You did it! You finished! Today is your last day of reading…for 2017. I hope you gained so much from your reading and now feel closer, in some way, to God. It may be too soon, but may I encourage you to pick up the new plan tomorrow? The Bible is the living word of God. As you read through it again, you’ll gain new insights, read things differently, and hear from God in a new way. It was worth it this year. It will be worth it in 2018 too!
- 1-7 – Part of this prophecy sounds like it’s talking about the Messiah and part sounds like it’s John the Baptist. Either way, it is later fulfilled.
- 1-3 – A day of judgment is prophecied.
- 5-6 – John the Baptist was often associated with Elijah.
- 8-9 – As we all do, John confused something of God with God and worshipped the angel. The angel quickly redirected him to worship God.
- 17 – This is an open invitation to all who recognize their need for Christ to come and receive new life.
- Whatever you have, praise God with it. No excuses.
- These verses make it clear what should matter in a woman’s worth. Physical beauty is not one of them.
The Israelites who returned from exile had high hopes on them. But…they failed miserably. Here’s how:
How do you imagine perfection? Not just partial perfection or perfection in one person, but full, true perfection? God’s kingdom fully on earth is what true perfection looks like. The end of Revelation depicts what the new Jerusalem will look like. It is the return of what God intended for earth. This is something we should long and pray for.
- 1-5 – The words love and hate could be exchanged for “chose” and “did not choose”. God chose Jacob to set up his people. He did not choose Esau. Not only did Esau forego his blessing and birthright, but his descendants often fought against the Israelites. They brought God’s curse upon themselves.
- 6-14 – The Lord denounces the blemished offerings the priests put before him. These half-hearted offerings showed their lack of devotion to God.
- 1-9 – The priests had been given special authority. God asked that they honor him and lead the rest of the people in spiritual practices. Here he rebukes them for failing to do so.
- 10-16 – Scholars disagree on whether this is actually talking about marriage and marrying foreign women or metaphorically speaking of idolatry. Either way, the Judeans were practicing things God did not approve of.
- 1-7 – This scene depicts God’s kingdom officially and completely coming to earth, like we pray in the Lord’s prayer.
- 9-27 – The scene depicts the new Jerusalem where God will dwell negating the need for a temple, any other source of light, and presumably many other things necessary in our current construct.
- 1-5 – So many of the psalms instruct us to praise God and a large percentage of those instruct us to praise him specifically with songs. It is important that we, as a people, do not get out of this habit.
- 10-24 – These verses describe an excellent wife. Her characteristics include productivity, generosity, care for others, integrity, and preparedness.
Zechariah and Revelation are both about enemies and destruction. So, on a happier note, our psalm reminds us that we should all offer praise to God simply because he gave us life. So let’s all praise God!
- 1-21 – This chapter describes the day of the Lord and what God’s enemies should expect on that day. It does not sound good for his enemies.
- 1-6 – This thousand year time period seems to be one of relative calm in the vision. The angel has contained Satan and those who have been faithful thus far are rewarded.
- 7-15 – Satan, all those who were judged as unfaithful, and death and hades are all thrown into the like of fire – aka hell.
- This psalm encourages nature and all of humanity to praise God. The only reasoning given of why is simply that God gave it all life. That sounds like reason enough.
- Our world would have a lot less sin and pain if those of us with power would stand up for the weak. Instead we often give ourselves the pass asking, “what can I do?”
Today’s portion of Revelation may have been written specifically for 8 year old boys. There’s a battle scene, Jesus on a horse, a beast, and a dragon. So, let your inner 8 year old boy out for this one.
- 1-5 – This oracle explains that Judah and Jerusalem will both be a challenge for anyone who possesses them and tries
- 10 – Most people would consider this a prophecy fulfilled by Jesus.
- 1-6 – This alludes to Christ’s death when people are freely forgiven of their sins.
- 7 – The church is believed to be the bride of Christ.
- 10-21 – Jesus is portrayed as a warrior on a horse. This begins the battle between Christ and the evil forces led by the beast, dragon, and false prophets. We see steady progress of Christ towards victory.
- 1-6 – The psalmist calls for us to offer praise to God and then gives reasons why we should.
- 4-7 – Here, leaders are instructed not to get drunk because it can only harm their reign. Instead the proper place for mind-altering drinks is listed.
An olive produces olive oil. An orange produces orange juice. This makes sense. Today’s proverb is interesting. It helps us understand that we can fake things for a while, but when push comes to shove, and things get really challenging, whatever is in us comes out. Kindness needs to be inside of us for it to come out when times are challenging. If bitterness and hate are inside us, that’s what will come out.
- 1-12 – These verses establish that Judah and Israel will be restored to greatness. The last few verses show the turning of the tides between those who are currently powerful and the Israelites.
- 7-16 – This is a difficult passage to understand. It is a vision that depicts a shepherd breaking covenants. Verse 16 speaks of a future shepherd who doesn’t seem to be describing Jesus.
- 17 – This verse makes it clear that the shepherd in the vision is not Jesus.
- 1-3 – This is basically describing Babylon in the worst possible fashion. It will be totally and utterly rejected.
- 4-8 – God will remove the Israelites from Babylon and it will pay for its wrongdoings against the Israelites.
- 3-4 – It makes so much more sense to put our trust in God than a human ruler who will die and no longer have any kind of power.
- 5-9 – These verses describe many of the reasons God is far superior to human rulers.
- When something is squeezed hard enough, whatever is in it comes out.
It’s so neat when we know things that happened in the Bible and then we read more obscure parts that explain them. Did you know that Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey was prophesied into today’s Zechariah reading? It was! Reading Scripture consistently brings so much into the light.
- 1-8 – The prophecy announces judgment to come down on a variety of Israel’s enemies.
- 9-13 – This prophecy is fulfilled by Jesus when he rides into Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday.
- 8 – Note that when talking about God we say, “Who was, and is, and is to come”, but here, when talking about the beast, it is described as “who was and is not and is to come.”
- 14 – Even though the beast is powerful and will gain power as the kings give it to him, Jesus will still conquer.
- 10-21 – There are many references throughout Scripture about not just humanity, but all creatures and natural things giving praise to God. Obviously, as humans, we have the greatest ability to do so, so let’s use that ability for all it’s worth.
- A good lesson for us all. If what you’re saying isn’t of great value, stop talking.
How anyone is able to call God cruel or unloving, I can’t understand. Even in reading the widespread wrath of God in Revelation, we see mercy smeared all over it. Even as plagues of destruction are looming, Jesus is calling out for people to repent so he can offer salvation instead of destruction.
- 1-8 – God promises to restore Jerusalem and paints a desirable picture of the state to which it will return.
- 14-17 – God reminds the Israelites of why he brought destruction on their ancestors and explains how he would like for them to live so he can fully prosper them.
- 1-21 – This describes a series of seven plagues poured out on the unrighteous of the earth.
- 15 – Here we hear Jesus’ voice inserted in the series of plagues. Jesus is breaking in to give yet another plea for people to repent. The people are hearing what is to come and his hope is to save as many as will turn.
- 3-8 – David admits humanity’s insignificance in comparison to God and understands that it is a privilege to even be able to request of God. Then he continues to ask for God to reach out to him.
I’ve heard a number of people say they wish God would just give them specific instructions. Do this. Don’t do this. Then it would be far easier to follow them. We see in today’s Zechariah reading, and we’ve seen it so many times before in Scripture, that there are some specific instructions. With these, you can’t go wrong. Be kind. Show mercy. Help the poor. Hopefully that helps.
- 1-8 – The horses and chariots seem to represent God’s power returning to Judah and Israel.
- 9-14 – Zerubbabel and Joshua were to work together to rebuild the temple.
- 8-10 – God tells the Israelites, through Zechariah, exactly how he wants them to live. He is looking for kindness, mercy, and help for the poor.
- 11-14 – The Israelites didn’t listen but hardened their hearts.
- 1 – Though “plague” is never an enjoyable thing, it is good that the wrath of God will soon be over.
- 1-4 – David admits his past sins and repents. He knows that no one can stand before God’s righteousness.
- 9-12 – David not only looks to God for forgiveness, but also for protection from enemies.
- These are fascinating examples of creatures who have been given little but make the most of it. Presumably, we could learn a lot from them.
Merry Christmas! And happy reading finale!! You did it! You’re here! Pat yourself on the back and soak in the excitement of a completed job well done. We pray that this year of reading has nourished you and drawn you much closer to God. Yes, you probably still have questions, but that’s ok. The Bible is God’s living word, so there is always more to learn and understand.
This week, you will finish the Bible, but pay close attention to the end of Revelation. It is the reminder that when we pray and ask God to make our kingdom on earth just like the one he has in heaven, he actually plans to do just that.
God’s plan is to, in the end, restore all things to wholeness and perfection. We will be healed completely and all things will return to how he intended them.
As your reading is completed, let your soul be filled with great hope. God restores us in the end. Hallelujah! Amen!!