Daily Archives: June 10, 2017

Through the Bible, June 10

Reading: Ezekiel 33, 34, 36

Summary: The last chapters of Ezekiel (33-48) follow the fall of Jerusalem and focus on the time of restoration and God’s eternal kingdom.  The prophet also addresses the critical issue of Israel’s failed leaders.  The discussion of the roles of watchmen and shepherd are insightful for leaders of all times.

Devotional Thought:

How Can We Be So Wrong?

It may not seem like a big deal, especially when compared with other concerns and issues, but there’s just something about failing to do things God’s way that is upsetting—maybe I’m reading the Bible too much.  What makes this really bothersome is it’s being done by otherwise sincere believers.  It’s not like it’s a bunch of rebellious ne’er-do-wells.

Let’s start with Ezekiel’s message from God, “As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep” (Ezek. 34:12; NASB).  God has some real issues with shepherds of His people failing in their roles. He lays much of the responsibility for Israel’s deplorable spiritual condition on the “shepherds” (see Ezek. 34:1-6).

Fast forward to the New Testament.  Jesus, of course, is the good shepherd (John 10:14).  He’s the “Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Pet. 2:25).  But beyond that responsibility has been given to others to oversee and shepherd Gods’ people. This is quite explicitly stated, “I exhort the elders among you…shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight” (1 Pet. 5:1-2; see also Acts 20:17, 28).

So what’s the deal?  Here it is—most typically preachers are called pastors and expected to fill the role of shepherding.  The Bible doesn’t do that—we do that.  It’s not doing things that need to be done the way God wants them done.  That’s the deal.

Is it just me?  Or does God express great concern for shepherds?  Does God not make provisions and give instructions for shepherding?  Would we be best served to follow God’s lead and direction?

I’m just full of questions.

Through the Bible, June 9

Reading: Daniel 6, 9

Summary: Daniel appears to transition from a role of leadership in Babylon to the same under the Medes and Persians.  Today’s reading involves two incidents from the rule of Darius the Mede.  The first is Daniel’s famous visit to the lion’s den.  The second involves a prayer offered by Daniel, truly one of the great petitions recorded in Scripture.  A third vision is also dated during the reign of this same king (chapter 11) and yet another to the time of Cyrus of Persia (chapter 10).

Devotional Thought:

Don’t Dare Pray!

Have you prayed today?

If not, why not?  Is it because you just hadn’t thought about it?  Is it because you only pray at meal time or in a worship assembly?  Is it because you’re not in the habit of praying?  Is it because you’ve been threatened with death if you do?

I’m guessing it’s probably not that last one, is it?  But what if you were told you could not pray to God?  What if you were told that if you were caught praying you would be killed?  You know, like Daniel was (Daniel 6).

Is prayer more of a possibility for you if it is under the threat of death or if there is no pressure, no threat, no ill effects if you do?

Is the proof of the importance of prayer in my life most evident when there is the chance of death if I do or when there is no looming threat at all?