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.
Fear, to some degree, is something we all struggle with. Media, culture, and advertising thrive on this. If we fear, we feel out of control and tend to look to gain control through all kinds of options. But today’s Proverb reminds us that when we have faith, we have no need to fear. We can know that God has ultimate control and will take care of us and protect us fully.
- 1-9 – This portion of the prophecy declares that Edom will be humbled and brought low because of their pride.
- 10-18 – The violence Edom has inflicted on Judah is remembered and God promises to return Judah to prominence and warns Edom not to get too cocky despite their temporary victory.
- 5 – The number seven is used as a symbol of completion. The seven torches represent that the fullness of God was present.
- 8-11 – This section shows that eternity will be filled with God’s praises.
- 11-18 – This is God’s promise to keep David’s line in the throne forever. This is fulfilled with Jesus.
- 25 – Fear has no hold on us when we are grounded in our faith in Christ.
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.
Have you seen a two year old fake cry? It’s kind of hilarious. They go through all the motions and make plenty of noise, but no real tears come out and they can stop it on a dime. Normally it’s when they want something or when they don’t want to get in trouble for something. Well, in today’s Joel reading, God is telling the Israelites he’s tired of their fake cry. They’re not truly repentant and he promises to restore them if and only if they have a true change of heart.
- 13-20 – Joel’s prophecy calls the Israelites to fast and repent.
- 12-13 – God is calling the people to true repentance. Instead of tearing their clothes, which was a common sign of sorrow, God is asking them to fix their hearts.
- 23-32 – The Lord promises to restore the Israelites when they repent. He promises to bless them abundantly.
- 1-16 – God now declares his judgment on nations that have acted against Israel and Judah.
- 1-11 – This section is used to confirm that John received a revelation in a dream from God that was intended to be given to seven churches. This is a vision of the end times.
- 12-20 – The number seven is prominent throughout the book of Revelation because it represents completion.
- 1-6 – Here, fearing the Lord is associated with material blessings.
- God’s visions and law keep people in line with God’s ultimate purpose for them and for the world.
If you want to know just how far God will go to remain faithful to and pursue restoration with us, read Hosea. God is faithful even when we are not.
Salvation is a free gift, not a free pass. We are not offered salvation so we can keep sinning and not have to worry about it. Today’s 1 John reading reminds us that salvation is actually intended to transform us and shape us more into the likeness of Christ so we don’t keep on sinning.
- 2-35 – This section describes the struggle between the northern king and the southern king. It is describing a time that is to come, not one that has passed. Daniel has a great deal of prophecies that have come to pass and also some that we’re still waiting on.
1 John 3:7-24:
- 3 – “Little children” is how God is referring to us, his children. Not necessarily to children as defined by age
- 16-18 – Jesus didn’t just talk about loving us, he showed us by dying for us on the cross. If we simply say we love our neighbors, our words are worthless. We must show it with our actions.
- 19-24 – Salvation through grace does not exempt us from following God with our lives. We are still to follow his commands and live according to his will – actually even more so because of the gift of salvation.
- 1-9 – Imagine the Israelites marching up to Jerusalem during one of the appointed festivals singing these words. To us, these are just words in the Bible, but to them, these words were part of their rituals.
- 1 – When we don’t listen to correction, we are doomed to destruction.
Because one time isn’t enough to hear this song, enjoy the musical version of a portion of today’s psalm:
- 1-3 – Remember, Nebuchadnezzar turned his allegiance to God after witnessing the miracle of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego not burning up in the fire.
- 4-27 – The king calls on Daniel to interpret his dream and it’s not favorable. Daniel must have been understandably scared to deliver the bad news to the king.
- 28-37 – Nebuchadnezzar still takes credit for the power of Babylon, which destroyed Israel and captured their people. God humbles him and reminds him who is truly in control.
2 Peter 1:1-21:
- 3-4 – God gives us insight into faithful living and what he wants from us for our own good and so we can follow him.
- 19-21 – This confirms that prophecies were given by God through the Holy Spirit. At this point, many prophecies had come true, but this was encouragement to continue to trust those that hadn’t.
- 97-104 – The psalmist continues to show great love for God’s commands. He realizes that this is where he can receive wisdom and protection.
- 105 – A familiar and beautiful verse proclaiming the great help Scripture can give us.
- 17 – Guilt of this kind of sin cannot be taken away.
Daniel and his buddies Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego remain faithful regardless of how difficult it is in Babylonian exile. You’ll recognize some of the stories, but there will be a lot you’re surprised by too. Take a look.
Are you a leader in any arena? If so, you’ll notice that leadership comes with responsibility. If you’re a leader, that means you have followers and that ultimately means that you are, at least in part, responsible for those who follow you. In today’s Ezekiel reading we see examples of good and bad leadership. Ezekiel heeded the call of leadership and shared God’s message with the people. At the same time, many religious leaders led people away from God and towards other gods. Leadership should always be taken seriously.
- 1-9 – Ezekiel was tasked with sharing God’s messages of repentance to Israel. If he did so and the Israelites did not turn away from their sins, their destruction was on their own heads. If Ezekiel didn’t share the message, their destruction was on him.
- 10-20 – God does not and did not delight in destroying people. He gave them every opportunity to turn around, but they continued to choose not to.
- 2 – This is not referring to shepherds of white fluffy animals, but the leaders of the Israelites who were supposed to be leading them towards God.
- 7-10 – God was not pleased with the leaders’ negligence towards the people, so God committed to rescuing the people.
- 20-24 – God is referring to Jesus here when he talks about bringing all his people together under one. Jesus was in the line of David.
- 1-2 – This reminds us to be kind and caring to everyone in our midst.
- 4-5 – The things believers should and shouldn’t do stay pretty consistent throughout the New Testament.
- 15-16 – To be faithful we need to praise God and serve others.
- 1-8 – A great deal of the Bible is focused on who we should focus on and worship. Too often we get distracted and choose to offer our affections elsewhere.
- These tools and metals are referring to a purifying process. This is to suggest that a fool cannot be separated from his folly.
In today’s Ezekiel reading Egypt is promised a punishment partially because they put themselves in place of God. It seems silly. They took credit for creating the Nile. But don’t we put ourselves in the place of God all the time? We try to control things that we should hand over to God. We make decisions without consulting God. We assume that our finances are our own instead of a blessing from God. Let’s read today’s Ezekiel passage closely today.
- 1-21 – This is a prophecy against Egypt. Notice that in verses 9 and 10, it is explained that Egypt’s punishment is partially because the people tried to put themselves in the place of God by saying they created the Nile.
- 1-26 – The explanation of Egypt’s punishment continues and the hearer is assured that by the end of what Egypt will face, they will have no doubt who God is.
- 32-38 – All these folks who lived by faith faced very difficult challenges and hardships. Following God does not make life easy or simple. It is the opposite. Life is often more difficult when we follow God, but the reward in the end is well worth it.
- 1-2 – The “cloud of witnesses” is all the people who have gone before us and shown us what faithful living looks like. Our ultimate example is Christ who was willing to sacrifice himself in order to obtain the joy of the Lord and a place next to God.
- 7-11 – Discipline is a form of love because it protects us and guides us to the version of us God intended.
- This psalm highlights many reasons why it is good and beneficial to fear and obey God. Too often we see it as a burden that squashes us.
- As believers, we are called to help hold one another accountable and to spur each other on towards faithfulness.