Nahum 1:1-3:19, Revelations 8:1-13, Psalms 136:1-26, Proverbs 30:7-9
Today is the 17th day of December. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. It’s great to be here with you at the cusp, at the threshold, of a shiny, sparkly new week. And this is a big week. I mean, one week from today is Christmas Eve, which makes today the third Sunday in the season of Advent. And that distant day, that distant beacon, that’s on every calendar, December 25th, Christmas Day, that we see all year long, that’s been so far off in the distance is upon us now. And we’ll be making final transitions during this week. We’ll touch eight different books of the Bible. And by the time we get to the end of this week we will be settled into the final books of the Old and New Testaments as we press forward to the to the new year. So, let’s jump in. We’re going to read from the Old Testament, the entirety of the book of Nahum.
Nahum is another of the books of minor prophecy, which has nothing to do with significance and more to do with length. And, in some ways, we get a peek into the into the continuation of the story of Jonah. Right? So, Jonah was sent to Nineveh, we don’t have to retell that story. He was sent to Nineveh and they repent. Nahum is another book of prophecy written to the city of Nineveh. So, it’s 150 years later. So, a century and half earlier, God sent Jonah to the city and when he delivered God’s message Nineveh fell on its face and repented and were spared. Now, 150 years later, they’ve returned to their wicked ways and are as bad, if not worse, than they ever were. Nineveh was the capital city of the great Assyrian Empire and its conquests were known to be very brutal. And again, God sends a profit to Nineveh, Nahum, preaching repentance and a return to God. But this time the Ninevites did not listen and the prophecy of judgment came true in 625 BC with the destruction of Nineveh and the fall of the Assyrian Empire. This prophecy shows that God is merciful and patient, but He is not a pushover, and He will not stand for a nation’s sin forever, which should spur us all on to be agents of change in the countries that we live, to be the catalyst for light and for repentance and a return to our God. So, we’ll be reading from the Names of God Bible this week. Nahum chapter 1 verse 1 through 3 verse 19.
Okay. So, in the book of Revelation, you know, we began with seven golden lampstands, and then seven letters to seven churches, and then seven seals that no one but the lamb could open. And he opened six of them and we went through that and then today we get to the seventh seal. And, so as we begin our reading today, when he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And that’s a pretty dramatic scene, to think about silence in heaven for half an hour. And that silence has been contemplated for a long time, as has every other word in this book. Some scholars think that the silence has to do with the fact that as the seventh seal is broken and opened, there’s no content, there’s nothing to be revealed, and the content of the seventh scroll is contained in the actions that happen next. Some have said that because it’s the seventh seal, there was a pause and God rested, in sort of Sabbath imagery. Some connect the silence to do a suspension of divine revealing or disclosure, or revelation. So, then you’ve got to try figure out how long half an hour in heaven, what that represents to time on earth, which is a tricky thing to do. Some would say it’s just a moment of silence because of what’s coming next. And others would say everyone is just simply struck to complete silence as the complete plan is finally revealed. And that’s just a few thoughts. Either way, there was silence in heaven for a half an hour as the seventh seal is opened. And then seven angels who stand in God’s presence were given seven trumpets. And a lot of times these seven angels are associated with the seven archangels that are found in Jewish apocalyptic literature. For example, we talked about them when we talked about the book of Enoch. So, a lot of interpreters think these are the seven archangels. These the main angels in God’s presence. And then another angel comes with a gold incense burner and stands at the altar, and he has incense to offer before the throne. And, so, he’s offering incense and also at the same time, the prayers of God’s people are being offered. And, so, the smoke from the incense goes up before God, along with the prayers of God’s people to God. And this imagery is ancient. And it’s still being used in the world today. So, depending on what kind of church that you go to, you may experience this every week, but no matter what kind of church you go to, you’ve probably seen it before, where, you know, a church service is starting, priests come in, they’re carrying certain things, like, they’re processing the cross, and maybe they have candles, and somebody has an incense burner and they’re swinging it. Right? And, so, the smoke is flowing out over the people as they process in. That’s what this represents, a pleasing aroma intermingled with the prayers of God’s people. That’s what it symbolizes. So, whether or not you like smells and bells in your worship experience, this is happening in heaven before the throne of God in the book of Revelation, which is not to say, this needs to happen in your church on Sunday. It’s just to say, this is how these traditions are born. They’re aren’t these weirdo things usually. They have a rootedness in something ancient and when you understand them they bring meaning. And, so, after this after these prayers are offered to God along with the incense, the angel then takes the incense burner and fills it with fire from the altar and hurls it down upon the earth. And, yea, then things get a little crazy - thunder noise, lightning, an earthquake, and then the seven angels who have the seven trumpets get ready to blow them. And we don’t get through all seven trumpet blasts in our reading today. We get through the first four. And many scholars and interpreters of the book of Revelation associate the things that happen after the trumpets are blown. So, for example, the first trumpet’s blown and hail and fire mixed with blood are thrown down on the earth. The second one blows his trumpet and a huge, something like a huge, mountain is thrown into the sea and one of the one third of the seas turn into blood. The third angel blows his trumpet, a huge star flaming like a torch falls from the sky and one third of the rivers and the springs, the waters turn bad. And the fourth trumpet blows and a third of the sun, a the third of the moon, and a the third of the stars are struck, so everything is darkened. Many scholars and interpreters find the pattern here to be very reminiscent of the plagues that were sent in the book of Exodus upon the Egyptians to set God’s people free, and that this, in fact, is the point of how God’s judgment works. Some people will receive the freedom brought from the refinement of judgment. Some people’s hearts will be hardened to it and they will subsequently be destroyed by it. And that holds a lot of water because that’s thematic in the Bible and helps us have a better understanding of God’s judgment and what it does. Those who are righteous, those who are true, those who are pure, who have to endure suffering and hardship are refined by it and we find that all throughout the New Testament writings. And, so, the way we have to look at that is that our endurance is bringing about in us something far more mature and strong and loyal and faithful, within us. It is sanctifying us. It is re-creating us in the image of the Savior, and is a necessary part of our transformation, our being reborn. So, a person who looks at what they’re facing from this perspective understands that all things are being worked together for our good, even if we lose our life in the process because we’ve learned to not hold onto it. We know that losing it is actually gaining it and nothing can take us from the presence of God. Nothing can steal us away. And we begin to realize that the presence of God is the one and only thing we can’t live without. So, when judgment and hardship are on the earth and we encounter it, it is doing something completely different in us than those whose hearts are being hardened by it and to it and who are rejecting God. They will ultimately find justice in their own destruction, in their own hard heartedness, in what they bring down upon themselves, whereas those who are being true are being refined, purified. And because we’re kind of moving into this territory. You know, the argument of, well, what about the rapture? Who’s going to go through this stuff? Won’t we be long gone and not have to experience in any or will we actually have to experience some or all of this? How is that going to work? Well, let’s wait and see how this whole story unfolds before us. So far, and were eight chapters into the book of Revelation, so far we could say, okay, we’re not trying to do a bunch of interpretation here, we’re just trying to move through this territory and point out things and understand what the Revelation is saying and how it has been interpreted in widely diverse ways. So far, we haven’t encountered anything like what we would call the rapture. We have encountered that yet. And we’ll see if we do or where we do as we move forward. But one thing that we can say for certain that were seeing is that, as believers, our lampstand, our light has to be burning, and we have to stay true. Those are both necessary. And we looked, pretty extensively, at what that actually looks like when we were looking at the seven short letters to the seven churches. And we can also say that remaining true in spite of hardship or tribulation is imperative because what we might be going through is doing something completely different in us than those who are hardhearted and rejecting it. When we stay true, when our light is burning, when we are faithful to the message of Jesus we are changing things around us. And as we change things around us it is changing us to the point that, in the end, even if we have to die, even if we have to lose our lives, we haven’t lost our life, it can’t be taken from us. These things we can say that we are, for sure, learning in the book of Revelation.
Father, we invite You into that because so much…anytime we talk about suffering…anytime we talk about tribulation it freaks us out. In part, because of this book of Revelation, and part because it has pictures in it of things that we would rather not see. And yet You are showing us this is how the new thing that You are doing is born and You have personally invited us to be a part of the story by continuing to bring light and life and good news into this world as we lose ourselves further and further in our relationship with You, as we lose our grip on what we think we can control and find ourselves in You. So, come Holy Spirit. Continue the work that You have begun in us. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
dailyaudiobible.com is the website. It’s home base. It’s where you find out what’s going on around here. So, this is the third Sunday in the season of Advent. One week from today is Christmas eve. One week from tomorrow is Christmas day. So, we’re fast approaching the end of our Christmas season.
The Daily Audio Bible Christmas Box for 2017 is still available. This is getting right down to last call for delivery for Christmas. Tomorrow is the cutoff date for that. So, if you are in the United States and want to get a Daily Audio Bible Christmas Box in time for Christmas, now would be the time. If you’re outside the United States, you can certainly still order a Christmas Box and we will still ship them out, but it’s very unlikely that they’ll arrive for Christmas, but you can still get them. But if you’re inside the United States you have until tomorrow. So, check that out.
Reminding you that early registration for the More Gathering, our women’s gathering that we do annually, that will take place this April in the lovely mountains of Georgia, you can find out all about that and get early registration pricing right now. It makes for a great gift. So, check it out. You can go to moregathering.com for all of those details.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible, as we fast approach the end of the year 2017 - man…man… it’s really like we’re almost there…it’s crazy. If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible in the waning days of the year 2017 then thank you. It has been quite a year indeed. And I’m looking forward, very much, to the new year and all that God will speak to us in His word in community. Thank you for your partnership. There is a link on the homepage at dailyaudiobible.com. If you prefer, the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill Tennessee 37174.
And as always, if you have a prayer request or comment, 877-942-4253 is the number to dial.
And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer Requests and Praise Reports:
Good morning Daily Audio Bible family. This is my first time to call. I’m calling from Nebraska. And I’m calling because I just heard the prayer request from the woman in Wisconsin who is upset about her cousin getting married and I just want to encourage you, I’m sorry I don’t remember your name, but God knows, that His love for you has nothing to do with the actions of your cousin. When you were a child and now, your love and your relationship with God is completely separate. And I just pray that God would reveal himself to you in a completely new way, that you would come to understand His love in such a fresh way that your life would no longer be mixed up with your cousins actions or your actions as a child, that you’d be able to step into your future in a new relationship with the Lord. I pray this for you in Jesus name. Amen.
Good morning guys. This is Jenn in SoCal, AKA Prayer Warrior Princess. Joyce, in California, I hear so many people calling who love and support you, who are rooting for you. I understand that none of us can replace and heal the wounded soul areas that were created by what happened with your family, but we are all intimately connected with the one who can. You struck a chord with all of us and it’s evident you can count on us to intercede with Him for your victory. I’m going to remember you each year on December 20th because you share your birthday with my dad. Long after the echoes of your prayer request cease to ring in our ears from your call, they’re going to resonate in my heart each year. I bless you with quiet confidence, with securely anchored hope in Christ, with satiety, with the mind of Christ, and the power to think differently, according to His direction. May your soul tell your thought that I have enough, I am enough, I give and receive enough. May contentment flood your bones and refresh your parched cleff. May you consistently awaken with a strong sense of the Holy Spirit befriending you, seeing over you, delighting in you, encouraging you, upholding you, and propelling you forward, forgetting what lies behind and running your race with endurance as this great cloud of witnesses cheers for you. We love you Joyce. Victory in Jesus for you. Amen.
This is Claudia from Oroville, California. I want to pray that Christmas blessings of reconciliation for families that are difficult take place. Thank you, Daily Audio Bible.
Hi family. It’s Shannon from Texas again. And I called earlier today about my friend Sonya’s mom Rosie G. Rosie did not make it. It was unexpected. She went into septic shock. Sonya was forced to…not forced…but…she had to make a choice to take her mother off of life support because as she wasn’t going to make it…and it was awful. But just please lift her up. She lived with her mom and they came…fled to Texas together…and Sonja had her daughter removed by CPS after reporting some sexual abuse and her daughter’s for now in California and Sonja is left by herself. And I just can’t fathom the thought of her going back home. I’ve invited her to stay with me, but I don’t know if she’s going to do it. And she’s in the house by herself, doesn’t really have friends or family in Texas. And not even going to have anybody to put together a funeral for her mom. She needs it…she’s kind of…just now getting off of some prescription medication that she’s been addicted to and she’s gotten really close with the Lord, but, amen, she really, really needs the prayers because this is…this is hard on her. So, please lift her up. We know where her mother is. Rosie was an amazing lady, but she had a tough, tough life. She almost stressed herself to death, if she didn’t stress herself to death. She trusted the Lord. But she spent the last few weeks of her life worrying about Sonja and those kids. So, please lift them up. Lift Sonja up in her family situation. I don’t want her to be by herself right now. I will she’s not, but I love you and appreciate your prayers.
Hello DAB family. My name is Darren. This is my first year in sitting by the campfire with you guys and my first time calling. I honestly thought I was going to be able to ease through the end of the year without calling in and sharing my heart, but this morning my heart was just broken by a message that I heard from Marked as His, I believe, was her name, from Baltimore, Wisconsin. I wanted to let you know three things. The first thing is is that I thought you were so brave to share your story. And the second is that we are your family. We do love you. I don’t know you but my heart broke so I know that we are connected and God has connected us through the power of his Holy Spirit and through this ministry. So, we are your family. You know, as Jesus said in Matthew 12:49. But you said a couple of things and I wanted to share part of my story. You were saying that you were dealing with some anxiety and self-doubt and what I’ve learned is is that to find the underlying emotion underneath that. And mine was anger. I was so angry that I felt that I had been robbed of something and that no one understood, but then God showed me in Proverbs 18:21 that there is life and death in the power of the tongue. And what you were saying, you know, that you wanted to be married, certainly, but that God was playing a joke on you and that you got the raw end of the deal. Certainly, I know sister, that was just your heart speaking and that I could tell that you don’t truly believe that, but we have to speak it as we know that it is and that it is only a trial and a test and something to get you off the path that God has called you for. And believe me, if the devil messed with you so…