Weekend Readings

Saturday, September 24, 2016  “Who Else?”

Reading: Micah 7:8-Habakkuk 2:1

My selection:

The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might;
they shall lay their hands on their mouths;
    their ears shall be deaf;
 they shall lick the dust like a serpent,
    like the crawling things of the earth;
they shall come trembling out of their strongholds;
    they shall turn in dread to the Lord our God,
    and they shall be in fear of you. Micah 7:18-19

Sunday, September 25, 2016   “The Safe Place”

Reading: Habakkuk 2:2-Zephaniah 3:20

My selection:

Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,
    who do his just commands;
seek righteousness; seek humility;
    perhaps you may be hidden
    on the day of the anger of the LordZephaniah 2:3

See you again on Monday.

[For reflections on these passages, see the corresponding readings in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

[Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.]

His Wrath and His Joy

Scripture reveals a God of wrath and joy.  He is angry with sin but also delighted with His redeemed people.

Today’s reading: Zephaniah 1-3; Revelation 15

16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Fear not, O Zion;
let not your hands grow weak.
17 The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:16-17

1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.  Revelation 15:1

The prophet Zephaniah described the anger of God against all the sin and corruption of, not only Judah but, all the nations of the world. He warns of the coming of the day of God’s wrath. That day would come and the judgment would be complete. Is there no escape? Yes, there is a hope for those who humble themselves before the Lord.

John’s vision in Revelation confirms that the wrath of God does have an end point. There would be seven plagues applied to the earth by seven angels. We are then told that the seven plagues, “are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.”

Finished. That is a good word to hear. Zephaniah has given us a beautiful picture of the delight which God has in His own. Several phrases show the completeness of His care and describe His presence (in your midst), His power (mighty one who will save), His joy (He will rejoice over you… exult over you with loud singing).

If we are to be biblical in our understanding of God we must grasp these realities of His being. He is absolutely holy and will not let the wicked go unpunished. He is also a God of love and mercy and will save all who come to Him in faith through His Son, the Lamb of God, who took away the sin of the world.

Be sure your understanding of God is accurate. Know Him in truth as He has revealed Himself in His Word.  His attributes include His wrath and His joy.

The Safe Place

Today’s reading: Habakkuk 2:2-Zephaniah 3:20

My selection: Zephaniah 2:3

3 Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,

who do his just commands;

seek righteousness; seek humility;

perhaps you may be hidden

on the day of the anger of the Lord.

My reflections: How should God’s people respond to the announcement of the coming day of the anger of the Lord? Here they are commanded to seek righteousness and to seek humility. One would think that righteousness would include humility, but experience shows that people can be outwardly righteous while lacking inward humility. We can be proud of our humility, so to speak. This ruins everything.

Zephaniah tells them that by seeking righteousness and humility, they may be hidden on the day of the Lord’s anger. In spite of seeking righteousness and humility, they will still need to be hidden when the wrath of God is unleashed. All their seeking will not suffice to protect them from His justice.

Nor will ours.

My challenge: It is good to hunger and thirst after righteousness. It is good to be humble but, from the New Testament, we learn that this is not enough to save us from the just wrath of God:

2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:2-4

Ultimately our only safe place from the wrath of God is the hiding place with Christ in God. He is our life. Lay aside any trust in your own righteousness. It is all of Him. Seek righteousness and humility, but trust in Christ’s righteousness and humility. That is the safe place.

Tomorrow’s reading: Haggai 1:1-Zechariah 3:10

Who else?

Today’s reading: Micah 7:8-Habakkuk 2:1

My selection: Micah 7:18-20

18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity

and passing over transgression

for the remnant of his inheritance?

He does not retain his anger forever,

because he delights in steadfast love.

19 He will again have compassion on us;

he will tread our iniquities under foot.

You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea.

20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob

and steadfast love to Abraham,

as you have sworn to our fathers

from the days of old.

My reflections: I echo Micah’s cry, “who is a God like You?” This God is holy so He would be completely just to bring to judgment all mankind for its sin. But He has a remnant to whom He shows forgiveness. He does not remain angry because He delights to show steadfast love. He is the one who will take our sins from us and cast them into the depths of the sea.

When men conceive of god they tend to think either of a god who has failures and sin much like their own and so cannot rightly judge man, or one who is morally perfect but wrathful and unrelenting in judgment. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is neither of these. He is holy but also compassionate. He judges justly but shows forgiveness to those who turn to Him in faith and repentance. This is not a god conceived by man but rather One who reveals Himself to man through His Son, born in the obscure town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).

My challenge: Praise God for His infinite wisdom in saving the believing remnant of His people. Praise God for His compassion, for casting your sins into the depths of the sea because of His steadfast love. Who else? No one else. There is no god like Him!

Tomorrow’s reading: Habakkuk 2:2-Zephaniah 3:20