Category Archives: Micah

Micah 1-4; Romans 9

So this morning we find ourselves in the middle of chapters that theologians have argued over for millennia. And 66Books A Year is a devotional not a theological treatise. So where do we find the devotional point in these chapters.

In Romans 9 and Micah 1-3 God is seen as punishing and setting aside His chose people. They have left God and gone their own way and depending on the way one may read the Romans chapter it may be of God’s own doing. But then we see in Micah 4 the hope for not only Israel and Judah, but for us all. Two verses give us this hope:

6 In that day, declares the Lord,
I will assemble the lame
and gather those who have been driven away
and those whom I have afflicted;

7 and the lame I will make the remnant,
and those who were cast off, a strong nation;
and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion
from this time forth and forevermore. (Micah 4:6&7 [ESV])

God has always been for the marginalized. Here we see Him caring for the remnant and the lame and the disenfranchised. There is coming a day when things will be set right and we will enjoy the presence of the Lord forever. In the meantime He meets out His judgement and carries out His will and it can be hard to understand all that. But the promise is sure. We who have put our faith and trust in Him alone for our salvation will be forever with Him. Praise be to God!

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I Chronicles 26, 27, 2 Peter 1, Micah 4, Luke 13

Do you sometimes look for the exceptions in Scripture? That is, does a phrase or description cause you to pause and wonder? I’m studying the Word for the nth time and still surprised by what I missed all those other times. I don’t always approach Scripture with an agenda. I’m not always looking for an answer to prayer or searching for my life’s purpose. When reading the Bible, my curiosity catches a word or phrase and I am bound to circle context and content until I find relevance. For relevance are what all Scripture offers.

Take the many lists of fathers and sons in Chronicles. What pops out to me is the phrase after introducing the eight sons of Obed-Edom – “…for God blessed him,” (I Chron. 26:4-5) What to make of that; are we not blessed who have few or no sons? Or is it that Obed-Edom was blessed because his sons would be tasked with heavy responsibility in the kingdom of God?

“Also Hosah, of the children of Merari, had sons: Shri the first (for though he was not the firstborn, his father made him the first,” (I Chron. 26:10). This is yet another example in Scripture where a firstborn lost his heritage to a younger son. Depending on where you stand politically, you might herald this as a great triumph for the last being first. Another might decry, “Unfair!” as Lucy says on A Charlie Brown Christmas, “All I want is what I have coming to me; all I want is my fair share!”

“To Shuppim and Hosah the lot came out…watchman opposite watchman,” (I Chron. 26:16). Ominous, isn’t it? There is this perpetual need for watchmen; the eyes facing out, backs forming a barrier between the unknown dangers without and the trusting protected ones within. Who are our wathcmen?

“Also Jehonathan, David’s uncle, was a counselor, a wise man, a scribe…” (I Chron. 27: 32). Keeping family who know you best in your inner circle can mean accountability and practicality; uncomfortable at times but grounding when needed.

And this much debated truth – God chose holy men to be His spokesmen. “…knowing this first that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,” (II Peter 1:20). Thus, the source of all Scripture is God Himself. How reassuring! When I veer off, Scripture draws me back to God’s truth.

“Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord…He shall teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’” (Micah 4:2)

Talk about getting grounded! I am reminded not to be fooled or led astray by the automatic negative thoughts that lead to disturbed emotions and unthinkable behaviors toward others.

Jesus debunked false ideas: “Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

(Luke 13:4-5)

Lord Jesus, I do not mean to end my wonderings on a seemingly negative note. In fact, I am encouraged by picking out these exceptional verses of Scripture. They remind me of the intense focus you place on speaking to your children from creation to eternity. No matter that I am limited in understanding by my finite, mortal brain. Your Spirit calls to my spirit and I relish in listening, asking for clarification, responding to Your intimate knowing, and surprised repeatedly by Your mysteries. Love You, Lord! Looking forward to the next immersion in Your Word!

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture and commentary quotes from: The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 2 Peter, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Micah, Micah, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Micah 5-7 & Matthew 25

These passages have shaken me to the core. They are chilling and alarming, with an urgent warning. As we have been reading more into the prophetic books of Isaiah, Joel, Amos, and Micah, there is more and more pointing to the Savior’s birth and the unveiling of His redemption story and return. The scriptures are sometimes difficult to understand and interpret especially when looking at just a line or two. But Jesus was very specific in Matthew 25. These were the final parables he spoke before the wheels started turning in the plot for His murder.

Anytime Jesus speaks it is obviously important but as some of his last teachings and words to his friends, my ears perk up a little more and I pay even closer attention. As I said, these final parables have shaken me. All three are speaking of that final day, the judgment day that lies ahead for all of creation. Reading this made me pause and evaluate my own life and faith.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on this left. Then the King will say to those on his right, Come you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you cursed, I into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Though some parables may be confusing, I believe these three were quite clear. There will be people on that final judgment day who thought they were one of Christ’s brothers or sisters. They will be confused when they hear those chilling words, “Depart from me”. These parables seem to infer that there is something for the believer to DO to have eternal life. But in Matthew 25:34 Jesus says to the sheep on His right that their inheritance was prepared for them “from the foundation of the world”. It didn’t come from good works or how many people they won to Christ. The sheep were confused when the Lord said, “For I was hungry and you gave me food……..” They asked, “When did we feed you, Lord?” As true believers in the faith and disciples of Jesus Christ, our actions are fueled by the Holy Spirit and “planned in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:10) just as our hope and security for eternal life is prepared in advance.

So how do we know if we are a sheep or the goat, the wise virgin or the foolish? How can we rest assured that we will hear those words, “Come, you who are blessed”? What is the preparation needed to be ready so that we do not have to go and buy more oil? I believe these passages are simply referring to faith alone, by grace alone, through Christ alone-before it’s too late. There is no magic wording to be saved, no magic prayer or a laundry list of things to do before Christ returns. It is simply God, regenerating our hearts so that we my come to faith in Christ (by his grace). These passages remind us there is a time limit. Whether it’s this afternoon while we are driving home for work, when we are old and frail or whether we hear the trumpet sound calling all Christians home, there is a time limit. Once that time is up, there are no second chances. No time to get more oil, earn more money or do great things.

“Watch, therefore for you know neither the day nor the hour.”- Jesus

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Micah 4, 5; Revelation 11

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,

who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,

from you shall come forth for me

one who is to be ruler in Israel,

whose coming forth is from of old,

from ancient days.

Therefore he shall give them up until the time

when she who is in labor has given birth;

then the rest of his brothers shall return

to the people of Israel.

And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,

in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.

And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great

to the ends of the earth.

And he shall be their peace…Micah 5:2-5a

In a few short days, people all over the world will be celebrating Christmas. Everyone will be celebrating with their own traditions, unique to their families and unique to their cultures. Some will be making merry with the secular folklore of Santa Clause and his reindeer. And some will choose to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.

From the beginning, the coming of Christ was foretold. Throughout the generations the people of Israel anticipated the coming of the Messiah, hoped for the time to come when they would be liberated from the never ending line of oppressors.

Much of Israel imagined that their Messiah would come as a king and slay the enemy in a violent way to make room for his kingdom. Some people would come to realize that He came in a much different way –as a baby who would grow up as the rest of us do and redeem us in a much different way.

Micah was a prophet who spoke to the future of Jesus – the King who would stand up for His people, becoming like a shepherd to lead them to greener pastures, a bringer of peace. Micah’s prophesies gave the people the opportunity to glimpse into Jesus’ life hundreds of years before He was born, before He walked the earth.

God used Micah to encourage His people and give them hope about their coming King. He increased the eagerness of the people for their salvation and gave them something so important for them to look toward.

I think about the anticipation that I experienced over the past 9 months, from the time that I first heard the news that I was pregnant. It was amazing to have the opportunity to carry a child, knowing that he is full of potential and has an exciting destiny, a hope and a future. It was incredible to peek into the depths of my body to see the ultra sound of my little boy, to see his face with 3D imagery, a hint at what he would look like and who he may resemble. And, it was thrilling to finally meet him face to face and begin the process of getting to know who God made him to be.

Though Christ was born over 2000 years ago, I still experience a similar expectation when I read the prophecies about Him. I know that many of them have been fulfilled in His first coming and I look forward to the rest of them being fulfilled in His second coming. I am excited to get to know Him more, to see His face in the midst of my life. And I am glad to be able to experience His peace and know that I can find strength and security in Him.

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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I Chronicles 28, 2 Peter 2, Micah 5, & Psalm 106

Watch Bethlehem!

 I Chronicles 28:20 “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God – my God – will be will you.  He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.”

2 Peter 2:7 “…and delivered righteousness Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)…”

Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from old, From everlasting.”

Psalm 106: 1 “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

Some days I find myself in turmoil from competing emotions – love/fear, hope/despondency, belief/practicality…and I wonder when or IF God will do anything about my concerns.

My eyes are on the circumstances and the people about me.  My thoughts are racing from rationalizing to judging, from deserving punishment to pleading for mercy, from expectancy to acceptance of disappointment.  Too often, I crash and burn, screaming “I’m done!”

Doesn’t God hear me?  How much more can I bear? These raging wonderings result in quiet despair, and I settle into heaviness.  Why?  Do I not know that my God is with me?  When did I lower my eyes from the heavens and drag my weakened mind through thorny paths of lost hope?  Like Lot, I stand helpless, tormented.  All I can pray is “Have mercy on me, oh God.”

And every time – no, I mean it, – EVERY time – I look to The Savior, born in a manger, Who not only died for the world, but died for me, and Who was resurrected and now lives and rules and intercedes for me.  I lift my eyes to the heavens and wait.  I watch. I remember to expect the goodness of the Lord.

Then I chide myself and say “Why are you discouraged?  Your God will never forsake you and never leave you.”  I know this.  And then He comes – EVERY time.

Watch Bethlehem!  

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1 Chronicles 26, 27; 2 Peter 1; Micah 4; Luke 13

Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.”  Luke 13:18-19

“Your faith is shallow and superficial.”  Those were the words that a family member sent flying in my direction.  The words cut to the core and I was ashamed. I knew that there was a kernel of truth there.  Those words weren’t meant to encourage me to grow in faith. The statement was an indictment. I had been measured and found wanting.

Those words burned within for a month.  After all, I live in my own skin. I know the thoughts that rumble around in my head. I know my motives are often impure.  Like Peter, there are times when I choose to deny Christ.  I felt that I had let Jesus down. Then healing came. God took hold of my heart one morning and reminded me of the mustard seed. What he spoke was basically this, “Kathy, your faith in me is beautiful no matter how weak or how strong it is. I died to make your faith complete. I love you.”

So simple, but this is a lesson God never tires of teaching me over and over again. He has won the battle for my heart. His love, his grace are more powerful than my incomplete efforts.  I can rest in that.

Peter, who knew what it meant to deny Christ, offers  these words of encouragement, “To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:1-2

Philippians 1:6;  Ephesians 2:8

Kathy

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1 Chron 23; 1 Pet 4; Micah 2; Luke 11

It seemed like my kids were fighting all day. I was exhausted and asking God to give me the words to say. I found myself talking about love and what it really means to love others and that we need to show them. This brought to my mind the different ways that love is expressed. I recently took a love language test on-line at http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ . My love language is Acts of service. The others are,The Giving of Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Quality time and Physical touch. I thought about how sometimes I show love using my love language and it might be more meaningful if done in another way. Than I read this, “Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.” 1 Peter 4:8 MSG. As usual, something that I am teaching my kids comes right back to hit me square in the face. The verse goes on to say…

Be quick to take a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless-cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything-encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!” 1 Peter 4:8-11 MSG.

It won’t always be easy…

Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner…So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust Him. He knows what He’s doing, and he’ll keep on doing it.” 1 Peter 4:12-19 MSG

Dear Jesus, I pray that I would shine the light of your love, during this Thanksgiving and Christmas season. I pray that I can learn to be thankful for the difficulties that come into my life, because they draw me closer to You. Help me to see others through Your eyes.

And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask Him?”Luke 11:13 MSG. Father, thank you for loving me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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