Forgiveness is real and available to us. In today’s Revelation reading we see those who have previously sinned now welcomed in to praise God. They’re welcomed because they’ve repented and been forgiven. Our sins don’t have to define us or define our outcome. Our job is to repent. God is faithful to forgive.
- 1-5 – This establishes that the Messiah will come from Bethlehem and will bring peace.
- 6-8 – Here God makes it clear what he’s asking of his people. He’s asking them to seek justice and offer love and kindness. He is not interested in empty sacrifices.
- 9-16 – Here God explains the punishment that is to come for those who have not obeyed him.
- 1-8 – The angels assure that the faithful people of the earth are protected before the destruction begins.
- 13-17 – Here a series of people who have sinned, repented, and been forgiven are welcomed in to praise God.
- 1-12 – These verses recount a number of examples of God’s power, greatness, and faithfulness. Like in most of these accounts, the parting of the Red Sea is mentioned.
- 15-18 – Once again, the worship of idols is proven to be worthless.
- 5-6 – God’s words are good, true, and helpful. We tend to want to change them up to better suit us, but this is wrong.
Micah’s warnings address a number of actions of the people where they’ve twisted the intent of God. At times, it’s easy to do. See how it works out:
Want a guaranteed 100 on a pop quiz? Simply ask yourself the questions in verse four of today’s Proverb and answer “God” every time. It’ll work. I promise. And, in the process, be reminded of God’s incredible and matchless power.
- 1 – This establishes that God will use Micah as a prophet and that he is to communicate God’s message to a series of kings of Judah.
- 2-9 – Judah will receive punishment and all the idols will be destroyed because of its sin.
- 1-11 – God declares the destruction those who work evil will face. Like in other books, God makes clear that he will not tolerate oppression of the weak.
- 1-12 – This chapter denounces rulers and prophets, but it only denounces those who are not following God and are leading people astray. This is definitely not denouncing all prophets, because it is being spoken through a prophet that God has chosen to use.
- 6-13 – The Lord promises to rescue Zion. Zion is the mountain where Jerusalem is located.
- 1-17 – Six of the seven seals are broken by the lamb. As each seal is broken, more of God’s wrath is released onto the earth. This is a part of the final judgment against evil and wickedness.
- This is another Psalm of Ascent, which would have been recited on the way up to Jerusalem. It must have been a joyful one as they all sang praises as they approached the city.
- 4 – These are a series of rhetorical questions to which the answer is always God alone.
In VBS we make Jonah a great guy, but he wasn’t. He was grumpy and disobedient pretty much from beginning to end, but God uses him anyway. Here’s how:
You most likely heard the story of Jonah as a child. It’s a neat story of making a poor decision, getting swallowed by a whale, and then making the right decision. Well, that’s not all of it. Pay close attention to the end. Jonah has decided for himself who should and shouldn’t receive God’s mercy and grace. Have you done the same? Are their people you feel are not deserving of God’s grace? Be honest.
- 1-3 – This is a crucial mistake by Jonah. God calls him to do one thing; instead, he chooses to do another. We cannot hide from God.
- 17 – One of the most famous verses in Scripture, but note, it was a fish, not a whale.
- 1-10 – Jonah prays for mercy and believes God will rescue him. God does.
- 4-5 – This is what God wants! When we are called out for our sins, we repent and turn back to him.
- 1-3 – Jonah was angry that God extended salvation to the Ninevites because they were gentiles. Jonah was a Jew and didn’t want God’s grace to extend to gentiles. He hates that the Ninevites are saved.
- 5-11 – Jonah chooses to pout. God’s little object lesson with the plant shows Jonah that Jonah wants God to play by his rules, but that God has better plans.
- 1-5 – Jesus is the fulfillment of so many things people were waiting on. He is the only one who is the Messiah they had waited on and he was the only one able to break the seals on the scroll.
- 6-14 – The creatures, angels, and elders all confirm and celebrate the recognition of the Messiah.
- 1-3 – We should continually seek unity among believers because it is a blessing to all and leads to eternal life.
- 27 – This is an interesting thing to think about. The lifestyle of a righteous man is equally as detestable to a wicked man as the opposite.
Ever wonder what happened to Esau? Well, I’ll give you a hint, Esau’s name was changed to Edom – now check this out.
Fear, to some degree, is something we all struggle with. Media, culture, and advertising thrive on this. If we fear, we feel out of control and tend to look to gain control through all kinds of options. But today’s Proverb reminds us that when we have faith, we have no need to fear. We can know that God has ultimate control and will take care of us and protect us fully.
- 1-9 – This portion of the prophecy declares that Edom will be humbled and brought low because of their pride.
- 10-18 – The violence Edom has inflicted on Judah is remembered and God promises to return Judah to prominence and warns Edom not to get too cocky despite their temporary victory.
- 5 – The number seven is used as a symbol of completion. The seven torches represent that the fullness of God was present.
- 8-11 – This section shows that eternity will be filled with God’s praises.
- 11-18 – This is God’s promise to keep David’s line in the throne forever. This is fulfilled with Jesus.
- 25 – Fear has no hold on us when we are grounded in our faith in Christ.
Apparently apathy is more offensive to God than even abject defiance. This is what today’s Revelation reading explains. Those who ride the fence and choose not to choose whether or not they will follow God are an affront to God. Unfortunately, this defines the majority of our culture. Let’s not be part of that group.
- 7-9 – A plumb line is used in building to keep things straight. Israel, against the plumb line, is clearly proving to be off the mark.
- 14-16 – It is not clear if Amos is saying he’s still not a prophet or if he’s simply trying to distance himself from all the false prophets. “Prophet” is not always a good thing in Scripture.
- 1-14 – Amos condemns anyone who is unfair towards others in business and those who take advantage of the poor. He explains that there will be an unusual punishment for their behavior. It will be a famine, but not one of physical provisions, but of God’s voice.
- 1-6 – God’s power is established and the fact that it is impossible to hide from his will.
- 13-15 – Once again, the book ends with hope that God will restore and renew.
- 7-13 – The letter to the church at Philadelphia is a positive one because they have remained faithful.
- 14-22 – This may be the harshest indictment on any of the churches addressed. Laodicea’s church is lukewarm, which is viewed more negatively than even being cold towards God. They basically are choosing not to choose. This does not please God.
- We are to humble ourselves and allow God to lift us up when appropriate.
In today’s Amos reading, we find a sentiment repeated numerous times in Scripture and it’s one we could still stand to hear today. Our rituals and meaningless checkmarks do not please God. God doesn’t care how the package is wrapped, he cares what’s in the package. In other words, he wants our hearts to be devoted to him. That is how faithfulness is determined, not by how many faithfulness boxes we check.
- 4-13 – The prophet lists all the ways God attempted to get the Israelites’ attention and draw them back to him that failed. He follows that with an ominous statement of “prepare to meet your God” and it doesn’t sound like he means in a good way.
- 21-27 – This sentiment is repeated several times in Scripture. God doesn’t care about our rituals and us fulfilling our obligations if our heart is not following him. He wants the rituals and offering to be given out of love and devotion for him.
- 20-23 – Some of the church of Thyatira had begun to engage in sins such as adultery and eating foods offered to idols.
- 24-29 – The vision makes for an allotment for people in the church who had not yet fallen into deep sin. There seems to be great hope for these folks.
- 1-6 – It is clear that God will not condemn whole people groups when there are still faithful people in the midst. Instead he is separating the faithful from the unfaithful while still giving the unfaithful opportunities to repent.
- 1-4 – This is another one of the psalms associated with pilgrimages to Jerusalem. It seems important that those Israelites knew that they could be forgiven if they sought God’s forgiveness.