Through The Bible Wednesday 11-28-18 Devotions
The Lord’s Case against Israel
4 Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel!
The Lord has brought charges against you, saying:
“There is no faithfulness, no kindness,
no knowledge of God in your land.
2 You make vows and break them;
you kill and steal and commit adultery.
There is violence everywhere—
one murder after another.
3 That is why your land is in mourning,
and everyone is wasting away.
Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky,
and the fish of the sea are disappearing.
4 “Don’t point your finger at someone else
and try to pass the blame!
My complaint, you priests,
is with you.[a] 5 So you will stumble in broad daylight,
and your false prophets will fall with you in the night.
And I will destroy Israel, your mother.
6 My people are being destroyed
because they don’t know me.
Since you priests refuse to know me,
I refuse to recognize you as my priests.
Since you have forgotten the laws of your God,
I will forget to bless your children.
7 The more priests there are,
the more they sin against me.
They have exchanged the glory of God
for the shame of idols.[b] 8 “When the people bring their sin offerings, the priests get fed.
So the priests are glad when the people sin!
9 ‘And what the priests do, the people also do.’
So now I will punish both priests and people
for their wicked deeds.
10 They will eat and still be hungry.
They will play the prostitute and gain nothing from it,
for they have deserted the Lord
11 to worship other gods.
“Wine has robbed my people
of their understanding.
12 They ask a piece of wood for advice!
They think a stick can tell them the future!
Longing after idols
has made them foolish.
They have played the prostitute,
serving other gods and deserting their God.
13 They offer sacrifices to idols on the mountaintops.
They go up into the hills to burn incense
in the pleasant shade of oaks, poplars, and terebinth trees.
“That is why your daughters turn to prostitution,
and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.
14 But why should I punish them
for their prostitution and adultery?
For your men are doing the same thing,
sinning with whores and shrine prostitutes.
O foolish people! You refuse to understand,
so you will be destroyed.
15 “Though you, Israel, are a prostitute,
may Judah not be guilty of such things.
Do not join the false worship at Gilgal or Beth-aven,[c] and do not take oaths there in the Lord’s name.
16 Israel is stubborn,
like a stubborn heifer.
So should the Lord feed her
like a lamb in a lush pasture?
17 Leave Israel[d] alone,
because she is married to idolatry.
18 When the rulers of Israel finish their drinking,
off they go to find some prostitutes.
They love shame more than honor.[e] 19 So a mighty wind will sweep them away.
Their sacrifices to idols will bring them shame.
The Failure of Israel’s Leaders
5 “Hear this, you priests.
Pay attention, you leaders of Israel.
Listen, you members of the royal family.
Judgment has been handed down against you.
For you have led the people into a snare
by worshiping the idols at Mizpah and Tabor.
2 You have dug a deep pit to trap them at Acacia Grove.[f] But I will settle with you for what you have done.
3 I know what you are like, O Ephraim.
You cannot hide yourself from me, O Israel.
You have left me as a prostitute leaves her husband;
you are utterly defiled.
4 Your deeds won’t let you return to your God.
You are a prostitute through and through,
and you do not know the Lord.
5 “The arrogance of Israel testifies against her;
Israel and Ephraim will stumble under their load of guilt.
Judah, too, will fall with them.
6 When they come with their flocks and herds
to offer sacrifices to the Lord,
they will not find him,
because he has withdrawn from them.
7 They have betrayed the honor of the Lord,
bearing children that are not his.
Now their false religion will devour them
along with their wealth.[g] 8 “Sound the alarm in Gibeah!
Blow the trumpet in Ramah!
Raise the battle cry in Beth-aven[h]!
Lead on into battle, O warriors of Benjamin!
9 One thing is certain, Israel[i]:
On your day of punishment,
you will become a heap of rubble.
10 “The leaders of Judah have become like thieves.[j] So I will pour my anger on them like a waterfall.
11 The people of Israel will be crushed and broken by my judgment
because they are determined to worship idols.[k] 12 I will destroy Israel as a moth consumes wool.
I will make Judah as weak as rotten wood.
13 “When Israel and Judah saw how sick they were,
Israel turned to Assyria—
to the great king there—
but he could neither help nor cure them.
14 I will be like a lion to Israel,
like a strong young lion to Judah.
I will tear them to pieces!
I will carry them off,
and no one will be left to rescue them.
15 Then I will return to my place
until they admit their guilt and turn to me.
For as soon as trouble comes,
they will earnestly search for me.”
A Call to Repentance
6 “Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces;
now he will heal us.
He has injured us;
now he will bandage our wounds.
2 In just a short time he will restore us,
so that we may live in his presence.
3 Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
or the coming of rains in early spring.”
4 “O Israel[l] and Judah,
what should I do with you?” asks the Lord.
“For your love vanishes like the morning mist
and disappears like dew in the sunlight.
5 I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces—
to slaughter you with my words,
with judgments as inescapable as light.
6 I want you to show love,[m] not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me[n] more than I want burnt offerings.
7 But like Adam,[o] you broke my covenant
and betrayed my trust.
8 “Gilead is a city of sinners,
tracked with footprints of blood.
9 Priests form bands of robbers,
waiting in ambush for their victims.
They murder travelers along the road to Shechem
and practice every kind of sin.
10 Yes, I have seen something horrible in Ephraim and Israel:
My people are defiled by prostituting themselves with other gods!
11 “O Judah, a harvest of punishment is also waiting for you,
though I wanted to restore the fortunes of my people.
4:4 Hebrew Your people are like those with a complaint against the priests.
4:7 As in Syriac version and an ancient Hebrew tradition; Masoretic Text reads I will turn their glory into shame.
4:15 Beth-aven means “house of wickedness”; it is being used as another name for Bethel, which means “house of God.”
4:17 Hebrew Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel.
4:18 As in Greek version; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
5:2 Hebrew at Shittim. The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.
5:7 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
5:8 Beth-aven means “house of wickedness”; it is being used as another name for Bethel, which means “house of God.”
5:9 Hebrew Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel; also in 5:11, 12, 13, 14.
5:10 Hebrew like those who move a boundary marker.
5:11 Or determined to follow human commands. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
6:4 Hebrew Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel.
6:6a Greek version translates this Hebrew term as to show mercy. Compare Matt 9:13; 12:7.
6:6b Hebrew to know God.
6:7 Or But at Adam.
10 Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers;
don’t take the land of defenseless orphans.
11 For their Redeemer[a] is strong;
he himself will bring their charges against you.
12 Commit yourself to instruction;
listen carefully to words of knowledge.
13 Don’t fail to discipline your children.
The rod of punishment won’t kill them.
14 Physical discipline
may well save them from death.[b] 15 My child,[c] if your heart is wise,
my own heart will rejoice!
16 Everything in me will celebrate
when you speak what is right.
17 Don’t envy sinners,
but always continue to fear the Lord.
18 You will be rewarded for this;
your hope will not be disappointed.
19 My child, listen and be wise:
Keep your heart on the right course.
20 Do not carouse with drunkards
or feast with gluttons,
21 for they are on their way to poverty,
and too much sleep clothes them in rags.
23:11 Or redeemer.
23:14 Hebrew from Sheol.
23:15 Hebrew My son; also in 23:19.
Greetings from Jude
1 This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.
I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.[a]
2 May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.
The Danger of False Teachers
3 Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5 So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus[b] first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. 6 And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. 7 And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.
8 In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings.[c] 9 But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels,[d] did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) 10 But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. 11 What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion.
12 When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you.[e] They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. 13 They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.
14 Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones 15 to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”[f]
16 These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.
A Call to Remain Faithful
17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.
20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,[g] 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
22 And you must show mercy to[h] those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others,[i] but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.[j]
A Prayer of Praise
24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.
1 Or keeps you for Jesus Christ.
5 Other manuscripts read [the] Lord, or God, or God Christ.
8 Greek at glorious ones, which are probably evil angels.
9 Greek Michael, the archangel.
12 Or they are contaminants among you; or they are stains.
14-15 The quotation comes from intertestamental literature: Enoch 1:9.
20 Greek pray in the Holy Spirit.
22 Some manuscripts read must reprove.
22-23a Some manuscripts have only two categories of people: (1) those whose faith is wavering and therefore need to be snatched from the flames of judgment, and (2) those who need to be shown mercy.
23b Greek with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh.
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.
1 How joyful are those who fear the Lord—
all who follow his ways!
2 You will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
How joyful and prosperous you will be!
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine,
flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees
as they sit around your table.
4 That is the Lord’s blessing
for those who fear him.
5 May the Lord continually bless you from Zion.
May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live.
6 May you live to enjoy your grandchildren.
May Israel have peace!
Thursday, November 29, 2018