Today’s Reading – Zechariah 1-2
“I, the Lord, was very angry with your ancestors. Therefore, say to the people, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.’ Don’t be like your ancestors who would not listen or pay attention when the earlier prophets said to them, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Turn from your evil ways, and stop all your evil practices.’ “Where are your ancestors now? They and the prophets are long dead. But everything I said through my servants the prophets happened to your ancestors, just as I said. As a result, they repented and said, ‘We have received what we deserved from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. He has done what he said he would do.’” (Zechariah 1:2-6 NLT)
“Return to Me and I will return to you,” was the message of the prophet Zechariah. Everything that God said would happen has happened. Notice that the people recognize that they were being punished for their sin, yet they still had a choice to make. Would they return to God or not.
Application to me – I can be sorry for what I have done and even apologize. Yet, have I really changed? Am I repentant. I must make a choice to return to God in order to complete the repentance process and be restored.
Warren Weeks – December 21, 2013
Today’s Reading – Haggai 1-2
Now therefore thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Consider your ways. (Haggai 1:5-7 ASV)
Consider your ways. A simple statement that can have a large effect. The prophet Haggai’s mesage was not a fiery sermon of repentance. But instead a probing statement. Things seem to be going well but there is never enough and no satisfaction in anything they do.
Application to me – Do I consider my ways? What is God trying to tell me through the circumstances and experiences in my life? God’s voice is sometimes heard in our lives in different ways.
Warren Weeks – December 20, 2013
Today’s Reading – Zephaniah 3
But I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall take refuge in the name of Jehovah. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. Jehovah hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the King of Israel, even Jehovah, is in the midst of thee; thou shalt not fear evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not; O Zion, let not thy hands be slack. Jehovah thy God is in the midst of thee, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing. (Zephaniah 3:12-17 ASV)
Those not taken in the captivity didn’t have it easy when the enemy left. They were mostly poor farmers who lived in isolated areas and it was too much trouble to round them up and the enemy viewed them as lower class and of no use to them. Yet, Zephaniah says that God views them differently. He sees them as those who are a pure people now and devoted to Him. They should rejoice in God’s care, provision and protection.
Application to me – Do you ever feel like you are a remnant? Left out of the crowd that you really want to be a part. Sometimes, we forget that what we don’t have is God’s blessing in our life. He might be sparing us the consequences of a poor decision and we don’t know it.
Warren Weeks – December 19, 2013
Today’s Reading – Zephaniah 1-2
And herds shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the pelican and the porcupine shall lodge in the capitals thereof; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he hath laid bare the cedar-work. This is the joyous city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none besides me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand. (Zephaniah 2:14, 15 ASV)
“Every tub sits on its own feet” was a phrase I heard in the early part of my ministry. It took a while for me to figure it out. I finally realized that it was a way of saying that everyone is responsible for their own actions. Zephaniah has the same message. Each city in his day was an island to themselves. The walls protected them from others, everyone grew their own food and they worshipped in whatever way suited them. They didn’t need anyone or anybody. Zephaniah is saying that they are going to be destroyed for their sin of neglecting God and worshipping other things. A hard message to hear when you thought you already had everything.
Application to me – Am I an island to myself? Do I count on my own self-sufficiency? This can happen to us in suttle ways. We are happy with what we got and what we can do therefore we do not attempt anything big for God or follow His will for our lives.
Warren Weeks – December 18, 2013
Today’s Reading – Habakuk 3
I heard, and my body trembled, My lips quivered at the voice; Rottenness entereth into my bones, and I tremble in my place; Because I must wait quietly for the day of trouble, For the coming up of the people that invadeth us. For though the fig-tree shall not flourish, Neither shall fruit be in the vines; The labor of the olive shall fail, And the fields shall yield no food; The flock shall be cut off from the fold, And there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in Jehovah, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Jehovah, the Lord, is my strength; And he maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, And will make me to walk upon my high places. (Habakkuk 3:16-19 ASV)
Habakkuk knew the judgment was coming. Yet hie also knew he could trust in God’s provision. Habakkuk describes the scene as he knew it would be, yet he knew God would provide a way for him to walk in difficult circumstances. He recounts God’s provision in the past as an assurance for the future.
Application to me – In the midst do our circumstances, we need to focus on God’s care in the past. That will help us see His strength in the midst of what we are currently facing. Just like John the Baptist who doubted that Jesus was the Messiah in prison, we are trapped in the ‘prisons’ of life which cause us to doubt.
Warren Weeks – December 17, 2013
Today’s Reading – Habakuk 1-2
What profiteth the graven image, that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, even the teacher of lies, that he that fashioneth its form trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise! Shall this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it. But Jehovah is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him. (Habakkuk 2:18-20 ASV)
Habakuk exposes the failure of the idols. They are just wood and stone. They do no have any value because they cannot do anything. You can say to it it ‘arise’ or ‘awake’ but nothing happens. No matter how much gold or sliver you put on it, it is still not valuable. Contrast that with God who dwells among the people.
Application to me – God dwells in our hearts through a relationship with Him. That is why prayer and reading God’s Word are so important to my understanding of what God is saying to me.
Warren Weeks – December 16, 2013
Today’s Reading – Nahum 1-3
This message concerning Nineveh came as a vision to Nahum, who lived in Elkosh. The Lord is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and rage. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and continues to rage against his enemies! The Lord is slow to get angry, but his power is great, and he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet. (Nahum 1:1-3 NLT)
Nahum has a tough job going to tell Ninevah of their destruction. Don’t you think he went fearful of what would happen to them? I think also he may have gone hoping the people would repent like they did with Jonah. You never know. You have to admire the prophets for their bravery and courage to deliver God’s message. Yet this time, the guilt of Ninevah caught up with them and God’s punishment was inevitable. Nahum reminds them of God’s power and the futility of relying on human strength. Why did God warn them? He warned them because of His love in my opinion. He wanted them to know what was coming because it was punishment for sin and also so that they would remember Him and have another opportunity to turn back to God.
Application to me – It is easy to see the destruction and judgment in the Bible and think that people got what they deserved. But I am thankful that I do not get what I deserved in this life and the eternal life to come. I am thankful for God’s grace.
Warren Weeks – December 14, 2013