You may think you know the story of Jonah, but there is so much more for us to learn from the book by his name. There is the fact that disobedience and running from God can land us in some pretty nasty circumstances. But there are, also, great lessons on God’s mercy, willingness to forgive, and what He expects from us when we’ve been sinned against.
Our New Testament reading is from Revelation 8 with the beginning of the seven trumpet judgments. The first four are horrible enough, but before the fifth one sounds an angel cries, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet …” Continue reading →
God’s Word has much to say about pride, humility, and wise living. When we heed its counsel, it can help us avoid many of the pitfalls that lead to embarrassment, humiliation, or disaster.
Even within Jesus’ inner circle, prideful, self-confident Peter had told Jesus he would never deny Him. Yet, three denials later, as he heard that rooster crow, he must have experienced the worst grief and humiliation of his life!
I couldn’t help thinking about today’s passage from proverbs when I read John 18 about Peter’s denial. Prideful, self-confident Peter had told Jesus he would never deny Him (Jn. 13.37).
Jesus had answered him, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times” (Jn. 13.38).
Now here in chapter 18 Jesus has been arrested:
15 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. 16 But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. 17 Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?”
He said, “I am not.”
25 Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?”
He denied it and said, “I am not!”
26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” 27 Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.
Can you imagine, three denials later, when he heard that rooster crow and the words of Jesus came flooding back? The heartbreak Peter must have felt! The shame!
The idea of a Sabbath has always been an important principle in the Bible. God rested on the 7th day and has instructed us to take time to rest, as well. Sabbath isn’t just about rest, it’s also about refocusing on God.
The children of Israel were not only to observe a Sabbath each week. There was to be a Sabbath year every seven years. This was a year for the land, as well as the people, to rest. This allowed the nutrients in the soil to be replenished while it kept the people focused on God. It was a reminder that everything, including the land, was the Lord’s. They were merely stewards over it. That is still true today with whatever the Lord has blessed us: jobs, property, talents, even our children.
Then every fifty years, after seven sets of seven years, there was to be a year of Jubilee! This was an additional year of rest from labor, but even more importantly, all the Israelites who had fallen on hard times were to be restored, released from indebtedness and given back family property. This would be even more important once they had gone in and taken possession of the Promised Land because God would allocate land to each of the twelve tribes for an inheritance.
An amazing thing would take place leading up to the year of Jubilee. On the sixth year God would provide such abundance that it would sustain the people for three years! What a beautiful picture of God’s provision!
With all the talk today about hard economic times, what does the year of Jubilee picture for us? What can we do that will help us rest in God’s provision? Continue reading →