Daily Encouragement

December 14 – Jonah (my favorite OT book)

December 14
Jonah 1:1-4-11
Revelation 5:1-14
Psalm 133:1-3
Proverbs 29:26-27 

Jonah 1:1 – This wasn’t the first prophetic message of Jonah.  He was a popular prophet of victory, and we know he’s from Gath Hepher and that Jonah is a contemporary of Jeroboam II who reigned from 793-753 BC (2 Kings 14:23)

Jonah 1:2 – Why is Jonah afraid of preaching to Ninevah? It was the Assyrian hub, would grow into the largest city in the world during the 7th century BC. The Assyrians were a particularly brutal people, here’s an example of their artwork commemorating their victories.

Author’s photo, Oriental Institiute
Author’s Photo, Oriental Institute

The Assyrians in just a generation would brutally conquer the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC.

Jonah 1:3 – Count the times the word “down” is found. Down to Joppa, Down into the ship. Down into the sides (Jonah 1:5). Down to the bottoms of the mountains (Jonah 2:6).

Jonah 1:4 – Let’s count who all obeys the Lord in this book:

  • The wind & the sea (Jonah 1:4, Jonah 1:15)
  • The lots (Jonah 1:7)
  • The crew (Jonah 1:16)
  • The great fish (Jonah 1:17, Jonah 2:10)
  • The people of Ninevah (Jonah 3:5)
  • The King of Ninevah (Jonah 3:6-7)
  • The gourd (Jonah 4:6)
  • The worm (Jonah 4:7)
  • The east wind (Jonah 4:8)

Jonah obeys eventually, but reluctantly.

Jonah 1:5

Jonah 1:9 – Does Jonah really fear the LORD God? The mariners appear to fear the Lord more  (Jonah 1:10, Jonah 1:14) and then fear the LORD “exceedingly” (Jonah 1:16).

Jonah 1:13 – Doesn’t this picture look like us in our lives before we met Christ? The prospects look dim, our fear is great, our possessions are worthless (Jonah 1:5), and we need supernatural help (Jonah 1:15). The Psalmist writes about a similar situation (Psalm 107:28-29). Peter knew of Jonah and the Psalmist, and when in a similar situation, effectively declared Jesus to be the LORD God of Israel (Matthew 14:28).

Jonah 2:6 – From ICR: “bottoms of the mountains. In Jonah’s day, so far as we know, men had no means to explore the sea floor, yet Jonah somehow knew that mountains had “roots” extending deep into the earth’s crust. In fact, this may even be another way of referring to his descent into “hell.”

Jonah 2:7 – Like Hezekiah, Jonah prayed only when it was pretty late in the game.

Jonah 3:4 – Notice his message was just 8 words. 

Jonah 4:2 – Jonah is quoting Joel 2:13 almost verbatim! Joel was written about 50 years before Jonah’s ministry. Jonah isn’t just a mouthpiece for the LORD – he’s able to quote Scripture verbatim!

Jonah 4:11 – Jesus loves the little children, yes all the children of the world! 

Revelation 5:5 – Ron Hamilton wrote a great song based on this verse, reminding us not to weep because of the Lamb!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4isEh-cURAc

Revelation 5:12-13 – George Frederic Handel incorporated this text into Handel’s Messiah.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0mfh5Zuy0A

Revelation 5:14 – The only one to be worshipped is the LORD God. See Revelation 22:9, Matthew 4:10, Luke 4:8, Romans 1:25, Colossians 2:18.

Psalm 133:1 – May we be united in the truth and living in peace (Ephesians 4:3). Sadly quarrelsome brethren have destroyed many a church.

Proverbs 29:27 – You can’t make everyone happy! Better to have the right kind of enemies than the wrong kind of friends!

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Daily Encouragement

December 13 – The Anonymous Prophets

December 13
Obadiah 1:1-21
Revelation 4:1-11
Psalm 132:1-18
Proverbs 29:24-25 

Obadiah 1:1 – From J. Vernon McGee:

The name Obadiah means “servant of Jehovah.” He is one of four prophets about whom we know absolutely nothing except that he wrote prophecy. The other three prophets are Habakkuk, Haggai, and Malachi. These four prophets are cloaked in anonymity. Obadiah is like a ghost writer in that he is there, but we do not know him. He lived up to his name, for he was a servant of Jehovah. A servant boasts of no genealogy neither exploits nor experiences. He doesn’t push himself forward. He has to demonstrate by what he does that he can even claim the place of a servant. So Obadiah is just a prophet who wrote one of the great prophecies of the Scripture.

https://www.ttb.org/resources/study-guides/obadiah-study-guide

Obadiah 1:4 – The LORD is serious about pride. Why? It can lead to violations of every commandment. And everything we have to be proud of, is given to us from Him. So is the root of pride ingratitude?

Obadiah 1:12 – Speaking of pride, this specific type of pride is known in German as schadenfreude. 

Obadiah 1:21 – Amos was a Judean sent to the Northern Kingdom. Obadiah was sent to Edom. Jonah was sent to Ninevah. Notice that God is implying that His standards are not local/tribal but universal. That assumes that those without specific revelation are accountable – i.e. general revelation is enough to condemn them (Paul will amplify this point in Romans 2:15).

Revelation 4:1 – That’s a strange thing – a door opens in heaven and John is told to come up to the door! How could he? He didn’t – God told Him what He would do – and then proceeded to do it. Just like the rest of Revelation – God is telling us what He will do, and He is getting ready to do it!

By the way, we’ve read about this in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. A voice like a trumpet will call out “Come up hither,” and then we will be caught up like John was. 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Catedral_de_la_Pur%C3%ADsima_Concepci%C3%B3n_(Tepic,Nayarit)-_portal_vault_mural_of_Revelation_Chapter_3.jpg

Revelation 4:4 – Who are the four and twenty elders?  The 12 Tribes and the 12 Apostles – united together in the day when “all Israel shall be saved.” (Romans 11:26).

Revelation 4:6 – Yes one day we can sing HIs praise as we gather by the crystal sea.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ahjKfVb4Lc

Revelation 4:11 – This is a great verses to meditate on. Thou Art Worthy is almost word perfect KJV, and great for meditating.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zCNFG_9TD0

Psalm 132:12 – Notice the conditions of the Davidic Covenant. In Psalm 132:11 we see that the LORD swore that He will set David’s children on the throne, but He did not say which ones. In Jeremiah 22:30, for example, God says Jehoiachin’s line is over.

Proverbs 29:24 – As we say today, “There is no honor among thieves.”

Daily Encouragement

December 12 – Amos and the Famine of the Word of the LORD

December 12
Amos 7:1-9:15
Revelation 3:7-22
Psalm 131:1-3
Proverbs 29:23 

Amos 7:3 – Notice how powerful prayer is? God’s judgment by grasshoppers was stopped. Judgment by fire was stopped in Amos 7:6. Similar to Abraham in Genesis 18:16-33. Prayer changes things. If you have been praying for God’s mercy on America – we’ve seen it in His continued protection. But let’s make use of this window of opportunity!

Amos 7:10 – Sadly today we have false doctrine spread by our political establishment. Baptismal regeneration was taught at President George H.W. Bush’s funeral. This is no different from today.  J. Vernon McGee does a masterful job visualizing this story happening today – below is merely an excerpt, I encourage you to read his whole description of this situation.

Amos preached the Word of God. Many people were moved, and some turned to God; but he disturbed the liberal element. Organized religion in Bethel, the worship of Baal and of the golden calf, got together. They had the ecumenical movement going there, so they had the same program. If you don’t believe anything, my friend, there is nothing to keep you apart. If I don’t believe anything and you don’t believe anything, we can get together. That is the ecumenical movement, and it was going great guns even in that day….

They had a mass meeting of all the religions in Bethel—it was really the first meeting of the World Council of Churches—and the motto of this first meeting was, “Away with Amos, away with Amos.” And the inevitable happened at this meeting: they appointed a committee chairman, Amaziah, to go and confront Amos. Amaziah was a priest who had gone into idolatry. (Does all of this sound modern to you? It’s the same old story; we think it’s modern, but this sort of thing has been happening ever since man got out of the Garden of Eden.) Amaziah was the hired hand of religion. He was polished, he was educated, he was proud, he was scholarly, he was pious, and he was a classic example of a pseudosaint.

https://www.ttb.org/resources/study-guides/amos-study-guide

Amos 7:12 – Amos is dismissed and told to flee (reminds me of Psalm 11:1) to Judah where he can earn a living preaching to a receptive audience. But Amos cannot go – the LORD said these are His people (Amos 7:15). Notice that phrase “prophesy unto my people Israel.” God loves His wayward people. We are commanded to preach to His people!

Amos 8:5 – Notice the two things that distress the Almighty. They observed the Sabbath (4th Commandment) physically, but not with their heart. They violated the 8th Commandment thru the false balance. Notice how often this is condemned in Scripture (Leviticus 19:35-36, Deuteronomy 25:13-16, Proverbs 11:1, Proverbs 16:11, Proverbs 20:10, Proverbs 20:23, Ezekiel 45:10-12, Hosea 12:7, Micah 6:10-11).

Amos 8:11 – US Senator Zell Miller (D-Georgia) quoted this verse in 2004 and talked about the famine of the word of the LORD in America today on the floor of the US Senate (watch on C-SPAN).

Amos 9:3 – Why does God talk about the top of Carmel? Because it is high above Israel and has an incredible view. Near the statute of Elijah commemorating his defeat of the prophets of Baal, is the peak of the mountain. Yours truly took this panorama photo from the top of Carmel.

View from Mount Carmel, photo by the Author

Amos 9:10 – The sad truth is that sinners will die. Eternal death is awaiting, yet if we repent and turn to Jesus we can enjoy incredible promises! Amos 9:13 – there will not be time enough to gather in the overabundant harvest that is coming! God’s judgment will come to an end (Amos 9:15).

Revelation 3:8 – We don’t have to have a lot of strength, we just need to keep His Word and go forward!

Revelation 3:10 – John Ankerberg talks with both John Walvoord and Jimmy DeYoung about this verse, that it outlines the case for the “secret rapture,” a pejorartive according to GotQuestions.

Revelation 3:17 – The Laodiceans are similar to the Israelites – they are unaware of their spiritual condition – “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” The answer is again repentance (Revelation 3:19).

Revelation 3:20 – Jesus wants to dine with you!

Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20

Psalm 131:1 – Remember James 4:6?

Proverbs 29:23 – And yet another warning on pride! 

Daily Encouragement

December 11 – The verse quoted out of context.

December 11
Amos 4:1-6:14
Revelation 2:18-3:6
Psalm 130:1-8
Proverbs 29:21-22 

Amos 4:2 – Not much has changed between ancient Egyptian fish hooks and today’s fish hooks.

Amos 4:6 – “Cleanness of teeth” is not referring to good dental care, but is part of the “sarcasm” of this passage. Note the invitation to transgression in Amos 4:4, a leavened sacrifice in Amos 4:5, want of bread in Amos 4:6, and a lack of water in Amos 4:7. It seems likely that the cleanness of teeth refers to lack of eating.

Amos 4:7 – Notice God’s control of weather. Jesus confirmed in Matthew 5:45 that the Father in Heaven “sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Notice the point God made – withholding rain from one city, to make people go to another city. They would go long distances for water, but no distance for God (Amos 4:8). Yes God is the former of mountains, and the creator of wind (Amos 4:13).

Amos 5:4 – “Seek ye me” is repeated in Amos 5:6, Amos 5:8. Note he contrasts this with their rituals (Amos 5:21).

Amos 5:24 – This verse has been quoted by such people as Martin Luther King Jr and former FBI Director James Comey. However, usually the context isn’t brought out – people with one foot in worship of Yahweh (Amos 5:22), and one foot in the worship of Moloch (Amos 5:26).  If you’re going to use this verse, you better be committed to the pro-life cause.

Amos 6:7 – The first captives are the ones who are enjoying the luxury of the day.

Revelation 2:20 – The last recorded words of Jesus and we’re being warned about  tolerance. The buzzword of today is the antithesis of commitment to Christ.

Revelation 2:23 – When we receive our works, what will you get?

Revelation 3:5 – Who are the overcomers? In Romans 8:37 it’s identified as us – the more than conquerors. But it’s nothing that we have done, but “through him that loved us.” We can overcome thru His love! 1 John 4:4 reminds us that we have overcome, because “greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 

Psalm 130:5 – This year we’ve been hoping in His Word! Keep waiting for the LORD!

Proverbs 29:21 – The importance of mentorship – speaking of if you haven’t seen The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry, you’re missing a great movie.

Daily Encouragement

December 10 – Who was Amos?

December 10
Amos 1:1-3:15
Revelation 2:1-17
Psalm 129:1-8
Proverbs 29:19-20 

Amos 1:1 – Who was Amos? A herdsman as opposed to the influential Isaiah who lived at the same time. In Amos 7:14 we’ll see “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit.” He was a few miles southeast of Bethlehem.

Tekoa in relation to Bethlehem

We can see, then, that Amos had to travel to his job. He was a migrant worker, if you please. His sheep and his sycamores pushed Amos far out into that desert. He was truly a farmer. He was a country rube. He was a rustic. He was a yokel and a hayseed. He was a country preacher. He was a clumsy bumpkin who was “all thumbs” among the ecumenical preachers up yonder in Bethel. But before you laugh at Amos, may I say this? He was one of God’s greatest men, and he was a remarkable individual.

J Vernon McGee

Amos 2:3 – Judgment on Damascus, Gaza, Ashdod, Tyrus, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and now Judah! Why? “they have despised the law of the LORD and have not kept his commandments”

Amos 2:12 – Nazarites were forbidden from drinking (Numbers 6:3).

Amos 3:15 – What’s a house of ivory? Probably meant that the house was full of ivory artifacts.

Author’s Photo, Oriental Institute, Chicago.

Revelation 2:1 – Jimmy DeYoung has done a documentary on the 7 Churches of Revelation:

Revelation 2:2 – Jesus appreciated the intolerance of the Ephesians!  They recognized the importance of the doctrine (Acts 2:42), but tried them who were false apostles.

Revelation 2:4 –  The Ephesians were good separatists, but they forgot the reason they separated – they loved Jesus more than they loved error! 

Revelation 2:10 – Not exactly your best life now!  But we have a promise – for those faithful unto death, Christ offers us the crown of life! 

Revelation 2:13-14 – These churches have unique problems! Pergamos hadn’t denied Jesus, but they tolerated false teaching. They needed to separate from the false teachers (see Ephesus in Revelation 2:4)!

Psalm 129:4 – What does it mean to say “The LORD is Righteous”? From BlueLetterBible:

God’s righteousness, or justice, is an attribute that leads Him to do only those things that are right. Because God is righteous He must judge evil. God’s justice allows Him to reward those who have been faithful to Him. Someday He will rule in absolute righteousness.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_1285.cfm

Proverbs 29:20 – Like James says, “Be swift to hear and slow to speak!”