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

Nehemiah 13: Nehemiah’s Final Reforms

READ | LISTEN

(31 verses, 5:20 to read)

What I am about to READ

Enemies of God’s people tried to undermine the reforms of Nehemiah and Ezra in their absence. Nehemiah returned from Persia and by God’s grace led his people back to Moses’ laws and to serving the Lord. Nehemiah restored the Sabbath Day in Jerusalem and ended the practice of Jews marrying unbelieving Gentiles.

MARK & LEARN

  • There may have been an interval of about 15 years between chapters 12 and 13 of Nehemiah. The dedication of the walls probably took place in 444 BC. Nehemiah returned to Persia in the 32nd year of Artaxerxes, about 433 BC. After Nehemiah left, he may not have returned to carry out the reforms in this chapter until 425 BC. Accordingly, the words “on that day” do not refer to the dedication day of chapter 12 but to a day after Nehemiah’s return when he read the Book of Moses to the people again.
  • Tobiah, an Ammonite, had been given a room in the temple by Eliashib the priest. But God in the Law of Moses forbade Moabites and Ammonites from being involved in the worship life of Israel (Deuteronomy 23:3–6). Nehemiah ejected Tobiah from the temple, and everyone of foreign descent was excluded from Israel.
  • Nehemiah found that the Levites had not been given the physical support they needed, so they had to go back to their farms and make a living for themselves. Nehemiah rebuked the Jewish officials for their negligence. He reestablished the Law of Moses so that the people began to bring the tithe again. He installed trustworthy leaders in positions of authority who managed the storerooms and distributed supplies to the temple workers.
  • The context of this chapter is that Nehemiah had just returned from Persia. Because of the insidious nature of human sinfulness, Nehemiah had to make further reforms after abuses crept back into the worship life of God’s Old Testament people. In the first part of this chapter, Nehemiah had purified the temple. However, his work was not done.
  • The Sabbath day was being desecrated and violated. This was one of the sins that had led to the destruction of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 17:19–27). Nehemiah used his powers to forcibly end trade on the Sabbath. He locked the gates at sunset and would not open them again until the Sabbath was over.
  • A serious problem—one that had already been corrected—resurfaced. The people broke their promises (Nehemiah 10:30) and returned to the practice of intermarriage with their heathen neighbors. This sin was dangerous; it exposed the Israelite spouses to foreign gods, which often led them into idolatry.
  • Nehemiah rebuked those who were guilty of intermarriage and reminded the people of the devastating consequences of this sin. He expelled one unfaithful priest from his position in the temple because of intermarriage. He beat others and made them take an oath not to continue this practice. Drastic action was needed. Otherwise Jerusalem and Judea would again be liable for God’s judgment.
  • God’s people, beginning with the spiritual leaders, turned away from listening to and studying God’s Word.

MEDITATE

The book of Nehemiah reveals the devastating effects of compromise and cooperation with the enemies of God’s Word. This same thing can/does happen today. Christians may want to “fit in” with their unbelieving neighbors and avoid being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Permissive attitudes toward sin may develop when church bodies compromise their doctrine and practice with other church bodies who have lost the truth of God’s Word. There is no compromise when it comes to God’s Word. If we find ourselves compromising His Word, inevitably  the very Gospel – Christ crucified for us – is at stake. We would do well to remember 1 Timothy 4:16 – “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 

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

Sub Cruce,

Pastor Kevin Zellers, Jr.

Revelation 17: The Mystery of the Great Harlot

(18 verses, 3:24 to read)

READ & LISTEN

What I am about to READ

  • John sees, in this chapter, the image of the great harlot, which is a picture of the world that attacks Jesus and His church.

MARK & LEARN

  • Just as John is given visions of heaven where Jesus sits on the throne, so he is also give visions of the earthly reality, all the ugliness of the world that is anti-Christ. The harlot in this chapter is the world and its lust, power, and greed, that attacks the church.
  • Rome is the city built on seven hills (see 17:9), and when John received this revelation the world power fighting against the church was the Roman empire. Today we can understand the harlot as any and all world powers that fight against God and His institutions.
  • This is a fearful enemy, but this chapter delivers us the comfort of the Revelation in verse 14, “the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

MEDITATE

  • The church of Jesus is set in the midsts of great trouble and danger. We are attacked, assaulted, and tempted away from the true worship of God, but the One who sits on the throne is the same One who hung on the cross. Jesus, who is seated at the right hand of the Father, rules and reigns all things for us, His people. We live and die, then, without fear, knowing that all things are in His hands, knows that we are in His hands.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Join the conversation on our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

Lord’s Blessings,
Pr. Bryan Wolfmueller

Psalm 25: David’s Prayer in Every Kind of Trouble

(22 verses, 1:55 to read)
What I am about to READ
  • David is praying with every trouble, asking the Lord for His help in trouble.

MARK

  • This Psalm is a partial acrostic; the first letter of each verse (almost) makes the Hebrew alphabet. (There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet.)
  • Psalm 25 is difficult to categorize because there are so many various petitions, like the litany and the Lord’s Prayer.

LEARN

  • Notice how the Psalm moves from promise to petition. The prayers of David flow from the promises of God. This is wonderful instruction for our own prayers.

MEDITATE

  • Consider 25:14, and the phrase “friendship with God.”
  • Compare the petitions of this Psalm with seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. Can you find all seven petitions in this Psalm?
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/
-Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller

Nehemiah 12: Why Praise? Why Thank?

(47 verses, 4:27 to read)

READ & LISTEN

READ

  • The Bible reading describes the dedication of the wall and the praise and thanksgiving of God’s people and the meditation will ask, “Why praise God?”

MARK & LEARN

  • …1-26: The priests and the Levites are described.  Some of the Levites are in “charge of the songs of thanksgiving” (vs 8.) and others “stood opposite them.”  This describes antiphonal singing: one group sings (pastor, choir, pulpit side of church, etc) and another group sings a response.
  •  

    …27-43: The wall is dedicated.  Processions are described as well the home town of some of the singing groups.  Note the source of all thanksgiving and joy is God (vs. 43).  He’s not just the benefactor of thanksgiving, He’s the source of thanksgiving.

  •  

    …44-47: In the service of the temple, tithes were received so that the priests and Levites could be provided for.

MEDITATE

  • God is given the glory for the wall, the temple, and the protection of His people.  Praise and thanksgiving take us out or selfish, sinful flesh to receive God’s gifts in joy.  We thank God for His gifts because we have access to God through the gift of His Son, Jesus.
  • Consider some Luther in the Large Catechism: “they should be constantly urged and incited to honor God’s name, and to have it always upon their lips in everything that may happen to them or come to their notice. For that is the true honor of His name, to look to it and implore it for all consolation, so that (as we have heard above) first the heart by faith gives God the honor due Him, and afterwards the lips by confession…For this end it is also of service that we form the habit of daily commending ourselves to God…Thus, too, if any one meets with unexpected good fortune, however trivial, that he say: “God be praised and thanked; this God has bestowed on me!”
  • Consider also this John Kleinig article (http://www.johnkleinig.com/files/5913/2695/2261/Whats_the_use_of_praising_God.pdf)
    • …In this article, he points out some beautiful truths. Here’s a few:  1.) We don’t reach up to God through our praise and worship.  He descends to us in His Son.  In the Divine Service, He is present to receive our praise.  2.) Jesus is our true praise and worship leader.  He calls us brothers and is the perfect praiser and thanker of God for us and in us.  3.) Jesus is the source of our joy (John 5:11).  He gives joy and through faith gives us thanksgiving.

 

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/ or if reading on facebook, check out the blog: https://rightlydividedbible.wordpress.com/

Christopher Stout, Pastor of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Kannapolis, NC & Abundant Life Lutheran Church, Charlotte, NC

Psalm 24: Lift Up Your Heads, O Gates

Originally posted by Pastor Flamme on September 26, 2014

(10 verses, 1:02 to read)

READ & LISTEN

What I am about to READ

  • This psalm points to the coming Messiah who will enter into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

MARK

  • All creation belongs to the Lord (1-2).
  • A Question is asked concerning the One who will stand in the presence of the Lord (3).
  • An Answer about the purity, honesty, and righteousness of this Man (4-6).
  • Praise for the King of Glory, the Lord of Hosts, who enters to overcome sin, death, and the devil (7-10).

LEARN

  • We pray this psalm in conjunction with Psalm Sunday.
  • All of creation is contrasted with the holy hill of the Lord. Not everyone can stand in the Lord’s presence upon the hill save Jesus who alone is sinless.

MEDITATE

  • Christ entered into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to do battle with powers that hold us in bondage. Though his appearance was lowly and humble, the people thronged around him shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord.” Jesus came, not as a worldly war hero, but as a suffering servant. The Lord of Hosts shows his power in weakness. By his death he overcame death.

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

-Pastor A. Brian Flamme