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Micah 5:1-7:20 ~ Revelation 7:1-17
Psalm 135:1-21 ~ Proverbs 30:5-6
Old Testament - Okay, we get an amazing few verses in Micah today, which are perfect for the Christmas Advent season we are in! Keep in mind that these verses were written 700 years before the birth of Jesus. Micah was the Old Testament prophet who prophesied that the Messiah, Jesus, would be born in Bethlehem. Reading these verses In Micah chapter 5 verses 2 through 5 gives me the chills... "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village in Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past. The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the time when the woman in labor gives birth to her son. Then at last his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land. And he will stand to lead his flock with the LORD's strength, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored all around the world. And he will be the source of our peace." Wow... I love it! Please read these verses again. Perfect for the Christmas season!
Okay, since we are talking the birth of Jesus here, hope you don't mind I throw out a few verses from he Gospel of Matthew - where the chief priests tell Herod about the location of the birth of Jesus based on the verses above from Micah. I usually don't like to bombard you with too many / too long of verses here in this blog, but this is too beautiful - the tie in from the Old Testament to the New. From Matthew chapter 2 verses 1 through 6: "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
In Micah chapter 6 verse 8 I read a commentary that the following verse is the "most memorable statement in the OT defining a proper relationship to God". Here it is: "No, O people, the LORD has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." Not a very big and complicated list, eh? Do what is right. Love mercy. And walk humbly with God. How are you doing on these things?
Micah chapter 7 verse 7 definitely stood out to me in today's readings: "As for me, I look to the LORD for his help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me." I love the confidence and surety of this verse from Micah. Where do you look for your help? Will you wait confidently for God to save you? Do you believe that God will certainly hear you?
New Testament - Revelation chapter 7 verse 3 in today's reading tells us: "Wait! Don't hurt the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants." Commentaries suggest that the seal represents the name of God being stamped on the foreheads of his followers - to protect them from the coming judgments. This imagery is very similar to Ezekiel 9:4 - ""Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it."
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Verse 4 tells us: "And I heard how many were marked with the seal of God. There were 144,000 who were sealed from all the tribes of Israel." Some interpret this to mean 144,000 descendents of the actual Jewish tribes during the time of tribulation. Others interpret this passage to be symbolic of all the faithful believers who live during the time of tribulation.
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Verses 5 through 8 are interesting in that Judah is listed first, which is unusual. When the twelve tribes of Israel are listed usually Reuben, his older brother, is listed first. The thought here is that since Jesus and David came from the tribe of Judah, that is why it is listed first. Also, the tribe of Dan is not listed - which may be because Dan had some idolatry issues in Judges 18:30. Instead, Manasseh, one of Joseph's son's is listed - along with Joseph.
Verse 12 is very powerful in that it has 7 attributes of God: "Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and forever." Will you attribute to God - Blessing? Glory? Wisdom? Thanksgiving? Honor? Power? Strength? Forever....? Has anyone read A.W. Tozer's book "The Attributes of God"? I haven't, but it sounds intriguing.
Psalms - Today in Psalm 135 verse 3 we will read this very simple, yet profound verse – “Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant.” The words I want to focus in on here are “the Lord is good.” Do you believe this to be true? Do you really – in your heart – believe that God is good? I think this is important for us to really meditate upon. I’m afraid sometimes we get into our minds that maybe God is not always good. Maybe we start to think that God is out to get us. Or out to trick us. Really isn’t looking out for us. Doesn’t really like us. Doesn’t really love us. These are all of course lies that come into our mind from the Enemy, the Destroyer. God is obviously good. So good. All of the time. And maybe sometimes we really need to remind ourselves of this. Even in the midst of challenges and struggles and addictions and hardships – God is good. God is there with us. God is leading us – and maybe even taking us through a hardship to bring us to the Promised Land on the other side. Our human minds will often not understand God’s ways. But, I think for us to always remember that God is good is so important for our continuing growth in our relationship with God. So, again, do you believe the words of this Psalmist? Do you believe that God is good?
Proverbs - Proverbs 30 verse 5 is a strong teaching today" "Every word of God proves true. He defends all who come to him for protection." Do you believe that every word of God proves true? Does the Bible prove to be true? Do you believe that God will defend you if you come to him for protection? Do you believe that reading and studying and memorizing the word of God can provide spiritual protection for you?
Comments from you: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!