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.
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.
The Thessalonians’ issues have only gotten worse since Paul’s first letter to them. Take a second to find out how Paul encourages the believers to continue in faithfulness despite persecution.
As many of you have thanked me for these notes or mentioned something you noticed about them, I am continually thankful for your faithfulness. This, of course, makes me feel very biblical because, Paul, in many of his letters, including today’s 2 Thessalonians reading, thanks God for various believers’ faithfulness. Know that your faithfulness in reading studying Scripture is blessing me immensely! Thank you!!
- 1-10 – God, once again, gives the house of David (the king of Judah) the opportunity to repent.
- 30 – This verse is problematic because it seems to have God break his promise that the line of David would always be in power. But wait…
- 1-2 – Judah’s rulers were supposed to care for the people but they led them into destruction instead.
- 5-6 – Who does this sound like God is describing? JESUS!! This is a messianic prophecy, which fulfills God’s covenant that David’s line would always reigns and solves the problem of corrupt leadership for Judah.
2 Thessalonians 1:1-12:
- 1-4 – Paul and his companions continue to be thankful for the faithfulness of the Thessalonians.
- 5-10 – The Thessalonians faced great persecution because of their faith. Paul encourages them that their suffering would be justified and rectified by Jesus.
- 1-8 – Asaph calls upon God to aid God’s people against their enemies.
- 9-18 – Asaph knew he could ask this because he had seen God squash enemies for the sake of his people before.
- These verses give clear, simple ways to bless and harm others.
It’s hard for most of us to understand persecution for our faith. The worst we normally have to face is someone ridiculing us for our beliefs. In today’s 1 Thessalonians reading, Paul praises the Thessalonians for enduring persecution for the gospel. As you read it, take a second to pray for those around the world who daily face persecution for the gospel.
- 13-22 – There were many false prophets who were opposing what God was saying through Jeremiah and they were leading the Israelites astray. God tells Jeremiah what to say in response to the false prophets.
- 1-9 – God is not backing down in coming after the false prophets and everyone who follows them.
- 10-21 – Jeremiah is afraid of the people and God confirms his commitment to and protection of Jeremiah. God’s response in verses 19-21 are very powerful.
- 1-15 – The first 13 verses are very bad news for the Israelites. They will face a great deal of destruction. The last two verses give hope, though, that they will eventually be returned to God’s intent for them.
1 Thessalonians 2:10-3:13:
- 13-16 – The Thessalonian believers clearly faced a great deal of persecution as they initially pursued Christ. Paul, multiple times, expresses gratitude for their faithfulness in the midst of it.
- 17-5 – Paul explains why he hasn’t visited Thessalonica again, but why Timothy visited instead.
- 1-13 – Asaph, the psalmist, asks God why he would bother bringing the Israelites out of Egypt only to forsake them later.
- 14-19 – Asaph asks that God returns to the people and restores them.
- 2-3 – God’s mind is far greater than that of a king, but a king’s mind is greater than that of a common person.
- 4-5 – Kings, in order to be faithful and successful, should be taken away from bad advisors and influences.
Today’s psalm reading gives us a helpful insight into the culture of the ancient Israelites. It was widely believed among many cultures of that time that if bad things happened to you, you were not cared for by your god or that your god did not have the power to bless you. The psalmist asks for God to take away their punishment so other nations would stop taunting them and recognize the power of God. We now know (whether we like it or not) that our consequences for our sins do not reflect weakness in God.
- 1-4 – Jeremiah, like many other faithful people, complains to God that, at times, unfaithful people prosper.
- 5-13 – God’s response to Jeremiah is not ideal. He lets him know that things will get worse and that Jeremiah will be attacked by some of those closest to him.
- 1-11 – God gives Jeremiah a very tangible sign of his plans for Judah who once clung to him but now has fallen into pride, which would ultimately lead to destruction.
- 15-27 – God threatens to send Judah into exile unless they turn back to God. Particularly in verse 23, he does not seem hopeful for a good outcome.
- 1-10 – This is talking about an actual drought on the land. People felt forsaken when they were not provided for through rain and plentiful crops.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:9:
- 1-10 – Paul states how grateful he is for the good things he has heard about the faith of the Thessalonians. Though they received the gospel amidst persecution, Paul had already heard evidence of them spreading the gospel to others.
- 1-9 – Paul confirms that his intentions in sharing the gospel with the Thessalonians were pure. He justifies this with examples.
- This psalm confesses the sins of the people and asks for God’s forgiveness and that he would end the consequences. Other nations are taunting them as if their consequences mean that God is not caring for them.
- It is easy for us to become lazy and to fall into destruction. It usually starts small and builds without us noticing.
This week we have a bit of a dichotomy in our reading. Paul praises the Thessalonians for their faithfulness to Christ. Jeremiah preaches destruction to the Israelites for their lack of faithfulness.
One major point for why the Thessalonians were faithful and the ancient Israelites were unfaithful is attached to their willingness (or lack there of) to endure difficulties for their faith.
Over and over Paul praises the Thessalonians for enduring persecution for their faith and their diligence in sharing the gospel. On the other side, Jeremiah explains that the Israelites continually seek out idols and, when given the opportunity, turn towards the sinful practices of other nations.
What do we tend to fall back on when times are tough? Faithfulness or anything else?
Today’s proverb is awesome and convicting all at the same time. We tend to gloss over things and avoid calling out sin because we don’t want to judge, but sin is sin. It may not feel good to call it that, but avoiding the truth only hurts us and those who need to be called out.
- 19-31 – Judah had become desolate, which was shameful. The people cried out in anguish over the sorrow of this.
- 1-19 – Jeremiah tells God the people are not repenting. God declares his intent to punish them for their sins and even alludes to exile.
- 20-31 – God reflects on the Israelites’ unwillingness to repent, how it has shaped them and declares that it’s absolutely necessary for him to punish them.
- 1-14 – This is God’s warning to Jerusalem to repent or face certain consequences.
- 24-29 – Paul considers his struggles and persecution worth it when people come to full faith in God.
- 6 – You have the knowledge of who Christ is, now live in a way that shows it.
- 1-9 – The psalmist wonders where God’s help is.
- 10-15 – The psalmist, though feeling in need of God, is able to fall back on his experiences of God from the past to sustain him.
- 24-25 – Call a spade a spade. If someone is sinning, don’t compliment them for it or tell them it’s ok. Call out the sin.
Today we start Philippians. Like Ephesians and Galatians, this is a letter Paul wrote to a church he had interest in. If you ever talk to someone who wants to grow deeper in their faith and isn’t sure where to start in the Bible, Philippians is a great place to send them. It is short, simple, and to the point.
- 1-14 – The Lord makes it clear what kinds of worship he prefers. True worship is never routine and meaningless. He asks for us to care for those in need as an act of worship.
- 1-19 – God will not tolerate injustice and he is clear that he will punish those who oppress others.
- 17 – Note the similarity to the Armor of God from Ephesians.
- 21 – God makes a new covenant with the new Israel. Though this is not the covenant of Christ yet, it is a new way for God to connect with his people.
- 1-6 – Paul begins most of his letters with a warm greeting and encouragement on how thankful he is that the recipients of the letter are partnering with him in living out and spreading the gospel of Christ.
- 12-14 – Though other believers may have been concerned about facing similar persecution as Paul, he assures them that it has been worth it because of how it has advanced the gospel.
- 21 – Paul offers several poetic yet slightly cryptic sayings like this throughout his letters. Paul basically means that if he’s alive, he’s going to be serving Christ. When he dies, he’ll get to be with Christ.
- 1-16 – The psalmist is confident in the Lord’s ability to save him from his enemies because he is able to reflect on other times God has taken care of him.
- 17-24 – The psalmist praises God in advance for taking care of him and even promises to tell others of God’s great deeds.
- 10 – This verse calls out all those who feel strong in their faith or otherwise who then topple over when difficulties come. The strength of our faith is determined when tested.