My Delight is the Lord, October 27

Take a Stand

October 27, Thursday: God’s People

Scripture Reading: Daniel 1:1-21

“When in Rome…,” right? Well, perhaps, but perhaps not. Daniel was in Babylon, not Rome. He along with other youths “without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom” (v. 4) had been forcibly removed from their homeland by the invading Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar had taken what he considered the very best of the population to come and serve him. To that end, these Hebrews needed to be “Babylonian-ized” during a three-year training process which included changing diets. This is where Daniel refused. He would not eat the prescribed food, no doubt as it violated dietary restrictions of the Law of Moses. He wasn’t just being belligerent. Going along to get along may have it’s place but it’s never ok to violate God’s will.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What were the Hebrew names of Daniel’s three friends? (vv. 6-7)
  • How did Daniel answer the eunuch’s objection to his request? (v. 12)
  • What special skills did God give Daniel? (v. 17)
  • How advanced was Daniel in wisdom and understanding? (v. 20)

My Delight is the Lord, October 26

No Heaven on Earth

October 26, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:63-23:25

If nothing else, surely we learn from Jesus’ trial that in this world good does not always prevail, truth doesn’t always win out, and purely innocent people do suffer horribly. I would hope that leaves a knot in the pit of our stomachs (at the very least). This horribleness is as much a part of the world we occupy as anything. And, truly, if this can happen to, not just a supremely good person, but the perfectly sinless Son of God, then, yes, it could happen to anyone. What God wants from us is goodness, kindness, honor, and justice. But this world lies in the power of the evil one who steals, kills, and destroys (1 Jn. 5:19; John 10:10). This world can be a mean old place, and we’ll never make a heaven on earth. But whatever we might have to face here, don’t forget what God has in store, “praise and glory and honor” (1 Pet. 1:7).

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is the significance of “when day came”? (22:66)
  • Of what crime did they believe to be guilty? (22:70-71)
  • Why did they change the accusations? (23:2)
  • Why did Jesus say nothing to Herod? (23:9)

My Delight is the Lord, October 25

Restore Us, O God

October 25, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Psalm 80

It’s not unusual for God’s children to want God to do what we know He is capable of doing. We know His power, wisdom, knowledge, and mercy are all limitless. We can relate to the cry, “stir up your might and come to save us!” (v. 2). This Psalm goes on three times to repeat the appeal, “Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!” (vv. 3, 7, 19). Will He? That remains to be seen. While the Psalm is correct to recognize that only through God can salvation come, it also bears out a flaw; not God’s but ours. And its not really our mistake, but it’s a deficiency of being human. Our expectation of God’s action is based on our limited understanding. There is nothing wrong with what this Psalm says and what we want from God, as a matter of fact it is right. All the while, though, we must remember that just because we want it, and know only God can give it, doesn’t mean He must do it.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Who is Joseph? (v. 1)
  • With what is God angry? (v. 4)
  • What is the food and drink mentioned in v. 5?
  • Israel is described as what in v. 8?

My Delight is the Lord, October 24

My Song

October 24, Monday: God is…

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 12:1-6

I have a multi-tool in my desk. It’s supposed to do 14 different functions. I actually have only used it for 2 or 3. It is more ingenious than it is functional. Sometimes a tool, or a person, can try to do so much that nothing ends up being done well. On the other hand we can fail to identify all capabilities that may be present. Some functions can be overlooked. When it comes to God, the latter is the problem, not the former. He does all things well. But we likely don’t see all that God is able to do for us. “For the Lord is my strength, and my song, and he has become my salvation” (v. 2). God is my strength, my song, and my salvation. We give the first and last of these good attention, but what about that middle one–God is my song? Every person’s life is singing a song. It’s what moves, drives, directs, and encourages us. It’s what puts the wind under our wings. What song am I singing?

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is absent since I trust God? (v. 2)
  • What does it mean for God to be my song? (v. 2)
  • What thought does v. 3 bring to your mind?
  • What three things should be done relative to God? (v. 4)

My Delight is the Lord, October 23

Creation Information

October 23, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 104

If we allow Scripture to inform us about creation (both the act and its outcome) only from Genesis 1-2, we are greatly disadvantaged. It would be like thinking the only place we learn about Jesus’ teaching or the subjects of faith, love, and the resurrection is from the Gospels, Hebrews 11, 1 Corinthians 13, and 15. Psalm 104 is all about the Creator and His creation. It’s even more comprehensive than the initial two chapters of Scripture in that it goes beyond the world’s first week and acknowledges the ongoing and ever-present Creator/creation relationship. It touches on the angels’ roles relative to the created order (vv. 3-4, see also Heb. 1:7) and that singular occasion when God radically altered the original created arrangement–the flood (vv. 6-9). The object of God’s creative act relishes in the “good things” He supplies. But, when withheld, it’s dismay, death, and dust (vv. 27-29). “May the glory of the Lord endure forever, may the Lord rejoice in his works” (v. 31).

Questions to Ponder:

  • With what does God clothe Himself? (vv. 1-2)
  • How does Hebrews 1:7 apply v. 4?
  • From where do young lions seek their food? (v. 21)
  • What is Leviathan? (v. 26)

My Delight is the Lord, October 22

Attention to Jesus

October 22, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

Scripture Reading: Acts 3

Peter wanted to know why the multitude was staring at him and John (v. 12). Well, an amazing thing had just been done and everyone knew it. This well known, ever-present, congenitally lame man was remarkably doing what no one had ever seen him do–walking, leaping, and praising God (v. 8). What is more, it all happened as a result of what Peter and John had said. These witnesses were “utterly astounded” (v. 11). Don’t miss what happened next. The apostles had what everyone seems to want–the people’s attention. Think of it; advertisers, hucksters, celebrities, politicians, retailers, power brokers, etc., etc. all want the same thing–the attention of the masses. Peter and John had it and here’s what they did with it; diverted it from themselves and directed it toward Jesus, His death and resurrection (vv. 11-16). Given our self-idolizing culture, that seems nearly as miraculous as the miracle. But really, that’s what we should all be about always–directing attention to Jesus.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Why did Peter and John go to the temple? (v. 1)
  • What filled the people who saw the lame man walk? (v. 10)
  • How is Jesus described in vv. 14-15?
  • What did Peter say these people must do? (v. 19)

My Delight is the Lord, October 21

Call on God’s Name

October 21, Friday: God’s Story (1)

Scripture Reading: Acts 2

Peter’s famous sermon on Pentecost contained much familiar language. He quoted freely from Joel and various Psalms. One phrase in particular is quite noteworthy. At the end of the Joel quotation, he cited, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (v. 21). That’s one of those staple statements of Scripture repeated numerous times in both Testaments; we must call on the name of the Lord (see Gen. 5:26; 12:8; 26:25; 1 Kings 18:24; Joel 2:32; Rom. 10:13; 1 Cor. 1:2). We dare not miss its meaning. Just as Peter clarified the multitude’s misunderstanding about what was happening that day (some thought the apostles drunk, v. 13) by explaining it was what Joel had prophesied, so too we get clarification about calling on the name of the Lord. When the crowd later asked what they should do (v. 37), Peter told them what calling on the name of the Lord looked like under this newly initiated covenant; “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (v. 38).

Questions to Ponder:

  • To what was the miraculous phenomenon audibly and visibly likened? (vv. 2-3)
  • Was the miracle that the people could hear in their language? (v. 4)
  • What nations were represented that day in Jerusalem? (vv. 9-11)
  • Are David’s writings to be understood exclusively as songs/poetry (Psalms)? (v. 30)

My Delight is the Lord, October 20

Added Life

October 20, Thursday: God’s People

Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 20:1-21

Hezekiah received what countless people have pined for; a reprieve on death. He was sick to the point of dying and told by the Lord through Isaiah that his demise was imminent, “you shall not recover” (v. 1). Then, in response to the king’s immediate,  impassioned prayer God sent Isaiah back to say, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears. Behold I will heal you” (v. 5). Fifteen additional years were given to the plaintive monarch. That is what we would want, isn’t it?  But wait. The additional years of Hezekiah’s life are characterized chiefly by his failure to “make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud” (2 Chron. 32:25). Oh no. Longer life, more years, additional time may sound very appealing. Of far greater appeal should be to “do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Mic. 6:8).

Questions to Ponder:

  • Is God affected by men’s prayers? (vv. 1-6)
  • For whose sake did God say He would save Jerusalem? (v. 6)
  • What did Hezekiah request? (v. 8)
  • What did Isaiah prophesy? (v. 17)

My Delight is the Lord, October 19

Move Forward

October 19, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: John 18:1-11

I’m sure Jesus’ actions caught Judas’s mob off guard. They came after him en masse, a “great crowd” armed with “swords and clubs” along with torches and lanterns (Matt. 26:47; John 18:3). What were they expecting? a fight? a search and capture mission? But Jesus “came forward” and asked whom they were looking for. This wasn’t a move made in ignorance or naivete, but He did it “knowing all that would happen to him” (v. 4). The very things that in the garden produced exceeding anxiety and stress for Jesus did not prevent Him from moving forward. The will of the Father propelled Him. His anxieties did not hinder Him.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Why do you suppose John skips recording Jesus’ prayers in Gethsemane?
  • How did Judas know where to find Jesus? (v. 2)
  • How did the mob respond to Jesus identifying Himself? (v. 6)
  • Was Peter aiming for Malchus’s ear? (v. 10)

My Delight is the Lord, October 18

A Critical Difference

October 18, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Matthew 25:1-13

Both groups of virgins in Jesus’ parable wanted the very same thing. They both waited in joyful anticipation of the same event. They both took steps toward their intended objective. All ten went out expecting to meet the bridegroom. That’s where the similarities end and the critical distinction becomes evident. A delay in the bridegroom’s arrival evidenced genuine readiness for some and the lack of it for others. Five were “ready” only if everything had gone as anticipated. This is a challenging parable. Jesus isn’t addressing the belligerent, rebellious, or unconcerned. These are interested, involved, and engaged people who are turned away. It is, then, the soberest of warnings, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (v. 13).

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is this parable intended to help us understand better? (v. 1)
  • Why were these virgins waiting for the bridegroom? (v. 1)
  • Can anyone else make spiritual preparations for us? (vv. 8-9)
  • Upon what basis are the foolish virgins turned away? (v. 12)