Author Archives: nborger2017

Exodus 9-11; Luke 19

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me.’” Exodus 9:1 ESV

Exodus 9 begins with a warning of a fifth plague upon Egypt, which comes to pass after Pharaoh hardens his heart yet again. It is followed by four more plagues, each ending only to be followed by Pharaoh stubbornly refusing to let the Hebrews go and worship God. Pharaoh’s obstinacy was destroying his land and hurting his people, but he was still too proud to obey God’s commands.

Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not understand that Egypt is ruined?” Exodus 10:7 ESV

Pharaoh did not represent all the Egyptians. Many of them were tired of his refusal to follow God and the destruction it brought upon their country. In fact, God gave the Egyptians who humbled themselves before His Word the opportunity to save their belongings.

“‘“Now therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter, for every man and beast that is in the field and is not brought home will die when the hail falls on them.”’” Then whoever feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses. Exodus 9:19-20 ESV

God did not punish those who feared Him and told Moses to warn them of the impeding hail. This entire episode almost seems to reflect the Redemption Story as the God-fearing Egyptians who believe God and act in faith are saved while those who refuse to believe God’s words face destruction. God’s mercy on those who trust in him is again reflected in the story of Zacchaeus, a dishonest tax collector who came to hear Jesus’ preaching. After Jesus comes to Zacchaeus’ house, he repents of his sins.

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:9 ESV

While many judged Jesus for going to the house of a tax collector and a sinner, Jesus states clearly that His purpose on earth was to seek after those who are lost, including the Gentiles, social outcasts, and the disabled.

And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.” Luke 19:45-46

Jesus’ cleansing of the temple is probably one of the most dramatic moments of His ministry as He overturns tables and drives the salesmen out of the Court of Gentiles. The Court of Gentiles itself was suppose to be a place where the foreigners could come and worship the LORD as they were not allowed further into the temple, however, Jesus entered, He found it overrun with salesmen hoping to make a quick buck due to the Passover being close at hand. He was dismayed that the place where the outsiders came to worship God was instead crowded with those who only cared about making money. The cleansing of the temple foreshadows the moment when the veil of the temple is torn and when Paul is told the preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. Jesus was making a way for those who sought God to approach Him. Those who seek Him will find Him.

And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes were seeking to destroy him, but they did no find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words. Luke 19:47-48 ESV

Dear God, Thank You for making a way for sinners to come before Your throne. Please help me follow Your Words and obey Your commands. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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December 21. Job 21-23; Psalm 101; Revelation 16

In Job 21, I read of Job’s next attempt to defend himself against his three friends. While his friends keep telling him that the sinner suffers and the righteous always prosper. Job argues back that the wicked do prosper, despite sinning.

“Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power? Their offspring are established in their presence and their descendants before their eyes.” Job 21:7-8 ESV

Job voices a question that sometimes rings in the head of myself and many other believers I am sure. Why does God allow the wicked to prosper? This response from Job tears his friends’ “solution” to the problem of his suffering to pieces. While his friends try to make everything into a black-and-white “those who sin are immediately punished but those who are righteous immediately prosper” case, Job understands that things go deeper than that while still questioning why God allows the wicked to live fulfilling lives.

Then Job answered and said: “Today also my complaint is bitter; my hand is heavy on account of my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat! I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments.” Job 22:1-4 ESV

In Job’s next response, he declares that he wishes he could appear before God Himself and bring his problems and pain forward. Job did nothing to deserve his suffering and he wishes he could implore upon God’s justice and ask why he was being punished and not the wicked. I, too, have felt the same. I longing to ask God to bring justice and to help the innocent.

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me, yet I am not silenced because of the darkness, nor because thick darkness covers my face.” Job 23:10,16-17 ESV

Job ultimately resolves that God knows what is best for his life and that he will continue to trust Him. Job’s faith has gone through a lot due to his sudden misfortune and the arguments of his friends, however, it is still strong and Job refuses to curse God in the midst of his pain.

Dear God, Please give me strength to trust in you like Job. Help me to trust in you through my struggles. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Nehemiah 4-6; Psalm 98; Revelation 6

Nehemiah 3-4 chronicle the ardent opposition from outside forces, forces that did not want Israel to finish the wall or repair the temple. However, in chapter 5, Nehemiah reveals that not only were they facing an outside threat, but also trouble inside their own city. Many of the people were upset with their brethren due to high interest rates that forced them to live in poverty and sell their children as slaves. Nehemiah was very angry when he heard of this and demanded a meeting.

So I [Nehemiah] said, “The thing you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us abandon this exacting of interest” Nehemiah 5:9-10 ESV

Nehemiah closely follows God’s command to care for your brother or neighbor as yourself, telling the loaners that they were not treating their brothers fairly. There are many injustices in this world, and while it may seem futile to even attempt to fix a problem, I can always help by love those around me and doing my best to assist them.

His [God’s] right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made known his salvation he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. And the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Psalm 98:2-3 ESV

Not only has did God send Jesus to die for my sins, but also for the sins of all those around me. Every human being has worth in the eyes of God and He wants the news of Christ’s death and resurrection spread to the ends of the earth.

Dear God, Please help me care for others and have compassion on them. Help me spread Your Good News to others and live my life as an example of servanthood. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sins. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Zechariah 2-5; Psalm 93; 1 John 3

See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 1 John 3:1-3 ESV

To often I forget that God has made me pure. Jesus’ death paid the price for my sin and I am free from eternal torment. Oh what wonderful love this is! While I am free from sins penalties, I should strive to live a righteous life for the LORD.

By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 1 John 3:10-11 ESV

It is important for me not just to love God, but also to love my brother and my neighbor as myself. In fact, these are the two greatest commandments I have been given. I am to love others, even when I don’t feel like it, because it is what God wants me to do. When I walk in God’s righteous ways and am saved by Christ, I no longer wear the filthy rags of my sin, but am instead clothed in Christ’s righteousness.

And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” Zechariah 3:4 ESV

Zechariah 3 tells the famous vision of Joshua’s dirty robes. Just as Joshua’s dirty robes were taken away and Satan’s accusations were silenced, so mine dirty robes were removed and the accusations against me silence. Christ’s sacrifice removed even the dirties fabrics of the clothes and put me in shining, clean robes, fit for His service,

Dear God, thank You for send Jesus so I could be clothed in His righteousness. Please help me love my brother and neighbor as myself, just as I have been called to do. Thank You for Your Grace. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Ezekiel 43-45; Psalm 135; John 15

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14 ESV

John 15 contains one of the most recognizable verses about love in the Bible. This statement is not just a command to His followers, but also a foreshadowing of the death He would die in order to save His friends. Jesus commands that those who follow Him follow His call to love others.

“You shall have just balances, a just ephah, and a just bath.” Ezekiel 45:10 ESV

God’s command to love others is a constant theme in the Bible as a whole. Dishonest scales and false measurements led to unjust gain by sellers and hurt buyers. Throughout Scripture God emphasizes the importance of justice and treating others fairly. As a Christian, it is important that I show Christ’s love to others throughout my day-to-day life. It is easy to do the right thing when everyone is watching and you get praised for it. It is harder when you have to sacrifice your pride and what you want for the sake of others.

You did not choose me, but I choose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. John 15:16-17 ESV

A motif that runs through John 15 is that imagery of a vine, it’s branches, and their fruit. Jesus Himself is that vine and I am one of His branches. If I stray from the Vine, then I will not produce Spiritual Fruit, for a branch is useless without the Vine.

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” John 15:26 ESV

Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to strength me and bear witness. I am weak and need Christ’s forgiveness for sinning against Him. I can draw near to Him, however, due to His sacrifice.

Your name, O LORD, endures forever, your renown, O LORD, throughout all ages. For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. Psalm 135:13-14 ESV

Dear God, Thank You for being compassionate not just to me, but to all humanity by sending Jesus to die for the sins of the world. Please help me follow Your command to love others as you have loved me. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit to strength and guide me. In your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Ezekiel 13-15; Psalm 136; John 5

John 5 begins with one of Jesus’ first healings, the healing of the sick man by the pool on the Sabbath. Jesus encounters a man by Bethseda who had been an invalid for 38 years. Jesus goes over and talks to him, and, after the man explains that no one is there to put him in the water, Jesus heals him.

Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” John 5:8-10 ESV

This is one of many passages where Jesus’ commands and actions conflict with the Pharisees’ laws. While Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testaments laws, he disapproved of the many laws and regulations the Pharisees heaped upon the people. The Pharisees didn’t teach the people the reason for the law or why they followed it, they just made sure everyone followed every rule, even the ones they made up.

And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. John 5:17-18 ESV

Only 5 chapters in to John, the Pharisees are already planning to kill Jesus because of what He teaches. Instead of turning to Him, those who thought they had an excellent knowledge of the Law and Prophets reject Him.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” John 5:39-40 ESV

Too often I turn to other things for “life” instead of Jesus. It is easy to believe good deeds and following the rules will get you into heaven, but Jesus makes it clear: He is the Only Way. Only Jesus can give true life, something those who humble themselves and turn to Him will receive.

Dear God, Thank You for Scripture, please help me understand it so I can learn more about You. Thank you for Your Perfect Son, the fulfillment of Scripture, and help me turn to You for “life” not lesser things that cannot provide it. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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2 Kings 24-25; 2 Chronicles 36; Psalm 126; 1 Peter 3

And in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem and laid siege to it. And they built siegeworks all around it. 2 Kings 25:1 ESV

After many years of warning, God finally had enough and sent the Babylonians to punish Judah for their sin. Neuchadnezzar besieged and defeated Jerusalem, captured and blinded Zedekiah the king, carried the people into exile, pillaged, and burned the temple. All that remained were of the poorest of the land and the destroyed houses and temple. However, due to fear of the Chaldeans, even they fled Judah, leaving the land barren and empty.

He [Nebuchadnezzar] took into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days that it lay desolate it kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. 2 Chronicles 36:20-21 ESV

Jeremiah’s prophecies were fulfilled and the people went into exile for refusing to listen to God’s commands. But that wasn’t the end of Israel’s story. After their seventy year punishment, God stirred up Cyrus, king of Persia’s, spirit to make a proclamation.

“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him. Let him go up.’” 2 Chronicles 36:23 ESV

I imagine the people of Judah were overjoyed to hear Cyrus decree that they could return to their land and build the LORD’s a new temple. They were perhaps sorrowful as well, knowing that in their state they could never build a temple as magnificent as Solomon’s was. Maybe they thought upon Psalm 126 and rejoiced in the LORD’s mercy and love.

When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126 ESV

I, too, an filled with joy due to God’s goodness.

Dear God, Thank You for Your mercy. Please help me obey Your ways and follow You. Thank You for doing great things for me. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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