Wednesday, July 31, 2019

2019.07.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 10:1-5

Questions for Littles: Who arose after Abimelech (Judges 10:1)? Who was his father? Who was his grandfather? From what tribe was he? In what city did he live? Where was this city located? How long did he judge (Judges 10:2)? Then what happened? What else do we know about him? Who arose after Tola (Judges 10:3)? From what region was he? How long did he judge? How many sons did he have (Judges 10:4)? Upon what did they ride? In how many towns did they live? What were those towns still called when Judges was written? What happened to Jair in Judges 10:5?
We don’t really notice Tola and Jair much. Five verses dispatch the two of them, and no specific acts of theirs are recorded.

But the Scripture does give us a few indications that they were actually fairly significant—at least in the work of God, and perhaps even in the eyes of the people.

First, there is the blessing of longevity. When we come later to the divided kingdom, there are a couple periods in which one kingdom has an extended reign that provides stability and prosperity, while the other goes through kings like fast food through the intestines—in rapid, turbulent fashion and out with a bang. 45 years over two judges is a couple of pretty good stints!

Second, Tola’s lineage is very carefully traced—especially for a man from Issachar. We don’t really hear much about Issachar; but someone—by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit—cared enough to trace this Issacharite back through three generations.

Similarly, Jair was a man of note. He had so many kingly progeny that, at the time of writing, an entire region bore his name. Surely, there was sin involved in producing that; but God has ever demonstrated Himself able to overcome the personal wickedness of a ruler to use him to do good to His people.

Particularly in a book in which there has been so much instability and upheaval—and will be much more—this little break is a breath of fresh air. Often, in life and the church, we don’t recognize that God’s great mercy sometimes appears not in neon lights and fireworks, but in extended seasons of the boringly normal.
In what ways has God been displaying “boring” faithfulness in your life?
Suggested songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry before Your Come” or TPH1A “That Man Is Blest”

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

2019.07.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ Hebrews 12:22-24

Questions for Littles: To what mountain have we come (Hebrews 12:22)? To whose city have we come? What else is that city called? Of whom are there an innumerable company there? What is the church there called (Hebrews 12:23)? Where are they registered? Who is the Judge of all? What verdict has He declared about the spirits in the church of the firstborn? What else has been done to these just men? To whom else does Hebrews 12:24 tell us we have come? Of what is Jesus the Mediator? What speaks better than the blood of Abel? 
In this week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration and Confession of Sin, we heard not only about the mountain to which we haven’t come (Sinai, apart from Christ); but, we also heard about the mountain to which we have come.

The flow of the chapter has been: “we’re surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses… and our Father is doing everything necessary to get us ready for glory… so we too should be making every effort toward holiness… since we have come not to Sinai but to Zion.”

God stirs us up in the pursuit of holiness by the greatness of these glorious worship services on the Lord’s Day.

First, it is not a mountain with smoke and fire at the top. It is not a touchable mountain that we are to stay away from, but a spiritual mountain upon which the Lord Jesus is taking us all the way to the top. And what we find there is a city where we belong.

It’s our Father’s city. And it’s full of angels, which this book already taught us are servants who minister to those who are inheriting salvation (Hebrews 1:14). And these angels are not assembled for war, but for a great celebration.

With whom else do we worship, when the Lord carries us by faith to heaven in the Lord’s Day Assemblies? The church of the firstborn. What we can’t see in English is that the word “firstborn” is plural. Here is something strange: everyone in Christ’s church has the status of a firstborn! This is a place of glory and honor for us!

It is also a place of security. The rights of the firstborn have been legally recorded in heaven. And God, the judge of all, has declared the members of this assembly to be just—officially “not guilty” in the court of God. In fact, the souls in glory have not just been forgiven, they have already been perfected. God’s salvation is sure, and it works!

This is the main message that we hear in Christian worship. To be sure, it is not the only message. As we will be reminded once again in Hebrews 12:25, we are not to refuse Him who speaks. But, before we hear anything else, we are to hear His blood.

Abel’s blood was terrible news. God observed it. God responded to it. His justice refused to ignore it. These all indicated that God is a God of wrath against sin. Jesus’s blood, however, tells good news. And it does a better job of talking than Abel’s does. Whatever sin testifies against us, Jesus’s blood talks louder, testifying of our redemption.
How does your approach to Lord’s Day Worship take into account these glories?
Suggested Songs: ARP95B “Today If You Will Hear His Voice” or TPH95A “O Come before the Lord, Our King”

Monday, July 29, 2019

2019.08.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 17:9-14

Questions for Littles: Who speaks to whom in Genesis 17:9? What does God tell Abraham to keep? Whom else does God say must keep His covenant? What obligation does God call “My covenant” in Genesis 17:10? Who must be circumcised? Who else gets included in the command in Genesis 17:11? When must a child be circumcised (Genesis 17:12)? What two groups are specified in verse 12, then reaffirmed in Genesis 17:13, as being required to have the sign applied to them? How long does the covenant with Abraham last? What if someone does not receive the sign—what shall happen to him (Genesis 17:14)? Why?
It might slip our notice, as we look at the rest of this passage, that Abraham spends the entire passage on his face. We would do well to come with the same posture of heart toward God, as He says MY covenant, MY covenant, MY covenant.

God is the One who initiates this covenant. Abraham does not have a choice in the matter. He did not make a decision or a commitment to bring himself into this binding relationship. Of course, he must decide and commit, but these were not optional for him.

God is the One who makes all of the promises. Promise to forgive. Promise to make holy. Promise to defeat death. Promise to give land. Promise of everlasting relationship. Yes, there are demands of Abraham, explicit and implicit. Faith. Obedience. Service. Worship. Even the application of the sign itself—which implies his obligation to yield to all of these things. But this is God’s covenant, and it has at its core God’s promises.

God is the One who will sustain both sides of the covenant. We saw this with the smoking pot and flaming torch in chapter 15. We heard it earlier in this chapter with the glorious statement that God Almighty would exercise that power in sustaining Abraham’s walk. In between, in chapter 16, all we had was Abraham’s failure.

Ultimately, this is a picture of Christ Himself. It is in Christ that God keeps all of these promises in your life and mine! The sign has changed but the substance is the same.
When were you baptized? How often do you reflect upon it and look to Christ?
Suggested Songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH265 “In Christ Alone”

2019.07.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 15:7-21

Questions for Littles: Whom did the Word of Yahweh say that He was in Genesis 15:7? What did He say that He had done? What did He promise that He would do? What does Abram ask in Genesis 15:8? What does the Word tell Abram to bring Him in Genesis 15:9? What does He tell him to do to them in Genesis 15:10? What three things fall upon Abram in Genesis 15:12? What bad news does God give Abram in Genesis 15:13? What good news in Genesis 15:14? What good news in Genesis 15:15? What reason does Genesis 15:16 give for why this is going to take so long? What pass between the animal pieces in Genesis 15:17? What does Genesis 15:18 say was happening? What was God binding Himself to do in Genesis 15:18-21?    
The passage that we have today is a marvelous display of the mercy and patience of God.

When Abram asks, “how shall I know” in Genesis 15:8, we want to scream into the text, “Because God just told you! Don’t you realize that the living God is speaking to you?!” Already, before any of God’s response to His dear one’s weak faith, great mercy is on display. God speaks to Abram! But we are not in a position to criticize, are we? Don’t we have the breathed-out words of God on the pages of the Bible? And do we marvel at and cherish at God’s having spoken and continuing to speak to us?

God’s response is not to admonish but to assist. He gives Abram instruction for an oath ceremony—not because the Word of God itself is made more sure, but because He is going to present it in a way that is more sure to Abram’s weak faith. The Lord does this throughout Scripture, and He does it for us today with the sacraments. God is being patient with Abram.

God also explains more to Abram. He owes Abram no more details. The secret things belong to our God. But, just as Jesus said that He treats us as friends by bringing us into what He is doing (John 15:15), so also God treats Abram as a friend (here, and especially in Genesis 18:17-19). We too are given not merely commands but much to support us as God opens His mind to us and tells us what He is doing.

What we see is that God is assuring Abram. This is important, because Scripture says that whatever does not proceed from faith is sin (Romans 8:7-10Romans 14:23; Hebrews 11:6). So, God takes His weakly believing servant and gives his faith a booster shot. The Lord wants us to be sure, and tells us to pursue that assurance too (2 Peter 1:10). God assures His people.

But perhaps the most amazing thing in this passage is how it is that God assures Abram. In this oath ceremony, the dead animals on either side form a walkway of blood between them, calling down the curse of death upon whomever breaks the promise. But God does not have Abram walk between the pieces. He manifests Himself in two different ways to walk between the pieces! It will be Himself that God kills (which He will have to become a man to do) in order to keep His promise to Abram. The difference between Abram and the Amorites is not that the Amorites are sinners, and Abram is not. The difference is that Abram has the death of Christ!
How has God been demonstrating patience with you? Do you have “the Christ difference”?
Suggested Songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH459 “My Hope Is Built”

Saturday, July 27, 2019

2019.07.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 15:7-21

Questions for Littles: Whom did the Word of Yahweh say that He was in Genesis 15:7? What did He say that He had done? What did He promise that He would do? What does Abram ask in Genesis 15:8? What does the Word tell Abram to bring Him in Genesis 15:9? What does He tell him to do to them in Genesis 15:10? What three things fall upon Abram in Genesis 15:12? What bad news does God give Abram in Genesis 15:13? What good news in Genesis 15:14? What good news in Genesis 15:15? What reason does Genesis 15:16 give for why this is going to take so long? What pass between the animal pieces in Genesis 15:17? What does Genesis 15:18 say was happening? What was God binding Himself to do in Genesis 15:18-21
There is a sense in which Genesis 15:8 seems disrespectful. If the Word of Yahweh has just told you something, then you shouldn’t question whether or not it’s true. But it’s more complex than that.

First, Abram is someone who wants to believe but can’t. I think that many of us believers can identify with him in that. We hear what God says. We agree on an intellectual level that it must be true. But we just can’t bring ourselves to know—know that it’s true.

Second, and more importantly, rather than criticize Abram for his unbelief, the Word of Yahweh stoops down to help him believe. God gives Abram a covenant ceremony. Ordinarily, the two who were entering into the covenant would cut those animals into two and separate them, and then as the blood mixed in between, they would walk back and forth between them while stating the obligations of each side—as if to say, “let the one who fails to meet his obligations end up like one of these animals.”

But Yahweh won’t let Abram participate. Abram wants to do what he can. He shoos away vultures. But God puts Abram into a deep sleep. We’ve seen this once before. God is saying, “you are going to be as uninvolved in making this covenant as father Adam was uninvolved in making the woman.” Then God Himself passes between the animals (smoking oven, Genesis 15:17) with… God Himself (burning torch, verse 17)! It will all depend upon God.

Abram was a man who wanted to believe but was having difficulty. And God wanted him to believe and overcame that difficulty by a display of God Himself being the one to secure it by His own blood covenant.

Today, you and I have something even stronger. When our hearts are having difficulty laying hold of some great promise, we have a Lord who wants us to be able to believe. And we can look back to a day where God not only displayed Himself as making a blood covenant, but a day when God had become a man to die in order to permanently secure that blood covenant. The amazing certainty that we have comes especially from the fact that Jesus, who died to secure all our covenant blessings, has risen again, and sits even now on the throne of heaven.

We ought to believe just from the Word. But when we can’t, we can look to Him to point our hearts to the certainty of the death and resurrection of Jesus. And make us to know-know!
Can you strengthen your own faith? How does God point you to the cross and resurrection?
Suggested Songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

Friday, July 26, 2019

2019.07.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 15:9-17

Questions for Littles: Who has loved Jesus (John 15:9a)? Whom has Jesus loved (verse 9b)? In what does Jesus tell His disciples to abide (verse 9c)? What does He give as the way of abiding in His love (John 15:10a)? How had Jesus been abiding in His Father’s love (verse 10b)? What is Jesus aiming at in saying these things to them (John 15:11)? As they abide in Jesus’s love, to whom are they to respond with that same love (John 15:122)? What does Jesus say is the greatest love (John 15:13)? How can we tell who are Jesus’s friends (John 15:14)? What does He no longer call the disciples (John 15:15)? Why not? Who chose whom (John 15:16)? For what three purposes (in verse 16) did He choose them? What summary command does He give them for what this bearing of fruit looks like (John 15:17)? 
How would you like to be “full of joy”? Many ache to be full of joy. To many more, it does not even occur to them that this is possible, or perhaps they cannot even wrap their minds around what that could mean. But what if you could be full not only of joy as some conceive it, but full of a joy that was of an unsurpassable quality—the joy of Jesus Himself.

Our ears perk up when we hear John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may abide in you, and that your joy may be full.” Wait… we can become the dwelling place—the home address—for Jesus’s joy? The place where His joy persists? How?! “These things I have spoken to you…”

Jesus has already been talking about how His Father uses His words’ abiding in us to make us bear much fruit (John 15:7-8). Now, we find a big part of that fruit: loving one another. Jesus the Master is now Jesus the Friend who tells us what He’s up to (John 15:15): laying down His life for His friends (John 15:13-14).

The Father has commanded this, and Jesus is living in His Father’s love, which means He eagerly obeys His Father’s will. Now Jesus is giving us a command: if we are going to be living in Jesus’s love, then we will be eagerly obeying Jesus’s will (John 15:10John 15:14). What’s His will? To absolutely every possible good for those whom He loves (John 15:12).

Abiding in Jesus, abiding in Jesus’s words, abiding in Jesus’s love (John 15:16) … at the center of all of these is loving one another. And the Father has committed Himself to giving whatever is necessary to produce this enduring fruit (verse 16c, cf. John 15:2John 15:8)!
Whom has Jesus given you to love? What is the most important way to do this?
Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

Thursday, July 25, 2019

2019.07.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Galatians 1:6-10

Questions for Littles: What does the apostle marvel at in Galatians 1:6? From whom are they turning away? What has God done for them? In what has He called them? To what are they turning? Is it really even a gospel (Galatians 1:7a)? How are they being turned? What are these troublers doing to the gospel (verse 7b)? What does Paul say about any who preach “another” gospel alongside the one that Paul had already preached to them (Galatians 1:8)? What about if it is Paul himself who does this? What about if it is an angel from heaven? What does Galatians 1:9 do, following verse 8? Whom is Paul not trying to please 
(Galatians 1:10)? Whom is he trying to please? Whose bondservant is he? 
The apostle is surprised, shocked even. We want to know—what is so surprising that it shocked even the apostle Paul? That someone should turn away. That they should commit treason. That they who had begun well should “so soon” (Galatians 1:6) be turning away. The gospel is so good. How could someone turn from it? Let us learn to be wary of ourselves and not think that what befell these Galatians could never happen to us. Would we be shocked for ourselves to turn away? Would we be surprised? The apostle Paul was surprised. This was the surprise of the Galatians’ turning.

Then there is the seriousness of the Galatians’ turning. What they are turning to was a different gospel (though the apostle explains that this was not a gospel at all—there IS no other). But look closely at what it was that they were turning from. It’s a what question with a Whom answer. They were turning from Him who called you. They were turning from a Person. What Person? God Himself. God who had planned to love and save sinners from all eternity. God who sent Christ to live and die in their place, when what they deserved was not mercy but Hell. God who had put that Hell on His Son. God who had then “called you in the grace of Christ.” What a God of love and mercy and power and forgiveness!! To turn from the gospel of Christ isn’t just to “nuance one’s theology.” It is to turn from God! That’s the seriousness of the Galatians’ turning.

Finally, there is the severe penalty of the Galatians’ turning. What is at stake is eternal punishment. Paul cares to be approved of God (Galatians 1:10) because the alternative is to come under God’s condemnation (anathema/accursed—Galatians 1:8-9). The stakes for the Paul are very high. For those who preach a counterfeit gospel—and the closer the counterfeit the more dangerous!—there is literally Hell to pay. And so too for any who believe the counterfeit, since without God and His grace in Christ, Hell has not been paid, and must be paid forever!
What has God done for sinners? What is at stake for you in getting this right?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace!”

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

2019.07.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 8:33-9:57

Questions for Littles: What did the children of Israel do as soon as Gideon was dead (Judges 8:33)? Whom did they forget (Judges 8:34)? Whom else (Judges 8:35)? Whom did Abimelech, son of the concubine, rally to his side in Judges 9:1-3? Whom did they hire (Judges 9:4)? To do what (Judges 9:5)? Who escaped? Unto what end (Judges 9:6)? In Jotham’s poem-song, what trees would have made good rulers (Judges 9:7-13)? But what did those trees desire to keep doing instead? What tree do they end up getting as king (Judges 9:14-15)? With what does that tree threaten them if they do NOT make him king? Whom does Jotham say this bramble is, and what does Jotham declare upon them for that (Judges 9:19-21)? Why (Judges 9:16-18)? How long did it take for things to go south between Abimelech and the men of Shechem (Judges 9:22-23)? Why did this happen (Judges 9:24)? What did they do (Judges 9:25)? Who became the new leader for the men of Shechem (Judges 9:26-29)? What did he say? Who decided to take Abimelech’s side (Judges 9:30)? What did he do (Judges 9:31-33)? What does Abimelech do with Zebul’s advice (Judges 9:34)? How does Zebul taunt Gaal (Judges 9:35-38)? What happens in the fighting, and how does Shechem end up (Judges 9:39-45)? Where do about a thousand take refuge, and what happens to them (Judges 9:46-49)? Where does this begin to be repeated (Judges 9:51-52)? But how does Abimelech meet his end (Judges 9:53-54)? What sudden resolution occurs (Judges 9:55)? Why such a strange and abrupt end—what had all this accomplished (Judges 9:56-57)?
Oh, what a dangerous thing it is to forget the Lord our God. The bulk of our passage today is about how God repaid the treachery of the men of Shechem, but let us take note of how that treachery began. The people forgot Yahweh. And, since Yahweh had used a man (Gideon, and his family) to save them, this involved also forgetting and despising the man that Yahweh had appointed to use. It is often this way with God’s people—the Lord uses imperfect men, and if we are forgetting the Lord who uses them, how easily we begin to despise them. As this passage shows, that’s no safe condition to be in!

The people’s forgetfulness makes them ripe to be led by Abimelech. It’s instructive to see that he styles himself as a people’s liberator. Those who reject God’s appointed servants often do. And masses of people often follow them. But, God causes things to break down between Abimelech and those he leads, until they end up attacking one another, and he wipes them out. The bramble starts the fire (literally!) that burns up the cedars.

It then looks like it’s going to get worse—is the bramble going to destroy all of Israel?! Nope, a woman drops a stone on his head, and suddenly it’s all over.

A couple of takeaways. First, we are learning in the book of Judges that the threats from within Israel can be just as deadly (and more deadly) than the threats from outside. All it takes is a little forgetting of the Lord, and a little forgetting of the ones through whom (imperfect as they may be) the Lord has intended to lead them. God intended to them much good through the children of Gideon (as symbolized by all the useful trees and their benefits). Oh what devastation may come by means of grumbling, complaining, and refusing to be led through those by whom God intends to do us much good! But we don’t even realize that when we do this, it is the Lord Himself whom we are forgetting (cf. Ephesians 4:8-16).

Second, we are learning that God sees and God responds. This is still true for churches today. There’s the Lord Jesus in the letters to the churches in Revelation saying, “I know this, and this, and this about you… and if you don’t shape up, there will be sad and devastating consequences.”

The summary statement in Judges 9:56-57 won’t let us “forget” that this is really what’s going on in all the interesting twists and turns in this passage. Divine judgment upon His people’s forgetfulness! This judgment itself has a comfort in it for those who continue to cling to God: yes, destroyers arise from among God’s people, but God ultimately destroys the destroyers.
How do we work not to be forgetful of the Lord? In what specific activities?
Suggested songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry before Your Come” or TPH1A “That Man Is Blest”

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

2019.07.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 90

Read Psalm 90
Questions for Littles: Who wrote this Psalm? Where had the people “dwelt” by the time of Moses (Psalm 90:1)? For how long had this been their dwelling place? Who formed the earth and the world (Psalm 90:2)? For how long has Yahweh been God? Who turns man to destruction (Psalm 90:3)? What does He say when He does so? How many years are mentioned in Psalm 90:4? In whose sight are they like a day? What shorter period are they like (verse 4c)? How does Yahweh sweep away the sons of Adam (Psalm 90:5a)? What else are they like (verse 5b)? How quickly do they appear (verse 5c through Psalm 90:6a)? What else happens to them quickly (verse 6b)? What has consumed the people (Psalm 90:7a)? What has terrified them (verse 7b)? How did this come about—what has God set before Him (Psalm 90:8a)? Which sins in particular does verse 8b mention? With what light have they been exposed from the darkness (verse 8b)? What, then happens, to all men’s days (Psalm 90:9a)? To what does verse 9b compare the finishing of their years? What was an average life span in Psalm 90:10a? How long would someone live to have been thought strong (verse 10b)? But what would even the life of such a strong person seem to have amounted to (verse 10c)? Why—what soon happens to them (verse 10d)? What does Psalm 90:11a indicate is extremely powerful? How big does verse 11b say that God’s wrath is? What are we to learn to do in comparison to God’s eternity and wrath (Psalm 90:12a)? From whom can we learn to do this? What will it give us (verse 12b)? What is the second petition in this psalm (Psalm 90:13a)? What, specifically, is he asking Yahweh to return to do (verse 13c)? What is the third petition (Psalm 90:14a)? With what, specifically, does he pray that we would be satisfied? What effect would this have upon us (verse 14b, cp. Psalm 90:9)? What does he ask Yahweh to do in Psalm 90:15a? If they do receive this mercy, then what specifically would increase the measure of their new gladness (verse 15a-b)? What would Yahweh be showing them in such a case (Psalm 90:16a)? What else (verse 16b)? Of what would His people themselves become a display (Psalm 90:17a)? What will He do as a result of the given mercy and show of this display of beauty (verse 17b-c)?
By answering the questions above, you will find that the Psalm itself walks us straightforwardly to its conclusion. We are the children of Adam (Psalm 90:3, literally translated), and therefore we die. The longest any of his children had ever lived was about a thousand years—compared in this psalm to a single night watch (Psalm 90:4).

Why? Because we are sinners. We deserve wrath. Nothing can possibly be hidden from God. The infinitely brilliant light of His countenance exposes even our most secret sins (Psalm 90:8).

Therefore, our only hope is His compassion (Psalm 90:13) and mercy (Psalm 90:14). When He gives us a joy that comes not from having our earthly desires satisfied for a handful of years, but from being delivered from the wrath that shortened our years to begin with—then, our joy is commensurate with the greatness of the wrath and judgment that we originally deserved (Psalm 90:15)!

But we don’t have to wait until eternity to begin receiving a joy that is as big as that eternity. As we begin to live in the light of God’s favor, and He becomes the firmness of our work, we begin to see that He is always the One working (Psalm 90:16a), that His aim is not to make us look great but rather to have us look at His greatness (verse 16b), that when we are beautiful it will be with His beauty for all to see Him as glorious (Psalm 90:17a).
Is God the greatness of your life? Or are you passing your years as a sigh?
Suggested songs: ARP90B “O Teach Us How” or TPH222 “O God Our Help in Ages Past”

Monday, July 22, 2019

2019.07.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 15:1-6

Questions for Littles: What came to Abram and when (Genesis 15:1)? What did He tell Abram NOT to do? What two things did He promise to be unto Abram? What reason does Abram give in Genesis 15:2 for this not being as good news to him as it could be? What does Abram say that God has not given him (Genesis 15:3)? What is said (again!) to come to Abram in Genesis 15:4? What does Yahweh say about Eliezer? What does He say about the one who will be Abram’s heir? Where does the Lord bring Abram in Genesis 15:5? Where does He tell Abram to look? What does He tell Abram to try to do? What does He say to Abram about his ability to number the stars? How does Abram respond to Yahweh in Genesis 15:6? What is accounted to Abram through this believing?    
“What can You give me?” The question seems almost blasphemous. Not only was God the One who had made the promise, but what He had promised was Himself.

You see, Abram has a problem. He is going to die. And when he does—at least at this point in his life—the man who would inherit all that he has is Eliezer of Damascus.

From the way Abram puts Genesis 15:3, it sounds as if he is saying “if You had given me offspring, then it would be a part of me that kept on enjoying that ‘exceedingly great reward’ that You’ve just promised.” Indeed, this is confirmed by the Word of Yahweh says, “one who will come from your own body” in Genesis 15:4.

But there’s a promise here about that One, and a separate promise about the many. The Word takes Abram outside and has him count the stars—how very many there would have been! And He says “so shall your descendants be.” But aren’t these going to die too?

Yes, but there is One who will not have the same problem. The bigger part of the promise is the part in verse 4. There is ONE who will be your heir. There is ONE in whom you (and, by the way, alllllll of these descendants) will inherit. There is ONE in whom you will have ME as your strength and your exceedingly great reward. There is ONE in whom even death itself will be unable to take this from you.

And Abram believed God about that one (Genesis 15:6; cf. Romans 4, Galatians 3:6, James 2:23). And he was made righteous before God, and received God Himself as his shield and reward.
When are you going to die? Do you have a shield that is stronger than death?
Suggested Songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH459 “My Hope Is Built”

Saturday, July 20, 2019

2019.07.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 15:1-6

Questions for Littles: What came to Abram and when (Genesis 15:1)? What did He tell Abram NOT to do? What two things did He promise to be unto Abram? What reason does Abram give in Genesis 15:2 for this not being as good news to him as it could be? What does Abram say that God has not given him (Genesis 15:3)? What is said (again!) to come to Abram in Genesis 15:4? What does Yahweh say about Eliezer? What does He say about the one who will be Abram’s heir? Where does the Lord bring Abram in Genesis 15:5? Where does He tell Abram to look? What does He tell Abram to try to do? What does He say to Abram about his ability to number the stars? How does Abram respond to Yahweh in Genesis 15:6? What is accounted to Abram through this believing? 
In the previous passage we heard about how, in order to equip Abram to take a bold stand before the king of Sodom, the Lord sent Melchizedek to prophesy to Abram that his blessing and deliverance came from God Most High. But this was not just a one-time message needed for an occasion in Abram’s life.

Now, the word of Yahweh comes to Abram and speaks in Genesis 15:1. And the word of Yahweh comes to Abram again and speaks in Genesis 15:4. It almost seems from the text that the Word of Yahweh is a Person—and indeed that is exactly how John the Evangelist presents Him in John 1. Here, then, is the second passage in a row where God the Son is presenting Himself to Abram for his faith.

This time, rather than merely telling Abram that his blessing and deliverance come from God Most High, the Word of Yahweh tells Abram that his blessing and deliverance IS Yahweh. What a Shield! What a Reward!

There’s just one problem for Abram. How long will he get to enjoy his inheritance, and who will inherit it after him? To him, the answer seems to be “not long, and Eliezer of Damascus.”

In response, the Word appears to Abram again with a doubly amazing message. The first message is about his Heir—singular. There is one Descendant of Abram who is the focus of God’s promise to be Abram’s Shield and Reward. Ultimately, it is faith in this promised One through which Abram is counted righteous.

The other part of the amazing message isn’t about the one Heir but the many descendants. Not only will Jesus be coming from Abram’s own body, but Abram will have a multitude of seed that is as impossible to count as the stars in the sky! We know from the rest of Scripture that this promise is about those of the faith of Abram, not those of the flesh of Abram. Those who also believe in Jesus, the great Heir of Abram, the One in whom God Himself is our Shield and exceedingly great Reward. Is this your hope—that in Jesus Christ, God Himself is Yours?
What are you tempted to view as your shield instead of God? As your reward?
Suggested Songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly I Am with You” or TPH446 “Be Thou My Vision”

Friday, July 19, 2019

2019.07.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 15:1-8

Questions for Littles: How does Jesus describe Himself in John 15:1? How does Jesus describe His Father? What does the Father do to branches that do not bear fruit (John 15:2)? What does the Father do to the branches that do bear fruit? Why? What does Jesus say that they already are in John 15:3? How did they come to be this way? What does He command them to do in John 15:4? What does He promise to do in response? What cannot happen unless they follow this command? What description of Himself does Jesus now repeat in John 15:5? How does He go on to describe His disciples? How much fruit will they bear if they abide in Him, and He abides in them? What can they do without Him? What happens to the one who does not abide in Jesus (John 15:6)? What does Jesus say will abide in those who abide in Him (John 15:7)? If His words are abiding in them, what will be done for them? Whom are they to glorify (John 15:8)? How does this happen? What does this make them?
As Christ and His apostles leave the upper room (John 14:31), the Lord Jesus continues explaining the work of the Holy Spirit as He will teach them (John 14:26) and produce in them love for Jesus and the keeping of Jesus’s words (John 14:23-24).

As the Spirit’s ministry to them constitutes the Father and Son making Their home in the believer (John 14:23), so also it constitutes the believer abiding in Christ. Jesus says this three times in our passage.

First, in John 15:4, Jesus commands that we abide in Him. There are branches that look like they are on the vine, but there is no vital, internal connection. The life of the vine is not entering the branch, so they bear no fruit. The Father, whose love and fellowship toward us is only ever in Christ, casts out such “branches” from His Son and those connected to Him (John 15:2).

However, for those who are bearing fruit, the work in them is not yet done. The Father continues to minister to them—in His Son, by His Spirit. John 15:3 calls us back to John 13:10-11. Now, Jesus tells us the mechanism by which He joins us to Himself so that we would be clean: the Word which He speaks (verse 3). To this day, we still hear and believe Him through preachers whom He sends (cf. Romans 10:14-17).

But even after we believe in Jesus and belong to Jesus, there is still Word-work to do. The Father, who is with us by His Spirit, has an ongoing ministry to fruit-bearing branches. He prunes them. He cleans them further. Like Jesus washing their feet in ch 13, the Father addresses the areas that still need improvement. This is how we come to bear more fruit (John 15:2), or as John 15:5 puts it, “much fruit”—the second verse in which our abiding in Jesus is mentioned. So this pruning and this abiding in Jesus are one and the same. The Father increases our fruit bearing by making us more and more to abide in the Son.

But what does that pruning look like? What does our abiding in Jesus look like? That brings us to the third mention, where the wording is changed ever so slightly. “If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you…” Here is the mechanism by which we are pruned—the way of abiding in Jesus: having His Words abide in us.

Sermon hearing, and Bible reading, and mulling over Scripture should be personal. It is not just an exercise in learning. It is an abiding in the Son by the ministry of the Spirit. It is yielding oneself up to the Father, by the Spirit, that He might prune us cleansing us more to make us more fruitful.

As He uses His Word, by His Spirit, to grow us up into His Son, we become closer copies of His Son—disciples (John 15:8), bringing glory to the Father who does this. The Christian life is a Word-saturated, progressive work of the Triune God to produce in us the fruits of fellowship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
When do you read/hear/meditate upon God’s Word? What should you be seeking out of such times? What are you hoping God will do in you in these times of fellowship with Him?
Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH1B “How Blest the Man”

Thursday, July 18, 2019

2019.07.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Galatians 1:1-5

Questions for Littles: Who wrote this letter (Galatians 1:1)? What was his title/office? From whom, or through whom, did this apostleship not come? Through Whom did this apostleship come? What had God the Father done to Jesus Christ? From whom else did Paul say this letter was coming (Galatians 1:2)? To whom did the apostle address the letter? What two things does the apostle pronounce upon them as a blessing in Galatians 1:3? From which two Persons? What did the Lord Jesus do for both the apostle and his readers (Galatians 1:4)? In order to do what? According to Whose will? What is due to the Father for this salvation (Galatians 1:5)? For how long? 
How does the apostle begin a letter that is combatting the idea that we can contribute to our salvation, or that rituals like circumcision have in themselves the power to make us better? With an introduction that highlights a ministry that comes only from God, by a power that belongs only to God, to give blessings that come only from God, according to a plan that was devised exclusively by God, all unto a glory that belongs only to God.

A ministry that comes only from God. There were others who claimed to be apostles, but had not been sent out as apostles by Christ. Perhaps there were some who thought this was true of Paul as well, but he reminds them that Christ rose from the dead—that it was the risen Christ who ordained Paul as an apostle.

A power that belongs only to God. There is a second reason for mentioning that Christ has risen from the dead. We can’t do that. Only God can do that. When the work of God in salvation requires the exercise of resurrection power, we have no business trying to add any power of our own to “help”!

Blessings that come only from God. Grace: blessings for those who deserve only curse and strength for those who have only weakness. Peace: God making us who were enemies into His own dear children, and giving us peace in our hearts and minds as a result. Both of these are blessings that by definition cannot come from us.

And, indeed, Galatians 1:3 reminds us that they must come from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. They cannot come from us or from this world. As sinners, apart from Him, we would be members of this present evil age—the very thing from which He delivers us! How, then, could we contribute to that deliverance? What we contribute is our sins. Only He Himself could atone for us, and only He Himself can give Him Himself!

A plan devised exclusively by God. Galatians 1:4 tells us that our deliverance is something that is “according to the will of our God and Father.” It has been planned in advance, and planned by God Himself. It is not open to revision, addition, or enhancement by anything that we invent or do—no matter how much we may suppose that it will help.

A glory that belongs only to God. It is to our God and Father alone that glory belongs forever and ever, Amen! Ultimately, if any goodness or power came from us, it would rob God of some of this glory. God forbid!!
What are some things that you slip into thinking make you more praiseworthy?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace!”

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

2019.07.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 8:22-32

Questions for Littles: What did the men of Israel ask Gideon to do in Judges 8:22? For how long? Why? How does Gideon accept their offer—Whom does he say will really be ruling (Judges 8:23)? What did Gideon ask them for in Judges 8:24? How did the people respond in Judges 8:25? How much gold did Gideon end up with (Judges 8:26)? What else did he receive in this way? What did Gideon make with it (Judges 8:27)? What did he do with that? And what did Israel do with the ephod? What did it become to Gideon and to his house? What was the military-political result of Gideon’s leadership for the nation (Judges 8:28)? Where did Gideon (Jerubbaal) go to live (Judges 8:29)? How many sons did he have (Judges 8:30)? How? What else did he have (Judges 8:31)? What did she do for him? What was the boy called? How did Gideon’s earthly life conclude (Judges 8:32)? 
It’s easy to give good-sounding answers in a moment of time. It’s much more difficult to follow it up with principled living. Gideon’s answer in Judges 8:23 is so self-effacing that it may seem at first that he has declined the people’s request that he become not just king, but the first in a new kingly line.

But we see him taxing the people in Judges 8:24, and inventing new ways of worship in Judges 8:27, and even naming his concubine’s child “my daddy is king” (something we first saw in Genesis, especially among the Philistines). So the passage as a whole makes it clear that he said, “yes.”

What then did he mean in Judges 8:23? Taken altogether, it seems that he was trying to put a “divine right of kings” spin on the people’s request. He’s been into signs thus far. This may be similar: something like “this is a sign that I am the one through whom Yahweh will rule you.”

But it’s not just kingship to which he presumes but high-priesthood. The ark was in Shiloh (or maybe Bethel?), and there was a high priest with the divinely designed and instituted ephod. But Gideon decided to expand his role.

Judges 8:27 tells us that the people loved it—not in the way you love the one that you’re supposed to love (your wife), but in the way that you love the forbidden alternative that seems so flashy and different (harlots). How easy it is to neglect the means that the Lord has appointed and find something else more interesting or appealing instead!

Of course, following after their innovative alternatives was ultimately a rejection of being ruled by Yahweh—the very thing to which Gideon had given lip service in Judges 8:23. But don’t we do that? How many of us are satisfied with the ordinary means of grace day by day in the home and week by week in the congregation? We slide into thinking some other thing is going to be the really effective and enjoyable way of growing spiritually. But if we favor our alternatives, are we really delighting to be ruled by Jesus?
What do you think are going to be the ways that Jesus rules you and grows you?
Suggested songs: ARP131 “My Heart Is Not Exalted, Lord” or TPH131B “Not Haughty Is My Heart”

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

2019.07.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 104

Read Psalm 104
Questions for Littles: How does this Psalm begin in the first two lines (Psalm 104:1-2) and end in the last two sentences of Psalm 104:35? With what is God clothed (Psalm 104:1-2)? What are like house and chariot for Him (Psalm 104:2-3)? What was the Lord’s part in creation (Psalm 104:5)? In the flood (Psalm 104:6)? In the restoration (Psalm 104:7-9)? What has the Lord done for His various creatures, according to Psalm 104:10-14 and Psalm 104:16-22? What three things did God invent/create for man, and for what purposes (Psalm 104:15)? What does man spend his day doing (Psalm 104:23)? How does God’s work compare (Psalm 104:24-26)? For what do all creatures depend upon the Lord in Psalm 104:27-28? For what do they depend upon Him in Psalm 104:29-30? What belongs to the Lord in Psalm 104:31a? In verse 31b? How do Psalm 104:33-34 correspond to that? Comparing Psalm 104:32 and Psalm 104:35a, what do those verses show about God? With their placement in the middle of delighting in God and glorifying Him, how are we to respond to these truths about the Lord?
This week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Confession of Sin, came from Psalm 104. This Psalm puts God in His place. It praises Him as the Creator of an amazing world with amazing variety. It praises Him as the One who sustains all of His creatures from the smallest to the largest, from the least intelligent to man, from the defenseless to the powerful. It praises Him as the One who continuously rules and overrules everything according to His sovereign will.

Man works hard to grow and process wine, and oil, and grain. But it is the Lord who invested these with the ability to gladden man, and give him strength and health. Our ability to work and produce and enjoy are all great privileges, because they are ways that God has permitted us to imitate Him in the creation.

But that’s just the point: even with all of our privileges, we are creatures. He is the Creator. Let us also imitate His generosity, His tender care. Generosity and kindness are becoming to those created in the image of such a Lord as we know and worship.

Still, let us not miss that the Lord saved the first half of Psalm 104:35 for the final thing for which to praise the Lord: His wrath and justice. With a Lord so glorious, it is the greatest of evils to fail to praise Him, let alone even to rebel against Him! Therefore, it is one of His great glories that He does not leave this unpunished.

As we obey the command at the beginning and end of this Psalm, to bless the Lord and praise Him with our whole soul, let us recognize the One in whom all of these meet: His generosity, His love, His power, His justice, His wrath—all are best seen in the cross of Christ!
For which of the God’s attributes, do you most need to increase appreciation? How will you? 
Suggested songs: ARP104C “The Trees of the Lord” or TPH219 “O Worship the King”

Monday, July 15, 2019

2019.07.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 14:17-24

Questions for Littles: Who went out to meet Abram in Genesis 14:17? After what did he go out to meet him? Who interrupts this meeting in Genesis 14:18? Of where (what) is he king (cf. Hebrews 7:2)? What does He bring Abram? What else is He, in addition to a king? What does He do to Abram (Genesis 14:19)? What does He call God? What does He say that God possess? Whom does He bless in Genesis 14:20? For what reason? What does Abram give to Melchizedek? Who finally speaks in Genesis 14:21? What does he offer? What does Abram say he has done in Genesis 14:22? In Genesis 14:23, what does he say that he has determined not to do? Why not? What does he accept to receive in Genesis 14:24, and for whom?    
It would have been understandable for Abram to feel exhausted and more than a little deserving of the plunder of war. He had risked his own men, marching them 110 miles up to Dan, winning the battle and then pursuing another 40 miles to Damascus. But, as he ends up saying in Genesis 14:23, this would put him at risk of having the king of Sodom say, “I have made Abram rich.” So, Abram needs help to make a bold and courageous stand—not only willing to trust the Lord for taking care of him, but even willing to risk offending the five-king-coalition whom he had just liberated.

What does the Lord do for His servant to prepare him to take such a stand and such a risk? God presents Himself to Abram as his Prophet, Priest, and King in the Person of Melchizedek.

Abram needed a Prophet to teach him both theology (Yahweh is God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, Genesis 14:22) and the application of that theology (he who has Yahweh must not indebt himself to the wicked for help or gifts, verse 23).

You can see that he learned these things directly from Melchizedek. It’s Melchizedek that has just taught him that his blessing is from God (Genesis 14:19). That this God is rightly called “God Most High.” That this God is the “Possessor of heaven and earth.”

Abram also needed a Priest to minister to him the reality of his covenant fellowship and favor with God. In Genesis 14:18, Melchizedek brings him bread and wine, but this isn’t just refreshments for understandably famished Abram and his troops. In fact, the refreshments have largely been taken from slaughter among the plunder. He says as much in Genesis 14:24 when he refers to “what the young men have eaten.”

Genesis 14:18 finishes the thought about the bread and wine by explaining that Melchizedek presented it as “the priest of God Most High.” Breaking bread is an indication of the benefits of a covenant—a fellowship in mutual benefit when it is among men, but in this case a picture of how all of Abram’s blessings come from God Most High. And a covenant cup is an indication of the bond of a covenant—that one’s gladness will be the other’s gladness, that one’s strength will be the other’s strength, that one’s health will be the other’s health.

In his role as Priest, Melchizedek acts as a go-between, a Mediator, for God and Abram. He presents to Abram the benefits of the covenant in the bread, and the bond of the covenant in the wine, and pronounces upon Abram the blessing of the covenant. He even receives from Abram, on behalf of God, a tithe that can only belong to God. For, since Abram recognizes in Genesis 14:23 that the plunder rightly belongs to the king of Sodom, humanly speaking, his willingness to give 1/10 of it to Melchizedek implies a recognition that Melchizedek stands in the place of God to Him.

Finally, Abram needed a King. One who could deliver him. One to whom he would submit. And that is exactly what Melchizedek is. His name King of Righteousness, and He is also called King of Peace. This is in stark contrast to the many other kings in this chapter—all of whom are kings of wickedness and of war. Will Bera be Abram’s king? God forbid! God Himself, who delivers Abram’s enemies into his hands, is Abram’s king.

We have already seen that Abram recognized that Melchizedek represented God to him. When we consider Psalm 110 and Hebrews chapters 1, 5, and 6, we realize that Melchizedek is very specifically a pre-incarnation appearance of God the Son, looking forward to when He would become a true Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Ultimately, this is what Abram needed most of all: to know Christ Himself as his Prophet, Priest, and King.

And that’s what you need too. To know Christ as your Prophet, who teaches you all truth by the Scriptures, and what responses you are to make to that truth. To know Christ as your Priest—the go-between who Mediates for you the benefits, bond, and blessings of being in covenant with God. To know Christ as your King—who both defeats all of your and His enemies, and to Whom you are subject in glad, whole-hearted obedience!
How do you respond to Christ as your Prophet? As your Priest? As your King?
Suggested Songs: ARP110B “The Lord Has Spoken” or TPH280 “Wondrous King, All-Glorious”

Saturday, July 13, 2019

2019.07.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 14:17-24

Questions for Littles: Who went out to meet Abram in Genesis 14:17? After what did he go out to meet him? Who interrupts this meeting in Genesis 14:18? Of where (what) is he king (cf. Hebrews 7:2)? What does He bring Abram? What else is He, in addition to a king? What does He do to Abram (Genesis 14:19)? What does He call God? What does He say that God possess? Whom does He bless in Genesis 14:20? For what reason? What does Abram give to Melchizedek? Who finally speaks in Genesis 14:21? What does he offer? What does Abram say he has done in Genesis 14:22? In Genesis 14:23, what does he say that he has determined not to do? Why not? What does he accept to receive in Genesis 14:24, and for whom?
With the help of the book of Hebrews, we learn to be amazed at Melchizedek, whose name means “King of Righteousness.” He is also the king of Salem, which means “peace.” These are pretty amazing titles to find in a chapter that has been full of wickedness and war.

Hebrews teaches us to marvel at the fact that he appears out of thin air. So far in Genesis, everything has been about covenant lines—tracing the Seed through generations. But Melchizedek appears with no line whatsoever.

Then, we are also to marvel at the greatness of the man. It is the greater who blesses the lesser, and he is the one who blesses Abram. It is the greater who receives the tithe from the lesser, and Melchizedek receives the tithe from Abram.

So, here is a very great King, who is also Priest of God Most High. As Priest, he feeds Abram bread and wine in connection with a priestly blessing.

And, Melchizedek is also a Prophet. He appears as an interruption to the encounter with the king of Sodom. When we compare Melchizedek’s words in Genesis 14:19-20 to Abram’s words in Genesis 14:22-23, we recognize where it is that Abram has gotten these ideas.

This, ultimately, may be the most stunning display of Melchizedek’s greatness. So far, Yahweh Himself has been Abram’s theological instructor. Now, this Melchizedek who has appeared out of nowhere has that role which to this point has been reserved for Yahweh!

So, who is the King of Righteousness, the King of Peace—the Prophet, Priest, and King, who is greater than Abram, a Mediator between God and man, and a Prophet who speaks in the place of Yahweh? It is none other than Christ Himself. It is a reminder that as we read this section of Genesis, yes we are to appreciate Abram. But, we are to do so not on our knees before Abram, but alongside him, as together we worship the Lord Jesus Christ!
How is Christ your Prophet? How is Christ your Priest? How is Christ your King?
Suggested Songs: ARP110B “The Lord Has Spoken” or TPH280 “Wondrous King, All-Glorious”

Friday, July 12, 2019

2019.07.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 14:22-31

Questions for Littles: What does the other Judas (not Iscariot) ask Jesus in John 14:22? What does Jesus say that the person who loves Him will do (John 14:23)? And what will the Father do for him? And what will the Father and the Son do to him? What does the person who does not love Jesus also not do (John 14:24)? Whom is such a person rejecting? When has Jesus spoken these things (John 14:25)? Whose ministry will it be to teach the words that Jesus-lovers keep (John 14:26)? What does Jesus leave with them and give them in John 14:27? To whose giving is Jesus’s giving not at all similar? What does He say not to do with our hearts? How does He say they should respond to His departure if they love Him (John 14:28)? Why? When has He told them (John 14:29a)? Why (verse 29b)? What will Jesus not do much more of right now (John 14:30)? Who else does He say will believe because He does this (John 14:31)?
The theme of this passage is comparison between the apostles and the world.

Jesus is going to show Himself to the disciples, but not to the world. This is the original saying that troubles the other Judas.

Jesus points out that this is because the disciples love Him, but the world does not. The ability to see Jesus is a function of loving Jesus.

Jesus also says that this is because the disciples keep His Word, but the world does not. The ability to see Jesus is a function of keeping His Word. Seeing Jesus comes in large measure by holding to what He says.

Christ goes on to talk about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Receiving Jesus is receiving the Father (John 14:23-24), but receiving both Jesus and the Father by means of the Word comes by receiving the Spirit, who is the One who teaches them in Jesus’s absence (John 14:25-26).

The world cannot give anything lasting or ultimately effective. But Jesus does not give that which is from the world. He gives Himself, His Father, and His Spirit—that which is eternal and omnipotent. And what does He give so perfectly lastingly and effectively? His peace.

Now that Jesus has said this, when the day of Pentecost arrives, and the promised Spirit comes, they will know and remember that Father, Son, and Spirit are all One. And they will know that they have fellowship with and power from the Triune God—this wonderful thing that Jesus calls His peace.
Who enables you to hear and believe in Jesus? Whom do you have if you do so?
Suggested songs: ARP110B “The Lord Has Spoken” or TPH212 “Come, Thou Almighty King”

Thursday, July 11, 2019

2019.07.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 13:11-14

Questions for Littles: What does the apostle begin by saying in 2 Corinthians 13:11? What does the apostle tell them to become? What three things does he tell them to do? What will be with them as they do this? How does he tell them to greet one another (2 Corinthians 13:12)? Who greet them (2 Corinthians 13:13)? With what three things does he bless them in 2 Corinthians 13:14?
For someone who has just pleaded with them that he not have to come in sharpness to make a painful visit, the apostle’s closing to this letter is very affectionate. He calls them brethren. He reminds them of his stated goal for them from the end of 2 Corinthians 13:9—that they would come to be everything that Christ has called them to be. It is not his own honor at which he aims but theirs.

The word that is translated “comfort” in 2 Corinthians 13:11 is that ‘parakaleo’ word that we hear so much about. He is encouraging them that in the Spirit, in the Word, and in the Lord’s ministry to them through each other, they have called-alongside-them all that they need in order to arrive at this completion.

Of course, if we are to be used in this way in one another’s lives, we cannot be in continual disagreement on important things. As elsewhere in Scripture (and especially in the Corinthian letters), the apostle calls us here to be of one mind. To think the same things. Theological diversity is never praised in the Bible. Unity is attained by the perfecting of each one’s doctrine according to Scripture.

Yet, we know that if we all have doctrinal precision, this is not the same as having ‘good’ doctrine. For, the Bible presents itself as a book not just to be believed but especially to be lived. They are not only to be of one mind, but as each practices what they learn from Scripture, they are to live in peace.

How is it possible for a sinful church like Corinth to do this? Their wickedness is not so great as God’s love. Their tendency for strife is not so great as God’s peace. Ultimately, this is one of those arenas of grace—opportunities for His strength to be displayed in the midst of our weakness. It is God’s love and God’s peace that will be with them.

And that which they are to have with one another in their local congregation (2 Corinthians 13:12), they are to enjoy and extend to all the congregations of Christ’s church (2 Corinthians 13:13). Indeed, our fellowship is not only with one another; it is with the triune God. Upon His grace, it all rests. From His love, it all came. And in fellowship with Him, it is all done. Amen!
How are you being prepared for glory? Becoming of one mind with others of comprehensively Scriptural doctrine? Expressing and enjoying love and unity with other believers?
Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

2019.07.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 8:1-21

Questions for Littles: Who start and argument with Gideon and reprimand him sharply (Judges 8:1-3)? Who are unwilling to help him, because they don’t think he will win (Judges 8:4-7)? Who else treat him the same way (Judges 8:8-9)? How many of the enemy were left (Judges 8:10)? How many had fallen? How does Gideon choose the timing of his attack (Judges 8:11)? What is the success of his attack (Judges 8:12)? Whom does he then turn around and attack (Judges 8:13-17)? Whom does it turn out that Zebah and Zalmunna have killed (Judges 8:18-19)? Who refuses the command to execute justice on them (Judges 8:20)? Who has to do it himself (Judges 8:21)? 
It has often been the case among Christ’s people that those whom He raises up to defend them from external enemies end up having to fight enemies among the people of God. Jesus warned the disciples that it would be like this. Paul warned the Ephesian elders that it would be like this. And it was not a new thing at their time.

In this passage, Gideon has won a great victory, and now the Ephraimites want to attack him for not sharing the glory. He gets out of it by arguing that their glory is greater than his. Sometimes, God’s people attack out of pride.

Then there are the men of Succoth and the men of Penuel. Even when it is obvious that no one can ultimately defeat the Lord, there are always those among the people of God who harbor the secret suspicion that the Lord will lose. Sometimes, God’s people attack out of fear.

And sometimes, it’s not so much an attack as it is a sad disappointment from someone close to you. In this case, it’s even his firstborn son, who is just too timid to put his hand to the admittedly hard—but guaranteed—task before him in the service of the Lord.

As is often the case, this adds insult to injury in Judges 8:21, for the Z brothers take the opportunity to mock Gideon one last time before they meet the sword of justice.

God tells us ahead of time that His people will disappoint us so that we do not project our disappointment onto Him when they do. And, rather than desire status among them or security from their approval, we learn to rest in Him not in His people.
Who has disappointed you in the church? How have you turned to rest in the Lord instead of them?
Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge” or TPH46C “God Is Our Refuge”

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

2019.07.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 103:1-5

Questions for Littles: What or whom is the Psalmist commanding to bless the Lord (Psalm 103:1)? With how much of what is within him is he to obey this command? How many times does he give himself this command (Psalm 103:2a)? What is he not to forget (verse 2b)? What is the first benefit not to forgive (Psalm 103:3a)? What is the second (verse 3b)? The third (Psalm 103:4a)? The fourth (verse 4b)? What is one of the tender mercies of God (Psalm 103:5a)? What effect does it have (verse 5b)? 
This week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Confession of Sin, came from Psalm 103.

In this passage, the Psalmist teaches and models for us proper self-talk, as he does elsewhere in the psalter (cf. Psalms 42-43). And one of the most important things to tell ourselves is to remember to give praise and thanks to God with our whole being!

Of course, God is worthy of all praise, just because He is God. But that is not the only reason that He has given to us for praising Him. He does much to us and for us that is useful to our souls in stirring up praise unto Him.

The first and greatest benefit of God is the forgiveness of all of our sins. What use could anything else be without forgiveness?

But this is followed immediately by His healing all of our diseases, all of our sicknesses. We are, after all, both body and soul. And the Lord takes complete care of both. Just as many of our sins as He has forgiven, so also that many of our diseases He heals.

Those who promise the “health and wealth” gospel do not promise too much. They promise too little. They promise something that will again be taken away when the time comes for us to die. That is so much smaller than the disease-healing that is actually promised in the gospel.

Every believer in Jesus Christ must necessarily be resurrected in order to enjoy and praise the Lord, both body and soul, forever and ever. There is not a single disease or sickness in that comes into the life of a believer except that it is the Lord’s plan that it end not in death but in resurrection!

Truly, then, does Psalm 103:4 say, “who redeems your life from destruction.” This is both destruction in the ultimate sense (the Lord has redeemed us from death and Hell), and also in a current and ongoing sense. The Lord grants unto us to live in love and service to Him, and He is pleased to make us agents not of destruction but of blessing to others around us and even to the glory of His Name.

Every day, God pours out upon us His lovingkindness (covenant love) and tender mercies. Indeed, every meal that we eat, and every time we feel physically refreshed, it is one more installment of those love-gifts that stream continuously from that same love by which we are forgiven and shall at last be resurrected.

Let us learn to remember ALL of His benefits, so that we will continuously rest in and rejoice over His covenant love to us… so that we will bless His holy Name with our whole soul!
What opportunities do you have to remember the Lord’s benefits and bless His Name?
Suggested songs: ARP103B “O, Bless the Lord, My Soul” or TPH216 “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”

Monday, July 08, 2019

2019.07.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 14:1-16

Questions for Littles: Which kings, of which nations, were on Chedorlaomer’s side (Genesis 14:1)? Which kings, of which nations, were on Sodom’s side (Genesis 14:2)? Where did the Sodom coalition join together (Genesis 14:3)? For how many years had they been enslaved (Genesis 14:4)? What did they do in the thirteenth year? What happened in the 14th year (Genesis 14:5)—which people, and where, did the Chedorlaomer coalition attack (Genesis 14:5-7)? Which coalition initiated the battle in Genesis 14:8? What point does Genesis 14:9 make about the numbers? What did the Sodom coalition end up doing in Genesis 14:10? What did the Chedorlaomer coalition do in Genesis 14:11? Whom does Genesis 14:12 mention in connection with this? Where had he been living? What had the “reporter” in Genesis 14:13 providentially been able to do? To whom did he report? Where was Abram staying? What allies did he have? How many men did Abram arm in Genesis 14:14? What else had been done for them? How far did they pursue? What did Abram do with his forces at the beginning of Genesis 14:15? At what time of day? What did they do? How far did they pursue them? What did Abram bring back (Genesis 14:16)? Whom, specifically, did Abram bring back? Whom else did Abram bring back?    
The earth is full of violence. The news is full of it. Nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and within each nation there are the many wicked who prey upon the weak around them. We know what this deserves. We saw it in the flood: the wrath of God.

Yet, this is not the ultimate plan and response of God to this wickedness. He is just, and will punish. But He is also merciful. He has promised a Seed of the woman, who will crush the serpent’s head. He has promised that in Abram, all of the families of the earth will be blessed—that Abram will have a Seed who inherits all that is currently in the possession of the wicked.

With that in mind, we watch with interest as the world war in Genesis 14 unfolds. What will Abram do about all this? How will he be a blessing to those who are being defeated and taken captive?

Abram is a picture of Christ to us, as he leaps into action on behalf of Lot. His intervention is especially focused upon the one who uniquely belongs to him. In the same way, the Lord Jesus always acts in history with a view toward His church. Nations rise and fall, and many benefit from Christ’s action, but the aim is especially at the ultimate salvation and glorification of the people who are His by loving choice since before time began.

This is Abram’s ultimate role: to be an ancestor of Christ. But his proximate role—that part that God has given him to play in the day-to-day of his life—is to do whatever good he is enabled to do within the national and family connections in which God has placed him.

To that end, the 318 fighting-aged men who were born in his house, he has trained. And he has amassed enough arms to equip them all on a moment’s notice. Here is a man whose hope is in what Christ would ultimately do, and for whom worship was so central to his household’s life that their time in a particular location can be summarized as worshiping there. But he is not ignoring ordinary, physical necessities and duties. God is his strength, but he is zealous to be prepared and to employ means, effort, and strategy.

Ultimately, this too is a picture of Christ unto us, isn’t it? He has gone to the cross. He has borne the wrath for our sin. He has risen from the dead. He intercedes for us. One day, He will return and raise us up by His own resurrection power. But, it is also He who rules and overrules all things for our good. Even the most mundane things. And so, as we trust in Him and follow Him, we seek both to prepare for eternal glory and also to serve and enjoy Him in all of the day-to-day details of our lives. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they are the people of the Prince of Peace!
Out of what difficulty is Christ currently saving you? Whom may you help in imitation of Him?
Suggested Songs: ARP146 “Praise the Lord” or TPH146 “Praise the Lord! My Soul, O Praise Him!”

Saturday, July 06, 2019

2019.07.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 14:1-16

Questions for Littles: Which kings, of which nations, were on Chedorlaomer’s side (Genesis 14:1)? Which kings, of which nations, were on Sodom’s side (Genesis 14:2)? Where did the Sodom coalition join together (Genesis 14:3)? For how many years had they been enslaved (Genesis 14:4)? What did they do in the thirteenth year? What happened in the 14th year (Genesis 14:5)—which people, and where, did the Chedorlaomer coalition attack (Genesis 14:5-7)? Which coalition initiated the battle in Genesis 14:8? What point does Genesis 14:9 make about the numbers? What did the Sodom coalition end up doing in Genesis 14:10? What did the Chedorlaomer coalition do in Genesis 14:11? Whom does Genesis 14:12 mention in connection with this? Where had he been living? What had the “reporter” in Genesis 14:13 providentially been able to do? To whom did he report? Where was Abram staying? What allies did he have? How many men did Abram arm in Genesis 14:14? What else had been done for them? How far did they pursue? What did Abram do with his forces at the beginning of Genesis 14:15? At what time of day? What did they do? How far did they pursue them? What did Abram bring back (Genesis 14:16)? Whom, specifically, did Abram bring back? Whom else did Abram bring back? 
It’s easy to write someone off for his poor choices. Certainly Abram could have done that. Lot had chosen to separate. Lot had chosen to pitch his tent toward Sodom. Lot had ended up living in Sodom. Why would Abram risk himself and all that he had to bail Lot out now?

The first reason is that Lot was Abram’s dead brother’s son (Genesis 14:12). There is a principle that runs throughout the Bible of an increased duty toward our near relatives. 1 Timothy 5 even tells the church not to help widows whose families can do it instead. It’s not a recent phenomenon for family to be neglectful of one another, but churches and governments are encouraging this neglect by stepping in uncarefully and letting them off easy. Abram helps Lot because he’s family.

A second reason for Abram to help Lot is that Abram is a Hebrew. In Canaan, he sticks out like a sore thumb. Others know that he is different. And he builds these altars everywhere that he goes. What God’s people do will reflect directly upon their God. Abram helps Lot because his life is a testimony.

A third reason for Abram to take such a risk is that he is immortal until his work is done. This is true for all of us, but especially for Abram. In Abram, all the families of the earth will be blessed. The Lord must preserve him, because the Lord will surely keep His promise. Of course, this cannot excuse recklessness, but Abram is not reckless. Not only does he have 318 men who have been brought up in his house, but he has ensured ahead of time that they are armed and trained. He devises clever and effective tactics. He has prepared for such eventualities. Abram helps Lot, because He trusts in God and has prepared to serve Him in ways like this.

Furthermore, Abram helps Lot because the Lord has brought him into this situation precisely to glorify Himself as the God who is mighty among His people. After the Chedorlaomer coalition has defeated many individual kingdoms, and then the entire Sodom coalition, they are still no match for Abram. Why? Because the Lord is with him. God’s people never need fear doing what is right. The Lord is both good and great, and is pleased to display this in their lives.

Finally, Abram helps Lot, and even saves the Sodom coalition, because he is a type (forerunner/ foreshadowing) of Christ. Christ, the seed of Abram,  will be the ultimate One who saves those who deserve exactly the opposite. Praise be to God!
In what situation would doing right come at great cost and risk to you?
Suggested Songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH2B “Why Do Heathen Nations Rage?”

Friday, July 05, 2019

2019.07.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 14:15-21

Questions for Littles: Upon what condition does the command in John 14:15 depend? What is the command for those who do love Jesus? What will Jesus do for those who love Him and keep His commandments (John 14:16)? What will the Father do? What will the Helper do—how long will He abide with Jesus’s disciples? What name is the Helper given in John 14:17? Who cannot receive Him? What two other things can the world not do with the Spirit? Who do know Him already in verse 17? With whom does the Spirit already dwell when Jesus says this? In whom would He later be? In what condition will Jesus not leave the disciples (John 14:18)? What will He do in the giving of the Spirit? Who will not see Jesus once Jesus is gone (John 14:19)? Who will still see Jesus? What will the connection be between their life and Jesus’s life? What will they know about Jesus and His Father in that day (John 14:20)? What will they know about themselves and Christ? What two evidences does John 14:21 give for recognizing whom they are who love Jesus? What will the Father do for the one who loves Jesus? What two things will Jesus do.
Lovers of Christ receive the greatest gift: Christ Himself and, through Him, the fellowship of the Triune God. This is why we keep His commandments. Because the commandments are His, and we love Him. But the disciples (like we) are weak and foolish and sinful. How are they going to be able to love Jesus?

Because the Father has loved them and sent them His Son in the first place. “We love Him because He first loved us.” The Father has already sent them one “Helper”—literally “one called alongside”… a fuller translation could be “Mentor.” And the Father has sent His Son to be that for them. What now that Jesus is leaving?

Jesus is leaving, but He’s not forgetting them. He’s mediating at the right hand of the Father, always living to intercede for them. And a big part of that intercession is His praying for the Spirit’s ministry. The Father loves us and sent His Son. The Son loves us and prays the Father for the Spirit, who comes as another Mentor (John 14:16).

And the Spirit loves us. Jesus says that He will abide with them forever. Then Jesus says something interesting in John 14:17: “you know Him for He dwells with you” (present tense!), “and will be in you” (future tense). How is it that they already know Him? How is it that He already dwells with them? It’s because the Father, Son, and Spirit are One.

This is what Jesus means by “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). This isn’t about the second coming. At the second coming, the whole world will see Jesus, but John 14:19-20 tells us that Jesus is talking about the disciples seeing Him when the world can’t—seeing Him because He is their life in a way that He is not for others. This is not a seeing with eyeballs of the flesh but a seeing that is by faith. This is what Jesus means by “manifest Myself.” His Spirit will enable us to know Him by faith.

This is why the doctrine of the Trinity is so precious to us. It is central to Jesus’s love-gift of Himself to those that love Him. It’s not clever theologizing for people to feel superior. It’s the reality of Jesus with us by His Spirit in us: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit loving us now and forever!
How does an improved understanding of the Spirit’s ministry to you make Him more precious to you?
Suggested songs: ARP110B “The Lord Has Spoken to My Lord” or TPH212 “Come, Thou Almighty King”

Thursday, July 04, 2019

2019.07.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 13:7-10

Questions for Littles: Whom does the apostle ask for the Corinthians to do no evil (2 Corinthians 13:7)? What is not the reason for this? What is the reason for this? What is the apostle willing to have happen to himself in order that the Corinthians would do what is good? What can the apostolic ministers do nothing against but only for (2 Corinthians 13:8)? When are the apostolic ministers glad (2 Corinthians 13:9a)? What else do they pray (verse 9b)? When does the apostle write these things (2 Corinthians 13:10a)? What does he not want to do when present (verse 10b)? Who has given him authority? For what is this authority? For what isn’t it?
From Whom does believers’ resistance to sin come? Not from themselves but from God. The apostle is no believer in a libertine free-will over which God refuses to be sovereign. He prays to God for what he wants the Corinthians to choose: “I pray to God that you do no evil.”

There’s always the temptation to want those under our leadership to do well so that they will make us look good. But, the apostle asserts that this is not what is going on. In 2 Corinthians 13:5-6, he’s been discussing “passing the test” of genuineness. But he actually doesn’t care so much for his own appearing genuine as he does for the Corinthians’ actually being genuine.

“It’s ok with me if we look bad,” he says, “just so long as you are actually doing good!” Why? Because the truth prevails. Nothing can be done against it.

In fact, 2 Corinthians 13:9, the apostle is actually glad not only when the Corinthians are strong through being made adequate to pass the test, but in particular when he himself is weak. Why? Because then it is seen that all the strength and glory belong to the Lord (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:5-10).

So, the apostle does not wish to appear strong, like he has done something. To be sure, he will take strong action when he comes if he has to (2 Corinthians 13:10). The authority isn’t his, but Christ’s, and he must follow Christ. He doesn’t have the option of destroying them by going along with their sin.

But, if they respond to what is written while he is absent, then he can continue displaying himself in weakness (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:3-4), and all the strength behind their changing can be seen clearly as God’s alone!
In what situations are you in danger of appearing strong in your own strength? 
Suggested songs: ARP32A-B “What Blessedness” or TPH32B “How Blessed Is He Whose”

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

2019.07.03 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 7

Read Judges 7
Questions for Littles: South of whom did Gideon and his men encamp in Judges 7:1? What was Yahweh’s complaint about Gideon’s men in Judges 7:2a? Of what does such a number put them in danger (verse 2b)? What is Gideon told to announce in Judges 7:3? How many leave and how many stay? What does Yahweh think of this number (Judges 7:4)? Where does He tell Gideon to bring them? Who will choose who stays and who goes? Into what two groups does Yahweh say to divide them (Judges 7:5)? How many lap the water like a dog (Judges 7:6)? How many would that have left in the other group? Which group does Yahweh choose (Judges 7:7)? Whom does He say will do the saving? What did these three hundred bring with them (Judges 7:8)? Where was the Midianite camp? What does Yahweh tell Gideon to do in Judges 7:9? What additional option does he give him in Judges 7:10-11a? Which option does Gideon choose (verse 11b)? How many soldiers were in the Midianite camp (Judges 7:12)? What destroyed the tent of men in the dream that Gideon overheard in Judges 7:13? What does the other guy say about this in Judges 7:14? What is the first thing that Gideon does when he hears this (Judges 7:15)? Then what does he tell the camp of Israel? Into how many companies does Gideon divide his men (Judges 7:16)? What does he put into every man’s hands? What does he tell them to do (Judges 7:17)? What are they all going to do (Judges 7:18)? Whose sword does Gideon tell them to shout about? What did Gideon and his 100 men do in Judges 7:19? What do all three companies do (Judges 7:20)? How does the Midianite camp respond (Judges 7:21)? How many of them respond this way? What does Yahweh cause them to do to one another (Judges 7:22)? Who gather in Judges 7:23? What do they do? Whom does Gideon send into all the mountains of Ephraim (Judges 7:24)? Why were they in the mountains (cf. Judges 6:2)? Whom do they capture in Judges 7:25? What do they do with their heads?
God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. That is to say that God’s strength expresses itself most clearly and displays itself most spectacularly against the backdrop of our weakness.

The big story of Judges 7 is that God intentionally chose to save by a weak contingent and a weak leader, in order that it would be plain that all of the strength was His own.

Against an army that numbered as the sand on the seashore (Judges 7:12), Gideon had only mustered 32,000, but this was still too many. Yahweh’s supervised enforcement of Deuteronomy 20:8 cuts it down to 10,000, but that’s still too many. The Lord splits them into a group of 9,700 and a group of 300; and, God chooses the group of 300.

But it’s not just the mustering numbers that are weak. It is Gideon himself. Notice in Judges 7:9 that the Lord tells Gideon to go ahead and attack, because He has delivered the Midianite camp into his hand. Then, He does something curious. He offers Gideon a “fleece” (to borrow language from Gideon’s already-demonstrated, wishy-washy unbelief in Judges 6:36-40). “If you are afraid…,” God says.

And of course, Gideon is afraid! The Lord stoops down to Gideon’s weakness, and Gideon jumps at the chance. It turns out that, by all rights, Gideon should have gone home with the 22,000. God is patient and forbearing with His fickle and unbelieving servant.

This is what makes Judges 7:20 so offensive. Yahweh had said that the number reduction was “lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me by saying, ‘my own hand has saved me’” (Judges 7:2). And fearful fleece-man Gideon has the army shout, “A sword for Yahweh and for Gideon!” He quite literally puts himself in the same sentence as Yahweh.

When we come to a passage like this, we need to see the great power of our God, how easily He can save by many or by few. But we also need to see the great danger of our pride—how prone we are to adding ourselves in with Him as recipients of some of the credit. Let us resolve ourselves against this and trust and praise God alone!
What situations of weakness has God given you to remind you to trust and praise Him alone?
Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge” or TPH46C “God Is Our Refuge”

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

2019.07.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 47

Read Psalm 47
Questions for Littles: To whose attention is this Psalm addressed? Who wrote it? For what purpose, then, do these things remind us that this Psalm was written? What two commands are given in Psalm 47:1? To whom does verse 1 address these commands? In what age would “all you peoples” be part of the church? What about Yahweh’s character is cause for this clapping and shouting (Psalm 47:2a)? What about Yahweh’s status is cause for this clapping and shouting (verse 2b)? Over whom is He King? What will Yahweh do to the peoples (the ones praising Him for doing it!) in relation to Israel (Psalm 47:3)? What will He choose for Israel (Psalm 47:4a)? What does verse 4b call that inheritance? What has God done in Psalm 47:5? With what sounds? How many times are we commanded to God’s praises in Psalm 47:6-7? Whose King is He in verse 6? Whose King is He in verse Psalm 47:8a? With what does verse 7 say to sing this praise? Where is God sitting (verse 8b)? Who are gathered in Psalm 47:9? Whose people are they? What does God call Himself in verse 9? Who is “the shields of the earth”? Who has lifted Himself up exceedingly? 
This week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Confession of Sin, came from Psalm 47. The Psalm is addressed to the Chief Musician, reminding us that it is to be sung under his leadership in the gathered worship of God’s people. So, it may seem strange at first that it is ALL peoples who are commanded to clap their hands and shout to God with the voice of triumph.

Triumph by all peoples? Aren’t these the same peoples who are “subdued under us” in Psalm 47:3? Aren’t these the nations that are “subdued under our feet”?

Well, just as Romans 9 teaches us that not all Israel is Israel, so there is also a sense in which not all the nations are the nations. There are those from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation who end up being inheritors with Jacob (Psalm 47:4). And there are those who end up subdued under the feet of the inheritors.

Notice what those inheritors are called in Psalm 47:9: “the people of the God of Abraham.” Either you are one who claps your hands over Abraham’s God, or you are under Abraham’s feet. Either you are one who shouts to Abraham’s God with triumph, or you are under Abraham’s feet. Either you rejoice that Yahweh is awesome, because He is both “great King over all the earth” (Psalm 47:2Psalm 47:9) and “our King” (Psalm 47:6), or you are under Abraham’s feet.

Either you are under Abraham’s feet, under the feet of all who inherit with Jacob, yes under the feet of Jesus Christ (cf. Ps 110); or, you sing praises, sing praises, sing praises, sing praises, sing praises (five times in Psalm 47:6-7)! In which group are you?
What place in your life do you give to singing God’s praise and learning His commands? At what times do you do these? How do they shape the rest of life?
Suggested songs: ARP47 “All Nations, Clap Your Hands” or TPH47A “O Clap Your Hands”