Through The Bible Wednesday 09-05-18 Devotions
A Message about Babylon
21 This message came to me concerning Babylon—the desert by the sea[a]:
Disaster is roaring down on you from the desert,
like a whirlwind sweeping in from the Negev.
2 I see a terrifying vision:
I see the betrayer betraying,
the destroyer destroying.
Go ahead, you Elamites and Medes,
attack and lay siege.
I will make an end
to all the groaning Babylon caused.
3 My stomach aches and burns with pain.
Sharp pangs of anguish are upon me,
like those of a woman in labor.
I grow faint when I hear what God is planning;
I am too afraid to look.
4 My mind reels and my heart races.
I longed for evening to come,
but now I am terrified of the dark.
5 Look! They are preparing a great feast.
They are spreading rugs for people to sit on.
Everyone is eating and drinking.
But quick! Grab your shields and prepare for battle.
You are being attacked!
6 Meanwhile, the Lord said to me,
“Put a watchman on the city wall.
Let him shout out what he sees.
7 He should look for chariots
drawn by pairs of horses,
and for riders on donkeys and camels.
Let the watchman be fully alert.”
8 Then the watchman[b] called out,
“Day after day I have stood on the watchtower, my lord.
Night after night I have remained at my post.
9 Now at last—look!
Here comes a man in a chariot
with a pair of horses!”
Then the watchman said,
“Babylon is fallen, fallen!
All the idols of Babylon
lie broken on the ground!”
10 O my people, threshed and winnowed,
I have told you everything the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has said,
everything the God of Israel has told me.
A Message about Edom
11 This message came to me concerning Edom[c]:
Someone from Edom[d] keeps calling to me,
“Watchman, how much longer until morning?
When will the night be over?”
12 The watchman replies,
“Morning is coming, but night will soon return.
If you wish to ask again, then come back and ask.”
A Message about Arabia
13 This message came to me concerning Arabia:
O caravans from Dedan,
hide in the deserts of Arabia.
14 O people of Tema,
bring water to these thirsty people,
food to these weary refugees.
15 They have fled from the sword,
from the drawn sword,
from the bent bow
and the terrors of battle.
16 The Lord said to me, “Within a year, counting each day,[e] all the glory of Kedar will come to an end. 17 Only a few of its courageous archers will survive. I, the Lord, the God of Israel, have spoken!”
A Message about Jerusalem
22 This message came to me concerning Jerusalem—the Valley of Vision[f]:
What is happening?
Why is everyone running to the rooftops?
2 The whole city is in a terrible uproar.
What do I see in this reveling city?
Bodies are lying everywhere,
killed not in battle but by famine and disease.
3 All your leaders have fled.
They surrendered without resistance.
The people tried to slip away,
but they were captured, too.
4 That’s why I said, “Leave me alone to weep;
do not try to comfort me.
Let me cry for my people
as I watch them being destroyed.”
5 Oh, what a day of crushing defeat!
What a day of confusion and terror
brought by the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
upon the Valley of Vision!
The walls of Jerusalem have been broken,
and cries of death echo from the mountainsides.
6 Elamites are the archers,
with their chariots and charioteers.
The men of Kir hold up the shields.
7 Chariots fill your beautiful valleys,
and charioteers storm your gates.
8 Judah’s defenses have been stripped away.
You run to the armory[g] for your weapons.
9 You inspect the breaks in the walls of Jerusalem.[h] You store up water in the lower pool.
10 You survey the houses and tear some down
for stone to strengthen the walls.
11 Between the city walls, you build a reservoir
for water from the old pool.
But you never ask for help from the One who did all this.
You never considered the One who planned this long ago.
12 At that time the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
called you to weep and mourn.
He told you to shave your heads in sorrow for your sins
and to wear clothes of burlap to show your remorse.
13 But instead, you dance and play;
you slaughter cattle and kill sheep.
You feast on meat and drink wine.
You say, “Let’s feast and drink,
for tomorrow we die!”
14 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has revealed this to me: “Till the day you die, you will never be forgiven for this sin.” That is the judgment of the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
A Message for Shebna
15 This is what the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, said to me: “Confront Shebna, the palace administrator, and give him this message:
16 “Who do you think you are,
and what are you doing here,
building a beautiful tomb for yourself—
a monument high up in the rock?
17 For the Lord is about to hurl you away, mighty man.
He is going to grab you,
18 crumple you into a ball,
and toss you away into a distant, barren land.
There you will die,
and your glorious chariots will be broken and useless.
You are a disgrace to your master!
19 “Yes, I will drive you out of office,” says the Lord. “I will pull you down from your high position. 20 And then I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah to replace you. 21 I will dress him in your royal robes and will give him your title and your authority. And he will be a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah. 22 I will give him the key to the house of David—the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them. 23 He will bring honor to his family name, for I will drive him firmly in place like a nail in the wall. 24 They will give him great responsibility, and he will bring honor to even the lowliest members of his family.[i]”
25 But the Lord of Heaven’s Armies also says: “The time will come when I will pull out the nail that seemed so firm. It will come out and fall to the ground. Everything it supports will fall with it. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
A Message about Tyre
23 This message came to me concerning Tyre:
Wail, you trading ships of Tarshish,
for the harbor and houses of Tyre are gone!
The rumors you heard in Cyprus[j] are all true.
2 Mourn in silence, you people of the coast
and you merchants of Sidon.
Your traders crossed the sea,[k] 3 sailing over deep waters.
They brought you grain from Egypt[l] and harvests from along the Nile.
You were the marketplace of the world.
4 But now you are put to shame, city of Sidon,
for Tyre, the fortress of the sea, says,[m] “Now I am childless;
I have no sons or daughters.”
5 When Egypt hears the news about Tyre,
there will be great sorrow.
6 Send word now to Tarshish!
Wail, you people who live in distant lands!
7 Is this silent ruin all that is left of your once joyous city?
What a long history was yours!
Think of all the colonists you sent to distant places.
8 Who has brought this disaster on Tyre,
that great creator of kingdoms?
Her traders were all princes,
her merchants were nobles.
9 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has done it
to destroy your pride
and bring low all earth’s nobility.
10 Come, people of Tarshish,
sweep over the land like the flooding Nile,
for Tyre is defenseless.[n] 11 The Lord held out his hand over the sea
and shook the kingdoms of the earth.
He has spoken out against Phoenicia,[o] ordering that her fortresses be destroyed.
12 He says, “Never again will you rejoice,
O daughter of Sidon, for you have been crushed.
Even if you flee to Cyprus,
you will find no rest.”
13 Look at the land of Babylonia
the people of that land are gone!
The Assyrians have handed Babylon over
to the wild animals of the desert.
They have built siege ramps against its walls,
torn down its palaces,
and turned it to a heap of rubble.
14 Wail, you ships of Tarshish,
for your harbor is destroyed!
15 For seventy years, the length of a king’s life, Tyre will be forgotten. But then the city will come back to life as in the song about the prostitute:
16 Take a harp and walk the streets,
you forgotten harlot.
Make sweet melody and sing your songs
so you will be remembered again.
17 Yes, after seventy years the Lord will revive Tyre. But she will be no different than she was before. She will again be a prostitute to all kingdoms around the world. 18 But in the end her profits will be given to the Lord. Her wealth will not be hoarded but will provide good food and fine clothing for the Lord’s priests.
21:1 Hebrew concerning the desert by the sea.
21:8 As in Dead Sea Scrolls and Syriac version; Masoretic Text reads a lion.
21:11a Hebrew Dumah, which means “silence” or “stillness.” It is a wordplay on the word Edom.
21:11b Hebrew Seir, another name for Edom.
21:16 Hebrew Within a year, as a servant bound by contract would count it. Some ancient manuscripts read Within three years, as in 16:14.
22:1 Hebrew concerning the Valley of Vision.
22:8 Hebrew to the House of the Forest; see 1 Kgs 7:2-5.
22:9 Hebrew the city of David.
22:24 Hebrew They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house: its offspring and offshoots, all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars.
23:1 Hebrew Kittim; also in 23:12.
23:2 As in Dead Sea Scrolls and Greek version; Masoretic Text reads Those who have gone over the sea have filled you.
23:3 Hebrew from Shihor, a branch of the Nile River.
23:4 Or for the god of the sea says; Hebrew reads for the sea, the fortress of the sea, says.
23:10 The meaning of the Hebrew in this verse is uncertain.
23:11 Hebrew Canaan.
23:13 Or Chaldea.
A Father’s Exhortation: Acquire Wisdom
8 My child,[a] listen when your father corrects you.
Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
9 What you learn from them will crown you with grace
and be a chain of honor around your neck.
10 My child, if sinners entice you,
turn your back on them!
11 They may say, “Come and join us.
Let’s hide and kill someone!
Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent!
12 Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave[b];
let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death.
13 Think of the great things we’ll get!
We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take.
14 Come, throw in your lot with us;
we’ll all share the loot.”
15 My child, don’t go along with them!
Stay far away from their paths.
16 They rush to commit evil deeds.
They hurry to commit murder.
17 If a bird sees a trap being set,
it knows to stay away.
18 But these people set an ambush for themselves;
they are trying to get themselves killed.
19 Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money;
it robs them of life.
1:8 Hebrew My son; also in 1:10, 15.
1:12 Hebrew like Sheol.
4 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters,[a] stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.
Words of Encouragement
2 Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. 3 And I ask you, my true partner,[b] to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.
4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.[c]
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Paul’s Thanks for Their Gifts
10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[d] who gives me strength. 14 Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.
15 As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. 16 Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. 17 I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness.
18 At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
20 Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.
Paul’s Final Greetings
21 Give my greetings to each of God’s holy people—all who belong to Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send you their greetings. 22 And all the rest of God’s people send you greetings, too, especially those in Caesar’s household.
23 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.[e]
4:1 Greek brothers; also in 4:8.
4:3 Or loyal Syzygus.
4:5 Greek the Lord is near.
4:13 Greek through the one.
4:23 Some manuscripts add Amen.
A prayer of David.
1 Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer;
answer me, for I need your help.
2 Protect me, for I am devoted to you.
Save me, for I serve you and trust you.
You are my God.
3 Be merciful to me, O Lord,
for I am calling on you constantly.
4 Give me happiness, O Lord,
for I give myself to you.
5 O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive,
so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.
6 Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord;
hear my urgent cry.
7 I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble,
and you will answer me.
8 No pagan god is like you, O Lord.
None can do what you do!
9 All the nations you made
will come and bow before you, Lord;
they will praise your holy name.
10 For you are great and perform wonderful deeds.
You alone are God.
11 Teach me your ways, O Lord,
that I may live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart,
so that I may honor you.
12 With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to your name forever,
13 for your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me from the depths of death.[a] 14 O God, insolent people rise up against me;
a violent gang is trying to kill me.
You mean nothing to them.
15 But you, O Lord,
are a God of compassion and mercy,
slow to get angry
and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
16 Look down and have mercy on me.
Give your strength to your servant;
save me, the son of your servant.
17 Send me a sign of your favor.
Then those who hate me will be put to shame,
for you, O Lord, help and comfort me.
86:13 Hebrew of Sheol.
Thursday, September 06, 2018