The Lord gave Jeremiah instructions on what to tell His people. In chapter 2 of Jeremiah we read of him reminding the Israelites of many of the blessings they had received from God and the care that He had given them. His words left no question about how He felt about their forsaking Him. “Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:12-13) Living waters would be referring to a spring of running water that never ceased. Here He is using “living waters” to mean His power and all that He provides to His people. A cistern was a container for storing water that obviously would only provide a limited supply of water. He is using the term cistern to stand for worldly things which we know are short lived. It could be idols, human pride, money, or anything that has been wrongly put ahead of love for God and service to Him. We can see His point here, why would anyone choose something that is soon to run out over something that will last for eternity.
Today’s reading: Jeremiah 1-6
Job suffered thru everything that the devil put on him, but he never knew why it was happening. He did not have the privilege that we do of knowing the conversations that God had with the devil about Job. In chapter 26 as he is responding to Bildad, Job lists several things that only God has the power to accomplish. After he lists those things, he makes a statement about how much more there is of God that we do not see or understand. “Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?” (Job 26:14)
Today’s reading: Job 25-26
No matter how bad things might have gotten for David thru his life, whether self inflicted or not, he always came back to his source of strength and saving power. “The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.” (Psalms 37:39) No matter what may happen in our lives, the Lord is there for us also. We just have to bring our burdens to Him. “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalms 55:22)
Today’s reading: Psalms 36-38
King Saul made some decisions that were against God’s commands. One instance of this was in 1 Samuel chapter 5 when Saul was supposed to wait for Samuel to come and offer sacrifice. Samuel had not come by the time he was supposed to and Saul was afraid to wait any longer so he took matters into his own hand. Shortly after Saul offered the sacrifice Samuel arrived. “Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the LORD.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the LORD your God, with which he commanded you. For then the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.” (1 Samuel 13:11-13) Saul assumed he could do it his own way and God would still be pleased.
Another instance of Saul’s insubordination that we can read about is in chapter 15 of 1 Samuel. Saul had been commanded to destroy all of Amalek. Saul and his people instead decided to save some of the best animals for themselves. When confronted by Samuel, Saul tried to say he had done as he was commanded. Samuel knew better. “And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” (1Samuel 15:14) Samuel let Saul know how God felt about his actions. “And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” (1Samuel 15:22)
We cannot be like Saul and decide to do most of what God has commanded and expect Him to be pleased. We must study His word diligently and follow it completely.
Today’s reading: 1 Samuel 11-15
After Jacob died Joseph’s brothers were scared he might take revenge on them. Joseph’s answer to the brothers showed once again how much faith he had in God. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Genesis 50:20) Joseph had gone thru many undeserved trials in his life, but he always did what was right. Doing the right thing was not always the easiest way for Joseph in the short term, but with faith and patience we see how it turned out. Joseph is a great example for us to see no matter how bleak life may look at times, God knows what is best for us and He is always in control.
Today’s reading: Genesis 48-50
In Mark 5 we read of Jesus commanding demons to leave the man they were possessing and enter into a herd of pigs. After the demons had left him, the man wanted to go along with Jesus. In verse 19 we see Jesus’ response. “And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Mark 5:19) The command Jesus gave the man is applicable to us today. We have so much that the Lord has done for us, but how often do we share this information with other people?
Today’s reading: Mark 5-6
It is easy to let knowledge and confidence turn into pride and arrogance. There are many places throughout scripture that warn us against letting this happen. Proverbs has several of those warnings, and one is found here in 1 Corinthians. “If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.” (1 Corinthians 8:2) Paul follows this verse with an answer how to combat this attitude. “But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” (1 Corinthians 8:3) If we have this love of God that Paul is referring to here, it will be more than just a feeling. If we truly love Him, our actions will show it in every facet of our life. “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20)
Today’s reading: 1 Corinthians 7-8
God created this earth, but He did not just turn it loose after creation. He continues to work daily. “But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8) For the clay to be turned into the final product, it takes time. If we want to be the Christian that God would have us be, we have to be longsuffering and never give up. The clay sometimes has to be reformed if it gets out of place. We must be willing to let ourselves be molded by studying His word and seeing where we need to change our lives. He can mold us, but we have to be willing to let Him.
Today’s reading: Isaiah 62-66
In chapters 23 and 24 we read Job’s reply to Eliphaz. Job does not understand why he is having to go thru all these trials, but he knows God is in control. “But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does.” (Job 23:13) Like Job, we do not always understand why we have to go thru trials in this life, but we can have faith. If we will trust God and serve Him, we can know that His plans are better than our plans. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good…” (Romans 8:28)
Today’s reading: Job 23-24
If we put our trust in the Lord, He will always be there for us. The Psalmist shares that thought in chapter 33. “Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” (Psalms 33:20-22) He will provide our needs on this earth and more importantly will provide for us salvation and eternal life. The trust we have in Him must also be accompanied by our doing His will, not our will. “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalms 37:5)
Today’s reading: Psalms 33-35