BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on
Understanding to grow in
God's declarations of impending judgment on Israel continue. It is stressed that he will not relent, and that it will be severe. Two key things are worth noting however. First, alongside the sins of idolatry and oppression, complacency with respect to worship is now mentioned. There is no desire to make much of the Sabbath for worship and rest, but only to get through it and get back to dishonest money making (8v5). The desire to take time out with the Lord has always been a measure of faith. Second, the coming conquest by Assyria (that occurred in 722BC) is described with language of the sun being darknened at noon (8v9). This is metaphorical: It would feel like the world ending for Israel and bring the darkness of despair. However, this verse was fulfilled literally at the cross of Christ. This shows that his death was paying off the penalty of exile that Israel deserved for her sins, so that in him Israelites of repentant faith could be restored without fear of losing everything again. The book therefore ends on just this note (9v15). And just as Israel operate as a scale model of God's dealings with wider humanity, this hints that Jesus was paying off the penalty of our having been exiled from Eden and from his eternal kingdom too. He was dealing with death and hell. As you read note the message of hope.
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself:
1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this.
2) What’s the main thing it teaches me about his will for me or the world? Then pray that home.
Devotion to offer up
You could read this aloud and perhaps as a springboard to further prayer.