We’re now in the fifth week of our 2019 New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs Reading Plan. On Friday, we’ll complete the New Testament’s longest book, the Gospel of Luke. Thus far we’ve traced Jesus’ story from birth, through His ministry in Galilee and His training of the disciples on the way to Jerusalem. Now we’ll see His submission to the crucifixion and His ultimate triumph in the resurrection. So let’s keep reading together this week and have our faith fortified.
Monday, Jan. 28 – Luke 20; Psalm 12
This chapter of Luke features a sequence of three carefully coordinated attacks on the Christ by the Jewish leaders. Their strikes come in the form of a series of questions designed to entrap Him. Compare and contrast the insincere query in vv. 1-8 (you can also see this in Luke 11:14-32) to a more sincere and honest inquiry from Luke 7:18-23. Did Jesus handle insincere and sincere questions differently? If so, can you suggest reasons why? How might this be a model for you?
Psalm 12 is a lament of David’s where he grieves the hurt caused by smooth-talking sinners (vv. 2-4) while on “every side the wick prowl” (v. 8). What anguish do you read into these verses? How does David hope in the word of the Lord to sustain him in times of trouble? We live in times when evil seems so prevalent and where it seems “the faithful have vanished from among the children of man” (v. 1). During these troubling times, what promises from the Lord give you the most hope to carry on in the faith?
Tuesday, Jan. 29 – Luke 21; Proverbs 3:27-35
In contrast to the rich contributors to the temple treasury, why did Jesus praise the widow in vv. 1-4? Can you think of any way in which you could follow her example? If yes, describe how you might do so. If not, pray about how you might imitate this worthy widow.
Throughout Proverbs, Solomon will catalogue right and wrong character traits. His first list is in vv. 27-32. Read this list and for each statement (vv. 28, 29, 30, 31-32), jot down a word or two that describes the trait he says you should avoid. How would you summarize the kind of person the wise man is exhorting you to be? Are you this kind of person? Explain.
Wednesday, Jan. 30 – Luke 22; Psalm 13
This section of Luke’s gospel takes us into the saddest time of history with Jesus’ agonizing death on the cross. But these days are also the greatest days on earth, because with His resurrection Jesus accomplishes His salvific mission for all humanity. To aid us in remembering His life, death and resurrection, the Lord Jesus left us a simple memorial of bread and wine. What was going on in your heart the last time you participated in the Lord’s Supper? Can you recall a moving celebration of the holy memorial? What made it so moving? How can you capture that heartfelt devotion more often?
“How long?” In this two-word question, the psalmist captures the human agony of waiting for a trial to be over. Psalm 13 launches with an explosion of four “How longs?” indicating this is another lament from David. Nevertheless, David will shift radically from turmoil to tranquility in the space of six short verses. “I will sing to the Lord,” David proclaims, “because He has dealt bountifully with me” (v. 6). During the trials and tribulations of life we are quick to cry, “How long?” but when we’re delivered we’re slow, if not negligent, to give thanks to God. Reflect on a trial you have gone through recently. Do you believe your thanksgiving was greater than, equal to, or less than your pleas for help? Why? Regardless, take this opportunity to sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God for bringing you through you trial. (If you can’t quickly think of a hymn try Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee, it’s one of my favorites.)
Thursday, Jan. 31 – Luke 23; Proverbs 4:1-9
Since Luke is a physician (ref Colossians 4:14), we might naturally expect him to focus on the physical aspects of Jesus crucifixion. Nevertheless, he says very little in regards to the Savior’s physical condition. Instead, he focuses on people’s attitudes to the man on the center cross. List the various people who interact with Jesus while He is on the cross. What attitude does each group or individual reveal about themselves? Now turn to yourself. How has reflecting on your Savior’s death today affected your heart?
Because we are so prone to spiritual laziness and moral laxity, Solomon uses intimate terms to encourage us to pursue a relationship with Lady Wisdom. Practically speaking, how do you think one would go about loving, prizing (or exalt[ing] as the NKJV says) and embracing wisdom (see vv. 6, 8)? What are the benefits of this relationship? How would you characterize your relationship with Lady Wisdom?
Friday, Feb. 1 – Luke 24; Psalm 14
Luke alone records Jesus’ post-resurrection appearance to the two disheartened and confused disciples on the road to Emmaus. In fact, it’s one of the longest scenes in his whole gospel narrative. In His rebuke, Jesus identifies the root cause of the disciple’s despair – a reluctance to accept the Scriptures about the Messiah’s suffering (v. 25). It’s not uncommon for believers to feel disheartened and confused, especially when we struggle to understand and apply some teaching from our Savior. When was a time you felt this way? Where did you find understanding? Like these two disciples, who else did you tell or help in understanding God’s word?
In Psalm 14, David laments the fact that humans in general do not seek after God and thus they treat God’s people cruelly. From your perspective, why is it foolish to say, “There is no God” (v. 1)? What all does David say happens when one believes “there is no God” who will hold people accountable for his or her actions? In contrast to foolish unbelievers, what hope does David say believers have?