×
A devotional bible commentary
in partnership with
Join Us!
Join Us!

Today’s Reading

Devotional: Micah 1

The opening lines of Micah 1 show that this prophet served in the second half of the eighth century B.C. Initially, mighty Assyria was dormant, and the twin kingdoms of Israel and Judah flourished. Israel expanded its territory under Jeroboam II. This book records the vision that Micah saw “concerning Samaria and Jerusalem” (the two capital cities, Micah 1:1). The first oracle was clearly delivered before either capital had fallen. Later in the book Samaria has fallen (722 B.C.) and Jerusalem itself, in the time of King Hezekiah, is under threat. Although Judah was overrun by the Assyrians in 701, Jerusalem itself was miraculously spared. Micah, from Moresheth Gath (a farming village southwest of Jerusalem), is called to prophesy in Judah, much as Amos was called to prophesy in Israel.

Throughout much of Micah’s ministry, Judah was prosperous. The money was invested in land, with the result that a few rich and powerful operators bought up huge tracts, destroying the system of agricultural small holdings mandated by the covenant (Micah 2:2; Isa. 5:8 inveighs against the same corruption). But issues of justice and social responsibility were not high on anyone’s agenda. Coming as he did from the fertile lowlands, Micah doubtless saw firsthand how ordinary people were being crushed; he was providentially prepared to utter the prophetic word of God’s own indignation. He attacks the rising selfishness and the widespread abandonment of the standards of God’s law, as he depicts Judah on the brink of catastrophic judgment. Writing a century or so later, Jeremiah records a fascinating report of Micah’s ministry (Jer. 26:18–19); it is probably not too fanciful to conclude that Hezekiah’s initial and powerful reformation owed a great deal to Micah’s preaching.

Above all Micah is shocked at the perversion of true religion (Micah 2:6–9). Israel’s election has come to be equated with triumphalist theology (Micah 3:11); God himself has been reduced to a grandfatherly protector of a pampered people. Micah therefore warns the people of the implications of covenantal disloyalty (Micah 6:14–15). Already in chapter 1 he makes it clear that God must punish his people if they continue in their sin: “All this is because of Jacob’s transgression, because of the sins of the house of Israel” (Micah 1:5). Where is the locus of such sin? In the capital cities themselves (Micah 1:5b). The odious corruption and faithlessness have worked down from the top.

These driving themes have two critical bearings on us. First, they demand that we become passionate about righteousness and covenantal faithfulness in our own day. Second, they set the stage for Micah’s vision of a promised redeemer (e.g., Micah 5:2).

Devotional: 1 Chronicles 22

The transition between the account of David’s numbering of the people (1 Chron. 21) and the account of David’s formidable preparations for the construction of the temple that his son Solomon would build (1 Chron. 22) is one verse, the first verse of chapter 22, with no parallel in 2 Samuel: “Then David said, ‘The house of the LORD God is to be here, and also the altar of burnt offering for Israel’” (1 Chron. 22:1).

So the place where the temple was built is the place where David built an altar to the Lord, calling on him with sacrificial offerings (1 Chron. 21:25–27), and where the angel of death sheathed his sword.

So David laid in formidable supplies of building materials and prepared the people to help his son Solomon build the promised temple. “Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the LORD God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the LORD” (1 Chron. 22:19).

There are some lessons to be learned from this siting of the temple.

(1) The place chosen for the temple is the place where a sacrifice was offered and the wrath of God against sin was averted. Of course, the very design of tabernacle and temple was meant to remind people that sin had to be atoned for, that one could not simply saunter into the presence of the holy God, that the sacrifices God himself had prescribed had to be offered by the designated high priest once a year, first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people. But the siting of the temple on this location reinforces the point. Worship and religion are not primarily about offering to God something called praise, something God prefers not to be without. Worship and religion are first of all about God-centeredness—and because we are rebels, that means that worship and religion are in the first instance about being reconciled to this God, our Creator and Redeemer, from whom we have willfully become alienated. The heart of the temple is not its choirs, its incense, its ceremonies. The heart of the temple is about averting the wrath of God, by the means he himself has provided.

(2) The siting of the temple is also a mingling of priestly and kingly lines of authority. Originally, the priests and Levites alone were responsible for the tabernacle; the pillar of cloud determined when it would move. But here the king establishes the site—anticipating the offices of king and priest in one man: Jesus Christ.

1 Chronicles 22

22:1 Then David said, “Here shall be the house of the LORD God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”

David Prepares for Temple Building

David commanded to gather together the resident aliens who were in the land of Israel, and he set stonecutters to prepare dressed stones for building the house of God. David also provided great quantities of iron for nails for the doors of the gates and for clamps, as well as bronze in quantities beyond weighing, and cedar timbers without number, for the Sidonians and Tyrians brought great quantities of cedar to David. For David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands. I will therefore make preparation for it.” So David provided materials in great quantity before his death.

Solomon Charged to Build the Temple

Then he called for Solomon his son and charged him to build a house for the LORD, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the LORD my God. But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth. Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. 10 He shall build a house for my name. He shall be my son, and I will be his father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.’

11 “Now, my son, the LORD be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the LORD your God, as he has spoken concerning you. 12 Only, may the LORD grant you discretion and understanding, that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the LORD your God. 13 Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and the rules that the LORD commanded Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed. 14 With great pains I have provided for the house of the LORD 100,000 talents1 of gold, a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing, for there is so much of it; timber and stone, too, I have provided. To these you must add. 15 You have an abundance of workmen: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, and all kinds of craftsmen without number, skilled in working 16 gold, silver, bronze, and iron. Arise and work! The LORD be with you!”

17 David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying, 18 “Is not the LORD your God with you? And has he not given you peace2 on every side? For he has delivered the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the LORD and his people. 19 Now set your mind and heart to seek the LORD your God. Arise and build the sanctuary of the LORD God, so that the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the holy vessels of God may be brought into a house built for the name of the LORD.”

Footnotes

[1] 22:14 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms
[2] 22:18 Or rest (see 22:9)

(ESV)

1 Peter 3

Wives and Husbands

3:1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you1 of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Suffering for Righteousness' Sake

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For

  “Whoever desires to love life
    and see good days,
  let him keep his tongue from evil
    and his lips from speaking deceit;
11   let him turn away from evil and do good;
    let him seek peace and pursue it.
12   For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
    and his ears are open to their prayer.
  But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.

18 For Christ also suffered2 once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which3 he went and proclaimed4 to the spirits in prison, 20 because5 they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Footnotes

[1] 3:7 Some manuscripts since you are joint heirs
[2] 3:18 Some manuscripts died
[3] 3:19 Or the Spirit, in whom
[4] 3:19 Or preached
[5] 3:20 Or when

(ESV)

Micah 1

1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

The Coming Destruction

  Hear, you peoples, all of you;1
    pay attention, O earth, and all that is in it,
  and let the Lord GOD be a witness against you,
    the Lord from his holy temple.
  For behold, the LORD is coming out of his place,
    and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth.
  And the mountains will melt under him,
    and the valleys will split open,
  like wax before the fire,
    like waters poured down a steep place.
  All this is for the transgression of Jacob
    and for the sins of the house of Israel.
  What is the transgression of Jacob?
    Is it not Samaria?
  And what is the high place of Judah?
    Is it not Jerusalem?
  Therefore I will make Samaria a heap in the open country,
    a place for planting vineyards,
  and I will pour down her stones into the valley
    and uncover her foundations.
  All her carved images shall be beaten to pieces,
    all her wages shall be burned with fire,
    and all her idols I will lay waste,
  for from the fee of a prostitute she gathered them,
    and to the fee of a prostitute they shall return.
  For this I will lament and wail;
    I will go stripped and naked;
  I will make lamentation like the jackals,
    and mourning like the ostriches.
  For her wound is incurable,
    and it has come to Judah;
  it has reached to the gate of my people,
    to Jerusalem.
10   Tell it not in Gath;
    weep not at all;
  in Beth-le-aphrah
    roll yourselves in the dust.
11   Pass on your way,
    inhabitants of Shaphir,
    in nakedness and shame;
  the inhabitants of Zaanan
    do not come out;
  the lamentation of Beth-ezel
    shall take away from you its standing place.
12   For the inhabitants of Maroth
    wait anxiously for good,
  because disaster has come down from the LORD
    to the gate of Jerusalem.
13   Harness the steeds to the chariots,
    inhabitants of Lachish;
  it was the beginning of sin
    to the daughter of Zion,
  for in you were found
    the transgressions of Israel.
14   Therefore you shall give parting gifts2
    to Moresheth-gath;
  the houses of Achzib shall be a deceitful thing
    to the kings of Israel.
15   I will again bring a conqueror to you,
    inhabitants of Mareshah;
  the glory of Israel
    shall come to Adullam.
16   Make yourselves bald and cut off your hair,
    for the children of your delight;
  make yourselves as bald as the eagle,
    for they shall go from you into exile.

Footnotes

[1] 1:2 Hebrew all of them
[2] 1:14 Or give dowry

(ESV)

Luke 10

Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two

10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two1 others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Woe to Unrepentant Cities

13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.

16 “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

The Return of the Seventy-Two

17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus Rejoices in the Father's Will

21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.2 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii3 and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Martha and Mary

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus4 entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary.5 Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Footnotes

[1] 10:1 Some manuscripts seventy; also verse 17
[2] 10:21 Or for so it pleased you well
[3] 10:35 A denarius was a day's wage for a laborer
[4] 10:38 Greek he
[5] 10:42 Some manuscripts few things are necessary, or only one

(ESV)