Bible reading for weekend Nov 19 -- 21
Nov 19 -- Amos 8 and Luke 3
Nov 20 -- Amos 9 and Luke 4
Nov 21 -- Obadiah and Luke 5
"In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old..." (Amos 9:11)
THE HARVEST HAS COME (ch 8). There's a wordplay in the first two verses: "summer fruit" (Heb., qayits) and "the end" (Heb., qets). It's an illustration that the summer has ended and the harvest -- not what they expected -- was upon them (cf Jer 8:20). Their life of affluence and leisure was about to come to an end. At the fall of Samaria (capital of Israel) in 722 BC, the people would be exiled and scattered among the other nations. They would experience a "famine" of God's word in that God's prophets would no longer come to them (like Ezekiel did for the Jews in Babylon) nor would they have the strong group identity that comes from gathering around the proclamation of God's word, as did the Jews in their synagogues. Imagine the despair they (and we) would experience by not having God's revelation -- not being able to know his guidance, recall his promises, and have hope for the future.
DESTROYED, BUT NOT UTTERLY (ch 9). Severe judgment would come upon the northern kingdom of Israel, but there would be a restoration in the future, including prosperity and fruitfulness of the land. The "fallen booth (or, tent) of David" refers to the re-emergence of the reign of the Davidic dynasty in the person of the Messiah (vv 11-12). This passage (in the Greek Septuagint translation, the LXX) was cited in the council of Jerusalem (AD 49) as indication that, since the Messiah had now come, the predominantly Jewish church needed to learn how to assimilate the Gentiles (the "nations") together with the Jewish believers, all under the reign of Christ.
OBADIAH (ch 1). This is a very short book, written much later, around 586 BC, after the fall of Jerusalem, to indict the Edomites (descendants of Esau) for their unjust treatment of the Jewish refugees of that time.
LAW AND PROPHETS. The chart above is my sketch of the relationship between the Law, summarized in the Ten Commandments, and how the prophets spoke to the people of Israel and Judah. The Decalogue had two dimensions -- the first four commandments had to do with true worship, that is, loving God (Matt 22:36-38). The next six commandments had to do with loving one's neighbor (Matt 22:39-40). The major violation of the first part (or "table") of the Law was idolatry; the major violation of the second table was injustice. It was the prophets' job to call out the transgressions, both in general and in detail (see above). The law that God gave was a perfect Plan (design for life) which would only be fulfilled by a perfect Person (Jesus Christ), who alone would be able to bring in a perfect World (the new creation). Reading the prophets may become tedious and seem unnecessarily condemning, but it must be remembered that these prophecies were given over several centuries, and that breaking God's law is always serious. Further, we must remember that the prophets included God's promise of a new creation through God's Son. Almost always, there was a ray of hope given to the people.
"I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose." (Luke 4:43)
THE MORAL BASIS OF FAITH (ch 3). John the Baptist calls for repentance, speaking of the wrath to come (vv 7-8). "Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire" (v 9). John gives his hearers very specific ethical directions (vv 8-14), and he reproves King Herod for his immorality (vv 19-20). The flip side of faith is repentance. We turn to God (faith) from sin (repentance). We see how we have sinned against God and come to him for his mercy and forgiveness. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers: "For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God" (1 Thess 1:9). In the Bible, faith in God is a repentant faith, and repentance toward God is a believing repentance. They go together.
TESTED AND VICTORIOUS (ch 4). In the wilderness Jesus is tempted by the devil and overcomes him. Where Adam fell, Jesus resisted, endured, and did not sin against God. Three times he quoted passages from Scripture, specifically, the book of Deuteronomy. We would do well to follow his example of memorizing and using the Word of God to resist temptation (Psalm 119:9-11). Jesus then announces his preaching mandate to his home town synagogue in Nazareth by citing the prophet Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (vv 18-19). In proclaiming the gospel we do not shy away from the bad news of sin, self, and idolatry. But we should not stop there, we must proclaim the good news of freedom and forgiveness in the Lord Jesus.
JESUS AT PRAYER (ch 5). Read here about some of the lessons that we learn from Jesus' example of prayer.
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.