Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, November 22. Read 1 Peter 2:4-6. 1) What kind of house has God ultimately been building? 2) What was God’s goal or vision for this “house”?
Tuesday, November 23. Read Luke 1:32-33. 1) This is the account of Gabriel’s announcement to Mary. What did Gabriel say about Mary’s child in regard to the throne he would occupy? 2) What would his kingdom be?
Wednesday, November 24. Read Isaiah 54:8-10. 1) How did God respond to the sin of mankind during the days of Noah? 2) What did God say in regard to his love for Israel?
Thursday, November 25. Read 2 Samuel 7:5-16. 1) This is the record of what God told the prophet Nathan to say to David. What was God’s answer to David’s desire to build God a house? 2) What promise did God make to David? (verses 11,12). 3) Who would build a house for God?
Friday, November 26. Read Jeremiah 23:5-6. 1) What did God say he would do for David (dead for nearly 4 centuries)? 2) What did God say he would do for Judah? 3) What would this person be called?
Saturday, November 27. Read Jeremiah 33:14-16. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
God of hope and promise. In the midst of despair you talked to your people about light. You told them what you required, and you showed them what the future could be. Please help us to hear that language. May we not give up or grow indifferent. Help us to put one foot in front of the other and walk in confidence of your future. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
O how kindly hast Thou led me
by Thomas Grinfield, 1836
O how kindly hast Thou led me,
Heav’nly Father, day by day;
Found my dwelling, clothed and fed me,
Furnished friends to cheer my way!
Didst Thou bless me, didst Thou chasten,
With Thy smile or with Thy rod,
’Twas that still my step might hasten
Homeward, heav’nward, to my God.
O how slowly have I often
Followed where Thy hand would draw!
How Thy kindness failed to soften!
How Thy chastening failed to awe!
Make me for Thy rest more ready,
As Thy path is longer trod;
Keep me in Thy friendship steady,
Till Thou call me home, my God.
Devotional Article of the Week:
by Advent Conspiracy
Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’ Jeremiah 33:14-16
It was too dark to see much hope. Our leaders were too susceptible to corruption, our hearts too inclined to selfishness, our affections too prone to idolatry. God told us to repent, but we chose to believe a lie; that it’s too hard to return to your first Love when you’ve loved something new.
So we ended up here, exiled in Babylon. Here, it’s too dark to see any hope. They want to change our names and our worship. Our homes and our laughter have been stolen. Our identity is slowly slipping away to Babylon’s message of “Assimilate! Assimilate!…”
This is the context into which Jeremiah speaks his message.
He reminds God’s people that God has not forgotten His promises. That there is a future because the line of King David will be restored. The new King will restore justice and righteousness.
Jeremiah dared God’s people to risk believing in hope when there was no evidence of it. He challenged them to believe that their hope, salvation, justice, and future were wrapped up in the story of this Righteous King.
He dared them to believe that living out that hope in exile was worth the risk.
We know that this Righteous King is Jesus. Like God’s people in Babylon, our hope, our salvation, our justice, and our future are intricately tied to His story, and like God’s people in Babylon it’s hard to hold on to hope when things feel hopeless and culture pressures us. But the story isn’t over. God’s not done. Throughout your day come back to Jeremiah’s words. Let them challenge you to risk and redirect your hope.
God, my heart is too inclined to selfishness, my affections too prone to idolatry, and my life too susceptible to corruption. I can too easily give into the pressure of assimilating to the culture, and too often I place my hope in the false promises of it’s idols. Forgive me Father. Thank you for your Son. Without Him, I’d be left with my weak substitutes for hope. Please give me the courage to live into true hope even when it’s hard. Amen.