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Zechariah 10:1-11:17 ~ Revelation 18:1-24 ~ Psalm 146:1-10 ~ Proverbs 30:33
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Old Testament - We continue to read some incredible prophesies from Zechariah today about Jesus, the Messiah, coming in 500 years! In chapter 10 verse 4 today Zechariah calls Jesus the "cornerstone": "From Judah will come the cornerstone, the tent peg, the bow for battle, and all the rulers." Why do you think Zechariah called Jesus the cornerstone? You'll recall that we read earlier in the year this passage in Matthew chapter 21 verse 42: "Then Jesus asked them,
In Zechariah chapter 11 verses 12 & 13 we have a foreshadowing of Judas betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver - and Judas' money being used to buy the potters field: "And I said to them, “If you like, give me my wages, whatever I am worth; but only if you want to.” So they counted out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—this magnificent sum at which they valued me! So I took the thirty coins and threw them to the potter in the Temple of the Lord." (hopefully you caught Zechariah's sarcasm in "this magnificent sum"...) A couple things to note here - 30 pieces of silver was the price of a slave among the Israelites in ancient times. Paying this price to Zechariah was an insult. However, paying this price for the life of Jesus was an unfathomable insult. Our Lord's life was sold for 30 pieces of silver... During this Christmas season this is really sad to think about - it's sad to think about this at any time, but somehow just celebrating our Lord's birth 2 days ago, and then now thinking about how his precious life was sold for 30 silver pieces is just incredibly sad for me today. Zechariah was rejected. Jesus was rejected. Think it's possible that if you and I really live our lives for God - really live our faith - that we too may be rejected some day? That perhaps someday our lives could be sold for just 30 pieces of silver? (There are modern day martyrs whose lives were taken for much less than this amount...) Below is the artist Rembrandt's painting from the year 1629 of "Judas Returning the Thirty Silver Pieces" and below that is a replica of 30 silver shekels from the 1st century:
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Zechariah titled "Oracle Concerning YHWH’s Sovereignty" is at this link.
New Testament – In Revelation chapter 18 today we read about the fall of Babylon. This is one of those chapters in Revelation that can be interpreted in many ways by many different people - with the overriding question and interpretation revolving around who is Babylon that John is referring to here? Most commentaries that I have read suggest that John is referring to the Roman empire of the 1st century in this chapter. Much of Revelation is eschatological - end times prophecy - and some commentaries suggest that this chapter is too. But it seems that most commentaries look at this chapter as a prophecy toward the fall of the Roman empire - an empire that in John's time was a "cult of emperor worship". An empire that John wrote about here to warn the early Christian churches to be on guard against because it stood against God and His people. However - other commentaries do consider Babylon in this chapter to represent the political and religious system of the world in general under the rule of the antichrist. And some others see this chapter to be about a literal Babylon in Mesopotamia that is rebuilt and restored in the end times. Below is John Martin's "Fall of Babylon" from Illustrations from the Bible, 1835:
Since we're nearing the end of the book of Revelation, and in particular because of the questions this chapter 18 can bring up, this is probably a good time for me to re-post this information below about the book of Revelation - same info I posted up when we started Revelation chapter 1 on December 9th. There are basically 4 lines of thinking on how to interpret the book of Revelation, which I think are helpful to consider before diving into this book. I am editing these comments below from bible.org at this link: Please check out this link for more details on these 4 points below and the book of Revelation overall - these comments were edited on bible.org from M. C. Tenney, Interpreting Revelation.
"(1) The preterist approach believes that “Revelation is simply a sketch of the conditions of the empire in the first century.”
(2) The historicist view (or continuous-historicist view) “contends that Revelation is a symbolic presentation of the entire course of the history of the church from the close of the first century to the end of time.”
(3) The futurist approach usually argues that “all of the visions from Revelation 4:1 to the end of the book are yet to be fulfilled in the period immediately preceding and following the second advent of Christ.”
(4) In the idealist approach, “the Revelation represents the eternal conflict of good and evil which persists in every age, although here it may have particular application to the period of the church.”"
Below is art titled "The Angel with the Millstone" - a manuscript illumination from the year 1020 for chapter 18 verse 21 today: "Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a huge millstone. He threw it into the ocean and shouted, “Just like this, the great city Babylon will be thrown down with violence and will never be found again."
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Revelation chapter 18 titled "Destruction of Commercial Babylon" is at this link and "Use It or Lose It!" is at this link.
Psalms - I love Psalm 146 verse 9 today: "The LORD protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows." If God protects foreigners, orphans and widows, should we protect these folks in our communities as well? How in your life today are you caring for orphans and widows and foreigners? Below is Psalm 146 verses 5 through 10 in another language (can anyone identify this language? I'm sure one of our readers can...), but I think we'll get the point of this image with these 5 verses (re-read verses 5 through 10 again and reflect on this image for a moment):
Proverbs - Today Proverbs chapter 30 verse 33 teaches us: "As the beating of cream yields butter and striking the nose causes bleeding, so stirring up anger causes quarrels." This is an appropriate Proverb for our Christmas season when we spend so much time with our families, no? :) I shouldn't joke about this I realize - but I think it's appropriate to address this issue. During the holiday season I am afraid that sometimes we bring up old battles or wounds when we spend time with our families - and we risk stirring up anger that causes quarrels. Don't get me wrong - I think it's ultimately better to bring things into the open with our families. That's how healing begins. But let us be careful that we don't just revert to some old "scripts" we have with our families that stirs up anger in ourselves or in them and then causes quarrels. Let us write some new redemptive and loving scripts instead! Do you ever stir up anger that causes quarrels in your family? Do some folks in your family stir up anger that causes quarrels? Will you pray that Jesus will introduce new redemptive and loving "scripts" in your family this holiday season? And will you make sure you no longer cause any stirring up of unnecessary anger?
YouTube - Psalm 146:9 today reminds me of the fantastic song "Give This Christmas Away" by Matthew West and Amy Grant, with this terrific video featuring Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purses' Operation Christmas Child:
Did you give this Christmas away? Click here and give it all to Jesus!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked." Psalm 146:9 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you will help the Lord watch over foreigners in your life. Pray that you will help sustain the orphans and widows. Pray that the Lord will continue to frustrate the ways of the wicked.
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!
I like what you wrote " ... God really is not impressed with our shows of "strength" or "independence." God is much more impressed when we are dependent on Him". I told you about my 'friends', right? Those 'friends' that think I now join some 'weird community'. The 'friends' that probably think "Hmm ... Mae is passioned about what she does lately, so she must join a community ... because when you do things that you really don't want to do, then you join a church". LOL Yeah ... please forgive them.
Anyway, I now know who my real friends are, that means a lot to me. If I have to loose some people that were suppose to be my friends, well, so be it. I couldn't care less. I just hope and pray for them that some day they'll see the light. Well, I'm getting off track here ... What I was saying, I really like what you said about how God is not impressed with our shows of 'strength' or 'independence'. God is much more impressed when we are dependent on Him. That's just so true! Things are getting more clear to me every day! I realize that when I'm just doing the things I need to do as a Christian. Then God will see me, He'll hear me and He'll give to me. I can just do what I need to do and totally depend on Him and He'll give me what I need. For example: last Summer Rene and I hit rock bottom financially. Rene's former boss still owed us money and we really needed that badly! When it really hit us, I didn't have a job so I needed to just GET a job. No matter what it was. This all happened right before I was saved, a week or 2 ... I should say I was in the middle of everything. We hit rock bottom and then I started to go to the church.
Anyway ... I needed a job and with the lousy economy we have going on right here, it was pretty hard to get a job. I had to put my diploma's, workhistory and pride aside, I just HAD to take a job, no matter what it was. We needed money and right away! I just didn't have the time to go through serious and deep interviews and rounds blah blah blah. I just had to have a job, instantly. So I went to an employment-agency and they introduced me to HMS, where I work right now. I had an interview there and I was suppose to start as a parttime tele-marketeer. I was sad, but I realized we really needed the money. With all do respect for tele-marketeers, I don't think any less of them, honestly! But it's just that I always had managerfunctions, so this was a huge step back for me! But I just did it, I went to the interview and for some testings I did the tele-marketing-thing. Quite quickly the manager came up to me and told me they all thought I was too experienced to work as a telemarketeer and they wanted me to work as a Media Advisor. Which personally fit me more. Still not what I had in mind for myself to do, but again: we needed the money. I was happy though that I like the company and I really like the department I work in. When extra people were needed, I just went extra hours to the office, when other departments needed people I would just changed departements for a day or 2. Whenever there was something to do, I'd help out. I trusted the Lord that He'd shine through me and finally someone would notice me and opportunities would rise.
Everyday I go to work, with a smile on my face: I'm a child of God ... and I trust my Father! People started to call me "Mae with the big smile" and 3 weeks ago I had a talk with my boss and he said they would offer me a contract for a year. Which was great of course!!!! And last week ... I had another talk with my boss ... this one's even better ... He told me that 'whatever' I wanted to do within the company, they'd support me, all I have to do is let him know what I want to do. What ever manager position I want, they'll help me. I can choose a school that I want and they pay for the whole thing! So I'll start out soon as a teamleader, then I go to school and will be a Marketing Manager within a year or 2!!! So now, how is that? I depended on the Lord, I didn't complain, I just did what I had to do and He gave me this! Depend on the Lord, being patience ... it will all be allright.
So what I was going to say about my 'friends'. They don't understand how Christians can be in problems or like me having a job that is way underneath of what I can do. They think all Christians should have everything they want, because 'God can do everything, right?". I just smile when they talk like that!! I mean, I'm still Mae! Mae with her struggles, Mae the human being. I'm still the same person! I just found a way to live my life differently. I found Jesus ... But it all doesn't mean that I'm still in a learning process! But come on! The thing that happened with my job, that proves that eventually, when I just be me, when I just do what I need to do, do not complain and put a smile on my face ... I get what I deserve!
Posted by: Mae | December 26, 2012 at 09:30 PM