Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 28 December 18:
1. Zechariah 13:1 “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.”
— Revelation 22:1 — “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city”
– Bible prophecy is often hard to read and understand, but what stands out is the clear message of the “Good News” of Jesus Christ our KING. As we struggle to understand and apply God’s word to our lives, we must not forget that the Bible is not provided just to make us ‘better people’ but rather to bring us into a fuller, real love relationship with the Father, Son, and Spirit (John 17). It is not for sake of knowing ‘about’ God; it is about ‘knowing God’ better than we know anyone else. It is not about ‘believing in God’; it is about ‘believing God’, trusting Him wholeheartedly to walk with Him. It is essential that we study and apply God’s word daily, not just for knowledge, but for the purpose of abiding in the Word, the Vine, Jesus Christ (where knowledge becomes understanding and truly knowing personally). Some ‘religious’ people will make the Bible the ‘end’ or the goal rather than the ‘means’ or instrument to obtain the ultimate goal of Christ. Jesus warned the Pharisees – “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” (John 5:39) Jesus says, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) Today’s OT and NT prophecies (as with many others we have read) both talk about the ‘water of life.’ Jesus made it clear: “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life…. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 4:14; John 7:38) Of Jesus, whose voice is like “the roar of many waters,” the Bible says, “For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 1:15; Revelation 7:17) Much Bible prophecy speaks to future events, but eternal life and living water is fully available, immediately, to anyone who believes in Jesus Christ – “Whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:15-21) Receive the Living Water today, and allow from your heart to flow “rivers of living water” to all around you.
2. Zechariah 13:2 – “I will remove from the land the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness.” When you are in intimate relationship with God, you don’t need someone else to tell you what He is saying.
3. Zechariah 13:3 – “And if anyone again prophesies, his father and mother who bore him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of the Lord.’” Many who claim to speak for God are selfishly motivated and enemies of God.
4. Zechariah 13:8, 9 – “In the whole land, declares the Lord, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” God’s people remain faithful through the refining process. In the end, they come out purer and more valuable.
5. Zechariah 14:9 – “And the Lord will be king over all the earth.” God will establish a physical Kingdom on a new Earth.
6. Zechariah 14:16 – “Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths.” The Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles) was celebrated by Jesus and remains an essential part of future worship. It is to be celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh month, Tishrei (varies from late September to late October), when for a week (7 or 8 days, depending on the year), the people live in temporary shelters at the end of the harvest season, as a reminder of God’s provision, particularly during the 40-year Jewish exodus out of Egypt enroute to the Promised Land. Additionally, this yearly experience brought the people closer to God and to each other, keep the people proficient in basic survival skills, and enabled people to keep riches and worldly concerns in perspective. Can you imagine everyone in your community camping out for a week together with a focus on God’s provision and interpersonal relationships? Would families benefit from a week long camping experience every year, away from TVs, social media devices, etc? Perhaps Christians should celebrate the Feast of Booths which has a prophetic message of God in “tabernacle” with us.
7. Proverbs 28:4 – “Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive against them.” God commands forgiveness in personal relationships but also demands justice in the legal system which maintains order within society. Many times people confuse the relationship between accountability and forgiveness. You many forgive a criminal and show them mercy in punishment, but the criminal must be held accountable to society and make restitution.
8. Proverbs 28:5 — “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.” God is a merciful God, but He is also a just God. Love and justice go together. Those who love God also love justice and pursue it.
9. Proverbs 28:7 – “The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.” Gluttony is shameful and related to a spirit of lawlessness because it demonstrates a lack of self-control. Christians often take alcohol abuse seriously but not food abuse. The Bible takes gluttony very seriously.
10. Proverbs 28:9 – “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” Your conduct affects your prayer life.
11. Proverbs 28:13 – “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Humility required for personal character development includes open honesty about your limitations and failures.
12. Proverbs 28:14 – “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.” Following God is not a part time commitment. Partial obedience is disobedience.
13. Proverbs 28:19 – “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.” People waste a lot time doing things that ultimately don’t matter at all. Just because you can achieve it doesn’t mean God ever wanted you to.
14. Proverbs 28:21 – “To show partiality is not good, but for a piece of bread a man will do wrong.” Everyone must be held accountable equally, but mercy considers the factors that contributed to a person’s wrongdoing.
15. Proverbs 28:26 – “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” When you think you have it figured out, that is when you are really in trouble. You need to pour into God’s word every day, regardless of how educated and experienced you feel that you are.
16. Revelation 22 – Compare the visions of God’s earthly reign in Rev 22 with the visions in Zech 14.
17. Revelation 22:1, 3, 5 — “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city…. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him…. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”
– Jesus offers living water. Remember what he said to the woman at the well: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water…. Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life…. A time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:10, 13, 14, 21, 23, 24).” Later in Jesus’ ministry, the “Living Water” is further explained: “On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified (John 7:37-39).” Jesus proclaims: “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life (Revelation 22:17).”
– Also, Jesus is the Light: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12).” God’s word is “a lamp to [your] feet and a light for [your] path (Psalm 119:105). As Christ’s Ambassadors, God calls us to be “salt and light.” Salt makes you thirsty, light exposes darkness – both actions point to Christ our Savior.
18. Revelation 22:9 — “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” Many people have a tendency to focus too much attention on pastors and teachers rather than on Jesus. A true teacher always points you towards Jesus, drawing no attention to themselves. Instead of selling you a book, they should be giving you a Bible. Instead of constantly saying “I” and “me,” they should only be saying “Him” and “Jesus Christ.”
19. Revelation 22:17 – “And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” The Gift of Jesus Christ is free to any thirsty person who wants to take it, but it must be taken to actually be possessed. To the sinful woman at the well, Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water…. whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:10, 14) Jesus made clear in John 3:3 and John 7:27 that with faith in Him comes “living water,” which is the Spirit that dwells only in those who have been “born again” or born spiritually through Jesus Christ. Without the Spirit, a person is dead to sin. We are made alive in Christ — this is the message of the Bible. The final verse in the Bible is the conclusion of the matter: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” I pray that all of our loved ones will be counted among “God’s people” who have taken the free gift, who have chosen life, and who have surrendered their lives on earth to the Lord.
20. Revelation 22:20 – “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” Jesus keeps His promises. The Book of Revelation is provided with great urgency, because every person will face final judgement, which is coming “soon” in the context of the spiritual realm. Tell someone about Jesus today.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 28 Dec 18: Fully receive the Living Water today.