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

Joshua 12-13; Psalm 145; Jeremiah 6; Matthew 20

WHEN WE REFLECTED ON PARTS of Psalm 119 (see the meditations for June 22, 25, and 27), we note that the psalm is an acrostic poem. In the first section, all the verses begin with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet; in the second section, all the...

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Sunday, 08 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 11; Psalm 144; Jeremiah 5; Matthew 19

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Joshua 11; Psalm 144; Jeremiah 5; Matthew 19

VERSES 12-14 OF PSALM 144 PICTURE and idyllic situation in the land: sons and daughters multiplying and healthy, barns filled with produce, cattle filling the fields, trade flourishing, military defenses secure, freedom from some regional superpower,...

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Saturday, 07 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 10; Psalms 142-143; Jeremiah 4; Matthew 18

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Joshua 10; Psalms 142-143; Jeremiah 4; Matthew 18

PSALM 142 SHOULD BE READ IN TANDEM with Psalm 57; both were the product of David’s experience of hiding in a cave while fleeing King Saul. In some ways, however, the two psalms are quite different. Although in both cases David is pushed to the...

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Thursday, 05 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 8; Psalm 139; Jeremiah 2; Matthew 16

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Joshua 8; Psalm 139; Jeremiah 2; Matthew 16

THERE IS A PERVERSENESS TO human thoughts about God that would be risible if it were not so tragic. We find ways to make him small.

A marvelous antidote is Psalm 139. It paints an exalted picture of God, yet does so in stunningly personal ways, as befits a...

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Wednesday, 04 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 7; Psalms 137-138; Jeremiah 1; Matthew 15

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Joshua 7; Psalms 137-138; Jeremiah 1; Matthew 15

IT DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK LIKE THIS, of course. Sometimes it is not the case that the sin of one man and his family — in this case Achan — brings defeat upon the entire believing community (Josh. 7). For example, the sin of Ananias and...

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Tuesday, 03 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 6; Psalms 135-136; Isaiah 66; Matthew 14

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Joshua 6; Psalms 135-136; Isaiah 66; Matthew 14

EVERY VERSE IN PSALM 135 quotes or alludes to or is quoted by some other part of Scripture.

Verse 1 reorders the phrasing of Psalm 113:1, putting the emphasis on the “servants of the LORD” who are then further described in verse 2 —...

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Joshua 5; Psalms 132-134; Isaiah 65; Matthew 13

THREE ELEMENTS ARE striking in Joshua 5.

(1) Circumcision is now carried out on all the males that were born during the years of wilderness wandering. At one level, this is rather surprising: How come they weren’t done as the boys were born? In...

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Joshua 4; Psalms 129-131; Isaiah 64; Matthew 12

FROM OUT OF WHAT KIND OF “depths” is the psalmist crying in Psalm 130:1? In other psalms the sheer despair of the expression is bound up with treasonous “friends” and overt persecution (Ps. 69), or with illness and homesickness...

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Saturday, 30 June 2018 18:05

Joshua 3; Psalms 126-128; Isaiah 63; Matthew 11

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Joshua 3; Psalms 126-128; Isaiah 63; Matthew 11

THE FIRST VERSE OF Psalm 127 is often quoted today: “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” In an age of overpopulation, we less often cite verse 3: “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from...

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Joshua 2; Psalms 123-125; Isaiah 62; Matthew 10

I ONCE HEARD A LEARNED SOCIOLOGIST, by confession an evangelical, explain with considerable erudition why even a major revival, should the Lord choose to send one to a country like America, could not possibly speedily transform the nation. The problem...

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Thursday, 28 June 2018 18:05

Joshua 1; Psalms 120-122; Isaiah 61; Matthew 9

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Joshua 1; Psalms 120-122; Isaiah 61; Matthew 9

THE FIFTEEN SHORT PSALMS (Pss. 120-134) immediately succeeding Psalm 119 are grouped together as songs of ascent: that is, each carries this heading. The most likely explanation is that these psalms were sung by pilgrims on their way up to Jerusalem and...

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Wednesday, 27 June 2018 18:05

Deut. 33-34; Psalm 119:145-176; Isaiah 60; Matt. 8

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Deuteronomy 33-34; Psalm 119:145-176; Isaiah 60; Matthew 8

HOW DOES THE PENTATEUCH end (Deut. 34)?

At a certain level, perhaps one might speak of hope, or at least of anticipation. Even if Moses himself is not permitted to enter the Promised Land, the Israelites are on the verge of going in. The...

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Deuteronomy 32; Psalm 119:121-144; Isaiah 59; Matthew 7

ONE OF THE GREAT THEMES OF SCRIPTURE, and one that surfaces with special frequency in Psalm 119, is that the unfolding of God’s words gives light; “it gives understanding to the simple” (119:130) in at least two senses.

First,...

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Deuteronomy 31; Psalm 119:97-120; Isaiah 58; Matthew 6

REFLECT FOR A MOMENT on the rich and diverse means that God granted to Israel to help them remember what he had done to deliver them, and the nature of the covenant they had pledged themselves to obey.

There was the tabernacle itself (later the...

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Deuteronomy 30; Psalm 119:73-96; Isaiah 57; Matthew 5

IN ITS UNFOLDING REFLECTIONS on God and his revelation, Psalm 119 is unsurpassed. Here I shall focus on three themes that surface in Psalm 119:89-96.

(1) God’s revelatory word, that word that has been inscripturated (i.e., written down to...

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Saturday, 23 June 2018 18:05

Deut. 29; Psalm 119: 49-72; Isaiah 56; Matthew 4

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Deuteronomy 29; Psalm 119: 49-72; Isaiah 56; Matthew 4

“THE SECRET THINGS belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29). The two principal points bear reflection.

First, the...

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Deuteronomy 28:20-68; Psalm 119:25-48; Isaiah 55; Matthew 3

THERE ARE NOT MANY PASSAGES in the Bible more fearsome than Deuteronomy 28:20-68. What the text depicts is the judgments that will befall the people of God if they disobey the terms of the covenant and rebel against God, if they “do...

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Deuteronomy 27:1 — 28:19; Psalm 119:1-24; Isaiah 54; Matthew 2

HERE THE PAIR OF ITALICIZED passages converge.

The setting envisaged by Deuteronomy 27 — 28 is spectacular. When the Israelites enter the Promised Land, they are to perform a solemn act of national commitment. They are to...

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Wednesday, 20 June 2018 18:05

Deut. 26; Psalms 117 — 118; Isaiah 53; Matthew 1

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Deuteronomy 26; Psalms 117 — 118; Isaiah 53; Matthew 1

WHEN I WAS A BOY, a plaque in our home was inscribed with the words “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Apart from the change from “hath” to “has,” similar...

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Tuesday, 19 June 2018 18:05

Deut. 25; Psalm 116; Isaiah 52; Revelation 22

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Deuteronomy 25; Psalm 116; Isaiah 52; Revelation 22

SOMETIMES TRANSLATION DIFFICULTIES prompt Bible translators to include footnotes that preserve alternative possibilities. Sometimes no alternative is included, and something important is lost. One instance of each kind is found in Psalm 116, and...

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Deuteronomy 24; Psalms 114-115; Isaiah 51; Revelation 21

IT IS STRIKING HOW THE Mosaic Law provides for the poor.

Consider Deuteronomy 24. Here God forbids taking a pair of millstones, or “even the upper one”(i.e., the more movable one), as security for a debt (Deut. 24:6). It would be...

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Deuteronomy 23; Psalms 112 — 113; Isaiah 50; Revelation 20

EVERY SO OFTEN IN THE Pentateuch there is a chapter of miscellaneous laws and statutes. One such is Deuteronomy 23. It goes beyond these brief meditations to reflect on each topic for which a statute is laid down, or even on the...

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Deuteronomy 22; Psalms 110–111; Isaiah 49; Revelation 19

THE OLD TESTAMENT CHAPTER quoted most often in the New Testament is Psalm 110. It is an oracular psalm: i.e., it does not so much disclose the experience of its writer as set forth words that the writer has received by direct and...

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Deuteronomy 21; Psalms 108-109; Isaiah 48; Revelation 18

PSALM 108 IS RATHER DISTINCTIVE in the book of Psalms. Apart from minor changes, it is made up of parts of two other psalms. Psalm 108:1-5 follows Ps. 57:7-11; Psalm 108:6-13 follows 60:5-12. Nevertheless the “feel” of the result...

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Thursday, 14 June 2018 18:05

Deut. 20; Psalm 107; Isaiah 47; Revelation 17

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Deuteronomy 20; Psalm 107; Isaiah 47; Revelation 17

HISTORICALLY, REVIVAL REFERRED TO a time of God-sent blessing beyond the ordinary. Ministers of the Word went about their work, praying, preaching, catechizing, counseling, whether in times of persecution, or in times of relative quiet and steady...

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