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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

12/1/11 Day 5 of Advent- The Messiah a Star of Jacob

12/1/11 Day 5- Light the first candle- Jesus was prophesied to be Of Jacob’s Line

17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.
He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the people of Sheth.  (Numbers 24:17)

34 Jesus…the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, (Luke 3:34)

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” (Revelation 22:16)
(Morning Star)

Thoughts: Jacob, the crooked supplanter, was also the ancestor of Jesus.  The Jewish Targum Onkelos commenting on Numbers 24:17 says. “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh.  When a king shall arise out of Jacob , and the Messiah be anointed from Israel.”  This targum (also Targum Jonathan), shows that the Jewish people believed Balaam’s prophecy referred to the Messiah coming to earth through the people of Jacob.  When The Jews revolted in AD 132 it was under Barkochba- “son of the star”- whom they thought was the Messiah.  Jesus is the morning star, rising in our hearts (2 Pt. 1:9). Let him rise in your hearts like the star of Bethlehem- scattering the darkness- pointing the way to hope and truth.

Prayer: Rise in my heart, O morning star.  Thank you that in the darkest night- you bring hope of a bright morning.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

11/30/11 The Messiah of Isaac's Line

Day 4- 11/30/11- First candle of advent- Jesus was prophesied to be of Isaac’s Line

12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. (Genesis 21:12)

23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”(Luke 2:23-24)

 17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. (Hebrews 11:17-19)

(Abraham and Isaac- Rembrandt Van Rijn 1634)

Thoughts: There was wondering with only one son, and all the stars and sand of God’s blessing dependent on his life, if he would make it.  Abraham was willing to give up his only son through his wife, and God blessed him for that.  Perhaps God was thinking of when he would give up his only son on the cross for the sins of humanity.  It is through Isaac (“laughter”) that the seed would be recognized. God took the one, made him many, but the importance of one life again showed itself in the Messiah.  Each life is a gift from God.  Isaac was precious.  Jesus is precious.  Each person is not an accident, but is uniquely created by God.

Prayer: Thank you for your plan, and your valuing of my life.

Monday, November 28, 2011

11/29/11- The Messiah to be of Abraham's Line

Day 3 11/29/11 Light the First advent candle- Jesus was prophesied to be Of Abraham’s line

18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
(Genesis 22:18)

1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”   (Genesis 12:1-3)

1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: (Matthew 1:1)

16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)

(Abram counsels Sarai James J. Tissot 1902)

Thoughts: God seeks to bless the whole world through Abraham’s seed (descendants).  Galatians interprets this as a single person- seed- namely the Messiah.  God sought to bless the world through the Hebrews.  The chosen race, the race of priests would produce the ultimate high priest.  God would come down through them.  This was not a last minute decision.  When God chose Abraham out of all others, He was choosing a place to land- to come down to us.  I Peter 2:9 says that we also are a chosen race and royal priesthood of believers called out of darkness into light.  Let us bear witness to the light.

Prayer: May I be a priest to the world- interceding for them and pulling them toward you. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

11/28/11- Day 2 of Advent- The Prophecy of the Messiah as Son of God

Day 2- 11/28/11- Light the first candle again. Jesus was prophesied to be the Son of God

7 I will proclaim the LORD’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father.
8 Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” 10 Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, (Psalm 2:7-12)

17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”(Luke 9:35)

In the beginning was the Word.  And the Word was with God and the Word was God.  The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:1,14)

1 Now Jesus… was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph…the son of Adam, the son of God.” (Luke 3)
(Baptism of Jesus- Albani Francesco 1640)

Thoughts: Psalm 2 speaks of the anointed one as being God’s Son (cf. Ps. 45:6,7).  What is promised is world-wide dominion of the Son of God.  The New Testament confirms this image being imprinted on Jesus of Nazareth.  The voice from the Holy Spirit that came down when the dove (symbolizing the Holy Spirit) rested on Him confirms as much as can be confirmed that God declares the Sonship of Jesus.  The voice also declared his authority (“listen to him”).  So we are called to listen to the Son, following Him.

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to respect you and listen.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

11/27/11- First day of Advent- Messiah was to Be Human

11/27/11- Light the first candle-the Prophecy Candle. Jesus was prophesied to be the Son of Man.

15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, (Galatians 4:4)
(Crushing Satan's Head- Avanzini Pier Antonio)

Thoughts:  Genesis 3:15 is the first verse in the Bible to forecast that a human will be a source of grace to wounded and fallen humanity.  As there is one representative of Satan’s “seed” there would appear to be one individual who will represent and save humanity from the curse of the serpent (cf. Gal. 3:6).  This individual will be struck or bruised on behalf of humanity- which can easily be associated with what Christ did on the cross.  Satan is called the great dragon or grand serpent (Rev. 12:9).  Romans 16:20 seems to be referring to this verse when It says, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”  New Testament interpretations- which are in Christian eyes more valid than any scholar’s- seem to see Genesis 3:15 as God’s triumph over forces of temptation and sin.   Christ is our ultimate hope over evil.   Christ’s coming is forecast to bring assurance of victory to those who are struggling “neath life’s heavy load.” 

Prayer:  Thank you Lord, that from the beginning of sin there was immediately the beginning of grace and hope.   We thank you for being bruised for us in order to triumph over evil.

Advent Devotional- Messianic Prophecy

During Advent (which begins Sunday 11/27/11) and goes until Christmas Eve, I will be blogging more about scripture passages about messianic prophecies.  Many of these passages will seem familiar to anyone who has focused on advent.  Prophecies about the first advent remind us that God is in control, that the future is in His hands, and there is a plan for salvation. There are over 300 clear messianic prophecies.  There is a large gap between most of these prophecies and the time of Jesus' coming.  As a Christian, I believe Jesus is the long anticipated and awaited Messiah.  Certainly the New Testament writers and early church were very conscious of Old Testament prophecies that appeared to be fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. 
Below is a schedule of advent devotionals for the coming month:

11/27/11- Day 1- Genesis 3:15- Galatians 4:4
11/28- Day 2- Son of God- Psalm 2:7 Matthew 3:17
11/29- Day 3- of Abraham’s line- Genesis 22:18- Matthew 1:1; Gal. 3:16
11/30- Day 4- of Isaac’s line- Genesis 21:12- Lk. 2:23,24
12/1- Day 5- of Jacob’s line- Numbers 24:17; Luke 3:23,34
12/2- Day 6- of the Tribe of Judah- Genesis 49:10; Luke 3:23,33, Heb. 7:14
12/3- Day 7- of the Line of Jesse- Isaiah 11:1; Luke 3:23,32 (Mt. 1:6)
12/4- Day 8- of the House of David- Jeremiah 23:5; Luke 3:23,31; Acts 13:22,23; Rev. 22:16)
12/5- Day 9- Born of a Virgin- Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18,24,25; (Lk. 1:26-35)
12/6- Day 10- His Pre-Existence- Micah 5:2; Colossians 1:7 (Jn. 17:5,24; Rev. 1:1,2; 1:17; 2:8; 8:58; 22:13)
12/7- Day 11- Born in Bethlehem- Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7
12/8- Day 12- Presented with gifts- Psalm 72:10; Mathew 2:1,11
12/9- Day 13- The Messiah shall be called the Lord Psalm 110:1; Luke 2:11; Matthew 22:43-45
12/10- Day 14- The Messiah shall be Called Immanuel- God with us- Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23
12/11- Day 15- The Messiah shall be a Prophet Deuteronomy 18:18; Matthew 21:11 (Lk. 7:16; Jn. 4:19; 6:14; 7:40)
12/12- Day 16- The Messiah shall be a Priest- Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 3:1
12/13- Day 17- The Messiah shall be a King- Psalm 2:6; Isaiah 33:22; Matthew 27:37
12/14- Day 18- The Messiah shall be filled with the Holy Spirit- Isaiah 11:2; Matthew 3:16,17
12/15- Day 19- The Messiah shall be concerned with the purity of His Temple Psalm 69:9; John 2:15,16
12/16- Day 20- The Messiah shall be preceded by a Messenger- Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:1,2 (Jn. 1:23; Luke 1:17)
12/17- Day 21- The Messiah shall be “from” Galilee- Isaiah 9;1; Matthew 4:12-17
12/18- Day 22- The Messiah shall have a ministry of miracles- Isaiah 35:5,6; Matthew 9:35 (John 11:43-47; 21:25)
12/19- Day 23- The Messiah would teach in parables Psalm 78:2; Matthew 13:34
12/20- Day 24- The Messiah would Enter Jerusalem on a Donkey- Zechariah 9:9; Luke 19:35-37
12/21- Day 25- The Messiah would be a stumbling block for the Jews and Light for the Gentiles Ps. 118:22 (1 Pt. 2:7); Isa. 60:3; Acts 13:47-48
12/22- Day 26- The Messiah would be betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver- Ps. 41:9; Zech. 11:2; Mt. 10:4; 26:15
12/23- Day 27- The Messiah would suffer for our sins and raised- Isaiah 53; Matthew 27, 28
12/24- Day 28- The Angel’s prophecies-  Matthew 1 ; Luke 1:26-38
12/25- Day 29- Simeon’s Prophecy- A Sword will Pierce your soul as well Luke 2:29-35

Friday, November 25, 2011

11/26/11 Isaiah 30 Waiting on God

 8 Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. 9 For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction. 10 They say to the seers,  “See no more visions!” and to the prophets,
“Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. 11 Leave this way,
get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!”
15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. 16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! 17 A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.” 18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30: 8-11, 15-18)

Thoughts: The people only wanted to hear words of comfort.  They wanted to be comfortable in their sinning and comfortable right now.  This is the way of many in America today.  But the way of peace is to wait on God.  They have thought they could run away from their problems, isolating themselves more and more (like a flag alone on a hill).  But God says that they will be found out.  On the other hand, God longs to be kind to them- but they must learn to be patient and wait believingly on Him. 

Prayer: Forgive our impatience and our desire to fix every problem now. Give us grace to wait on your deliverance.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

11/25/11- Isaiah 29:13-16 Pride and Transparency

13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.[b]
14 Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” 15 Woe to those who go to great depths
to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?” 16 You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter,  “You know nothing”?

(Potter and his wheel)

Thoughts: In these short verses are a number of important concepts. 
1) Just because someone says they have faith does not mean they really do (vs. 13).
2) God sees and will punish those who try to do evil schemes- thinking God does not see (vs. 15)
3) The clay cannot say to the potter "You are ignorant."
Jesus picked up on these concepts of humility and transparency. We cannot hide our fake faith from God. We cannot think that the One who made every molecules cannot see, hear, or be able to help. Our pride keeps us thinking we can hide our sincerity or our schemes from God.  Our pride makes us think our plans are better than God's plans and we can judge THE Judge.  It is a bit like the two year old holding their hands over their eyes and saying that the rest of us have disappeared.  Or, the two year old who knows much better than mommy or daddy.  Our great reason and wisdom is limited.  Verse 14 gives God's reaction to their pride- it is to astound them with wonder upon wonder.  This is not simply miracles, but also plagues- disasters, so that the educated are humbled.  In our day in America, the most brilliant economist, the best studied meteorologist, the astute politician are already confounded.  I believe this is a call for us through God's providence to humble ourselves and come to Him who made us.

Prayer: Let not my pride keep me from thinking you do not see or care.  Keep me from being quick to judge you.  Instead, help me to find peace with you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

11/24/11 Give Thanks

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)

(Freedom from Want- Norman Rockwell)

Thoughts: When we are blessed, we should not forget the One who blesses.  One of the subtle purposes of coming to worship as a habit is to remind ourselves that we need to thank God.  There was an article in the AARP magazine this month on how to avoid giving thanks during Thanksgiving.  But thanking God is an important act for anyone.  It reminds us we do not do it ourselves.  We have someone to ultimately thank.  Living life is not just a meaningless pat on our own backs.  Deep inside of us we want to rejoice in our Maker, and give thanks to Him for whatever we have in life, rejoicing in life itself. In the first and second feasts of the pilgrims, they had been through a terrible famine and time of disease that killed many of their family members and friends.  But finally, they learned how to grow things (thanks to the American Indian) and God provided rain.  Perhaps in a recession, it is good to pause and take stock of what God has done for us who are surviving it.

Prayer: This Thanksgiving we remember those who have little.  We rejoice in what we have, and ask that you would help us to remember those who have little this day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

11/23/11 isaiah 35:3-6- The Messiah Brings Healing in His Wings

3 Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” 5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.  (Isaiah 35:3-6)

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:35-36)

(Jesus Healing the Blind Man- Carl Bloch)

Thoughts: God is the Great Physician.  He is the One who made us- every molecule and atom of us.  He knows us by name and knows what is going on before the MRI or CAT Scan or biopsy is taken. God does not just care about our souls and our minds.  He also cares about our bodies.  Jesus showed that clearly when He came.  The Messiah brings spiritual and physical relief.  This is a sign of God’s love and compassion breaking upon our hurt and problems.  He heals people because He is compassionate for them.  In turn, we are called to do all we can to help people who are in need.  We are his hands and feet now. 

Prayer: Give me compassion, Lord, for those who are sick around me.  Give me a heart like yours that cared for those who were hurting whether they were clean, dirty, multiple or single problems.  Let me be patiently kind and compassionate toward them. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

11/22/11 Messianic Prophecies about Jesus' Line

31 Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. (Isaiah 37:31)

1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD— 3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. (Isaiah 11:1-3,10)

5 In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it— one from the house of David— one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness. (Is. 16:5).

1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob,    Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram, 4 Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,  5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,    Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse,  6 and Jesse the father of King David.
(Matthew 1:1-6)

(Rose window in St. Denis- Frace; Depicting Jesus at the center and his ancestors around him)

Thoughts: The above passages have three readings from Isaiah and one about the fulfillment in Matthew.  The Isaiah passages point to the Messiah's coming when things looked bleak.  They narrow the identity of the Messiah- first to the believers, then to Judah, then to Jesse (who had eight sons), and then to David's descendants.  Matthew points out this fulfillment in his passage. 
     It is a little bit like how to pick the real Messiah out of the line up.  There is an elimination- non Judean; non- Jesse; non-Davidic.  Jesus came from a kingly line and we owe him our allegiance.

Prayer: May I be able to see you, Lord, and identify you in my living.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

11/21/11 Isaiah 9 Titles of the Messiah

1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan— 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. 4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. 5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

(Adoration of the Shepherds- Dutch- Peter Grebber d. 1652)

Thoughts: God humbles and exalts.  He humbled Galilee in the time of the Assyrian invasion, but He exalted it by causing the Messiah to be from there. Jesus is the Peace Child whose birth brings guidance (wonderful counselor), power (Mighty God), eternal care (Everlasting Father), and peace (Prince of Peace).  A new prince of Israel who will reign with great ability comes.  For Christians, this is easily identified as Jesus who is a descendant of David, and is King of kings.

Prayer: May I find you to be my guid, my strength, father, my peace.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

11/20/11 Isaiah 7- Immanuel Means Deliverance

1 When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.
2 Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.
3 Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field. 4 Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, 6 “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” 7 Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “‘It will not take place. It will not happen. (Isaiah 7:1-7)
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, andwill call him Immanuel. 15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, 16 for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste...The Lord will bring the king of Assyria (Isaiah 7:15,16).

21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
(Matthew 1:21-23)

(King Ahaz- who nailed the Temple doors shut and set up an Assyrian altar).

Thoughts: The land was invaded during the reign of a wicked and fearful king who was unfaithful to God to the point of shutting and nailing the Temple doors shut.  Isaiah was saying that deliverance would come even in the face of two invading armies.  The invading armies were defeated. Assyria came to the rescue as Isaiah had said, but they eventually invated Judah too.  The birth of a child was always a symbol of hope.  This child was named "God with us" - "Immanuel."  Our hope is that God has not abandoned us, though we forsake Him.  God is our deliverer- and the perfect symbol is the birth of a child. The Messiah is the ultimate symbol of that hope.  It is the hope for us as well.  When our troubles seem innumerable, God's presence with us brings us hope and deliverance. 

Prayer: Lord you are my only hope, for you have come down for us and are with us even now.

Friday, November 18, 2011

11/19/11- Isaiah 6- Experiencing God in Worship

1 It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. 2 Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3 They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” 4 Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke. 5 Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.” 8 Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”I said, “Here I am. Send me.” 9 And he said, “Yes, go, and say to this people, ‘Listen carefully, but do not understand. Watch closely, but learn nothing.’
10 Harden the hearts of these people.  Plug their ears and shut their eyes.  That way, they will not see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor understand with their hearts and turn to me for healing.”

(Isaiah seeing a vision of the Lord- St. Matthews German Lutheran Evangelical Church- Charleston, SC)

Thoughts: When and where did Isaiah see the Lord, and how did he respond?  It was in a year of upheaval- the good king was dead, his son Ahaz, was evil.  There had been a terrible earthquake, many of the buildings had been destroyed (Amos 1:1; Zech 14:5), and the people had little hope.  Isaiah was in the Temple (for God's robe-train filled the whole Temple). 
     As soon as Isaiah saw God, he sensed God's holiness and thought he was dead because of his sinfulness.  Isaiah was a holy man, but he became aware of his sinfulness in the presence of The Holy One.
    After he was given his life, Isaiah was willing to do anything in gratitude to God.  God said he needed someone to be a messenger, and Isaiah was willing to go- even if people didn't listen to his message.
     We can learn much from this passage.  In our day of transition and turmoil, we too should seek God in His place of worship.  It is when we worship that we may experience the full presence of God  We should also not take our own sin so lightly, and we should be ready to respond to God's request to serve Him even without the promise of a rewarding earthly experience.

Prayer: Here I am Lord.  When I come to worship you I am aware of my own shortcomings and failures. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

11/18/11 Isaiah 1 Straying Away from Love

2 Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up,
but they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”
18 “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. 21 See how the faithful city has become a harlot! She once was full of justice;    righteousness used to dwell in her—
but now murderers! 22 Your silver has become dross, your choice wine is diluted with water.
23 Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts.
They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them.
24 Therefore the Lord, the LORD Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel, declares: “Ah, I will get relief from my foes and avenge myself on my enemies. 25 I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities.

(Isaiah Michelangelo Cistine Chapel, Vatican 1509)

Thoughts: Isaiah says that Israel is a prodigal child gone astray.  They were not grateful, and they are selfish. Their leaders are corrupt with bribes and political intrigue. Once they were pure- even sparkling like silver, but now they have become polluted and need the alloys purged away.  But even now there is a possibility of forgiveness if they repent and are obedient. 
     It was truly sad for Isaiah to see the drastic fall from Uzziah's restoration to Ahaz's bringing the Assyrian altar into the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, and then nailing the doors to the Temple shut.  The shining light- the silver- had become dim.  In America today we can see a church that is rapidly conforming to the world, covering over its light with dross, and watering down its salt so it will not stand out so much- and be able to "keep up" with the evil times.  America won an ideological battle against communism in the late 1980s, and then folded in on itself with sexual immorality and focus on earthly things.  Yet even now, though our sins be as scarlet there is a chance to be made pure once more.  What it takes is a humble desire to obey God and repent.  This is also true for us as individuals. We may stray away from the God who loves us. But, if we turn back to God, He will welcome us as the father welcomed the prodigal son. 

Prayer: Thank you for your grace, Lord, that offers me forgiveness when I have failed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

11/17/11 Micah 7

18 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. 20 You will be true to Jacob, and show mercy to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our fathers in days long ago.

(Micah- James J. Tissot)

Thoughts: There are some who hold grudges forever.  Some do not show mercy to those who have hurt them.  The Old Testament as well as the New have testimonies to God's great mercy.  Micah forecasts God's wrath, but also forecasts an ending to it.  God's covenant to His people insured His mercy would come back around.  Some never give another a second chance, and believe people never change. 

John Calvin abridged: The prophet declares that God should especially be glorified for this: that He is merciful to His people.  God proves He is greater than idols in that He is graciously forgives and bears their weaknesses. The remission of sins has no foundation but in the person of God Himself.  He shows what kind of mercy He has when He says He will tread our sins underfoot and hurly our iniquity into the sea.  So there is full remission of sin, not half (as some imagine). 

Prayer: Your mercies never come to an end, Lord.  They are new every morning- great is your faithfulness to me!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

11/16/11 Micah 6

6 With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

(Micah- Ghent Altar Piece- Jan Van Eyck 1432)

Thoughts: First some context: Micah 6 begins with God saying that He has a case against His people.  His case is that He has done nothing to merit their forsaking Him.  He saved them from Egypt, and blessed them (what Balaam told Balak-Nbs. 23-26).  The journey from Shittim (where Israeliets committed sexual immorality with the Moabites) to Gilgal (where they entered into the promised land and renewed their covenant in circumcision) is the journey from sexual immorality to circumcision. God is saying that He did nothing to merit their rebellion.  Now they are looking for a way back to God (that's found in verses 6-8).
     Micah asks a rhetorical question.  Basically it is how can we get back to making God happy, and come into His presence in worship?  It is not the most expensive burnt offerings that make God happy.  It is not thousands of sacrifices and millions of dollars of offerings.  Moabite worshipers believed that the worst kind of sin is mollified when we offer our firstborn as an offering to God.  The King in Micah's day, Ahaz, had in fact offered his only son (Probably Rimnon) as an offering to God.  The people felt their guilt, distance from God, and His displeasure and wrath.  Micah says the way back to God is to act justly.  "Justly" means fairness and equitableness.  It includes honesty and integrity- not taking bribes or treating the rich differently from the poor in court.  "Mercy" means to be considerate and kind; helpful to those who do not deserve it or cannot help themselves.  "walk humbly with your God" in this context means faithfulness to God (not the rebellious pride Ahaz had). 
     It is the same way today.  People are trying to find peace with God.  But it is not found by following any religion.  It is not found by simply giving a lot of money to charity.  It is not found by sacrificing for our children or sacrificing our children for ourselves.  Peace with God is found in a life of justice, mercy and humble faithfulness.

Prayer: God, too often I have trusted in my gifts, my sacrifices to make peace with you.  Give me grace to live justly, mercifully and in humble faithfulness with you.

John Calvin Abridged: If God's purposes were simply to destroy the peope then they would have not asked questions. But whenever God chides his people, He opens a door of hope provided those who sinned repented.  The people were religious but ignored the Law.  They knew what it said, but were fiegning ignorance in a childish way.  The first two requirements were to obey the second table of the Law- to love neighbor.  The idea to walk humbly with God  is from the first table of the Law and involves sincere, humble worship.  Condemned here is pride and arrogance.  The beginning of worship is human humility. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

11/15/11 Bethlehem Micah 5

1 Marshal your troops, O city of troops,
   for a siege is laid against us.
They will strike Israel’s ruler
on the cheek with a rod.
2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans[b] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.

(Bethlehem star0

Thoughts: Micah 5 narrows its vision on the leadership of the people.  Micah's vision is of a leaderless people.  Jesus looked at the people and saw they were like sheep without a shepherd.  This is what Micah foresaw.  But in the leadership vacuum the ruler comes from Bethlehem- the city of David.  A baby is to be born that brings hope.  Today my grandbaby came to our house and it was like light was brought into a dark place- a baby brought hope.  Isaiah said a similar thing when he said, "Unto us a child is born unto us a son is given."  A little child shall lead them.  It is as if when one generation is ruined, God raises a young child up to be a future ruler. Jesus did not come as a forty year old man, but was born as a baby- a child, that changed the world.

Prayer: May I not lose hope, Lord.  May I remember that even when one generation fails, you raise up a new one with new hope.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

11/14/11 Micah 4:6-13 Hope in the End

6 “In that day,” declares the LORD, “I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief. 7 I will make the lame a remnant, those driven away a strong nation. The LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever. 8 As for you, O watchtower of the flock,
O stronghold of the Daughter of Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem.” 9 Why do you now cry aloud— have you no king? Has your counselor perished, that pain seizes you like that of a woman in labor? 10 Writhe in agony, O Daughter of Zion,
like a woman in labor, for now you must leave the city to camp in the open field. You will go to Babylon; there you will be rescued. There the LORD will redeem you out of the hand of your enemies.
11 But now many nations are gathered against you. They say, “Let her be defiled, let our eyes gloat over Zion!” 12 But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan, he who gathers them like sheaves to the threshing floor. 13 “Rise and thresh, O Daughter of Zion, for I will give you horns of iron; I will give you hoofs of bronze and you will break to pieces many nations.” You will devote their ill-gotten gains to the LORD, their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.

(Woman in Labor- Micah compare Israel to one)

Thoughts: Micah prophecies the rise of Babylon before it was strong, and the end of the kings of Israel and Judah when they were strong.  There are four parts to this end of Micah 4: 1) A vision of the messianic age (vss. 6-8); 2) exile (in 586- vss.9,10) 3) restoroation (in 538 BC); 4) punishment for those who gloated. (11-13). It is evident that Micah is not prophesying in chronological order, but in theological order.  He begins with a reference to 3:1 "the last days" (which is the "that" of "in that day").  It is a vision of resurrection and restoration.  From a Christian perspective, this culminates in the resurrected one.  But to get to the Messianic age, they must go to exile in Babylon and then be rescued from exile. It is as if Micah was saying to get to the place of resurrection there must be a crucifixion and delierance.  This is also lived out in how we live our Christian life: we must die to ourselves in order to live for God.  Yet when we die to self- that is when our hope is the plainest.

Prayer: May I look for your redemption, O Lord, in the midst of my tough times.  Keep me from losing hope

John Calvin Abridged: God keeps the weak (lame) alive. The prophet tries to encourage the people who are depressed by saying that though they are weak yet God brings them new energy; though they were scattered, yet God is able to gather them together.  Though the Church may appear like a dead person, yet God is pleased to raise Her up.  The Church has had many resurrections.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

11/13/11 Micah 4:1-5 The Mountain of the Lord & Swords into Plowshares

1 In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. 2 Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. 4 Every man will sit under his own vine
and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken.
5 All the nations may walk  in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the LORD
our God for ever and ever.

(Statue at U.N. in New York of Beating swords into plowshares)

Thoughts: This is the beatific vision of Micah and of the Jews- that people would come to Mount Zion as the center of their universe, and that at the end there will be peace instead of war. 
      Today, many people come to Mt. Zion.  To the Jews it is their holiest place- and they gather around the remnant of the Temple, the western wall (or parts of the southern wall).  Christians gather there to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus was buried and raised, and the Via dolorosa.  Muslims come to Mount Zion to see the site where Mohammed ascended to heaven preserved in the Al Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram ash-Sharif (Dome of the Rock).
    This verse of beating swords into plowshares (tiller tines) in Micah is found exactly in Isaiah 2:4, and its opposite (beating plowshares into swords) in Joel 3:10.  This verse is also found on the walls of the United Nations.  Often military items are turned into peace-time benefits.  Tissues has changed from being used in gas masks to blowing noses in homes; Computers were used to break war-time codes to being used in 94% of American homes; GPS was used for military purposes at first and now helps the average American find their way around town.  Nuclear fuel used for destruction may be converted into fuel to heat homes. 
     Our hopes also should be that people would come to the Lord for help and center their lives around Him.  We should also not be afraid to keep the vision of peace. 

Prayer: Use me, Lord, to point and lead people to you, and to foster peace in this world.

John Calvin Abridged: Here the prophet refers to the last days.  "Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord" is a call of encouragement to worship- which is what we all should do. "He will teach us His ways" is a reminder that there is no true religion except it be formed according to the rule of His Word.  Hence, there can be no Church , except it be obedient and guided by the Word of God.  "They shall beat their swords into plowshares..." means that when the nations are taught by the Word of God there shall be such a change that everyone would study good and perform their duty of love toward their neighbors.  Until people are made gentle by the Word of God, we should not be surprised at tyranny and oppression.

11/12/11 Micah 3 Poor Leadership

1 Then I said, “Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel. Should you not know justice,  2 you who hate good and love evil; who tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones; 3 who eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin and break their bones in pieces; who chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh for the pot?” 4 Then they will cry out to the LORD, but he will not answer them.  At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done. 5 This is what the LORD says: “As for the prophets who lead my people astray, if one feeds them, they proclaim ‘peace’; if he does not, they prepare to wage war against him. 6 Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets,
and the day will go dark for them. 7 The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced. They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God.” 8 But as for me, I am filled with power,
with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression,
to Israel his sin. 9 Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel,
who despise justice and distort all that is right; 10 who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness. 11 Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they lean upon the LORD and say, “Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us.” 12 Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.

(Crowds in former USSR holding pictures of Stalin the dictator and Marx the philosopher/prophet of Communism)

Thoughts: Just because someone is in a leadership position does not mean they are good (think Hitler, Stalin, or Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania, or Pol Pot of Cambodia).  Popularity doesn't always translate into goodness.  The Harry Potter DVD came out today.  In it an evil puppet was put in charge of the ministry of magic while another one (supposedly) was put in charge of the education system.  Some leaders who hate good and love evil, will only use the people for their power.  They do not seek to build up the country (for they do not seek to sacrifice themselves, only to hold onto their little bit of fading power). The priests are easily bribed and only help those who help them physically.  God does not answer their prayers or give them visions.  He leaves them because they have rejected Him.  They have chosen evil over good. 
     Today there are those in leadership who do not care about the good of the church, or that the church keep to its foundational principles of holiness, love, and the Word of God.  Instead people choose to open the church up to moral relativism (in the name of not being narrow or old fashioned), idolatry (pluralism in the name of tolerance), and sexual immorality (in the name of inclusiveness).  Poor leadership can lead the people in the wrong direction.  In an election year, it is important to obtain wise and godly leadership.

Prayer: Lord, we pray for our leaders that they would lead us in the paths of righteousness.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11- Who's On First? Eleven and the Bible

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these other things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

7 “Make curtains of goat hair for the tent over the tabernacle—eleven altogether. 8 All eleven curtains are to be the same size—thirty cubits long and four cubits wide. (Exodus 26:6,7)

The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. (Jer. 52:5)
Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. (Mark 16:14)

Thoughts: So is the number eleven lucky?  Seven and eleven are supposedly the lucky numbers.  While the Bible says a lot about seven as a number symbolizing completeness and God, eleven is not so prevalent.  In fact, you really have to stretch to find eleven as something magical.  Jerusalem fell under King Zedekiah in his eleventh year- but not on his eleventh day.  After Judas died, there were eleven disciples, but it became clear that they wanted to have twelve. 
     However, the number one is prominent.  There is one God, one faith, one baptism (Ephesians 4:5).  But Jesus said to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.  The question is who is on first in your heart? 

Prayer: May you always be first in my heart, and may my life center.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

11/10/11- Tickle Our Ears

6 “Do not prophesy,” their prophets say. “Do not prophesy about these things; disgrace will not overtake us.” 7 You descendants of Jacob, should it be said, “Does the LORD become impatient? Does he do such things?” “Do not my words do good to the one whose ways are upright? 8 Lately my people have risen up like an enemy. You strip off the rich robe from those who pass by without a care, like men returning from battle. 9 You drive the women of my people from their pleasant homes. You take away my blessing
from their children forever. 10 Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled,
it is ruined, beyond all remedy. 11 If a liar and deceiver comes and says, ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’ that would be just the prophet for this people! (Micah 2:6-11)

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
(2 Tim. 4:3)
(2008 film "Yes Man" about a man who only says yes- even when he knows he wants and needs to say no).

Thoughts: Surely the people did not want to hear that their city and land would be destroyed.  Instead, what they really wanted was a prophet who forecast prosperity and blessedness- even if it were a lie.  In particular- more wine and beer in which to overindulge.  They are taking away the security of the people.  The rich are robbed and the women are taken out of their homes. 
In our own day, how we long for some good news.  The Greeks were paying their debts.  The Italian economy improves, as does the U.S. economy.  But we are not hearing much good news.  Sometimes we deceive ourselves by longing for good news, even if it is not true.

Prayer: Lord, keep me from self deception.  Help me to be bold enough to hear rebuke from your word. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

11/9/11- Asteroid and The Sky is Falling

24 “But in those days, following that distress, “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken." (Mark 13:25; Mt. 24:29)

12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.  (Rev. 6:12,13)

 10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— 11 the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter. (Rev. 8:10)

(Asteroid 2006 YU55- coming 201,000 miles near the earth on 11/8 at 6:28 PM EST- NASA picture).

Thoughts: I heard one lady speak as if the world was about to end because this asteroid is coming 201,000  miles close to the earth.  Perhaps it brings images of Bruce Willis and the movie "Armageddon."  Some are always looking for a reason to worry or be fearful- almost like wanting to go to a horror movie.  Some are hardened so that even if they knew an asteroid were heading dead-on to earth they wouldn't blink an eye.  This day's particular "close" call is really not anything to worry about.  We do not need to be Chicken Littles running around shouting, "The sky is falling!"    It could be a reminder of this prophecy above however.  There are real prophecies about this, that should give us pause.  The world will not go on as it has forever.  Life ends for everyone at some point.  For those who believe, this is not even a threat to the end of eternal life.  Our real task is not to worry or be fearful of our eventual end, but to grow in our trust in the One who holds all life in His hands.

Prayer: My present and future are in your hands.  My confidence and security is not in this earth, but in you. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

11/8/11 Micah 2- Human Plans for Evil Make for a Plan for Disaster

1 Woe to those who plan iniquity,
to those who plot evil on their beds!
At morning’s light they carry it out
because it is in their power to do it.
2 They covet fields and seize them,
and houses, and take them.
They defraud people of their homes,
they rob them of their inheritance.
3 Therefore, the LORD says:
“I am planning disaster against this people,
from which you cannot save yourselves.
You will no longer walk proudly,
for it will be a time of calamity.
4 In that day people will ridicule you;
they will taunt you with this mournful song:
‘We are utterly ruined;
my people’s possession is divided up.
He takes it from me!
He assigns our fields to traitors.’”
5 Therefore you will have no one in the assembly of the LORD
to divide the land by lot. (Micah 2:1-5)

(Bernie Madoff who used his good name to scheme to take away retirement, nest eggs, inheritances from others)

Thoughts: Some people sit up at night planning bad things.  Pre-meditated evil is worse than evil done without thought.  There are many who try to rob, defraud, steal, bribe others, simply for the fun and greed of it.  Ahab and Jezebel schemed to steal Naboth's vineyard- robbing him of his family's land-even robbing him of his life.  But God sees.  We cannot hide our schemes from God.  When we are making evil plans, God is also planning for our downfall.  We cannot escape the consequences of our sins. 

Prayer: Keep me from covetousness and greed so that I do not do evil.  Help me to be kind and generous instead. 

John Calvin Abridged: Here the prophet does not address idolatry (as he did in the last chapter), but the sins found in the second table of the Ten Commandments.  They not only polluted the worship of God, but also became loose toward all sin, so that they dealt wrongfully with their neighbors, and injustice and inequity prevailed.  He specifically mentions avarice (greed), stealing, and cruelty.  They think of such things at night- a time God gives us as a gift for rest.  We should use our rest to restrain ourselves from all wickedness- for God gives rest in part to also give rest to evil.  God says in verse 3- "While you are busying yourselves on your beds, contriving and designing evil, you think I am asleep; but while you are awake planning wickedness, I am planning judgment. It is the peculiar office of God to repay to all what they deserve, and to render to each the measure of evil they brought upon others. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

11/7/11 Micah 1

6 “Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble, a place for planting vineyards.
I will pour her stones into the valley and lay bare her foundations.
7 All her idols will be broken to pieces; all her temple gifts will be burned with fire;
I will destroy all her images. Since she gathered her gifts from the wages of prostitutes,
as the wages of prostitutes they will again be used.”
8 Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked.
I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl.
9 For Samaria’s plague is incurable; it has spread to Judah.
It has reached the very gate of my people, even to Jerusalem itself.
10 Tell it not in Gath; weep not at all. In Beth Ophrah roll in the dust.
11 Pass by naked and in shame, you who live in Shaphir.
Those who live in Zaanan will not come out. Beth Ezel is in mourning; it no longer protects you.
12 Those who live in Maroth writhe in pain, waiting for relief, because disaster has come from the LORD, even to the gate of Jerusalem.
13 You who live in Lachish, harness fast horses to the chariot. You are where the sin of Daughter Zion began, for the transgressions of Israel were found in you.
14 Therefore you will give parting gifts to Moresheth Gath. The town of Akzib will prove deceptive
to the kings of Israel. I will bring a conqueror against you who live in Mareshah.
The nobles of Israel will flee to Adullam. 16 Shave your head in mourning for the children in whom you delight; make yourself as bald as the vulture, for they will go from you into exile.

(King Louis' defeat.  Though France was the enemy of England, the defeat of the French king meant danger for their own English government)

Thoughts: The people of God are sick.  They had an incurable, terminal disease.  The ones who are supposed to have the true faith had lost heart and faith.  Micah probably walked through the streets of Jerusalem weeping, wailing, barefoot, and with only a loincloth on.  Samaria was not the only town affected by this prophecy of destruction (fulfilled by the Assyrians 722 BC). The towns between the Mediterranean and the mountains were also destroyed, and could not rejoice in Samaria's destruction.  It would be almost like one denomination today rejoicing that another denomination is having problems.  As people in the south were dependent on a strong Samaria- so one Christian denomination is dependent on the health of another.  When one denomination or church goes astray, all should weep and wail as did the prophet Micah.  When one person falls away, that too effects us all.

Prayer: Lord, continue to pour your healing hand on your church in our land.  Do not let us waste away.

John Calvin Abridged: Micah's purpose was to speak to the people of Judah, but he speaks passingly of the destruction of Israel.  They are judged because of their corrupt worship. We should learn from this that God desires pure and unsuperstitious worship, according to his rules- not ours. Samaria's idols and wealth would be destroyed.  The Lord sets a curse on riches gained ina  base way.