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 occurring. 4) There is a real resurrection coming (just like Jesus!). 5) Waiting patiently, that is, faithfully enduring to the end, is critical through all of this. These five themes resound throughout the NT, as well: there is a larger story going on; the supernatural world is real; we are facing choices of good and evil (together with their compounding interest); eternity is coming; and we need to stay faithful to the Lord and persevere by his grace.
THE MINOR PROPHETS (Hos 1). This week we begin reading the twelve "minor" prophets. They weren't minor league, but were called minor only because their writings were shorter than the four major prophets. We step back in time from Daniel to read Hosea's prophecies from over a century earlier. Here's the ESV book introduction for Hosea: "Hosea has been called the 'death-bed prophet of Israel' because he was the last to prophesy before the northern kingdom fell to Assyria (about 722 BC). His ministry followed a golden age in the northern kingdom, with a peace and prosperity not seen since the days of Solomon. Unfortunately, with this prosperity came moral decay, and Israel forsook God to worship idols. So God instructed Hosea to marry a 'wife of whoredom' (1:2), whose unfaithfulness to her husband would serve as an example of Israel's unfaithfulness to God. Hosea then explained God's complaint against Israel and warned of the punishment that would come unless the people returned to the Lord and remained faithful to him. The book shows the depth of God's love for his people, a love that tolerates no rivals." (Introductory notes, The ESV® Bible, copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)
"The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces." (Psalm 119:72)
BETTER THAN GOLD. We are reading this great acrostic psalm on the blessings of God's word. Again, the many synonyms used -- words, ways, statutes, precepts, law, rules, testimonies, promises, and commandments -- emphasize that God's mind and will have been revealed to us verbally in the words of Scripture. God's promises (vv 49-50) give us hope and life. Also, a recurrent theme is that the believer will esteem God's word above all riches (v 72). As you read verse-by-verse through this psalm ask yourself, "How is God's word described here? Is this true in my own experience? What may need to change in my attitude toward his word?"
COMMANDS THAT BRING LIFE? We do not usually think of commandments as giving life (v 93). We look especially to God's promises as our hope. Although one purpose of the law was to make us aware of our sin and guilt (Rom 7:9-10), yet there's a delight (especially here in Psalm 119) in God's commandments as life-giving. This is not a contradiction. In one sense the commandment condemns us because we are either unwilling or unable to fulfill it, and so we realize our guilt before God. On the other hand we realize that God's law is "holy and righteous and good" (Rom 7:12). And we see throughout Scripture that God "commands" life (Ps 133:3). He said, "Let there be light," and it was so, and the same happened for all creation and living things (Gen 1). We hear Jesus' commands to "rise and walk", "be clean", and "Lazarus, come out!" (John 11:43). All these commands conveyed the ability to rise up, to be cleansed of leprosy, and to rise from the dead (cf John 5:25). When we obey the command from Jesus to "come to me" or "follow me" or "believe my word" we are obeying unto life (Rom 1:5). Our coming by faith to Christ is an act of obedience, as a child coming to its father. That is not to say we are saved by works, but faith responds in obedience to the Lord's authority.
WHAT AUGUSTINE SAID. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430) summarized this in a prayer: "Lord, grant what you command, and command what you will." (Lat., Da quod iubes, et iube quod vis.) In other words, if God's grace will empower us to obey (fulfill) his word, then we can be satisfied with whatever he commands. The eyes of unbelief view God's commands as hard and unpleasant. But the eyes of faith see that Christ died to remove the curse, and now we see that his commandments are good and desirable for life. As Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt 11:29-30). Together with the Holy Spirit, and the promises of God's word, we are now free to be obedient without fear of condemnation (Rom 8:1-4).
Image credit. Photo above by Brooke Campbell on Unsplash. 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 Oct 27 -- 28