Bethany Bible Readings for the week of July 18
Friday July 23 - Joel 1
The book of Joel does not give us any markers to help identify when it was written, but the first chapter clearly states why it was written. The prophet is calling the people to consider an invasion of locusts, an invasion that caused considerable damage to the vegetation and the economy. Today we can find evidence of plagues of locusts that still occur periodically, we know how devastating they can be. Today we need to consider the response that Joel is calling for because of this plague of locusts. Look again at verses thirteen and fourteen, “Put on sackcloth, you priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God; for the grain offerings and drink offerings are withheld from the house of your God. Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.” Can you imagine what people would think if Christians today would respond this way to a pandemic like COVID, or extreme temperatures, or forest fires? If we had lived during the time of Joel, but had the scientific knowledge we have now, would we have attributed this plague to God? If Joel lived right now, would he attribute “natural” disasters to God? Have we become smarter, or less in tune with God?
Saturday July 24 - Joel 2
Yesterday Joel prophesied about a plague of locusts, and he called the people to repentance. Today Joel continues that theme but also assures them that when they do turn back to God, God will turn back to them. When the people of God acknowledge God, confess their sin, and call on God for deliverance he will answer them, he will bless them with an abundance of crops and herds. Note the last verses of this chapter, we find them in the Gospels when Jesus talks about the last days, we find them in Revelation when it describes the last days, and we saw them in Jeremiah when he spoke of the last days. I don’t think we need to take those verses literally, I believe the idea of the sun being darkened and the moon turning to blood is a metaphor for a time of destruction and judgment. But, note this time is encircled with a promise of God’s Spirit being poured out on his people, and a promise that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved. This is the “Day of the LORD,” a time of destruction and judgment for some, but a time of great blessing and victory for others. What side will you be on?
Bethany Bible Reading for the week of July 25
Monday July 26 Joel 3
The meaning of Joel three has been debated since the time of Joel. Those who first heard it were looking for the restoration of Jerusalem and the punishment of Israel’s neighbors. We know Jesus used some of the language used in Joel when the disciples asked him about the fall of Jerusalem and the “end of the age,” and John uses this language in describing the end times in the book of Revelation. Today there is a small group of Christians called dispensationalist, who are looking for the literal fulfillment of this chapter, soon, in Jerusalem, and look for current signs that prove it is about to take place. But then there are the majority of Christians who just ignore or skim over the chapter insisting we just cannot know what this is all about. This chapter gave hope to the people of Israel when it was written, they were reminded that God would restore them to their land. This is a reminder to us of the final judgment when the Messiah returns, a time when all people will be taken to the valley of decision, likely not literally, but something Jesus spoke about many times. When this was first written it gave hope to the Jewish people who heard it, it was about their redemption, for us, this too gives hope and assurance, we know the outcome when we are gathered for judgment, we have a Savior who paid the price of salvation.
Tuesday July 27 Amos 1
When we read Amos one and two we need to realize that Amos is zeroing in on the people of Israel. He begins by addressing a people far from Israel and with each new nation he gets closer and closer. He also gets the attention and sympathy of the people of Israel by addressing the rotten things these other nations do, he knows his audience will agree that when people do such things it is plain wrong, it is obviously something to be condemned. The problem for Israel is, Amos will zero in on them and point out they do the same things, he will get them to agree that when these other people do these things they should be punished, and when he gets to them he will have them right where he wants them. In chapter one note who he is addressing and what sin he is condemning.
Wednesday July 28 Amos 2
Amos has been getting closer and closer to Israel, pointing out the sins of the people and foretelling the coming judgment from God. In this chapter he finally gets to his intended audience, Israel, and points out their sin and disobedience. Note what he says to them. God has been good to Israel, he took them out of Egypt, he conquered their enemies and gave them a place to live, and yet, they turned away from God. They did not give justice to the poor, in fact “they sell the needy for a pair of sandals.” I wonder what that meant in the time of Amos, it is surely hyperbole for the rich insisting the poor pay something when they cannot afford it and the wealthy do not need it. In order to understand verse eight, we need to be reminded of the laws given by Moses in the Pentateuch, Amos is talking about times the people violated laws God put in place to help the poor, they took garments taken in pledge (Exodus 22:26,27). Verse twelve is interesting, “you made the Nazarites drink wine and commanded the prophets not to prophesy.” Nazarites took a vow to abstain from wine, but the people did not like that, they wanted them to participate with them in drinking wine; is that like when we are uncomfortable with someone who wants to avoid alcohol or someone who has different Sunday practice than we do? And, they do not want to hear from the prophets, I think there are still many people who don’t want to hear parts of Scripture that make them feel uncomfortable. God’s heart is broken by the disobedience of Israel, yet, He loves them enough to correct them, I think God’s heart is still broken when His children stray from Him, but I know He still loves them enough to correct them.
Thursday July 29 Amos 3,4
These chapters look familiar after reading the prophets; the people sinned, God warned them with different “natural disasters” He sent to turn them back to him, and now he was going to send them into captivity. In several places among the prophets we see glimpses of what is called “remnant theology,” we see it two times here. Remnant theology is the idea that God will always save a remnant, there will always be people who are spared from destruction, there will always be a group that will stay faithful to God, there will always be a people working to build God’s Kingdom. When you read today look for all the things God said he sent to Israel in order to turn them back to him, I wonder if God still sends such things.
Who are these “cows of Bashan,” and what did they do wrong?
In 4:5 Amos mentions the religious practices of the people, what could be wrong with that?
Friday July 30 Amos 5
I think I could easily spend three days on this chapter, it is rich in meaning. There are several times and ways that God tells the people their worship is not pleasing to him, he rejects it, he does not accept it or take delight in it. Verses twenty-one to twenty-four contain a familiar teaching throughout the minor prophets and the teaching of Jesus, it is verses like these that earned Amos the title of “The prophet of social justice,” a term that has been hi-jacked and mis-understood lately. I remember a professor challenging us to put these four verses into contemporary language and I remember a book by this title by Rev. John Perkins, they are rich, impactful, and humbling. In short, God is telling the people that all their religious activity, all their sacrifices and holy days, are meaningless to Him unless they also care for the poor, the vulnerable, the foreigner, and the widow. Amos is the first to say it this strongly, and in this way, he will not be the last. As we learned in kindergarten, “actions speak louder than words.”
Saturday July 31 Amos 6,7
“Woe to you who are complacent,” Amos is speaking to those who are completely unaware of their coming destruction, unaware and they do not care. These people have all they need, in fact, they have much more than anyone needs, note the luxury that is described here. And yet, they have “turned justice into poison,” (:12) They are not worried about the future, they are rich, they are not worried about the poor, that is their problem, and God is going to punish them.
The king let Amos know that he and his message are not welcome in Israel, he is to go back home, go back to Judah! There is a saying, “don’t shoot the messenger,” don’t take it out on the person who is prophesying the word of God. Amos did not ask for this job, he did not choose what message to give, in fact, he argued with God, on behalf of Israel, concerning the punishment on Israel. I wonder, there are certain chapters and even books of the Bible that are rarely preached, the pastor knows the people will not like what it says, should we only use the parts of the Bible that say what we like, or maybe also what we need? Should we only point out the sins of the 3% or also the sins of the 90%?
BETHANY BIBLE READING PLAN (YEAR TW0)
BEGINNING AUGUST 31, 2020
|8/30||PSALM 1,2||PSALM 3,4||PSALM 5,6||PSALM 7,8||PSALM 9,10||PSALM 11,12|
|9/6||PSALM 13,14||PSALM 15,16||PSALM 17,18||PSALM 19,20||PSALM 21,22||PSALM 23,24|
|9/13||PSALM 25,26||PSALM 27,28||PSALM 29,30||PSALM 31,32||PSALM 33,34||PSALM 35,36|
|9/20||PSALM 37,38||PSALM 39,40||PSALM 41,42||PSALM 43,44||PSALM 45,46||PSALM 47,48|
|9/27||PSALM 49,50||PSALM 51,52||PSALM 53,54||PSALM 55,56||PSALM 57,58||PSALM 59,60|
|10/4||PSALM 61,62||PSALM 63,64||PSALM 65,66||PSALM 67,68||PSALM 69,70||PSALM 71,72|
|10/11||PSALM 73,74||PSALM 75,76||PSALM 77||PSALM 78||PSALM 79,80||PSALM 81,82|
|10/18||PSALM 83,84||PSALM 85,86||PSALM 87,88||PSALM 89,90||PSALM 91,92||PSALM 93,94|
|10/25||PSALM 95,96||PSALM 97,98||PSALM 99,100||PSALM 101,102||PSALM 103,104||PSALM 105|
|11/1||PSALM 106||PSALM 107,108||PSALM 109,110||PSALM 111,112||PSALM 113,114||PSALM 115,116|
|11/8||PSALM 117,118||PSALM 119:1-32||PSALM 119:33-64||PSALM 119:65-96||PSALM 119:97-136||PSALM 119:137-176|
|11/15||PSALM 120,121||PSALM 122,123||PSALM 124,125||PSALM 126,127||PSALM 128,129||PSALM 130,131|
|11/22||PSALM 132,133||PSALM 134,135||PSALM 136,137||PSALM 138,139||PSALM 140,141||PSALM 142,143|
|11/29||PSALM 144,146||PSALM 147,148||PSALM 149,150||PROVERBS 1||PROVERBS 2||PROVERBS 3|
|12/6||PROVERBS 4||PROVERBS 5||PROVERBS 6||PROVERBS 7||PROVERBS 8||PROVERBS 9|
|12/13||PROVERBS 10||-PROVERBS 11||PROVERBS 12||PROVERBS 13||PROVERBS 14||PROVERBS 15|
|12/20||PROVERBS 16||MATTHEW 1||MATTHEW 2||LUKE 1||LUKE 2||PROVERBS 17|
|12/27||PROVERBS 18||PROVERBS 19||PROVERBS 20||PROVERBS 21||PROVERBS 22||PROVERBS 23|
|1/3||PROVERBS 24||PROVERBS 25||PROVERBS 26||PROVERBS 27||PROVERBS 28||PROVERBS 29|
|1/10||PROVERBS 30||PROVERBS 31||ECCLESIASTES 1,2||ECCLESIASTES 3,4||ECCLESIASTES 5,6||ECCLESIASTES 7,8|
|1/17||ECCLESIASTES 9,10||ECCLESIASTES 11,12||SONG OF S 1,2||S OF SONGS 3,4||SONG OF S 5,6||S OF SONGS 7,8|
|1/24||ISAIAH 1||ISAIAH 2||ISAIAH 3||ISAIAH 4||ISAIAH 5||ISAIAH 6|
|1/31||ISAIAH 7,8||ISAIAH 9||ISAIAH 10||ISAIAH 11||ISAIAH 12||ISAIAH 13|
|2/7||ISAIAH 14||ISAIAH 15,16||ISAIAH 17,18||ISAIAH 19,20||ISAIAH 21,22||ISAIAH 23,24|
|2/14||ISAIAH 25,26||ISAIAH 27||ISAIAH 28||ISAIAH 29||ISAIAH 30||ISAIAH 31|
|2/21||ISAIAH32||ISAIAH 33||ISAIAH 34||ISAIAH 35||ISAIAH 36||ISAIAH 37|
|2/28||ISAIAH 38||ISAIAH 39||ISAIAH 40||ISAIAH 41||ISAIAH 42||ISAIAH 43|
|3/7||ISAIAH 44||ISAIAH 45||ISAIAH 46||ISAIAH 47||ISAIAH 48||ISAIAH 49|
|3/14||ISAIAH 50||ISAIAH 51||ISAIAH 52||ISAIAH 53||ISAIAH 54||ISAIAH 55|
|3/21||ISAIAH 56||ISAIAH 57||ISAIAH 58||ISAIAH 59||ISAIAH 60||ISAIAH 61,62|
|3/28||ISAIAH 63,64||ISAIAH 65||ISAIAH 66||JEREMIAH 1||JEREMIAH 2||JEREMIAH 3|
|4/4||JEREMIAH 4||JEREMIAH 5||JEREMIAH 6||JEREMIAH 7||JEREMIAH 8||JEREMIAH 9|
|4/11||JEREMIAH 10||JEREMIAH 11||JEREMIAH 12,13||JEREMIAH 14,15||JEREMIAH 16||JEREMIAH 17|
|4/18||JEREMIAH 18||JEREMIAH 19,20||JEREMIAH 21,22||JEREMIAH 23||JEREMIAH 24||JEREMIAH 25,26|
|4/25||JEREMIAH 27,28||JEREMIAH 29,30||JEREMIAH 31,32||JEREMIAH 33,34||JEREMIAH 35,36||JEREMIAH 37,38|
|5/2||JEREMIAH 39,40||JEREMIAH 41,42||JEREMIAH 43,44||JEREMIAH 45,46||JEREMIAH 47,48||JEREMIAH 49|
|5/9||JEREMIAH 50||JEREMIAH 51||JEREMIAH 52||LAMENTATIONS 1||LAMENTATIONS 2||LAMENTATIONS 3|
|5/16||LAMENTATIONS 4||LAMENTATION 5||EZEKIEL 1,2||EZEKIEL 3,4||EZEKIEL 5,6||EZEKIEL 7|
|5/23||EZEKIEL 8,9||EZEKIEL 10,11||EZEKIEL 12||EZEKIEL 13||EZEKIEL 14,15||EZEKIEL 16|
|5/30||EZEKIEL 17||EZEKIEL 18,19||EZEKIEL 20||EZEKIEL 21||EZEKIEL 22||EZEKIEL 23|
|6/6||EZEKIEL 24,25||EZEKIEL 26,27||EZEKIEL 28||EZEKIEL 29||EZEKIEL 30,31||EZEKIEL 32|
|6/13||EZEKIEL 33||EZEKIEL 34,35||EZEKIEL 36||EZEKIEL 37||EZEKIEL 38||EZEKIEL 39|
|6/20||EZEKIEL 40||EZEKIEL 41||EZEKIEL 42||EZEKIEL 43||EZEKIEL 44||EZEKIEL 45|
|6/27||EZEKIEL 46||EZEKIEL 47||EZEKIEL 48||DANIEL 1||DANIEL 2||DANIEL 3|
|7/4||DANIEL 4||DANIEL 5||DANIEL 6||DANIEL 7||DANIEL 8||DANIEL 9|
|7/11||DANIEL 10||DANIEL 11||DANIEL 12||HOSEA 1,2||HOSEA 3,4||HOSEA 5,6|
|7/18||HOSEA 7,8||HOSEA 9,10||HOSEA 11,12||HOSEA 13, 14||JOEL 1||JOEL 2|
|7/25||JOEL 3||AMOS 1||AMOS 2||AMOS 3,4||AMOS 5||AMOS 6,7|
|8/1||AMOS 8||AMOS 9||OBADIAH||JONAH 1,2||JONAH 3,4||MICAH 1,2|
|8/8||MICAH 3,4||MICAH 5,6||MICAH 7||NAHUM 1,2||NAHUM 3||HABAKKUK 1|
|8/15||HABAKKUK 2||HABAKKUK 3||ZEPHANIAH 1||ZEPHANIAH 2||ZEPHANIAH 3||HAGGAI 1|
|8/22||HAGGAI 2||ZECHARIAH 1||ZECHARIAH 2,3||ZECHARIAH 4,5||ZECHARIAH 6,7||ZECHARIAH 8|
|8/29||ZECHARIAH 9||ZECHARIAH 10,11||ZECHARIAH 12,13||ZECHARIAH 14||MALACHI 1,2||MALACHI 3,4|