~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Hosea 6:1-9:17 ~ 3 John 1:1-15
Psalm 126:1-6 ~ Proverbs 29:12-14
Old Testament - Today we get 4 chapters of Hosea, with pretty much a continuation of prophesying by God via Hosea on what's going to happen to Israel due to her unfaithfulness and many sins. Hosea chapter 6's first 2 verses start things off on what seem like a hopeful note. However, commentaries suggest that this was a very shallow pledge by Israel: "Come, let us return to the LORD! He has torn us in pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time, he will restore us so we can live in his presence." Even if this is a shallow pledge from Israel, I do really like verse 3 too: "Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him!" Are we pressing on in our lives to know God? Are we returning to God? Are we seeking to continually live in His presence?
God's reply to all of this in verse 6 is fantastic: "I want you to be merciful; I don't want your sacrifices. I want you to know God; that's more important than burnt offerings." Are there times in our lives where we try to bring "sacrifices" of prayer or pledges of repentance or works, when really what we should be bringing to God is mercy for others and just simply the desire to know God? Do our "acts" of repentance sometimes get in the way of our actual love relationship with God?
Chapter 7 Verse 16 stood out to me today as well: "They look everywhere except to heaven, to the Most High." If we are hurting, sad, tired, do we look to things other than God? Do we look to "quick fixes" from things of this world that are not healthy for us? Do these "quick fixes" really fix the problem? Are we looking everywhere except to heaven, to the Most High? Will we look only for the Most High - God?
New Testament - Today we start and finish the book of Third John! Yes, it is quite a lengthy letter... :) This letter, like the 2 before it were written by the disciple John in about 85 to 95 A.D. The purpose of this letter is actually somewhat the opposite of the purpose of Second John. In Second John - see yesterday's post below - we learned that John was warning against providing hospitality to traveling false teachers. In Third John, John is asking Gaius to show hospitality to traveling teachers - but teachers that are teaching the truth. The unfortunate aspect of today's letter is that there is a bit of a dictator leading the local church named Diotrephes who is not welcoming in traveling teachers who teach the truth - the Gospel. So, I think we can learn from Second John & Third John that hospitality is obviously a very good thing - though, we should exercise caution with hospitality when there is danger of propagating a false teaching.
~ Third John ~
Author: John the apostle
Place: Uncertain, probably Ephesus
Date: A.D. 85-95
Content: This short letter is a personal note from John the apostle to his friend Gauis, encouraging him to support the traveling evangelists who are preaching the truth. He warns Gauis against such men as Diotrephes who refuse to help in spreading the gospel and commends others, such as Demetrius, for helping.
Theme: Christians are to support one another in the work of Christ. Not to do so is the work of Satan, who seeks to destroy the believers. John stresses that all believers are bound together as Christians and should work for the common good of all. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 34) A great overview of Third John by Daniel Wallace is at this link. Below is a marble statue of John by the artist Donatello from the year 1410 -
Verse 11 stands out in this letter, following John's writing about Diotrephes behavior - "Dear friend, don't let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God's children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God." Do we have examples of good and bad leaders in our life? Do we follow only the example of the good? Do you believe following the example of people doing good is proof that we are children of God?
Psalms - Psalm 126 has a great verse today. I always love the verses in Psalms that speak about water! I don't know what it is about these verses, but here's verse 4: "Restore our fortunes, LORD, as streams renew the desert." Do you believe that God can restore your life like water restores the desert? Will you allow God's water into all the nooks & crannies in your life that are in need of renewal?
Do you believe that God is living water? Are you thirsty for that living water in your life? Will you drink the Water?
Bible.org's commentary on Psalm 126 titled "Joyful Deliverance from Captivity" is at this link.
Proverbs - Proverbs 29 verse 13 is a great reminder that we are all made in the image of God - "The poor and the oppressor have this in common--the LORD gives light to the eyes of both." Is one better than the other? Are both equal in God's sight? Should both be equal in our sight?
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!