Daily Reading: February 5th

#DailyDevotion Life with God isn’t Always Easy

February 5th

Read Job 2:1—3:10

Job 2:3-10  And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.”  (4)  Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life.  (5)  But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.”  (6)  And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”  (7)  So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.  (8)  And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.  (9)  Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”  (10)  But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.


Really God?  You’re going to let Satan treat your faithful servant Job as he pleases?  How on earth can you do that?  Sure, God comes back later and tells Job if he can answer His questions then He will answer Job’s and our questions.  And well, we can’t answer God’s questions.  But still we ask.  Still, we complain. But in doing so, do we sin against the Lord.  Job in all this did not sin with his lips.  We do not know if he sinned in his heart.


Job’s attitude is probably the best we can hope for when we are in similar circumstances.  What is that attitude?  It is found in his answer to his wife: “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”  In truth we deserve nothing good from the Lord and pain, trials and tribulations is what we deserve even when we’ve done our best to be only good and faithful servants because we still fail in that endeavor.  So we receive the good with bad from the Lord in our daily lives.  But why?  What purpose does it serve?  Does God get his jollies from watching all this?


Paul tells us, Rom 5:3 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  (4)  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  (5)  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”  Again Paul tells us, Rom 8:28  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  We who are Christians who are undergoing suffering, particularly suffering to which we can point to no cause in us have these words from God as to the purpose of suffering for the Christian and to a possible outcome.  Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the midst of our sufferings is conforming us to his image and likeness.  He is going to bring about good from the evil we undergo.  What that good is we cannot always see or will discover in this lifetime.  But we have this promise that he is going to work it for our and others good.  Trusting in Christ’ promises we are able to endure like Job.  But it isn’t going to be fun or pretty going through it.


Lord Jesus Christ, you allow all sorts of evil to come our way for our good and according to your purpose to conform us to your image and likeness.  Grant us faith in the midst of suffering that we may endure and be examples of faith to those who follow after us. Amen.

Daily Reading: February 4t

#DailyDevotion So You Think You’ve Had A Bad Day?

February 4th

Read Job 1:1–22

Job 1:20-22  Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.  (21)  And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”  (22)  In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.


Ever have one of those days?  Here is Job, someone whom God himself has called blameless and upright and look what happens to him in one day.  Some Sabeans kill his servants and steal his animals.  Fire comes down from heaven and kills all his sheep.  Other enemies come upon him and steal other possessions and top off the day, all of his children are killed.  So tell me how bad your day was.  The absolute worse thing in this whole affair, the Lord not only knows about it, he is complicit in it.  He makes Job a target and then lets Satan have free reign over the possessions of Job.


What did Job ever do to God for this to happen to him?  God himself said he was blameless.  Job is to be a lesson for all people everywhere who have a mistaken understanding of God, merits, good luck and bad luck and the faithfulness of God.  Perhaps looking at what happened in one day to Job may cause you to more sincerely and faithfully pray, “And lead us not into temptation and deliver us from the evil one.”


Now God doesn’t need to test Job for himself.  He knows what is on Job’s heart.  He doesn’t even need Satan to see what sort of man Job is.  But Job needs to see what is on his heart and have his faith purified.  While it may seem pointless at the time Peter reminds us 1Pe 1:6-7  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,  (7)  so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.


We see here Job does not curse God.  He doesn’t say, “I can’t believe in a God who would let this happen to me.”  No, instead Job blesses and praises God, “”Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”  Any good thing we have is a gift from God.  We do not deserve it.  We’ve sinned against the Lord in so many ways we don’t even know.  It is only his grace and mercy that keeps Satan at bay with us.  You can have all the faith in the world in Jesus Christ and do everything right but Jesus is going to allow you to participate in his sufferings. (2Cor. 1)  He is going to purify your faith in him through trials and tribulations.  If you remain faithful you will see it be to the praise, glory and honor when Christ Jesus is revealed from heaven.  So don’t give up.


Lord Jesus Christ, you tested your servant Job through Satan and Job remained faithful to you.  So give us your Holy Spirit so that in the days, months and years of trials and tribulation we too may be faithful and that faithfulness result in praise, glory and honor on the day of your revelation. Amen.

Daily Reading: February 3rd

#DailyDevotion That Day Will Be Glorious

February 3rd

Read Zech 14:1–21

Zec 14 (6)  On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost.  (7)  And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light..8  On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter.  (9)  And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one. ..12  And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. ..21  And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the LORD of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day.


Such will the great and terrible day of the Lord.  The nations will gather against Christ Jesus and his Church to make war against it.  It will not be pretty for the Church at first.  We shall appear to be decimated but for us will come to fight, our Champion the Lord Jesus Christ will all his angels.  This is foretold in all the scriptures. Dan 7:13-14  “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.  (14)  And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.  The kingdoms of the world come to wage war against the Lamb of God (Rev. 16 and 19, 20).  He wipes them out with the breath of this mouth, the sword of his tongue.  Rev 19:11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war…  (13)  He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.  (14)  And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.  (15)  From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.  (16)  On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Rev 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb  (2)  through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.   (5)  And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.


So while the Last Day will not be a pretty one, it is a day of hope for Christians. Our redemption will be made complete. What we have hoped for will come to pass. We will receive the promised kingdom, a new heavens and a new earth where righteousness reigns.  We shall reign with God forever and partake of the fruits of our faith with our Lord Jesus Christ. It will be glorious.


Lord Jesus Christ, by your word and sacraments so prepare us for the day of your coming that we will be found asleep but watchful and faithful to your promises. Amen.

Daily Reading: February 2nd

#DailyDevotion Which will you choose, Life or Death?

February 2nd

Read Zech 12:1—13:9

Zec 12:10  “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

Zec 13:6  And if one asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your back?’ he will say, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’


The New Testament has a double fulfillment of these prophecies. We see these Joh 19:35-37 “He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe.  (36)  For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.”  (37)  And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.” And Rev 1:7 “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.”


The first is the fulfillment when Jesus is crucified. There in the house of friends, his holy people, Jesus is beaten and crucified. All Jerusalem has seen this happen. They crucified the Lord of Glory. Because of the continued rejection of him even after having seen the witness of the empty tomb, people in Jerusalem and Judah still rejected him. The Lord sent the Romans to deal with them in 70 AD. But to those who believe in Jesus, who put their trust in the witness of his resurrection, we become the New Jerusalem the prophet speaks about whom the Lord protects and defends on the Last Day.


The Last Day is the other time this prophecy is fulfilled. Those who should have believed in Christ will be asking this question when they see the Lord of Glory, Jesus of Nazareth descending with the clouds and his holy angels to defend his Church against the world. Then they will wail because they will know their rebellion against him will not stand. On that Day, all who put their trust in Jesus will be raised from the dead or transformed into immortality and receive the gift of everlasting life. Those who rejected him will be destroyed and received everlasting condemnation. (Rev. 19)


So which is it going to be for you? Life or Death? Choose Life.


Heavenly Father you sent your Son Jesus Christ, to be your Prophet and the King of your people. By the rejection of the Jews we have received eternal life. Keep us always in this faith and grant to all who hear the good news repentance and faith to life everlasting. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: February 1st

#DailyDevotion The Jews’ Rejection of Their Lord is Salvation to You

February 1st
Read Zech 11:4–17
Zec 11:10-16 And I took my staff Favor, and I broke it, annulling the covenant that I had made with all the peoples. (11) So it was annulled on that day, and the sheep traders, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the LORD. (12) Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. (13) Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”–the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD, to the potter. (14) Then I broke my second staff Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. (15) Then the LORD said to me, “Take once more the equipment of a foolish shepherd. (16) For behold, I am raising up in the land a shepherd who does not care for those being destroyed, or seek the young or heal the maimed or nourish the healthy, but devours the flesh of the fat ones, tearing off even their hoofs.

Israel’s and Judah’s leaders rejected the Lord and they rejected his Christ. They were divided in the past and by their rejection they had lost the favor of the Lord. Particularly when the Lord had revealed his Christ through the Baptist and Jesus through his Word and his Works, the leaders of Judah rejected the One whom God had sent. Their rejection of him culminated in their arranging Jesus’ false arrest through the subterfuge of his disciple Judas.

Mat 26:15-16 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. (16) And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. Mat 27:3-7 Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, (4) saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” (5) And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. (6) But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” (7) So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers.

Judah’s shepherds through their actions annulled the covenant of God. Not the covenant made with Moses. They had broken that covenant long ago. It is the new covenant that is made with Israel in Jesus. It isn’t their murdering Jesus that annuls it. It is their non-acceptance of it when it was revealed through the apostles. They did not repent. They did not believe. They persecuted those who proclaimed Jesus and in doing so led their people to destruction and death. Twice after the ascension of Jesus there would be those who would lead the people in rebellion against the Romans. They would be decimated. Their rebellion was not against Rome but against the Lord God and the Lord Jesus Christ. But the Jews’ rebellion against the Lord is life to you and even can be life to them. It was their rejection which brought about the sacrifice which atoned for sin of the world. Their rejection sent the message of the free gift of salvation for all people to the ends of the earth and into your ears. God is reconciled to you on account of Christ Jesus’ death.

Lord God Heavenly Father, grant us faith in your Son Jesus Christ that we may not be like those unbelieving Jews who did not repent at the message of His resurrection and ascension to your right hand and brought themselves and their children to destruction. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: January 31st

#DailyDevotion Jesus is Zion Whom God’s Israel Gathers Around

January 31st

Read Zech 10:1—11:3

Zec 10:3-4  “My anger is hot against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the LORD of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah, and will make them like his majestic steed in battle.  (4)  From him shall come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler–all of them together… 6  “I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back because I have compassion on them, and they shall be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the LORD their God and I will answer them.  (7)  Then Ephraim shall become like a mighty warrior, and their hearts shall be glad as with wine. Their children shall see it and be glad; their hearts shall rejoice in the LORD.  (8)  “I will whistle for them and gather them in, for I have redeemed them, and they shall be as many as they were before.  (9)  Though I scattered them among the nations, yet in far countries they shall remember me, and with their children they shall live and return.


A constant theme throughout the Old Testament prophets and certainly misunderstood by Zionist, Jews and millennialist Christians, is the scattering of the  Israelites and the Jews to the four corners of the earth and the ingathering of the people of Israel.  And while there has been in the last century Jews returning to Canaan that is not the ingathering fulfilled in Jesus.


From Judah comes the cornerstone, the tent peg, the battle bow and every ruler.  That cornerstone the scriptures testify is Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God. Mat 21:42-45  Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?  (43)  Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.  (44)  And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”  (45)  When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them.


Peter and John testify, Act 4:11 “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  (12)  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Paul confirms it in his writings, Eph 2:19 “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,  (20)  built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,  (21)  in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  (22)  In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”


We see the gathering of Israel on the day of Pentecost.  It is around and in the true Zion, Jesus Christ and his message of repentance and forgiveness.    It is the gathering around Jesus the Messiah who forms them into his true temple not made with hands the prophets speak as told by Paul in Ephesians.


Lord Jesus Christ, gather your holy people into the New Jerusalem, the Church which is your body and through faith in you, make us living stones in that temple. Amen.

Daily Reading: January 30th

#DailyDevotion The Church Conquers the World by the Humility of Jesus

January 30th

Read Zech 9:1–17

Zec 9:9-11  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.  (10)  I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.  (11)  As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. ..16 On that day the LORD their God will save them, as the flock of his people; for like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on his land.  (17)  For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty! Grain shall make the young men flourish, and new wine the young women.


Jesus has fulfilled this in his, the last week of his life during his humiliation.  It is written, Mat 21:6-11  The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them.  (7)  They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.  (8)  Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  (9)  And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”  (10)  And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”  (11)  And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”  And again, Luk 19:37-40  As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen,  (38)  saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”  (39)  And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”  (40)  He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”


Jesus, the kind of the Universe, comes humbly and meekly to claim his kingdom.  But his kingdom is not of this world.  It is the kingdom of human souls he is after.  He comes and wins humanity not by sword or might, but rather by suffering and dying.  His death is our death and his resurrection is our victory over death and the one that has the power of death, the devil.  So we sing in our services in every language and tongue as Jesus comes to us humbly in the form of bread and wine, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”  And again, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”


We his holy people are not sent out in conquest with arms, anger and hatred.  No, we are sent out in peace and love only with his word of promise.  That word of promise is your sins are forgiven you.  Your Father in heaven is no longer angry with you.  I have paid the price. I have received in my soul the penalty for your transgressions, iniquities, sins, guilt, rebellion and shame.  Come and receive the gift of eternal life, my life and trust in me.  That is Jesus’ word to you today.


Lord Jesus Christ, make us citizens of your heavenly kingdom through faith in your precious promises which make us partakers of your divine nature.  Amen.

Daily Reading: January 29th

#DailyDevotion The Temple of God is the Church

January 29th

Read Zech 8:1–23

Zec 8:2-3  “Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath.  (3)  Thus says the LORD: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts, the holy mountain…7 Thus says the LORD of hosts: Behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country,  (8)  and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.”… 14For thus says the LORD of hosts: “As I purposed to bring disaster to you when your fathers provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent, says the LORD of hosts,  (15)  so again have I purposed in these days to bring good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; fear not.  (16)  These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace;  (17)  do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD.”… 22 Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD.  (23)  Thus says the LORD of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'”


In the midst of the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple, the Lord God speaks of another time, a distant time.  He looks to the future, to the last days and the last day.  In these last days, many Jews and the those of the house of Israel have turned to the Lord Jesus Christ.  We see this in Acts on the day of Pentecost the several decades that follow.  And on top of that we see the fulfillment of verses 22 and 23 as the Word goes out, the gentiles, the pagans, the unbelievers, those of different languages and tongues, those who worship those which are not god or seek no god but themselves, they turn to those true Jews and true Israelites who follow Christ Jesus, the Lord.  For indeed in the Lord Jesus Christ, God was with them.


And so we look both Jew and Gentile, both who are Christian , to fulfill God’s will in our lives.  We look to the Holy Spirit and Jesus and the Father to will and work in our lives to do good.  We speak the truth, render just judgments, and we make peace.  We hate when evil is devised in our hearts and so we love no false oaths or many of the other things the Lord hates.  We no longer need to fear the future because we have true fear of the Lord our God.  This is his work in us.


The Lord Jesus has made us his temple and his Jerusalem.  We are the living stones of his abode.  He draws us, Jew and Gentile to be his holy Zion.  He lives in the midst of us as he has promised, “Where two are three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of you” and again, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Jesus is with us because he is jealous for us.  We are his treasured possession.  He has called himself to be our God and we his holy people.


Lord Jesus Christ, as you have gathered us from the east and the west to be your holy people, so live and indwell us that we hate the things you hate and do the things you love.  Amen.

Daily Reading: January 28th

#DailyDevotion Jesus is the Branch and the Church is His Temple

January 28th

Read Zech 6:1—7:14

Zec 6:11-14  Take from them silver and gold, and make a crown, and set it on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest.  (12)  And say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD.  (13)  It is he who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”‘  (14)  And the crown shall be in the temple of the LORD as a reminder to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah… 7:9 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another,  (10)  do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”


Joshua, the Lord saves, is the name given by the angel to Mary and Joseph to name the child in Mary’s virgin womb.  Jesus is the Greek form of that name.  Now this Joshua is not the Branch but stands as a type of the Branch who is to come.  Joshua is the high priest of Israel.  The Branch who is to come and is promised here will also be a high priest, and not just “a” high priest, but The High Priest.  Jeremiah tells us of him, Jer 33:15  “In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.”  The true Branch is of the house of David and is the root of Jesse.  Jesus, the son of Mary is this promised Branch.


Jesus branches out from Jerusalem, to Samaria, Damascus and to the ends of the earth establishing justice and righteousness among the nations.  Jesus is building the temple of God by making people living stones of them.  He does this through baptizing them into his name, his life, death and resurrection.  By atoning for their sins and forgiving them, Jesus brings peace between God and man, reconciling the two in his flesh.


It is written, Heb 5:7-10  In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.  (8)  Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.  (9)  And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,  (10)  being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. 7:15This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek,  (16)  who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life.


Since this is so, as his faithful followers we are called to fulfill this word in our lives, “Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another,  (10)  do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”


Lord Jesus Christ, you are the righteous Branch who grafts us into your body and life through the waters of holy baptism.  May it truly be said of us, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”  Amen.

Daily Readings: Januar7 27th

#DailyDevotion Where do you stand on Wickedness?

January 27th

Read Zech 4:1—5:11

Zec 4:12-14  And a second time I answered and said to him, “What are these two branches of the olive trees, which are beside the two golden pipes from which the golden oil is poured out?”  (13)  He said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.”  (14)  Then he said, “These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”

Zec 5:7-11  And behold, the leaden cover was lifted, and there was a woman sitting in the basket!  (8)  And he said, “This is Wickedness.” And he thrust her back into the basket, and thrust down the leaden weight on its opening.  (9)  Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, two women coming forward! The wind was in their wings. They had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven.  (10)  Then I said to the angel who talked with me, “Where are they taking the basket?”  (11)  He said to me, “To the land of Shinar, to build a house for it. And when this is prepared, they will set the basket down there on its base.”


Who are these two anointed ones?  Well we aren’t given a clear answer.  We see in Revelation there are also two witnesses. Rev 11:3-4  And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”  (4)  These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.  These could be many different things or people.  In the context it could be Zerubbabel and Ezra or Zechariah as they stood beside the Lord in the rebuilding of the Temple and Jerusalem.  I think it is John the Baptist and Jesus who indeed were martyred and were the prophets, priests and King.  It could also be pastors and laity as we are anointed by the Holy Spirit to bring witness to the world of Jesus and his salvation.  Whoever they are, they bear witness to Jesus and call the world to repent of their wickedness and trust in the good news, Jesus of Nazareth has made peace between men and the Father by the pouring out of his blood, his life.


“Wickedness” in the basket is also seen in Revelation.  She is the whore of Babylon in Rev. 11, 16-18.  Rev 17:5  And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.”  It represents mankind’s rebellion against the Lord after the flood.  Nimrod and the people building a tower up the heavens to lift themselves above God, this is wickedness.   It is not meant to be a geographical location but symbolic of our ancient sin, trying to surpass God and be God.  This “Wickedness” or “Babylon the Great” is the world system.  It seeks world domination to enslave the peoples, to treat them like commodities; it seeks its own pleasure at the cost of people’s lives.  It opposes the saints of God because we expose her shame and call her and her followers to repent of their sin and trust in the Lord.


We know those who follow the world’s system will oppose all those who preach the truth.  They will persecute and if able to put them to death.  When we preach against all forms of greed, covetousness or against the lust which compels their lives they seek our death.  When we preach the good news we are forgiven because of Jesus’ sacrifice, they still rail against us because it reminds them of their sin and the perverseness keeps them from giving it up.


Lord Jesus Christ, grant us your Holy Spirit that we may bear witness to your life to the world around us and grant us endurance in the midst of persecution that we may not lose the gift you have given us. Amen.