Daily Bible Readings – Sunday, September 16, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 84

Prayer Point:   Without pain, we would lose our hunger for heaven. Pray that God will use the pain in our lives to increase our longing for heaven, our true home, and God, our true Father.  Pray for God’s strength to persevere while we wait.

Matthew 5:21-26

Of all the laws in the 10 Commandments one would think that “do not murder” would be the easiest one to keep. How does Jesus redefine our understanding of murder? Are we murderers according to Jesus?

God’s Law was never only about not breaking rules. The heart of God’s Law is to love him and to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is not enough to avoiding murdering our brother or sister in our hearts, we are also called to actively love them. How does Jesus ask us to love those we are in conflict with?

Revelation 18:1-18

The lamb is a personification of Jesus in the book of Revelation. Jesus’ faithful people, true Israel and the church, are described as the bride of the lamb.

These images have their evil counterparts. The beast, Satan, is a distortion of Jesus the lamb. The whore of Babylon, Satan’s world system, mocks the bride of the lamb.

The name Babylon is significant in Israel’s history, as it was the kingdom that destroyed Jerusalem, the temple of God, and carried God’s people into exile. Babylon represents the Satanic system that has historically opposed and oppressed God’s people.

What kind of a relationship did the kings of the earth have with the whore of Babylon? What benefit did the world’s merchants get out of their relationship with her?

What is God’s message to Babylon? What is God’s message to his faithful people? What is about to happen to the whore of Babylon?

This message has its roots in Israel’s history. Remember that God freed his people by sending plagues to bring their Egyptian oppressors to their knees. Just as Israel came out of Egypt, now the church is called to come out of “Babylon” for judgment is coming.

Job 38:18-41 – God’s questions continue …

How does the LORD display his own sense of sarcasm? (“What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings?” (Job 38:19-20 NIV) [Here is comes…] “Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years.” (Job 38:21 NIV))

The remainder of the chapter peppers Job with these unanswerable questions just to give him something to think about. These should be the questions we ask ourselves when we fall into a slump, or in depths of despair. Many times we consider others who have a worse lot than we have as a means of finding gratitude. I suppose that that can lead us to a point of superiority. What do these questions lead us to think? (I hope they lead us toward humility. I hope they remind us that God is in control – that he is sovereign. I hope they show us how small we are and at the same time how important we are to him. I think the Lord cares very much for us – he certainly did for Job because he could have as easily struck him dumb, or worse, dead. But instead he takes the time to confront Job, and not with anger. All of these questions remind us of all that God does and continues to do – he does it as much today as then. – j.t.)

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