since he owned that land now, he dedicated it to be the site of the new temple that Solomon would build. See 2 Samuel 24 and 2 Chronicles 3:1.

So Solomon expanded Jerusalem beyond the original fortress that David took from the Jebusites and made it into a real city. The original fortress was still a walled garrison within the city of Jerusalem and THAT is what is meant by the “City of David”–the original fortress that the Jebusites built and that David took to be his capital city.

2 Chronicles 31, Revelation 17, Zechariah 13:2–9, John 16

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Chronicles 31, Revelation 17, Zechariah 13:2–9, John 16. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read 2 Chronicles 31.

Hezekiah restored the temple and the priesthood (chapter 29) led Judah to observe the Passover again after generations of ignoring it (chapter 30), and called his people to return to serving and worshipping the Lord from the heart (also chapter 30). God worked through his leadership and the people responded favorably to the Lord. The word “revival” is used whenever a large number of people turn or return to the Lord. Here in 2 Chronicles 31, we see the results of genuine revival from the heart.

The first result is the removal of idols. Idolatry was a constant struggle within Israel and Judah and even when godly kings ruled, it was still practiced in secret. After God revived the hearts of his people under Hezekiah, they voluntarily destroyed their own idols as a result (v. 1). This demonstrates a true repentance–a true turning from sin to serve the Lord alone. It is what happens in our lives, too, when God works to revive and strengthen our commitment to him.

Another result of revival is giving to the Lord’s work from the heart (vv. 2-19). The Levites and priests had abandoned their ministries, as we saw in chapter 29. This was partially due to their own disobedience and partially due to the lack of funding they were receiving from God’s people. After God worked through Hezekiah to revive the hearts of people, the people gave so generously to the Lord’s work that the priests and Levites had more than enough for themselves (vv. 9-10). How did this happen? People started tithing faithfully (vv. 5-6). When people were faithful in tithing, there was more than enough to provide for God’s work and God’s servants. In fact, there was so much more than what was needed that the priests just starting piling it up (vv. 7-8) and built storerooms to warehouse it all (vv. 11-13). In addition to providing for the priests, were two additional results to this faithful tithing. First, there was heartfelt praise and thanks to the Lord for his provision (v. 8). Second, there was adequate provision for more men to dedicate themselves to serve the Lord (vv. 16-19).

This is what happens when God works in a group of people. People stop loving and start hating and repudiating their idols and they start giving faithfully to God’s work. As God’s work is better funded, his servants are able to do more for him and a virtuous cycle begins.

What is the state of your heart before the Lord? Are you praying for God to revive the hearts of people in our church and our community?

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.