Exodus 20, Luke 23, Job 38, 2 Corinthians 8

DateVersionReading Plan
@March 9, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Exodus 20

Exodus 20:20–21 (ESV) 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” 21 The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.

The sound of the trumpet, the flashes of lightning and the mountain smoking were all purposed to test the people and revere God’s presence. Moses told the people not to fear but he also embodied this exhortation himself and led by example, drawing near to God while the people stood far off. Moses certainly had his moments of rebellion and apprehension, but in this instance he demonstrates strong qualities of leadership.

Luke 23

Luke 23:27–28 (ESV) 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’

As Jesus was walking to the place where he was to be crucified, a number of women followed Him, mourning and weeping for Him. Jesus told them not to weep for Him but for themselves and their children. Looking at a couple of commentaries, this is actually a reference and foreshadowing to the coming destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., a time of such intense anguish that it would actually be advantageous to be barren. The fact that this was Jesus’ response to the mourning women also showcases His divine humility, never breaking from His consideration of others despite His own torturous circumstances.

Job 38

Job 38:4–7 (ESV) 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

The LORD breaks His silence and answers Job, but addresses none of his challenges or concerns. Instead, He offers sharp rebuke through a battery of poignant questions, asking Job what role he had in laying the foundation of the earth and in the administration of the created order. The weight of lowliness this confrontation would have brought to Job can only be imagined. As we read this, we should be challenged to see God’s absolute sovereignty and that His actions far surpass our own woefully restricted understanding.

2 Corinthians 8

2 Corinthians 8:3–5 (ESV) 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.

The churches of Macedonia gave beyond their means and begged that they might take part in the relief of the saints. This level of commitment was unexpected even to Paul himself. However, what struck me especially was that the Macedonians gave of themselves first to the Lord. The Bible Believer’s Commentary has some helpful notes on this:

These beloved Christians first gave the greatest gift—themselves. Then afterwards it was an easy thing for them to give their money. When Paul says they gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God, he simply means that first there was the complete committal of their lives to Christ, then they willingly gave themselves to Paul in the sense that they wanted to help in the collection for Jerusalem.

Carson on Exodus 20

The Ten Commandments are, in the first place, the high point of the covenant mediated by Moses (cf. 19:5), delivered by God at Sinai (Horeb). The rest of the covenant makes little sense without them; the Ten Commandments themselves are buttressed by the rest of the covenantal stipulations. However enduring, they are not merely abstract principles, but are cast in the concrete terms of that culture: e.g., the prohibition to covet your neighbor’s ox or donkey.

Carson’s first observation of the Ten Commandments is its position within the covenant mediated by Moses as well as its deep rooting within the Israelite culture of the day. On the latter, it is necessary to grasp the original cultural context because it helps in our understanding some of the nuances as well as providing boundaries around application. As with the whole of Scripture, it cannot mean for us what it did not mean for them, thus making our diligence to study background details a worthy enterprise.