Scripture reading for November 15th: Ezekiel 10-12, 2nd Peter 2
Key Scriptures: 2nd Peter 2:1-3 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
Peter warned the church about false prophets and their activity. They would introduce destructive heresies, causing division and strife. They would promote sensuality through lies and their underlying motives would be greed. Peter promised God’s Word concerning their fate was true! God would repay.
Ezekiel 11:1-2 “The Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the east gate of the house of the Lord, which faces east. And behold, at the entrance of the gateway there were twenty-five men. . . .And He said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity and who give wicked counsel to this city; . .”
Prayer: Lord, help me today to discern truth from error and false teachers from true. Thank You for the promise of redemption for believers and retribution for the wicked. Amen.
Scripture reading for November 30th: Jude
Jude was a half-brother to Jesus Christ and the brother of James. His short letter mirrors some of the same issues that Peter dealt with in his second letter: false teachers and apostasy. His letter speaks to the church of today.
“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” (Jude 3-4)
The main issue that Jude felt compelled to address was the infiltration of false teachers into the church. These men were slipping in and teaching destructive doctrines. They believed in a cheap grace that taught that believers could keep on living in sin and Jesus would forgive them. In doing so, they were denying the true work of Jesus Christ to do away with sin and deliver the sinner from its power. This cheap grace is also in the church today! It is a false doctrine that divides the church and is devoid of the Holy Spirit. (vs. 19)
“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” (Jude 20-22) The best defense is a good offense of actively doing God’s will!
Scripture reading for April 1st: 2nd Samuel 19-20
After the rebellion of Absalom, King David was in mourning for the loss of this beloved son. Even though this son had tried to take over his throne and kill him, David wished that he himself was dead instead! This is the heart of God for all who perish outside of His grace! He wishes none to perish but all to come to receive salvation! (1st Timothy 2:3-4) Joab, the commander of David’s army calls the king out of his mourning to be thankful for those who risked their lives to support him.
As King David returned, there were many things to make right again. Rebellion leaves a residue. People’s hearts are tested and their loyalties become clear. Not everyone had sided with the king! Some had openly dishonored him and some were still in rebellion. David must again sit at the city gate and judge and encourage the people. He must establish a team of advisers and leaders who will be loyal to help him. As we read these chapters of 2nd Samuel, it is interesting to note how the king deals with these various situations.
First, David summoned the elders of Judah to meet with him. Shimei, the Benjamite who had cursed David came with them with a thousand of his brothers and fell at the king’s feet, begging for mercy. (2nd Samuel 19:16-23) Abishai recommended that he be put to death, but David gave mercy! Revenge was not in his heart this day! Mephiboseth, Saul’s grandson came before David and gave a conflicting story with that of his servant Ziba. David gave a wise answer and did not make a judgment. Barzillai, David’s friend and adviser came and David blessed him and gave him what he desired.
As we look at these events and how people came before David, I think ahead to the return of our King, Jesus Christ! The return of Jesus will bring many surprises. True loyalties will be exposed! Our King will take with Him those who have been faithful and reward all who have come to Him for mercy. He will not judge by what His eyes see outwardly, but He will be the faithful Judge who judges righteously. He will deal with all rebels and dispatch them to their punishment. He will return at a time when most are not expecting Him and His reward will be with Him. I pray that you and I are ready and watching!