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.
Today’s psalm is beautiful. If you’ve ever felt abandoned, unwanted, unworthy, or unloved, read this psalm. God so intricately knit you together. Allow yourself to be amazed by the care God took to make you. He took that same care to make each of us. You are loved. You were made on purpose. You are wanted and known by the one true God.
1-6 – Haggai is given the message to rebuild the temple. He was a contemporary of Zerubbabel, who we read about in Ezra. Haggai supported Zerubbabel as he led the effort to rebuild the temple.
1-9 – Haggai is called to spur on Zerubbabel and Joshua to rebuild the temple even though they weren’t familiar with the glory of the first one.
12-19 – Though confusing to interpret, this passage seems to make it clear that though impurity is easily spread, purity is not. God is displeased that the Israelites have returned and built their own houses and begun to farm but have not focused on his house. He reminds them that he controls what they have no matter how much effort they put in.
23 – Zerubbabel is in the line of David. The signet ring would be a sign that God had placed his favor on him and would be the sign that David’s line had, as God said it would, returned to the throne.
1-14 – The two witnesses were witnesses for God. The people of the earth end up killing them and then a large portion of the city and its inhabitants are killed. Those who remain see what happened and repent and give glory to God.
15-19 – This seems like it could be the ending. God’s kingdom officially comes to earth with the blowing of the 7th trumpet. Wrath is poured out on the evil people and joy and celebration is amongst the faithful.
In one of the most beautiful and poetic psalms, David recounts all the ways God’s knowledge of humanity and him specifically are vast and complete. He recognizes that God was there as he was formed and God knows every bit of his innermost being.
15-16 – These verses explore the depth of greed out there. No one is specifically identified as possessing these qualities, but the qualities are made clear.
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.
This is our second to last week of a year’s worth of Bible readings. That’s pretty incredible! Finish strong, my friends!!
As you’re well aware by now, we’re well into Revelation. Revelation gets a bad reputation for being very doomsday. Honestly, this week’s reading is a big reason why. The seventh seal is broken wreaking havoc on the world. There’s something like a second Passover where those who are not correctly marked are killed. Overall, it’s not a good scene.
But just like we have to remember that this world is not all there is for us, we have to remember that this week’s reading is not the last. There is hope. I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but God wins. Because we are in God’s family, we win.
So yes, read Revelation and let yourself feel the discomfort as you read about God’s wrath. But read, understanding God’s wrath should only serve to spur us on towards bringing more people to him.