1 Kings 22:1-53 ~ Acts 13:16-41 ~ Psalm 138:1-8 ~ Proverbs 17:17-18
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Old Testament - Today we finish the book of First Kings! Second Kings begins tomorrow! Ahab is not happy about the Arameans occupying Ramoth-gilead at the beginning of today's readings. A location profile of Ramoth-gilead is at this link. Ramoth-gilead was on a hilltop that could have looked something like this:
King Jehoshaphat of Judah wisely suggests that they should consult God before going into battle against the Arameans. At which time King Ahab of Israel trots out his 400 yes-men "prophets" who say they should definitely go to war and that they will be victorious. I love Jehoshaphat's reaction to these 400 yes-men in verse 7: "But Jehoshaphat asked, "Isn't there a prophet of the LORD around, too? I would like to ask him the same question."" Ahab's reaction in verse 8 is quite telling... "There is still one prophet of the LORD, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but bad news for me! His name is Micaiah son of Imlah." This verse really stands out for me in a big way in our world today. I wonder if sometimes we - you and me - look for supposed "prophets" of the Lord that are yes-people to our particular likings - instead of looking for Truth. Meaning... and I'm just putting this out there, so bear with me. Do we sometimes maybe even decide to attend a particular church because it tells us basically what we want to hear? It keeps us in our comfortable place... we get yes-messages... When, instead, should we be okay with attending a church that will give us some challenging and convicting messages on occasion? Biblical messages mind you - which surely can be challenging to our modern ears at times. I heard somewhere once before that church should be a place that "comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable." I like that... Now, don't get me wrong. I am not saying we need to be in super-strict churches per se. I just think we should really watch for churches that are giving a yes-message all the time to our particular likings verses churches that teach the Truth. I don't think church is the only area of where we might default to looking for yes-messages. I think this can happen in books we read, TV we watch, or even with friends or with work. Are we listening to 400 yes-people in our lives or are we okay with 1 Micaiah coming in and sharing a perceived "bad-news" message? (which may ultimately be very good news if we'll just listen to it... if Ahab had really listened to Micaiah's message in today's readings, think he still would have rushed out to battle?) Below is an image of Micaiah and the false prophets before Jehoshaphat and Ahab:
New Testament - Acts 13 is a great sermon from Paul today! Really... this is about as good as it gets for a solid Gospel presentation. Go Paul. I love how he starts off in verse 16: "So Paul stood, lifted his hand to quiet them, and started speaking. "People of Israel," he said, "and you devout Gentiles who fear the God of Israel, listen to me." You'll note that Paul delivers this message to both Jews and Gentiles - he is preaching the Gospel for the world! Are you really listening to Paul's message to you in today's readings in Acts?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Acts titled "Putting the Past in Perspective" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 138 is an awesome Psalm of thanksgiving and praise to God from David! You'll note that the word Temple is used in verse 2 - and of course the Temple was built by David's son Solomon. It is thought that David used the word Temple in reference to the tent holding the Ark of the Covenant. Some have also thought that this Psalm possibly was written after David's time, in the post-exile period. Either way, it is a beautiful Psalm of praise. Psalm 138 begins a final collection of eight "Davidic" Psalms, which are framed by songs of Praise in Psalm 138 & Psalm 145 - and Psalms 139 through 144 are six prayers.
In Psalm 138 today, verse 3 stood out to me - "When I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strength I need." Do you believe that God answers your prayers? Maybe not exactly in the way you'd expect, but that they are answered? Do you believe that God answers your prayers through encouragement and by giving you strength?
Verse 7 stood out to me as well - "Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will preserve me against the anger of my enemies.
You will clench your fist against my angry enemies! Your power will save me." Do you believe that Jesus' power will save you in times of trouble? Or do you rely on your own power and maybe forget about Jesus during times of trouble? Will you rely on Jesus, realizing that only His power will ultimately save you?
Proverbs - Proverbs 17 verse 17 is fantastic: "A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need." The thing I think about here is that Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John that we are his friends. That is an amazing thing to think about. As a friend, do you believe Jesus is always loyal to us? Conversely, are we as Jesus' friends, always loyal to Him? Then, in the second half of the Proverb, as brothers and sisters in Christ, I do believe that we are to help each other in a time of need - much like a family brother or sister would help us. Through Jesus, we become a spiritual family. A family of brothers and sisters that is born to help each other in a time of need. Are you available to help your brothers and sisters - both in your birth and spiritual family - during their time of need?
YouTube: Today's Proverb reminds me of the beautiful Delirious song "What a Friend I've Found:"
Is Jesus your friend? Click here for your Friend Forever!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses." Acts 13:38-39 TNIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you have been forgiven of your sins, through your faith in Jesus. Pray that you have been set free from every sin and are justified by Jesus.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!