~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Micah 1:1-4:13 ~ Revelation 6:1-17
Psalm 134:1-3 ~ Proverbs 30:1-4
Old Testament - Today we start the book of the prophet Micah! Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah and prophesied in approximately 730 - 700 B.C. primarily to the southern kingdom of Judah. Micah's name means "Who is like the Lord?" This following quote is from bible.org's Hampton Keathley IV , Th.M. on the book of Micah - "Micah prophesied during a period of upheaval and crisis. The reign of Ahaz brought spiritual lethargy, apostasy and hypocrisy. The people still worshipped Yahweh, but it was ritual without life-changing reality. Their treatment of fellow Israelites violated the basic tenants of the Mosaic covenant as they failed to practice justice, or covenant loyalty-love and their pursuit of idolatry revealed their failure to walk humbly before Yahweh." This quote and much more on the book of Micah is at this link. A good introduction to the book of Micah is at this link and a good overview of the book is at this link.
In today's readings in Micah we read about Grief over Samaria and Jerusalem, Judgment against Wealthy Oppressors, True and False Prophets, Hope for Restoration, Judgment against Israel's Leaders, The LORD's Future Reign, and Israel's Return from Exile. In chapter 1 verse 8 jumped out at me - "Because of all this, I will mourn and lament." Micah was obviously saddened by the sins of those around him and the harm they were causing to themselves and to others. Do we mourn and lament for the sins of others in our world? Do we mourn and lament over our own sins? Do we pray for healing and repentance in the lives of others - and ourselves? Is it okay to be sad for others and ourselves because of sin?
Chapter 2 verse 11 is a powerful one to consider - "Suppose a prophet full of lies were to say to you, "I'll preach to you the joys of wine and drink!" That's just the kind of prophet you would like!" At times in our lives, do we pick and choose the "prophets" we will listen to? Do we pick and choose the pastors or priests we will listen to? Do we look for people that will tell us basically what we want to hear? Instead, Is it maybe okay for a pastor or priest to "afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted"? Is it maybe okay if we get uncomfortable with some things we read in the Bible - at first read. But, we start to meditate on what the challenging passages of the Bible really are saying and mean? Are we seeking Truth more than seeking being Comfortable in our religion and our lives?
Chapter 4 verse 1 jumped out at me - "In the last days, the Temple of the LORD in Jerusalem will become the most important place on earth. People from all over the world will go there to worship." What are the most important places on earth today for most people? Could it be the movies, sporting events, work, vacations, etc. What are the most important places in your life? Should church or coming together with others to worship be the most important place on earth? Why or why not?
New Testament - Revelation chapter 6 is starting to get into the tougher stuff to give a clear commentary on! There are 4 major views or approaches to interpretation on the book of Revelation, as we discuss in the December 9th readings in this blog below. And a bunch of variant commentaries within these 4. So, I may keep things kinda high level here... :)
Revelation chapter 6 begins the first of 3 seven-part judgments with the opening of the seals on the scroll. The seven trumpets in chapters 8 & 9 and the seven bowls in chapter 16 are the remaining two. The unsealing of the seals on the scroll by Jesus in this chapter sets in motion events that will bring about the end of human history.
The imagery of the four horsemen in this chapter comes from Zechariah chapter 1 verses 8-17 and chapter 6 verse 1-6. In chapter 1 of Zechariah verses 8-10 we read - "During the night I had a vision-and there before me was a man riding a red horse! He was standing among the myrtle trees in a ravine. Behind him were red, brown and white horses. I asked, "What are these, my lord?" The angel who was talking with me answered, "I will show you what they are." Then the man standing among the myrtle trees explained, "They are the ones the LORD has sent to go throughout the earth."" This is a good example of how John is utilizing a lot of imagery for the book of Revelation from the Old Testament. And of course it is a great example of the Old Testament is fulfilled by the New Testament.
A portion of verse 8 should be noted about the 4 horsemen- "They were given authority over one-fourth of the earth." Some commentators have noted that this demonstrates that even in the end of days, God is showing compassion. He only allows the four horsemen to do their work over 1/4th of the earth, giving everyone in the other 3/4ths of the earth an opportunity to repent and return to God.
Psalms - Psalm 134 is a very cool little Psalm! This Psalm is basically taking place as worshippers are leaving the temple in Jerusalem for the night - and in the first two verses the Worshippers are speaking to the Levites in the temple - giving blessings to the Levites and asking them to bless God overnight. Then, in the third verse the Levites give a departing blessing to the worshippers as they leave the temple - "May the LORD, who made heaven and earth, bless you from Jerusalem." And that is certainly my prayer for each of you reading this - May God bless you!
Proverbs chapter 30 verses 1 & 3 we should consider - "I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One." This might be an appropriate thought for man of us these days - "I am weary God. I am weary and tired." If this is you, will you seek true rest? Rest that can be found only in a relationship with God? Will you seek the Holy One and seek true wisdom from God?
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!