Our members are encouraged to faithfully read god's word


September 2020 - August 2021



     

    Bethany Bible Readings for the week of January 24

     

    Monday January 25  -- Isaiah 1

     

    The first sentence of this book gives us the historical setting and the original audience, the kings mentioned lived from around 783-686 BC, for comparison sake, Judah was taken into the Babylonian Captivity in 586 BC., the world power at this time was Assyria, the nation that conquered the northern ten tribes in 721 BC.

    Isaiah’s name means, “The LORD saves,” which is a major theme in this book as Isaiah repeatedly calls the people to trust in the LORD rather than foreign nations or idol gods.  Another theme throughout the book is a call to act justly, to live righteously, to return to God.

    Verse two begins with what Biblical scholars call a covenant lawsuit.  This lawsuit is identified when heaven and earth are called as witnesses.  When God made his covenant with Abraham, since he has no equal, he called heaven and earth as witnesses, when he wishes to recall his covenant he calls these witnesses to testify.

    At the end of the book of Deuteronomy God told his people what would happen if they rejected his covenant, Isaiah begins by pointing out that God has sent and is sending these punishments. God is so disappointed with his people that he doesn’t even want their offerings, and is not interested in listening to their prayers.  Verse fifteen is a frightening verse, God came to the point where turns from those who pray to him, he refuses to listen to the prayers of such a people.  We need to ask what the people were doing that upset God so much, they were worshipping, they offered sacrifices, they prayed, they gathered at the temple. It was not what they were doing with worship, it was what they were not doing.  Today, ask yourself two questions: a) what were the people of Judah neglecting to do?   b) Are Christians in Holland significantly different than they were? 

     

     

    Tuesday January 26 – Isaiah 2

     

    Isaiah begins with a message of hope, “in the last days….” People will stream to the temple of the God of Jacob, there will be peace, the people will walk in the light of the LORD.  That is what can be, that is what should be, that is what someday will be.  And then, Isaiah takes a sharp turn and prophesies what will take place first, he describes a frightening day, a day of judgment.  The people do not walk according to the covenant they made with God, their land is filled with idols, they are trusting in their wealth, they “embrace pagan customs.”  This did not happen overnight, they did not jump into these customs, they slowly slipped into them. Do you ever wonder, are there customs we’ve slipped into?  Are there things we do today that God finds offensive, things we may not even realize are offensive to God?  Remember what Isaiah’s name means? “The LORD saves.” Not wealth, not pagan customs, not superstition, “Stop trusting in mere humans!” It is the LORD who saves.  Hang onto that today.

     

    Wednesday January 27 – Isaiah 3

    Isaiah three is not a very upbeat chapter, God is prophesying a time of disaster, a time of the LORD’s judgment.  If we were to fast forward, we would see this all fulfilled in the first captivity of Judah at the hands of Babylon, a time when all the elders and leaders were taken to Babylon and chaos reigned in Judah. 

    God’s Word is never intended to be a source book of historical facts, but the story of God and how he dealt with this people. So, when you read this passage, look for the why in this chapter.  What did God’s people do to incur such wrath from God?  We see a piece of the answer in verses fifteen through twenty-four, I wonder, what did they do that God says, they were “grinding the faces of the poor”?  Why such condemnation on Judah’s upper-class women? Was it wrong for them to have nice things?  When the Apostle Paul speaks against such finery he is contrasting it with being a good person, but does not say it is an either/or proposition.  Can we tell from the context of Isaiah why God would be so upset with such finery in the case of Judah?  Or, do we need to keep reading?  We can see God’s response, I think we would do well to try and figure out what “grinding the faces of the poor” meant, and ask ourselves what we are doing to see to it this does not happen on our watch.

     

    Thursday January 28 – Isaiah 4

    Happy Birthday Jim Strikwerda

    Today we have at least two choices, the passage is short, we can fly through it and be finished, or the passage is short, we can really meditate on it.

    Right away we are faced with two challenges, “in that day,” “the Branch of the LORD.”  One valuable tool for interpreting the Bible is, “use Scripture to interpret Scripture,” the Branch is clearly a person, a Messianic person, in both Jeremiah 23:5 and Zechariah 3:8, that would definitely fit here.  That would also explain, “in that day,” that day being the day when the Messiah would come.  Contrast verses one and two, verse one (which really seems to be the last verse of the previous chapter) concludes what will happen in the day of God’s judgment, when the Babylonians come and destroy Judah, but verse two begins a day of hope and glory, the time that follows both that judgment and the coming of the Messiah. 

    When we read carefully it is not all roses, not all wonderful, this “day” follows cleansing, the washing away of filth.  God will surely dwell with and among his people, he is the God of shelter and refuge, but God is also HOLY, and a HOLY God sanctifies his people.  

    It is easy to look back at Israel and see both why and how God did this, he cleansed his people by sending the Assyrian and then Babylonian armies to punish them, they needed this because of their sin.  I wonder, does God still cleanse his people today? Does God still send difficulties, perhaps calamities on them to turn them back to him?  Scripture is clear, our God is holy and he desires a holy people.

     

    Friday January 29 – Isaiah 5

    Happy birthday Bob DeNooyer

     

    Jesus obviously knew this chapter, he told a parable that was identical to the “song of the vineyard,” and, he also declared, “I am the true vine.”  The song of the vineyard is a song about God’s love and faithfulness to Israel, and Israel’s disobedience.

    After the song of the vineyard we find six “woes,” look at them, our God who is the “same, yesterday, today, and forever,” still warns against such things.  These are the things that caused God to send his people into exile, these are the things that still break God’s heart.  “Woe” is an interjection used as a lament, these are things that break God’s heart:

    Woe to those who add to their abundance, depriving others.

    Woe to those who seem to live for alcohol.

    Woe to those who draw sin along like with a rope, who challenge God to show himself.

    Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.

    Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes.

    Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, at mixing drinks, who deny justice to the innocent, and defend the guilty.

     

    Might we add, woe to those who disregard God’s clear warnings for his people?

     

    Saturday January 30 – Isaiah 6

    Today we read about the calling and commissioning of Isaiah, and we find several things.

    Isaiah recognized, right away, God is holy and he is not.

    We do not become holy through any of our own actions or activities, we can only be cleansed by God, or in this case, through an agent of God.  We need to be cleansed, to be washed, to have our guilt removed, and we cannot do that ourselves.


    God desires to have people who are willing to carry his message for him, Isaiah did not sit and wonder about it, but immediately said, “here I am. Send me.”  O, that I would be that willing! God’s message will not always be an easy one to deliver, and it will not always be received with receptive hearts, he told Isaiah, the people will hear but they will not accept it.  Both here, and in Matthew 13 where Jesus quotes this, we have the conundrum of knowing, why do these people reject God’s word, or Jesus’ parables, do they have hard hearts that reject God or did God harden their hearts so they could not accept this teaching?  Scholars have debated that for centuries, I doubt we will have the final word on it. One thing we can see, Isaiah’s calling is not one to become rich, famous, and successful, he is speaking to people who have hard hearts, who do not want to accept God’s calling.  In fact, we do not read about any prophets or apostles who lived a life of prosperity and leisure, Jesus did not either. I wonder if that implies something about the purveyors of the prosperity Gospel in our day? 


     

    Bethany Bible Reading Plan (year Tw0)

                 Beginning August 31, 2020


     

    Week

    Monday

    Tuesday

    Wednesday

    Thursday

    Friday

    Saturday

    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

    4/2

    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