We all need a voice of reason encouraging us to do the right thing. We tend to struggle on our own. In today’s reading of Zechariah, you’ll hear that voice of reason for the Israelites. He encourages them to turn back to God. Does anything he says speak to you too?
- 1-6 – Zechariah’s prophecy immediately follows Haggai’s and is addressed to post-exilic Israelites. He begins with a call to return to the Lord.
- 7-17 – This begins a vision of an angel who seems to offer God’s grace and restoration to Israel.
- 1-6 – The newborn child, though facing peril, was saved and taken to God’s throne.
- 7-12 – This depicts a massive battle between God’s angels and the devil and his angels. The devil is thrown down to earth, but is vicious in desperation.
- David’s requests of the Lord for protection are genuine and seem to come with expectation that God will come through.
- So, be sure to follow commandment #5 and obey your parents!
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.
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.
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.
Forgiveness is real and available to us. In today’s Revelation reading we see those who have previously sinned now welcomed in to praise God. They’re welcomed because they’ve repented and been forgiven. Our sins don’t have to define us or define our outcome. Our job is to repent. God is faithful to forgive.
- 1-5 – This establishes that the Messiah will come from Bethlehem and will bring peace.
- 6-8 – Here God makes it clear what he’s asking of his people. He’s asking them to seek justice and offer love and kindness. He is not interested in empty sacrifices.
- 9-16 – Here God explains the punishment that is to come for those who have not obeyed him.
- 1-8 – The angels assure that the faithful people of the earth are protected before the destruction begins.
- 13-17 – Here a series of people who have sinned, repented, and been forgiven are welcomed in to praise God.
- 1-12 – These verses recount a number of examples of God’s power, greatness, and faithfulness. Like in most of these accounts, the parting of the Red Sea is mentioned.
- 15-18 – Once again, the worship of idols is proven to be worthless.
- 5-6 – God’s words are good, true, and helpful. We tend to want to change them up to better suit us, but this is wrong.
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.
You most likely heard the story of Jonah as a child. It’s a neat story of making a poor decision, getting swallowed by a whale, and then making the right decision. Well, that’s not all of it. Pay close attention to the end. Jonah has decided for himself who should and shouldn’t receive God’s mercy and grace. Have you done the same? Are their people you feel are not deserving of God’s grace? Be honest.
- 1-3 – This is a crucial mistake by Jonah. God calls him to do one thing; instead, he chooses to do another. We cannot hide from God.
- 17 – One of the most famous verses in Scripture, but note, it was a fish, not a whale.
- 1-10 – Jonah prays for mercy and believes God will rescue him. God does.
- 4-5 – This is what God wants! When we are called out for our sins, we repent and turn back to him.
- 1-3 – Jonah was angry that God extended salvation to the Ninevites because they were gentiles. Jonah was a Jew and didn’t want God’s grace to extend to gentiles. He hates that the Ninevites are saved.
- 5-11 – Jonah chooses to pout. God’s little object lesson with the plant shows Jonah that Jonah wants God to play by his rules, but that God has better plans.
- 1-5 – Jesus is the fulfillment of so many things people were waiting on. He is the only one who is the Messiah they had waited on and he was the only one able to break the seals on the scroll.
- 6-14 – The creatures, angels, and elders all confirm and celebrate the recognition of the Messiah.
- 1-3 – We should continually seek unity among believers because it is a blessing to all and leads to eternal life.
- 27 – This is an interesting thing to think about. The lifestyle of a righteous man is equally as detestable to a wicked man as the opposite.
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.