Amos 1:1-3:15 ~ Revelation 2:1-17 ~ Psalm 129:1-8 ~ Proverbs 29:19-20
~ Click here to read today's Scripture on BibleGateway.com ~ // Mobile Site Link
~ Listen to today's Scripture on One Year Bible Online Audio,ESVBible.org: OT, NT, Psalms, Proverbs or DailyAudioBible.com (podcast) ~
Old Testament - Today we start the book of Amos! Amos was a unique prophet in that he was a shepherd and fig grower. His prophecies come from about 760 to 750 B.C. at a height of Israel & Judah's prosperity - materially. (not spiritually...) Though Amos was from Judah, his messages were primarily directed at Israel. A good introduction to the book of Amos is at this link. Below is an image of Amos, the "shepherd prophet":
Amos chapter 1 verse 2 sets the stage for this book and the prophecies to come: "This is his report of what he saw and heard: "The LORD's voice roars from his Temple on Mount Zion; he thunders from Jerusalem! Suddenly, the lush pastures of the shepherds dry up. All the grass on Mount Carmel withers and dies." Then in the remainder of chapter 1 and 2 there are prophecies against Israel and Judah's surrounding neighbors all starting with - ""The people of _(fill in the blank)__ have sinned again and again, and I will not forget it. I will not let them go unpunished any longer!" Is it possible that this blank could maybe be filled in on our life or habits at times? Is it possible that this blank could be filled in by nations in our world today? If God were to punish, might it be a holy discipline to bring us back to repentance and right relationship with God? Below is a portrait by artist Guy Rowe of Amos and the people:
In chapter 4 verse 2 it stood out to me how Judah was being called to the carpet as well as the neighboring nations: "They have rejected the laws of the LORD, refusing to obey him. They have been led astray by the same lies that deceived their ancestors." Do we obey God today in our lives? Are there areas in our life where we might be deceived - either by others, or maybe even in our own minds? Below is an image of Amos preaching to Kings Uzziah and Jeroboam II - from a 14th century illuminated Bible:
And Israel is called to the carpet in verses 6 & 7: "They have perverted justice by selling honest people for silver and poor people for a pair of sandals. They trample helpless people in the dust and deny justice to those who are oppressed." It seems that God is very interested in the care of the poor back then. Do you think he is still interested in the care of the poor today? Are we caring for the poor & the oppressed in our world today? In your life, are you caring for the poor & oppressed? Consistently? How?
New Testament - Revelation chapter 2 begins our journey of Jesus' messages to the seven churches in Asia Minor! (modern day Turkey). Below is a map of the 7 churches of Revelation:
Depending on what type of Bible you read, you might notice that ALL of the words in chapter 2 in today's readings are highlighted red - meaning, we are hearing directly from Jesus in these verses, so it's good to pay attention here! :)
The beginning of Revelation 2 verse 2 stands out to me today - ""I know all the things you do." Short and simple.... Do you suppose this is true about Jesus and your life? Do you think Jesus knows all of the things you do? Even every single thing that you think?
Verse 7 certainly stands out today as well from Jesus: "Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Everyone who is victorious will eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God." The tree of life takes us back to the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve ended up eating from the forbidden tree of knowledge - which gave them the knowledge of good and evil. God then banished them from the Garden before they could eat from the tree of life and live eternally. The tree of life represents eternal life, and as we see in this verse it is offered to all who are victorious. What does it mean to be victorious? Do you want to eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God? Will you listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying? Below is a stained glass image of the Tree of Life:
Verse 17 is intriguing! "Everyone who is victorious will eat of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it." The second sentence is very intriguing to me - a white stone will be given with a new name upon it. I need to do some more research on what exactly this means. If anyone has thoughts on the white stone / new name, please post up in the comments below.
Psalms - Psalm 129 is a prayer for the continuing withering of Israel's enemies and verse 4 likely represents a celebration from Babylonian captivity - "But the LORD is good; he has cut the cords used by the ungodly to bind me." How about in our lives today? Has Jesus cut any cords used by the ungodly to bind you? Are there still some cords being used by the ungodly to bind you? Will you let Jesus cut those cords? Will you let Jesus free you from that captivity? Do you believe that Jesus is good and that he wants to cut the cords that bind you? Do you believe that Jesus cares for you?
Proverbs - Proverbs 29 verse 20 is fairly well known: "There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking." This a good reminder to think before speaking! Do you ever speak without thinking? Is this foolish? Do you listen more than you speak when you are with others? Do you speak wisely? Thoughtfully? Let us each think as we speak! And let us not speak incessantly...
YouTube: Today's readings in Revelation 2:2 and Psalm 129 remind me of the Building 429 song "Always:"
Do you believe Jesus is with you Always? Click here for Always!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it." Revelation 2:17 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray for ears to hear. Pray for victory. Pray that you will receive a white stone with a new name written on it. Pray for the gift of hidden manna.
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!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our One Year Bible readings at this link.
p.p.s. Download a schedule of our One Year Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
p.p.p.s. I would greatly appreciate it if you would pray for this One Year Bible Blog ministry today. Thanks!