This week’s Scripture Readings for Session 3 of the Unashamed OBS are Deuteronomy 8:1-9, Hebrews 12:1-3 and Matthew 27:45-46. I know some of you are new to Bible Study; here’s are some notes from my Bible Commentary that might be helpful as you are reading these verses.
Do Not Forget the Lord (Duet. 8:1-9)
8 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. 2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.
6 Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
8:3 – Jesus quoted this verse when satan tempted him to turn stones into bread (Matt 4:4). Many people think that life is based on satisfying their appetites. If they can earn enough money to dress, eat, and play in high style, they think they are living “the good life.” In the end they leave us empty and dissatisfied. Real life, according to Moses, comes from total commitment to God and living by every word that comes from Him.
How can we live by His word?
* Recognize our need for it
* Agree that God alone can truly satisfy us
* Pray for God’s presence, wisdom, and direction as we read
* Savor the relation you have with Him through Christ
* Practice what He teaches you
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
The “great cloud of witnesses” is composed of the people described in Hebrews chapter 11. Their faithfulness is a constant encouragement to us. We do not struggle alone, and we are not the first to struggle with the problems we face. Others have run the race and won, and their witness stirs us to run and win also. What an inspiring heritage we have!
To run the race that God has set before us, we must strip off the excess weight that slow us down. How can we do that? (1) Choose friends who are also committed to the race. Wrong friends will have values and activities that may deter you from the course. Much of your own weight may result from the crowd you run with. Make wise choices. (2) Drop certain activities. That is, for you at this time these may be weight. Try dropping them for a while; then check the results in your life. (3) get help for addictions that disable you. If you have a secret “weight” such as alcohol, gambling, or pornography admit your need and get help.
The Christian life involves hard work. It requires us to give up whatever endangers our relationship with God, to run with endurance, and to struggle against sin with the power of the Holy Spirit. To live effectively, we must keep our eyes on Jesus.
When we face hardship and discouragement, it is easy to lose sight of the big picture. But we’re not alone; there is help. Many have already it through life, enduring far more difficult circumstances than we have experienced. Suffering is training ground for Christian maturity it develops our patience and makes our final victory sweet.
The Death of Jesus
45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Some translations it may read "Eloi, Eloi..."
We do not know how the darkness described in verse 48 occurred, but it is clear that God caused it. Nature testified to the gravity of Jesus’ death, while Jesus’ friends and enemies alike fell silent in the encircling gloom. The darkness on that Friday afternoon was both physical and spiritual.
It is important to note (verse 46) that Jesus was not questioning God; he was quoting the first line of Psalm 22 – a deep expression of the anguish he felt when he took on the sins of the world, which caused him to be separated from his Father. This was what Jesus dreaded as he prayed to God in the garden to take the cup from him (Matthew 26:39). The physical agony was horrible, but even worse was the period of spiritual separation from God. Jesus suffered this double death so that we would never have to experience eternal separation from God.