The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection, for the week of August 24-30, 2014, is John 10:25-30. Jesus has been asked to speak plainly and tell those listening if He was really the Messiah. Jesus had been performing miracles, granting forgiveness, and teaching without being trained, yet they still demanded more proof! In response, Jesus again turns to the metaphor of a sheep and a shepherd. As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s passage, consider to which flock you belong: that of Jesus or the world?
Jesus answered them,“I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me,but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.I and the Father are one.” (John 10:25-30, ESV)
Are you a shepherd? Are you familiar with shepherding in ancient Rome? No? Well, very few of us probably are. How do you picture shepherds leading their flock? Being herded with dogs? Or, perhaps it is done by horseback? Today it may be done that way, but years ago, shepherds led with their voice. The sheep knew and recognized their shepherd’s voice. It was a voice of safety and protection. At night, multiple shepherds would pen their flocks together, yet each shepherd was able to tell their sheep from the others. In the morning the shepherds would call out to their flocks and the sheep would each follow their shepherd. A shepherd protected his sheep from any one or any thing they may come to harm them.
Jesus is the shepherd. We are the sheep. The Jews questioning Jesus were not part of His flock. They did not recognize His voice, they did not follow Him, they did not trust in Him. What about you? Are you part of His flock? Listening for His voice? Following Him? Does He know you as one of His sheep?
The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of August 31 - September 6, 2014, is 1 Chronicles 21:1-8. The books of Chronicles are very similar to the books of Samuel and Kings. In fact, they record the same events! Samuel and Kings provide a detailed record of events and people, details that mankind considers important when recording history. Chronicles looks at the relationship between God and His people, the faithfulness by the Lord and the unfaithfulness of the people, and the actions that led to the Israelite captivity. The history is the same, the view is different. In 2 Samuel, two sins of David’s are recorded. Here, there is only one.
Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.” But Joab said, “May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord's servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?” But the king's word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem. And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and in Judah 470,000 who drew the sword. But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king's command was abhorrent to Joab. But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. And David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” (1 Chronicles 21:1-8, ESV)
Many, including Joab, David’s aide, believed conducting a census was wrong because it showed David’s pride, but there is more to it. Conducting a census showed unbelief by David. David was no longer placing his faith in the Lord, who had given him victory after victory on the battlefield and in his own life, but in his army, his men, in numbers. What a change from the shepherd boy who faced a giant with nothing but a sling, five stones, and faith in the Lord!
We are not so different from David. We place our faith in our military, in our government to keep us safe and to provide for us. We trust in ourselves to make decisions in our lives. We leave God out of our everyday life decisions. As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this weeks Bible passage, ask yourself if there is unbelief in your life?
The Bible passages for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of September 7-13, 2014, is Psalm 110:1 and Matthew 22:41-46. This psalm, written by David, foretells of the deity of Jesus Christ. The verse in today’s reading is one found many times in the New Testament, including Matthew, where it is used silence those who question the deity of Jesus Christ.
The Lord (God) says to my Lord (the Messiah), Sit at My right hand, until I make Your adversaries Your footstool. (Psalm 110:1, AMP)
Now while the Pharisees were still assembled there, Jesus asked them a question,
Saying, What do you think of the Christ? Whose Son is He? They said to Him, The Son of David.
He said to them, How is it then that David, under the influence of the [Holy] Spirit, calls Him Lord, saying,
The Lord said to My Lord, Sit at My right hand until I put Your enemies under Your feet?
If then David thus calls Him Lord, how is He his Son?
And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day did anyone venture or dare to question Him. (Matthew 22:41-46, AMP)
Psalm 110:1 is quoted 14 times in the New Testament, more than any other Old Testament passage. David wrote this psalm when he was under the influence of the Spirit of God. This psalm was written to show that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was not only a decedent of David, but also the Son of God. Anyone who acknowledges that the Messiah was the son of David (such as the Pharisees) also had to acknowledge that the Messiah was Lord.
Jesus’ use of this passage demonstrates the importance of knowing and understanding the Word of God. Without knowledge of the Word of God, we cannot refute and stand against our enemies. As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon these passages, consider where else this passage is used in the New Testament. For what purpose is it used? Why is it important to know that the Messiah is of the Lord?
The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of September 14-20, 2014 is Psalm 113:1-6. Praise be to the Lord! How awesome is our God? This psalm is a psalm of praise to our Lord God, for there is no other like Him!
Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the Lord is to be praised!
The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens!
Who is like the Lord our God,
who is seated on high,
who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
Psalm 113:1-6, ESV
Does your heart not lift reading this psalm? In our times of struggle, we often turn to scriptures that provide comfort. We can also turn to scriptures of joy. Let the joy of praising the Lord ease your burden! Who is like the Lord our God…? No one! Our Lord God reigns supreme. With Him in our lives we have nothing to fear. As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider your relationship with the Lord. Do you take time to praise Him?
The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of September 21-27, 2014 is 2 Chronicles 7:12-16. King Solomon had completed the building of the Temple for the Lord and dedicated the temple by offering numerous sacrifices and praying to the Lord. This is the Lord’s response to him that night.
12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.” (2 Chronicles 7:12-16, ESV)
This is a promise made to the nation of Israel and shows the importance of looking at Biblical passages in context. Verse 14 is frequently quoted on its own, thereby lacking the context surrounding the promise. It is not a promise to individuals, but to a nation, the Israelite nation. God chose the nation of Israel as His nation. So long as they remained faithful to Him, they would be blessed. When the nation rejects the Lord, in order to restore themselves, they must, as a nation, humbly return to Him at His temple.
Today, we can turn to God in prayer anywhere at anytime. How fortunate we are! As we meditate on, pray over, and consider this week’s passage, consider the instructions given for how to pray. Do you humble yourself before the Lord? Are you earnest and sincere in your prayer and your actions?
The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection, for the week of September 28-October 4, 2014, is Jonah 4:2. Jonah fled from the Lord because he did not want to minister to the people of Nineveh, as Jonah had hatred in his heart for them. After ministering to them, the Ninevites repent of their evil ways. Jonah went to a spot outside the city because he did not believe that the Ninevites had truly repented.
And he prayed to the Lord and said, “I pray You, O Lord, is not this just what I said when I was still in my country? That is why I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and [when sinners turn to You and meet Your conditions] You revoke the [sentence of] evil against them.” (Jonah 4:2, AMP)
Jonah knew God. Only one who knew the Lord God could give such a description of Him. Yet, Jonah failed to acknowledge that God knew the intention of the Ninevites’ hearts. Jonah knew God but did not consider all aspects of God’s character. Meditate on, prayer over, and reflect upon Jonah’s description of the Lord. What is missing from the description? This week, truly examine all aspects of the Lord.