Jeremiah 25 & 29

Read Jeremiah 25 & 29

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11 is often used to give us a ray of hope in difficult times. We hear these words and can hold our heads high knowing God has a plan for us, right? He does. And that plan includes us following Him. 

Just a few chapters before these hopeful words we see God’s wrath poured out on the people of Judah because they had disobeyed the Lord for many years. Jeremiah 25 describes their punishment in detail which included being sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. Much like the recurring theme we continue to see throughout the Old Testament, the people disobeyed, were punished, but God still loved them and had a plan for them. 

In chapter 29 starting in verse 4, God tells the people in exile to build houses, plant gardens and eat their produce, to marry, reproduce and to not decrease. God says to seek the welfare of the city where He has sent them, and to pray to Him on their behalf. He says, “for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” 

Interesting huh? God has sent these people into exile but still uses them for His glory. 

Much like the Exiles, we are not in our homeland—our forever home, heaven. Until the Lord comes and gets us or calls us home, we are exiles on this earth. We are exiles who God chooses to use for His glory. 

He does have a plan for us. That plan is to follow Him until the day we reach our forever home. 


Micah 1, 4:6-13, & 5

Read Micah 1, 4:6-13, & 5

Israel has sinned. Again. 

It’s like a broken record or one of those Boomerang looped videos on social media playing over and over. The entire Old Testament sometimes seems to be one long warning to Israel because they keep messing up. And not just messing up on accident, but on purpose.

That’s right. On purpose. 

Micah, a prophet, calls them out on their sin and warns them of God’s impending punishment. God takes sin seriously, and there are consequences for sin. This was true for the Israelites thousands of years ago, and it’s true for us today.

After calling them out on their sin, warning them of the impending destruction, Micah calls them to repent or turn away from their sin and come back to God. 

While God does punish sin, God is also faithful to forgive. He wants to be with us. Micah 4:10 says, “[…] There you shall be rescued; there the Lord will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.”

God stopped at nothing to rescue and redeem the people of Israel just like he stopped at nothing to rescue and redeem us from eternal destruction through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Yes, the Old Testament might seem like a broken record of Israel sinning again, but it’s actually a beautiful song of God’s faithfulness to redeem and restore on repeat. So, turn it up!


Joel 1-3

Read Joel 1-3

Joel is a book that can seem all doom and gloom, but there’s so much hope in his words if we look a bit deeper.

His words reiterate those of other prophets like Zephaniah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel. We see swarms of locusts, destruction brought by armies, and of course the dreadful day of the Lord, that is also referenced in Revelation. 

In chapter one, Joel is calling Israel to repent and warning of God’s impending judgment. There’s no need to call out specific sins of Israel–they know, and Joel knew. 

In chapter 2, Joel urges the people to return to the Lord with all their heart. He says in chapter 2 verse 13, “[…] return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, […]”. 

Through the doom, gloom, and devastation we see God’s heart beating for His people. God is gracious. God is merciful. He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love for His people. 

We also see God taking pity on His people (Joel 2:18). He then restores to them what was destroyed (Joe 2:15), and makes a promise that one day He will pour out His spirit on His people (Joel 2:28). He then says that anyone who called on His name would be saved (Joel 2:32).

Yes, there is an immediate promise to the people of Israel, but these statements are also foretelling of Jesus and the salvation He offers.

Sin messed everything up–it’s devastated the world. Yet, God desires to show mercy to those who confess, and anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. One day, He will make all things new. The day of the Lord is coming–and it’s not all doom and gloom.


2 Kings 5, 6:1-23

Read 2 Kings 5, 6:1-23

Often, our situation dictates our willingness to let God have complete control of our lives. 

I am guilty of this, and maybe you can think of some times in your life when this has been true for you. 

Naaman was an army commander who was highly regarded by his master. But he had leprosy. 2 Kings chapter 5 tells us the story of Naaman’s healing, but it required Naaman to trust God—something he struggled with. 

Elisha the prophet told Naaman that to be healed, he must go and wash himself not once, not twice, not three times, but seven times in the Jordan river. What? No one ever got rid of leprosy by washing themselves in a dirty river. Besides, it was too simple of a task. Naaman became angry and refused to do as Elisha said.

The Bible tells us Naaman turned and went off in a rage. His servants helped him cool off and think logically. They reminded Naaman of how he was willing to do anything, accomplish any huge task, in order to be healed so why not do the small task being prescribed. Naaman see reasons and complies. He washes himself seven times and is healed. 

Naaman thought his path to healing was too simple. He thought he knew better than God. Our path to eternal healing or salvation through Jesus is simple—we simply believe & choose to follow him. Simple. And yet, for many, they can’t quite make the leap to trust Him. 

We too may think we know better than God. He may be asking us to trust Him with something, not in our own way, but in His. Whatever it is, give up the struggle. Do it God’s way. 

Our healing can only come when we give complete control to God. Maybe today is a day that you need to take a first step toward healing found in the Lord.


1 Kings 11 & 12

Read 1 Kings 11 & 12

It’s a tragic story, with an ending that should have been much different. King Solomon, the wisest man to live (aside from Jesus of course), has disobeyed God. 

God instructed His people not to marry foreign women who worshiped other gods. He warned they would turn the hearts of the Israelites away from Him. God was right. 

I Kings 11: 4 says, “[…] his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.”

Solomon may have thought he was wise enough to avoid turning away from God. Afterall, he was wise. Yet, Solomon did disobey and as a result, his earthly Kingdom was torn away from him.

This can be the case with us at times. We believe we are strong or wise enough to not let the things we chase turn into idols. If Solomon, the wisest man turned away, what makes us think we are different? 

When we disobey God, there are always consequences. Our consequence may not be having a kingdom torn from our reign, but rest assured, there are consequences.

Although there are reprucussions, God is faithful to forgive. He is faithful to keep His word even when we are unfaithful.


1 Kings 8, 9:1-9

Read 1 Kings 8, 9:1-9

In these chapters we get a glimpse of what we might call a “ribbon cutting ceremony,” or a “grand opening.” The temple, God’s house, is finished and the ark is being placed in it. And from the descriptions provided in the text, clearly, God’s temple was a big deal. 

Afterall, this was a place for God to dwell. It was a place to meet with Him, and offer sacrifices. The text explains the importance of the temple, its purpose, and even its holiness. We also know the temple was incredibly beautiful. But there’s more to this temple than what the text says. There’s a twist no one, at the time, could ever imagine.

In chapter 9, the Lord tells Solomon, “One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.” 

That descendant is Jesus. 

So, what’s the twist? Those knowing this promise were expecting an earthly King to sit on the throne of David. 

But, when Jesus came, He didn’t come as an earthly king. He came as king over everything and changed the way we communed with God. The people knowing God’s Word at the time would not have foreseen this turn of events.

Because of Jesus, we no longer must go to the temple and make sacrifices to be with God. For those that choose to follow Jesus, He has made His temple in us.  Let that sink in.

The glamourous, holy temple Solomon built for God as a place for us to meet with God—Jesus does away with the building and makes His home or temple in His believers.  

The Holy place and the very presence of God, dwells in us. Incredible.


Psalm 119:49-128

Read Psalm 119:49-128

Often, when we pray, we come to the Lord with our list of requests. We seek Him to heal a sickness, or to open a door for a promotion. “Lord, please do…” and we can fill in the blank with endless possibilities. 

But, when I read through the book of Psalm, I’m encouraged to think a little different about the way I pray. 

In fact, everything about the way I’ve thought about prayer changes. 

It moves me from a place of only needing or making my requests known, to a place of gratitude. A place where I’m intentionally being thankful for God and who He is. 

Reading through Psalm 119, verses 49 – 128 in particular, the Psalmist reminds of the confidence we can have in our Lord. It’s His word that sustains us. We can thank Him for that.

We’re reminded of how God’s Word revives us even in our suffering. And we’re reminded to seek God’s Word and go to Him with all that we are. 

We have a God who is for us, who wants to be with us, who wants us to seek after Him. He’s just so good.

No matter our situation or circumstance, we can thank God for who He is and all that He’s done, doing, and will do in our lives. 


2 Samuel 11 & 12

Read 2 Samuel 11 & 12

From shepherd boy, to giant slayer, to King, the account of David’s life as told in the Bible is world renown. He was a poet, musician, and warrior. David was even called “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). And if David wasn’t grand enough, Jesus, the savior of the world, is his descendant.

However, in today’s reading we’re not encountering another great moment from King David. These chapters reveal quite the opposite. They’re chapters David probably would rather not have been published. And don’t we all have those chapters in our life? Chapters we pray never get read by our friends and family. Yet, David’s life, the good and very bad, are on public display. 

This man “after God’s own heart”, spirals down the wrong path in the worst way. First, he wasn’t where he should have been. His men were at war, and as a King, he should have been there instead of on his rooftop. Second, he coveted and wanted what he shouldn’t have–Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of his finest warriors. 

In only a few sentences, David becomes an adulterer, and a man who uses his power and position against Bathsheba, which in today’s society constitutes rape or sexual assault. To cover up his actions David plots to deceive Bathsheba’s husband, but once his plan fails, he plots Uriah’s death. King David has committed premeditated murder.

The story is scandalous, yet we can pull valuable lessons from it. One, sin does not go unpunished. There are consequences. Because of David’s sin, the “sword” or fighting would never leave the house of David. David’s son also died. Later, you’ll see his family begin to fall apart, warring with one another. 

Two, sin affects others, sometimes even years and generations later. Our sin may be personal, but it’s rarely private. In David’s case, Uriah, other soldiers, Bathsheba, David’s baby, and David’s descendents were all impacted in some way because of his personal sin. 

Third, God is gracious, merciful, forgiving, and redeeming even though we are sinful. The story of David’s moral failure isn’t really about him at all, but about our God who is so very good. David repents from what he’s done and asks God to forgive him. God does. And he will forgive us too, no matter what we’ve done or will do. 

We too can be known as people after God’s own heart, no matter how far we’ve fallen. We only need to turn back to God.


1 Samuel 28 & 31

Read 1 Samuel 28 , Read 1 Samuel 31

Through our daily readings, we’re aware Saul has disobeyed God. As a result, the Lord rejected him as King of Israel. In fact, in chapter 16, we read the spirit of the Lord left Saul and was replaced by an evil spirit that terrified him. 

Now in chapter 28, things are only getting worse for Saul. The Philistines are going to war against him. Saul knows God is no longer talking to him, so he seeks help from a medium to talk to Samuel (who has since passed away). Quick sidenote: God has also asked His followers not to consult with sorcerers or mediums (Leviticus 19:31 & Isaiah 8:19). Ironic, isn’t it, how Saul disobeyed God again in hopes of gaining God’s favor through Samuel?

Samuel tells Saul that because of his disobedience, the Lord is going to hand he and Israel over into the hands of the Philistines. He also tells Saul that he, along with his sons, would be with him tomorrow. Meaning, they too would be dead. 

The next day, as Saul sees Samuel’s predications coming to fruition, he takes his own life. It’s a tragic story, and one that could have been avoided.

The story of Saul hits close to home for many people. Maybe not because of the battles, or being plagued by an evil spirit, or talk of mediums consulting with the dead. Perhaps Saul’s story hits home because of the issue of obedience—or disobedience. 

If we’re being real, we can probably think of a time (or ten) when we’ve disobeyed God. Often, our disobedience causes us to walk through miserable paths. 

I was called to be a pastor in the Fall of 2009. I ran from it for a while, 10 years in fact. I was miserable and suffered because of my disobedience. Peace came when I finally surrendered and started to pursue God’s calling on my life. 

Jesus says if we love Him, we will keep His commands (John 14:15)—we will obey Him. He also is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Love, obedience, and peace. The three are not independent of one another. 

If Saul loved God, he would have kept God’s commands and he would have had peace, internal peace and possibly peace with his enemies. 

Let us be a people who love God, keep His commands, and know His peace. 


1 Samuel 15-16

Read 1 Samuel 15-16

Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” 

In other words, what we see may not accurately represent the content inside. The same could be said for 1 Samuel 15 & 16.

The time has come for Samuel to go to the house of Jesse, as the Lord told him, and anoint Israel’s next king. Samuel see’s Eliab, and based on what Samuel sees, he thinks, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord” (1 Samuel 16:6).

Look at verse 7. The Lord says to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.” 

Wow. But why? Eliab looked kingly enough. 

God continues talking. He says, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).” 

Samuel goes on to anoint Jesse’s youngest son, David. David was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but is referred to as “a man after God’s own heart” (See 1 Samuel 13 & Acts 13). 

For most of us, judging character based on outward appearance comes naturally. We tend to create a list of qualities we admire in our own lives which then dictates what we perceive to be true about a person. 

At times, our inability to see one’s heart can impede our ability to extend grace. Thankfully, God is not like that. He sees our value because of who we are in Him, all imperfections aside.