~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Malachi 1:1-2:17 ~ Revelation 21:1-27
Psalm 149:1-9 ~ Proverbs 31:10-24
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Old Testament - Today we start the very last book of the Old Testament, the book of the prophet Malachi! There is some great stuff in this short book... particularly when we get to tomorrow's readings. The name Malachi means "my messenger." There is some question over whether there was an actual author of this book named Malachi, but it is very likely there was. Malachi was written in approximately 430 B.C. and he was likely a contemporary of Nehemiah. Malachi was written to the returned exiles in Jerusalem well after the temple had been rebuilt by Zerubbabel in 516 B.C. By 430 B.C. there was a spirtual malaise in the land. It is speculated that this is in part because Jerusalem was now a small province in the large Persian empire. But, the big reason is probably because the glorious future and God sending his Messiah, Jesus, as pronounced by Isaiah, Haggai and Zechariah and others had not yet come to fruition. A good overview of Malachi is online at bible.org at this link, and at this link, and at this link.
Chapter 1 verse 2 jumped out at me in today's readings - ""I have loved you deeply," says the LORD."" I guess this really resonated with me since we are now reading the last book of the Old Testament. As I look back on our readings earlier this year - all of the books of the Old Testament that we have read and all of the interaction between God and his covenant people, I have to absolutely agree with these words from God in verse 2. God loved deeply in the Old Testament. And the New Testament. And God loves us deeply today. Do you believe that God has loved you deeply? And do you believe that he always will?
Verse 7 also jumped out at me - ""You have despised my name by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar."" The chapter goes on to describe how blind, crippled, and diseased animals were sacrificed to God - which were unacceptable holy sacrifices to God per his commands in Leviticus 1:3 and Deuteronomy 15:21. We are no longer under the law of these sacrifices, as Jesus was our sacrifice once and for all on the cross. However - I wondered to myself as I read this verse, do we still offer "defiled sacrifices" in some ways today in our lives? Do we give God maybe the left-overs of our life? Our left-over time, finances, energy, prayers, love, etc.? Should we instead be giving God our best sacrifices - our firstfruits, our early morning energy, our prayers, our love - indeed, our Utmost for His Highest?
New Testament - Revelation chapter 21 is a beautiful chapter! I love it... here we catch a wonderful glimpse of the New Jerusalem, the dwelling place of God.
Certainly verses 3 and 4 are powerful for us to reflect upon - "I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, "Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever." Are you looking forward to that day when God will be among his people? When he will remove all sorrows and pains?
And verses 23-25 are so beautiful to meditate upon - "And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations of the earth will walk in its light, and the rulers of the world will come and bring their glory to it. Its gates never close at the end of day because there is no night." Are you looking forward to this everlasting light? The light from God and Jesus, the Lamb?
Psalms - Psalm 149 is a beautiful song of praise today! Verse 3 jumped out at me - "Praise his name with dancing, accompanied by tambourine and harp." Do you praise God's name with dancing and music? Yes, I confess, I am a huge fan of the praise and worship thang going on in churches and with CCM artists and their concerts these days. I know this is not the only way to praise or worship God by any means. But, I do love it...
Proverbs 31:10-24 is a great reflection upon a godly wife - and I think men would do well to take note of all of these verses for their own lives and their own actions as well, so that they can be godly husbands in turn! That's right fellas, I am suggesting that you can get up early to make breakfast for the fam - and you can quilt some bedspreads too! :)
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!