Shofar Communications, Inc.. Powered by Blogger.
Saturday, July 31, 2010

Micah 1:2

Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord God be witness against you, the Lord from His holy temple.

For further study – Micah 1:1-5

When you mention the name Micah, an ancient Jewish prophet, one most likely thinks of the Christmas story and the birthplace of Jesus revealed in Micah 5:2, Bethlehem-Ephratah. However, there is so very much more prophecy in Micah, I don't know where to start.

The name of the book, Micah, is basically the theme of the book. "Micah" translated means, "who is like Yahweh". "Yahweh" is the most important name for God used in the scriptures over 6,800 times. Yahweh is the "Creator" and "the One who controls history".

As you approach your study of the book, and even a devotional reading of the book, it is always good to have some type of an outline of the book. I might suggest an outline but I also suggest that you look into developing your own if it fits your study better than mine.

I see a four-part outline in Micah:
1. Proclamation – Micah 1-3
2. Prophecy – Micah 4-5
3. Plea – Micah 6
4. Pardon – Micah 7

Micah 1-3 is a proclamation of "judgment" to come; 4-5 contains prophecy for the near future and the end of times events; 6 is the Lord pleading for the Jews to repent and 7 is the pardon that the Lord promises to the Jewish people. This is an excellent book to see how the Lord, "Yahweh" works to bring the Jewish people to Himself.

As we read this book for our devotions we will see that the theme is as I suggested, "who is like Yahweh", and that is restated in the last chapter of Micah, verse 18. If you couple verse 18 with verse 20 you will see that the Lord is so great that He not only forgives and pardons but keeps all of His promises, His covenants, that He made with the Jews.

I love the fact that Yahweh is a "promising-keeping God", as evidenced in His actions with the Jewish people, therefore I can know He will keep all of His promises that He has made to me as a Christian. His promise of "everlasting life", to me and to you, as a Christian is an absolute. Praise the Lord.

By the way, His promise that He is coming to call us to join Him in the heavens at the Rapture is also absolute. He will come to get us, I believe in the near future. As we read through Micah you will realize that the prophecies found in Micah 4-5 are at the point of being fulfilled, only the Rapture must happen first. Keep looking up, it could be today.

PRAYER THOT: Since the Rapture could happen today, dear Lord, please keep me focused on you and the way I must live in light of how close your shout might be, even today.
Friday, July 30, 2010

Jonah 4:11

And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

For further study - Jonah 4:1-11

Jonah closes his prophetic book abruptly indicating that the prophet was angry, depressed, hot and faint. Jonah was left to contemplate God's words about his own lack of compassion and God's depth of compassion.

The truth be known, Jonah could not have written this book unless he had learned the point God was seeking to bring to the prophets attention. It is most likely that Jonah did come to an understanding of his error and then wrote this historical, biographical narrative to urge Israel to flee from disobedience and spiritual callousness.

Jonah ran the opposite direction from where God had sent him in chapter 1. In chapter 2 the prophet got his heart right after being resurrected from the dead. Chapter 3 reveals the record of the prophet doing what the Lord sent him to do, preach to the Gentile city of Nineveh. God's Word was effective and the city turned to the Lord.

When we come to Jonah 4 we see the Jewish prophet actually depressed that he had been used of God to reach these Gentiles. The narrative reveals Jonah's sorrow over the loss of his physical protection, provided by God, but totally void of any compassion for those who the Lord had displayed great compassion for, the people of Nineveh.

God worked in the heart of this Jewish preacher and then allowed him the ministry to his own people to show them the Lord's heart and compassion and their lack of compassion and failure to serve the Lord within His plan and power.

As I read this chapter I was reminded why the Lord has not come back to earth and in fact why He has not shouted for us to join Him in the air at the Rapture. II Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise (the promise to call us up to heaven) as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

That's His compassion for the lost, and it should be ours also. By the way, you and I can hasten the coming of the Lord, II Peter 3:12, by leading lost people to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

Prayer Thot: Help me Lord, to do what must be done to reach the lost and dying world before it's too late, as I await and hasten Your return.
Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jonah 3:10

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

For further study - Jonah 3:1-10

This daily devotion is presented with a "prophetic perspective" each day for your consideration. Today as we read Jonah 3, the "prophetic perspective" is the underlying theme of this passage.

After Jonah is "vomited" upon the "dry land", Jonah 2:10, the reluctant Jewish prophet makes his way to Nineveh where he enters the city with the message that God had given him. Jonah cried out, "Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown", verse 4.

Let me remind you that Nineveh was a well-fortified city with two high and wide walls around the city. The scholars tell us that the walls were around 100 feet high and about 50 feet wide. This was a well-fortified Gentile city and to have a Jew come tell them of a coming destruction seems to be beyond what that lonely man could do.

Basically that is the case, this wasn't just a man, he was a man of God with God's message to sinful people. Our reading, verse 5 tells us that the people of Nineveh "believed God". There was a major "revival" that would follow and even the King, verse 6, repented and gave a decree for all the people to honor God.

The desire of all those people in Nineveh was that God might not bring judgment upon them, verse 9. Verse 10 tells us that God did stop His hand of destruction on the city and the people of Nineveh.

Let the record show however, that the people of Nineveh did go back to their sinful ways and God destroyed the city around 150 years after Jonah’s ministry there, (see Nahum).

Now, to that underlying theme for the "Last Days" found in our passage for today. The prophetic Scriptures reveal to us that God will raise-up Jewish evangelists in the Last Days to go to the Gentile world.

Revelation 11:3 and following tells us of "two witnesses" who will preach to the world from Jerusalem in the first half of the Tribulation Period and at least one of them will be Elijah, Micah 4:5, a Jewish man.

A result of these "two witnesses" preaching, 144,000 male virgin Jews, 12,000 each from the 12 tribes of Israel, Revelation 7:4-9, will have an evangelistic ministry for all seven years of the Tribulation. The outcome of their ministry is a multitude of people being saved.

Jonah was only a prototype of these evangelists to come. The practical lesson for each of us today is that we can be a part of God's plan if we obey Him all along the way.

How can they be saved unless they hear and how can they hear unless we go with the message. It is a message of salvation to some and a warning to be prepared for the Rapture for others. By the way, that Rapture could happen today.

PRAYER THOT: Help us Lord to do the ministry of reaching lost people with the message of salvation before it is eternally too late.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jonah 2:10

And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

For further study - Jonah 2:1-10

The little book of Jonah is a very unique book of prophecy. It contains prophecy, miracles, repentance, revival, and even the account of Jewish-Gentile relations. Remember, Jonah was Jewish, the one God sent to a Gentile people there in Nineveh.

The last verse of Jonah 1 reveals to us that Jonah, having been cast overboard by the fishermen, would end up in the belly of a "great fish" for three days and three nights. That is where we catch Jonah, our rebellious Jewish prophet, in the belly of a great fish.

The narrative reveals that Jonah would suffer for his disobedience to the Lord. It makes it very clear that Jonah would actually die in the belly of this great fish. You might be thinking, "I've never heard that before". Okay then, let's look at the evidence for the death of Jonah while in rebellion.

In verse 2, Jonah says "out of the belly of hell" cried I. The Hebrew word for "hell" is "sheol". Sheol is, in the Old Testament, the place to which the dead go. Verse 4 says, "yet I will look again towards the Holy Temple". "The waters compassed me about even to the soul", verse 5. It seems to indicate death had taken Jonah.

Notice verse 6, "yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption". Jonah had been brought up from the "corruption of death". I believe that Jonah died in the belly of that great fish and God resurrected the rebellious prophet to do the ministry the Lord had given him to do - go to Nineveh and preach, chapter 3:2.

God did not preserve Jonah in the belly of the great fish, because Jonah died. The greater miracle than the preservation of Jonah in the great fish's belly, is the "resurrection from the dead". This scenario would fit what Jesus said in Matthew 12:40.

Jesus compared Jonah's three days and three nights in the belly of the whale. He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The end result of Jesus in death in the earth is that He would resurrect from the dead. The parallel suggests that Jonah also was resurrected from the dead.

By the way, this passage helps us to understand the time of the crucifixion of Jesus as well. He had to be in the earth three days and three nights, not two days and two nights, which would indicate a Friday crucifixion. That discussion is for another time and another devotional.

If you ever wondered if Jonah was in the belly of a great fish, whale or not, for three days and three nights, Jesus confirms it with His statement in Matthew. The Bible is not made up of fairy tales but real literal events in history.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for an infallible, inerrant word from You, to me.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jonah 1:1-2

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
For further study - Jonah 1:1-17

Someone has said the book of Jonah is the "greatest fish story they have ever read". It is true the prophet Jonah has an interesting relationship with a "great fish" but that is not the storyline that brings the meaning to this unique prophetic book among the books in Jewish history.

The prophet Jonah lived near the hometown of Jesus - Nazareth and in fact was referred to, and thus vouched for by a very famous neighbor, none other than Jesus Christ Himself, Matthew 12:39-41.

Jonah was called to be a "missionary - prophet", a "Jewish missionary - prophet", to the very large Gentile city of Nineveh. As you read the narrative of Jonah's travels, at least the first of his journey, you will see that the prophet heads out in the opposite direction from where the Lord told Him to go.

Jonah went off to Joppa where he found a boat going to the west and he went on board, paid the fare and was on his way to Tarshish (most likely Spain of today). The problem was that Tarshish was southwest from his hometown and Nineveh, where God told him to go, is northeast from Jonah's home. Jonah went in the exact opposite direction from where God told him to go.

The shipmates of Jonah finally realized that the Hebrew prophet was the reason for the high winds and stormy conditions at sea which were about to destroy their boat. The only thing to do was have Jonah leave the boat. Now that is a real problem when you are out to sea.

They had the ship's crew throw Jonah overboard - to what they thought would be his certain death. However, since God had a plan for Jonah to reach out to the Gentiles of Nineveh, the Lord would provide a "great fish" to care for Jonah, along the way to take care of the Lord's mission.

There are many great prophetic and practical issues in the four chapters of Jonah, some of which we will look at together in a future prophetic devotional. Let me at this time bring the prophetic book of Jonah up to our time as we see it reveal some important truths.

Jonah helps us to learn we can run, but we can't hide, as we flee the direction God wants us to go. He has ways of bringing us back to the path we must follow. God can make us do exactly what He has commanded us to do.

One other thought is that God called Jonah to go to Nineveh, the biblical name of the area we know as Musul in northern Iraq today. God had a plan for Nineveh then and He has a plan for Nineveh and her sister city Babylon today.

These two biblical cities will both play a key role in Bible prophecy, evidence we are quickly approaching the end time scenario found in His word for modern day Iraq, which is where we find Biblical Babylon, a city that is the center of activity in the end times.

We are in what the Bible refers to as "the last days". These are the days when Jesus could shout and call us to join Him in the heavenlies. Today could be that day, so let's keep looking up.......Until.

PRAYER THOT: As I live in these last days, help me to be obedient to your call on my life and make sure I go in the right direction.
Monday, July 26, 2010

Obadiah 18

And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.

For further study - Obadiah 15-21

This little book, the smallest Old Testament book, of Obadiah is one of a number of prophetic passages focused on the Edomites, the descendants of Esau. The facts be known, there is more judgment pronounced against Esau and the Edomites than any other peoples in the Bible.

You'll notice that both Jacob and Esau are mentioned in our key verse, verse 18. These boys are twin brothers born to Isaac and Rebekah, Genesis 25. The boys started to struggle in the womb of their mother before birth, which actually set the theme of their lives, an ongoing struggle throughout their 4,000 years of history.

These two brothers will continue to fight, in fact, all the way to the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Though many political leaders, even on the international scene, have tried to bring peace and stability to the Middle East by resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it will not happen until Jesus comes back.

Look back with us to the account of the early days of Jacob and Esau found in Genesis 25. Genesis 25 is the record of their birth with Esau, the firstborn, howbeit by less than an entire body length, remember Esau came out of his mother's womb with Jacob holding onto his heel. Technically, Esau was the firstborn with all the privileges of being the firstborn, he received the "birth rite" and at the end of his father's life Esau would receive the "blessing".

You remember that Esau sold his birth rite to Jacob and Jacob manipulated his father Isaac to get Esau's blessing, Genesis 27. Please notice in Genesis 25:23 that the Lord told Rebekah, the mother of these two boys, that they would both become a "nation of peoples". The verse also tells us that the elder, Esau, would serve the younger, Jacob.

As you trace these two boys and their families as they became nations over the last 4,000 years, we come to the present-day and find the two nations, Israel and the Palestinian peoples.

The prophecy that God gave to Rebekah, Genesis 25:23, has been fulfilled. The prophecy found in our reading for today will be fulfilled also, possibly in the near future.

Verse 18, our key verse, says that Jacob, the Jewish state of Israel will be the "flame" and Esau, the Palestinian people the "stubble" and the "kindling wood". Obadiah's prophecy will be fulfilled at the coming of Jesus.

The Edomites, the Palestinians will be destroyed, "as if they had never been", verse 16b. That doesn't mean that individual Palestinians won't be saved, but as a people they will be destroyed.

The stage is being set for Obadiah's prophecy to be fulfilled. It will be fulfilled at the return of Jesus, but remember, before all of this happens, seven years before, the Rapture will happen. The Rapture could happen today, especially in light of all that is going on among the Jews and the Palestinians. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOT: Lord help me to reach out to the Palestinian people and others with the saving grace of Jesus Christ since I know the times in which we are living.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Obadiah, Verse 16

For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.

For further study - Obadiah 16-21

You will notice once again Joel's "the day of the Lord" is in play here, verse 15. This passage is describing the days leading up to the return of Jesus Christ back to earth. A key verse, verse 16, speaks of the descendants of Esau, drinking upon the Lord's "holy mountain".

This phrase, "holy mountain" used in the Old Testament is describing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem as it does in each of the passages where God uses that phrase.

I do not believe that the Lord is referring to someone actually drinking from a bottle of whiskey on the Temple Mount. Instead, the Lord is referring to Zechariah's prophecy in chapter 12:2, of that prophetic message about the city of Jerusalem and in particular the Temple Mount.

Zechariah is describing how those who have control over the Temple Mount have become "intoxicated with power". The words, "cup of trembling" are referring to when the juice of the vine, the grape juice, has fermented in the cup and has become intoxicating.

Notice it says those who have drunk on the Temple Mount shall continue to do so continuing to be intoxicated with power until they shall be as if they never have been. This is a prophecy written to Esau and his descendants, the Edomites, which are the Palestinian people of today.

This small prophetic book of Obadiah is both historic and prophetic. The truth is that at the time it was written the entire book was prophetic. The book was written around 850 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.

Verses 1-14 are those prophecies that have been fulfilled, prophecies and historic events that have already come to past. Verses 15-21 are now the prophetic passages in this book.

All the evidence today is available for anyone to investigate and come to the same conclusion that Orthodox Jewish scholars have made. The Edomites of biblical times are the Palestinians of today (see my study, Esau and the Palestinians).

We are now living in a time like never before in history. The Jews and the Palestinians are in a conflict that is key in the Middle East. In fact, the United Nations Secretary General Ban ki Moon says that the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is key to peace in the Middle East.

The conflict will be resolved - the Palestinians shall come to a time when they will be as if they have never been, verse 16. We are very near to that time in history. Jesus is coming and it could be today when He calls us up to be with Him at the Rapture.

PRAYER THOT: Help me to live as if this is the day Jesus will come, because it could be the day.
Saturday, July 24, 2010

Obadiah 10

For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.

For further study - Obadiah 1:10-18

The phrase in our key verse, "cut off forever", has a finality to it that must be considered when we look at whom the prophecy is focused. The entire book of Obadiah is a prophecy written to reveal judgment on the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, verse 1.

The Edomites can be traced from Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, the son of Isaac and Rebbecca, Genesis 35, all the way through history to the Palestinian people of today. (See my audio series, "Esau and the Palestinians".)

A study of God's word will reveal there has been more judgment pronounced upon the Edomites than any other people group in the world. Obadiah gives two reasons for such a harsh judgment upon the Edomites, verses 3 & 10.

Verse 3 mentions the "pride" of Esau and his descendants as they lived in Petra, an impregnable city in southern Jordan, where God sent Esau almost 4,000 years ago. Because Esau and his family were so well protected, they became proud of their superior position among the Middle Eastern nations.

Verse 10 gives us the second reason for a pronounced judgment on the Edomites. As Esau's father Isaac told him,Genesis 27:40, Esau would live by the "sword". Ezekiel 35:5 reveals that Esau and his descendants would be judged severely. That judgment would come because the Edomites would "kill" the descendants of Esau's twin brother, Jacob, the Jewish people.

Not only does our key verse speak of a judgment that would "cut off the Edomites forever" but verse 16 says at the "day of judgment" for the Edomites it will be as if they had never been a people. Jeremiah 49:18 says they will "be as Sodom and Gomorrah".

The judgment will be harsh and sever because the Edomites, the Palestinians of today, will kill the Jews and take their God-given land, Ezekiel 35:10. This of course does not mean that individual Palestinians can not come to know the Lord; however, as a people group God has pronounced a judgment on them that will be absolute and it will be forever.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict will continue until Jesus Christ, the Messiah, returns. Then His judgment will be fulfilled. We are living during a period in history like never before in all of time.

Obadiah's prophecy will be fulfilled and the "world stage" is ready for the "final act of the drama" to begin, it could happen in the very near future.

Prayer Thot: Help me to understand the events that are happening today, in light of the prophetic scenario found in God’s Word and to live every moment of every day looking for the Lord’s return.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Obadiah 1

The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.

For further study - Obadiah 1-7

In our extended reading today we will actually be reading prophecy that was written around 300 years before it would be fulfilled. The portion we have read is actually pre-written history or Bible prophecy fulfilled.

My statements need to be explained with some historic background. The judgment pronounced in this the littlest book in the Old Testament is against Edom. You might remember that God changed the names of twin brothers, Jacob and Esau. God changed Jacob's name to Israel, Genesis 32:28, and Esau's name to Edom, Genesis 36:1. Thus the judgment of God will be on Esau and his descendants.

In the 36th chapter of Genesis, God had Esau and his family leave Canaan, modern-day Israel, and move to Mt. Seir, Genesis 36:8, which is today the lower third of Jordan. Mt. Seir was changed to "Edom" as it became known in Biblical times. We have Esau who is Edom and the place where he would live out his life called Edom also.

In Obadiah we have God's dealings with the Edomites, descendants of Esau, and the return of Edomites back to Israel. As verse 3 tells us, the Edomites were a proud people - one of the reasons for God's judgment. Their pride was due to their home base, which was the city of Petra, the "impregnable" city in southern Jordan.

The city had one entrance, a high narrow gorge that extended for about a mile into the city. At some points, it was 8 feet wide, at others, up to 30 feet wide. The walls of this gorge were between 500 and 600 feet high.

The "King's Highway", the route of the merchants who traveled from Africa to Arabia, passed by the entrance to Petra. The Edomites would rob the merchants and run back through the gorge into Petra, which is about 25 square miles in size. Inside, the cliff walls are as high as 2000 feet and there are all kinds of man-made and God-made caves where the Edomites could hide like "eagles in their nests among the stars".

They thought no one could bring them down which led to their "pride". God would use the "stone carvers" from Arabia, the Nabataeans, who while at a banquet with the Edomites, would rise up and kill their hosts, verse 7, the Edomites.

The Edomites, those who could escape, would run out of the gorge, turn west, and flee into southern Judah. There they would change their name to the Idumeans. Herod the Great was an Idumean and thus a descendant of Esau.

Obadiah's prophecy, the first of his total prophecy against Esau, verses 1-7 would be fulfilled about 500 years before Christ. Obadiah's first prophecy fulfilled, gives us assurance that his last prophecies, the total demise of the Edomites in the "last days" as we will discuss in a later devotional in Obadiah, will be fulfilled as well.

The Edomites, are the modern-day Palestinians (see my series, "Esau and the Palestinians"). My study will give you better understanding of this conclusion; however, the Palestinian people of today say that Herod the Great was one of their forefathers and he was an Edomite.

For the first time in history the Edomites, today’s Palestinian people, are in a position to fulfill the prophecy of Obadiah, and also the prophecies of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Malachi. This is evidence that we are quickly approaching the time of the Lord’s return. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOT: Thank You Lord for giving me the scenario for the "end times" that I can recognize. Please help me to live with the realization that Your return is close at hand.