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 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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Monday, 23 April 2018 18:00

Numbers 1; Psalm 35; Eccl. 11; Titus 3

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Numbers 1; Psalm 35; Ecclesiastes 11; Titus 3

PSALM 35 IS ONE OF THE PSALMS GIVEN OVER to the theme of vindication (see also the meditation of April 10). They make many Christians uncomfortable. The line between vindication and vindictiveness sometimes seems a little thin. How can the line of...

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Sunday, 22 April 2018 18:00

Leviticus 27; Psalm 34; Eccl. 10; Titus 2

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Leviticus 27; Psalm 34; Ecclesiastes 10; Titus 2

ONE OF THE INEVITABLE CHARACTERISTICS of those who genuinely praise the Lord is that they want others to join with them in their praise. They recognize that if God is the sort of God their praises say he is, then he ought to be recognized by others....

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Saturday, 21 April 2018 18:00

Leviticus 26; Psalm 33; Eccl. 9; Titus 1

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Leviticus 26; Psalm 33; Ecclesiastes 9; Titus 1

ONE OF THE COMMON FEATURES of ancient suzerainty treaties — treaties between some regional superpower and a vassal state (see March 13) — was some section near the end that spelled out the advantages of compliance and the dangers of...

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Friday, 20 April 2018 18:00

Leviticus 25; Psalm 32; Eccl. 8; 2 Timothy 4

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Leviticus 25; Psalm 32; Ecclesiastes 8; 2 Timothy 4

“BLESSED IS HE WHOSE TRANSGRESSIONS ARE FORGIVEN, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit” (Ps. 32:1-2). In a theistic universe where God keeps the books,...

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Thursday, 19 April 2018 18:00

Leviticus 24; Psalm 31; Ecclesiastes 7; 2 Timothy 3

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Leviticus 24; Psalm 31; Ecclesiastes 7; 2 Timothy 3

DAVID WAS IN DEEP TROUBLE. The exact circumstances may be obscure to us, as we who live three thousand years later probe the details. But we do know that David was shut up in a besieged city (Ps. 31:21) and felt trapped. He was so threatened that...

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Wednesday, 18 April 2018 18:00

Leviticus 23; Psalm 30; Eccl. 6; 2 Timothy 2

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Leviticus 23; Psalm 30; Ecclesiastes 6; 2 Timothy 2

LEVITICUS 23 PROVIDES A description of the principal “appointed feasts” (23:2). These include the Sabbath, which of course could not be observed by taking a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The remaining feasts mentioned, however, are bound up...

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Tuesday, 17 April 2018 18:00

Leviticus 22; Psalms 28-29; Eccl. 5; 2 Timothy 1

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Leviticus 22; Psalms 28-29; Ecclesiastes 5; 2 Timothy 1

THE OPENING VERSES OF PSALM 29 SUGGEST that a great part of what it means to “worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness” is to ascribe to him the praise that is his due: ascribe to him glory and strength, “the glory due...

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Leviticus 21; Psalms 26–27; Ecclesiastes 4; 1 Timothy 6

“ONE THING I ASK OF THE LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple” (Ps. 27:4). This glorious stance finds...

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Leviticus 20; Psalm 25; Ecclesiastes 3; 1 Timothy 5

ONE OF THE STARTLING FEATURES OF PSALM 25 is the diversity of needs David asks the Lord to address.

David is in danger of being overwhelmed by enemies and thereby put to shame (Ps. 25:2). He wishes to learn the ways and paths of God, to be taught...

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Saturday, 14 April 2018 18:00

Leviticus 19; Psalms 23-24; Eccl. 2; 1 Timothy 4

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Leviticus 19; Psalms 23-24; Ecclesiastes 2; 1 Timothy 4

PERHAPS THE MOST STRIKING FEATURE OF LEVITICUS 19 is the repeated clause, “I am the LORD.” In each case, it provides the reason why the Israelites are to obey the particular command.

Each must respect his mother and father, and must...

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Leviticus 18; Psalm 22; Ecclesiastes 1; 1 Timothy 3

THE BEGINNING OF THE SO-CALLED “HOLINESS CODE” (Lev. 18) is full of interest. We should take note of at least four things:

(1) Just because this is the first time that some prohibitions have been articulated in the Bible does not...

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Leviticus 17; Psalms 20-21; Proverbs 31; 1 Timothy 2

TWO SPECIFICATIONS IN LEVITICUS 17 constrained the ancient Israelite who wished to remain faithful to the covenant.

The first (17:1-9) limited sacrifices to what the Mosaic Covenant mandates and sanctions. Apparently some Israelites were offering...

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Wednesday, 11 April 2018 18:00

Leviticus 16; Psalm 19; Proverbs 30; 1 Timothy 1

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Leviticus 16; Psalm 19; Proverbs 30; 1 Timothy 1

GOD IS SO WONDERFULLY GENEROUS in his self-disclosure. He has not revealed himself to this race of rebels in some stinting way, but in nature, by his Spirit, in his Word, in great events in redemptive history, in institutions that he ordained to...

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Tuesday, 10 April 2018 18:00

Leviticus 15; Psalm 18; Proverbs 29; 2 Thess. 3

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Leviticus 15; Psalm 18; Proverbs 29; 2 Thessalonians 3

DAVID WROTE PSALM 18 after the Lord had delivered him from the hand of Saul and all his enemies. It is a joyous, grateful psalm. Some of the same themes we found in Psalms 16 and 17 are repeated here. But among the new elements in this psalm are...

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Monday, 09 April 2018 18:00

Leviticus 14; Psalm 17; Proverbs 28; 2 Thess. 2

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Leviticus 14; Psalm 17; Proverbs 28; 2 Thessalonians 2

PSALM 17 IS A PRAYER FOR VINDICATION. Certainly David knows that he is not always righteous (see Ps. 51!). But in particular circumstances, the believing man or woman may well be certain that he or she has acted with utter integrity, with...

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Leviticus 13; Psalms 15-16; Proverbs 27; 2 Thessalonians 1

OBSERVE THE PATTERN OF CAPITAL LETTERS: “I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing’” (Ps. 16:2). In other words, addressing Yahweh (“LORD”), David confesses him...

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Saturday, 07 April 2018 18:00

Leviticus 11-12; Psalms 13-14; Prov. 26; 1 Thess. 5

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Leviticus 11-12; Psalms 13-14; Proverbs 26; 1 Thessalonians 5

IN THIS MEDITATION I want to bring two passages together: “I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground. I am the LORD...

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