Week 4

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Week 4

Genesis 27-45

There are so many times in my life when I’ve felt like all events are leading to a setback. What happens when things don’t quite go our way? A friend and I were driving through Colorado one day. Looking at the map, the road looked like a perfect shortcut through a high mountain pass. It was unpaved, but labeled as passable, and there was no word about needing a high clearance vehicle. We were driving a small Toyota Corolla up this mountain, into a beautiful pass. The road was getting worse and worse. Darkness was threatening, and the rocks on the road were growing larger and larger. We kept hearing them scrape against the bottom of the little Toyota, until we finally encountered some that much larger than the WHEELS of the car.

We would have to turn around, but wait, that wasn’t quite possible. We’d have to back up a ways, then turn around, go down the mountain, and around through another pass that was paved. We would be hours behind plan, we were risking not getting enough rest for the rest of the trip. Definite setback. The shortcut turned out to be a huge mistake that years later my friend still reminds me that I was the one who chose that road.

This week, we will spend a majority of the days reading the story of Joseph, a person whose life seemed to be one setback after another. His brothers want to kill him, he is a victim of human trafficking, he gets a quaint stay in a small room with bars, none of which we would ascribe to someone who was successful or even on the right track. He was separated from his family, unable to return, and unjustly accused of sexual assault. Upon first glance, setback after setback seems to lead him to destruction.

But things take a turn when he meets some fellow prisoners. Formerly working for the Pharaoh, these servants were thrown into prison with Joseph. As people tend to do, they share stories, talk about what they’ve experienced, and listen to each other as they react to what the others say. Joseph told them about their dreams, but then two years pass with nothing but time in jail. Until one day he is called out to talk to Pharaoh about dreams.

Quickly promoted from prisoner to something akin to the Chief of Staff in the kingdom. He was able to use his position to set the kingdom up to survive an upcoming famine. But that wasn’t the end of God’s plan for Joseph, he was able to meet his brothers again and help them survive the famine as well. What kind of forgiveness would that entail? How would he be able to build a good relationship after all he had experienced because of them over the past couple of decades?

Most of us would not be able to make that jump of forgiveness. But it is likely those years in jail, the time of communion with God and dependence on him that allowed Joseph to know that it was the right thing to do, even though it would be hard. He was able to get some time alone with them, and then convinced them to come to Egypt where he is happily united with his father. In the midst of setbacks and severe famine, Joseph is able to provide for his family in ways that no one could have ever imagined possible.

This picture of redemption is amazing. The forgiveness that Joseph shows to those who wronged him and the way he provides for them foreshadows how God forgives us in our sin and provides a Savior when we do not deserve it at all.

When we have setbacks in our lives – no matter if it is because we seem to be treated unfairly or events are conspiring against us, it is the story of Joseph that helps us keep our eyes on God. Joseph was a man of patience, character, and integrity. He had the confidence that God will come through for him with amazing timing. Are you ready for that? In the midst of adversity, setbacks, and suffering are you ready for God to come through with perfect timing?

Driving over a mountain pass in a car that would not make it was definitely my fault, but God honored our patience in the midst of the setback. I don’t remember the next day, but I do remember the wonderful trip my friend and I had. The setback was a problem for a moment, but it became exactly what we needed at the time and was not a problem at all in the long run because of God’s unfailing grace in our lives.

Let’s all ask ourselves about our reactions to setbacks. Do you trust in God’s plan? How much do you need God’s grace? How have you seen His grace in your life? How have you seen His grace this week, or even today?

See y’all Sunday!

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Week 3

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Week 3

Job 38-42
Genesis 12-26

Time doesn’t stop in the reading plan, moving forward from Job we jump right into Abraham. When did you first learn about him and the covenant? What do you remember? I started to follow Christ in high school, so I missed all the fun Sunday School lessons that many people experienced. Reading for the first time of this guy who was told to leave what he loved and trusted, to a new land, to be a father of nations I was surprised that he did it. And more surprised at God’s promise as the story unfolds, the promise of a son, and Abraham’s faithfulness. I wondered why Sarah didn’t get furious with him so many times. I had heard about him in the many places in the rest of the Bible he is mentioned, but the perspective of reading his story all at once was different.

In just a few chapters of Genesis, which we will read in 4 days, Abraham’s entire life is covered. His entire life that lays a foundation for what comes next in redemption as well as the foundation for the rest of God’s plan for his people in history is easy to read quickly and not internalize or understand.

Abraham is not perfect, but he was ordained as the “father of nations” by God. He was set apart for holy purposes and God made a covenant with him. He isn’t a young man when this all happens, how much energy did he have during the journey and all the events that happened in Genesis? I wondered about the seal of circumcision that came with the covenant and how awkward it might have been for that whole event to happen. There was so much there!

What would Abraham think about his life as he reflected in his older days? I think he would miss Sarah. He lived over 40 years without her, but the memory of the journey they shared would remain fresh in his mind. He would remember his miracle child, Isaac, the source of much joy and comfort for him. He would know for sure that God’s righteousness was imputed to him and his family.

Mentioned throughout the Old and New Testaments, he has an enduring legacy in history and in each of our lives. Who are your spiritual ancestors? To whom do you trace your faith story? If you build a spiritual family tree and keep going, you’ll eventually end up back at Abraham. God often spared his people because of his covenant with Abraham, that means he spares us – his grace is evident again and again in the pages of Genesis. Think about that – your faith comes from God through Abraham!

Not only does his legacy include being the father of nations, but there are at least 18 events of his life that are mentioned in the New Testament. Stephen uses him as an example in the book of Acts, Jesus talks about him, Paul shows how he was saved through faith in the coming Messiah, he is a key figure in Hebrews, and James and Peter draw on the events of his life as well. What a legacy, all for listening to God’s call to pick up and move while he was living a comfortable life!

How do you answer God’s call? Do you even hear the call when it comes? What spiritual legacy are you leaving? Who are your spiritual descendents? There are so many things to ask, but this is a start.

We need to remember the basics of what happened here. While still a sinner God called a man and made him into who he became! It wasn’t because of something that this man did or was going to do, but because of God’s grace that Abraham becomes who we read about in Genesis. Let’s all ask ourselves the basic question of redemption also… How much do you need God’s grace? How have you seen His grace in your life? How have you seen His grace this week, or even today?

See y’all Sunday!

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Week 2

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Week 2

WEEK 2
Job 14-37

As you read Job this week, ask yourself these questions:

  • How is God portrayed? What do you learn about His character? What about Christ?

  • What do you learn about his so-called friends?

  • And what is the basis of Job’s faith?

This book deals with the suffering of the righteous. I’ve often wondered about that in my life. Why am I “blessed” with that terrible boss? Or why am I “privileged” to experience drama in my life? Are these some of the questions Job thought of as well? Things don’t always go our way, nor are we promised a life free of suffering. I’d argue that we are promised suffering for the sake of the Gospel, so we need to be prepared for that eventuality.

From our perspective, we may not see that suffering as “fair” or even “just,” but we need to look at this book from God’s perspective. There are a few different explanations for the suffering that might help us understand. These are based in God’s character – his justice, goodness, and sovereignty to be specific.

The first explanation could be that God is not just and good, that we experience suffering because God is partly evil. Fortunately, Job rejects this possibility by explaining and affirming God’s extreme goodness in both the prologue and epilogue. Job is overwhelmed by God’s goodness in the midst of suffering and restoration.

The second explanation is something I’ve heard from many people – that suffering and evil is beyond God’s control. This means that God is not sovereign. But as our reading for the coming Sunday tells us in Job 37, God is all powerful and completely sovereign in all things. Job dismisses this possibility also.

A third explanation is that God is just, good, and sovereign, but his creation doesn’t always understand how he works, how his big picture happens, and what he is doing. God’s ways are sometimes so beyond human understanding that we can’t even start to analyze them (Job 28). Does Job know what is going on in his life, why it is all happening? And how did that conversation between God and Satan at the beginning of the book happen? There are so many unanswered questions (like much of the Bible) that we are left in faith and humility to worship our Creator and know that he has the best for us in mind, even in the midst of extreme suffering. He has the best for us in his plan even when it doesn’t seem “fair” or “just” from our perspective.

What did Job do? He heard his friends giving an earthly or human-centric perspective on his suffering. They did not seem to take God’s plans into account in their speeches, nor does it appear that they have a strong faith in God. Job knew that Christ was the “wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24) and that in him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3). Both Job and his friends yearned for wisdom and understanding, something which only comes through Christ and his mediation on our behalf with the Father. Job knows this and repeatedly expresses how we are desperate for a mediator between ourselves and God (Job 5;1, 9:33, 16:20, 19:25, 33:23, et al). We are helpless to plead our case before God, and only Christ fills that role on our behalf.

Job was not without sin, but he did have a strong faith that God would carry him through the suffering he experienced. He was able to put aside the earthly perspective that was right in front of him for the heavenly perspective of God. His reward is not his “stuff,” but is his salvation and relationship with God. When we, like Job, fail to be perfect in suffering we can rest assured that Christ has suffered on our behalf and that his righteousness is imputed to us through God’s grace alone.

Don’t get distracted by the wrong perspective of events in your life, look to God’s grace and his perspective. Again, let’s all ask ourselves the basic question of redemption… How much do you need God’s grace? How have you seen His grace in your life? How have you seen His grace this week, or even today?

See y’all Sunday!






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Week 1

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Week 1

Welcome to the Bible in a Year at ARCC! Through the next year, the plan is to take a look at the entire Bible in a chronological order, the order in which the events of redemption happened. The group is using the Chronological Reading Plan at:

ESV Chronological

It is also a plan in the Bible App as well as outlined in the ESV Story of Redemption Bible. On Sunday mornings at 8am, the group will meet in the Board Room to discuss the week’s readings as well as ask questions that have come from the week’s text. Most days will have 3 chapters, depending on the length of the chapter, and please attend even if there are still readings to do. Over the past couple years, the group reading through the Bible has experienced accountability, been strengthened spiritually, engaged in mutual discipleship, and countless other benefits. Please register through the ARCC app if you’d like to attend.

Each week I’ll also write a short blog on the week’s readings, expect the commentary to cover portions of the text for the coming week. The blog will cover readings from Monday through the following Sunday and will be the same readings as those which will be discussed on Sunday mornings. Also, please feel free to comment on the week’s posts below.

Where else to start this week than the beginning. In fact, that is exactly how the book of Genesis starts, “In the beginning…” What a fitting way to open the story of redemption. This book is a story of God’s dealing with His people in the story of redemption. It isn’t a collection of good writings, ways we should think about behaving, rules to follow, a treatise on how the world works, or a number of other ideas. It is purely how God deals with His people. It is about His grace. The story of redemption starts where things should start, with how God made the world in which we live, and of course humankind.

Shortly after creation, we see the first tragedy. And as we continue in our readings for the week, there is tragedy after tragedy. That first tragedy is the root of our disobedience and key to the entire story. If it weren’t for sin, we wouldn’t need redemption. Sin continues in familial relationships, in the world in general. In fact, it gets so bad that God decides to destroy the world with a flood. As a kid, I wondered if God thought he had made a mistake. Like he wished we were never born for the way our forefathers rebelled against him. I only wondered that until the sign of the Noahic Covenant was revealed.

You see after that first tragedy where Adam and Eve sinned by eating from the tree, God provided a promise to them – a promise both of the consequences of their sin and a promise of redemption. And then with the flood, the rainbow was God’s promise that he’d never destroy the world again, it is a sign of His grace toward his people who don’t deserve it, at a time when they don’t deserve it. Remember this, it is the best way to sum up everything that comes up in the next year of reading. The way God deals with His people in mercy when we least deserve it.

But then we switch gears to the book of Job. Why do we think these events happen at this point in the story? There isn’t a clear statement in the book, but from context we can tell that the events date from the patriarchal period and occur in a non-Israelite setting. We cannot know when the author of Job lived, but the classical Hebrew of the prologue places him after 1500 B.C. There is so much to admire about the book – the poetry, language, artistry, skillful living, wisdom, and themes just to name a few.

As you read Job this week, ask yourself these questions:

  • How is God portrayed?

  • What do you learn about His character?

  • What do you learn about his so-called friends?

  • And what is the basis of Job’s faith?

And let’s all ask ourselves the basic question of redemption… How much do you need God’s grace? How have you seen His grace in your life? How have you seen His grace this week, or even today?

See y’all Sunday!


WEEK 1

  • Genesis 1–3

  • Genesis 4–7

  • Genesis 8–11

  • Job 1–5

  • Job 6–9

  • Job 10–13

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