Through The Bible Tuesday 12-18-18 Devotions
1 This is the message that the prophet Habakkuk received in a vision.
2 How long, O Lord, must I call for help?
But you do not listen!
“Violence is everywhere!” I cry,
but you do not come to save.
3 Must I forever see these evil deeds?
Why must I watch all this misery?
Wherever I look,
I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people
who love to argue and fight.
4 The law has become paralyzed,
and there is no justice in the courts.
The wicked far outnumber the righteous,
so that justice has become perverted.
The Lord’s Reply
5 The Lord replied,
“Look around at the nations;
look and be amazed![a] For I am doing something in your own day,
something you wouldn’t believe
even if someone told you about it.
6 I am raising up the Babylonians,[b] a cruel and violent people.
They will march across the world
and conquer other lands.
7 They are notorious for their cruelty
and do whatever they like.
8 Their horses are swifter than cheetahs[c] and fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their charioteers charge from far away.
Like eagles, they swoop down to devour their prey.
9 “On they come, all bent on violence.
Their hordes advance like a desert wind,
sweeping captives ahead of them like sand.
10 They scoff at kings and princes
and scorn all their fortresses.
They simply pile ramps of earth
against their walls and capture them!
11 They sweep past like the wind
and are gone.
But they are deeply guilty,
for their own strength is their god.”
Habakkuk’s Second Complaint
12 O Lord my God, my Holy One, you who are eternal—
surely you do not plan to wipe us out?
O Lord, our Rock, you have sent these Babylonians to correct us,
to punish us for our many sins.
13 But you are pure and cannot stand the sight of evil.
Will you wink at their treachery?
Should you be silent while the wicked
swallow up people more righteous than they?
14 Are we only fish to be caught and killed?
Are we only sea creatures that have no leader?
15 Must we be strung up on their hooks
and caught in their nets while they rejoice and celebrate?
16 Then they will worship their nets
and burn incense in front of them.
“These nets are the gods who have made us rich!”
they will claim.
17 Will you let them get away with this forever?
Will they succeed forever in their heartless conquests?
2 I will climb up to my watchtower
and stand at my guardpost.
There I will wait to see what the Lord says
and how he[d] will answer my complaint.
The Lord’s Second Reply
2 Then the Lord said to me,
“Write my answer plainly on tablets,
so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.
3 This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed.
4 “Look at the proud!
They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked.
But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.[e] 5 Wealth[f] is treacherous,
and the arrogant are never at rest.
They open their mouths as wide as the grave,[g] and like death, they are never satisfied.
In their greed they have gathered up many nations
and swallowed many peoples.
6 “But soon their captives will taunt them.
They will mock them, saying,
‘What sorrow awaits you thieves!
Now you will get what you deserve!
You’ve become rich by extortion,
but how much longer can this go on?’
7 Suddenly, your debtors will take action.
They will turn on you and take all you have,
while you stand trembling and helpless.
8 Because you have plundered many nations,
now all the survivors will plunder you.
You committed murder throughout the countryside
and filled the towns with violence.
9 “What sorrow awaits you who build big houses
with money gained dishonestly!
You believe your wealth will buy security,
putting your family’s nest beyond the reach of danger.
10 But by the murders you committed,
you have shamed your name and forfeited your lives.
11 The very stones in the walls cry out against you,
and the beams in the ceilings echo the complaint.
12 “What sorrow awaits you who build cities
with money gained through murder and corruption!
13 Has not the Lord of Heaven’s Armies promised
that the wealth of nations will turn to ashes?
They work so hard,
but all in vain!
14 For as the waters fill the sea,
the earth will be filled with an awareness
of the glory of the Lord.
15 “What sorrow awaits you who make your neighbors drunk!
You force your cup on them
so you can gloat over their shameful nakedness.
16 But soon it will be your turn to be disgraced.
Come, drink and be exposed![h] Drink from the cup of the Lord’s judgment,
and all your glory will be turned to shame.
17 You cut down the forests of Lebanon.
Now you will be cut down.
You destroyed the wild animals,
so now their terror will be yours.
You committed murder throughout the countryside
and filled the towns with violence.
18 “What good is an idol carved by man,
or a cast image that deceives you?
How foolish to trust in your own creation—
a god that can’t even talk!
19 What sorrow awaits you who say to wooden idols,
‘Wake up and save us!’
To speechless stone images you say,
‘Rise up and teach us!’
Can an idol tell you what to do?
They may be overlaid with gold and silver,
but they are lifeless inside.
20 But the Lord is in his holy Temple.
Let all the earth be silent before him.”
3 This prayer was sung by the prophet Habakkuk[i]:
2 I have heard all about you, Lord.
I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need,
help us again as you did in years gone by.
And in your anger,
remember your mercy.
3 I see God moving across the deserts from Edom,[j] the Holy One coming from Mount Paran.[k] His brilliant splendor fills the heavens,
and the earth is filled with his praise.
4 His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise.
Rays of light flash from his hands,
where his awesome power is hidden.
5 Pestilence marches before him;
plague follows close behind.
6 When he stops, the earth shakes.
When he looks, the nations tremble.
He shatters the everlasting mountains
and levels the eternal hills.
He is the Eternal One![l] 7 I see the people of Cushan in distress,
and the nation of Midian trembling in terror.
8 Was it in anger, Lord, that you struck the rivers
and parted the sea?
Were you displeased with them?
No, you were sending your chariots of salvation!
9 You brandished your bow
and your quiver of arrows.
You split open the earth with flowing rivers.
10 The mountains watched and trembled.
Onward swept the raging waters.
The mighty deep cried out,
lifting its hands in submission.
11 The sun and moon stood still in the sky
as your brilliant arrows flew
and your glittering spear flashed.
12 You marched across the land in anger
and trampled the nations in your fury.
13 You went out to rescue your chosen people,
to save your anointed ones.
You crushed the heads of the wicked
and stripped their bones from head to toe.
14 With his own weapons,
you destroyed the chief of those
who rushed out like a whirlwind,
thinking Israel would be easy prey.
15 You trampled the sea with your horses,
and the mighty waters piled high.
16 I trembled inside when I heard this;
my lips quivered with fear.
My legs gave way beneath me,[m] and I shook in terror.
I will wait quietly for the coming day
when disaster will strike the people who invade us.
17 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,[n] able to tread upon the heights.
(For the choir director: This prayer is to be accompanied by stringed instruments.)
1:5 Greek version reads Look, you mockers; / look and be amazed and die. Compare Acts 13:41.
1:6 Or Chaldeans.
1:8 Or leopards.
2:1 As in Syriac version; Hebrew reads I.
2:3b-4 Greek version reads If the vision is delayed, wait patiently, / for it will surely come and not delay. / 4 I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away. / But the righteous person will live by my faith. Compare Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:37-38.
2:5a As in Dead Sea Scroll 1QpHab; other Hebrew manuscripts read Wine.
2:5b Hebrew as Sheol.
2:16 Dead Sea Scrolls and Greek and Syriac versions read and stagger!
3:1 Hebrew adds according to shigionoth, probably indicating the musical setting for the prayer.
3:3a Hebrew Teman.
3:3b Hebrew adds selah; also in 3:9, 13. The meaning of this Hebrew term is uncertain; it is probably a musical or literary term.
3:6 Or The ancient paths belong to him.
3:16 Hebrew Decay entered my bones.
3:19 Or He gives me the speed of a deer.
29 Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism
will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.
2 When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice.
But when the wicked are in power, they groan.
3 The man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,
but if he hangs around with prostitutes, his wealth is wasted.
4 A just king gives stability to his nation,
but one who demands bribes destroys it.
5 To flatter friends
is to lay a trap for their feet.
6 Evil people are trapped by sin,
but the righteous escape, shouting for joy.
7 The godly care about the rights of the poor;
the wicked don’t care at all.
8 Mockers can get a whole town agitated,
but the wise will calm anger.
9 If a wise person takes a fool to court,
there will be ranting and ridicule but no satisfaction.
The Lamb and the 144,000
14 Then I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of mighty ocean waves or the rolling of loud thunder. It was like the sound of many harpists playing together.
3 This great choir sang a wonderful new song in front of the throne of God and before the four living beings and the twenty-four elders. No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 They have kept themselves as pure as virgins,[a] following the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been purchased from among the people on the earth as a special offering[b] to God and to the Lamb. 5 They have told no lies; they are without blame.
The Three Angels
6 And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. 7 “Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.”
8 Then another angel followed him through the sky, shouting, “Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen—because she made all the nations of the world drink the wine of her passionate immorality.”
9 Then a third angel followed them, shouting, “Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or on the hand 10 must drink the wine of God’s anger. It has been poured full strength into God’s cup of wrath. And they will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. 11 The smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever, and they will have no relief day or night, for they have worshiped the beast and his statue and have accepted the mark of his name.”
12 This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus.
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!”
The Harvest of the Earth
14 Then I saw a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was someone like the Son of Man.[c] He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.
15 Then another angel came from the Temple and shouted to the one sitting on the cloud, “Swing the sickle, for the time of harvest has come; the crop on earth is ripe.” 16 So the one sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the whole earth was harvested.
17 After that, another angel came from the Temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 18 Then another angel, who had power to destroy with fire, came from the altar. He shouted to the angel with the sharp sickle, “Swing your sickle now to gather the clusters of grapes from the vines of the earth, for they are ripe for judgment.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and loaded the grapes into the great winepress of God’s wrath. 20 The grapes were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 miles[d] long and as high as a horse’s bridle.
14:4a Greek They are virgins who have not defiled themselves with women.
14:4b Greek as firstfruits.
14:14 Or like a son of man. See Dan 7:13. “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
14:20 Greek 1,600 stadia [300 kilometers].
A psalm[a] of David, regarding his experience in the cave. A prayer.
1 I cry out to the Lord;
I plead for the Lord’s mercy.
2 I pour out my complaints before him
and tell him all my troubles.
3 When I am overwhelmed,
you alone know the way I should turn.
Wherever I go,
my enemies have set traps for me.
4 I look for someone to come and help me,
but no one gives me a passing thought!
No one will help me;
no one cares a bit what happens to me.
5 Then I pray to you, O Lord.
I say, “You are my place of refuge.
You are all I really want in life.
6 Hear my cry,
for I am very low.
Rescue me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me.
7 Bring me out of prison
so I can thank you.
The godly will crowd around me,
for you are good to me.”
142:Title Hebrew maskil. This may be a literary or musical term.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018