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Showing posts from August, 2021
  Bible reading for Sept 1 -- 2 Sep 1 -- Ezekiel 4 and Psalm 40-41 Sep 2 -- Ezekiel 5 and Psalm 42-43 ================   "And you, son of man, take a brick and lay it before you, and engrave on it a city, even Jerusalem. And put siegeworks against it, and build a siege wall against it, and cast up a mound against it. Set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it all around." (Ezekiel 4:1-2) TWO SERMON ILLUSTRATIONS (ch 4-5). Most all of us have seen, at one time or another, preachers use object illustrations in the pulpit. Some may have been helpful,and others not so. Ezekiel's hearers were meeting publicly -- outdoors, since they hadn't built a synagogue yet -- and the Lord directs Ezekiel to act out these dramas. The siege drama would last over a year. Now, these illustrations were not meant to be amusing but to reinforce the deadly seriousness of what was taking place in Jerusalem. ================    "He put a new song in my mouth, a song o

bible reading aug 30-31

  Bible reading for Aug 30 -- 31 Aug 30 -- Ezekiel 2 and Psalm 38 Aug 31 -- Ezekiel 3 and Psalm 39 ================   "But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD.' He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house." (Ezekiel 3:27) A COMMISSION (ch 2). Like Isaiah before him (Isa 6), and his contemporary Jeremiah in Jerusalem, Ezekiel is called to be God's prophet. Like the Apostle John (Rev 1:17) he is overwhelmed by the glory of God. The term "son of man" (v 1, 3, 6, 8)  means a human, a man, someone with a human nature. When Jesus later uses that term for himself (Matt 24:30; 26:64) it is in reference to Daniel's use of the term of the being (human) who comes from heaven (Dan 7:13-14). Like many of the prophets Ezekiel will also find that people will be not receptive to his message. But he is not to be afraid, but rather to be o

bible reading aug 27-29

  Bible reading for weekend Aug 27 -- 29 Aug 27 -- Lamentations 4 and Psalm 35 Aug 28 -- Lamentations 5 and Psalm 36 Aug 29 -- Ezekiel 1 and Psalm 37 ================   "But you, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations." (Lamentations 5:19) THE FALLEN CROWN (Lam 4-5). This weekend we read the last two chapters of Lamentations, continuing the sorrowful song of the fallen nation. Notice where we get our common phrase, "worth its weight in gold" (4:2). Though God's people are precious like gold, here they have been devalued among the nations like common clay. The anointed king, Zedekiah, sought to flee Jerusalem but was captured (4:20). The Edomites are singled out for judgment, too, since they gave no aid to the fleeing Jews (4:21-22). The last chapter recounts their suffering, and closes with a prayer for restoration: "But you, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations. Why do you forget us forever, why do you forsa

bible reading aug 25-26

  Bible reading for Aug 25 -- 26 Aug 25 -- Lamentations 2 and Psalm 33 Aug 26 -- Lamentations 3 and Psalm 34 ================    "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23) THE ABANDONED CITY (ch 2). Lamentations is composed of five poems, or songs, and each section is written as an acrostic in the Hebrew language.  The five poems together form a chiasm. (See Tom Constable's helpful notes on Lamentations .) This chapter is full of sorrow for the ruined city. The city of God has been reduced to a ghost town. For the next seven decades there would be no sound of worship nor the public proclamation of God's word -- no more feasts, music, the reading of the law, joyful shouts, and sacrifices at the temple. Not for a long time would people hear the Aaronic blessing echo in the courts, "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upo

bible reading aug 23-24

Bible reading for Aug 23 -- 24 Aug 23 -- Jeremiah 52 and Psalm 31 Aug 24 -- Lamentations 1 and Psalm 32 ================    "How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave." (Lamentations 1:1) THE FALL OF JERUSALEM (Jer 52). The final chapter is a summary of the siege and capture of Jerusalem in 586 BC. What occurs at that time is the third deportation of Jewish prisoners to Babylon. Daniel was taken in the first deportation (605 BC), and Ezekiel in the second (597 BC). They are the next two "major" prophets we will read, though Ezekiel (the longer work) will come next after Lamentations. Though the facts of the fall of Jerusalem -- and it will happen again in AD 70 -- are reported as history (which they are) the actual event was certainly horrific beyond imagination. This was a traumatic event in Israel's history. As I read thi

bible reading aug 20-22

  Bible reading for weekend Aug 20 -- 22 Aug 20 -- Jeremiah 49 and Psalms 26-27 Aug 21 -- Jeremiah 50 and Psalms 28-29 Aug 22 -- Jeremiah 51 and Psalm 30 ================    "Thus says the LORD of hosts: The broad wall of Babylon shall be leveled to the ground, and her high gates shall be burned with fire. The peoples labor for nothing, and the nations weary themselves only for fire." (Jeremiah 51:58) SURROUNDING NATIONS (ch 49). We are continuing in Jeremiah's pronouncements against the nations near to Judah. As we read such biblical prophecies, often written poetically, we may need a scorecard or program to know who's who and what's being said. For example, "Why then has Milcom dispossessed Gad, and his people settled in its cities?" (v 1) Milcom (aka Molech) was the national god of the Ammonites, and Gad was one of the tribes of Israel. At some time in the past the Ammonites had forcefully taken and settled in some of the cities of Israel. Now it'

bible reading aug 18-19

Bible reading for Aug 18 -- 19 Aug 18 -- Jeremiah 47 and Psalms 23-24 Aug 19 -- Jeremiah 48 and Psalm 25 ================    "We have heard of the pride of Moab- he is very proud- of his loftiness, his pride, and his arrogance, and the haughtiness of his heart. " (Jeremiah 48:29) JUDGMENT UPON PHILISTIA (ch 47) . We are reading the section in Jeremiah which related God's judgment upon the nations around Judah. Often, when the nation of Israel or Judah was humbled, the surrounding nations would take advantage and raid the land. This chapter concerns the affluent sea-trading cities of the coast: Tyre, Sidon, and Ashkelon. These prophecies were fulfilled around the year 605 BC, when Babylonian forces drove back the Egyptian army from Palestine. On "gashing" themselves (v 5), see 1 Kings 18:28. Ascetic practices such as self-flagellation do not bring deliverance from divine judgment . JUDGMENT UPON MOAB (ch 48). As a nation Moab, to the east of the Jordan and Dead

bible reading aug 16-17

  Bible reading for Aug 16 -- 17 Aug 16 -- Jeremiah 44-45 and Psalm 20-21 Aug 17 -- Jeremiah 46 and Psalm 22 ================    "And those who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah, few in number; and all the remnant of Judah, who came to the land of Egypt to live, shall know whose word will stand, mine or theirs. "  (Jeremiah 44:28) NO QUEEN OF HEAVEN (ch 44). The remnant of Judah, left behind after three deportations to Babylon, have not done well. In fear of the king of Babylon, they have fled the land for sanctuary in Egypt. But even there they do not trust the Lord. The women are called out for their goddess-worship (cf 7:18), of which their husbands were supportive. This "queen" is likely some form of Ishtar (or Astarte), whose cult likely involved star worship and ritual prostitution. Such goddess-worship was a kind of female-empowerment in all the wrong ways . God's word to them through Jeremiah was that even in the

bible reading weekend aug 13-15

  Bible reading for weekend Aug 13 -- 15 Aug 13 -- Jeremiah 41 and Psalm 17 Aug 14 -- Jeremiah 42 and Psalm 18 Aug 15 -- Jeremiah 43 and Psalm 19 ================    "Do not fear the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid. Do not fear him, declares the LORD, for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand. I will grant you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and let you remain in your own land."  (Jeremiah 42:11-12) YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU CAN'T HIDE (ch 41-43) . These chapters are an historical postlude to the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC. The newly-appointed governor, Gedaliah, is murdered by Ishmael and his companions, incited by the Ammonites. Captives are taken. Johanan, a Jewish leader, intervenes and defeats Ishmael, frees the captives, but they now face the problem of what the Babylonian authorities may do. The people ask Jeremiah to pray for them, which he does, and the Lord gives promise of safety for them in the land and calls them to trust in him.

bible reading aug 11-12

  Bible reading for Aug 11 -- 12 Aug 11 -- Jeremiah 39 and Psalms 13-14 Aug 12 -- Jeremiah 40 and Psalms 15-16 ================    "For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have put your trust in me, declares the LORD."  (Jeremiah 39:18) THE CITY FALLS (ch 39). The year is 586 BC and the city of Jerusalem falls to the Babylonian forces. The city lasted a year and a half under siege. King Hezekiah, many years before, had strengthened the city walls and had diverted a water source into the city, so that the city could (hopefully) outlast a siege. In the case of a siege, if it dragged on long enough, the invaders might run out of supplies, give up, and go home, or in this case, the invaders stayed while the people in the city suffered from famine and sickness. Finally, the walls are breached and many people are slaughtered or enslaved. Jeremiah is given his freedom by the Babylonian officials. A

bible reading aug 9-10

  Bible reading for Aug 9 -- 10 Aug 9 -- Jeremiah 37 and Psalm 10 Aug 10 -- Jeremiah 38 and Psalms 11-12 ================    "But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the LORD that he spoke through Jeremiah the prophet." (Jeremiah 37:2) THE PROPHET TREATED BADLY (ch 37-38). In these two chapters we see Jeremiah suffering at the hands of his fellow Jews. Most of the people did not believe his words. He's beaten and thrown into in the dungeon at the house of Jonathan, the royal secretary (ch 37). He's then confined in the court of the guard, later thrown into a cistern, and finally, returned to the court of the guard (ch 38). Centuries later, Stephen would make his defense before the Jewish council (Acts 7) and say, "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute?" (Acts 7:51-52) The auth

bible reading aug 6-8

Bible reading for weekend Aug 6 -- 8 Aug 6 -- Jeremiah 34 and Psalms 5-6 Aug 7 -- Jeremiah 35 and Psalms 7-8 Aug 8 -- Jeremiah 36 and Psalm 9 ================    "And Baruch the son of Neriah did all that Jeremiah the prophet ordered him about reading from the scroll the words of the LORD in the LORD's house." (Jeremiah 36:8) FREEING THE SLAVES (ch 34). In keeping with the theme of covenant (ch 31-33) we learn here that the Jews in Jerusalem (in the time of the last king, Zedekiah) have not fulfilled their covenant vows to release their slaves (vv 8-9). The mention of the "parts of the calf" (vv 18-19) is a reference to the sacrificial animal divided in the covenant ceremony (see Gen 15, for example). The Jews' unwillingness to release their slaves was contrary to what the Law taught, and contrary to what Messiah would be like: "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bin

bible reading aug 4-5

  Bible reading for Aug 4 -- 5 Aug 4 -- Jeremiah 32 and Psalms 1-2 Aug 5 -- Jeremiah 33 and Psalms 3-4 ================    "I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul." (Jeremiah 32:40-41) LAND INVESTMENT (ch 32). To demonstrate God's promise of Judah's return to the land in seventy years, Jeremiah is instructed to buy a field and to seal the deed of the land (vv 1-15). Notice Jeremiah's prayer for understanding (vv 16-25), how he begins with the character of God and historical background before his question, or implied question, at the very end. We would do well to model his way of praying -- instead of rushing to our petition, to take time to praise and thank God, to recount his attributes and his working in hi