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.
All the order and beauty of God’s original creation is about to be turned into opposite day. Zephaniah’s prophecy describes the destruction of Jerusalem, but, like always, there is hope in the end!
Today’s psalm is a reminder of God’s provision of care and comfort for those who are made low by the world. God doesn’t see or treat us by the world’s standards. He is not impressed with our wealth or power. He sees our needs and meets them. When people have great need, he responds greatly.
- 1-6 – Through yet another vessel, Judah is hearing of their upcoming destruction.
- 7-18 – This prophecy proclaims that destruction is coming soon and all the things the people had previously relied on will not be able to rescue them.
- 1-15 – Though Judah faced destruction from God, God still didn’t take kindly to other nations oppressing or harming Judah. They too would face judgment and destruction.
- 14-20 – Not unusually, God promises that after punishment there will be restoration for Israel. God’s ultimate desire is to restore relationship and connection with Israel.
- 1- The rainbow over the angels head is a reminder of the covenant God made with Noah and of the hope that encompasses all of the judgments.
- 1-7 – The angel with the small scroll declares that the major judgment is coming soon and that the seventh angel would bring more clarity of God’s mystery. Instead of more judgment, this angel simply brings more clarity to what is to come.
- 8-11 – The scroll tasted sweet at first because the message is good for the prophet – it is the word of God and the prophet had been faithful. It becomes bitter because the prophet, though he will not face destruction himself, is human and is being made aware of the judgment coming down on humanity.
- 6 – Throughout Scripture God raises up the lowly. This should offer us great comfort that God sees the plight of those who struggle. He does not leave them alone. When we are proud and feel that we do not need God, he obliges.
- These verses warn us that there are people out there who have evil in their heart and act upon it.
From our finite point of view, we often have the question, like Habakkuk, “God, where are you?!?” When we or someone we love faces suffering or loss, we wonder where God is and why we’re not feeling his mercy. It’s difficult, at times, to understand. But like we learned in Job, God is always active. We may not see it or feel it, but he is in control and, as we’re learning in Revelation, God ultimately wins.
- 1- No background is given regarding who Habakkuk is or what the purpose of the book is.
- 1-17 – Habakkuk asks God a question many of us have asked or would like to ask: God, where are you when all these things are going wrong? Habakkuk asks God why he allows his people to suffer.
- 6-20 – God responds with a series of promises of destruction and devastation for those who have harmed others, particularly his people, and disobeyed him. He assures Habakkuk that he will not remain silent.
- 1-19 – Habakkuk’s last chapter is a prayer/psalm to God. Notice the word “selah” throughout it and how it ends with instructions on how it should be sung. Habakkuk recalls the work he’s seen God do as well as what he’s heard of God’s work. He ends with confidence that God will fulfill what he’s said he will do.
- 1-6 – Well, this sounds pretty awful. Like during the first Passover, it was important to have the sign of God in order to avoid punishment. All those who God has not sealed got the locusts.
- 20-21 – It’s important to remember that people are given chance after chance to repent and turn towards God, but they continually choose not to.
- 1-9 – This psalm expresses the emotions of someone carried off to Babylon. This was clearly a devastating event.
- 10 – Though an explanation is not given, this verse seems to suggest simply to stay out of other peoples’ affairs.
Nahum chronicles God’s justice and wrath being brought down on the Assyrian capitol city, Nineveh. This prophecy reminds us that God is always at work against evil. That’s good news.
In today’s reading, we get a broad view of God’s character. We see a good amount of his wrath, which we have to remember is brought on by human sin. We also see his continual love and his abundant provision for us. It is easy to get a limited view of God based on what we hear, but reading Scripture opens our eyes to the fullness of who God is.
- 1 – Nineveh was the gentile city Jonah was sent to about 150 years before this prophecy was established. Jonah’s message allowed Nineveh to repent, but apparently they fell back into oppressive, evil ways. Nahum’s message is once again that Nineveh needs to be destroyed.
- 2-11 – This establishes that God will take care of those who are evil with his wrath and power. The explanation is sure to show, though, that God does not jump to conclusions, but definitely takes care of sin.
- 15 – Nahum’s name means comfort, but he is preaching a message of destruction. The message would have been comforting to those, like Judah, who Nineveh had oppressed.
- 1-12 – God declares destruction upon Nineveh.
- 1-19 – God’s destruction upon Nineveh is promised to bring them low. Other examples of nations God has destroyed are given to compare what their lot will be like.
- 7-12 – The wrath of God is unleashed after the seventh seal is broken. As the angels blow their trumpets God’s wrath is unleashed in stages.
- 13 – The eagle warns that the wrath is about to increase.
- This psalm lists off a series of reasons why God has been good to the people and proven his goodness and then responds by affirming that God’s constant love will endure.
- 7-9 – These are beautiful requests asking God to give exactly what is needed, no more and no less.
It’s ok to feel sorrow. It’s ok to ask questions. It’s ok to wonder where God is when you suffer. Lamentations proves it.
The last couple of verses of today’s 2 Timothy reading are pretty major. We all pick and choose what we want to emphasize in the Bible. There are parts we don’t like so we tend to discount them. There are parts we don’t want to follow so we conveniently forget about them. There are parts we want others to follow so we highlight and bold them. But this passage reminds us that all Scripture is from God and is intended for us to follow.
- 1-5 – God grants Baruch the promise of his life.
- 1-2 – The issue with Babylon destroying Egypt was the remnant of Judah, including Jeremiah, was in Egypt.
- 14-24 – God declares that powerful Egypt will soon fall to what has been a lesser power.
- 6-7 – Though they want God’s destruction to end, they know it won’t until he completes his purposes.
2 Timothy 2:22-3:17:
- 22-26 – Paul continues to teach godliness and gives the caveat that God does forgive wrongdoing while leading his followers back into holiness.
- 1-9 – Paul warns that there will be immoral opposition to the gospel.
- 16-17 – This is convicting when we think deeply about it.
- 1-11 – The Lord created us and knows what we’re up to – good or bad.
- Teaching wisdom to those determined to be foolish is a waste.
Paul makes it clear, in 1 Timothy, that it is the responsibility of the family to take care of their vulnerable members. The church is happy to assist when families are not capable, but this does not mean families should cast off their problematic family members knowing the church will pick up the pieces.
- 1-17 – The Rechabites, though not Israelites, had lived among the Israelites since they came into the Promised Land. God is disappointed that though they were able to remain faithful, the Israelites were not.
- 1-3 – Though God has declared destruction on Judah, he is clearly still giving them opportunities to repent.
- 20-26 – The Lord gave Jeremiah words to help the Israelites repent and Baruch read them to them. When the words were given to King Jehoiakim, he tore them up and burned them in the fire, a clear sign of disrespect.
1 Timothy 5:1-25:
- 1-2 – This is to show respect for your elders.
- 3-8 – God does not look kindly on abandoning family members. Widows were particularly vulnerable because they had no form of income. Their children and grandchildren, if they had any, were to take care of them.
- 9-16 – This is encouraging people who still have the ability to take care of themselves to do so so the church will have the means to take care of those who don’t.
- 19-22 – Sins of those in leadership are viewed more harshly because leaders have been given more authority and more responsibility.
- 19-37 – This portion of the psalm explains the special calling and blessing of David. The way the psalm describes him and the way the Lord saw him, definitely mimic descriptions of Christ.
- 26 – It is confusing when someone who is righteous chooses sin. This can cause non and new believers to stumble.
- 27 – Seeking one’s own glory is similar to being overindulgent.
Today, in both Jeremiah and 2 Thessalonians, we see the need to differentiate between God’s messages and false prophecies. These days, this is still a struggle. False prophecies, messages that will lead us astray, are sneaky and sound helpful, but ultimately they lead us away from God instead of towards him. It is important for us to rely on the Holy Spirit to hear God’s true messages.
- 23-24 – God explains that he is near and sees the actions of people. He is not far away or oblivious to peoples’ actions.
- 28-32 – God makes a clear delineation between the prophets he has given a message to and those who he has not. He does not support the messages of those he has not.
- 33-40 – Asking for a “burden” of the Lord is asking for a prophecy, but this is a play on words so that God flips it around and makes the person the burden.
- 1-10 – The good figs are those who were faithful throughout exile and the bad figs were those who did not repent in exile.
- 1-14 – Jeremiah’s prophecy maps out the details of Judah’s exile and why they’re happening.
- 27 – The prophecy encourages the people to drink of destruction. They’re intended to endure the destruction of their own doing until they can take no more and then God will end it.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-17:
- 1-12 – This warns the Thessalonians not to be deceived by those trying to lead them off course, but to be prepared for the return of Christ.
- 1-4 – This section encompasses the joy and comfort found in the presence of God. All are cared for there, even the seemingly insignificant sparrow.
- 10-12 – There is nothing greater in life than spending time in God’s presence.
- Instead of trying to win battles with power, often we need to use kindness.