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Showing posts from October, 2021

bible reading nov 1-2

  Bible reading for weekend Nov 1 -- 2 Nov 1 -- Hosea 7 and Psalms 120-122 Nov 2 -- Hosea 8 and Psalms 123-125 ================   "Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands, they would be regarded as a strange thing." (Hosea 8:12) THE RESULTS OF SIN (ch 7-8). Notice the words and metaphors to describe Israel's sinful condition: they are surrounded with, and proud of, their evil (7:1-3); like adulterers in the heat of passion (7:4-5); their anger is like a hot oven (7:6-7); they are like a half-cooked (one side only) cake (7:8); their strength is gone (7:9); they are like silly doves easily trapped (7:11-12); they are undependable like a warped bow (7:16). In spite of all of this they are so proud of themselves! (We might say they have a strong self-esteem.) They have spurned what is good (8:3); they sow to the wind and have no real fruit (8:7); they are a useless vessel (8:8) and a wild donkey wandering alone (8:9); they regard God's law as a strange thing

bible reading oct 29-31

  Bible reading for weekend Oct 29 -- 31 Oct 29 -- Hosea 2 and Psalm 119:97-120 Oct 30 -- Hosea 3-4 and Psalm 119:121-144 Oct 31 -- Hosea 5-6 and Psalm 119:145-176 ================   "I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." (Hosea 6:6) ISRAEL'S ADULTERY (ch 2). Marital infidelity, along with sexual promiscuity, is no laughing matter. Hosea experienced this pain first hand. Human sexuality is a gift from God meant to be a dimension of a life-long covenant relationship between and man and a woman. Israel's idolatry -- which often included sexual activity in pagan worship -- was a breach of trust between God's people and himself. They took the blessings God gave them (crops, wealth, and prosperity) and offered it to foreign gods. Israel "...did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal" (v 8). This is true of a

bible reading oct 27-28

Bible reading for Oct 27 -- 28 Oct 27 -- Daniel 12 and Psalm 119:49-72 Oct 28 -- Hosea 1 and Psalm 119:73-96 ================   "Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days." (Daniel 12:12) THE END (ch 12). Often when we read chapters like this we are drawn immediately to the numbers. Is this days or years? Is this past history or future? Is this about Israel or the Church? But let's not overlook the obvious: "Blessed is he who waits ..." (v 12). This chapter echoes our Lord's words in the Olivet discourse (Matt 24-25) and the final chapters of Revelation. Here are the major items: 1) there's an unfolding drama of history which includes the supernatural world (e.g., angels), as well as natural events. 2) Some people will get better and better, and others, worse and worse. Either sanctification or degeneration will take place. 3) In the end there are only two eternal destinies. History is the winnowing, or dividing process, that is presently oc

bible reading oct 25-26

  Bible reading for Oct 25 -- 26 Oct 25 -- Daniel 10 and Psalm 119:1-24 Oct 26 -- Daniel 11 and Psalm 119:25-48 ================   "And he said, 'O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.' And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, 'Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.'" (Daniel 10:19) BEHIND THE SCENES (ch 10). Daniel is not studying the future like a disinterested spectator. These revelations involve the future and welfare of his own people (e.g., 7:25; 8:24-25). He has been praying about these things, and confessing their sins. In this chapter we get a peek into the angelic drama behind the scenes. These chapters of Daniel introduce us to the only two angels named in the Bible -- Gabriel (8:16; 9:21) and Michael (10:13, 21; 12:1). Some Christians may get too carried away by the notion of spiritual warfare (and so engage in unbiblical practices), but some believers ignore this dimension entirely.

bible reading oct 22-24

Bible reading for weekend Oct 22 -- 24 Oct 22 -- Daniel 7 and Psalms 114-115 Oct 23 -- Daniel 8 and Psalm 116 Oct 24 -- Daniel 9 and Psalm 117-118 ================   "I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13-14) THE BEASTS (ch 7). The four beasts are four empires in succession -- Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek (Alexandrian), and Roman. Some liberal scholars date the writing of the book of Daniel after these events because they cannot believe a Jewish prophet could possibly predict world empires so accurately, including the breakup of Alexander's empire into four smaller, regional empires. These four beasts a

bible reading oct 20-21

    Bible reading for Oct 20 -- 21 Oct 20 -- Daniel 5 and Psalms 110-111 Oct 21 -- Daniel 6 and Psalms 112-113 ================   "...for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth..." (Daniel 6:26-27) THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL (ch 5). In this chapter you see where that popular expression came from! Belshazzar, son (or grandson?) of Nebuchadnezzar, was likely a co-regent or crown prince in Babylon, and to no one's surprise was yet another haughty monarch. Daniel says to him, "you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is y

bible reading oct 18-19

  Bible reading for Oct 18 -- 19 Oct 18 -- Daniel 3 and Psalm 107 Oct 19 -- Daniel 4 and Psalms 108-109 ================   "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble." (Daniel 4:37) THE DANIEL DIET (ch 1). The book opens with an introduction to Daniel, chronicling his arrival in Babylon after deportation from Jerusalem in 605 BC, along with three friends. As a young man, an exile in an alien culture, he enters Babylonian royal training. There are many parallels between Daniel and Joseph (Gen 39-50), who both served foreign powers while faithfully serving God at the same time. Regarding the diet, Daniel's abstaining was not because he was fastidious about healthy food, but he was an observant Jew, being faithful to the Mosaic covenant. Jews recognized that all of life -- food, clothing, work, marriage, child-rearing, agriculture, ethics, business

bible reading oct 15-17

Bible reading for weekend Oct 15 -- 17 Oct 15 -- Ezekiel 48 and Psalm 104 Oct 16 -- Daniel 1 and Psalm 105 Oct 17 -- Daniel 2 and Psalm 106 ================   "And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The LORD is there." (Ezekiel 48:35) THE INHERITANCE (ch 48). From time to time I have seen a bumper sticker on a car (usually a nice car) which reads, "I am spending my children's inheritance." Inheritance is not a word which carries much weight in our culture these days. After paying off student loans, mortgages, consumer debt, and then nursing home care there's usually not much to go around afterwards. In the ancient world -- and even our world until just a century ago -- one's inheritance was a very important thing. It meant receiving and carrying on a family legacy, including the traditions, influence, and power that came with it. It meant having land or a house where one could make one's home and raise a family. It was a place to work

bible reading oct 13-14

  Bible reading for Oct 13 -- 14 Oct 13 -- Ezekiel 46 and Psalm 102 Oct 14 -- Ezekiel 47 and Psalm 103 ================   "And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes." (Ezekiel 47:9) THE PRINCE, THE PRIESTS, AND THE RIVER (ch 46-47). We are continuing to read about Ezekiel's vision of the temple, the city, the leaders, the ministers, and the geography. It is visionary language, and it is in the future from Ezekiel's perspective. There are connections here with Revelation, and also with the Mosaic laws in Leviticus. In these chapters we see that the prince is to lead worship by his example; there are instructions about gates, gifts, offerings, holy spaces, and preparation of food. There springs from the temple a remarkable, ever-expanding stream of fresh water. Also, there is to be fair di

bible reading oct 11-12

  Bible reading for Oct 11 -- 12 Oct 11 -- Ezekiel 44 and Psalms 97-98 Oct 12 -- Ezekiel 45 and Psalms 99-101 ================   "They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean." (Ezekiel 44:23) PRINCES, LEVITES, PRIESTS (ch 44). We are reading Ezekiel's vision of a future temple and the worship which takes place there. Commentators differ on how these things are to be understood. Here are four possibilities: 1) This was to be the standard and plan for Jewish worship after the return from Babylonian exile, until Messiah should come (covering about 500 years). 2) This is applied symbolically to the church age. 3) This is fulfilled during the thousand-year period spoken of in Revelation 20. 4) This is a foreshadowing of the future eternal state (Rev 21-22). It may be that some (or all) of these apply at some point (in some way) in interpreting Ezekiel. One thing that helps us is

bible reading oct 8-10

Bible reading for weekend Oct 8 -- 10 Oct 8 -- Ezekiel 41 and Psalms 92-93 Oct 9 -- Ezekiel 42 and Psalm 94 Oct 10 -- Ezekiel 43 and Psalms 95-96 ================   "And he measured the length of the room, twenty cubits, and its breadth, twenty cubits, across the nave. And he said to me, 'This is the Most Holy Place.'" (Ezekiel 41:4) THE NEW TEMPLE, INTERIOR AND COURTS (ch 41-42). We are continuing to read of Ezekiel's vision of God's temple. Notice that the most holy place (Holy of Holies) is laid out as a square, just as in the Tabernacle and Solomon's Temple previously, and in the future city, the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:16). There's great attention to measurements and architectural detail, and there are a few differences between this design and the earlier ones. THE GLORY RETURNS (ch 43) . In his vision Ezekiel sees the glory of God, which departed in chapter 11, now returning to the temple. God will not abandon his work -- or his people --but will

bible reading oct 6-7

  Bible reading for Oct 6 -- 7 Oct 6 -- Ezekiel 39 and Psalm 90 Oct 7 -- Ezekiel 40 and Psalm 91 ================   "Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD." (Ezekiel 39:28-29) ISRAEL REGATHERED, GOG DESTROYED (ch 39). The Gog / Magogite alliance fails in their attack upon Israel. One of our readers asked if the re-establishment of Israel as a nation following World War 2 (in 1948) was the fulfillment of Israel's regathering seen in Ezekiel 37? Here's what I wrote back... "I take it that the return from Babylon was one stage in the return to the land, but not long afterwards the Jews rejected the Messiah who came to inaugurate the new covenant. There was a hardening upon Israel

bible reading oct 4-5

  Bible reading for Oct 4 -- 5 Oct 4 -- Ezekiel 37 and Psalms 87-88 Oct 5 -- Ezekiel 38 and Psalm 89 ================   "I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (Ezekiel 37:26-27) DRY BONES RESURRECTED (ch 37). Ezekiel is prophesying the future restoration of the nation -- uniting both Israel and Judah together -- in conjunction with God's new covenantal work (ch 36). On one sense (spiritually) this is being fulfilled in the church age as the gospel goes forth bringing life to Jew and Gentile (Rom 3:29-30; 9:24; 11:1-5). But the church does not replace Israel in God's plan. This chapter looks forward to the future work of God in restoring Israel (Rom 11:25-32; Zech 12:9-14). "David" ruling as king (vv 24-25) is

bavinck on the enigma of man

  "The conclusion, therefore, is that of Augustine, who said that the heart of man was created for God and that it cannot find rest until it rests in his Father's heart. Hence all men are really seeking after God, as Augustine also declared, but they do not all seek Him in the right way, nor at the right place. They seek Him down below, and He is up above. They seek Him on the earth, and He is in heaven. They seek Him afar, and He is nearby. They seek Him in money, in property, in fame, in power, and in passion; and He is to be found in the high and the holy places, and with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit (Isa. 57:15). But they do seek Him, if haply they might feel after Him and find Him (Acts 17:27). They seek Him and at the same time they flee Him. They have no interest in a knowledge of His ways, and yet they cannot do without Him. They feel themselves attracted to God and at the same time repelled by Him. "In this, as Pascal so profoundly pointed out, con