The story of Job. – Day 1


As my daily devotional of reading through the Bible in a year completed, I contemplated what’s next. I prayed and asked what should I do next. The answer I received was to study the book of Job. It was revealed to me through the book of James 5 where it says:

‘We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.’

James 5:11

As I started to look for a devotional or study on Job, I found other New Testament references to Job or quotes from Job too including:

And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back?

Romans 11:35 (cross reference: Job 35:7, Job 41:11)

and

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.”

1 Corinthians 3:19 (cross reference: Job 5:13)

In the Old Testament I found 2 more quotes:

Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, their righteousness would save no one but themselves, says the Sovereign LORD.

Ezekiel 14:14 (cross reference: Job 1:1, Job 1:5, Job 42:8, Job 42:9)

and

As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, they wouldn’t be able to save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved by their righteousness.

Ezekiel 14:20 (cross reference: Job 1:1)

As I looked for a devotional or study, I cam across some some background on the book of Job for context as I start to jump in. It got broken out into sections like the title of the book, the author of the book, and then the purpose or interpretation of the book. Let’s consider these before we jump into the book of Job.

The Title

We find that our book is named after the primary character of the book. We learn how the name might have been derived from either Hebrew or Arabic words. The Hebrew word (אִיּוֹב) from which Job would be derived is the word for persecuted, hated. The Arabic word (أيّوب‎) from which Job would be derived is the word for repent or repentant one.

The Author

No author is named. Based on the heavenly events it is unlikely to have been Job. It could have been Moses as he lived in the land of Uz which was adjacent to Midian where he had lived for 40 years and could have obtained the record of the story. It could have been Solomon because of the similarities to the book of Ecclesiastes as well as the fact that Solomon had written the other Wisdom books in the Bible.

The interpretation or purpose

We may never know the specific reason for our suffering, but we must trust in the Sovereign God.

We may never in our own human reason be able to account for the suffering of the innocent.

Suffering isn’t a contradiction to God’s goodness nor His sovereignty.

We need to lean not on our own understanding but rather we need to trust and depend on God’s goodness and working things out for our good.


Job 1

‘ THERE WAS a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who [reverently] feared God and abstained from and shunned evil [because it was wrong]. And there were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a very great body of servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the East. His sons used to go and feast in the house of each on his day (birthday) in turn, and they invited their three sisters to eat and drink with them. [Gen. 21:8; 40:20.] And when the days of their feasting were over, Job sent for them to purify and hallow them, and rose up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed or disowned God in their hearts. Thus did Job at all [such] times. Now there was a day when the sons (the angels) of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan (the adversary and accuser) also came among them. [Rev. 12:10.] And the Lord said to Satan, From where did you come? Then Satan answered the Lord, From going to and fro on the earth and from walking up and down on it. And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who [reverently] fears God and abstains from and shuns evil [because it is wrong]? Then Satan answered the Lord, Does Job [reverently] fear God for nothing? Have You not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have conferred prosperity and happiness upon him in the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face. And the Lord said to Satan (the adversary and the accuser), Behold, all that he has is in your power, only upon the man himself put not forth your hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord. And there was a day when [Job’s] sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house [on his birthday], And there came a messenger to Job and said, The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, And the Sabeans swooped down upon them and took away [the animals]. Indeed, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you. While he was yet speaking, there came also another and said, The fire of God (lightning) has fallen from the heavens and has burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you. While he was yet speaking, there came also another and said, The Chaldeans divided into three bands and made a raid upon the camels and have taken them away, yes, and have slain the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you. While he was yet speaking, there came also another and said, Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house, And behold, there came a great [whirlwind] from the desert, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you. Then Job arose and rent his robe and shaved his head and fell down upon the ground and worshiped And said, Naked (without possessions) came I [into this world] from my mother’s womb, and naked (without possessions) shall I depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed (praised and magnified in worship) be the name of the Lord! In all this Job sinned not nor charged God foolishly.’

Job 1 (Amplified)

Bibliography/Footnote/Reference link: Book of Job


Tomorrow, we will look into Job 1 but as we close, consider how God loves and has a shield about you? Consider the torment and destruction the devil is trying to cause in order for you to give up on God and curse God so that you would be separated from God for all of eternity. Consider the saying “when it rains it pours” and all the bad news Job was receiving. Don’t lose hope because you get bad news. Don’t lose hope because you are struggling. Don’t lose hope because bad things are happening. Put your hope and your trust in God! Praise God like Job did after all these calamities were reported to Him. Show the devil your true character and resist him and his temptations so that he will flee. Remember God is taking what the devil has planned for evil and turning it around and going to use it for good! Let’s take hold of what we first learned in James which speaks of suffering, trials, patience, and perseverance where we read:

‘ Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.’

James 1:2-4 (Amplified)

So where are you at today? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

^^^^^^^^^^^Will you be willing to put your name there today?

Stand up for what you believe in!


What do you believe? Do you believe something that is true or just believed to be? Do you believe something that has been proven or something that is temporary? Do you believe something that will last the test of time or something that continues to change? Consider the science we took in school and what parts of it have been disproven and now there are new facts? Consider the Word of God which remains the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow – now people may come up with different translations or paraphrases but the source hasn’t changed. Consider what is right and what is wrong, yes there are absolutes. Consider what is good and what is bad, yes there are absolutes. Is what you believe a truth or an opinion? Is what you believe a truth or a feeling? Is what you believe a truth or a myth? We need to make sure what we believe is a solid foundation rather than shifting sands that the wind and waves can wash away. We need to make sure what we believe is aligned with the cornerstone of life which is Jesus so that we stay on track. Consider the 10 commandments, Jesus didn’t make them go away but rather to accomplish them, He called us to a higher standard in order to be able to raise the bar. We need to take a stand so that the average doesn’t keep going down but instead can start going up. We need to take a stand so that love is poured out all around us. We need to take a stand so that people around us can have hope. We need to take a stand so that faith can abound and there will be renewing and rejuvenating of lives and relationships.

So what do you believe? Will you stand up for what you believe? Would you give your life for what you believe?


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

(Day 308 of 312)


Are you ready to step up? Are you ready to become who God is calling you to be? Are you ready to be who God created you to be? Are you ready to go beyond your comfort zone in order to be who God is calling you to be?

Are you keeping your truth a secret out of obedience or fear?

Is your safe place really safe or something that will be torn down?

Are you investing in things that are temporary or things that will last for eternity? Are you investing in stuff or souls that will last forever? Are you helping the poor? Are you helping the orphans? Are you helping the widows?

Are you believing in the king who rode in on a donkey?

Are you ready to be restored? Will you invite the Lord into your heart? Are you ready for your strength to be renewed?

Who will you believe? Will you take courage and do what God is calling you and trusting His Word?

Are you ready to live in the new rather than the old? Are you ready for your home to be with God? Or will you reject God and spend eternity apart from Him?

Will you walk with God as your helper? Will you take hold of His promises which are good and true? Are you walking in freedom that has been purchased through Jesus or walking in bondage to sin and the temptations of the devil?

Let’s close reading today’s psalm together:

‘Praise the Lord ! Let all that I am praise the Lord . I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath. Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. The Lord loves the godly. The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever. He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations. Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 146

So where are you at today? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

Will you stand for your principles and what you believe in?


What if you don’t understand? Will you ask and question? What if you get an alternative would you give in or stand firm? What if you ask the questions and make your case and they still reject it? What if you they talk down to you or try to make you feel less? What if they reject the truth and replace it with their own version of reality? What will you do? Where will you turn? How will you know? What if today or tomorrow happen to be that day of challenge?

Will you start your today by putting on the full armor of God?

13Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:13-17

Will you start your today by praying and asking God to give you wisdom? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to give you a peace no matter what happens? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to give you direction, discernment, and wisdom? Will you stand firm? Will you trust God through it all? Will you resist the lies and attacks of the devil? Will you receive both the protection of the armor and the strength and power that comes through the Word of God?

What if you get the call? What if you get selected? What if you get the news? What if it takes praying and fasting? What if it takes asking others to join you in the process? What if it is a family matter? What are you going to do?


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

(Day 307 of 312)


How would you respond if they rejected you? or your ask?

How would you respond if they refused or wronged you?

How would you respond if they respond in a way that seems to despise you?

Will you ask wise advisers for input?

Will you seek justice and mercy?

Will you live out as a servant leader?

Will you show mercy and kindness to others without scheming?

Will you receive the promised blessings from God?

Will you put God’s will and God’s plan before your own?

Will you turn to God and do what He asks of you?

Nothing is impossible for God! What may seem impossible with people is not impossible for God! With God all things are possible.

Let’s be strong and finish the task put before us!

Let’s be symbols and sources of blessings!

Let’s love truth and peace!

How far are you willing to go to make sure the right thing happens? Are you willing to appeal the decision?

Will you warn people if you sense trouble ahead? Will you share this with them in order to save their lives?

How will you respond if they won’t listen? How will you respond when the casualties you warned of happen? How will you respond?

Will you already be with God or will you still be in tribulation when the time comes?

Will you be undecided or even outright rejecting Jesus throughout the tribulation and have to deal with the related troubles? Will you be deceived from the truth? Will you be consumed by it? Will you spend eternity with God or will you spend eternity apart from God, tormented day and night forever and ever?

Is your name in the book of life? Have you decided to receive the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ? Or are you willing to deal with the consequences? Are you willing to deal with the judgement for all the things you had done or not done?

‘And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.’

Revelation 20:15

Will you exalt God? Will you praise God and His greatness? Will you pass on to the next generation all that God is and has done in your life? Will you proclaim His greatness? Will you sign for joy? Will you thank God? Will you glorify Him through sharing examples? Will you share how God’s promises are true and trustworthy? Will you call upon the Lord and be saved?


So where are you at today? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

What kind of leader will you choose to be?


Leadership Word Cloud

Do you have a true north that will stand? Do you have a foundation on which to build? Are you leading rather than managing? Are you macromanaging rather than micromanging? Are you giving people the freedom to run and the guidance to keep them from hitting a wall? Are you sharing your faith with them while showing that you trust them and believe in them? Are you sharing their great work with others?

Are you leading people in the right direction? Are you leading people into the right attitude and behaviors? Are you leading people to become better versions of themselves? Are you leading people to help them grow and develop in the right ways? Are you leading people towards God’s will and plan and purpose or away from them? Are you a leader people want to follow? Are you a leader that leads with love rather than fear? Are you a leader who leads with service rather than wanting to be served? Are you a leader who leads with compassion rather than indifference or heartlessness? What can be done when the direction is wrong? What can be done when the direction is bad? What would you do? What will you do? Will you speak up and speak out? Will you have enough faith to do what you are being called to do? How great is your faith? If you were the widow and son, how many jugs would you gather to fill? If you were the king and Elisha told you to hit your arrows against the grown, how many times would you have struck the ground?

Are you leading or are you just going on a walk?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started in 2 Kings 13:

‘Jehoahaz son of Jehu began to rule over Israel in the twenty-third year of King Joash’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria seventeen years. But he did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. He followed the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, continuing the sins that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit. So the Lord was very angry with Israel, and he allowed King Hazael of Aram and his son Ben-hadad to defeat them repeatedly. Then Jehoahaz prayed for the Lord ’s help, and the Lord heard his prayer, for he could see how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel. So the Lord provided someone to rescue the Israelites from the tyranny of the Arameans. Then Israel lived in safety again as they had in former days. But they continued to sin, following the evil example of Jeroboam. They also allowed the Asherah pole in Samaria to remain standing. Finally, Jehoahaz’s army was reduced to 50 charioteers, 10 chariots, and 10,000 foot soldiers. The king of Aram had killed the others, trampling them like dust under his feet. The rest of the events in Jehoahaz’s reign—everything he did and the extent of his power—are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. When Jehoahaz died, he was buried in Samaria. Then his son Jehoash became the next king. Jehoash son of Jehoahaz began to rule over Israel in the thirty-seventh year of King Joash’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria sixteen years. But he did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. The rest of the events in Jehoash’s reign and everything he did, including the extent of his power and his war with King Amaziah of Judah, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. When Jehoash died, he was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel. Then his son Jeroboam II became the next king. When Elisha was in his last illness, King Jehoash of Israel visited him and wept over him. “My father! My father! I see the chariots and charioteers of Israel!” he cried. Elisha told him, “Get a bow and some arrows.” And the king did as he was told. Elisha told him, “Put your hand on the bow,” and Elisha laid his own hands on the king’s hands. Then he commanded, “Open that eastern window,” and he opened it. Then he said, “Shoot!” So he shot an arrow. Elisha proclaimed, “This is the Lord ’s arrow, an arrow of victory over Aram, for you will completely conquer the Arameans at Aphek.” Then he said, “Now pick up the other arrows and strike them against the ground.” So the king picked them up and struck the ground three times. But the man of God was angry with him. “You should have struck the ground five or six times!” he exclaimed. “Then you would have beaten Aram until it was entirely destroyed. Now you will be victorious only three times.” Then Elisha died and was buried. Groups of Moabite raiders used to invade the land each spring. Once when some Israelites were burying a man, they spied a band of these raiders. So they hastily threw the corpse into the tomb of Elisha and fled. But as soon as the body touched Elisha’s bones, the dead man revived and jumped to his feet! King Hazael of Aram had oppressed Israel during the entire reign of King Jehoahaz. But the Lord was gracious and merciful to the people of Israel, and they were not totally destroyed. He pitied them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And to this day he still has not completely destroyed them or banished them from his presence. King Hazael of Aram died, and his son Ben-hadad became the next king. Then Jehoash son of Jehoahaz recaptured from Ben-hadad son of Hazael the towns that had been taken from Jehoash’s father, Jehoahaz. Jehoash defeated Ben-hadad on three occasions, and he recovered the Israelite towns.’

2 Kings 13:1-25

Today’s reading continues into Ezekiel 19:

‘“Sing this funeral song for the princes of Israel: “What is your mother? A lioness among lions! She lay down among the young lions and reared her cubs. She raised one of her cubs to become a strong young lion. He learned to hunt and devour prey, and he became a man-eater. Then the nations heard about him, and he was trapped in their pit. They led him away with hooks to the land of Egypt. “When the lioness saw that her hopes for him were gone, she took another of her cubs and taught him to be a strong young lion. He prowled among the other lions and stood out among them in his strength. He learned to hunt and devour prey, and he, too, became a man-eater. He demolished fortresses and destroyed their towns and cities. Their farms were desolated, and their crops were destroyed. The land and its people trembled in fear when they heard him roar. Then the armies of the nations attacked him, surrounding him from every direction. They threw a net over him and captured him in their pit. With hooks, they dragged him into a cage and brought him before the king of Babylon. They held him in captivity, so his voice could never again be heard on the mountains of Israel. “Your mother was like a vine planted by the water’s edge. It had lush, green foliage because of the abundant water. Its branches became strong— strong enough to be a ruler’s scepter. It grew very tall, towering above all others. It stood out because of its height and its many lush branches. But the vine was uprooted in fury and thrown down to the ground. The desert wind dried up its fruit and tore off its strong branches, so that it withered and was destroyed by fire. Now the vine is transplanted to the wilderness, where the ground is hard and dry. A fire has burst out from its branches and devoured its fruit. Its remaining limbs are not strong enough to be a ruler’s scepter. “This is a funeral song, and it will be used in a funeral.”’

Ezekiel 19:1-14

Today’s reading next brings us into the the New Testament into Acts 15:

‘While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers : “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them, arguing vehemently. Finally, the church decided to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent the delegates to Jerusalem, and they stopped along the way in Phoenicia and Samaria to visit the believers. They told them—much to everyone’s joy—that the Gentiles, too, were being converted. When they arrived in Jerusalem, Barnabas and Paul were welcomed by the whole church, including the apostles and elders. They reported everything God had done through them. But then some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.” So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue. At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.” Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me. Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself. And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written: ‘Afterward I will return and restore the fallen house of David. I will rebuild its ruins and restore it, so that the rest of humanity might seek the Lord , including the Gentiles— all those I have called to be mine. The Lord has spoken— he who made these things known so long ago.’ “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood. For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.”’

Acts of the Apostles 15:1-21

We are saved by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ! It is not by works so that nobody can boast. We can learn and be corrected and be directed through the Word of God! We are to make our lives aligned with God’s Word and live our lives by grace through faith in Jesus Christ for the glory of God! And so let our faith been seen through the works we accomplish for the glory of God in Jesus’s name.

Today’s reading then brings us into Revelation 5:

‘Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it. Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth. He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.”’

Revelation 5:1-10

Jesus is enough! We only need Jesus, we don’t need Jesus plus! Jesus is worthy and able to do excedingly, abundantly more than we can ever ask or imagine.

Today’s reading concludes in Psalms 119:

‘I lie in the dust; revive me by your word. I told you my plans, and you answered. Now teach me your decrees. Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word. Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions. I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations. I cling to your laws. Lord , don’t let me be put to shame! I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding. Teach me your decrees, O Lord ; I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart. Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness. Lord , give me your unfailing love, the salvation that you promised me. Then I can answer those who taunt me, for I trust in your word. Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for your regulations are my only hope. I will keep on obeying your instructions forever and ever. I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments. I will speak to kings about your laws, and I will not be ashamed. How I delight in your commands! How I love them! I honor and love your commands. I meditate on your decrees.’

Psalms 119:25-48

Who is God to you?


Not asking who do you idolize. Not asking about who little g god is to you. Asking more when you think about or talk about God, who is He to you? what is He to you? How do you describe Him to others? How do you express who He is and what He has done in and through your life? What do you do to express your views and your thoughts and your feelings about God? Do you write? Do you sing? Do you pray? Do you praise? Can others tell? Do others know? Do you express it? Do you serve? Do you give? What do you do? How do you do it? Who is God to you?


This morning’s reading gets us started hearing who David says God is in 2 Samuel 22:

‘David sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. I called on the Lord , who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. “The waves of death overwhelmed me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord ; yes, I cried to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears. “Then the earth quaked and trembled. The foundations of the heavens shook; they quaked because of his anger. Smoke poured from his nostrils; fierce flames leaped from his mouth. Glowing coals blazed forth from him. He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath his feet. Mounted on a mighty angelic being, he flew, soaring on the wings of the wind. He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dense rain clouds. A great brightness shone around him, and burning coals blazed forth. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot arrows and scattered his enemies; his lightning flashed, and they were confused. Then at the command of the Lord , at the blast of his breath, the bottom of the sea could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare. “He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the Lord supported me. He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me. The Lord rewarded me for doing right; he restored me because of my innocence. For I have kept the ways of the Lord ; I have not turned from my God to follow evil. I have followed all his regulations; I have never abandoned his decrees. I am blameless before God; I have kept myself from sin. The Lord rewarded me for doing right. He has seen my innocence. “To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You rescue the humble, but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them. O Lord , you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall. “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord ’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord ? Who but our God is a solid rock? God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping. “I chased my enemies and destroyed them; I did not stop until they were conquered. I consumed them; I struck them down so they did not get up; they fell beneath my feet. You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet. You placed my foot on their necks. I have destroyed all who hated me. They looked for help, but no one came to their rescue. They even cried to the Lord , but he refused to answer. I ground them as fine as the dust of the earth; I trampled them in the gutter like dirt. “You gave me victory over my accusers. You preserved me as the ruler over nations; people I don’t even know now serve me. Foreign nations cringe before me; as soon as they hear of me, they submit. They all lose their courage and come trembling from their strongholds. “The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May God, the Rock of my salvation, be exalted! He is the God who pays back those who harm me; he brings down the nations under me and delivers me from my enemies. You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies; you save me from violent opponents. For this, O Lord , I will praise you among the nations; I will sing praises to your name. You give great victories to your king; you show unfailing love to your anointed, to David and all his descendants forever.”’

2 Samuel 22

‘This is what the Lord says: “I will stir up a destroyer against Babylon and the people of Babylonia. Foreigners will come and winnow her, blowing her away as chaff. They will come from every side to rise against her in her day of trouble. Don’t let the archers put on their armor or draw their bows. Don’t spare even her best soldiers! Let her army be completely destroyed. They will fall dead in the land of the Babylonians, slashed to death in her streets. For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has not abandoned Israel and Judah. He is still their God, even though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.” Flee from Babylon! Save yourselves! Don’t get trapped in her punishment! It is the Lord ’s time for vengeance; he will repay her in full. Babylon has been a gold cup in the Lord ’s hands, a cup that made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank Babylon’s wine, and it drove them all mad. But suddenly Babylon, too, has fallen. Weep for her. Give her medicine. Perhaps she can yet be healed. We would have helped her if we could, but nothing can save her now. Let her go; abandon her. Return now to your own land. For her punishment reaches to the heavens; it is so great it cannot be measured. The Lord has vindicated us. Come, let us announce in Jerusalem everything the Lord our God has done. Sharpen the arrows! Lift up the shields! For the Lord has inspired the kings of the Medes to march against Babylon and destroy her. This is his vengeance against those who desecrated his Temple. Raise the battle flag against Babylon! Reinforce the guard and station the watchmen. Prepare an ambush, for the Lord will fulfill all his plans against Babylon. You are a city by a great river, a great center of commerce, but your end has come. The thread of your life is cut. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has taken this vow and has sworn to it by his own name: “Your cities will be filled with enemies, like fields swarming with locusts, and they will shout in triumph over you.” The Lord made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. With his own understanding he stretched out the heavens. When he speaks in the thunder, the heavens roar with rain. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses. The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge! The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make, for their carefully shaped works are a fraud. These idols have no breath or power. Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies! On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed. But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including his people, his own special possession. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name! “You are my battle-ax and sword,” says the Lord . “With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms. With you I will shatter armies— destroying the horse and rider, the chariot and charioteer. With you I will shatter men and women, old people and children, young men and young women. With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks, farmers and oxen, captains and officers. “I will repay Babylon and the people of Babylonia for all the wrong they have done to my people in Jerusalem,” says the Lord . “Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth! I am your enemy,” says the Lord . “I will raise my fist against you, to knock you down from the heights. When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of burnt rubble. You will be desolate forever. Even your stones will never again be used for building. You will be completely wiped out,” says the Lord . Raise a signal flag to the nations. Sound the battle cry! Mobilize them all against Babylon. Prepare them to fight against her! Bring out the armies of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz. Appoint a commander, and bring a multitude of horses like swarming locusts! Bring against her the armies of the nations— led by the kings of the Medes and all their captains and officers. The earth trembles and writhes in pain, for everything the Lord has planned against Babylon stands unchanged. Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant. Her mightiest warriors no longer fight. They stay in their barracks, their courage gone. They have become like women. The invaders have burned the houses and broken down the city gates. The news is passed from one runner to the next as the messengers hurry to tell the king that his city has been captured. All the escape routes are blocked. The marshes have been set aflame, and the army is in a panic. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Babylon is like wheat on a threshing floor, about to be trampled. In just a little while her harvest will begin.” “King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has eaten and crushed us and drained us of strength. He has swallowed us like a great monster and filled his belly with our riches. He has thrown us out of our own country. Make Babylon suffer as she made us suffer,” say the people of Zion. “Make the people of Babylonia pay for spilling our blood,” says Jerusalem. This is what the Lord says to Jerusalem: “I will be your lawyer to plead your case, and I will avenge you. I will dry up her river, as well as her springs, and Babylon will become a heap of ruins, haunted by jackals. She will be an object of horror and contempt, a place where no one lives. Her people will roar together like strong lions. They will growl like lion cubs. And while they lie inflamed with all their wine, I will prepare a different kind of feast for them. I will make them drink until they fall asleep, and they will never wake up again,” says the Lord . “I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and goats to be sacrificed. “How Babylon is fallen— great Babylon, praised throughout the earth! Now she has become an object of horror among the nations. The sea has risen over Babylon; she is covered by its crashing waves. Her cities now lie in ruins; she is a dry wasteland where no one lives or even passes by. And I will punish Bel, the god of Babylon, and make him vomit up all he has eaten. The nations will no longer come and worship him. The wall of Babylon has fallen! “Come out, my people, flee from Babylon. Save yourselves! Run from the Lord ’s fierce anger. But do not panic; don’t be afraid when you hear the first rumor of approaching forces. For rumors will keep coming year by year. Violence will erupt in the land as the leaders fight against each other. For the time is surely coming when I will punish this great city and all her idols. Her whole land will be disgraced, and her dead will lie in the streets. Then the heavens and earth will rejoice, for out of the north will come destroying armies against Babylon,” says the Lord . “Just as Babylon killed the people of Israel and others throughout the world, so must her people be killed. Get out, all you who have escaped the sword! Do not stand and watch—flee while you can! Remember the Lord , though you are in a far-off land, and think about your home in Jerusalem.” “We are ashamed,” the people say. “We are insulted and disgraced because the Lord ’s Temple has been defiled by foreigners.” “Yes,” says the Lord , “but the time is coming when I will destroy Babylon’s idols. The groans of her wounded people will be heard throughout the land. Though Babylon reaches as high as the heavens and makes her fortifications incredibly strong, I will still send enemies to plunder her. I, the Lord , have spoken! “Listen! Hear the cry of Babylon, the sound of great destruction from the land of the Babylonians. For the Lord is destroying Babylon. He will silence her loud voice. Waves of enemies pound against her; the noise of battle rings through the city. Destroying armies come against Babylon. Her mighty men are captured, and their weapons break in their hands. For the Lord is a God who gives just punishment; he always repays in full. I will make her officials and wise men drunk, along with her captains, officers, and warriors. They will fall asleep and never wake up again!” says the King, whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “The thick walls of Babylon will be leveled to the ground, and her massive gates will be burned. The builders from many lands have worked in vain, for their work will be destroyed by fire!” The prophet Jeremiah gave this message to Seraiah son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah, a staff officer, when Seraiah went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah. This was during the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. Jeremiah had recorded on a scroll all the terrible disasters that would soon come upon Babylon—all the words written here. He said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, read aloud everything on this scroll. Then say, ‘ Lord , you have said that you will destroy Babylon so that neither people nor animals will remain here. She will lie empty and abandoned forever.’ When you have finished reading the scroll, tie it to a stone and throw it into the Euphrates River. Then say, ‘In this same way Babylon and her people will sink, never again to rise, because of the disasters I will bring upon her.’” This is the end of Jeremiah’s messages.’

Jeremiah 51

‘That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.” Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter. ” Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. ‘

Luke 24:13-35

‘But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.’

2 Timothy 3:10-17

‘O God, do not be silent! Do not be deaf. Do not be quiet, O God. Don’t you hear the uproar of your enemies? Don’t you see that your arrogant enemies are rising up? They devise crafty schemes against your people; they conspire against your precious ones. “Come,” they say, “let us wipe out Israel as a nation. We will destroy the very memory of its existence.” Yes, this was their unanimous decision. They signed a treaty as allies against you— these Edomites and Ishmaelites; Moabites and Hagrites; Gebalites, Ammonites, and Amalekites; and people from Philistia and Tyre. Assyria has joined them, too, and is allied with the descendants of Lot. Interlude Do to them as you did to the Midianites and as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the Kishon River. They were destroyed at Endor, and their decaying corpses fertilized the soil. Let their mighty nobles die as Oreb and Zeeb did. Let all their princes die like Zebah and Zalmunna, for they said, “Let us seize for our own use these pasturelands of God!” O my God, scatter them like tumbleweed, like chaff before the wind! As a fire burns a forest and as a flame sets mountains ablaze, chase them with your fierce storm; terrify them with your tempest. Utterly disgrace them until they submit to your name, O Lord . Let them be ashamed and terrified forever. Let them die in disgrace. Then they will learn that you alone are called the Lord , that you alone are the Most High, supreme over all the earth.’

Psalms 83

Have you had an encounter with Jesus yet? Have you invited Him into your heart? Have you encountered the Holy Spirit? Have you received His wisdom, guidance, and comfort? Do you allow God to be with you everywhere you go? He is Emmanuel, God with us, but we need to invite Him in. We need to make the choice for ourselves. We aren’t robots and so we need to choose with our freewill if we will invite God in and pursue Him with all of our lives, living it as a living sacrifice up to God.

Who is God to you?

Trust God even when the world feels like it is against you!


God will provide, even when the world is against you. Lean into what God says! Lean into what God directs you to do! Lean into what God has called you to do, no matter what! If God is calling you to step up then step up. If God is calling you to step out then step out. If God is calling you to stand firm then stand firm. Don’t lose hope in doing what God has called you to do and don’t lose focus on His purpose and His plan for your life. God knows the plan He has for you and it is for good and not for evil, it is a plan to give you a hope and a future. When you are getting prompted to do something, confirm it is part of God’s will and then go and do it. When you are hearing direction required to get there pursue it in order to accomplish it. When you hear confirmation from God that it is part of His plan then take hold of it and start moving into it. Even if you aren’t sure the specifics, do what you know how to do! Allow God to guide your steps! Allow God to guide your thoughts! Allow God to guide your plan! Acknowledge God and allow Him to make your path straight!


Today’s reading brings us back to David and his situation starting in 2 Samuel 16:

‘When David had gone a little beyond the summit of the Mount of Olives, Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, was waiting there for him. He had two donkeys loaded with 200 loaves of bread, 100 clusters of raisins, 100 bunches of summer fruit, and a wineskin full of wine. “What are these for?” the king asked Ziba. Ziba replied, “The donkeys are for the king’s people to ride on, and the bread and summer fruit are for the young men to eat. The wine is for those who become exhausted in the wilderness.” “And where is Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson?” the king asked him. “He stayed in Jerusalem,” Ziba replied. “He said, ‘Today I will get back the kingdom of my grandfather Saul.’” “In that case,” the king told Ziba, “I give you everything Mephibosheth owns.” “I bow before you,” Ziba replied. “May I always be pleasing to you, my lord the king.” As King David came to Bahurim, a man came out of the village cursing them. It was Shimei son of Gera, from the same clan as Saul’s family. He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded him. “Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!” he shouted at David. “The Lord is paying you back for all the bloodshed in Saul’s clan. You stole his throne, and now the Lord has given it to your son Absalom. At last you will taste some of your own medicine, for you are a murderer!” “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?” Abishai son of Zeruiah demanded. “Let me go over and cut off his head!” “No!” the king said. “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah! If the Lord has told him to curse me, who are you to stop him?” Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son is trying to kill me. Doesn’t this relative of Saul have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to do it. And perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.” So David and his men continued down the road, and Shimei kept pace with them on a nearby hillside, cursing and throwing stones and dirt at David. The king and all who were with him grew weary along the way, so they rested when they reached the Jordan River. Meanwhile, Absalom and all the army of Israel arrived at Jerusalem, accompanied by Ahithophel. When David’s friend Hushai the Arkite arrived, he went immediately to see Absalom. “Long live the king!” he exclaimed. “Long live the king!” “Is this the way you treat your friend David?” Absalom asked him. “Why aren’t you with him?” “I’m here because I belong to the man who is chosen by the Lord and by all the men of Israel,” Hushai replied. “And anyway, why shouldn’t I serve you? Just as I was your father’s adviser, now I will be your adviser!” Then Absalom turned to Ahithophel and asked him, “What should I do next?” Ahithophel told him, “Go and sleep with your father’s concubines, for he has left them here to look after the palace. Then all Israel will know that you have insulted your father beyond hope of reconciliation, and they will throw their support to you.” So they set up a tent on the palace roof where everyone could see it, and Absalom went in and had sex with his father’s concubines. Absalom followed Ahithophel’s advice, just as David had done. For every word Ahithophel spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God.’

2 Samuel 16

‘This is the message Jeremiah received concerning the Judeans living in northern Egypt in the cities of Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis, and in southern Egypt as well: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: You saw the calamity I brought on Jerusalem and all the towns of Judah. They now lie deserted and in ruins. They provoked my anger with all their wickedness. They burned incense and worshiped other gods—gods that neither they nor you nor any of your ancestors had ever even known. “Again and again I sent my servants, the prophets, to plead with them, ‘Don’t do these horrible things that I hate so much.’ But my people would not listen or turn back from their wicked ways. They kept on burning incense to these gods. And so my fury boiled over and fell like fire on the towns of Judah and into the streets of Jerusalem, and they are still a desolate ruin today. “And now the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, asks you: Why are you destroying yourselves? For not one of you will survive—not a man, woman, or child among you who has come here from Judah, not even the babies in your arms. Why provoke my anger by burning incense to the idols you have made here in Egypt? You will only destroy yourselves and make yourselves an object of cursing and mockery for all the nations of the earth. Have you forgotten the sins of your ancestors, the sins of the kings and queens of Judah, and the sins you and your wives committed in Judah and Jerusalem? To this very hour you have shown no remorse or reverence. No one has chosen to follow my word and the decrees I gave to you and your ancestors before you. “Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I am determined to destroy every one of you! I will take this remnant of Judah—those who were determined to come here and live in Egypt—and I will consume them. They will fall here in Egypt, killed by war and famine. All will die, from the least to the greatest. They will be an object of damnation, horror, cursing, and mockery. I will punish them in Egypt just as I punished them in Jerusalem, by war, famine, and disease. Of that remnant who fled to Egypt, hoping someday to return to Judah, there will be no survivors. Even though they long to return home, only a handful will do so.” Then all the women present and all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to idols—a great crowd of all the Judeans living in northern Egypt and southern Egypt —answered Jeremiah, “We will not listen to your messages from the Lord ! We will do whatever we want. We will burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven just as much as we like—just as we, and our ancestors, and our kings and officials have always done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For in those days we had plenty to eat, and we were well off and had no troubles! But ever since we quit burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and stopped worshiping her with liquid offerings, we have been in great trouble and have been dying from war and famine.” “Besides,” the women added, “do you suppose that we were burning incense and pouring out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven, and making cakes marked with her image, without our husbands knowing it and helping us? Of course not!” Then Jeremiah said to all of them, men and women alike, who had given him that answer, “Do you think the Lord did not know that you and your ancestors, your kings and officials, and all the people were burning incense to idols in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? It was because the Lord could no longer bear all the disgusting things you were doing that he made your land an object of cursing—a desolate ruin without inhabitants—as it is today. All these terrible things happened to you because you have burned incense to idols and sinned against the Lord . You have refused to obey him and have not followed his instructions, his decrees, and his laws.” Then Jeremiah said to them all, including the women, “Listen to this message from the Lord , all you citizens of Judah who live in Egypt. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You and your wives have said, “We will keep our promises to burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven,” and you have proved by your actions that you meant it. So go ahead and carry out your promises and vows to her!’ “But listen to this message from the Lord , all you Judeans now living in Egypt: ‘I have sworn by my great name,’ says the Lord , ‘that my name will no longer be spoken by any of the Judeans in the land of Egypt. None of you may invoke my name or use this oath: “As surely as the Sovereign Lord lives.” For I will watch over you to bring you disaster and not good. Everyone from Judah who is now living in Egypt will suffer war and famine until all of you are dead. Only a small number will escape death and return to Judah from Egypt. Then all those who came to Egypt will find out whose words are true—mine or theirs! “‘And this is the proof I give you,’ says the Lord , ‘that all I have threatened will happen to you and that I will punish you here.’ This is what the Lord says: ‘I will turn Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt, over to his enemies who want to kill him, just as I turned King Zedekiah of Judah over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.’”’

Jeremiah 44

‘“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or an extra pair of sandals, did you need anything?” “No,” they replied. “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one! For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’#22:37 Isa 53:12. Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.” “Look, Lord,” they replied, “we have two swords among us.” “That’s enough,” he said. Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.” He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”’

Luke 22:31-46

‘Now may the God of peace— who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood— may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation. I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released from jail. If he comes here soon, I will bring him with me to see you. Greet all your leaders and all the believers there. The believers from Italy send you their greetings. May God’s grace be with you all.’

Hebrews 13:20-25

‘I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. Interlude You don’t let me sleep. I am too distressed even to pray! I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion? Interlude And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” But then I recall all you have done, O Lord ; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations. By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Interlude When the Red Sea saw you, O God, its waters looked and trembled! The sea quaked to its very depths. The clouds poured down rain; the thunder rumbled in the sky. Your arrows of lightning flashed. Your thunder roared from the whirlwind; the lightning lit up the world! The earth trembled and shook. Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there! You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.’

Psalms 77

Do you usually understand it better the second time?


Ever been given instructions and tried to walk thru them and found you missed the mark? Ever tried again and found it felt so much easier? Was it that you understood it better? Was it that you had more context? Was it that you had more experience? Was it actually any easier? What it easier to understand at least? Do you have learn by going through everything yourself? Are you able to learn through the experiences of others? Do you need to feel the pain personally or can you learn through the pain of others?


Today’s reading gets us started with Deuteronomy 1.

‘These are the words that Moses spoke to all the people of Israel while they were in the wilderness east of the Jordan River. They were camped in the Jordan Valley near Suph, between Paran on one side and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Di-zahab on the other. Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir. But forty years after the Israelites left Egypt, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses addressed the people of Israel, telling them everything the Lord had commanded him to say. This took place after he had defeated King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, and at Edrei had defeated King Og of Bashan, who ruled in Ashtaroth. While the Israelites were in the land of Moab east of the Jordan River, Moses carefully explained the Lord ’s instructions as follows.

“When we were at Mount Sinai, the Lord our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on. Go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all the neighboring regions—the Jordan Valley, the hill country, the western foothills, the Negev, and the coastal plain. Go to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, and all the way to the great Euphrates River. Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all their descendants.’”

Moses continued, “At that time I told you, ‘You are too great a burden for me to carry all by myself. The Lord your God has increased your population, making you as numerous as the stars! And may the Lord , the God of your ancestors, multiply you a thousand times more and bless you as he promised! But you are such a heavy load to carry! How can I deal with all your problems and bickering? Choose some well-respected men from each tribe who are known for their wisdom and understanding, and I will appoint them as your leaders.’ “Then you responded, ‘Your plan is a good one.’ So I took the wise and respected men you had selected from your tribes and appointed them to serve as judges and officials over you. Some were responsible for a thousand people, some for a hundred, some for fifty, and some for ten. “At that time I instructed the judges, ‘You must hear the cases of your fellow Israelites and the foreigners living among you. Be perfectly fair in your decisions and impartial in your judgments. Hear the cases of those who are poor as well as those who are rich. Don’t be afraid of anyone’s anger, for the decision you make is God’s decision. Bring me any cases that are too difficult for you, and I will handle them.’ “At that time I gave you instructions about everything you were to do.

“Then, just as the Lord our God commanded us, we left Mount Sinai and traveled through the great and terrifying wilderness, as you yourselves remember, and headed toward the hill country of the Amorites. When we arrived at Kadesh-barnea, I said to you, ‘You have now reached the hill country of the Amorites that the Lord our God is giving us. Look! He has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the Lord , the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!’ “But you all came to me and said, ‘First, let’s send out scouts to explore the land for us. They will advise us on the best route to take and which towns we should enter.’ “This seemed like a good idea to me, so I chose twelve scouts, one from each of your tribes. They headed for the hill country and came to the valley of Eshcol and explored it. They picked some of its fruit and brought it back to us. And they reported, ‘The land the Lord our God has given us is indeed a good land.’

“But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God and refused to go in. You complained in your tents and said, ‘The Lord must hate us. That’s why he has brought us here from Egypt—to hand us over to the Amorites to be slaughtered. Where can we go? Our brothers have demoralized us with their report. They tell us, “The people of the land are taller and more powerful than we are, and their towns are large, with walls rising high into the sky! We even saw giants there—the descendants of Anak!”’ “But I said to you, ‘Don’t be shocked or afraid of them! The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’ “But even after all he did, you refused to trust the Lord your God, who goes before you looking for the best places to camp, guiding you with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day. “When the Lord heard your complaining, he became very angry. So he solemnly swore, ‘Not one of you from this wicked generation will live to see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see this land because he has followed the Lord completely. I will give to him and his descendants some of the very land he explored during his scouting mission.’ “And the Lord was also angry with me because of you. He said to me, ‘Moses, not even you will enter the Promised Land! Instead, your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will lead the people into the land. Encourage him, for he will lead Israel as they take possession of it. I will give the land to your little ones—your innocent children. You were afraid they would be captured, but they will be the ones who occupy it. As for you, turn around now and go on back through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. ’ “Then you confessed, ‘We have sinned against the Lord ! We will go into the land and fight for it, as the Lord our God has commanded us.’ So your men strapped on their weapons, thinking it would be easy to attack the hill country. “But the Lord told me to tell you, ‘Do not attack, for I am not with you. If you go ahead on your own, you will be crushed by your enemies.’ “This is what I told you, but you would not listen. Instead, you again rebelled against the Lord ’s command and arrogantly went into the hill country to fight. But the Amorites who lived there came out against you like a swarm of bees. They chased and battered you all the way from Seir to Hormah. Then you returned and wept before the Lord , but he refused to listen. So you stayed there at Kadesh for a long time.’

Deuteronomy 1

Today’s reading continues into Micah 1.

‘The Lord gave this message to Micah of Moresheth during the years when Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah. The visions he saw concerned both Samaria and Jerusalem.

Attention! Let all the people of the world listen! Let the earth and everything in it hear. The Sovereign Lord is making accusations against you; the Lord speaks from his holy Temple. Look! The Lord is coming! He leaves his throne in heaven and tramples the heights of the earth. The mountains melt beneath his feet and flow into the valleys like wax in a fire, like water pouring down a hill. And why is this happening? Because of the rebellion of Israel — yes, the sins of the whole nation. Who is to blame for Israel’s rebellion? Samaria, its capital city! Where is the center of idolatry in Judah? In Jerusalem, its capital! “So I, the Lord , will make the city of Samaria a heap of ruins. Her streets will be plowed up for planting vineyards. I will roll the stones of her walls into the valley below, exposing her foundations. All her carved images will be smashed. All her sacred treasures will be burned. These things were bought with the money earned by her prostitution, and they will now be carried away to pay prostitutes elsewhere.” Therefore, I will mourn and lament. I will walk around barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl. For my people’s wound is too deep to heal. It has reached into Judah, even to the gates of Jerusalem. Don’t tell our enemies in Gath ; don’t weep at all. You people in Beth-leaphrah, roll in the dust to show your despair. You people in Shaphir, go as captives into exile—naked and ashamed. The people of Zaanan dare not come outside their walls. The people of Beth-ezel mourn, for their house has no support. The people of Maroth anxiously wait for relief, but only bitterness awaits them as the Lord ’s judgment reaches even to the gates of Jerusalem. Harness your chariot horses and flee, you people of Lachish. You were the first city in Judah to follow Israel in her rebellion, and you led Jerusalem into sin. Send farewell gifts to Moresheth-gath ; there is no hope of saving it. The town of Aczib has deceived the kings of Israel. O people of Mareshah, I will bring a conqueror to capture your town. And the leaders of Israel will go to Adullam. Oh, people of Judah, shave your heads in sorrow, for the children you love will be snatched away. Make yourselves as bald as a vulture, for your little ones will be exiled to distant lands.’

Micah 1

Today’s reading as we move into the New Testament starts with Matthew 13 learning about the hearts of people and our need to work on their hearts so that when their hearts are ready they will be able to receive the seed which is the Word of God and the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ…

‘Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?” He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.’

Matthew 13:1-17

and continues into Romans 10 where we need to share the seed of God as God is sending us out into the world. Without our obedience to share the Good News how will they hear it? Without them hearing how will they be able to have faith? We need to do our part.

‘For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands. But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “ Lord , who has believed our message?” So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. But I ask, have the people of Israel actually heard the message? Yes, they have: “The message has gone throughout the earth, and the words to all the world.” But I ask, did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, for even in the time of Moses, God said, “I will rouse your jealousy through people who are not even a nation. I will provoke your anger through the foolish Gentiles.” And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying, “I was found by people who were not looking for me. I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.” But regarding Israel, God said, “All day long I opened my arms to them, but they were disobedient and rebellious.”

Romans 10:5-21

As we bring today’s reading to a conclusion with Psalms 120, let’s take hold of the lesson God is giving us and try to take hold of it and put it into application in and through our lives today. Let’s take what we read and put it into our hearts and minds to help us shine for God and point people back to Him so that in and through it all He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

‘I took my troubles to the Lord ; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer. Rescue me, O Lord , from liars and from all deceitful people. O deceptive tongue, what will God do to you? How will he increase your punishment? You will be pierced with sharp arrows and burned with glowing coals. How I suffer in far-off Meshech. It pains me to live in distant Kedar. I am tired of living among people who hate peace. I search for peace; but when I speak of peace, they want war!’

Psalms 120

Does everything have a place? Do you have a place for everything?


Do you see what is coming? Are you getting ready? Are you preparing so that you will have a place? Are you preparing so you know where everything goes? Do you have an inventory? Do you have an inventory of the things you have? Do you have an inventory of the things being done? Do you have an inventory of things that are being ignored, deprioritized, avoided, need to get done? How are you keeping track? How are you getting prepared? How will you receive the change? How will you make sure that everything gets done in a way that will glorify God? Do you know how to distinguish between the yes, the no, and the delegate-able?

How will you make sure that everything has a place? How will you make sure that you have a place for everything? How will you make sure that as you do everything as unto the Lord that He receives the praise, the honor, and the glory?


Today’s reading gets us started in Numbers 8.

‘The Lord said to Moses, “Give Aaron the following instructions: When you set up the seven lamps in the lampstand, place them so their light shines forward in front of the lampstand.” So Aaron did this. He set up the seven lamps so they reflected their light forward, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. The entire lampstand, from its base to its decorative blossoms, was made of beaten gold. It was built according to the exact design the Lord had shown Moses.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now set the Levites apart from the rest of the people of Israel and make them ceremonially clean. Do this by sprinkling them with the water of purification, and have them shave their entire body and wash their clothing. Then they will be ceremonially clean. Have them bring a young bull and a grain offering of choice flour moistened with olive oil, along with a second young bull for a sin offering. Then assemble the whole community of Israel, and present the Levites at the entrance of the Tabernacle. When you present the Levites before the Lord , the people of Israel must lay their hands on them. Raising his hands, Aaron must then present the Levites to the Lord as a special offering from the people of Israel, thus dedicating them to the Lord ’s service. “Next the Levites will lay their hands on the heads of the young bulls. Present one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering to the Lord , to purify the Levites and make them right with the Lord . Then have the Levites stand in front of Aaron and his sons, and raise your hands and present them as a special offering to the Lord . In this way, you will set the Levites apart from the rest of the people of Israel, and the Levites will belong to me. After this, they may go into the Tabernacle to do their work, because you have purified them and presented them as a special offering. “Of all the people of Israel, the Levites are reserved for me. I have claimed them for myself in place of all the firstborn sons of the Israelites; I have taken the Levites as their substitutes. For all the firstborn males among the people of Israel are mine, both of people and of animals. I set them apart for myself on the day I struck down all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians. Yes, I have claimed the Levites in place of all the firstborn sons of Israel. And of all the Israelites, I have assigned the Levites to Aaron and his sons. They will serve in the Tabernacle on behalf of the Israelites and make sacrifices to purify the people so no plague will strike them when they approach the sanctuary.” So Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel dedicated the Levites, carefully following all the Lord ’s instructions to Moses. The Levites purified themselves from sin and washed their clothes, and Aaron lifted them up and presented them to the Lord as a special offering. He then offered a sacrifice to purify them and make them right with the Lord . After that the Levites went into the Tabernacle to perform their duties, assisting Aaron and his sons. So they carried out all the commands that the Lord gave Moses concerning the Levites. The Lord also instructed Moses, “This is the rule the Levites must follow: They must begin serving in the Tabernacle at the age of twenty-five, and they must retire at the age of fifty. After retirement they may assist their fellow Levites by serving as guards at the Tabernacle, but they may not officiate in the service. This is how you must assign duties to the Levites.”’

Numbers 8

Today’s reading continues into Numbers 9.

‘A year after Israel’s departure from Egypt, the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai. In the first month of that year he said, “Tell the Israelites to celebrate the Passover at the prescribed time, at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. Be sure to follow all my decrees and regulations concerning this celebration.” So Moses told the people to celebrate the Passover in the wilderness of Sinai as twilight fell on the fourteenth day of the month. And they celebrated the festival there, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. But some of the men had been ceremonially defiled by touching a dead body, so they could not celebrate the Passover that day. They came to Moses and Aaron that day and said, “We have become ceremonially unclean by touching a dead body. But why should we be prevented from presenting the Lord ’s offering at the proper time with the rest of the Israelites?” Moses answered, “Wait here until I have received instructions for you from the Lord .” This was the Lord ’s reply to Moses. “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people now or in future generations are ceremonially unclean at Passover time because of touching a dead body, or if they are on a journey and cannot be present at the ceremony, they may still celebrate the Lord ’s Passover. They must offer the Passover sacrifice one month later, at twilight on the fourteenth day of the second month. They must eat the Passover lamb at that time with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast. They must not leave any of the lamb until the next morning, and they must not break any of its bones. They must follow all the normal regulations concerning the Passover. “But those who neglect to celebrate the Passover at the regular time, even though they are ceremonially clean and not away on a trip, will be cut off from the community of Israel. If they fail to present the Lord ’s offering at the proper time, they will suffer the consequences of their guilt. And if foreigners living among you want to celebrate the Passover to the Lord , they must follow these same decrees and regulations. The same laws apply both to native-born Israelites and to the foreigners living among you.” On the day the Tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered it. But from evening until morning the cloud over the Tabernacle looked like a pillar of fire. This was the regular pattern—at night the cloud that covered the Tabernacle had the appearance of fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel would break camp and follow it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel would set up camp. In this way, they traveled and camped at the Lord ’s command wherever he told them to go. Then they remained in their camp as long as the cloud stayed over the Tabernacle. If the cloud remained over the Tabernacle for a long time, the Israelites stayed and performed their duty to the Lord . Sometimes the cloud would stay over the Tabernacle for only a few days, so the people would stay for only a few days, as the Lord commanded. Then at the Lord ’s command they would break camp and move on. Sometimes the cloud stayed only overnight and lifted the next morning. But day or night, when the cloud lifted, the people broke camp and moved on. Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on. So they camped or traveled at the Lord ’s command, and they did whatever the Lord told them through Moses.’

Numbers 9

Today’s reading takes us into the wisdom from Solomon with Ecclesiastes 7

‘A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume. And the day you die is better than the day you are born. Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies— so the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time. Better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool. A fool’s laughter is quickly gone, like thorns crackling in a fire. This also is meaningless. Extortion turns wise people into fools, and bribes corrupt the heart. Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride. Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise. Wisdom is even better when you have money. Both are a benefit as you go through life. Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life. Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked? Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.

I have seen everything in this meaningless life, including the death of good young people and the long life of wicked people. So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself? On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time? Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes. One wise person is stronger than ten leading citizens of a town! Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins. Don’t eavesdrop on others—you may hear your servant curse you. For you know how often you yourself have cursed others. I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, “I am determined to be wise.” But it didn’t work. Wisdom is always distant and difficult to find. I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things. I was determined to prove to myself that wickedness is stupid and that foolishness is madness. I discovered that a seductive woman is a trap more bitter than death. Her passion is a snare, and her soft hands are chains. Those who are pleasing to God will escape her, but sinners will be caught in her snare. “This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I discovered this after looking at the matter from every possible angle. Though I have searched repeatedly, I have not found what I was looking for. Only one out of a thousand men is virtuous, but not one woman! But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.”’

Ecclesiastes 7

and continues into Ecclesiastes 8

‘How wonderful to be wise, to analyze and interpret things. Wisdom lights up a person’s face, softening its harshness.

Obey the king since you vowed to God that you would. Don’t try to avoid doing your duty, and don’t stand with those who plot evil, for the king can do whatever he wants. His command is backed by great power. No one can resist or question it. Those who obey him will not be punished. Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right, for there is a time and a way for everything, even when a person is in trouble. Indeed, how can people avoid what they don’t know is going to happen? None of us can hold back our spirit from departing. None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle. And in the face of death, wickedness will certainly not rescue the wicked.

I have thought deeply about all that goes on here under the sun, where people have the power to hurt each other. I have seen wicked people buried with honor. Yet they were the very ones who frequented the Temple and are now praised in the same city where they committed their crimes! This, too, is meaningless. When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong. But even though a person sins a hundred times and still lives a long time, I know that those who fear God will be better off. The wicked will not prosper, for they do not fear God. Their days will never grow long like the evening shadows. And this is not all that is meaningless in our world. In this life, good people are often treated as though they were wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good. This is so meaningless! So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun. In my search for wisdom and in my observation of people’s burdens here on earth, I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim.’

Ecclesiastes 8

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting in Matthew 2

‘Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’ ” Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!” After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”’

Matthew 2:1-15

and then continues into 2 Corinthians 12

‘You have made me act like a fool. You ought to be writing commendations for me, for I am not at all inferior to these “super apostles,” even though I am nothing at all. When I was with you, I certainly gave you proof that I am an apostle. For I patiently did many signs and wonders and miracles among you. The only thing I failed to do, which I do in the other churches, was to become a financial burden to you. Please forgive me for this wrong! Now I am coming to you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you. I don’t want what you have—I want you. After all, children don’t provide for their parents. Rather, parents provide for their children. I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me. Some of you admit I was not a burden to you. But others still think I was sneaky and took advantage of you by trickery. But how? Did any of the men I sent to you take advantage of you? When I urged Titus to visit you and sent our other brother with him, did Titus take advantage of you? No! For we have the same spirit and walk in each other’s steps, doing things the same way. Perhaps you think we’re saying these things just to defend ourselves. No, we tell you this as Christ’s servants, and with God as our witness. Everything we do, dear friends, is to strengthen you. For I am afraid that when I come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior. Yes, I am afraid that when I come again, God will humble me in your presence. And I will be grieved because many of you have not given up your old sins. You have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.’

2 Corinthians 12:11-21

As we consider today’s reading from God’s Word. As we consider this day we are entering into. As we consider where everything goes. As we consider what places are available or potential options. Let’s us stop and seek God’s wisdom and will so that we won’t be doing it willy-nilly but instead with a plan and a purpose, just like God created us with a plan and a purpose. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to bring a peace that surpasses all understanding. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us while comforting and strengthening us through the process.

Today’s reading concludes with a psalm from Psalms 101.

‘I will sing of your love and justice, Lord . I will praise you with songs. I will be careful to live a blameless life— when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them. I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil. I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. I will not endure conceit and pride. I will search for faithful people to be my companions. Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me. I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house, and liars will not stay in my presence. My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked and free the city of the Lord from their grip.’

Psalms 101

Will you stand up for something or fall for anything?


What is your response to someone being mistreated? What is your response to someone disrespecting or abusing a lady? What is your response to someone disrespecting or abusing a child? What is your response to someone disrespecting or abusing anyone? Do you say something? Do you do something? Do you avoid it? Do you stand up for what is right? Do you stand up for what is just? What is your response? Standing up for something? Falling for anything? Sitting on the sideline and being apathetic?

Today’s reading starts in Genesis 34.

‘One day Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, went to visit some of the young women who lived in the area. But when the local prince, Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, saw Dinah, he seized her and raped her. But then he fell in love with her, and he tried to win her affection with tender words. He said to his father, Hamor, “Get me this young girl. I want to marry her.” Soon Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled his daughter, Dinah. But since his sons were out in the fields herding his livestock, he said nothing until they returned. Hamor, Shechem’s father, came to discuss the matter with Jacob. Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons had come in from the field as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious that their sister had been raped. Shechem had done a disgraceful thing against Jacob’s family, something that should never be done. Hamor tried to speak with Jacob and his sons. “My son Shechem is truly in love with your daughter,” he said. “Please let him marry her. In fact, let’s arrange other marriages, too. You give us your daughters for our sons, and we will give you our daughters for your sons. And you may live among us; the land is open to you! Settle here and trade with us. And feel free to buy property in the area.” Then Shechem himself spoke to Dinah’s father and brothers. “Please be kind to me, and let me marry her,” he begged. “I will give you whatever you ask. No matter what dowry or gift you demand, I will gladly pay it—just give me the girl as my wife.” But since Shechem had defiled their sister, Dinah, Jacob’s sons responded deceitfully to Shechem and his father, Hamor. They said to them, “We couldn’t possibly allow this, because you’re not circumcised. It would be a disgrace for our sister to marry a man like you! But here is a solution. If every man among you will be circumcised like we are, then we will give you our daughters, and we’ll take your daughters for ourselves. We will live among you and become one people. But if you don’t agree to be circumcised, we will take her and be on our way.” Hamor and his son Shechem agreed to their proposal. Shechem wasted no time in acting on this request, for he wanted Jacob’s daughter desperately. Shechem was a highly respected member of his family, and he went with his father, Hamor, to present this proposal to the leaders at the town gate. “These men are our friends,” they said. “Let’s invite them to live here among us and trade freely. Look, the land is large enough to hold them. We can take their daughters as wives and let them marry ours. But they will consider staying here and becoming one people with us only if all of our men are circumcised, just as they are. But if we do this, all their livestock and possessions will eventually be ours. Come, let’s agree to their terms and let them settle here among us.” So all the men in the town council agreed with Hamor and Shechem, and every male in the town was circumcised. But three days later, when their wounds were still sore, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, who were Dinah’s full brothers, took their swords and entered the town without opposition. Then they slaughtered every male there, including Hamor and his son Shechem. They killed them with their swords, then took Dinah from Shechem’s house and returned to their camp. Meanwhile, the rest of Jacob’s sons arrived. Finding the men slaughtered, they plundered the town because their sister had been defiled there. They seized all the flocks and herds and donkeys—everything they could lay their hands on, both inside the town and outside in the fields. They looted all their wealth and plundered their houses. They also took all their little children and wives and led them away as captives. Afterward Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have ruined me! You’ve made me stink among all the people of this land—among all the Canaanites and Perizzites. We are so few that they will join forces and crush us. I will be ruined, and my entire household will be wiped out!” “But why should we let him treat our sister like a prostitute?” they retorted angrily.’

Genesis 34

And continues to Genesis 35. Will you stand for what is right and do what God asks of you? Will you receive His wisdom and instruction and be bold and courageous to go and do it?

‘Then God said to Jacob, “Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau.” So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing. We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.” So they gave Jacob all their pagan idols and earrings, and he buried them under the great tree near Shechem. As they set out, a terror from God spread over the people in all the towns of that area, so no one attacked Jacob’s family. Eventually, Jacob and his household arrived at Luz (also called Bethel) in Canaan. Jacob built an altar there and named the place El-bethel (which means “God of Bethel”), because God had appeared to him there when he was fleeing from his brother, Esau. Soon after this, Rebekah’s old nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried beneath the oak tree in the valley below Bethel. Ever since, the tree has been called Allon-bacuth (which means “oak of weeping”). Now that Jacob had returned from Paddan-aram, God appeared to him again at Bethel. God blessed him, saying, “Your name is Jacob, but you will not be called Jacob any longer. From now on your name will be Israel.” So God renamed him Israel. Then God said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Be fruitful and multiply. You will become a great nation, even many nations. Kings will be among your descendants! And I will give you the land I once gave to Abraham and Isaac. Yes, I will give it to you and your descendants after you.” Then God went up from the place where he had spoken to Jacob. Jacob set up a stone pillar to mark the place where God had spoken to him. Then he poured wine over it as an offering to God and anointed the pillar with olive oil. And Jacob named the place Bethel (which means “house of God”), because God had spoken to him there.

Leaving Bethel, Jacob and his clan moved on toward Ephrath. But Rachel went into labor while they were still some distance away. Her labor pains were intense. After a very hard delivery, the midwife finally exclaimed, “Don’t be afraid—you have another son!” Rachel was about to die, but with her last breath she named the baby Ben-oni (which means “son of my sorrow”). The baby’s father, however, called him Benjamin (which means “son of my right hand”). So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Jacob set up a stone monument over Rachel’s grave, and it can be seen there to this day. Then Jacob traveled on and camped beyond Migdal-eder. While he was living there, Reuben had intercourse with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, and Jacob soon heard about it. These are the names of the twelve sons of Jacob: The sons of Leah were Reuben (Jacob’s oldest son), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. The sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin. The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, were Dan and Naphtali. The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s servant, were Gad and Asher. These are the names of the sons who were born to Jacob at Paddan-aram. So Jacob returned to his father, Isaac, in Mamre, which is near Kiriath-arba (now called Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had both lived as foreigners. Isaac lived for 180 years. Then he breathed his last and died at a ripe old age, joining his ancestors in death. And his sons, Esau and Jacob, buried him.’

Genesis 35

What if you were given the privilege to do something for God? What it is was prepared in advance for you to do? Let’s take hold of God’s purpose and plan and do the good works He has prepared in advance for us to accomplish.

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 3, 4, and into 5.

‘So Solomon began to build the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to David, his father. The Temple was built on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the site that David had selected. The construction began in midspring, during the fourth year of Solomon’s reign. These are the dimensions Solomon used for the foundation of the Temple of God (using the old standard of measurement). It was 90 feet long and 30 feet wide. The entry room at the front of the Temple was 30 feet wide, running across the entire width of the Temple, and 30 feet high. He overlaid the inside with pure gold. He paneled the main room of the Temple with cypress wood, overlaid it with fine gold, and decorated it with carvings of palm trees and chains. He decorated the walls of the Temple with beautiful jewels and with gold from the land of Parvaim. He overlaid the beams, thresholds, walls, and doors throughout the Temple with gold, and he carved figures of cherubim on the walls. He made the Most Holy Place 30 feet wide, corresponding to the width of the Temple, and 30 feet deep. He overlaid its interior with 23 tons of fine gold. The gold nails that were used weighed 20 ounces each. He also overlaid the walls of the upper rooms with gold. He made two figures shaped like cherubim, overlaid them with gold, and placed them in the Most Holy Place. The total wingspan of the two cherubim standing side by side was 30 feet. One wing of the first figure was 7 1 / 2 feet long, and it touched the Temple wall. The other wing, also 7 1 / 2 feet long, touched one of the wings of the second figure. In the same way, the second figure had one wing 7 1 / 2 feet long that touched the opposite wall. The other wing, also 7 1 / 2 feet long, touched the wing of the first figure. So the wingspan of the two cherubim side by side was 30 feet. They stood on their feet and faced out toward the main room of the Temple. Across the entrance of the Most Holy Place he hung a curtain made of fine linen, decorated with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and embroidered with figures of cherubim. For the front of the Temple, he made two pillars that were 27 feet tall, each topped by a capital extending upward another 7 1 / 2 feet. He made a network of interwoven chains and used them to decorate the tops of the pillars. He also made 100 decorative pomegranates and attached them to the chains. Then he set up the two pillars at the entrance of the Temple, one to the south of the entrance and the other to the north. He named the one on the south Jakin, and the one on the north Boaz.’

2 Chronicles 3

continuing into 2 Chronicles 4.

‘Solomon also made a bronze altar 30 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 15 feet high. Then he cast a great round basin, 15 feet across from rim to rim, called the Sea. It was 7 1 / 2 feet deep and about 45 feet in circumference. It was encircled just below its rim by two rows of figures that resembled oxen. There were about six oxen per foot all the way around, and they were cast as part of the basin. The Sea was placed on a base of twelve bronze oxen, all facing outward. Three faced north, three faced west, three faced south, and three faced east, and the Sea rested on them. The walls of the Sea were about three inches thick, and its rim flared out like a cup and resembled a water lily blossom. It could hold about 16,500 gallons of water. He also made ten smaller basins for washing the utensils for the burnt offerings. He set five on the south side and five on the north. But the priests washed themselves in the Sea. He then cast ten gold lampstands according to the specifications that had been given, and he put them in the Temple. Five were placed against the south wall, and five were placed against the north wall. He also built ten tables and placed them in the Temple, five along the south wall and five along the north wall. Then he molded 100 gold basins. He then built a courtyard for the priests, and also the large outer courtyard. He made doors for the courtyard entrances and overlaid them with bronze. The great bronze basin called the Sea was placed near the southeast corner of the Temple. Huram-abi also made the necessary washbasins, shovels, and bowls. So at last Huram-abi completed everything King Solomon had assigned him to make for the Temple of God: the two pillars; the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars; the two networks of interwoven chains that decorated the capitals; the 400 pomegranates that hung from the chains on the capitals (two rows of pomegranates for each of the chain networks that decorated the capitals on top of the pillars); the water carts holding the basins; the Sea and the twelve oxen under it; the ash buckets, the shovels, the meat hooks, and all the related articles. Huram-abi made all these things of burnished bronze for the Temple of the Lord , just as King Solomon had directed. The king had them cast in clay molds in the Jordan Valley between Succoth and Zarethan. Solomon used such great quantities of bronze that its weight could not be determined. Solomon also made all the furnishings for the Temple of God: the gold altar; the tables for the Bread of the Presence; the lampstands and their lamps of solid gold, to burn in front of the Most Holy Place as prescribed; the flower decorations, lamps, and tongs—all of the purest gold; the lamp snuffers, bowls, ladles, and incense burners—all of solid gold; the doors for the entrances to the Most Holy Place and the main room of the Temple, overlaid with gold.’

2 Chronicles 4

Will you be faithful to complete the good works God has prepared in advance for you to accomplish?

We close our reading from the Old Testament in 2 Chronicles 5.

‘So Solomon finished all his work on the Temple of the Lord . Then he brought all the gifts his father, David, had dedicated—the silver, the gold, and the various articles—and he stored them in the treasuries of the Temple of God.’

2 Chronicles 5:1

Our reading now takes us into the New Testament, starting with John 8.

‘The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?” “No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father—and you dishonor me. And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge. I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!” The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’ Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’ but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him. Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham? ” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am !” At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.’

John 8:48-59

Who will you believe? Who will you trust? And as such how will you behave? How will you choose to respond? Will you do the good works God has prepared in advance for you to accomplish?

Today’s reading continues into Galatians 6.

‘Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them. Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.’

Galatians 6:1-10

You are responsible for your conduct so don’t fall into temptation of others. You are responsible for your conduct so respond to the prompting and guiding of the Holy Spirit. Be bold and courageous to do good to everyone. Let your light shine that others will see it and praise our Father in heaven. Let’s live out our todays in Jesus’s name so that God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory.

Let’s close in meditation of today’s psalm – Psalms 24.

‘The earth is the Lord ’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths. Who may climb the mountain of the Lord ? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord ’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior. Such people may seek you and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob. Interlude Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord , strong and mighty; the Lord , invincible in battle. Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Heaven’s Armies— he is the King of glory. Interlude’

Psalms 24

Do you want to know? Do you get it?


So what is the most important reading you do? How important is it that you understand it? How important is it that you believe it? How important is it that you know it? How important is it that you apply it?

For me it is the Bible. It is the way I start my day to hear from God and get filled up for the day. It amazes me how applicable and real it is into my every day, my today. It’s so amazing that I have had others from my workplaces wonder how I pick my reading since it is so applicable to what my life is going through. What’s even more incredible is that I don’t pick my daily readings, I just pick the devotional for the year and it selects which reading will be for each day. God is good and He knows what you will need! God doesn’t get surprised and so He is able to speak into your very situation. His Word never returns void! His Word speaks truth in love! His Word is a love letter to us!

Not sure about trying to make it all the way through the Bible in a year? Why not start in the New Testament? Why not start in one of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John)? Why not start small so that you can do more than read and understand and believe? The new year has just begun and I am getting towards the end of my current 365 day reading with today being from day 351 (with 2 days missed that I will do at the end to finish it up completely). So don’t lose hope or stop because you miss a day! You can choose to either continue from where you are or depending on your devotional, you can stick with whatever day you are at and go back later. Every year, I also choose which translation to read through (NIV, NLT, NKJV, KJV, …) and this year I have chosen to use NLT). A great resource for Bible reading plans is bible.com where you can pick from topical studies, versions that will read to you, versions where you can listen and watch, chronological, new to the faith, work related, leadership related, even versions for kids, walk through the Bible, and so many more types. Why not find one that seems interesting to you at https://www.bible.com/reading-plans and get started?

This is the day that the Lord has made, don’t you want to hear about what He has to say?


How to Read and Understand the Bible

Day 351: Bible In One Year 2018

Helpers in reading the Bible:

  • The Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:2–16)
  • The Church (Ephesians 3:18) – the church isn’t the building but a body of believers
  • Reason through your own mind (Romans 14:5) – we need to be more than just convinced, we need to be fully convinced in our own minds.

Guides and questions to interpreting the Bible: (we need to let the Bible interpret the Bible)

  • What does it actually say? [We need to remember that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic, whereas, the New Testament was written in Greek.]
  • What does it mean? [We need to understand the type of writing and the author]
    • What sort of literature is it? Is it historical writing? Poetry? Prophecy? Apocalyptic? Law? Wisdom? Gospel?
    • Who wrote it? Who read it or was the recipient of it?
    • Consider the coming of Jesus and how it relates to the Old Testament and how it connected with the people at the time of His life… (John 5:39–40)
  • How does this apply to my life? [Not only how does it but how can I apply it]
    • We need to take it from the intellectual exercise to the practical application

So, how can we read and understand the Bible?

  1. Be real with God … Psalms 144:9-15 (poetry)
  2. Make a difference by your prayers … Revelation 8, Revelation 9:1-12 (apocalyptic)
  3. Fulfill God’s purpose for your lifeEzra 1, Ezra 2:1-67 (history)

Today’s devotional Day 351: Bible In One Year 2018 provides some insight into the reading too while at the same time allowing you to read through God’s Word. Using a devotional can help getting started by having a plan to follow. Using a devotional can help getting into the Word of God by selecting a topic that is very relevant to you today which can be a 3 day, 5 day 7 day, etc. to help you get kicked started without having the pressure of reading all the Bible. So if you haven’t started making reading God’s Word a part of your daily schedule and giving Him priority into your life, why not get started today.  If you are reading this then you know how you found it and so you know how to find me and contact me if you want to chat. Be it social networks or just this blog via comments, you can connect with me. Or if you happen to be someone closer who knows me don’t hesitate to approach me and let’s chat.

You got to have faith!


Faith is…

confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

–from Hebrews 11:1

Are you satisfied? Do you realize that faith is the road to real satisfaction? Until you get it you can’t find something or the right thing or the new thing or the next thing that will complete you. Can you be satisfied? Do you know what it would or will take?

15A quarrelsome wife is as annoying
as constant dripping on a rainy day.
16Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind
or trying to hold something with greased hands.

17As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.

18As workers who tend a fig tree are allowed to eat the fruit,
so workers who protect their employer’s interests will be rewarded.

19As a face is reflected in water,
so the heart reflects the real person.

20Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied,
so human desire is never satisfied.

21Fire tests the purity of silver and gold,
but a person is tested by being praised.

22You cannot separate fools from their foolishness,
even though you grind them like grain with mortar and pestle.

–from Proverbs 27:15-22

Do you take hold of the truth that will set you free? Have you begun your journey with Jesus who came to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way? Put another way…

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. –from John 10:10

He will fill us up! He will satisfy! He fills that hole in our hearts that nothing else in the world is able to fill and that without Him would keep us search and seeking and trying to find something to fill it that isn’t as good or beneficial.

Don’t allow your head to swell by the complements of others! Stay grounded and connected to Jesus! What the world sees is Jesus in you and so give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory rather than allowing pride to get in the way! Have you ever heard that the greatest trial we face is success? Can you pass the success test?

The same way we need to realize that God is the owner of everything and that we need to be good stewards of everything He gives us! It’s about glorifying God in all the things that we do!

So let’s pass on the glory to God! Every good and perfect gift comes from God! He is preparing in advance the good work He has for us to do!

So will you trust God? Will you trust Him no matter what? Will you have faith that His Words are true? Will you have faith that God is love? Will you have faith that God will take what the devil planned for evil and turn it around use it for good? Will you have faith to stand firm on His commandments and His promises?

Will you let your life be built on the strong foundation which is Jesus Christ? Will you align your life to Jesus who is the cornerstone? Will you trust Him even when you can’t see what is coming? When I think back almost 5 years now and how God was calling me to move on from my earlier career, I had a reading in Feb that spoke of Peter in the boat and Jesus allowing Him out and the opportunity to walk on water. I remember on my way to work asking God if my workplace was the boat if I was to get out and if I was which side. I fairly quickly got a tweet saying to get out of the boat but He didn’t tell me what side. How would you respond? What would your faith make you do? For me that night I went home, updated my LinkedIn profile and my resume in preparation for what was about to happen. Didn’t know where I was going. Didn’t know what I would be doing. But started knocking on doors by applying for various roles on various companies, even companies I didn’t think I would want to work for but didn’t want to limit God’s options. Till one day in April when it all became clear, great interview, great meetings, and confirmation from God that it was the one and so I stepped out in early May to start my new career and praising God because I know it was Him!

It was a process that faith walked me through in order for me to know where and when and I had to trust Him in and through it all! He trained me through all the interviews! He helped me to see what I wanted and didn’t want! He helped me to know who I was and where I am best suited and set to fit! My faith lead me to understand and lean on Him more so that I would make the right choice for that time.

Today’s devotional has a very interesting way of describing this too…

‘By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible’ (v.3). St Augustine pointed out, ‘Faith is the first step to understanding; understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.’

–from Day 316: Bible In One Year 2017

When I was asking the message seemed so personal compared to other times I had read it and so had to ask God about it. My faith in Him was made me want to please Him! My faith in Him made me want to do whatever it was He had for me next. My faith in Him allowed me to step up and step out from the normal, the comfortable, the regular, the routine and out into something new that He had prepared in advance for me to do! He has a plan! His plan is good! So take time to listen and hear what He has to say! Then listen to the words and walk out in faith what He calls you to do!

Today’s devotional speaks to it this way…

What does this faith look like in practice?

Faith leads to understanding

‘By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible’ (v.3). St Augustine pointed out, ‘Faith is the first step to understanding; understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.’

Faith pleases God

Enoch pleased God. As a result, he ‘skipped death completely’ (v.5, MSG). The writer goes on to explain, ‘It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him’ (v.6, MSG).

Faith leads to intimacy with God

‘By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told… As a result, Noah became intimate with God’ (v.7, MSG).

Faith means saying ‘Yes’ to God

‘By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going’ (v.8, MSG). True faith commits us to obedience.

Abraham left Ur of the Chaldeans at the height of its prosperity (2006–1950 BC). He heard God’s call and ‘obeyed and went’ (v.8). He did not ‘know where he was going’ (v.8). But he knew with whom he was going. His faith brought blessing to him, his family, his nation and to you and me.

He trusted God even when the evidence pointed in the opposite direction. Abraham’s one great disappointment was that his wife couldn’t have children to continue the long family line (Genesis 11). We read that Abraham’s family was ‘as good as dead’ (Hebrews 11:12).

Abraham believed God (see Romans 4). It was not that he never had any doubts. In fact, he got fed up with waiting and had an affair with his maid. Thankfully, God does not judge us on the basis of our lapses, failures or mess-ups. He saw their settled attitude of faith (Romans 4:3,18).

Faith sees beyond this life

Abraham took a long-term view. We live in an ‘instant’ culture. Everything is about instant satisfaction. Abraham was in it for the long haul. He was ‘a stranger in a foreign country’ (v.9). He lived in tents. Yet he knew where God had called him.

He did not look back to what he had left behind through his step of faith. Rather, ‘he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God’ (v.10).

Abel’s faith also had a lasting impact: ’… by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead’ (v.4).

 

The writer concludes: ‘Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing… You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them’ (vv.13,16, MSG).

–from Day 316: Bible In One Year 2017

Today’s Word from God puts it this way…

1Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. 2Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
3By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
4It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.
5It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. 6And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
7It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.
8It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. 9And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. 10Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.
11It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. 12And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.
13All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

–from Hebrews 11:1-16

God is faithful! His Word is true! So let’s allow faith to build up in our too so that we can be so full of faith in God that we will be faithful to God! It’s about a life long relationship with God! It’s not temporary but God wants to have a relationship that will last throughout eternity with us! So don’t give up! Don’t walk away! Stick with it! Stick with Him! Allow Him to complete the work in you that He has already begun!

In this world we will have troubles but we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! We can fight back against hatred and fear with love and compassion! Just because others are denying or walking away doesn’t mean you have to follow them but rather that your faith can shine even brighter to speak truth, love, and hope into their lives! Let’s draw closer to God and in faith trust in Him even when the people around us are drawn into sin and start to feel even more empty and then become even more extreme. We are to be salt and light! We are to be a light on a hill that isn’t to be hidden! We are to draw people and point them to God! Let’s be faithful to God that others may see it and praise our Father in heaven! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s take on the position of interceding for the people God has brought into our lives just like how Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and me! Let’s stand in the gap! Prayer makes a difference! Worry changes nothing! So be anxious for nothing and pray about everything for prayer changes everything!

So are you feeling that void? Are you looking for something to fill it? Diligently seek God! Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness!

So you really want to be satisfied? Let’s take hold together of these concluding lines from today’s devotional…

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Trust in him. Abide in him. Serve him with all your heart. Live a life of faith. Stay faithful to him and pray faithfully for others. This is the way of true satisfaction. Faith pleases God.

–from Day 316: Bible In One Year 2017

Today’s reading from God’s Word closes with the following:

23Again a message came to me from the Lord: 24“Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: In the day of my indignation, you will be like a polluted land, a land without rain. 25Your princes plot conspiracies just as lions stalk their prey. They devour innocent people, seizing treasures and extorting wealth. They make many widows in the land. 26Your priests have violated my instructions and defiled my holy things. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. And they do not teach my people the difference between what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They disregard my Sabbath days so that I am dishonored among them. 27Your leaders are like wolves who tear apart their victims. They actually destroy people’s lives for money! 28And your prophets cover up for them by announcing false visions and making lying predictions. They say, ‘My message is from the Sovereign Lord,’ when the Lord hasn’t spoken a single word to them. 29Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice.
30“I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. 31So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

–from Ezekiel 22:23-31

The Adultery of Two Sisters

1This message came to me from the Lord: 2“Son of man, once there were two sisters who were daughters of the same mother. 3They became prostitutes in Egypt. Even as young girls, they allowed men to fondle their breasts. 4The older girl was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. I married them, and they bore me sons and daughters. I am speaking of Samaria and Jerusalem, for Oholah is Samaria and Oholibah is Jerusalem.
5“Then Oholah lusted after other lovers instead of me, and she gave her love to the Assyrian officers. 6They were all attractive young men, captains and commanders dressed in handsome blue, charioteers driving their horses. 7And so she prostituted herself with the most desirable men of Assyria, worshiping their idols and defiling herself. 8For when she left Egypt, she did not leave her spirit of prostitution behind. She was still as lewd as in her youth, when the Egyptians slept with her, fondled her breasts, and used her as a prostitute.
9“And so I handed her over to her Assyrian lovers, whom she desired so much. 10They stripped her, took away her children as their slaves, and then killed her. After she received her punishment, her reputation was known to every woman in the land.
11“Yet even though Oholibah saw what had happened to Oholah, her sister, she followed right in her footsteps. And she was even more depraved, abandoning herself to her lust and prostitution. 12She fawned over all the Assyrian officers—those captains and commanders in handsome uniforms, those charioteers driving their horses—all of them attractive young men. 13I saw the way she was going, defiling herself just like her older sister.
14“Then she carried her prostitution even further. She fell in love with pictures that were painted on a wall—pictures of Babylonian military officers, outfitted in striking red uniforms. 15Handsome belts encircled their waists, and flowing turbans crowned their heads. They were dressed like chariot officers from the land of Babylonia. 16When she saw these paintings, she longed to give herself to them, so she sent messengers to Babylonia to invite them to come to her. 17So they came and committed adultery with her, defiling her in the bed of love. After being defiled, however, she rejected them in disgust.
18“In the same way, I became disgusted with Oholibah and rejected her, just as I had rejected her sister, because she flaunted herself before them and gave herself to satisfy their lusts. 19Yet she turned to even greater prostitution, remembering her youth when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20She lusted after lovers with genitals as large as a donkey’s and emissions like those of a horse. 21And so, Oholibah, you relived your former days as a young girl in Egypt, when you first allowed your breasts to be fondled.

The Lord’s Judgment of Oholibah

22“Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will send your lovers against you from every direction—those very nations from which you turned away in disgust. 23For the Babylonians will come with all the Chaldeans from Pekod and Shoa and Koa. And all the Assyrians will come with them—handsome young captains, commanders, chariot officers, and other high-ranking officers, all riding their horses. 24They will all come against you from the north with chariots, wagons, and a great army prepared for attack. They will take up positions on every side, surrounding you with men armed with shields and helmets. And I will hand you over to them for punishment so they can do with you as they please. 25I will turn my jealous anger against you, and they will deal harshly with you. They will cut off your nose and ears, and any survivors will then be slaughtered by the sword. Your children will be taken away as captives, and everything that is left will be burned. 26They will strip you of your beautiful clothes and jewels. 27In this way, I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you brought from Egypt. You will never again cast longing eyes on those things or fondly remember your time in Egypt.
28“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will surely hand you over to your enemies, to those you loathe, those you rejected. 29They will treat you with hatred and rob you of all you own, leaving you stark naked. The shame of your prostitution will be exposed to all the world. 30You brought all this on yourself by prostituting yourself to other nations, defiling yourself with all their idols. 31Because you have followed in your sister’s footsteps, I will force you to drink the same cup of terror she drank.
32“Yes, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“You will drink from your sister’s cup of terror,
a cup that is large and deep.
It is filled to the brim
with scorn and derision.
33Drunkenness and anguish will fill you,
for your cup is filled to the brim with distress and desolation,
the same cup your sister Samaria drank.
34You will drain that cup of terror
to the very bottom.
Then you will smash it to pieces
and beat your breast in anguish.
I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!

35“And because you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You must bear the consequences of all your lewdness and prostitution.”

The Lord’s Judgment on Both Sisters

36The Lord said to me, “Son of man, you must accuse Oholah and Oholibah of all their detestable sins. 37They have committed both adultery and murder—adultery by worshiping idols and murder by burning as sacrifices the children they bore to me. 38Furthermore, they have defiled my Temple and violated my Sabbath day! 39On the very day that they sacrificed their children to their idols, they boldly came into my Temple to worship! They came in and defiled my house.
40“You sisters sent messengers to distant lands to get men. Then when they arrived, you bathed yourselves, painted your eyelids, and put on your finest jewels for them. 41You sat with them on a beautifully embroidered couch and put my incense and my special oil on a table that was spread before you. 42From your room came the sound of many men carousing. They were lustful men and drunkards from the wilderness, who put bracelets on your wrists and beautiful crowns on your heads. 43Then I said, ‘If they really want to have sex with old worn-out prostitutes like these, let them!’ 44And that is what they did. They had sex with Oholah and Oholibah, these shameless prostitutes. 45But righteous people will judge these sister cities for what they really are—adulterers and murderers.
46“Now this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Bring an army against them and hand them over to be terrorized and plundered. 47For their enemies will stone them and kill them with swords. They will butcher their sons and daughters and burn their homes. 48In this way, I will put an end to lewdness and idolatry in the land, and my judgment will be a warning to all women not to follow your wicked example. 49You will be fully repaid for all your prostitution—your worship of idols. Yes, you will suffer the full penalty. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.”

–from Ezekiel 23

 

 

So is your goal today to do good?


If we consider what God’s Word says:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. –from Galatians 6:9

If we also consider the quote of John Wesley:

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” —John Wesley

In your mind is it good or bad to be a “do-gooder”? In your mind is it right or wrong to be a “do-gooder”? Shouldn’t we be trying to do good all the time? Shouldn’t we not be discouraged from doing good? Aren’t we told in God’s Word to not grow weary, to not tire, to never stop doing good?

So why do some use the word “do-gooder” in a negative way? Why is it even defined in a negative way?

do-good·er [ˈdo͞oˌɡo͝odər]
NOUN

a well-meaning but unrealistic or interfering philanthropist or reformer.

Why is it unrealistics to do good? How is doing good interference? Isn’t making changes to something in order to improve it a positive thing? It seems so weird and so wrong to consider doing good a negative thing, a bad thing, a wrong thing.

The way I see it, if it is in the Bible, I want it and if it isn’t in the Bible, I don’t want it!

So let’s consider Jesus’ example:

38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. –from Acts 10:38

So will you walk out today taking a stand and walking with God? So will you be like Jesus today and going around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil?

Today’s reading from God’s Word speaks to this through Paul to Titus when he says:

1Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, — from Titus 3:1

8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. –from Titus 3:8

14Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives. –from Titus 3:14

So what do you think? Is doing good something you and I should be doing? Is doing good something that we should neglect or stop doing? Is doing good something we should embrace and continue doing? So whose side are you on? Will you be with God or against God? Will you choose to do good and not grow weary when you are doing it?

Today we get a choice… We get to choose how we will respond to the situations we will find ourselves in and if we will live out lives that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name or not. We get to take hold of the truth that if God is for us, who can be against us!

Let’s walk out today with Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and discernment in order to not only see and hear the needs around us but to also do something good about it!

Choose to DO GOOD!


Do Good

Day 301: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Do good, not evil … Psalm 119:113-120
  2.  Always be ready to do good … Titus 3:1-15
  3. Stay close to the one who went around doing good … Lamentations 1:1-2:6

 

Today’s Reading: Psalm 119:113-120, Titus 3:1-15, Lamentations 1:1-2:6

113I hate those with divided loyalties,
but I love your instructions.
114You are my refuge and my shield;
your word is my source of hope.
115Get out of my life, you evil-minded people,
for I intend to obey the commands of my God.
116Lord, sustain me as you promised, that I may live!
Do not let my hope be crushed.
117Sustain me, and I will be rescued;
then I will meditate continually on your decrees.
118But you have rejected all who stray from your decrees.
They are only fooling themselves.
119You skim off the wicked of the earth like scum;
no wonder I love to obey your laws!
120I tremble in fear of you;
I stand in awe of your regulations.

— Psalm 119:113-120

 

Do What Is Good

1Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. 2They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.
3Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. 4But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.  6He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

8This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.
9Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees3:9 Or spiritual genealogies. or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time. 10If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. 11For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them.

Paul’s Final Remarks and Greetings

12I am planning to send either Artemas or Tychicus to you. As soon as one of them arrives, do your best to meet me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to stay there for the winter. 13Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos with their trip. See that they are given everything they need. 14Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive.
15Everybody here sends greetings. Please give my greetings to the believers—all who love us.
May God’s grace be with you all.

— Titus 3:1-15

 

Sorrow in Jerusalem

1Jerusalem, once so full of people,
is now deserted.
She who was once great among the nations
now sits alone like a widow.
Once the queen of all the earth,
she is now a slave.

2She sobs through the night;
tears stream down her cheeks.
Among all her lovers,
there is no one left to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her
and become her enemies.

3Judah has been led away into captivity,
oppressed with cruel slavery.
She lives among foreign nations
and has no place of rest.
Her enemies have chased her down,
and she has nowhere to turn.

4The roads to Jerusalem are in mourning,
for crowds no longer come to celebrate the festivals.
The city gates are silent,
her priests groan,
her young women are crying—
how bitter is her fate!

5Her oppressors have become her masters,
and her enemies prosper,
for the Lord has punished Jerusalem
for her many sins.
Her children have been captured
and taken away to distant lands.

6All the majesty of beautiful Jerusalem
has been stripped away.
Her princes are like starving deer
searching for pasture.
They are too weak to run
from the pursuing enemy.

7In the midst of her sadness and wandering,
Jerusalem remembers her ancient splendor.
But now she has fallen to her enemy,
and there is no one to help her.
Her enemy struck her down
and laughed as she fell.

8Jerusalem has sinned greatly,
so she has been tossed away like a filthy rag.
All who once honored her now despise her,
for they have seen her stripped naked and humiliated.
All she can do is groan
and hide her face.

9She defiled herself with immorality
and gave no thought to her future.
Now she lies in the gutter
with no one to lift her out.
“Lord, see my misery,” she cries.
“The enemy has triumphed.”

10The enemy has plundered her completely,
taking every precious thing she owns.
She has seen foreigners violate her sacred Temple,
the place the Lord had forbidden them to enter.

11Her people groan as they search for bread.
They have sold their treasures for food to stay alive.
“O Lord, look,” she mourns,
“and see how I am despised.

12“Does it mean nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Look around and see if there is any suffering like mine,
which the Lord brought on me
when he erupted in fierce anger.

13“He has sent fire from heaven that burns in my bones.
He has placed a trap in my path and turned me back.
He has left me devastated,
racked with sickness all day long.

14“He wove my sins into ropes
to hitch me to a yoke of captivity.
The Lord sapped my strength and turned me over to my enemies;
I am helpless in their hands.

15“The Lord has treated my mighty men
with contempt.
At his command a great army has come
to crush my young warriors.
The Lord has trampled his beloved city
like grapes are trampled in a winepress.

16“For all these things I weep;
tears flow down my cheeks.
No one is here to comfort me;
any who might encourage me are far away.
My children have no future,
for the enemy has conquered us.”

17Jerusalem reaches out for help,
but no one comforts her.
Regarding his people Israel,
the Lord has said,
“Let their neighbors be their enemies!
Let them be thrown away like a filthy rag!”

18“The Lord is right,” Jerusalem says,
“for I rebelled against him.
Listen, people everywhere;
look upon my anguish and despair,
for my sons and daughters
have been taken captive to distant lands.

19“I begged my allies for help,
but they betrayed me.
My priests and leaders
starved to death in the city,
even as they searched for food
to save their lives.

20“Lord, see my anguish!
My heart is broken
and my soul despairs,
for I have rebelled against you.
In the streets the sword kills,
and at home there is only death.

21“Others heard my groans,
but no one turned to comfort me.
When my enemies heard about my troubles,
they were happy to see what you had done.
Oh, bring the day you promised,
when they will suffer as I have suffered.

22“Look at all their evil deeds, Lord.
Punish them,
as you have punished me
for all my sins.
My groans are many,
and I am sick at heart.”

— Lamentations 1

1The Lord in his anger
has cast a dark shadow over beautiful Jerusalem.
The fairest of Israel’s cities lies in the dust,
thrown down from the heights of heaven.
In his day of great anger,
the Lord has shown no mercy even to his Temple.

2Without mercy the Lord has destroyed
every home in Israel.
In his anger he has broken down
the fortress walls of beautiful Jerusalem.
He has brought them to the ground,
dishonoring the kingdom and its rulers.

3All the strength of Israel
vanishes beneath his fierce anger.
The Lord has withdrawn his protection
as the enemy attacks.
He consumes the whole land of Israel
like a raging fire.

4He bends his bow against his people,
as though he were their enemy.
His strength is used against them
to kill their finest youth.
His fury is poured out like fire
on beautiful Jerusalem.

5Yes, the Lord has vanquished Israel
like an enemy.
He has destroyed her palaces
and demolished her fortresses.
He has brought unending sorrow and tears
upon beautiful Jerusalem.

6He has broken down his Temple
as though it were merely a garden shelter.
The Lord has blotted out all memory
of the holy festivals and Sabbath days.
Kings and priests fall together
before his fierce anger.

— Lamentations 2:1-6