Malachi 1: False offerings = False worship

READ and LISTEN

(14 verses, 2:00 to read)

What I am about to READ

The Lord rebukes the priests for their polluted offerings.

MARK and LEARN

1:1 – “Malachi” could be the name of a person, or it could refer to an anonymous prophet, for Malachi means “my messenger”.

2-5:  Alluding back to his choosing of Jacob (Israel) over Esau (Edom) the Lord reminds Israel of his promise to love them and keep them (Gen 25).  Edom’s doom is pronounced in the Lord’s choosing of Israel, so that though Edom attempt to rebuild their cities and fortifications as Israel had done, they will come to naught.

6-14:   In these verses the Lord rebukes the priests for their careless worship of the Lord God.  The priests had thought that the Lord would not regard how they had used profaned offerings, blind, sick, or lame animals (vs. 8), or even stolen animals (vs. 13).  This was bad enough, but through their example the people were taught to despise the Lord’s table, that it really did not matter and that it could be neglected.  These wicked priests not only drag themselves down by their thoughtless and slovenly worship, but they drag down those whom they are to care for as well.  By their example they incite false belief and faithlessness among the people.

The Lord reminds them in his rebuke that the day will come when incense will be offered to his name all over the earth and not only in Israel (vs 11), a prophecy of the coming of the kingdom of Christ.  With this in mind, should not the priests offer their sacrifices with a faithful heart, in fear of the Lord who is a great King (vs. 14)?  Indeed in a mere 430 years from the wiring of this letter, the Christ would be born, who would be the faithful High Priest for us, and also the unblemished Sacrifice for the sins of the world.

MEDITATE
Lord Jesus, you are the great High Priest and Sacrifice for our sins. Help us to worship you in Spirit and in truth, not taking your preaching and sacraments for granted, but ever giving thanks for these gracious saving gifts which you give for our salvation.  In your Name. Amen.

Pax,

Pr. Brandon Ross

Faith Lutheran Church – Johnstown, Colorado

 

Advertisements

Revelation 18: Babylon Falls

Reposted from Pator Flamme

(24 verses, 2:22 to read)

LISTEN & READ

What I am about to READ

  • Babylon Falls

MARK

  • The mighty angel announces Babylon’s fall and judgement (1-8).
  • The kings of the earth lament Babylon (9-10).
  • The merchants lament her (11-17).
  • The sea traders lament her (17-20).
  • The mighty angel concludes with a sermon of judgement against Babylon (21-24).

LEARN

  • When I consider the image of the Babylon, a prostitute arrayed in sensuous splendor, and the words of judgement against her, it’s clear that she personifies the world that contends for your fear, love, and trust over and against Christ. You know her from her fruits; blasphemy, rebellion, sexual immorality, greed, covetousness, and an insatiable thirst for martyrs’ blood. She’s not the same as your corrupted flesh that wages war against the new man resurrected in your baptism. Nor is she another form of the devil. Nevertheless, the world, the flesh, and Satan are all in league with each other, conspiring to tear down both the order of God’s Law and the consolation of his Gospel. But the prostitute Babylon, like her allies, each finds her end and condemnation where Christ comes to judge.
  • In the time of St. John, Babylon was Roman society that demanded sacrifice to demon altars and participation in sexual immorality. Though one society gives way to the next, Babylon promises the same things today as she promised back then, and each one of her pronouncements is an attack on Christ. You know how our society demands conformity of our minds to the fiction of gender fluidity and the tolerant sexuality. You know how the world promises long life and security once you’ve surrounded yourself with wealth obtained by greed. You know that blasphemy is not only tolerated, but praised, and that the world gets drunk on the blood of the prophets and saints.
  • The words of judgement in this chapter are at the same time condemnation against the world that hates Christ, but also comfort for his saints (vs. 20). Though we suffer the world’s temptations and attacks in this life, we know that Christ has judged her and her days are numbered. When blasphemy, sexual immorality, and greed threaten to become our gods, we must pray the words of the Third Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and trust that our heavenly Father hears us and will give us his Holy Spirit for Christ’s sake.

MEDITATE

  • Prayer: Merciful Lord, when the world tempts me with its transient pleasures, grant me strength to resist idolatry and faith to trust in Christ so that I may lay hold of the eternal pleasures obtained by his blood and merit. Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

-Pastor A. Brian Flamme

Psalm 26: Vindicate me, O Lord

 READ and LISTEN

(12 verses, 0:30 to read)

What I am about to READ

A psalm where a man prays to God for deliverance from those who falsely accuse him.

MARK and LEARN

The author who we learn in verse one is David prays for vindication from his enemies.  David has walked in integrity and has “trusted in the Lord without wavering.” This will be the theme for the entire psalm.  It is easy to assume that David is asserting some kind of righteousness based on his works, but a closer look reveals this not to be the case.

David goes on to outline what he has, and has not done that might provoke God’s anger.  David here does not claim a righteousness based in his merit, but simply puts forward evidence that will “vindicate” him against the false accusations of the “bloodthirsty men.”

Ultimately, David has faith in the Lord who will deliver him.  The holy habitation of God will be his love and the congregation gathered there will be his comfort as he blesses the Lord from it. Verse 8 also finds a place in our Lutheran liturgy as the common responsory in the prayer office of Matins. God’s children find delight in the place where God’s glory dwells.  For Christians, that is the gathering of believers around God’s word and his holy Sacrament.

MEDITATE

Lord Jesus, you have promised that the evil one will not overcome your Church.  Before the world we your children look weak and insignificant.  There are those who are allied against us, plotting evil devices for us.  Vindicate us, O Lord.  Give the word of folly that we proclaim a holy power by your word that many would be brought into your fold.  For the sake of your holy wounds, O Jesus, Amen.

Pax,

Pr. Brandon Ross

Faith Lutheran Church, Johnstown, Colorado

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: http://ift.tt/1rRKXTH

Revelation 12: The Woman, the Dragon, and War in Heaven

Originally posted by Pastor Flamme

(17 verses, 1:53 to read)

LISTEN & READ

What I am about to READ

  • The Woman, the Dragon, and War in Heaven

MARK

  • The woman gives birth, Christ ascends to heaven, and the Church is protected from Satan (1-6).
  • Satan is cast from heaven with his host by the blood of the Lamb (7-12).
  • The woman, who represents the Church, is preserved from Satan’s fury (13-17).

LEARN

  • Before the birth of Christ the woman is Israel, the faithful people through whom Christ was born. After the birth of Christ and his ascension to heaven, the faithful continue as the woman and her offspring, people like you and me who cling to Christ’s Word in faith. This is an image of the Church. Though the dragon is furious and bent on our destruction, St. John assures us that Satan will not overcome us. That’s why we’ve been given the seventh petition to pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Deliver us from evil.”
  • Verses 7-12 are a text that is read on the feast of St. Michael and All Angels. These words are of great comfort for us since we have assurance that St. Michael and angels, by the blood of the Lamb, has cast Satan, the accuser, from the courts of heaven. He’s no longer there to call us sinners before God. Instead we have Christ at God’s right hand as our advocate (1 John 2:1). Where once Satan came into God’s presence with our sins, now there is Christ present with the marks of his atonement. He pleads his own righteousness as our own, the same righteousness that we have now through the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins that cleanses our conscience from the accusations of the devil. That’s why we’ve been given the second and third petitions to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.” We pray that what has been accomplished in heaven may also be accomplished in our lives as well.

MEDITATE

  • Meditate especially on Luther’s explanations to the second and third petitions in his Small Catechism. Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant your Holy Spirit so that by his grace I may believe your Word. Break and hinder every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature and strengthen and keep me firm in your Word and faith until I die. Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

-Pastor A. Brian Flamme

Psalm 20: Rejoice in the Lord your God

 READ and LISTEN

(9 Verses, 0:40 to read)

What I am about to READ

This psalm of David extols the Lord God who alone is the security of nations

MARK and LEARN

The first few verses (1-5) address the king of Israel, in this case David.  The people petition God to send the king help from the sanctuary, the tabernacle of God on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, the place where God put his name.

The banners mentioned in verse five are indicative of victory over one’s enemies.  Here military victory is indicated, but also salvation wrought by God in toto is also meant. The people ask God to carry out the plans of the king, but also to work his own will through his servant, the king.

Ultimately victory over one’s enemies is not from the use of chariots or horses (vs. 7) but from trust in the Lord God who is alone able to grant victory over one’s enemies.  One’s confidence should not be in the crafts of man, but in the word and promises of God, especially in terms of eternal salvation.  Faith in the promises of God cause one to “rise and stand upright” (vs. 8).

MEDITATE

Lord God you have put kings and princes in authority over us as your servants, who administer justice and keep the peace.  Hear us when we pray for them.  Give to them wisdom which comes only from you that our days may ones of peace and harmony. For the sake of the King of Kings our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Pax,

Pr. Brandon Ross

Faith Lutheran Church, Johnstown, Colorado

Nehemiah 8: The People Attend to God’s Word

READ and LISTEN

What I am about to READ

The people are attentive to God’s word and celebrate what they hear.

MARK and LEARN

The exiles had precious little instruction in God’s word. That they would hearken to God’s word and hear what He says in it, they compel Ezra the scribe (the same Ezra whose book bears his name) to come out and read from the books of Moses (Gen – Deut).  This shows the faith and piety of the people, namely that the people wanted to hear God’s word.  They even stand for hours to hear Ezra read from the scriptures (vs. 3).  We think hearing such a long sermon would be intolerable, but for people who are hungry for the word of God, standing for hours is not a problem.  They respond with the “Amen, Amen” of faith (vs. 6), which is that they believe that what is read applies to them and they claim it as their own.

When God’s people hear the word in faith, then the day is sanctified, just as Christians honor the 3rd commandment by hearing God’s word in Divine Service and by praising and blessing God. When the day is thus holy with God’s word the heart cannot help but be joyful and thankful to the Lord, as the people were when they heard the words of the law and wept (vs. 9). This joy spreads to others who have no joy, even as the people shared their meat and drink (vs. 12) for the day was a feast day, a holy day to the Lord.

The people who had formerly not celebrated Tabernacles, a principle feast commanded by Moses now begin to observe that feast with joy and thanksgiving, setting up booths on their roofs and in their courtyards (vs. 16).  The feast probably meant much to them now, for like Israel, they had spent time wandering away from home in Babylonia, and now observe the feast with new found vigor.

See what joy comes from hearing the word of God?  Where formerly there was fear and trepidation, now there is the promise of God, his blessing and peace.  In faith, God’s people re-institute churchly customs and observances, not as burdens to be fulfilled but joyful opportunities to be God’s people and hear his word. How much more joyful should the Christian be, who has not only Moses, but the blessings and promises of Christ?

MEDITATE

Lord God, you know that I have neglected your word.  I have let it go by the wayside, preferring seemingly more important things. Forgive me.  Re-instill in me a love your word and promises that I too would say “Amen!” to your blessed word. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Pax,

Pr. Brandon Ross

Faith Lutheran Church – Johnstown, Colorado

 

Nehemiah 2: Nehemiah inspects the walls

READ and LISTEN 

(20 verses, 4:40 to read)

What I am about to READ

The account of Nehemiah’s journey to Jerusalem to inspect her walls.

MARK and LEARN

This chapter is divided into two sections, the first being the account of Nehemiah’s sending to Jerusalem by Persian king Artexerxes I (reigned from 465 to 424 BC). The second being his inspection of Jerusalem’s walls.

1. Nehemiah was “cupbearer” to the king (1:11) and was therefore a trusted official of the court.  Being a Jew in exile, he longed for his homeland and apparently wore that desire on his shoulder in the presence of the king (2:2-3).  His desire to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild her walls was fulfilled by the king and he was sent there, along with letters of passage to protect him through the vast empires beyond Persia.

  • Nehemiah prayed to the Lord even as he spoke to the king.  He sought the guidance and assistance of the Lord his God in all his dealing.  Prayer is a significant part of Nehemiah’s life and occurs throughout the book.
  • “Beyond the River” (vs. 7) was the proper name of a satrapy that was west of Persia, that is, beyond the Euphrates River.  Part of this satrapy constituted Judah and her chief city Jerusalem, as a smaller part of “Beyond the River.”
  • King’s forest (vs. 8) possibly a region of Lebanon, from which Solomon acquired timber for the building of the Temple.

2.  Nehemiah arrives at Jerusalem but does not make his intentions to rebuild the wall readily apparent to the officials there.  He secretly inspects the entire perimeter of the city’s walls on horseback and quite possibly made notes along the way. Nehemiah then makes an impassioned petition to the city’s “priests, nobles, officials and the rest who were to do the work” (vs. 16) and they resolve to rebuild the walls.  Though some view this as a sign of rebellion, they continue their building project imploring the blessing of Almighty God.

  •  Sanballat the Horonite…Tobiah the Ammonite – They tried to detract the work of rebuilding the wall.  Sanballat was probably some sort of governor or official of Samaria, whose power would be challenged should Jerusalem come to power again. Tobiah was his servant.
  • “…you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.” (vs. 20) – Essentially an assertion of self-governance.

MEDITATE

Lord God, you blessed the work and hands of Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of your holy city.  So strengthen our hands, that we my prayerfully labor on behalf of your Church and her people. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pax,

Pr. Brandon Ross

Faith Lutheran Church – Johnstown, Colorado