Daily Devotional Week 43 Day 1 OT (chronological) Sunday (Nahum 1 -3)

Daily Devotional

Week 43 Day 1

OT (chronological)

Sunday (Nahum 1 -3)

Nahum prophesied to Ninevah about a century after Jonah’s visit. They had drifted back into their pre-Jonah evil ways.

“From you, O Nineveh, one has marched forth who plots evil against the Lord, a wicked military strategist. ”

“Woe to the city guilty of bloodshed! She is full of lies; she is filled with plunder; she has hoarded her spoil!”

He described Ninevah’s great power to destroy other nations, including the Lord’s permission for them to destroy Israel and Judah as judgment, then stated that they faced even worse punishment – for they had sinned far worse than those whom they conquered.

Nahum declared “The Lord is good – indeed, he is a fortress in time of distress, and he protects those who seek refuge in him. But with an overwhelming flood he will make a complete end of Nineveh; he will drive his enemies into darkness.”

Ninevah had a wonderful opportunity to start-over and to receive blessings from the Lord, but they instead returned to their pagan and violent ways of the past.

Why would the Ninevites have drifted backward?

When have you experienced, or observed, the giving of a second chance that was squandered due to a return to bad behavior?

Dear Lord, You offered Ninevah mercy through Jonah but they had forgotten You and returned to their evil ways, thus You judged them. Please reveal to me where I am backsliding some. I will repent and make the necessary adjustments to resist backsliding – including inviting a fellow Believer to hold me accountable and to pray in-agreement with me. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 42 Day 7 OT (chronological) Saturday (Isaiah 60 – 66)

Daily Devotional

Week 42 Day 7

OT (chronological)

Saturday (Isaiah 60 – 66)

Isaiah encouraged his listeners to see themselves in a promised – but not yet actualized – state of presence with the Lord God “… look, darkness covers the earth and deep darkness covers the nations, but the Lord shines on you; his splendor appears over you.”

The term “Israel” had been moving from literal to figurative in the Lord God’s communication through His prophets for many decades and here it shifts completely to the figurative “You will no longer be called, “Abandoned,” and your land will no longer be called “Desolate.” Indeed, you will be called “My Delight is in Her,” and your land “Married.” For the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married to him. As a young man marries a young woman, so your sons will marry you. As a bridegroom rejoices over a bride, so your God will rejoice over you.”

Isaiah used the symbolism of agriculture for a spiritual purpose “The Lord swears an oath by his right hand, by his strong arm: “I will never again give your grain to your enemies as food, and foreigners will not drink your wine, which you worked hard to produce. But those who harvest the grain will eat it, and will praise the Lord. Those who pick the grapes will drink the wine in the courts of my holy sanctuary.”

Isaiah reported the challenge of the Lord God “I made myself available to those who did not ask for me; I appeared to those who did not look for me. I said, ‘Here I am! Here I am!’ to a nation that did not invoke my name. I spread out my hands all day long to my rebellious people, who lived in a way that is morally unacceptable, and who did what they desired.”

He observed that the Lord God would “choose” those who responded to Him and would reject those who rejected Him “But as for you who abandon the Lord and forget about worshiping at my holy mountain, who prepare a feast for the god called ‘Fortune,’ and fill up wine jugs for the god called ‘Destiny’ – I predestine you to die by the sword, all of you will kneel down at the slaughtering block, because I called to you, and you did not respond, I spoke and you did not listen. You did evil before me; you chose to do what displeases me.”

Dear Lord, When humankind could not provide a champion to meet the demands of Your perfect and holy justice, You came down from Heaven and provided Your way for us. Although it is impossible for me to ever properly thank You, may my heart be broken with gratitude every time Your Holy Spirit reminds me of what You have done. You exist as a Trinity of persons, yet are One. Mere humankind cannot fully understand this, just as humankind cannot comprehend other things about God. You desire to make the willing whole and to then welcome us to dwell with You. May I grow in a spiritual sense of Your vision for my future, and that of Your other children, that I may be strengthened for service. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 42 Day 6 OT (chronological) Friday (Isaiah 55 – 5 9)

Daily Devotional

Week 42 Day 6

OT (chronological)

Friday (Isaiah 55 – 59)

The redemption made possible by Jesus was likened to a temporarily fractured marriage “Indeed, the Lord will call you back like a wife who has been abandoned and suffers from depression, like a young wife when she has been rejected,” “For a short time I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In a burst of anger I rejected you momentarily, but with lasting devotion I will have compassion on you,” says your protector, the Lord.”

God said “Seek the Lord while he makes himself available; call to him while he is nearby! The wicked need to abandon their lifestyle and sinful people their plans. They should return to the Lord, and he will show mercy to them, and to their God, for he will freely forgive them.”

“I dwell in an exalted and holy place, but also with the discouraged and humiliated, in order to cheer up the humiliated and to encourage the discouraged. For I will not be hostile forever or perpetually angry, for then man’s spirit would grow faint before me, the life-giving breath I created.”

God said “… this is the kind of fast I want. I want you to remove the sinful chains, to tear away the ropes of the burdensome yoke, to set free the oppressed, and to break every burdensome yoke. I want you to share your food with the hungry and to provide shelter for homeless, oppressed people. When you see someone naked, clothe him! Don’t turn your back on your own flesh and blood!”

Distance from the Lord God is always our fault, He stands ready and willing to reconcile and to restore, but “For this reason deliverance is far from us and salvation does not reach us. We wait for light, but see only darkness; we wait for a bright light, but live in deep darkness.”

The consequence of rebellion is always apparent in the form of a troubled civilization “We stir up oppression and rebellion; we tell lies we concocted in our minds. Justice is driven back; godliness stands far off. Indeed, honesty stumbles in the city square and morality is not even able to enter. Honesty has disappeared; the one who tries to avoid evil is robbed. The Lord watches and is displeased, for there is no justice.”

Dear Lord, May I never believe nor tolerate the belief that there is anything remotely like a “cheap and easy grace”. There is no eternal grace absent genuine repentance; an honest confession, turning away from sin/rebellion, requesting and receiving forgiveness, and surrendering everything to the Lordship of Christ. You are our hope and our accountability; our relationship with You is on Your terms and not ours. May I learn to know you better so that I may live rightly before You. You hold us accountable and expect us to hold one-another accountable. You want a real relationship with us, and You want us to have real relationships with one-another, relationships characterized by love and not legalistic rituals and selfish expectations. May I reflect daily on my progress toward maturity in a life that is lived as You would have it, not as the world teaches. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 42 Day 5 OT (chronological) Thursday (Isaiah 49 – 55)

Daily Devotional

Week 42 Day 5

OT (chronological)

Thursday (Isaiah 49 – 55)

God explained why the nation of Israel was no longer blessed, except symbolically “… you were sold because of your sins; because of your rebellious acts I divorced your mother.”

Jesus was prophesied, in the moments following His false trial, conviction, and abuse “… his form was so marred he no longer looked human …” and upon His return … he will startle many nations … Kings will be shocked by his exaltation, for they will witness something unannounced to them, and they will understand something they had not heard about.”

Jesus “… sprouted up like a twig before God, like a root out of parched soil; he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention, no special appearance that we should want to follow him … He was despised and rejected by people, one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness; people hid their faces from him; he was despised, and we considered him insignificant.” “But he lifted up our illnesses, he carried our pain; even though we thought he was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed. All of us had wandered off like sheep; each of us had strayed off on his own path, but the Lord caused the sin of all of us to attack him.”

Pre-Cross “He was treated harshly and afflicted, but he did not even open his mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughtering block, like a sheep silent before her shearers, he did not even open his mouth. He was led away after an unjust trial – but who even cared?” Assuming our sin “… he was cut off from the land of the living; because of the rebellion of his own people he was wounded.”

“They intended to bury him with criminals, but he ended up in a rich man’s tomb, because he had committed no violent deeds, nor had he spoken deceitfully.”

The demand of perfect justice meant that “… the Lord desired to crush him and make him ill, once restitution is made, he will see [spiritual] descendants and enjoy long [eternal] life, and the Lord’s purpose will be accomplished through him.” “My servant will acquit many, for he carried their sins.” “So I will assign him a portion with the multitudes, he will divide the spoils of victory with the powerful, because he willingly submitted to death and was numbered with the rebels, when he lifted up [or
off] the [eternal consequences of] sin of many and intervened on behalf of the rebels.”

Wisdom: “Seek the Lord while he makes himself available; call to him while he is nearby! The wicked need to abandon their lifestyle and sinful people their plans. They should return to the Lord, and he will show mercy to them, and to their God, for he will freely forgive them.”

Lord, when we act against You, we harm our relationship with You. Today I will joyfully surrender that place in my life that is not right before You. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 42 Day 4 OT (chronological) Wednesday (Isaiah 42 – 48)

Daily Devotional

Week 42 Day 4

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (Isaiah 42 – 48)

Isaiah said that God would restore Himself as their king and that what was to come was completely separate from the past and that none of those time and place-specific miracles were relevant to what He was about to do “Don’t remember these earlier events; don’t recall these former events. “Look, I am about to do something new. Now it begins to happen! Do you not recognize it?”

He then challenged them, much as He previously challenged Job, to show how they were right and He was wrong “Remind me of what happened! Let’s debate! You, prove to me that you are right!” and that His desire is repentance, reconciliation, and restoration “I, I am the one who blots out your rebellious deeds for my sake; your sins I do not remember.”

God challenged the absurdity of idolatry “This is what the Lord, Israel’s king, says, their protector, the Lord who commands armies: “I am the first and I am the last, there is no God but me.” “All who form idols are nothing; the things in which they delight are worthless. Their witnesses cannot see; they recognize nothing, so they are put to shame.”

The Lord would commission Cyrus “… the one I appointed as shepherd to carry out all my wishes and to decree concerning Jerusalem, ‘She will be rebuilt,’ and concerning the temple, ‘It will be reconstructed.’”

God would call and equip Persian king Cyrus, despite being neither an Israelite nor a gentile Believer in Him “For the sake of my servant Jacob, Israel, my chosen one, I call you by name and give you a title of respect, even though you do not recognize me.”

The phrase in these texts “I formed you in the womb” is interesting since it describes both the nation of Israel and Cyrus the man, therefore it is not a literal but a figurative illustration.

When have you been ‘rescued’ by an unlikely person, someone clearly sent by the Lord, but not a fellow Believer?

Dear Lord, You love Your children but You do not tolerate disobedience and rebellion. You are so faithful even as we are unfaithful. May I recognize and honor Your grace through a humble heart that repents of sin and cries-out for Your reconciliation and restoration of my relationship with You. You alone are God, there is no other. May I praise You for Your lovingkindness, Your unchanging justice, and Your promise of eternity to Your children. You decide whom You will rescue and whom You will punish; Your justice is perfect and your power irresistible. You require of us that we repent, be reconciled to You, and then our relationship will be restored to pre-Fall purity. May I praise You for Your enduring love. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 42 Day 3 OT (chronological) Tuesday (Isaiah 40 – 41)

Daily Devotional

Week 42 Day 3

OT (chronological)

Tuesday (Isaiah 40 – 41)

Isaiah lifted praise for the mercy and provision of the Lord God to His children “But those who wait for the Lord’s help find renewed strength; they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings, they run without growing weary, they walk without getting tired.”

Isaiah, rhetorically-challenged the false gods to display their histories of accurate fore-telling prophesy, or to make some new ones right then and there. Then he declared “Look, you are nothing, and your accomplishments are nonexistent; the one who chooses to worship you is disgusting.”

Ridiculing the false gods, and those who followed them, was a powerful way to illustrate their powerlessness and absence of positive value.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the Lord God will one day return and restore the earth to pre-Fall conditions, but His new creation will be absent any possibility for sin ever again.

The nations, even rebellious Israel, often forgot the all-powerful Lord God and pridefully imagined that they were purely the makers of their own destiny – when it had often been obvious that the hand of God was upon history.

When one reviews the amazing characteristics of the Lord God one is struck with awe.

An eagle is symbolic of majestic power – but it is, like humankind, dependent upon God’s creation to exist and to perform.

When have you been exhausted emotionally and/or spiritually and the Lord God breathed new strength into you?

Dear Lord, You assure us that You will one day return and make things right. May I praise You daily and rest in the certainty that my eternity is safe in Your hands. You are omnipotent and holy, and You are perfectly and righteously disgusted with false gods and those who follow them – as they are the inventions of Satan. May I be careful to avoid anything like an idol or a superstition or anything else that displaces You in my life. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 42 Day 2 OT (chronological) Monday (Psalms 135, 46, 2 Kings 20, 2 Kings 21, 2 Chronicles 33, Psalms 80)

Daily Devotional

Week 42 Day 2

OT (chronological)

Monday (Psalms 135, 46, 2 Kings 20, 2 Kings 21, 2 Chronicles 33, Psalms 80)

Psalm 135 is praise with wisdom “The nations’ idols are made of silver and gold, they are man-made. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see, and ears, but cannot hear. Indeed, they cannot breathe. Those who make them will end up like them, as will everyone who trusts in them.”

Manasseh ruled Judah for fifty-five years and reversed all of the good that his father Hezekiah had done. He restored all of the prior places and rituals and symbols of the false gods and added more.

God declared “I will wipe Jerusalem clean … I will abandon this last remaining tribe among my people … they … have angered me from the time their ancestors left Egypt right up to this very day!”

Manasseh was dragged away by the Assyrians but repented and God rescued him – he turned-away from his sins, then he died. His son Amnon followed in his evil ways for two years until he was murdered. His killers were executed and his son Josiah became king.

While Hezekiah had been the most faithful king in the history of the Israelites, but unlike the prophets, he valued his earthly existence too greatly.

There is an implicit principle, beyond the power of the king’s bad choices to bring harm upon the nation, that the people are equally culpable because they demanded a human king “like the nations around them”, and because they did not refuse to participate in his urging of them to do evil before God.

When have you observed a Christian clinging to life, like Hezekiah, as if they didn’t really trust the Lord for their eternity?

Dear Lord, Sometimes when we cling to the things of this world – and make of them idols – You allow us to have them, but the consequences are usually bad. May I cling only to the things which You give, and invest every day I have in this world to serve You. I will refrain from boasting or inappropriately disclosing personal and/or private information to those who have no legitimate need to know. If I have a need to share I will do so with those whom the Lord God has brought into my intimate circle of Christian friends. If You reveal that I may be a poor role model to a child, friend, or other associate, or I am tolerating something which I should not, and which allows evil to enter or flourish when it need not, I will purge it – both for the sake of my right-standing before the You and for the sake of others. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 42 Day 1 OT (chronological) Sunday (2 Kings 18.9 – 19, 2 Chronicles 32)

Daily Devotional

Week 42 Day 1

OT (chronological)

Sunday (2 Kings 18.9 – 19, 2 Chronicles 32)

The nation of Israel had been decimated by the king of Assyria because they had refused to be faithful to the Lord God.

The king of Assyria then threatened Jerusalem, including blaspheming God, and the rest of what was left of Judah.

Hezekiah attempted to placate the Assyrian leader with silver and gold to keep them from invading, destroying Judah and Jerusalem, and deporting and enslaving the people – as they had Israel.

The king of Assyria pressed ahead with his plan to obliterate Judah and to destroy Jerusalem.

Why would the Assyrians challenge the God of Hezekiah, and demand their complete surrender, when they could have received service and tribute from Judah as a subject-state?

Hezekiah recognized the threat of Assyria but seemed more upset about the insult to the Lord than he was about the impending battle.

When have you felt threatened and appealed to the Lord God for protection?

Dear Lord, It was always obvious what every king before him should have done, but only Hezekiah was obedient and teachable enough to do the right thing before You. It is a dangerous thing indeed for a mere human king or his associates to mock the living an all-powerful God, Your patience with man is not without boundaries. May I be careful with my own words, and advise others to do so as well, because You deserve our respect. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 41 Day 7 OT (chronological) Saturday (Isaiah 28 – 39, Psalm 76)

Daily Devotional

Week 41 Day 7

OT (chronological)

Saturday (Isaiah 28 – 39, Psalm 76)

In the final verses of Chapter Twenty-Nine Isaiah delivered God’s prophesy of the healing and enlightening ministry of Jesus the Christ – the Messiah – Whose ministry would bring a new covenant, the sending of the indwelling Holy Spirit upon His children, and would bring an end to the power of the slavery and eternal destruction of sin.

He pronounced God’s judgment upon the religious and political leaders who rejected Him and His law and instead turned to the pagan Egypt for help – that no help would come from them – and that they would find themselves condemned for this final act of rebellion.

Isaiah reported the promise of the Lord’s active presence and guiding hand, through the indwelling Holy Spirit to come, in the lives of His children “You will hear a word spoken behind you, saying,

“This is the correct way, walk in it,”

whether you are heading to the right or the left.”

He also encouraged them to know that the Lord would obliterate their enemies [ultimately, The Enemy, Satan – who
would be vanquished]. He encouraged the remnant of Israel to return to Him.

Hezekiah’s representatives returned to him with a report of the curses and threats from the Assyrians and together they cried out to God through Isaiah. The Lord’s reply was to not fear the Assyrian king for his insults to God would result in his own death.

The Lord sent out an angel to kill 185,000 troops in the Assyrian camp as they slept and so in the morning they discovered their dead and fled Jerusalem. When the king returned home his sons murdered him.

Hezekiah was mortally ill and Isaiah told him to prepare for death. He cried-out to the Lord, asking for more time, appealing for ‘credit’ for his faithfulness as king.

God told Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that He heard his cries and would grant him an additional 15 years of life, that He would protect the city from attackers, and that He would affirm His promise by causing the shadow on the step to reverse itself ten steps.

Sadly, Hezekiah became careless in his borrowed 15 years and pridefully showed-off all of his treasuries and other fine things and palaces to a visiting Babylonian king. His would be the last kingship.

Dear Lord, Even though You ended the earthly kingdom of Israel, You still loved them and remained at the line of reconciliation. May I never forget that You love all who have surrendered to the Lordship of Christ and that You will welcome us home should we go astray for a time. May I remember that You have decided that those who are in Your eternal family will be preserved – despite the efforts of the enemy – and that I need not fear anything the world can do. May I trust You for perfect justice and when You discipline me I will be certain of lovingly-perfect proportion to the need. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 41 Day 6 OT (chronological) Friday (Hosea 1 – 14)

Daily Devotional

Week 41 Day 6

OT (chronological)

Friday (Hosea 1 – 14)

Hosea surrendered his life in a remarkable way, marrying a woman that no faithful Israelite would have even wanted to allow near to him, and bearing the shame of her adultery – illustrating Israel vs God.

Hosea presented the challenge; to reconcile God’s grace with His law. While the law dictated that He destroy them all, as was true at the Fall, His grace sought a path to reconciliation and restoration.

Because Jacob/Israel had striven with an angel and cried out to the Lord, a covenant was made on behalf of humankind, which God would not break. His descendants, and others who had been adopted-into the covenant family with the Lord, would be preserved.

The covenant required punishment, but not the wrath of God – that was reserved for those people, things, and institutions that were outside of the covenant.

Hosea’s prophesy reminded the people that the Lord had given them a human king – in anger, due to their unrepentant demandingness for “a king like the nations around us”, and now in His righteous wrath He intended to remove the role of king from them.

All of what was prophesied was conditional – the people had to listen to the Lord God “… speak tenderly” and respond with repentant hearts. The reverse-Exodus had to be heartbreaking, for God and man. Genuine repentance was the consistent expectation of the Lord God throughout history.

Humankind has been easily deceived since the Garden and has arrogantly chosen to do things without God and to pursue the flesh – despite repeated evidence of disastrous consequences.

When have you been trapped in a relationship with an unfaithful friend or co-worker or other person who made promises but then selfishly broke them?

When have you discovered something wrong in your own walk with the Lord as you observed someone else struggling?

When have you experienced or observed the making of a celebrity, political, or religious person a type of idol or king who stood between people and the Lord God?

Dear Lord, Your mercy is great, You love the unlovable fallen-humankind – yet You do not tolerate rebellion – and so we must return to You in Your time and in Your way. There is only one path to reconciliation and restoration with You. May I live and teach Your truth, rejecting the lies of the world, and be Your instrument of evangelism and discipleship as long as You may find me useful. You were incredibly patient with Israel and Judah, but their unrepentant rebellion could not continue forever. May I not make it necessary for You to discipline me. You have always kept Your part of the covenants which You made – humankind has been unfaithful to theirs. You have consistently provided for, encouraged, taught, implored, and facilitated the path of genuine repentance to reconciliation and restoration. May I accept Your Words of divine wisdom and remember that “… the ways of the Lord are right; the godly walk in them, but in them the rebellious stumble.” Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 41 Day 5 OT (chronological) Thursday (2 Kings 18:1-8, 2 Chronicles 29 – 31, Psalm 48)

Daily Devotional

Week 41 Day 5

OT (chronological)

Thursday (2 Kings 18:1-8, 2 Chronicles 29 – 31, Psalm 48)

Hezekiah was king of Judah for twenty-nine years. He was the only king, before or after, who fully-obeyed the Lord God. He not only led the people to obey by doing so himself, he removed the high places, he removed the Asherah pole, and he removed the bronze serpent which Moses had made and they had been misusing as a tool of false worship.

Hezekiah cleansed the temple and offered great national worship. He removed many of the altars to false gods and celebrated Passover – but later than scheduled (not enough Levites were ceremonially clean to lead). He also asked, and received the Lord God’s forgiveness for many who chose to celebrate, even though they were ceremonially unclean – God mercifully allow it as their hearts were inclined toward Him.

Hezekiah was the greatest and most-true king of God’s children because he fully obeyed.

God demonstrated great flexibility and mercy in forgiving those who celebrated the Passover despite their technical lack of “ceremonial cleanliness” – because He knew their hearts and that was more important than the details of the regulations.

When have you observed a leader doing the right thing, often the hard thing, because he was desperate to be faithful to the Lord?

Hezekiah in his early days is an excellent role model of “walking the walk”.

Dear Lord, it was always obvious what every king before him should have done, but only Hezekiah was obedient and teachable enough to do the right thing before You. May I look to Hezekiah as my role model – to do the right thing rather than the convenient or the ordinary. Please show me a place where You want me be extraordinary in my faith-walk. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 41 Day 4 OT (chronological) Wednesday (Isaiah 13 – 27)

Daily Devotional

Week 41 Day 4

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (Isaiah 13 – 27)

Isaiah recorded the detailed proclamation of God’s judgment of the nations, Israel and her enemies alike, and for each it was to be terrible.

Isaiah presented the Lord’s charges against each nation and then His judgment against them.

Isaiah continued the last days of the end times prophesy of God, describing the imprisonment of the enemies of the Lord from both the spiritual and physical world where they would be held in the darkness that they had chosen, eventually to be released – but into a world that was equally dark – while those with the Lord would bask in the light of His presence.

Isaiah declared the character of God “The way of the righteous is level, the path of the righteous that you make is straight.”

He then explained that it will be the Lord Who will deliver the world by populating the world with His people “Your dead will come back to life; your corpses will rise up. Wake up and shout joyfully, you who live in the ground! For you will grow like plants drenched with the morning dew, and the earth will bring forth its dead spirits.”

Isaiah observed that while God destroyed the enemies of Israel He functionally-divorced Israel.

The magnitude of the devastation was to be massive, yet the process may remind one of the Great White Throne Judgment wherein which each individual will be called to account, charges laid against them, and Judgment (or freedom via Christ) will be meted out.

Those who push away the light of truth of the Lord will get what they demand – an existence without the Lord – and it will be darker than anything they could imagine.

God used imagery with which His ‘audience’ would be familiar. In the ancient times of Isaiah’s ministry the mythological stories of Leviathan, and others, would have been useful for illustration.

God declared His sovereign intent to punish the Israelite rebels and also the pagans – who far-over-stepped their reasonable purpose in punishing Israel; not only bragging that they and their false pagan gods accomplished their empire-building without God, but going so far as to blaspheme Him.

The heart-attitude that brought the nations into conflict with God is much the same as that which plagues people even today; arrogance, lust, spiritual rebellion, and violence. After the long history of disaster why would people still turn to witchcraft?

Dear Lord, From these chapters of Your judgment may I remember that every choice has a consequence, sometimes not immediately obvious, and sometimes terrible. You will judge those who are Your enemies and bring deliverance to those who belong to You. May I pray “Come soon Lord!” Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 41 Day 3 OT (chronological) Tuesday (2 Chronicles 28, 2 Kings 16 – 17)

Daily Devotional

Week 41 Day 3

OT (chronological)

Tuesday (2 Chronicles 28, 2 Kings 16 – 17)

The kings of Israel and Judah continued to rebel.

God had rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt, brought them to the Promised Land, and – due to their unrepentant rebellion – He now caused them to be removed from the Promised Land.

Assyria repopulated the Promised Land with foreigners who again filled it with pagan worship of false gods.

God sent lions among the foreigners and many were killed so that the Assyrians brought back priests from the deported Israelites to teach them how to worship what they superstitiously understood as “the god of the land”. They did not repent of their false gods but rather added those Israelite worship rituals to their pagan rituals – the technical term for this is syncretism.

Despite generations of evidence that obedience brought blessings to the king and the people – the kings continued to follow their foolish predecessors and disrespected the Lord.

The Promised Land reverted to its Fallen and cursed condition despite all that God did to make it a wonderful home for Israel.

When have you experienced or observed poor decisions made over and over despite the clear evidence that they would lead to bad results?

Dear Lord, Your ancient people of Israel refused to learn and to obey and thus squandered the blessing of the Promised Land – thus they surrendered the gift of freedom You had given them. May I learn to be more obedient so that I do not become again a servant of the sin of this fallen world. I will repent (confess and turn away from) my rebellion. It may be a failure to pray, a failure to fellowship, a failure to serve, a failure to witness, a failure to resist or to flee sin. I will be careful not to follow anyone who does not strive to put You first in all things. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 41 Day 2 OT (chronological) Monday (Micah 1 – 7)

Daily Devotional

Week 41 Day 2

OT (chronological)

Monday (Micah 1 – 7)

The prophet Micah delivered the Lord’s list of charges against Samaria for their worship of false idols and for spreading that to Jerusalem.

Micah challenged the people that their hearts had become so corrupted that they only wanted to hear what they wanted to hear instead of the Lord God’s truth “If a lying windbag should come and say, ‘I’ll promise you blessings of wine and beer,’ he would be just the right preacher for these people!”

He spoke of hope in the future “In that day,” says the Lord, “I will gather the lame, and assemble the outcasts whom I injured.”

Micah warned that those who gloated as they attacked Jerusalem would themselves suffer later “But they do not know what the Lord is planning; they do not understand his strategy. He has gathered them like stalks of grain to be threshed at the threshing floor.”

Judah’s corruption was so complete “Do not rely on a friend; do not trust a companion! Don’t even share secrets with the one who lies in your arms! For a son thinks his father is a fool, a daughter challenges her mother, and a daughter-in-law her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are his own servants.” Then he contrasted their condition with his own “But I will keep watching for the Lord; I will wait for the God who delivers me. My God will hear my lament.”

Micah concluded with a word of hope “There is no other God like you! You forgive sin and pardon the rebellion of those who remain among your people. You do not remain angry forever, but delight in showing loyal love. You will once again have mercy on us; you will conquer our evil deeds; you will hurl our sins into the depths of the sea. You will be loyal to Jacob and extend your loyal love to Abraham, which you promised on oath to our ancestors in ancient times.”

[Note: The rescue was predicated on a repentant
people. Malachi and other texts teach that because of chronic and
unrepentant rebellion the national covenant with Israel was
terminated by the Lord God in favor of a return to the Edenic
pattern
of individual versus national covenants.]

When have you experienced or observed a social environment where the people were so depraved that none of them could reasonably trust one-another?

Dear Lord, Your consistent message was of teaching, encouraging, and facilitating, followed by warning when the people drifted, then by judgment when they were unrepentant. You always held-out the possibility of redemption. May I know Your heart so that when I stumble I return to You with a repentant heart – knowing that You love to restore. I will pray for others who are also struggling. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 41 Day 1 OT (chronological) Sunday (2 Kings 5 – 8)

Daily Devotional

Week 41 Day 1

OT (chronological)

Sunday (2 Kings 5 – 8)

Isaiah brought to a hopeless people a promise of hope from God, that a Child was to come Who would bring an eternity of freedom and peace, that that Child would be of the same ‘kind’ as the Lord God – not a mere man – fulfilling perfectly the promise of the perfected ‘Davidic king’ – which no mere fallen man could ever fill.

The anger of God against the rebellious Israelites would make their national punishment complete.

The burdensome domination of Israeli territory would be lifted.

At the end of this era of history the Lord would bring back only a remnant of the huge diaspora (displaced population) of Israelites.

The prophesy of God, as delivered through Isaiah, elaborated upon the coming Messiah, describing the pre-Fall Edenic peace that would come to all people and to every creature because “… there will be universal submission to the Lord’s sovereignty, the same sort of absolute state as when the waters completely covered the earth in Noah’s time.

He promised to even dry-up the Euphrates so that the path of their travel home would be eased.

Praise and thanks and worship would flow like a river:

“At that time you will say: “I praise you, O Lord, for even though you were angry with me, your anger subsided, and you consoled me.”

“Look, God is my deliverer! I will trust in him and not fear. For the Lord gives me strength and protects me; he has become my deliverer.”

“Joyfully you will draw water from the springs of deliverance.

“At that time you will say: “Praise the Lord! Ask him for help! Publicize his mighty acts among the nations! Make it known that he is unique!

“Sing to the Lord, for he has done magnificent things, let this be known throughout the earth!

“Cry out and shout for joy, O citizens of Zion, for the Holy One of Israel acts mightily among you!””

The peace and harmony of pre-Fall Eden will be restored when the Promised One, Jesus, returns.

Dear Lord, Humankind had an intimate relationship with You in Eden and chose to rebel, Israel had You as their King yet rebelliously-demanded a mere human king, and when it had been proved that no king or prophet could lead them back to You – You promised a Savior. May I always remember that there is no such thing as works-righteousness, because the entire history of humankind since the Fall proved it impossible; there is only the gift of Jesus the Christ. When You return – in the form of a glorified Jesus the Christ – it will be to ultimately restore the pre-Fall Edenic condition, absent the possibility of rebellion – ever. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 40 Day 7 OT (chronological) Saturday (Amos 1 – 9, 2 Kings 14:23 – 15, 2 Chronicles 26)

Daily Devotional

Week 40 Day 7

OT (chronological)

Saturday (Amos 1 – 9, 2 Kings 14:23 – 15, 2 Chronicles 26)

The team was warned that their history of cheating had caught-up with them and they were being watched. They cheated anyhow, were caught and punished, and they lost the game.

Their chief rivals were watching, saw what happened, but did the same in their game – and suffered the same fate.

Wise counselors to the coaches warned them to turn away but they refused to listen – convinced that what had brought them past fame and victory would still work, despite threats of consequences.

The wise counselors were told to be silent and to not bother the coaches with their opinions.

After losing seasons the coaches were fired and their assistants hired in their places, but they continued the poor choices, losses followed, and they were fired and replaced over and over.

One of the teams chose a coach who eliminated most of the blatant cheating and his team did well for several years, then the other team also chose a coach who toned-down their cheating and the league – wanting to improve public relations, asked the referees to loosely enforce the rules.

Eventually the coaches became arrogant and trouble returned.

When have you experienced or observed troubles that flowed from disobedience yet the disobedience continued?

When corruption rules the day – disaster cannot be far away.

Dear Lord, When leaders compromise with Your great and perfect plan everyone around them suffers. May I take care to do things Your way and not make excuses for exceptions which are really a subtle form of rebellion. Please reveal to me a place in my life where I am at risk of trouble because of continuing sin, where I am not listening closely and not obeying fully, and/or where I have made excuses for something that I know to be offensive to You. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 40 Day 6 OT (chronological) Friday (Isaiah 6 – 8)

Daily Devotional

Week 40 Day 6

OT (chronological)

Friday (Isaiah 6 – 8)

Isaiah shared his heavenly vision “I saw the sovereign master seated on a high, elevated throne …” and He was surrounded by angelic beings who celebrated “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord …”

He was frightened “Too bad for me! I am destroyed, for my lips are contaminated by sin, and I live among people whose lips are contaminated by sin. My eyes have seen the king, the Lord …” because his (and that of the people around him) imperfection could not survive the presence of the Lord God. He was correct.

“But then one of the seraphs flew toward me. In his hand was a hot coal he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Look, this coal has touched your lips. Your evil is removed; your sin is forgiven.””

It was at that moment that Isaiah heard the call “I heard the voice of the sovereign master say, “Whom will I send? Who will go on our behalf?”” … and he answered … “Here I am, send me!”

The Lord defined Isaiah’s prophetic ministry “Go and tell these people …” [who] “Listen continually, but don’t understand! Look continually, but don’t perceive!’”

God said “Look, this young woman is about to conceive and will give birth to a son. You, young woman, will name him Immanuel.” but before he reached the age of accountability “… the land whose two kings you fear will be desolate.” (He was an “Immanuel” rather than “The Immanuel”.)

The Lord used the term “Immanuel” (God with us) to describe the nation of Israel, as an earthly expression of His presence, and also as a vague shadow compared to Jesus the Christ – “The Immanuel” (God literally with/among us – in the flesh).

The Lord God warned Isaiah to take care not to follow the actions and thinking of the people:

“Do not say, ‘Conspiracy,’ every time these people say the word. Don’t be afraid of what scares them; don’t be terrified.”

“… recognize the authority of the Lord who commands armies. He is the one you must respect; he is the one you must fear.”

Isaiah was warned further that the people, filled with spiritual darkness in their rebellion, would ask him to call upon demons and ghosts and witches in the hope that the dead might tell them of the future of the living. It would be yet another act of foolishness and of rebellion; he was to ignore them as their just-punishment descended upon them.

Dear Lord, You are holy, we are not. May I be as aware of Your holiness as was Isaiah. May I never fear (as a child of God) that in the battles of life anything of significance, in the eyes of the Lord, will go other than the way that You decide. May I remember to respond appropriately and obediently to Your love and not give you a reason to discipline me. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 40 Day 5 OT (chronological) Thursday (Isaiah 1 – 5)

Daily Devotional

Week 40 Day 5

OT (chronological)

Thursday (Isaiah 1 – 5)

Isaiah’s message from God compared the people of Israel to an ox and a donkey.

The Lord observed that they were beaten and bruised, suffering and over-run by their enemies, yet they persisted in their rebellion.

God preserved a few survivors, otherwise they would have been utterly destroyed, as were the people in Sodom and Gomorrah.

God said, through Isaiah, that He did not want their sacrifices while they were in active rebellion, and that He would not listen to their prayers either.

Wisdom: “Learn to do what is right! Promote justice! Give the oppressed reason to celebrate! Take up the cause of the orphan! Defend the rights of the widow!”

Grace: “Though your sins have stained you like the color red, you can become white like snow.” They had been warned and were without excuse were they to fail to repent of their sinful ways in rebellion.

He would purify, by fire, all who rebelled – regardless of their station in life. Only righteousness could result in reconciliation and restoration of their relationship with God – blessings would flow from that.

Consequences: Beginning with facial sores on the women whose pride and abuse of their sexuality was offensive to Him, then make the fronts of their heads bald, followed by destitution and slavery.

The strong young men would die in battle so that seven women would beg one man to marry them.

The desire of God was to bless obedient farmers in Jerusalem and wipe clean the shame of the women.

He had created a “vineyard” of opportunity for relationship and for blessing but the people had rebelled and made the “grapes … sour”, so He was about to destroy it all.

Dear Lord, You are holy and righteous and in return for your grace, protection, and provision You require that we respond in obedience and righteousness. May I be increasingly grateful and therefore increasingly faithful in seeking after righteousness-through-surrender to the working of the Holy Spirit in and through me. You ask for integrity, both in our relationship with You, and with fellow humankind. May I be attentive to what it is that You want, rather than what the world values, and so become a conduit of Your blessing and truth to others. Where I ‘talk the talk’ but do not ‘walk the walk’, because I’ve preferred the values of the world over Yours, redirect me. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 40 Day 4 OT (chronological) Wednesday (Jonah 1 – 4)

Daily Devotional

Week 40 Day 4

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (Jonah 1 – 4)

The Lord said go and Jonah said no.

Jonah despised the Ninevites because of their exceptionally brutal conduct during war and their vicious treatment of captive people.

Because of his rebellion Jonah placed many others, the Ninevites, the sailors, and his fellow passengers, in jeopardy.

When confronted Jonah finally acknowledged his responsibility for the trouble and accepted that he had to sacrifice himself to save the others.

Jonah was rescued by God Who sent a great fish to swallow him, keeping him from drowning.

While inside the fish Jonah prayed and reflected, he confessed both his sin and his fear that his separation from God could be permanent – then he repented.

Jonah observed that – just as he thought he would die – God reached-out and saved him. He also observed that those who worshiped false idols would miss-out on God’s mercy.

The Lord caused the fish to swim to a beach near the city of Ninevah and to spit-out Jonah there.

Jonah obeyed the Lord God, went to Ninevah, and walked a third of the way across the city (one-days walk) then proclaimed the message he had been given “At the end of forty days, Nineveh will be overthrown!”

From the people to the king they were terrified and responded with repentance and fasting and they even turned “… from their evil way of living and from … violence”.

The Lord God was pleased with their repentance and relented from His angry judgment.

Jonah placed national/tribal emotions ahead of the calling of the Lord. The Lord God said that the Ninevites “… do not know right from wrong”, which means that they had never been taught about Him.

God gave Jonah a second chance, and later aided him in the hot sun, yet Jonah persisted in his hateful-unforgiveness toward the Ninevites.

Dear Lord, Your desire to bring hope to wretches like us, as well as to the historically-brutal Ninevites, is consistent with Your character as a loving God of grace and of mercy. May I praise You for Your patient and persistent love for me. May I not make it necessary for You to get my attention in such a profound way. May I be a willing instrument of Your mercy, as You lead people to repentance, no matter who they are. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 40 Day 3 OT (chronological) Tuesday (2 Chronicles 24, 2 Kings 14:1-22, 2 Chronicles 25)

Daily Devotional

Week 40 Day 3

OT (chronological)

Tuesday (2 Chronicles 24, 2 Kings 14:1-22, 2 Chronicles 25)

Joash was only seven years old when he became king of Israel – so Jehoiada assisted him greatly in purging the land of false idols. When Jehoiada died, at the age of 130, Joash listened to the bad counsel of members of his court and turned-away from God.

Amaziah began his time as king in loyalty to God but after the Lord gave him victory over the Edomites he brought home their false idols and worshiped them.

When a prophet of God challenged him he was threatened with execution, so the prophet did not trouble him further, other than to inform him that God had decided to end his reign and his life badly.

[Note: God may or may not have protected this
prophet but His message was delivered and there was no point in
challenging the rebellious king further.]

Amaziah challenged King Joash of Israel. Joash warned him to not be too bold after only one victory but Amaziah continued to threaten them so Israel attacked and defeated Judah.

Amaziah was captured, and the walls of Jerusalem were destroyed. He was in captivity many years and then assassinated.

The pattern of blessed loyalty to God versus troubles for rebellion continued for the kings and for the people of Israel and Judah.

Why would the kings, sons of blessed-for-obedience kings, choose the path of rebellion and trouble rather than that of faithfulness and blessing?

When have you experienced or observed someone speaking-up for the truth of God only to be ignored or punished by those who claimed to be followers of Christ?

Dear Lord, Despite the clear history of failure that resulted from rebellion against You – king after king still chose rebellion – and brought trouble to their people. May I take care not to drift into rebellion. Please reveal to me someone who is being faithful to You – and faces challenges as a result. They may be domestic or foreign missionaries, leaders or members in a local fellowship, or activists within the larger community of faith. Amen. dmc2016