Daily Bible Readings – Monday, December 10, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 9

Prayer Point: There is only one way it is possible to love your enemies as Jesus taught. It’s when we believe in a big and powerful God who defends the powerless and promises to bring justice to our world.  Follow Psalm 9’s lead in praising God for his power, justice and mercy. Pray that God will act on behalf of an oppressed group of people that you, that he will protect, deliver and secure justice for them.

Luke 21:20-38

Jesus is preparing his disciples for the coming destruction of Jerusalem which occurred in AD70 when the Romans put down a rebellion and razed the entire city to the ground. What does he advise his disciples to do when the armies approach? How extensive will the devastation be? How long will Jerusalem be trampled by the Gentiles?

History tells us that when the Roman armies marched on Jerusalem, many in Israel retreated within its walls believing that God would not allow his city and his temple to be destroyed. Jesus’ disciples, remembering Jesus’ words, fled to the east.

In verse 25 Jesus transitions to speak about his second coming. What will the signs of Jesus’ coming look and feel like? How will people on earth react to it? How are Jesus’ followers to respond in contrast?

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

The Old Testament prophets used the phrase, ‘the day of the Lord’ to refer to a day of God’s judgment. In this case, it appears that Paul speaks of THE day of the LORD, that is, the day of Christ’s return.

Will the world be expecting the arrival of King Jesus? How should we prepare for his coming so that we are not also caught by surprise? What hope did God the Father acquire for us through the death of his Son? What should we do with this hope?

Isaiah 5:7-12, 15-25  – 6 Woes

What is this first “woe” about? (Actually, that answer may not be gleaned from the text itself. From the ESV Study Bible Notes pp. 1248-9: “5:8-30 This section translates the metaphorical “wild grapes” of vv. 2and 4 into literal realities. Six “woes” lament the bitter fruits of Israel’s character (vv. 8, 11, 8, 20, 21, 22), and four “therefores” anticipate the harvest of inescapable consequences (13, 14, 24, 25). 5:8-10 Leviticus 25 taught Israel to return purchased lands in the Year of Jubilee [every 50th year]. ‘The land is mine,’ God said (Lev. 25:23, and he parceled it out to families as their permanent inheritance from him (Num. 26:55; 33:54; 1 Kings 21:1-3). Restoring property to the original owner ensured a fresh start for whomever had fallen on hard times. Therefore, those who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room do business without regard for God’s instructions for his land. By accumulating more and more land, the powerful are driving the weaker members off the land that God allotted to them, and all for greed. But God sees to it that these landowners who force others out do not receive the profits they expect (Isa. 5:10).” Note: History has never recorded the releases commanded during the Year of Jubilee to have been effected.)

What of the houses and vineyards in verses 9 and 10? (The houses will remain without inhabitant. The “ten-acre” vineyard mentioned in verse 10 needs some explanation. According to the NIV footnotes: “Hebrew ten-yoke, that is, the land plowed by 10 yoke of oxen in one day.” So whatever that amount of land turns out to be, will only yield about 6 gallons of wine. The point is that the yield will be considerably less than one would anticipate.)

On to “woe” number two. What evil portent is spoken of ? (These sound like a bunch of layabouts or idlers in verse 11. These people live to drink [wine]. Verse 12 tells us that they are not appreciative of what the LORD has done for them.)

Verses 13 and 14 tell us the “therefores” of the previous verses: The people will go into exile and go hungry and thirsty.

Why is the “woe” of verses 5:18-19 so interesting? (These people want to push the sin limit with God. It looks like they want to flaunt their sin in his face and tell him “catch us if you can”.)

Why would a judgmental person like me appreciate the “woe” in verse 5:20? (“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” (NIV) This is almost self-explanatory. The society we live in today has no concept of shame but rather practices much evil to the applause of many. Abortion, unwed parenthood, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, gay marriage etc., are not soundly condemned in current mores but rather these are described as “alternative” life-styles. Let us not call sin sin! Any self-respecting dispensational would see this trend as indicative of the second advent of our Lord. Jesus is coming make no mistake about that!)

Who is the man who is “wise in his own eyes”? (That there is a “woe” attached to this verse, it may indicate the such a man is a fool.)

How does verse 5:22 give truth to verse 5:20? (According to this verse we are talking about making heroes of those at drinking wine. Perhaps this may prove to be a lost art form. — j.t.)

What are the consequences relating to verses 5:21 and 5:22? (These people can expect no harvest but rather plague-like disasters to befall them. Add to that the anger of the LORD being kindled against them does not bode well for them.)

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