Ever wonder what happened to Esau? Well, I’ll give you a hint, Esau’s name was changed to Edom – now check this out.
This letter from Jesus’ biological brother warns people that their actions truly do speak louder than their words. They believe themselves to be immune to morality because of their salvation. This is simply not true and Jude helps us understand that here.
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.
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.
Jesus’ half brother wrote this book, so you know he had insider information. Sounds like something worth reading.
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 we begin Ezra, which begins telling the story of the Israelites returning from exile. It’s not the smoothest transition and God handles it in some surprising ways, but the Israelites finally get to return to their given land and restoration with God.
- Ezra begins the same way 2 Chronicles ends. It explains that God calls a non-Israelite king, Cyrus, the King of Persia, to return the Israelites from exile and build a new temple since the old one was destroyed when the Israelites were exiled.
- This is an account of all the Israelites left who needed to move back to their own land.
1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5:
- 18-25 – Humility, self-sacrifice, and relying on grace as opposed to our own abilities seems crazy to those who haven’t received salvation through Christ. We see it as freeing and life-giving, but that is not the case for those who seek other things for value.
- 26-31 – We see this throughout Jesus’ ministry and his disciples’ after him. He flips all cultural norms on their heads. Just look at the Beatitudes or the parables.
- 1-5 – Paul did not seek to impress or argue people into faith, but simply to share his experience with salvation.
- 8 – David commits to following God’s command to seek him no matter what else is going on.
- 10 – David knew what it was to be forsaken by a parent. Of his 8 brothers, he was the only one not presented as the possible next king when Samuel was looking for one of Jesse’s sons to anoint.
- 13 – This is a clear sign of hope and a promise we can hold onto.
- 22 – Interesting that our Psalm reading ended with “wait for the Lord” and the Proverb reading began with it. God must be speaking to us.