Monthly Archives: May 2013

May 31 Bible Reading: Luke 4:16-30; Acts 8:26-40; Hebrews 8:1-13

Today’s reading are three prominent examples of how Jesus and the New Testament writers viewed and applied prophecies of the coming Messiah and the new covenant He would initiate.  Note, in the example from Luke in particular, how preconceived ideas prevented people from grasping the truth of the prophet’s message and its fulfillment.

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It’s Easy to Reject Jesus

How hard is it to accept (receive, believe…insert your word of choice here) Jesus?  Had it ought not to be easy?  His coming into the world was by the work and will of God.  there’s nothing too difficult for Him.  His intention is for all men to be saved (and thus the need for Jesus being accepted).  The capacity to do acts and deeds far beyond human capacity (miracles) was at His disposal.   His arrival on earth, among men, was not a surprise as it had been foretold in such a way that people were in expectation of his appearance.

Everything appears to be in place for people to fully embrace Jesus as the Son of God.

But, they did not.

Perhaps the most startling rejection came in His own hometown, Nazareth.  What began as a warm welcome quickly digressed to attempted murder averted only by a divine act—at least that’s how I understand “passing through their midst, he went away” (Luke 4:30).

The fact is, Jesus did not fit their preconceived notions of what the Messiah should be, He didn’t do for them the miracles they’d heard about, He dared speak the truth of God’s word that contradicted their cherished traditions.  To them, He failed utterly.

We may hold dear to many ideas, notions, and beliefs that actually contradict reality, truth, God’s word, and His Son.

It’s easy to do.

It’s easy to reject Jesus.

–David Deffenbaugh

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May 30 Bible Reading: Obadiah

This will likely be the shortest reading assignment of the year as Obadiah is the shortest book of the Old Testament as well as the only one that is a single chapter in length.  Obadiah joins Jonah and Nahum as books whose entire message is devoted to foreign powers.  Nearly all of the prophets, though, contain at least some oracles agains the nations.

Obadiah is addressed to Edom—comprised of the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother—for their failure to aid Judah in her hour of despair.

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You Get What You Give

Many people wonder how judgment will turn out for them.  Will I make it?  Will I be saved?  What can I anticipate receiving from God?

In answer to that last question the answer is pretty much, whatever you have been giving to others.  What do you want from  God?  Forgiveness, compassion, mercy and grace?  Then that better be how you are treating others.

A very certain and true biblical principle is that we will receive back what we give.  Jesus taught this repeatedly; from his parable of the unmerciful slave (Matt. 18:21-35), to the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” (Matt. 6:12), to the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:7), to His explicit statement, “For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).

The principle didn’t originate with Jesus, though.  the prophet Obadiah had warned the Edomites long years ago, “As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head” (Obadiah 1:15).

The mystery really isn’t that great.

–David Deffenbaugh

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What Day Is It?

A day is a day, right?

Not really.  Is a child’s birthday just another day?  Is a wedding anniversary day to be treated like all others?  Is a day off like a day at work? Does not the day of the death of a loved one stand out?
So, no, a day is not just a day.

Joel certainly didn’t think so. His concern was for the “day of the Lord”.  There is that sense in which every day is His since He made them all (Psa. 118:24).  There is also the day each week that is designated as the Lord’s day (Rev. 1:10).  But the day of the Lord the prophet speaks of is something different.

It’s referenced no less than seven times in this brief book.  It’s a day in which God will act in a special way.  For some it will be a day of “destruction” (1:15), a day of “darkness and gloom…of clouds and thick darkness” (2:2).  But it’s also a day that is “great and very awesome” (2:11).

In order for it to be the latter and not the former required something of His people.  They must “return to the Lord your God” (2:13).

So here’s something else about that day: “Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:14).

We have to decide.  It’s our decision that will make that day great or dark.  Either way, the day of the Lord comes.

–David Deffenbaugh

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May 29 Bible Reading: Joel 1-3

Joel’s prophecy is unlike any other of the prophets in that the entire message is based on a single catastrophic event; a locust plague.  There is no way to date this book with any accuracy, although Joel’s use of the event to warn of the coming “day of the Lord” has led many to believe the he is speaking of the Babylonian invasion and captivity.  Other events of God’s judgment, though, have been referred to in the same way, so this connection is in no way certain.

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May Week 5 Supplemental Reading Introduction

Week 5: Supplemental Reading
May 29-31

May’s supplemental readings will be taken from two additional prophets, Obadiah and Joel.  Both are somewhat difficult to place chronologically, but likely fall in the general time frame of this month’s readings.  Also we’ll look to the New Testaments at some examples of how Jesus and others used and applied prophecies from Isaiah and Jeremiah.

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May 28 Bible Reading: Catch Up Day

Today being the planned catch up day for the fourth week of May, we have no readings scheduled.  Please give some thought, though, to the following points and observations from this week’s reading.

1. Though Zephaniah proclaimed the certain judgment of God to Judah, he did not suggest that every person was at fault. “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord” (Zeph. 2:3).

Yes, God’s anger would be poured out on Judah, but his prayers was that those righteous ones might be spared harm through what would undoubtedly be very difficult times.  Yet another example that sometimes the righteous do suffer for the sins of others.

2. Generational faith is challenging.  As the line of kings in Judah demonstrated, faithfulness in the father did not guarantee it in the son.  One wonders about the spiritual influences on ones like Hezekiah and Josiah who had such wicked fathers yet became such great kings?  And, why their offspring were as unrighteous as they had been good?

One thing is for certain, we must exercise great care for the spiritual influences in our lives and those of our children.

3. The citizens of Jerusalem could not believe the message of Jeremiah.  They were convinced of God’s presence and His protection.  Was that an expression of faith?  No, it wasn’t.  Jeremiah said, “Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord” (Jer. 7:4).

They believed that as long as the physical temple stood, they were in God’s favor, no matter what kind of lives they lived.  Their trust was in external manifestations and representations instead of genuine devotion and service to God.

It’s a common mistake.

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God’s Word Scorned

Coincidence, I suppose (or not), but within a span of less than five minutes I read a Facebook post of a high leader of a major Christian religious group calling the Apostle Paul “mean spirited and bigoted” and that those who disagree with her are “enemies of the Holy Spirit.”  Then I read the words of Jeremiah, “the word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it” (Jer. 6:10).

The problems that plagued Judah and Jerusalem that led to her downfall are alive and well.

So is God.

If their problems are our problems then their remedy (which they neglected) is our remedy.

If we miss that, like they did, then their end will be our end too.

–David Deffenbaugh

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May 27 Bible Reading: Jeremiah 30-31

Though Jeremiah’s message to Judah was one of grave warning, he also looked to the future of Israel and Judah’s restoration.  This act of judgment did not mean God was finished with His people.  Further, Jeremiah looked to the time when God would even establish a brand new covenant relationship with man.

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For May week 4 Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

For May’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE