Oct 1 – Do you believe that prophets, or preachers, of God’s Word should be exempt from tantrums and fits of anger? They can’t be exempt from such things since that is human nature. They can certainly try to control them, though. If Balaam tried to control either of these, he failed miserably in today’s scripture. I would like to believe that he did a much better job after God commandeered nature and allowed the donkey to speak to him.
Oct 2 – Are the nations of today “vexed and troubled … with all sorts of adversity?” If you believe so, is God causing it? We see many instances in the Old Testament where God caused trials and tribulations in order to bring His people back to Him. Verse 15:6 says that “God vexed and troubled them.” It seems that God allows human nature to run its course, but when the situation needs a little jumpstart, God will make things happen.
Oct 3 – Have there been periods in your life when you could say “The Lord has chastened me sorely?” That is an interesting word to use, sorely, especially for those of us who grew up under rule of corporal punishment. Some of the things that we did as children resulted in “not being able to sit for a week.” The Psalmist then says “but He has not given me over to death.” Regardless of how much chastening we have earned, God will not give up on us.
Oct 4 – You have probably seen it in the news or read about on the web – the ultimate in contrast. There is a picture of a vast, golden palace that overlooks the slums of the country that the king is governing. In order to provide for his luxuries, the king has taken the ability to live a normal life away from his people. This is the kind of life that the Israelites desired. They didn’t care about the consequences, they wanted what the other countries had.
Oct 5 – Do you find it interesting that, immediately after being discovered, Jonah does not deny his guilt to the sailors? Even after Jonah told them that they should throw him into the sea, they tried to row past the storm. Finally, they throw him overboard and the seas become calm. Although they seem to have displayed a loving attitude, these sailors did not know the one, true God. Even atheists can care about others while denying the true Love.
Oct 6 – There is a “war on evil” which is being waged by God’s people along with what some may consider a “war against morality” being waged by those who are not God’s people. Do you clearly see these two opposing wars happening in society today? Who is winning? Some may consider this a blasphemous statement, but I believe that the “war on evil” is being lost. God’s people know that God wins in the end, the happenings along the way are determined largely by man’s free will.
Oct 7 – Have you ever felt unworthy and/or ill-equipped to perform whatever duties you may be assigned in your church? Rest assured that God will provide what is needed at these times. Of course, being receptive to God’s provisions is completely your own responsibility, He will not force things upon you. Those mentioned in verse 5:12 had lost interest in spiritual growth since they “actually need someone to teach … the very first principles of God’s Word.”
Oct 8 – Do you know the details of handling an inheritance in an Israelite family? Yes, the eldest son received a double inheritance and the position of head of the family. How does the math work out? Well, if there are only two sons, it works quite easily – two thirds and one third. But how many families in scripture only had two sons? Five sons is a more realistic count for scriptural times. In this case, the oldest would get 1/3 of the possessions (divided into sixths).
Oct 9 – Jehoshaphat gave the judges of Judah some excellent advice that it would be nice for today’s judges and lawyers to heed – “you judge not for man but for the Lord, and He is with you in the matter of judgment.” Imagine a country where everyone from the highest leader to the lowest citizen consulted God before making decisions. Yes, I know that is a fantasy world along the lines of “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe,” but it would be a nice country in which to live.
Oct 10 – What do you, personally, take away from verse 37 in today’s scripture reading? “Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity; and restore me to vigorous life and health.” This could be taken in so many different directions! Do you recall the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses?” It would seem that it could definitely refer to beholding vanity. Have you ever desired something that your neighbor had? Have you ever hoped to be the one to lead the pack?
Oct 11 – This may be considered an “off-limits” discussion in the eyes of some, but how do you feel about the current leaders in power? Verse 29:16 says “When the wicked are in authority, transgression increases.” This is a direct quote from our book of wisdom and guidance. This proverb seems to have proven true over the past couple of decades in the United States, since we seem to have increasing wickedness illustrated by those in authority.
Oct 12 – Micah hit the spiritual status of our times squarely with the words “For all the peoples [now] walk every man in the name of his god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord.” Consider all of the gods available to be worshipped in today’s society. This does not include only Buddha, Zeus and Jupiter. We can also include nature, self and science as objects of worship. Even the people of “uncivilized” cultures create something to worship and believe in.
Oct 13 – Today’s scripture reading brings out an interesting question – had the religious elite n Jesus’ time so perverted the position of High Priest that it was no more than a job to be performed? It is likely that we have all experienced a job that we go to merely for a paycheck. There is no variation, no enjoyment, and we would choose to be anywhere else if the opportunity arose. To me, that would seem to describe the position of High Priest at this time. They wanted some excitement and Jesus’ disciples gave the opportunity to generate some.
Oct 14 – Chapter 10 gives us a perfect subject for personal meditation and sharing, if we should choose. How often do you assemble with others for worship? This could be during formal Sunday services or informal Bible Study at someone’s home. You should have prayer time by yourself in a “prayer closet,” but you should also heed the directions of verse 10:25 by “not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers].”
Oct 15 – What are your beliefs on the authority of a woman? Based simply on the fact of being a female, is she missing out on the qualifications to run a corporation, serve in ministry, or even decide things for herself? If you subscribe to the principles of today’s scripture reading she can make decisions, but the final approval will have to come from her father or husband. Women were definitely second-class citizens, if not considered property, in scriptural times.
Oct 16 – God has a plan, and we are a part of it whether or not we accept it. In chapter 22 we read that Jehosheba hides Joash to save his life. Six years later we read that Joash is crowned as king and “did what was right in the sight of the Lord.” God has a plan and we should be praying for the vision needed to allow Him to work that plan through our lives. In what area of life has God been impressing upon you to move?
Oct 17 – How often do we wait for the distresses of life before communicating again with God? He was with us and moved us past that last tribulation. I am sure that you remember it, during that time frame we would talk to God many times per day, and then listen for His reply! Now that it is in the past, we have returned to a humdrum week of work and church and work and church without much excitement in between. God is still there, why can’t we see Him?
Oct 18 – Do you consider verses 10 to 31 to refer to a literal woman or are these verses a figurative reference to women? If you believe that the words of these verses are subject to a literal interpretation, you are giving women power over men and their “stuff.” Then again, if you apply a figurative interpretation, I believe that you are still placing women in a position of power and influence. Yes, I have realized over the years of scripture reading that women are not to be excluded from positions in church service just because of their sex.
Oct 19 – We have soldiers who have gone to war to fight so that we may have the freedom of choice, religion, and many other wonderful rights granted by citizenship in our nation. We have a Christ who died on a Roman cross as the final sacrifice for our sins. Believe, know and accept this in order to avoid receiving the condemnation that was cast upon the Ninevites.
Oct 20 – You should have noticed the sacrament of baptism in two details mentioned here – the eunuch requested to be baptized (it was not presented as a requirement by Philip) and the baptism was done by a Deacon. Yes, these details touch on various denominational beliefs, but they are being brought to light only for factual purposes as stated directly in God’s Word. These words should not be used as a point of dissension in any Christian church.
Oct 21 – Christ will not leave the disciples without support? He will not leave us without support? How did He fulfill that promise since He was resurrected from this earth? Through the Holy Spirit, of course. The Comforter was sent to God’s flock at Pentecost and has been amongst us throughout the centuries following that Heavenly appearance. Do you feel His (yes, Holy Spirit is a He; part of the Holy Trinity) presence at this very moment?
Oct 22 – 12,000 went to war with another country and 12,000 returned victorious. Have you ever heard of such success in the wars of today? When God is with you, no man can be against you. This was definitely true of these soldiers. Remember this, also – they slew every Midianite male, as the Lord had commanded. God did not tell them that the women had to be destroyed, so why do you think that Moses was so upset?
Oct 23 – Do you long for the days when there were political leaders that could be trusted to do what they promised? A time when the punishment fit the crime? We had days like this, although they weren’t trouble-free. Verse 27 tells us that, although Jotham did right in the sight of the Lord, the people were still corrupt. We should face the fact that the world seems to be getting morally worse with every passing day. The only answer to this problem is God.
Oct 24 – These three Psalms were written by David. Let’s consider what may have been happening in David’s life at that time in order for him to write words such as “life is exceedingly filled with the scorning and scoffing of those … with contempt of the proud.” We can turn to the Matthew Henry commentary to discover that Psalm 123 was written during a time when the church was being trampled on. David writes not only for himself, but for all of Israel.
Oct 25 – Chapter 1 closes out with a few verses about knowledge. Solomon says “I gave my mind to know [practical] wisdom” but then he says “in much [human] wisdom is much vexation.” Notice the bracketed words and the meaning that they add to the verses. Solomon came to know practical wisdom while declaring human wisdom as troubling. How many do you know who seem to be in need of practical wisdom? How many are suffering from too much human wisdom?
Oct 26 – Did Habakkuk have a crystal ball? No, of course he didn’t. He had even better – God’s guidance of the words that he was writing so that they can be applies in his generation and all since. We read “they load themselves with guilt, [as do all men] whose own power is their god.” Do you know people who seem to worship their own power as god? Do they seem to illustrate a bit of guilt? Read these words in different interpretations for a better understanding.
Oct 27 – Have you ever had a strong belief in something that you later found out to be incorrect? This would be a belief that you are so certain about that you would defend it to the death if necessary. Then, in an eye-opening revelation from God, you realize that you were wrong this entire time. That would be a similar experience to what Peter had, He, and all good Jewish men, knew the Old Testament books and tried to live by them. This revelation is a chance to try to live by God’s guidance.
Oct 28 – There is some truly good advice in James 1 that we should all hear and heed – “be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense.” Think about it, in a true conversation, you listen in order to absorb everything that the other person is telling you. Then you consider what was said and formulate an adequate response. Instead of thinking about your responses while someone else is speaking, concentrate on the words and their meanings.
Oct 29 – Let’s move a bit farther ahead. We know that God had told the Israelites what they were to do. We also know that an omniscient God knew that the Israelites would not completely follow His guidance. Why not just tell them they won’t listen anyway, so they should do whatever they please. Because, like Adam and Eve, they have free will to decide to follow God, or not. We should not be so hard on them though, because we know how easy it is to stray from God.
Oct 30 – The Levites, sons of Aaron were more “upright in heart than the priests in sanctifying themselves.” That is a quite interesting fact in today’s scripture reading (verse 29:34). Why do you think this may have happened? Did the priests basically give up because there was no more temple for them to be able to worship God in? Maybe they were so deep into praising God for the opening of His temple that they had forgotten to follow the sanctification routines.
Oct 31 – “Blessed is the man whose quiver is filled [with children].” We often need to consider the needs during scriptural times when reading words such as these. More children means more farm hands to work the soil and produce for the family. More sons would mean more generations for your family to live on. Do these words (more children equals more blessings) apply in today’s society? That would depend on your individual beliefs and desires. We are all unique in our own worship approach and scriptural beliefs.