David wrote a lot of psalms. It is clear, from many of them, that he experienced more than his share of "enemies."
Monday, February 29, 2016
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Friday, February 26, 2016
Many times we think of a "prophet" as one who predicts the future. Yet that is actually only one part of a biblical seer's job description. Most of what a prophet does could be considered "forthtelling" rather than "foretelling," speaking as a mouthpiece for God. He or she shares the words of God which usually have more application in the present dimension rather than a directive to the future. In Micah 5, however, the prophet does have quite a bit to say about the future of God's people.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Micah 4 envisions Jerusalem as both defeated and victorious, wounded and wonderful, conquered and conquering. When we look closely at his message, we find that the prophet sees dark days ahead for Judah in the near term, but a hopeful future for the nation farther out.
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
The Book of Micah pronounces doom upon the nations of Israel and Judah as a consequence for their rejection of the Lord. In the first chapter, the prophet engages in quite a bit of wordplay in Hebrew to drive home his point that judgment is coming.
Isaiah 12 reflects the joy that comes after the time of punishment has passed. "In that day you will say, 'I will praise you, O Lord. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me" (vs. 1).
Have you ever seen a tree sprouting from what looks like a dead stump? Isaiah gives us the picture of a shoot rising up from the "root of Jesse." Just when all hope appears gone, God promises to send a descendant of David (Jesse's son) to bring righteousness to the earth.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
The tenth chapter of Isaiah brings to a head the theme introduced starting in 9:8. Well-deserved punishment is coming upon the nation of Israel. Four times (9:12, 9:17, 9,21, 10:4) we hear that God faces His people with a threatening "upraised hand" because they simply refuse to learn the lesson of His discipline and yield to His correction.
Monday, February 22, 2016
As we read through the Old Testament, we will occasionally find prophecies of a coming king, someone special who will deliver the people from their troubles and restore them to God. This person has come to be known as the Messiah. Christians believe that Jesus is the promised One.
Friday, February 19, 2016
A consistent theme that runs through the Bible is the idea that the Lord will spare a remnant of His people. Even within scriptural prophecies of gloom and doom, we find the promise that times of blessing lie ahead. The Book of Amos ends on just such a positive note.
So far, Amos has been shown locusts (7:1), a shower of fire (7:4), and a plumb line (7:7). In chapter 8, the prophet is shown a basket of summer fruit (vs. 1). It means that the time of Israel's destruction has arrived. The nation is ripe for judgment.
"If you aim at nothing," the old saying goes, "you will hit it every time." Have you ever thought about the importance of your target - what you are seeking? Amos 5 contains instruction about the important consideration of what we are looking for, and what God is looking for.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
As a prophet, Amos has the responsibility to reveal the will and purposes of God to a stubborn people. In chapter 3, he pleads the Lord's case and shows the Israelites that the judgment coming upon them is unavoidable because they earned it through their conduct which flows from their character.
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Amos, the shepherd-prophet from Judah, emerges in the northern kingdom of Israel to deliver the words of God. How is the Lord speaking? God "roars from Zion," and as His voice goes out from Jerusalem, Amos reports that the pastures of the shepherds wither and the top of Carmel dries up (vs. 2).
Monday, February 15, 2016
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Friday, February 12, 2016
Things are changing on a grand scale in chapter 7 when Isaiah shares a reassuring promise from the Lord. Surprisingly, later scripture applies the same prophecies to another time of great change in history: when Jesus is born seven centuries later!
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Isaiah 4 gives us a picture of the aftermath of judgment day (not necessarily "Judgment Day!") Once Jerusalem has been cleansed of wickedness, those who remain will be "called holy" (vs. 3). Through the "spirit of judgment" and the "spirit of burning", the Lord will wash away and remove the filth and bloodstains of the people (vs 4). The land will then be blessed by the Presence of the Lord, exemplified by the same signs that accompanied the Israelites in the wilderness as the Lord traveled with them: cloud by day and fire by night (vs. 5). The picture we get is one of a peaceful place of safety, a shelter and refuge (vs. 6). It will be a calm after the storm as the Lord is able to draw good from a bad situation.
Monday, February 8, 2016
Friday, February 5, 2016
Isaiah the prophet ministered in the nation of Judah during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. His book begins with a fiery message calling the nation to repentance. Isaiah warns the people that, unless they change their ways, judgment is coming because they have forsaken the Lord.
Thursday, February 4, 2016
If you haven't yet experienced confusion with the multitude of rulers mentioned leading up to II Kings 15, along with some of them sharing names and overlapping reigns and changing dynasties, this chapter will probably do it! They are coming fast and furious now.
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Instead of being pleased with his incredible success as a prophet turning people back to God, Jonah sulks. Apparently, he really wanted to see Nineveh burn. That's why he refused to go when sent there by the Lord in the first place - Jonah knew that God would forgive and repent of His decision to punish them. God decides that it's time for another lesson for His prophet. (Fortunately, this one doesn't involve a giant fish!)
Can you believe that Jonah, the rebellious prophet, had one of the most successful ministries of all time? His gloom-and-doom, "The End Is Near!" preaching converted a huge city destined for destruction! The repentance of his audience resulted in a stay of execution. "When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it" (vs. 10).
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Along with the name of each king and the length of his rule, the Bible usually gives us a detail concerning whether the king did right or did evil in the sight of the Lord. You might assume that God would prolong the reign of good kings and bless them with peace and prosperity, while shortening the reign of bad kings and afflicting them with all sorts of hardships. While this sometimes happens, it is not always the case.
II Kings 13 gives us an example of a device that prophets sometimes employ in scripture: a physical enactment of a spiritual reality. Just as a parable is "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning," an enactment by a prophet can be understood as a physical action conveying a spiritual point.
Monday, February 1, 2016
"Make known his deeds among the peoples" (vs. 1). "Tell of all his wonderful works" (vs. 2). "Remember the wonderful works he has done" (vs. 5). Again and again, the psalmist enjoins us to take to heart God's activities, and then sing them out again to share with others.