But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

For the Love of God - Apologetic Report

Numbers 28; Psalm 72; Isaiah 19-20; 2 Peter 1

ONE OF THE FEATURES OF THE PSALMS that describe the enthronement of a Davidic king, or the reign of a Davidic king, is how often the language goes “over the top.” This feature combines with the built-in Davidic typology to give these psalms a...

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Numbers 27; Psalms 70-71; Isaiah 17-18; 1 Peter 5

MOST CHRISTIANS HAVE listened to testimonies that relate how some man or woman lived a life of fruitlessness and open degradation, or at least of quiet desperation, before becoming a Christian. Genuine faith in the Lord Christ brought about a...

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Wednesday, 16 May 2018 18:00

Numbers 26; Psalm 69; Isaiah 16; 1 Peter 4

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Numbers 26; Psalm 69; Isaiah 16; 1 Peter 4

AT ONE LEVEL, Psalm 69 finds David pouring his heart out to God, begging for help as he faces extraordinary pressures and opponents. We may not be able to reconstruct all the circumstances that are presented here in poetic form, but David has been betrayed...

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Tuesday, 15 May 2018 18:00

Numbers 25; Psalm 68; Isaiah 15; 1 Peter 3

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Numbers 25; Psalm 68; Isaiah 15; 1 Peter 3

THERE IS MORE THAN ONE WAY to defeat the people of God.

Balak wanted Balaam to curse the Israelites (Num. 22-24). Under threat of divine sanction, Balaam stood fast and proclaimed only what God gave him to say. But here in Numbers 25 we discover a quite...

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Numbers 24; Psalms 66-67; Isaiah 14; 1 Peter 2

IN AN AGE OF MANY “PRAISE CHORUSES,” people are tempted to think that our generation is especially rich in praise. Surely we know more about praise that our stuffy parents and grandparents in their somber suits and staid services, busily...

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Numbers 23; Psalms 64-65; Isaiah 13; 1 Peter 1

BALAAM RECOGNIZES THAT he cannot control the oracles he receives (Num. 23). He cannot even be sure that an oracle will be given him: “Perhaps the LORD will come to meet with me,” he explains (23:3).

“The LORD put a message in...

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Saturday, 12 May 2018 18:00

Numbers 22; Psalms 62-63; Isaiah 11-12; James 5

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Numbers 22; Psalms 62-63; Isaiah 11-12; James 5

RECENTLY I WAS PHONED BY A MAN who told me he wanted to put me on a retainer as his private theologian. Then, when he phoned or wrote again, I would try to answer his questions.

I did not bother asking what figure he had in mind. Nor do I want to...

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Numbers 21; Psalms 60-61; Isaiah 10:5-34; James 4

THE BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE BRONZE SNAKE (Num. 21:4-9) is probably better known than other Old Testament accounts of similar brevity, owing to the fact that it is referred to by Jesus himself in John 3:14-15: “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in...

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Thursday, 10 May 2018 18:00

Numb. 20; Psalms 58-59; Isa. 9:8-10:4; James 3

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Numbers 20; Psalms 58-59; Isaiah 9:8-10:4; James 3

THERE ARE FEW PASSAGES in the Pentateuch which on first reading are more discouraging than the outcome of Numbers 20:1-13.

Yet the account carries some subtle complexities. It begins with more of the usual griping. The need of the people is real:...

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Wednesday, 09 May 2018 18:00

Numbers 19; Psalms 56-57; Isaiah 8:1-9:7; James 2

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Numbers 19; Psalms 56-57; Isaiah 8:1-9:7; James 2

AMERICAN COINS have the words “In God we trust.” In our pluralistic age, it is not unreasonable to respond, “Which God?” Even if the answer to that were unambiguously the God of the Bible, most people, I suspect, would think...

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Tuesday, 08 May 2018 18:00

Numbers 17-18; Psalm 55; Isaiah 7; James 1

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Numbers 17-18; Psalm 55; Isaiah 7; James 1

AT ONE LEVEL, THE BRIEF ACCOUNT IN NUMBERS 17 wraps up the report of the rebellions in the previous chapter. God wishes to rid himself of the constant grumbling of the Israelites as they challenge Aaron’s priestly authority (17:5). So the staff of the...

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Numbers 16; Psalms 52-54; Isaiah 6; Hebrews 13

TWO MORE WRETCHED EPISODES of rebellion now blemish the history of the Israelites in the wilderness (Num. 16).

The first is the plot engineered by Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. They stir up trouble not among the riffraff, but among a sizable number of...

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Sunday, 06 May 2018 18:00

Numbers 15; Psalm 51; Isaiah 5; Hebrews 12

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Numbers 15; Psalm 51; Isaiah 5; Hebrews 12

GUILT. What a horrendous burden.

Sometimes people carry a tremendous weight of subjective guilt — i.e., of felt guilt — when they are not really guilty. Far worse is the situation where they carry a tremendous weight of objective guilt —...

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Saturday, 05 May 2018 18:00

Numbers 14; Psalm 50; Isaiah 3-4; Hebrew 11

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Numbers 14; Psalm 50; Isaiah 3-4; Hebrew 11

ANOTHER DAY THINKING ABOUT REBELLION — this time the rebellion displayed by the people at Kedesh Barnea, when they forfeited the opportunity to enter the Promised Land because of their sin (Num. 14).

(1) Just as in the previous chapter the ten spies...

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Friday, 04 May 2018 18:00

Numbers 12-13; Psalm 49; Isaiah 2; Hebrews 10

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Numbers 12-13; Psalm 49; Isaiah 2; Hebrews 10

REBELLION HAS many faces.

Numbers 12-13 reports two quite different and complex forms of rebellion. The first finds Aaron and Miriam bad-mouthing their brother Moses. The presenting problem is that because the Lord has spoken through them as well as...

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Thursday, 03 May 2018 18:00

Numbers 11; Psalm 48; Isaiah 1; Hebrews 9

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Numbers 11; Psalm 48; Isaiah 1; Hebrews 9

ONE OF THE WAYS GOD TALKS ABOUT THE FUTURE IS . . . well, by simply talking about the future. There are places in the Bible where God predicts, in words, what will happen: he talks about the future. But he also provides pictures, patterns, types, and models....

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Wednesday, 02 May 2018 18:00

Numb. 10; Psalms 46-47; Song of Songs 8; Heb. 8

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Numbers 10; Psalms 46-47; Song of Songs 8; Hebrews 8

A COMMON THEME OF PSALMS 46 AND 47 is the sovereign authority of God over all the nations. He is not some mere tribal deity. He is the Most High (46:4). Nations may be in an uproar; kingdoms rise and fall. But God needs only to lift his voice, and...

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Numbers 9; Psalm 45; Song of Songs 7; Hebrews 7

TWO THEMES CONTROL NUMBERS 9. The second is the descent of the pillar of cloud and fire onto the tabernacle, the “Tent of the Testimony,” the first day it was set up (9:15-23). This pillar had guided and protected the people from the time...

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Monday, 30 April 2018 18:00

Numbers 8; Psalm 44; Song of Songs 6; Hebrews 6

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Numbers 8; Psalm 44; Song of Songs 6; Hebrews 6

BEFORE THEY BEGAN THEIR DUTIES FOR THE FIRST TIME, the Levites were set apart by a ritual God himself established to “make them ceremonially clean” (Num. 8:5-14). The details need not concern us here. What we shall reflect on is the...

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Sunday, 29 April 2018 18:00

Numbers 7; Psalms 42-43; Song of Songs 5; Heb. 5

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Numbers 7; Psalms 42 – 43; Song of Songs 5; Hebrews 5

MILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS HAVE SUNG the words as a chorus. Millions more have meditated on them in their own quiet reading of Scripture: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God”(Ps. 42:1).

It is a...

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Saturday, 28 April 2018 18:00

Numbers 6; Ps. 40-41; Song of Songs 4; Heb. 4

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Numbers 6; Psalms 40 – 41; Song of Songs 4; Hebrews 4

THE NAZIRITE VOW (Num. 6) could be taken by any man or woman (i.e., not just a Levite) and was entirely voluntary. It was normally undertaken for an extended period of time, and culminated in certain prescribed offerings and sacrifices...

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Friday, 27 April 2018 18:00

Numbers 5; Psalm 39; Song of Songs 3; Hebrews 3

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Numbers 5; Psalm 39; Song of Songs 3; Hebrews 3

SELF-DISCIPLINE IS NORMALLY A GOOD THING. Indeed, Christians believe that God has given them “a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7). But certain forms of self-discipline are ignoble, even dangerous.

For example, the...

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Thursday, 26 April 2018 18:00

Numbers 4; Psalm 38; Song of Songs 2; Hebrews 2

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Numbers 4; Psalm 38; Song of Songs 2; Hebrews 2

ONE OF THE MOST ATTRACTIVE FEATURES of David is his candor. At his best he is transparently honest. That means, among other things, that when there is an array of things going wrong in his life he does not collapse them into a single problem.

Nothing...

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Wednesday, 25 April 2018 20:08

Numbers 3; Psalm 37; Song of Songs 1; Hebrews 1

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Numbers 3; Psalm 37; Song of Songs 1; Hebrews 1

FROM SINAI ON, the Levites are treated differently from the other tribes: they alone handle the tabernacle and its accoutrements, from them come the priests, they are not given a separate allotment of land but are dispersed throughout the nation, and...

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Tuesday, 24 April 2018 18:00

Numbers 2; Psalm 36; Eccl. 12; Philemon

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Numbers 2; Psalm 36; Ecclesiastes 12; Philemon

AMONG THE INSIGHTS the Psalms convey, some of the most penetrating deal with the nature of wickedness and of wicked people. Rarely are these put into abstract categories. They are almost always functional and relational.

What lies at the heart of the...

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