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 forsake us for so many days? Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored!" (5:19-21) Indeed, the Lord reigns, and he himself will restore his people. Like the Jews of Jeremiah's day, we too may come to the place in life where we feel lost and forsaken by our God. But as Jeremiah reminds us, "his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning..." (3:22-23). For those who trust the Lord, there is always hope.
NOT A SPACESHIP (Ezek 1). While Jeremiah prophesied among the Jews in Jerusalem, so Ezekiel -- a priest deported to Babylon from Jerusalem earlier (c. 593 BC) -- exercised his ministry among the exiles in Babylon. This chapter opens with a remarkable vision. At first reading it may seem like this is a scene out of a science fiction movie, but if one reads it carefully and sketches it on a pad (as I did once) it becomes obvious this is not anything material or physical, but rather a vision (cf 8:4; 11:24). Ezekiel speaks of "likeness" and "appearance"... "Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking" (v 28). This vision has features in common with Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4-5. Take a few minutes to read Constable's notes on the book of Ezekiel.
"Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD." (Psalm 36:5-6)
HATED FOR NO REASON (Ps 35). This weekend we read three psalms that need little explanation. One thing to notice about Psalm 35 is the phrase, "without a cause..." (vv 7, 19), which is repeated in Psalms 59:3-4; 69:4; 109:3; 119:161. King David learned by experience that much of the hatred he faced had nothing to do with his own wrong-doing, but rather in response to his anointed role before the Lord. He was chosen by God to uphold righteousness, and many opposed him only for that reason. This points ahead to Christ: "If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: 'They hated me without a cause'" (Jn 15:24-25). Jesus said, "The world...hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil" (Jn 7:7; cf 3:19). What's amazing is that our Lord Jesus did nothing wrong, and performed every good work -- even offering forgiveness to all -- but still he is hated, hated "without a cause", and is perhaps the most hated man of all time. "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his anointed..." (Ps 2:2).
THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE (Ps 36). Here we see the contrast of those who do not fear the Lord and those who delight in him. Those who take refuge in the Lord realize how great is the Lord's righteousness and love. They eat of his bread (Jn 6:35), drink of his living water (Jn 7:37), and see all things by his light (Jn 1:4, 9). Verses 5-9 make a wonderful morning prayer. Why not pray it aloud to begin each day this week?
DON'T PANIC (Ps 37). This psalm resonates with all who feel anxious, fretful, or angry as they see the wicked prevail upon the earth. Isn't this relevant today? We see God's values mocked, law and order broken down, perversions openly celebrated as good, and believers persecuted around the world. Yet, we are not to panic. "In just a little while, the wicked will be no more..." (v 10). God is not wringing his hands helplessly. Both David and Jesus affirm, "The meek shall inherit the land" (v 11; Matt 5:5). Note, the meek, not the vindictive, shall inherit the earth. We are to continue to trust God, shun evil, and do good. We are to cultivate faithfulness. We are to speak about God's wisdom and justice. Our focus is to be upon God's word: "The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip" (v 31). There are many worrisome things in the world today, indeed, but some of God's people are so continuously agitated by listening to social media, talk radio, experts, and influencers, that they are not finding strength in the Lord. "The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble" (v 39). Ask yourself, how can this psalm help you respond better to current events?
Image credit: my photo of a recent sunset taken from Thomas Lane, in Blacksburg . About this newsletter: I'm Sandy Young, and I post three times a week on my Bible reading, following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Subscribe for email at Buttondown.email/Sandy. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. A very helpful resource is the NET Bible with its excellent notes at netbible.org.
Bible reading for weekend Aug 27 -- 29