I am using One Year Bible Online for my daily Bible study. For today, One Year Bible Online links here.
My Old Testament study today is where Joshua calls the children of Israel together to renew their covenant with God. Joshua recounts the history of the people of Israel going back to Abraham’s father. Reading this account, it is amazing to me how much Joshua saw in his lifetime. Joshua saw the power of the Lord displayed over and over again from the plagues in Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea to the power of God when the Israelites invaded Canaan. After recounting these stories, Joshua calls on the people of Israel to choose what god they will serve, whether that is the God of Abraham or the gods of the Sumerians or those of the Egyptians, or those of the people of Canaan. Here Joshua says something that I have tried to make my motto since the day I got married. “But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua warns the Israelites that if they choose to serve the Lord and fall away to worship other gods, God will punish them harshly. At this time, the people of Israel rededicated themselves to serve the Lord.
This passage is a reminder to us that we must rededicate ourselves to God periodically. We must remember that if we do not take the time to renew our dedication to serve God, we will over time start to drift away from Him. God will provide us with reminders of this, but we must respond to those proddings by the Holy Spirit. I received a fresh push this morning in our congregational worship service this morning. These Bible studies are only the start of what God is calling me to do.
Today’s New Testament reading is the story of the widow’s mite and Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus uses the example of this widow to show us that we should give sacrificially. It is not enough to give out of our excess, we need to give to the point that we need to sacrifice at least some of our comfort and more.
The next part of the passage is Jesus foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem. My Dad often talked about how many Biblical prophecies are about more than one future event. I think that this passage is one of those passages. Certainly on the surface it is about the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.. Yet, when I read this, I cannot help but think about things that have been in the news lately. When I read Jesus telling the disciples, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’[b] and saying, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t believe them.” I cannot help but think of the recent controversy surrounding Harold Camping. Jesus then tells us that there will come a time of great persecution. When I read this, I think about what is happening to Christians in many Muslim countries, but not just in Muslim countries in many other countries as well. I, also, think of the declaration by the Obama Administration that they will fine those religious institutions that fail to pay for abortion coverage for their employees. I do not know what is coming, but I fear that the Church may soon be facing persecution in this country. On the other hand, I trust that God will give me grace to face that if it should come. Jesus tells us that the Spirit will give us the words to speak if we face this persecution.
Jesus tells us that when we see Jerusalem surrounded by armies we will know that the time of its destruction has arrived. This was certainly fulfilled in 70 AD, but was this, also, a prophecy about today (or sometime in the future? I do not know, but there are certainly aspects of what is going on in the Middle East that could easily develop into something that would fit what Jesus says in this passage. As I said, I do not know, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. I know that God is in control of all of history and it will happen as He wills, no matter what humans may do to try and change that path.
In today’s Psalm, the psalmist expresses his feeling that God is angry with him and punishing him. Yet he concludes by proclaiming praise to the Lord. We must remember this. The apostle Paul instructs us to give thanks to God in all circumstances. I will strive to do this in my life.
Today’s first proverb tells us that if we spend our time with the wise, we will become wise, but if we spend our time with the foolish we will get into trouble. The second proverb is related to that. It tells us that trouble follows those who sin, while righteousness is rewarded by blessings. I have certainly seen how these are true throughout my life.