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.
Today’s Revelation reading is part of the letters to the seven churches. Each receives either commendation for faithfulness or warning to repent from wickedness, or both. Though these messages are specifically for the various churches, listen to what is said to them and see if they can help you become more faithful as well.
- 1-15 – These are various judgments passed down on Israel’s neighbors who have wronged Israel.
- 4-5 – This judgment is passed down upon Judah. The first part of the prophecy was against non-Israelites, but now it has switched to the Israelites.
- 6-16 – This judgment is against the Israelites and explains a variety of their transgressions.
- 1-15 – Here God confirms the guilt of the Israelites and describes the punishment they will face. He also reiterates that they have had a variety of warnings before this all goes down.
- 1-7 – Here there is a word for the church at Ephesus. They are commended for their original faithfulness, but have apparently strayed recently. This is a call to return to their original faithfulness and warning of what will happen if they don’t.
- 8-11 – Here the church of Smyrna is warned of upcoming trials they will face.
- 12-17 – Here it sounds like the church of Pergamum has some issues to work out. They too are given an opportunity to repent and return to God before destruction befalls them.
- Here the psalmist has faced persecution but gives a testimony that God prevails regardless.
- 20 – Common theme? Yes! Once again we see a proverb lauding patience and restraint and warning against haste.
No child enjoys discipline, this is often why parents avoid it. We want our children to like us, but today’s proverb, like many others, reminds us that this isn’t the goal of parenting. It benefits our children when we discipline them. When we ignore or refuse that responsibility, we tend to cripple them for later in life.
- 1-15 – These verses are God explaining the wrongdoing of Israel and the subsequent punishment. It’s reminiscent of a parent saying, “Because you hit your sister, you have to sit in timeout.”
- 1-3 – Like in other books, God points out how ridiculous it is to worship things we make ourselves.
- 8-9 – God recognizes that some people will hear his words and repent while others will hear them and keep on sinning. He affirms those who will listen.
- 5-7 – Jesus came to save us all, but if we deny opportunities for salvation, our alternative is punishment.
- 17-23 – Clearly the recipients of the book of Jude were surrounded by unfaithful people, but this letter is intended to encourage them to remain faithful.
- 3-5 – Children were considered a sign of great favor and blessing from God.
- 15-17 – Discipline for children is highly valued throughout the proverbs.
Like the minor prophets, the Johns are short books. Don’t make the mistake of skimming over them or discounting them because of their size. There is obviously a reason they were included and more words doesn’t always mean more important. So take the time to think on the 15 verses of 3 John today. See what you learn.
- 4-11 – Judah and Israel are unrepentant and fickle. God reflects that they act as if they love him, but that love only remains for a short time.
- 1-16 – This continues God’s lament over the Israelites’ continual choice not to repent.
- 1-14 – God is promising that Israel and Judah will reap what they sow. They continue to live unfaithfully and will soon receive what they’re asking for.
- 1-17 – Though painful to read, this section assures that Israel will be punished. Verse 17, in particular, confirms the rejection of Israel. We cannot expect to sin over and over and never face a consequence.
3 John 1-15:
- 5-8 – This section is encouraging all churches who followed John to accept and be open to traveling pastors and evangelists so they can all work within the same cause.
- 11 – The author has already explained what to do and then given an example of what not to do. This simply sums up that we should imitate the former.
- 1-3 – When the Lord does great things for us, others notice it and are changed when we choose to accept his blessings.
- 12 – If leaders give their subordinates an opportunity to be unfaithful, they will often accept.
Today we start Hosea. It is a fascinating book where Hosea is a model of faithfulness to God. Can you imagine being asked to marry someone you knew was going to cheat on you to help God paint a picture? I’m not sure I’m strong enough. But Hosea was faithful even though Gomer would never be. What are the limits to your faithfulness?
- 1-3 – God uses Hosea’s life as a microcosm of how Israel had treated God. Just as Israel was unfaithful to God, Gomer was unfaithful to Hosea.
- 4-9 – The children of Hosea and Gomer also each represented a portion of Israel’s relationship to God.
- 1-15 – This is an explanation of the punishment Israel will receive for its unfaithfulness.
- 16-23 – This section describes how it will be when the Israelites are restored to God.
1 John 5:1-21:
- 3 – This is powerful because often we feel that if we obey God our lives will be boring and lifeless, but this reminds us that following God’s commands is actually beneficial and freeing for us.
- 13-15 – When we believe in Christ, we receive eternal life. We also have a connection with him so that he hears our prayers.
- 18 – When we accept Christ we are to be transformed, which means we change and leave behind sins and walk towards righteousness. This, of course, is a process.
- 1-8 – The psalmist gives credit to God for protecting the Israelites and realizes that they would not have succeeded without the help of God.
- 6 – This verse depicts the weight of sin and the freedom in righteousness.
Both Proverbs and 2 Peter remind us just how easy it is to fall into unfaithful traps. There are so many opportunities and influences asking us to walk away from the Lord. We have to be diligent and pay attention to our decisions and what’s going on around us in order to keep our eyes on Jesus.
- 1-5 – What a wonderful thing to be able to say about someone. We can’t find fault in him unless we make up something about regarding how faithful he is to God. Daniel was so faithful that there was no fault to be found in him.
- 6-9 – King Darius doesn’t think through the implications but makes a decision based on ego.
- 10-18 – King Darius is greatly distressed because of the consequences of his actions. He wants to save Daniel but he’s tied his own hands.
- 19-28 – Like with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Daniel’s faithfulness and God’s power work together to create a miracle that draws the king and so many others to faith.
2 Peter 3:1-18:
- 1-10 – The author addresses the concerns people were having regarding Jesus not having returned yet. The people at the time thought his return was imminent and some were getting impatient.
- 14-18 – We are to pay attention so we don’t follow anyone who twists God’s words or instructions.
- 136 – It should be painful to us to see others break God’s law. We should have great empathy for them and to hope to help them return to God in any way we can.
- 21 – This is an interesting verse because it tells us something not to do while also acknowledging how easy it is for us to slip into doing that wrong thing.
We are so close to the finish line!! Can you feel it!?!
This week we get to delve into Daniel. You may be surprised to find some familiar childhood stories in there, but you may also be surprised at the new details you learn.
There’s one detail to pay particular attention to in today’s reading. As King Nebuchadnezzar gives Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego an ultimatum to bow to his statue or be thrown in a fiery furnace they say they will not bow and have confidence that God will save them. But then they follow up with something incredible. “But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:18).
They were so committed to God and worshipping only him that they would not bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s statue even if it meant being burned to death in a pit. They knew compromising their faith was ultimately worse than death.
It seems these men’s faith had no limits. I’d like to be able to say the same of mine.
We often think of sins as unrelated, individual decisions. I needed to lie in that situation so I did. Now it’s over. Today’s Proverb reminds us that that simply isn’t true. Sin becomes habit and we get comfortable doing it. It then leads us onto shaky ground, normally looking over our shoulder and wondering when we’ll get caught. Choosing faithfulness, however, brings us strength and stability as we stand on solid ground.
- 1-16 – This is the continuation of the prophecy against Gog. Gog had not appeared in Scripture until the last chapter. Gog is an individual who has opposed Israel and will be punished because of it.
- 21-29 – God explains that though Israel was disobedient and he punished them, he will soon restore them back to prominence and proliferation.
- 1-17 – This is a vision Ezekiel is given regarding what the new temple should look like. The new temple ends up being built in the same place as the old temple and it stood until 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed it.
- 18-26 – Our faith is not helpful if it is inactive. True faith cannot actually remain inactive. If we have faith in Christ, it is transformative and causes us to begin to live more like Christ. Works are inevitable.
- 2-12 – James spends time discussing how difficult it is to tame the tongue, but that if we do, it controls our whole selves. We all know how difficult it is to keep our speech pure, uplifting, and beneficial to others.
- 5-7 – The psalmist has such confidence in God’s ability to take care of him despite the circumstances because he had experienced God’s protection before. Instead of forgetting God’s faithfulness, he used that memory to build his faith for the future.
- Disobedience and sin lead to instability, but faithfulness leads to strength.
If the Bible was a soap opera, it would win all the daytime Emmys. Even in today’s psalm, David talks to God about someone he was once very close to but now has been betrayed by. David is the same man who killed a giant, was hunted down by his predecessor, had an affair and had his mistresses husband killed, which eventually led to his firstborn dying. The list goes on and on.
- 1-21 – This message from God compares Jerusalem and Syria to two promiscuous sisters. These two people groups were first God’s, but then they offered themselves to many others and ultimately God turned away from them because of their unfaithfulness.
- 22-35 – Jerusalem’s consequences for unfaithfulness are spelled out.
- 19-25 – This passage explains how Christ broke down any barriers that separated people from God, giving them access to God directly. The author encourages believers to hold true to their hope in Christ and to spur others onto faithfulness and connection with God too.
- 26-31 – Here, the author confirms the need for believers to have a transformed lives. Those who know the truth and continue sinning will be punished.
- 1-20 – David is clearly angry at someone who he once felt close to but has since betrayed him. This psalm, because of the anger and hatred toward someone, is often avoided in church services and reading plans.
- 21-29 – David asks for God to care for him even though this enemy has persecuted him.
Hebrews has a steady message throughout it (as does this throwback song from my early youth group days) – Jesus is the answer. Before Jesus, God offered a variety of ways for people to be connected to him. The temple, the commandments, the law, covenants, sacrifices, and the list goes on…but then Jesus came. Jesus fulfilled the law. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus tore the temple curtain that created separation. Jesus is now all we need to be fully connected with God.
- 8-13 – This section mentions “profaning the Sabbath” as a way of dishonoring God. This is what the religious leaders in Jesus’ day thought he was doing when he healed on the Sabbath. But there’s a big difference. Jesus’ “work” on the Sabbath was to love and care for God’s people. “Profaning the Sabbath” is for one’s own gain.
- 15-17 – God did punish the Israelites by not allowing them into the Promised Land, but he could have, with justification, wiped them out right then. Instead, he simply made them wait to enter the Promised Land. The next generation was allowed in.
- 30-31 – The reason God says he won’t answer the Israelites’ inquiries is because they have spent their time crying out to every other god at every opportunity.
- 40-44 – The Israelites will have to endure punishment but the Lord promises to bring them back to himself and restore them.
- 11-14 – The Holy of Holies, which was once separated and humans couldn’t enter except the high priest once a year, was now permanently available through Christ. His blood was far more sufficient than animals’.
- 23-28 – It’s interesting that the word “copies” is used. This is helpful when we think that the law and the temple and sacrifices weren’t bad things. They were very helpful, but they were merely copies of the real deal – Jesus. Now we have the real deal and don’t have to rely on the copies anymore.
- 33-42 – It is a theme throughout the Bible that God brings the proud to humility and lifts the humble up. It is common for things that are commonly understood to be flipped on their head. This is clear through this passage and made most clear through Jesus’ ministry.