Thursday, June 30, 2016

Amos 4

Anything that we get from evil ways cannot be enjoyed with peace and satisfaction. The days shall come that God will take all their prosperities by force with judgment. And it literally happened when both kingdoms were conquered by their enemies; the Assyrians and Babylonians. God had shown them the things that happened in their surrounding; lack of bread, rain withhold, wander from cities to cities seeking something to satisfy, locust devoured their crops, their young people got killed, and they were overthrown. "Yet, you have not return to Me!" God was shocked to see the hardness and carnality of the hearts of men, that they were unwilling to incline their ears to Him in whom they might find all they needs. If the people will persist in rebellion and rejection of the gospel, and refuse to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, then He will come against them as an adversary on Judgement Day. If we want to meet the Lord with confidence, be prepared to seek Him while He may be found... Reading: Amos 4, God bless.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Amos 3

God has chosen Israel to be His people, but they could not expect communion with Him unless they agreed with His words and be reconciled. God and man cannot walk together except they are agreed (v3). God's way to reveal His plans is through His prophets, and He never does anything until He reveals His plans to His servants. The flood, the promised land, the Torah, blessings and cursing, the Messiah, the Day of the Lord, and the final judgment were all revealed to God's servants before they happen, so that all people are without excuse. The problem with mankind is that, "they do not know how to do right" (v10). The passage shows that natural evil, the adversary is here on earth (v11), and if we are careless, they shall dominate our lives. But there is a remnant according to God's election, and they will be secured by the Good Shepherd, as from the wrath of destruction even in the worst times... Reading: Amos 3, God bless.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Amos 2

Judah should also be judged because of transgressions; they despised the law, disobeyed commandments, listened to lies, sold justice for money, abused the poor, pervert the way of the humble, used God's name in vain, and took advantage of other's  kindness for personal gain. God declares that those that deal falsely and cruelly, shall be cruelly dealt with. The nonbelievers will be judged for injuries done against God's people, but the Israelites and Christians shall be judged for dishonoring the name of the Lord. The great cause of Judah's failure are the false prophets and bad ministers that lead people in the path of unrighteousness. Faithful ministers that teach the purity of the word of God are great blessings to the people; but it is God that raises them up to be so. May we then humble ourselves before the Lord, for all our ingratitude and unfaithfulness... Reading: Amos 2, God bless.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Amos 1

Amos was a herdsman, and engaged in agriculture when God called him to deliver His message to the people. It shows that we should not despise the origin of a person when God used him in the ministry, because God does not look at our background or appearance, but at the heart. He was contemporary of Isaiah, serving God during the time of King Uzziah of Judah and King Jeroboam II of Israel. He assured the Israelites of God's protection against their neighboring nations;  "the Lord roars from Zion, and utters His voice from Jerusalem" (v2). In means that their God is reigning and He knows what is happening in Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, and Ammon. Judgment are denounced against these nations, the oppressors of God's people. And in all ages, this bitterness has been shown against God's people, and all of men's dealing with His people (Jews and Christians) shall be reckoned on the Day of Judgement... Reading: Amos 1, God bless.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Joel 3

This last chapter is about the restoration of Jerusalem and Judah, the judgment of all nations at the Valley of Jehoshaphat (in Jerusalem), and the final victory of the true followers of Christ over oppositions and enemies of the church. Every evil thing they have done against God's people shall return upon their own heard. No one can escape God's judgment, because in that day of wrath, the hardened sinners shall be cut off from all worldly comfort and joy. Terrible day for offenders, but joyful day for true believers (v12). So let us awake and continue our journey, and flee from the wrath to come. There shall be abundant Divine mercies and the Lord will be shelter to His people, who dwells in the midst of Zion. Christ shall appear in the sky and His people shall be flooded with abundant fruits, love and joy to celebrate their eternal life... Reading: Joel 3, God bless.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Joel 2

It is the work of the prophets or ministers to alarm the people of the fatal consequences of sin, and to reveal the wrath from heaven against ungodliness. Our business on earth must be to secure the interest in our Lord Jesus Christ, and teach people to tear down their connections from any carnal and worldly objects that could divide their attention. The day of the Lord is both salvation and judgment, light and darkness, redemption and destruction. "The day of the Lord is great and very terrible; who can endure it?" (v11). This day is the most wonderful day for all believers, but dreadful moment for the stubborn and doubters. God made a promise to protect His people: "I will put out My Spirit in those days" (v29). This promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), when the Holy Spirit was poured out to the disciples. Since then, salvation is open to all, because God says that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved, beginning at Jerusalem to the ends of the earth... Reading: Joel 2, God bless.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Joel 1

Armies of locust were coming upon the land to eat the fruits of it; as if calamities were about to take place. The impact is devastating; vine has dried up, fig tree, palm tree, apple tree and all kinds of trees in the field are withered. The field is wasted, fire has devoured the pastures, the land mourn, the grain is ruined, new wine is dried up, and the oil fails (v6-12). It could also be a metaphoric warning to the Israelites for the coming destruction by the foreign enemy, the Babylonian. God called them to wake up, to weep, to pray and fast, to consecrate themselves, and to call a holy assembly, because the enemies are strong and without number. This message tells that those who labor only for food and meat that perish shall also perish, and be ashamed of their labor when the Lord begins to judge. We need to live in continual dependence upon God and His providence. The prophet describes how grievous the calamity was, if men are separated from God. Let us wake up from our complacency, and share the Gospel to those that are perishing... Reading: Joel 1, God bless.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hosea 14

As we conclude this book, let us consider the relationship of God and Israel; Israel was the unfaithful wife, and God was the faithful husband. However, God wanted to hear from them the words of humility and acknowledgement of their sins: "Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously" (v2). The Israelites were to consider their sins and the remedy through obedience not animal sacrifices. Here tells that as we draw near to God, we should first beseech Him to teach us what to ask, and take away all iniquity from us. If we will seek the Lord's will, it means we shall not seek it in vain, for He is willing to heal our backsliding (v4). Whom God loves, He loves freely, not because they deserve it, but for His own good pleasure. Who profits by the truths the prophets delivered? Those who are willing to obey and understand the truth about God. May we learn more to walk in the right ways of God, and may none of us be disobedient and unbelieving and stumble at His word... Reading: Hosea 14, God bless.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Hosea 13

When the Israelites offered sacrifices to their idols, they also kissed the calves, a token of their adoration to these false gods. Kissing the idol is hateful to the Lord, because it steals the glory that only due to Him. These calves are images made by Jeroboam long ago when the kingdom of Israel was divided into two (1 Kings 12:32). And God said, "There is no savior besides Me" (v4), therefore all that worship images shall be shaken and confused. The prophecy of the ruin of Israel as a nation also showed that there would be a merciful and powerful intervention of God to save a remnant of them. "I will deliver them from the power of the grave" (v14), a prophecy which was fulfilled in the life of Christ. God is the Lord of all, and He will not repent of His purpose and promise to deliver His people from the power of sin and death... Reading: Hosea 13, God bless.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hosea 12

Ephraim (also named Israel) feeds himself on the winds, with vain hopes of help from men. They sought deliverance from Egypt or Assyria, therefore God became their enemy. Judah is contended also, and God sees the sin of His own people and will consider it on the day of reckoning (v2). But God is only waiting from them to repent. "So you, by the help of your God, return: observe mercy and justice, and wait on your God continually" (v6). So, those who have gone from God, be turned to Him by repentance and faith. Here, Ephraim became merchant, but they followed the business principles of the Canaanites, so that they became rich (v7). They did't realize that shameful sins shall have shameless punishments. And those who despise the message of God shall perish with their evil ways. Therefore, let those that are converted to Christ must walk with Him in godliness and  holy fear.... Reading: Hosea 12, God bless.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Hosea 11

When Israel was weak and helpless like a child, God was always with them. He nursed and bore  them as the nurse does to a young and suckling child. God took care of them, showed them the way from Egypt to the promised land, and taught them the way of His commandments. He took them by His arms, guide them that they might not stray, and hold them up that they might not stumble and fall. However, they were ungrateful to God, they backslide, and their own counsels ruined them. Their hearts were fully set to worship idols and Baals. But God is slow to anger, unwilling to abandon the  people of His inheritance. "How can I give you up Ephraim? For I am God and not man.... I will not come with terror" (vv8-9). Indeed, God sent His own sacrifice for sin, a Savior for sinners. He did not spare His own Son for the salvation of many. God knows how to pardon the poor sinners, because He is just and faithful to forgive our sins... Reading: Hosea 11, God bless.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Hosea 10

A vine is only valuable for its fruits, but it becomes useless if it brings no fruit. The Israelites became unfruitful because their hearts were divided; will they worship Yahweh or idols, will they be faithful to God or Assyria, will they follow God's will or own will? Their pretenses of being God's people were distorted, and in reality the glory of God had departed from them, 'Ichabod' (v5). Without God in our hearts, all earthly prosperity is just a collection of bubbles, boom and bust. Israel shall be punished and be scattered to many nations. Since God does not desire the destruction of all people, there is mercy and forgiveness in His name. "Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap in mercy, seek the Lord, till He comes and shower you with blessings" (v12). As our comforts, so our confidence in the service of sin will be washed away, and the blood of the Lamb will cleansed us from our sinfulness. What a misery the sins bring on men if they are not pardoned! Glory to God, we have Christ in our side... Reading: Hosea 10, God bless.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Hosea 9

When the Israelites began to reap their harvest, they gave rewards and offerings to their idols. They  were full of the joy of materialism, but had no guilt of their sins and wickedness. The spiritual leaders of God who were supposed to be the watchmen and would look after the condition of the people were insane (v7). They were like the snare of the fowler to entangle the people to their ruin.  As a result, the people become as corrupt as the surrounding nations, and their sins should be visited in like manner. At first, God had found Israel pleasing to Him, as grapes to the traveller in the wilderness, yet they followed after idolatry (v10). When God departs from the people, the favor and blessings are gone, and even the children shall perish with the parents (v16). This passage tells that it is only just that God should bring punishment to the people that disrespect His offered mercy and leniency... Reading: Hosea 9, God bless.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hosea 8

The northern kingdom of Israel had followed the opposite direction. They rebelled against God's law, set up their own king outside the will of God, made and worshipped idols, swallowed up all Assyrian the ways, and they were among the Gentiles. And because of sin and corrupted worship, the entire nations shall be doomed for judgment. God loves the people of Israel, however, they need to follow the way of the Lord. Jesus told us to love our neighbors and even our erring brothers, however if they are not willing to follow the standard of Jesus, we have no choice but to do something about it. God's standard is high and we have to abide in His words. Our sacrifices and hardship, even though we are the most industrious and talented person in the whole world, yet unwilling to follow God's righteous standard, will never be acceptable to God (v13). Let us remain in the Lord's word, that if we abide in Him, we shall bear the righteous fruits that will last forever... Reading: Hosea 8, God bless.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Hosea 7

Israel was also called Ephraim, the northern kingdom of the promised land, with her capital in Samaria. Their sins appeared on every side of their kingdom, and their hearts were inflamed by evil desires, like a heated oven. Israel is like a cake unturned, half-baked (v8), none of them fit for use, or in NT language "double-minded Christian." They continued to live without God, no Bible study, no prayers, no guidance from God's servants, doing any thing they wanted to do. And in the midst of troubles, the people of Ephraim never thought of seeking God's help, "none among them calls upon Me" (v7). Instead they sought help either from Egypt or Assyria; enjoying the company of nonbelievers, and their money-gods. They didn't know that even their prayer for earthly mercies add fuels for their own destructions. God's mercy and grace are the only refuge to which we can be safe and secured. May the Lord listen to our prayers and give us favor today and evermore... Reading: Hosea 7, God bless.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hosea 6

Verses 1 and 2 are not only about God's willingness to forgive and deliver Israel out from their troubles, but also a reference to the future resurrection of Jesus Christ. "After two days, He will revive us. On the third day, He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight" (v2). Hosea encouraged his people to admire the wisdom and goodness of God, so that when he foretold their deliverance, he should point out men's salvation to the coming Christ. As the Redeemer was raised from the grave, so He will revive the hearts and hopes of all that trust in His name. God desired mercy rather than sacrifice; and the knowledge of Him that produce holy fear is far better than any burnt offerings (v6). Hosea said that Israel seemed willing to repent in time of suffering, but this attitude vanished immediately like "an empty morning cloud and the early dew that goes away" when everything is alright. Let us maintain our loyalty to God, because only those that endure till the end shall be saved by the Savior... Reading: Hosea 6, God bless.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hosea 5

The role of spiritual advisers to the king, like priests and rabbis, in the ancient time was very crucial (v1). Because here lies the blessings and cursing, the protection and condemnation, the approval and disapproval from the Lord. If the advisers are righteous having no self-interest from any of the material things, the king would also be righteous and the people are happy, otherwise they are in the opposite. As the Israelites continued to reject Hosea's message, God declares, "With their flocks and herds, they shall seek the Lord, but they will not find Him" (v6). Why? Because they only seek the Lord with their possessions, and not with their hearts. They cannot expect to find the Lord if their hearts are divided. God comes upon the sinning Israelites with lesser judgments in order to prevent the greater. Israel sought the protection of the allied nations, but this only helped to make their wound worse. What God wants from His people is complete surrender and total dependence on Him... Reading: Hosea 5, God bless.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Hosea 4

From the language used in this prophetic book, God hates idolatry. It is offensive to pray and call His name at the same time worshipping images and the false gods. In the words used by the prophet, idolatry is spiritual fornication and harlotry. The real cause of veneration of images is ignorance of the word of God. "There is no truth or mercy, or knowledge of God in the land." Any religion that does not promote Bible study is a false religion, and all studies that does not center to Jesus as God, Creator, Master and Savior is erroneous. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (V6). Here, both priests and people rejected knowledge, so God will justly reject them. They hardened one another in sin, therefore they shall share in the punishment from God. The Israelites were stubborn like a calf, and those who are not disturbed in their sinful way, even in our time shall be ashamed and destroyed in their sinfulness... Reading: Hosea 4, God bless.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Hosea 3

In obedience to God's command, Hosea once again took his erring wife who was then committing adultery with her lover, and entered into a new and restored relationship. This act represents God's gracious manner in which He will restore Israel under a new relationship or covenant. At the same time, this is God's love with the entire humanity that had gone from Him because of their sin. From heaven, God stepped down to earth in the person of Christ to seek and save the lost. He came not to punish and condemn but to shower them with blessings; forgiveness and salvation. Both Jews and Gentiles are guilty before God, but those who would humbly seek the Lord shall find Him to receive everlasting life... Reading: Hosea 3, God bless.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Hosea 2

Hosea continued to deliver his message figuratively to Israel in reference to his wife and their children. God declares that because of her unfaithfulness, "I will not have mercy on her children, for they are children of harlotry" (v4). God threatens what He would do with this disloyal and idolatrous people. He will take away the grains in its time, the new wine in its season, and the wool and linen in order to uncover them in their nakedness (v9). But God is a Husband to Israel, and Israel is His wife! And because of His love, He will deal with them more gently, He will "allure her and speak comfort with her" (v14). The Lord will remember when He made a covenant with her, and betroth her to Him forever. Here is an issue for us to walk faithfully with our Lord-Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, so that He may not be dishonored by all men. If a man's wife walk disorderly, it is a dishonor to the husband. Therefore, let us remain loyal to the Lord, that He may be glorified in the midst of the sinful world... Reading: Hosea 2, God bless.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Hosea 1

Hosea was a prophet to both Judah (south) and Israel (north), the divided kingdom of the promised land. The prophet shows Judah and Israel their sins, using his wife as a depiction of their moral condition; a harlot, an adulterer, and sexually immoral in physical realm, but idolater, worshipper of many gods, disobedient to the law of Yahweh in spiritual. As the wife Gomer departed Hosea and prostituted herself with other men, so as the Israelites abandoned their God and committed spiritual adultery with false gods. The fruits of this relationship are their children signifying the broken covenant with God; Jezreel meaning to break the strength of the land, Lo-Ruhamah meaning no mercy, and Lo-Ammi meaning not my people. But our God is merciful and compassionate, He still loves them in the midst of wrath and rejection. His anger is not total so it shall not be final. The same Savior whose hands were wounded at the Cross has opened His arms to all in order to heal the broken relationship. Glory to God... Reading: Hosea 1, God bless.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Daniel 12

Archangel Michael and two more angels standing above the waters of the river were talking about the future of Israel and of the world. They revealed to Daniel that in the distant future, many bodies lie dead and buried to earth shall be resurrected for eternal life with God, wile others for eternal damnation in hell. Those who are wise, men and women that followed the instructions of God will be rewarded because of their faith and sacrifices for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ. But the unfaithful, lovers of money, self-righteous people will never share the glory with those who are loyal in the service of God.  All opposing rules, great and small shall be put to down, and wicked men and women shall never understand the wisdom of God. Like Daniel, let us comfort ourselves with the pleasing prospect of our own happiness in death, in judgment and to eternity. We are called to serve God in small ministry, so let us be faithful in small things for the glory of God... Reading: Daniel 12, God bless.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Daniel 11

This chapter is a the detailed events that will happen in the land of Israel in the next centuries from the time of Daniel. The king of Greece will rise to power while the king of Mede shall be destroyed (see chapter 8). After the death of the king of Greece (Alexander the Great-321 BC), his kingdom shall be divided in four, and a king from the south (Egypt) shall become strong, but later the king of the north (Syria) shall destroy Egypt. Then, Syrian armies shall conquer Israel: "He shall stand in the Glorious Land with destruction in his power" (v16). They shall defile the temple and stopped the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation (v31). He shall speak blasphemies against the Lord, divide the holy land for gain, but his end shall come and no one will help him (v45). This prophecies had been fulfilled (on 200 BC) but will be fulfilled again on the second coming of Christ, as Jesus spoke of abomination of desolation (Matt 24:15). Our role is to be vigilant, study the scriptures well, be faithful to our calling, and ignore the spirit of materialism... Reading: Daniel 11, God bless.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Daniel 10

This chapter relates the beginning of Daniel's last vision, which is continued to the end of this book. An angel of the Lord appeared to Daniel, and as he entered into communion with spiritual being, he lost all his strength, and couldn't bear the presence  of the Divine glory. The angel revealed that when he was told by God to bring to Daniel the answer to his prayers, the prince of Persia opposed it and resisted him 21 days. It was the Archangel Michael who helped him to fight against these evil forces. This verse shows that there are spiritual beings that obstruct the works to accomplish the plan of God. Michael is the prince of the Jews (21), and nations are controlled by evil princes, prince of Greece,  and spiritual powers in the air (Eph 2:2). They hinder or sometimes steal our blessings in order to frustrate our plans and purpose. While  satan and his followers continually harming the church, we can rejoice always because Christ our Prince is alive and live reigning victoriously forever and ever... Reading: Daniel 10, God bless.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Daniel 9

As he prayed with humility and acknowledgement of their sins, Daniel learned from the books of the prophets, especially Jeremiah, that the desolation of Jerusalem would continue 70 years, which were drawing to close by this time. God's answer was immediately sent through angel Gabriel, explaining the history of Israel in advance from the time of captivity to the appearance of the Messiah. This prophecy is known as the Seventy Weeks of Daniel or 490 Years of Daniel. Week (Heb: Shavua) means 7 years, NOT the literal 7 days. Gabriel explained that from the giving of the command by Darius to return to Holy Land till the restoration and building of Jerusalem is 7 weeks or 49 years (v25). Then, from the building of Jerusalem till the cutting off of the Messiah is 62 weeks or 434 years (v.26). The first 7 weeks was fulfilled, the second 62 weeks was also fulfilled, but the last one week is yet to be fulfilled. Jerusalem was restored by Nehemiah, and the Messiah was crucified 434 years later, and now He will appear again for the fulfillment of remaining 7 years. This 7 years will be the tribulation and great tribulation that is to happen in this whole world. Our prayer should be humility in God and obedience to His precepts, that we may be worthy to be raptured on the Great Day of the Lord... Reading: Deanile 9, God bless.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Daniel 8

God gives Daniel a foresight of the coming wars, and of the rise and fall of the kingdoms of the earth. The ram with two horns is the same kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar's dream of great image with two silver arms. The ram went to east, west and south to make war, then a male goat from the west appeared with more power to destroy the ram. The angel Gabriel spoke to Daniel and made the interpretation. He said that the male goat from the west is the kingdom of Greece, while the ram with two horns is the Medes and Persia. Then, the king of Greece had died and his kingdom was divided into four, and one of the four kings became powerful (v20-22). This prophecy was fulfilled by Alexander the Great on 332 BC, when he destroyed the kingdom of Darius of Medes and Persia, and conquered the known world. When Alexander had died, his kingdom was divided into four, and one kingdom became powerful, Syria. Immediately, Syria persecuted the nation of Israel (v24). It was during this period when the feast of Hanukkah was originated. In the New Testament, we can see that the Jews like Paul can easily traveled to Damascus, but the whole region was under the power of Rome.... Reading: Daniel 8, God bless.