GETTING THE MOST FROM GOD'S WORD:

"Do NOT labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting LIFE..." - The Gospel of John 6:27 (NKJV)
A systematic and daily reading of the Word of God is important in maintaining a strong Christian life. Establish a daily quiet time with God and His Word. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you understand what you read. By following our daily Bible reading schedule through this blog, you will be able to read the Bible through in a year. Please note that you may utilize the ‘BIBLE READER’ app that is installed at the bottom of this webpage to assist you in reading the specified scripture portion for today.

To get the MOST from God's Word, please do the following intentionally:
1. REQUEST God to connect with you as you read the word of God with FOCUS and OPENNESS to see what God wants to speak with you.
2. READ the selected sections of Scripture slowly as you mark the words and phrases that intrigue you, even reading them the second time to get a better understanding.
3. REFLECT on what God is communicating to you; stopping long enough to let the seed of God's Word take root in your heart.
4. RESPOND to the passage speaking directly to God about what is in your heart, and then look out for ways to live out what you find - individually, and to others within your church and elsewhere.

As you read and meditate, ask yourself the following three questions:
a) What is God speaking to me through this passage?
b) Is there a command, a promise or a warning for me?
c) Is there an example for me to follow?

Please POST your comments below if there is a thought or message that the Lord has spoken to you through the passage that you are reading and meditating today. Please make sure that your post is aligned to the scripture passage mentioned at the header. All comments should pertain to the relevant scripture portions only, and should be aimed to glorify God (the true author of 'The Bible') & edify everyone who visits this blog site daily - both young and old. May God bless you abundantly for encouraging others through your comments!

Let's PRAY...
LORD, give me the desire to take a little time out of my busy schedule today as I read and meditate on Your Word. Give me this day MY DAILY BREAD. Speak to me clearly & lead me today as my Good Shepherd. Help me to be a blessing to others who interact with me as I attempt to be a living witness of Your Word today. In Your Name I pray, AMEN.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 25 Bible Reading: Lamentations Chapters 4-5

Should we ‘CELEBRATE’ the MISFORTUNE of our ENEMIES? "Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, you who dwell in the land of Uz! The cup shall also pass over to you and you shall become drunk and make yourself naked. The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; He will no longer send you into captivity. He will punish your iniquity, O daughter of Edom; He will uncover your sins!" (Lam. 4:21-22)

The prophet Jeremiah had every reason to feel vindicated and excessively self-satisfied at the tragedy that had befallen the city of Jerusalem and the country of Judah. After all, he had prophesied that the nation of Babylon would soon attack and subdue them if they would not turn back to following Jehovah God. But as he reflected on the tragic destruction of Jerusalem, he reacted not with a celebration, but with tears and tender sympathy. His heart was broken over the events that had happened to his people, and the dirge recorded in the book of Lamentations is an outpouring of his grief and anguish. This ‘weeping prophet’ speaks to us today how we should react to the pain and suffering of others. We should be driven by compassion for other people, especially when they are hurting.

This was not the manner in which the people of Edom, Judah’s neighbor to the south, reacted when they heard the news of the fall of Jerusalem. Instead of showing any kind of empathy towards their neighbors, they were delighted to hear this news. The psalmist records their true reaction in his prayer: "Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom the day of Jerusalem, who said, "Raze it, raze it, to its very foundation!" (Ps. 137:7) This is hardly surprising since the Edomites were ancient enemies of the Israelites, despite having a common ancestry through Esau, the eldest son of Isaac and the elder brother of Jacob (see Gen. 25:30; 36:1, 9).

The two verses referenced above (Lam. 4:21-22) draws a contrast between the country of Israel and her gentile neighboring country, Edom. Though Edom rejoiced over Jerusalem’s calamity now, this bitter ‘cup’ would someday be passed to her. The ‘cup’ is often used as a symbol of divine judgment (see Ps. 75:8; Isa. 51:17, 22; Ezek. 23:31–34; Rev. 14:10; 16:19), and drinking from such a ‘cup’ gives a picture of being forced to undergo judgment (see Jer. 25:15–28). We know that our Lord Jesus Christ drank the ‘cup’ of divine wrath against sin for all humanity (see Mark 10:38; 14:36; John 18:11).

God was judging Jerusalem for her sin at the moment, but He would also judge Edom for her sins shortly. “Rejoice and be glad” probably means “Laugh away, but you too will be judged and made to drink the cup of God’s wrath” (Jer. 25:15). Even though Edom rejoiced over the fall of Jerusalem and the nation of Judah, it is certain that one day she will be punished severely as her sins will be laid bare while Israel will be restored. Jerusalem could look forward to restoration, but Edom will receive severe judgment from God soon (see Obad. 8–14; Jer. 49:7–22). In contrast to Edom, God will offer a reprieve to His people because of His mercy and compassion towards them (see Jer. 42:10-12; 49:7–22; 50:20).

Unlike the people of Edom, we should not celebrate the misfortune of either our friends or, even our enemies! God’s Word never encourages God’s people to be happy when others suffer, even if they deserve to suffer. The love that God calls us to “does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6). Let us remember that our Lord Jesus Christ wept over the city of Jerusalem that would be razed to the ground and destroyed in 70 A.D. instead of feeling satisfied at the ‘just’ punishment for crucifying Him on the cross shortly (Matthew 23:37-39). In the similar manner, instead of gloating over the misery of our enemies, we should pray that somehow their circumstances will turn them toward God, and away from the evil that has perpetrated into their lives today.

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Rom. 12:14-17, 21)

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