~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Habakkuk 1:1-3:19 ~ Revelation 9:1-21
Psalm 137:1-9 ~ Proverbs 30:10
Old Testament - Today we start and finish the book of the prophet Habakkuk! This is a great book & there is a lot going on in it. In some ways it reminded me of the end of the book of Job, with the conversation going on between Habakkuk and God. Habakkuk was a prophet from Judah who prophesied between the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C. and Babylon's invasion of Judah in 588 B.C. Assyria fell in 612-605 B.C. and Babylon was becoming the world's dominant nation. In the first 2 chapters of this book Habakkuk argues with God about God's ways, and then in the 3rd chapter Habakkuk responds with an incredible prayer to God. In the first 2 chapters the big questions are - 1. Why does evil seem to go unpunished? and 2. Why does God not seem to respond to prayers? Reminds me of the Psalms! :) A good overview of the book of Habakkuk is online at bible.org at this link. Below is an image of Habakkuk denouncing the Chaldaeans from a 14th century illuminated Bible -
Chapter 1 Verse 5 stands out in today's readings - "The LORD replied, "Look at the nations and be amazed! Watch and be astounded at what I will do! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn't believe even if someone told you about it." A wonderful thing about this verse is that the apostle Paul utilizes this same verse in concluding a sermon in Antioch in Acts chapter 13 verses 38-41 - "“Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: “ ‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.'” Below is a sculpture of Habakkuk with an angel by the Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, from the year 1655 -
Chapter 3 verses 18 & 19 are powerful verses for us to consider in our own lives in the midst of challenging times - "Yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains." Do you rejoice in God? Are you joyful in God as your salvation? Even in the midst of challenging times in your life? Do you trust that God will bring you to safety? Below is an icon of Habukkuk -
New Testament - Revelation chapter 9 brings forth the 5th and 6th trumpet plagues at the end times. A note on the star in verse 1 - this is likely an angel that descends from heaven with the key from Jesus to open the abyss.
The fierce demonic locusts in today's readings are intense. You will recall that we read about locusts in a similar fashion recently in the Old Testament in Joel chapter 1 through chapter 2, verse 11.
Verses 20 & 21 in this chapter stand out - "But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to turn from their evil deeds. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood--idols that neither see nor hear nor walk! And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their immorality or their thefts." Even in the midst of such destruction and horror, many people do not repent. Is it possible that we receive much less severe signs in our own life today to repent, and we ignore them? Why do we ignore the signs? Is this wise?
Psalms - Psalm 137 is a Psalm reflecting upon the Israelites exile in Babylon and about how much Jerusalem was missed. We also read about a call to punish Edom for their rejoicing in the fall of Jerusalem. As you'll recall, we recently read prophesies against Edom in the book of the prophet Obadiah. Below is an image of ancient Jerusalem that this Psalmist missed so greatly -
Proverbs - Proverbs 30 verse 10 today tells us - "Never slander a person to his employer. If you do, the person will curse you, and you will pay for it." This is a great reminder to not speak untruths behind someone's back - particularly to their employer! If you attack someone's livelihood unfairly, you'll be attacked back. Simply a foolish idea. Bite your tongue and pray rather than say anything false or in anger to someone's employer...
What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!