11/27/2022 “Rejoice in God’s Sovereign Will” Habakkuk 3:1-19

Habakkuk 3

3:1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.

  O LORD, I have heard the report of you,
    and your work, O LORD, do I fear.
  In the midst of the years revive it;
    in the midst of the years make it known;
    in wrath remember mercy.
  God came from Teman,
    and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah
  His splendor covered the heavens,
    and the earth was full of his praise.
  His brightness was like the light;
    rays flashed from his hand;
    and there he veiled his power.
  Before him went pestilence,
    and plague followed at his heels.
  He stood and measured the earth;
    he looked and shook the nations;
  then the eternal mountains were scattered;
    the everlasting hills sank low.
    His were the everlasting ways.
  I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction;
    the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.
  Was your wrath against the rivers, O LORD?
    Was your anger against the rivers,
    or your indignation against the sea,
  when you rode on your horses,
    on your chariot of salvation?
  You stripped the sheath from your bow,
    calling for many arrows. Selah
    You split the earth with rivers.
10   The mountains saw you and writhed;
    the raging waters swept on;
  the deep gave forth its voice;
    it lifted its hands on high.
11   The sun and moon stood still in their place
    at the light of your arrows as they sped,
    at the flash of your glittering spear.
12   You marched through the earth in fury;
    you threshed the nations in anger.
13   You went out for the salvation of your people,
    for the salvation of your anointed.
  You crushed the head of the house of the wicked,
    laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah
14   You pierced with his own arrows the heads of his warriors,
    who came like a whirlwind to scatter me,
    rejoicing as if to devour the poor in secret.
15   You trampled the sea with your horses,
    the surging of mighty waters.
16   I hear, and my body trembles;
    my lips quiver at the sound;
  rottenness enters into my bones;
    my legs tremble beneath me.
  Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble
    to come upon people who invade us.

17   Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
  the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
  the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
18   yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19   GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer’s;
    he makes me tread on my high places.
  To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.

(ESV)

6/12/22 “God’s Triumphant and Restorative Justice” Obadiah 1:1-21

Obadiah

1:1 The vision of Obadiah.

  Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom:
  We have heard a report from the LORD,
    and a messenger has been sent among the nations:
  “Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!”
  Behold, I will make you small among the nations;
    you shall be utterly despised.
  The pride of your heart has deceived you,
    you who live in the clefts of the rock,
    in your lofty dwelling,
  who say in your heart,
    “Who will bring me down to the ground?”
  Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
    though your nest is set among the stars,
    from there I will bring you down,
      declares the LORD.
  If thieves came to you,
    if plunderers came by night—
    how you have been destroyed!—
    would they not steal only enough for themselves?
  If grape gatherers came to you,
    would they not leave gleanings?
  How Esau has been pillaged,
    his treasures sought out!
  All your allies have driven you to your border;
    those at peace with you have deceived you;
  they have prevailed against you;
    those who eat your bread have set a trap beneath you—
    you have no understanding.
  Will I not on that day, declares the LORD,
    destroy the wise men out of Edom,
    and understanding out of Mount Esau?
  And your mighty men shall be dismayed, O Teman,
    so that every man from Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter.

10   Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,
    shame shall cover you,
    and you shall be cut off forever.
11   On the day that you stood aloof,
    on the day that strangers carried off his wealth
  and foreigners entered his gates
    and cast lots for Jerusalem,
    you were like one of them.
12   But do not gloat over the day of your brother
    in the day of his misfortune;
  do not rejoice over the people of Judah
    in the day of their ruin;
  do not boast
    in the day of distress.
13   Do not enter the gate of my people
    in the day of their calamity;
  do not gloat over his disaster
    in the day of his calamity;
  do not loot his wealth
    in the day of his calamity.
14   Do not stand at the crossroads
    to cut off his fugitives;
  do not hand over his survivors
    in the day of distress.

15   For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations.
  As you have done, it shall be done to you;
    your deeds shall return on your own head.
16   For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,
    so all the nations shall drink continually;
  they shall drink and swallow,
    and shall be as though they had never been.
17   But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,
    and it shall be holy,
  and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.
18   The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
    and the house of Joseph a flame,
    and the house of Esau stubble;
  they shall burn them and consume them,
    and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,
      for the LORD has spoken.

19   Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau,
    and those of the Shephelah shall possess the land of the Philistines;
  they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria,
    and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
20   The exiles of this host of the people of Israel
    shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath,
  and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad
    shall possess the cities of the Negeb.
21   Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion
    to rule Mount Esau,
    and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s.

(ESV)

2/13/22 “Prayer” Matthew 6:5-15

Matthew 6:5–15

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

  “Our Father in heaven,
  hallowed be your name.
10   Your kingdom come,
  your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11   Give us this day our daily bread,
12   and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13   And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

(ESV)

4/18/21 “Contend for the Faith” Jude 1

Jude

1:1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,

To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. 11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.

17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

(ESV)

4/26/20 “The Path to Joy Fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ” Psalm 16; Acts 2:22-36

Psalm 16

A Miktam of David.

16:1   Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
  I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
    I have no good apart from you.”
  As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
    in whom is all my delight.
  The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
    their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
    or take their names on my lips.
  The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.
  The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
  I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
  I have set the LORD always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
  Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
10   For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.
11   You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

(ESV)

Acts 2:22–36

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,

  “‘I saw the Lord always before me,
    for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26   therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
    my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27   For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
    or let your Holy One see corruption.
28   You have made known to me the paths of life;
    you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

  “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
  “Sit at my right hand,
35     until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

(ESV)

8/4/19 “A Vision of Victory: Prayer, Faith, and Worship” 2 Chronicles 20

2 Chronicles 20

20:1 After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the LORD; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.

And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, and said, “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ 10 And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy—11 behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. 12 O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

13 Meanwhile all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. 14 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. 15 And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.”

18 Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. 19 And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

20 And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” 21 And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say,

  “Give thanks to the LORD,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.”

22 And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. 23 For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.

24 When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked toward the horde, and behold, there were dead bodies lying on the ground; none had escaped. 25 When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found among them, in great numbers, goods, clothing, and precious things, which they took for themselves until they could carry no more. They were three days in taking the spoil, it was so much. 26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, for there they blessed the LORD. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Beracah to this day. 27 Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them rejoice over their enemies. 28 They came to Jerusalem with harps and lyres and trumpets, to the house of the LORD. 29 And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.

31 Thus Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. 32 He walked in the way of Asa his father and did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the LORD. 33 The high places, however, were not taken away; the people had not yet set their hearts upon the God of their fathers.

34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, from first to last, are written in the chronicles of Jehu the son of Hanani, which are recorded in the Book of the Kings of Israel.

35 After this Jehoshaphat king of Judah joined with Ahaziah king of Israel, who acted wickedly. 36 He joined him in building ships to go to Tarshish, and they built the ships in Ezion-geber. 37 Then Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because you have joined with Ahaziah, the LORD will destroy what you have made.” And the ships were wrecked and were not able to go to Tarshish.

(ESV)

12/31/17 “The Greatest Commandment Is Love” Mark 12:28-34

Mark 12:28–34

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

(ESV)