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bible reading dec 8-9

 


Bible reading for December 8 -- 9 

Dec 8 -- Habakkuk 3 and Luke 22

Dec 9 -- Zephaniah 1 and Luke 23

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"The sovereign LORD is my source of strength. He gives me the agility of a deer; he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain." (Habakkuk 3:19 NET). 

JOY IN DIFFICULT TIMES (Hab 3). The prophet considers the coming invasion of their land. Poetically, he describes the Lord as a warrior going forth to defend his name and his people. Teman and Paran (v 3) are locations along the way in which the Lord led Israel out of Egypt from the south and on to the promised land. The chapter ends with Habakkuk's statement of joy and confidence in the Lord. Isn't this a good affirmation for us too? No matter our circumstances (v 17) we can rejoice in the Lord (v 18), who will enable us to make it through difficult times (v 18). Much later, while imprisoned in Rome, the Apostle Paul would write, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. ...I can do all things through him who strengthens me" (Phil 4:4, 13). As we look around at our circumstances -- and the state of the world today -- let's not lose our confidence and joy in the Lord. Someone once said that Christians don't need to "look up" but rather should be "looking down", because they are already seated above in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph 2:6)! Keep looking down!

GOD'S PURPOSE IN HISTORY. It becomes clear throughout the Bible that God is active in directing the course of history. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end, who works all things according to his own purpose and plan. In Habakkuk we see God's purpose in history reiterated in two aspects: 1) revealing his glory to all of creation, and 2) working for the good of his people. The knowledge of his glory will ultimately fill all the earth (2:14). And he will act on behalf of his people: "You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed" (3:13). That's why the Westminster Shorter Catechism speaks of our chief end (ultimate purpose) being "to glorify God and to enjoy him forever." 

THE DAY OF THE LORD (Zeph 1). We're beginning the book of Zephaniah, written during the reign of King Josiah of Judah (639 -- 609 BC). The upcoming judgments upon Judah (the "day of the Lord") prefigure the end of all history, the final Day of the Lord. God will at last purge the world of all idolatry and injustice. It is a situation in which no money in the world -- whether currency, crypto-currency, or precious metals (v 18) -- will be able to buy us a way out. Only the blood of the Lamb can wash us clean. The first chapter of the last book of the Bible says, "To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. 'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty'" (Rev 1:5-8). This is our God, and this is the goal and end of human history.   

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And he said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves." (Luke 22:25-27) 

TRUE LEADERSHIP (ch 22). We as followers of Christ should not arrange ourselves in a hierarchical power structure. But neither is there to be disorder or chaos or lawlessness. The Lord Jesus is King, and the kingdom belongs to him. He allows us to share in his kingdom, and to have authority as parents, civic leaders, teachers, elders and pastors, etc. But that is not an unqualified authority, nor an authority to lord over others, nor a reason to be abusive, but rather it is to be a servant-style leadership (2 Cor 4:5; 1 Pet 5:1-3). It is a real authority, but it is a serving, sacrificial authority. It is a burden-bearing, not burden-avoiding, authority. It involves praying, caring, giving, washing feet, and living as an example. This kind of leadership follows the heart and character of our Lord Jesus, who came to serve and give his life a ransom for us.  

AT THE CROSS (ch 23). One of the thieves crucified with Jesus said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And Jesus answered him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (vv 42-43). This really is a remarkable interaction between Jesus and that man! Read more here

A TWO-YEAR READING PROJECT. As I have noted, I am winding down this reading and writing project begun two years ago. If you joined along the way and would like to complete the cycle of Bible reading (year one: NT, Psalms, and first half OT; year two: NT, Psalms, and second half of OT) then go to my website and find where to continue your reading. Just pull down the Archive menu from the upper right corner. Year one began Jan 1, 2020. And year two began Jan 1, 2021

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Image credit: photo above by Nick Dunlap 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.  


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