Thursday, December 14, 2017

December 14: Jonah; Psalm 133 – 134; Proverbs 29:26-27; Revelation 5



Overview

            Jonah: The Lord told Jonah to call Nineveh to repentance. Jonah rebelled and tried to run away from God. He went aboard a ship. When the ship was at sea, the Lord whipped up the sea so badly that the sailors threw their cargo overboard. Still the sea was against them. By lots, they found that it was on account of Jonah. Jonah told them that his God was the one who made the sea and dry land. That frightened them even more, but they tried to save Jonah. They finally tossed him in the sea as he told them to do. The sea quieted and the sailors sacrificed to God. The Lord had a big fish swallow Jonah and he was inside for three days and nights.
            Then Jonah called to the Lord and poetically described falling into the sea. Yet he knew he would again see the holy temple. When he felt he was about to die he remembered the Lord and prayed. The Lord heard from his temple, not like the worthless idols. Since salvation belongs to the Lord, Jonah will give his thanksgiving, sacrifice, and pay vows. The Lord told the fish to puke Jonah out on dry land.
            The Lord again told Jonah to go to Nineveh. Jonah went and walked into the city for a day. He then told them that in 40 days, the city would be overthrown. All the people, including the king, believed Jonah, fasted, and put on sackcloth. The king declared a total fast from food and water for men and animals. They should all call to God and repent of their evil and violence. The Lord saw that they turned from evil and relented of the disaster.
            Jonah was angry and told the Lord he knew that the Lord would be gracious and merciful. That is why he want to run away. He would rather die than live. The Lord asked him if his anger was right.
            Jonah left the city and made a shelter and sat in it waiting to see what the Lord would do. The Lord had a plant grow and shade Jonah and Jonah was joyful about it. The next day the Lord had a worm eat the plant, caused a hot east wind and the sun to make Jonah faint.
            Again, Jonah wanted the Lord to kill him. The Lord asked if he was angry about the plant. Jonah said he was so angry he wanted to die. The Lord told him that Jonah had pity on a plant for which he did nothing to get and only lasted a day. Therefore, shouldn’t the Lord have pity on the 120,000 people who don’t know right from wrong and their animals.
            Psalm: Brothers dwelling in unity is good. It is like God’s anointing Aaron as priest. It is good like rain in the mountains of Zion because it is there the Lord has brought eternal life.
            Servants of the Lord are to praise the Lord while they minister even at night. They are to do it with hands lifted toward the temple. May the Lord who is Creator bless Zion.
            Proverbs: People think they will get justice from the government, but it is the Lord who works justice. Unjust people disgust the righteous and vice versa.
            Revelation: The Lord had in his hand a scroll with seven seals. An angel asked who was worthy to open the scroll. Since no one was worthy, John began to weep. An elder told him to stop because the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Descendent of David had conquered, and he can open it.
            John saw a Lamb standing before the throne. He looked like he had been killed. He had seven horns and seven eyes, the seven spirits of God. When He took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell before the Lamb. The elders had harps and golden bows full of the prayers of the saints.
            They sang a new song of praise to the Lamb about his worthiness. It explained that the Lamb was killed and his blood ransomed people for God and made them a kingdom of priest to God. They will reign on earth.
            Then innumerable angels joined in exclaiming that the Lamb is worth to receive power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessings. All creatures in heaven, on earth, under earth, and in the sea agreed. The four beings and the elders said amen and worshiped.

What Stood Out

            Jonah: “Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish” (Jonah 3:9).
            Psalm: “Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who stand by night in the house of the Lord” (Ps 134:1)!
            Proverbs: “Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice” (Prov 29:26).
            Revelation: “And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’” (Rev 5:13).

Insight

            Jonah: If you believe the Bible then you must believe that the story of Jonah is true. It isn’t a fairytale with a moral point. It is history that Jesus verified (Matt 12:40-41). If you reject this as true then you must call Jesus a liar and there is nothing in this story that can give us any insight into God or how we should apply the word of God to our lives, either from Jesus, the authors of the New Testament or the Old.
            Since our faith is in Jesus we can find much to apply to our lives. We can look at the extent to which the Lord will go to make sure his plan is executed. He uses nature (winds, fish, plants, and worms) to accomplish his purposes. He uses rebellious and angry people to accomplish his purposes. He causes pagan kings and people to repent and uses them to accomplish his purposes. His purpose is to bring glory to himself.
            The sailors brought glory to God when they realize that there is only one God who is the creator and in control of the world. Jonah glorified him when he repented in the fish. He was glorified when thousands of people repented of their evil upon hearing his word preached. He was glorified even in Jonah’s anger when Jonah proclaimed his grace, compassion, love, and patience. He was glorified as he exposed the deceitfulness of Jonah’s heart with a plant and a worm. He will be glorified in us when we realize just how much we are like Jonah when our hearts are exposed to his word.
            Psalm: We should always view ourselves as servants of the Lord. The Psalmist tells us that the Lord has command the blessing of eternal life (Ps 133:3). When we receive the blessing, we become his servants. However we serve the Lord, whether it is as a full-time ministry career that may be a nighttime janitor in a church or a secular job, we are to praise the Lord. We must continue to realize that all we do is serving the Lord.
            Proverbs: It doesn’t matter whether a government is good or bad, when we think we will get justice from those in control of the nation, we are looking in the wrong place. The only one that can give us true justice is the Lord. While we may live for a while with relative justice, it is never perfect. There will always be flaws and failure of the system. It will be that way because we are flawed and imperfect. Even a very righteous person can make a mistake and thwart justice. Then there are some who are not very righteous and even wicked who will sometimes execute justice.
            When we depend on them for justice we are ignoring the Lord. Jesus said he judges correctly because he seeks to do the Father’s will (John 5:30). When we judge, it is always on appearances but Jesus judges in conjunction with the Father (John 8:15-16). We can trust Jesus judgment and it will be by his words that everyone is judged (John 12:48) when we will see justice completed after he returns (Rev 20:4).
            Revelation: Time and space just don’t work the same way in heaven as it does in the physical world. We can understand and grasp things in most of this chapter until it comes to the point where John says he heard creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, and in the seas praising God (Rev 5:13). It is beyond our comprehension how he could hear all this. If we remember things can happen there that are beyond us, then we will be able to get a lot more out of the book of Revelation. We will be able to focus on some of the more salient points that are presented in each reading.
            Today, we have the affirmation of who Jesus is and why he is worthy of our worship. The prophecies of the Old Testament are fulfilled in Jesus, which makes him worthy to open the scroll (Rev 5:5). We get a glimpse of the Trinity when we see the One on the throne and the Lamb with the seven Spirits of God. Jesus is worthy of our worship because he is God and part of the Trinity. We see the announcement of the gospel in the song of worship. Jesus is worthy because he has shed his blood and it provided the ransom to bring people to God from every people group there is. He is worthy because of our future in him being a kingdom of priest who will reign on the earth. We see that Jesus is worthy to have all the attributes of God in power, might, glory, and more.
            When it is all culminated in the end, every creature in every part of creation will worship Jesus. I pray you all can say “Amen” to that.

Application

             I can be outwardly obedient to the Lord and still harbor some ugly things in my heart, just like Jonah. I may be serving the Lord, but also serving myself in ways. I may know that justice will only be completed when Jesus comes but want to have some here and now and not look to the Lord for it. I look forward to the day when all these things in my heart will be completely purged and I’ll join the other creatures in the universe praising Jesus.

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