Missionary God. Missionary Bible.

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TODAY’S READING: Ezra 1–3 Ezra begins where 2 Chronicles ends: the decree of Cyrus in 538 BC that allowed the Jewish exiles to return to Israel. Originally, Nehemiah was not disconnected from Ezra, and with the likelihood that Ezra (a priest) authored Chronicles, these four books (1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah) should be read…

TODAY’S READING: Daniel 10–12 It’s ironic that liberal scholars use the accuracy of biblical prophecies to undermine belief in prophecy. Daniel’s visions were so precise in chapters 11 and 12 that some say they must have been written after the events. The truth is, God does indeed rule in the kingdoms of men and He…

TODAY’S READING: Daniel 7–9 The final six chapters of Daniel are prophetic in that they foretold details of the inter-testament period, a period of which the Bible is largely silent, though the Apocrypha is not. In these “silent years,” Alexander the Great defeated the Persians and set up Greek colonies across the Middle East. This…

TODAY’S READING: Daniel 4–6 There were four deportations from Jerusalem to Babylon (605 BC, 597 BC, 586 BC, 581 BC) with Daniel taken in the earliest one. Some scholars say the opening chapters of Daniel are more about Nebuchadnezzar than Daniel, but it seems they are more about prayer and about God than about any…

TODAY’S READING: Daniel 1–3 When Nebuchadnezzar had a troubling dream no one could answer, Daniel enlisted the help of friends to pray that they would seek mercies from the God of heaven (Dan. 2:16, 18). “Seek mercies from the God of heaven,” what a wonderful definition of prayer. Daniel pointed out that it was not…

TODAY’S READING: Joel Not much is known about Joel except that he prophesied at a time when the temple was still standing. Some have that time being the 8th century BC and others during the late Persian period around 300 years later.[1] Whatever the timing, Joel’s main warning is the terrible day of the Lord…

TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 46–48 “The Lord is there” are the comforting closing words of Ezekiel (Eze. 48:35). It is ever about God and His fulfilling presence. A prophetic book that can be hard to read in its constant warnings about judgment on all nations ends with the assurance that what is wrong serves well in…

TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 43–45 The primary ministry of the Christian is to the Lord Himself (Eze. 44:15–16). The primary inheritance and possession of the minister, missionary, or disciple is the Lord Himself (v. 28). If we flag or fail in this primary understanding, if we do not focus on Him, we lose us and ultimately…

TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 40–42 Eternity past was perfect as eternity future will be. Other than the first chapters of Genesis and the last chapter of Revelation, the Bible deals with the ramifications of what went wrong and how God will fix it. In the first Adam all men sinned and in the second Adam all…

TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 37–39 Repeatedly over time critical battles have been fought in narrow spaces. Defending armies strategically chose valleys or mountain passes to make their stand, for a restricted space balanced the field when the attacking army had superior numbers. A balanced field did not mean less casualties but more, for the defended space…

TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 34–36 The prophetic voice is too often consigned to sounding harsh and jarring. That element is certainly present, and sometimes necessary, but prophecy ever issues from tender hearts, not mean-spirited ones. God’s message through Ezekiel is that He will seek what was lost, save His flock, and establish His Messiah over them,…

TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 31–33 God makes the nations “great.” He made Egypt beautiful so that all the trees of Eden envied it (Eze. 31:9). God made Egypt fall, delivering her into the hand of “the mighty one of the nations” and casting her down into hell (vv. 11, 16). The God of Israel made the…

TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 28–30 Tyre (present-day Lebanon) was the center of Phoenician power and the founders of the city-state/empire of Carthage in North Africa. Borrowing from Egyptian thought, the rulers of Tyre set themselves up as mini-gods, which did not broker favor with Jehovah. Tyre had physical things to be proud of: They were “in…

TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 25–27 God’s judgments on the nations are intended to help them know He is the Jehovah (Eze. 25:7, 11, 17; 26:6). In the missionary meta-narrative of the Bible, this means Jehovah is the God of Israel, the God who created all men and all nations to worship Him and in that worship…

TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 23–24 Through Ezekiel, God compared Israel and Judah to two sisters who marry the same man. Both sisters became adulterous, and the implication was that the younger sister was even more blameworthy for she did not learn from the excesses and the judgment of her predecessor. Both sisters belonged to the Lord…

TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 21–22 Anger is part of God’s nature—He is just slow to get there. There are some things so intolerable to God that He is committed to eradicating them, and wrath is the energy of God that removes anything wicked from His presence. God could not be good if He let what is…

TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 18–20 Because God is the Creator of the whole earth and the Lord of history, He has creator rights to do as He pleases with any nation. Because God is God, His judgments are always right, always justified. It is one thing to make such affirmations. It is another to defend them…

TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 16–17 The Church has no beauty outside of being the covenantal, missionary people of God. The people of God are only attractive when we focus on living for the glory of Jesus among the nations. God chose Israel when she was weak, naked, and infantile, wallowing in her own blood and uncared…

TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 13–15 Ezekiel used the national symbol of Israel, the vine, to show that all creation has a purpose and that if we do not fulfill our created purpose, we will be judged by fire (Eze. 15). Israel’s purpose was to be a light to the Gentiles, a demonstration of how good and…

TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 9–12 Missions is God-centric. We are not fully missionary until we come to terms with God being more important than the lost, more important than the ministry, more important than the missionary. There is a rebellious core to all men that resists the supremacy of God in all things, including missions. When…

TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 5–8 Christopher Wright states that the prophets gave the people of God the explanation of exile that they least wanted to hear. “It was not that YHWH was defeated; on the contrary, he was as much in control as ever. YHWH was still in the business of dealing with His enemies. The…

TODAYS’ READING: Ezekiel 1–4 Ezekiel was a young priest taken to exile in Babylon in 597 BC. He appears to have received his prophetic and missionary call five years later around 592–3 BC. A contemporary of Jeremiah, Ezekiel preached the same message of judgment on Judah and the nations. Ezekiel prophesied that the temple would…

TODAY’S READING: Lamentations 3–5 Hebrew poetry uses little to no rhyme, but it does use repetition of key thoughts and phrases. In poems of lament the usual rhythm is called qinah, a five-beat pattern divided into 3 and 2. Lamentations uses an alphabetical acrostic; each verse starting with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each…

TODAY’S READING: Lamentations 1–2 The central sadness of Lamentations is the grief of knowing that what God wanted to be a positive blessing to all peoples became a negative lesson. “The book of Lamentations consists of five separate poems on the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. These funeral songs and prayers describe both the…

TODAY’S READING: Jeremiah 51–52 Jeremiah’s story ended as it began. His is the lone dissenting voice in a crowd with great plans for themselves and their nations. Not much has changed over the millennia. Men still strive for national greatness, and they still prefer their parochial physical prosperity over the prophetic purposes of God for…

TODAY’S READING: Jeremiah 49–50 In the first century BC, deities were verified by whether or not their worshipping nations were victorious in battle. The thinking went that if Babylon conquered Israel, then the god of Babylon was mightier than the god of Israel. This time-bound view of the divine was unsettling as nation defeated nation:…

TODAY’S READING: Jeremiah 46–48 Jeremiah’s later prophesies occurred when critical political adjustments were made in the Fertile Crescent. In 605 BC and following, Babylon gained ascendancy over Assyria, conquered Judah, and reached its zenith by 560 BC. For the most part, with minor adjustments, the Middle East was organized with two major powers (Babylon and…

TODAY’S READING: Jeremiah 41–45 Jeremiah, the “all nations” prophet, exhorted national surrender when patriotism ran high. Jeremiah urged exile when everyone wanted to stay home. When the popular will was to run from home to the apparent safety of Egypt, Jeremiah again went against the grain and stated that flight solves nothing. These chapters of…

TODAY’S READING: Habakkuk Habakkuk struggled with the violence he saw on the global scale. The Chaldeans originated in the southern part of the Babylonian empire and over time consolidated enough power to overthrow the Assyrians and rule from Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar II was himself a Chaldean, and from the seventh century on, the terms “Babylonian” and…

TODAY’S READING: 2 Kings 24–25; 2 Chronicles 36 It wasn’t just Jeremiah who sunk into the miry clay. Jeremiah prophesied in the days that the kingdom of Judah finally gave up the ghost. The kingdom was established on covenantal grounds, and God’s missionary purpose was the heart and soul of the covenant and kingdom.  When…

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