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.
This is written by John though we’re not positive which John. Either way, he receives a dream of the end times and shares it’s wacky contents with us. You don’t want to miss this:
Have you seen a two year old fake cry? It’s kind of hilarious. They go through all the motions and make plenty of noise, but no real tears come out and they can stop it on a dime. Normally it’s when they want something or when they don’t want to get in trouble for something. Well, in today’s Joel reading, God is telling the Israelites he’s tired of their fake cry. They’re not truly repentant and he promises to restore them if and only if they have a true change of heart.
- 13-20 – Joel’s prophecy calls the Israelites to fast and repent.
- 12-13 – God is calling the people to true repentance. Instead of tearing their clothes, which was a common sign of sorrow, God is asking them to fix their hearts.
- 23-32 – The Lord promises to restore the Israelites when they repent. He promises to bless them abundantly.
- 1-16 – God now declares his judgment on nations that have acted against Israel and Judah.
- 1-11 – This section is used to confirm that John received a revelation in a dream from God that was intended to be given to seven churches. This is a vision of the end times.
- 12-20 – The number seven is prominent throughout the book of Revelation because it represents completion.
- 1-6 – Here, fearing the Lord is associated with material blessings.
- God’s visions and law keep people in line with God’s ultimate purpose for them and for the world.
When is the last time you felt completely vulnerable and like you had no control over a situation? In today’s psalm, the psalmist likens the vulnerability of needing to mercy to that of a servant’s position to his master. Vulnerability is difficult for us, but it’s often good for us. We need, at times, to recognize there is nothing we can do to earn or acquire God’s mercy.
- 36-45 – The king of the north will not honor God, but will offer his affections wherever he finds favor. Ultimately, he will die defeated and alone.
- 1-12 – The man in linen explains what will happen in the end times, but Daniel doesn’t understand. The man in linen tells him that it’s ok, he’s not supposed to.
1 John 4:1-21:
- 1-6 – This section encourages us to use discernment in who we trust and listen to. It also explains the difference and reminds us that the Spirit of God is greater than the spirits of the world.
- 7-12 – The love we have for one another is love from God. God loved us first which then shows us how to love others.
- 18 – This is how we can decipher what is true love – it does not operate on fear.
- 1-2 – This is an act of total submission. Just as a servant looks to its master, so the psalmist is looking to God for mercy despite his sins.
- 2 – The righteous treat people well, but the wicked are hard on the people.
Though we often associate the Bible with difficult concepts and miraculous occurrences, so much of it follows along with common sense. Look at today’s Proverb, for example. Of course it makes more sense to rely on the infinite wisdom and knowledge of God rather than our own very limited knowledge. Why do we struggle to do so?
- 15-26 – Like Revelation in the New Testament, Daniel has some apocalyptic literature. This vision interpretation, which reveals what will happen to various nations, is expected to happen long after it was written.
1 John 2:1-17:
- 1-6 – In order to say we follow Christ, we actually have to do the things he did. It’s ridiculous to say that we’re believers and not live as he taught us to.
- 8-11 – This is convicting. If we hate our brothers and sisters (biological, spiritual, etc.) we can’t claim to be faithful. Darkness is sin and the light is walking with Christ.
- 15-17 – Loving the world means putting those things first and, in essence, worshipping them. We worship things when our thoughts, time, energy and resources go towards those things.
- 1-4 – A deceitful tongue, whether ours or someone else’s, is always destructive.
- 25-26 – When we really think about it, it does seem ridiculous to choose to follow our own finite wisdom instead of that of the God of the universe.
Don’t be surprised if you don’t recognize the remainder of Daniel. Today’s reading marks a major shift in the content of Daniel. The second half of the book focuses on apocalyptic literature. It is the only Old Testament book with a significant emphasis on the apocalypse.
- This chapter shifts the book from the stories we learned as kids to the apocalyptic portion of Daniel.
- 1-8 – Foreign powers are no longer depicted favorably in Daniel.
- 9 – The Ancient of Days is God.
- 19-27 – The fourth beast represents Antiochus. Antiochus rises to power overtaking the faithful folks for a time, but ultimately, God prevails.
1 John 1:1-10:
- 1-4 – Here John confirms that God was made flesh in the person of Jesus. And John wants to share that message with everyone, which will make his joy complete.
- 5-7 – We can’t call ourselves faithful and continue to blatantly walk in sin. There’s also a rockin DC Talk song about this.
- 157-158 – The psalmist doesn’t allow others to turn him away from his commitment to God’s law.
- It’s pretty incredible that this is by far the longest psalm and it is almost exclusively about the psalmist’s love and commitment for God’s word.
- 23 – This contrasts a true friend versus someone who just offers lip service. One is helpful. The other is not.
Watching your kid hit his first homerun, win an award, or get an ‘A’ is exciting and exhilarating. But none of these things come close to comparing with watching your child walk faithfully with God. Today’ proverb helps remind us that this is the ultimate success in parenting.
- 1 – “Valley of vision” refers to Jerusalem. There is irony in this title because Jerusalem had always been referred to as on top of a mountain – which was both physical and figurative.
- 1-14 – This prophecy is aimed at Judah. God saved them from Assyria’s attacks and they felt they were home-free so they began celebrating instead of mourning their sins like God called them to do.
- 14-25 – Shebna was an officer for King Hezekiah but his sin was so great that he was demoted. This is an indictment on him.
- 1-18 – This prophecy is against Tyre and Sidon explaining their impending destruction.
- 1-23 – This chapter ends the prophecies against various cities and begins an apocalyptic section.
- 20-21 – Some of the most beautiful verses in Scripture that are often misunderstood. This is to say that Paul’s flesh and sinful nature died with Christ on the cross and now Christ’s righteousness should live through him. We don’t get to say we’re saved by Christ and then go on living the same way as before.
- 1-6 – Paul implores the Galatians to live out their salvation and not to try to be justified by works or to live simply as if they were never saved.
- This psalm cries out to God because they are being punished for their sins. It ends with the knowledge and understanding that God is powerful, in control, and will certainly restore them.
- It is a parent’s greatest joy to see their child walk faithfully.