How anyone is able to call God cruel or unloving, I can’t understand. Even in reading the widespread wrath of God in Revelation, we see mercy smeared all over it. Even as plagues of destruction are looming, Jesus is calling out for people to repent so he can offer salvation instead of destruction.
- 1-8 – God promises to restore Jerusalem and paints a desirable picture of the state to which it will return.
- 14-17 – God reminds the Israelites of why he brought destruction on their ancestors and explains how he would like for them to live so he can fully prosper them.
- 1-21 – This describes a series of seven plagues poured out on the unrighteous of the earth.
- 15 – Here we hear Jesus’ voice inserted in the series of plagues. Jesus is breaking in to give yet another plea for people to repent. The people are hearing what is to come and his hope is to save as many as will turn.
- 3-8 – David admits humanity’s insignificance in comparison to God and understands that it is a privilege to even be able to request of God. Then he continues to ask for God to reach out to him.
No child enjoys discipline, this is often why parents avoid it. We want our children to like us, but today’s proverb, like many others, reminds us that this isn’t the goal of parenting. It benefits our children when we discipline them. When we ignore or refuse that responsibility, we tend to cripple them for later in life.
- 1-15 – These verses are God explaining the wrongdoing of Israel and the subsequent punishment. It’s reminiscent of a parent saying, “Because you hit your sister, you have to sit in timeout.”
- 1-3 – Like in other books, God points out how ridiculous it is to worship things we make ourselves.
- 8-9 – God recognizes that some people will hear his words and repent while others will hear them and keep on sinning. He affirms those who will listen.
- 5-7 – Jesus came to save us all, but if we deny opportunities for salvation, our alternative is punishment.
- 17-23 – Clearly the recipients of the book of Jude were surrounded by unfaithful people, but this letter is intended to encourage them to remain faithful.
- 3-5 – Children were considered a sign of great favor and blessing from God.
- 15-17 – Discipline for children is highly valued throughout the proverbs.
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.
Salvation is a free gift. We can’t earn it. That is so freeing…but…it should free us to do more good, live more like Christ, and serve more. It should not, in our minds, give us free license to sin more because, hey, what’s the harm? Be grateful for your free gift and act accordingly.
- 18-25 – These festivals and others are spelled out in Numbers 23.
- 1-18 – The prince had special instructions on how to handle offerings and other rituals in the temple.
1 Peter 1:13-2:10:
- 14-21 – Our call is to live like Christ. Because he lived a holy life, we are to do so as well. We know this is a worthy call because he died and rose again.
- 1-3 – We are to turn away from our sin and long for God’s goodness and guidance.
- 9-10 – We should take it seriously and act upon it that we were saved.
- 36-37 – A difficult prayer to pray because it might mean we actually have to turn from our selfish ways and live for God.
- 11 – Wealth does not equal wisdom.
We are often like little kids who get told ‘no’. Like us, they are appalled that someone would correct them from doing what they want to do. Today’s psalm reminds us that God’s commands are blessings to us and help keep us safe and blessed. Instead of seeing them as cramping our style, we should see them as gifts to make our lives the best they can possibly be.
- 9-14 – Though the Levites responsibilities for the temple were not completely revoked, they were punished for leading others to worship foreign gods and idols.
- 28-31 – God assured that the Levite priests were well taken care of so they didn’t need to acquire wealth anyway other than how God provided for them.
1 Peter 1:1-12:
- 1-2 – This letter was written by Peter or by someone whose faith originated from Peter’s ministry. People often attributed their works to their teachers or leaders.
- 6-9 – We can rejoice even when we face trials because our salvation means we have ultimate hope.
- 18-24 – When do we ever beg for God’s rules and commandments? We forget that they are blessings to us and are meant for our good.
- 10 – Throughout Scripture we are warned against leading others into sin.
Don’t miss today’s reading! There is a ton of great stuff in here! It’s even hard to decide what to entice you with here, but I’ll go with this: if you think you’re beyond restoration or repair, read today’s Ezekiel passage. God raises dry bones back to life! No one is beyond forgiveness! No one can stray so far that God can’t redeem them! That means you too!!
- 1-14 – Ezekiel’s prophecies over the dry bones give hope that God can restore Israel even though their situation seems hopeless and their nation seems lifeless.
- 15-23 – God promises to reunite Israel and Judah and to, once again, be their God.
- 14-23 – Though Gog had seen success against Israel, God makes it clear that Israel will rise again and it will not bode well for Gog.
- 22-25 – Reading Scripture alone is not enough. We must also live what it tells us to do. Otherwise we are like a foolish person.
- 27 – If we truly want to follow God we must care for the most vulnerable in his name.
- 1-9 – We tend to want to associate with those who are powerful and can lift us up, but God does the opposite. He lifts up the lowly. God is calling us to share in his work.
- 10-13 – We tend to want to make our sins seems less egregious, but once we have sinned, we are sinners.
- 14-17 – This can be confusing because we know that faith in Christ is what saves us. We can’t save ourselves through works. This does not mean we’re not supposed to do the works though. Our salvation is intended to make us more like Christ, how worked diligently to care for those in need and bring others into God’s family.
- Why do we praise the Lord? Because he loves us.
- When we’re entrapped in sin, we constantly have to watch our backs and wait for the other shoe to drop. When we are living faithfully, there is freedom from this fear.
It is in our nature to question things. Often, we question God’s goodness because of things in the world we don’t like. We wonder if God is fair. We often forget that we actually don’t want God to be fair because we would be in a world of hurt if he was. Today’s Psalm reminds us that God is faithful even when we’re sinful. This is the kind of unfair we can really get behind.
- 12-23 – God makes it clear that any one of the four acts of destroying an unfaithful city would suffice, but he has committed to all four acts against Jerusalem.
- 1-8 – The vine is Jerusalem. God makes it clear that Jerusalem will be completely useless and easy to destroy now that it is separated from God.
- 1-14 – God reminds Jerusalem that it is he who made the city great. It was nothing without him.
- 15-22 – When they refer to Jerusalem “whoring”, it means that Jerusalem would give itself to any available idol worship or other god that presented itself. Jerusalem was not faithful to God.
- 30-34 – God explains that Jerusalem’s actions weren’t even as beneficial as a prostitute’s. Even a prostitute gets some reward for her sins.
- 18-22 – This is a continuation of yesterday’s comparison between Melchizedek and Jesus. This continues to describe Jesus as superior to Melchizedek.
- 28 – God still uses sinful people for his purposes, but we still have to look to Jesus, who was perfect, for salvation.
- 6-12 – This psalm reminds us of God’s faithfulness even in the midst of our failings.
- 5 – Open rebuke gives a person an opportunity to self-correct. Hidden love has good intentions but doesn’t actually help the other out.
God thought up so many different ways to share messages with us so we could, if at all willing, understand them. We have the Bible and the Holy Spirit. Within the Bible we see parables, prophecies, various statues of remembrance, etc. One of the really effective means of communication he used, we see in today’s Ezekiel reading. God would ask prophets to become a small embodiment of what he was about to do to/for a larger group. Read how Ezekiel helps share God’s message.
- 1-6 – It was not unusual for God to ask prophets to act as a microcosm of what was going to happen to Israel. Here God is showing the Israelites, through Ezekiel, that they would be exiled.
- 17-20 – They ate and drank with anxiety because at any time they could be taken over and sent into exile. That would be a very precarious feeling.
- 27-28 – The Israelites comforted themselves by saying that their punishment wouldn’t come for a while, but God corrects that and lets them know it’s coming soon.
- 8-16 – God condemns the false prophets for misleading the Israelites to believe that no punishment was coming. When God speaks of “whitewashing” the wall that is to say that they cover up the bad with a false sense of peace.
- 1-3 – Melchizedek was a special priest believed to have Christ-like qualities.
- 11-17 – Melchizedek and the Levites were both unable to offer salvation as Christ did because their laws were not sufficient to offer salvation to all people.
- 39-45 – The psalmist recalls the provisions of God for the Israelites in the desert in order to bring hope in his provisions in the future.
- It is hard to resist the provoking of a fool.
Many of us hate to be out of control. We hold onto the proverbial reigns with white knuckle grips. We plan and coordinate and when things don’t go our way, or even when we become unsure of whether or not they will go our way, we fall apart. Today’s proverb reminds us that, in certain ways, it’s good to be out of control because that allows us to better see God in control. And he’s way better at it.
- 1-22 – This section describes the glory of the Lord leaving the temple. This, in turn, means that the glory of the Lord left the Israelites.
- 1-13 – Ezekiel is shown those who had counseled Israel away from God. Judgment and punishment begin to be poured out on them.
- 14-25 – In this section, Israel is given a new heart and a new spirit. Verse 19 is similar to several other verses regarding a change of heart, particularly Ezekiel 36:26 and Psalm 51:10.
- 4-8 – In a similar vein to the unforgivable sin mentioned in the gospels, if you are worried that you committed it, your desire for repentance and restoration with God is sign that you are not beyond restoration. Have no fear.
- 9-12 – The author expresses hope for those hearing his words that they are still covered by salvation and should have eternal hope.
- 20 – Melchizedek is mentioned several times in Hebrews. He was a high priest mentioned in Genesis 14:18 as having served a meal similar to communion to Abraham and God when they met. Some groups believed that Melchizedek was a human who lived without sin.
- 16-22 – Joseph’s story of betrayal, rejection, and imprisonment could be encouraging to Israelites, particularly those in exile, that God always rescues his people.
- 23-36 – The psalmist recounts the events that put the Israelites into Egypt and how God ultimately rescued them.
- 1 – This is yet another reminder that we are not in control. This is difficult for most of us, but freeing when we realize that God is!
How long does God expect us to wait on him? The Israelites, during exile, were definitely wondering something along those lines. They thought he would rescue them but then decades passed. Many of us could ask the same question too. How long do I have to wait until God heals my marriage? Heals my disease? Gives me a job? Brings me a spouse? The answer to all of these questions is, we don’t know, but God is asking you to wait faithfully. He does come through – sometimes beyond the grave – but he does come through.
- 1-20 – This is all a lament based on the suffering endured in exile. The people have been scattered and feel completely forsaken.
- 21-22 – Zion represents the Israelites while Edom was the name given to Esau’s descendants.
- 1-22 – Though the author is aware that their sins have caused their suffering, he is desperate for God to rescue and restore them. After a while they begin to wonder if God will ever do so.
- 5-18 – Much of the reason Christ was able to initiate and offer us salvation is because he lowered himself to our level and made himself like us. He suffered through similar difficulties and experienced similar challenges.
- 1-14 – David’s relationship with God was so personal. This is clear from the way he speaks about God’s care for humanity. God is compassionate, caring, and forgiving – these are all worth mentioning.
- The glaze is used to make a simple pot look fancier and more appealing. Like this, speech pretending to have love also attempts to cover up the evil in one’s heart.