Micah 5:1-7:20, Revelation 7:1-17, Psalms 135:1-21, Proverbs 30:5-6
Today is the 16th day of December welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian and it is great to be here with you like every day, wonderful to have a place to come around the Global Campfire and be together and move forward together. And moving forward today doesn’t lead us into any brand-new territory. We will complete the book of Micah in the Old Testament and continue our journey forward in the book of Revelation in the New Testament. And, yup, there will be some discussion about what we’re reading in Revelation at the very, very end, As I mentioned a good many times, several years ago we took that path and stuck with Revelation and kind of…what I realized was we had to basically skip the minor prophets and that so much territory. And, so, I went back and found those and so I’m kind of composting what we talked about in Revelation at the very end after the prayers. And, so, that’ll be there. But right now, we are here. And, so, let’s dive in and take the next step forward. We’re reading from the English Standard Version. This week Micah 5, 6, and 7 today.
Okay. So, as we complete the book of Micah it comes at a really really good time because there’s some things in Micah that not only really speak to the time of year that it is, but also to our…our very lives. One of the great existential questions that we ask ourselves, whether we form it as a question and make it words or whether it’s just this kind of inner thought is, what does God really want from me? It’s an interesting question to explore at this time of year because so many of us are trying to get so many of the people that we love what they want. In fact, we may be so focused on that and so focused on how to pay for all of that, etc. etc. that we don’t even think about what God might want. What does God want? But from the book of Micah before we can get to what God wants, we have to consider what he does not want. But really before we can even get to that we have to begin with a very said question coming from God. “Oh, my people”, God says, “what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me.” The interesting thing about those questions are that we don’t normally think of God asking that kind of stuff. How have I made you weary? What have I done to you? We can see ourselves saying that to God, what I done to you? And in the passage, He’s saying. “Oh, my people”. He’s talking to everybody. But if we personalize it, which every time I come through this passage, that’s how I read it. Oh Brian, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me. And it just makes me reflect back over a year of ups and downs like life is and victories and also valleys. And, so, wonderful times of adoration and worship, but also times of complaining. So, this is a convicting passage because in so many ways it’s as if God were asking like, what else do I have to do to show you that there is a way and I love you and I will lead you if you would follow me, if you could obey me. And even in Micah, God, right after He says, how have I wearied you, He says things that He’s done. I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of slavery. I sent you Moses and Aaron and Miriam, I sent you leaders. And then he says, remember what Balak king of Moab devised. And we remember Balak and Balaam. And Balaam was summoned to curse the Israelites at the insistence of King Balak and he couldn’t curse God’s people, but he did tell Balak what he could do, which was to seduce them away from God. Each one of us could hear a list of our own of the things that God has done that we should be profoundly grateful for. And, so, just to even think of him saying, what have I done to you, that’s pretty sad. And it reads that way because it’s supposed to read that way. That’s where we’re being led because then Micah immediately sort of in response to God saying, what have I done to you and the realization that what God has done to and for us has been for and to our good. And, so, in response, Micah’s saying essentially like what does God want? What can we give him back? What are the expectations? And, so, I quote from Micah. ““With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” And of course, it’s not what He wants. And then we find out what He does want. “He has told you O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you, to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.” There it is. Like, clear as it could possibly be coming out of the pages of the Bible what God wants, that we would do what we know is right, that we would act justly, that we would love mercy. And its just in the last couple of days we were talking about how merciless we can be. He wants us to love mercy, and He wants us to walk humbly with Him. This is such a good time for us to begin to contemplate these things, not only in our immediate behaviors with those that are all around us in a crazy holiday season, but this becomes at a time of year when bigger thoughts are arising. Our rhythm is disrupted. We’re moving in all kinds of directions but we are ultimately moving to the new beginning of a brand-new year. And, so, to carry with us into the brand-new year what God wants as a baseline is so helpful. And it’s not beyond our reach. It simply requires our vigilant self-control. He wants us to do what we know is right. He wants us to act justly in every way, in a macro level, in…in a way that governance is done in cities and states and countries, nations, kingdoms all around the world, but on a more micro personal level in our own lives. Be just. Bring justice. Act justly and to love mercy. We love mercy when it is bestowed upon us. We don’t always love it when we’re required to offer it. We’re supposed to love it and to walk humbly with God, to be aware of his ongoing pervasive continual presence in our lives, to be aware of it, to know that He has invited us to collaborate to be a part of His story to love our brothers and sisters in His name. This life-changing. As simple as it is, this is life changing stuff if it is the way that our lives are going, if this is where we are aiming our lives - to pay attention to this, to walk humbly with God, to love mercy, to act justly. And, so, cheesy as it might be a in terms of trying to think of what we’re going to wrap up and put under the tree for God, at least we know what He wants. And we can give it to Him, even if that means we have to sacrifice a little, sacrifice a little of our pride, sacrifice a little of our arrogance, sacrifice a little bit of our indifference, or sacrificing all kinds of cash to get everybody else what they want. This isn’t going to cost any money. It’s not that it’s not going to cost, but it’s not going to cost us any money and can and will change our very lives. So, let’s consider that today as we continue forward into this blessed joyous season that we are in, heading toward Christmas.
Father, we love You, we adore You, and we are convicted by what we are seeing in Micah today. We do love You. We worship You. We do adore You. But we are also confronted by the ways that our selfishness and self-absorption rears its ugly head in our lives. But we think of the questions that You asked through Micah - what have I done to You, how if I made You weary, what have I done to make You tired of me? The answer Lord is nothing. It’s on us and we know it and just the question being asked from Your lips is so convicting. You have provided for our every need, and we are here because of Your mercy and grace in our lives. May we make some changes so that we begin to realize that we are worshiping You by the way that we love one another and take care of one another, by the way that we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with You. Holy Spirit, come and let this sink deeply into our consciousness and into our spirit, that we may make changes that we can make and surrender to You in the ways that we cannot make these changes, knowing that You are in the process of transforming us. We pray this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
dailyaudiobible.com is home base, that is the website, and that is where you can find out what’s going on around here unless you are using the Daily Audio Bible, which you can download from the app store that is associated with whatever smart device that you use. Just look for Daily Audio Bible and you can download the app for free. And, so, check that out.
It’s Christmas time around here. I’m sure everyone in the world pretty much knows that and that pretty much everybody in this community probably knows that. It’s Christmas time around here. And, so, that’s what’s going on around here. The Daily Audio Bible Christmas Box is available for 2022. And that is full of goodies, some for you to keep, some for you, maybe to give away. You can check that out at dailyaudiobible.com in the Shop or using the app in the Shop. Just find the Christmas category and you’ll find the Christmas Box there in the Christmas category. It’s kind of getting down to it though for Christmas for shipping. And, so, these next couple of days are like…we’re going to do one more shipment out at the beginning of the week and that’s as far as we think we can go to have things arrive for Christmas. You can certainly order them as long as we have them, but for arrival for Christmas we’re kind down to it. So, heads up on that.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible, if being around the Global Campfire is meaningful then thank you humbly for your partnership as we approach these last weeks of the year. There is a link on the homepage at dailyaudiobible.com. If you’re using the app, you can press the Give button in the upper right-hand corner or the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill Tennessee 37174.
And, as always, if you have a prayer request or encouragement, you can hit the Hotline button in the app. That’s the little red button up at the top or you can dial 877-942-4253.
And that’s all for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise:
This is Protected by His Wings in Tennessee. This prayer is for…the Lords laid it on my heart to pray for those that don’t ask for help, who don’t call in requesting prayer requests, who maybe as a child asked for help and didn’t get it. Maybe they have an alcoholic mom or a drug addicted father and they had to bathe themselves and fix themselves breakfast and they had to take care of their siblings and get them dressed for school and make sure they got on the school bus and they didn’t do any extracurricular activities because they the parent was too drunk to get him to school or they had to make sure they had to get their mom cleaned up from the vomit before their dad got home or who would be injured and their parent was…was too drugged out to help them and get them to the hospital. This prayer is for you whether you are that child or whether you were that child. Dear heavenly Father, we pray for those who feel abandoned, who feel alone, who feel unloved. Dear Lord, as I spent my 52nd birthday with my mom not calling me because she was too drunk, I chose joy because God You have blessed me immensely and given me a life beyond measure with peace and hope and joy. And that’s thanks to You sending Your son to die for my sins. Dear lord give everyone out there who hears my voice Your hope in Jesus’ name.
I have a 26-year-old child that’s nonverbal autistic that I have placed…which is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life…placed him in the care of a state facility which is Brenham Supportive State Living Center. I need…I need much prayer. He has behavior issues. He is nonverbal. He has good cognition but poor expression. I need everybody that has no idea how difficult this is…I need prayer. I really need prayer. This child is my life and I want him back home. Have you ever heard the phrase it takes a village? Sometimes it takes a village. This is that scenario.
Hi this is Victoria Soldier just calling to pray for some of the DABbers. I wanted to say Merry Christmas and wanted to give you life and favor to everyone, those that are really going through, my precious sister who called the other day and was crying and she just didn’t feel like she could hold on any longer because during these times a lot of things come to your mind because there’s a little more time at home and with the COVID. But I want to pray for my precious sister. I didn’t remember her name. And I also want to pray for God’s Gal in Minnesota. I want to pray for Carol in New Brunswick. I wanna pray for all of…I want to pray for that husband and wife who wanted to have a baby and pray that God open up her womb like he did like he did Sarah and give them the baby that He has a special purpose for, a special purpose for them to raise in the way of the Lord. I just ask you to continue to pray for all of the people. Pray for Blind Tony and Joe the Protector and for those…those young people who are going to school and being bullied and even those in the prison. Gracious Father we just ask You to have Your way. You’re a God of all grace and mercy and truth. We just ask You to heal those that’ve been going through cancer. Father, we just ask You to deliver. We just ask You to strengthen those that are going through, those that have lost loved ones and don’t know how…don’t have the strength. You say that when we’re weak You are strong and Lord we ask You to strengthen them. We asked You to guide them. We ask You to give them life and favor. O, Father somebody today that don’t know which way to go somebody…
Dear DAB family this is your sister Ashley from California. And y'all, I just wanna say that it is such a blessing to be a part of this community, especially this time of year. And Brian and everybody on here that puts this together, thank you guys for faithfully taking care of this and helping us to continue on and press on to finish this and finish it well. And for those of you who are struggling, guys just keep…do what you can. God sees us and He…He knows exactly what we need to hear right at the right time. But I just wanted to come on here and I wanted to see thank you Brian for the blessing of teaching at the end of Revelation at the end about Revelation. So often when I read revelation it just…it goes so fast, and I am not able to catch it and really apply it. So, I just wanted to say thank you for that. It is a butt kicker. I feel like it is doing the burpees of the Bible as far as like spiritual development but it is a blessing because even though you may not like it and they’re not fun it helps you become stronger. So, I just wanted to say thank you for that. And I am just so grateful you guys because with the DAB this is now my fifth time finishing a Bible and this year was so special because I got to read halfway through with my grand mommy before she passed away. And it has helped keep me going as my son Jackson has had his ALL Leukemia. So, I love you DAB family and bye.
Hello, this is Glen from Orlando. I’m saying a prayer for my brother who says he lost his job and he can’t provide for his family and he’s on unemployment and his money is running out. I just want to give you some advice, having been there myself. Give it to God. Pray like it’s already been done. God will give you that job that you’re looking for. He’s done it for me so many times in the past where I’ve felt the exact same way. You can get through this. Fall into the arms of Jesus and let Him give you peace. Then when he does give you that job you’ll know it was a miracle and you can praise and glorify His name. God bless you, my brother. I’m praying for you.
Deep Dive into the book of Revelation:
Okay. So, let’s take a quick look at what we read in Revelation today. As I said when we began this book, its interpretations are many. And that’s a gross understatement. And these interpretations in no way agree with each other in a lot of cases because we have lots of complexity in prophetic utterances and in symbolism and no way to concretely determine time. So, our goal here isn’t to interpret every nuance of the book of Revelation, or any of the associated Old Testament visions and apocalyptic prophecies that exist. We’re just trying look at things as we go along to keep ourselves rooted in the story and have a bit of context so that we can engage with the text. So, there were seven seals and Jesus, depicted by John as a lamb, was able to open these seven seals. And we’ve seen six of them, opened. Four of those seals represented horsemen and their riders who were tasked with unleashing unrest upon the earth. The fifth seal had to do with those who had been killed for holding on to their faith, martyrs. And the sixth seal seems to depict the end of the cosmos as we know it. So, we’re expecting this seventh seal but that’s not what we get today. We will get to the seventh seal, but what we have today is a discussion on people who are sealed. So, we had these four horsemen that were sent into the earth and then as we began today’s reading, we have four angels who are standing at the four corners of the earth restraining the four winds of the earth. And most scholars would agree, this…this is symbolism that is meant to show that they have power over the earth. And then another angel rises up from the East and…and mentions that the earth or the sea of the trees shouldn’t be harmed until the servants of God are sealed, that the seal of God will be placed on their foreheads. And the number of those to be sealed are 144,000, 12,000 each from the named tribes of Israel but the tribe of Dan and the tribe of Ephraim are omitted…are omitted from this list. And it gets…it…It gets pretty complicated here, this hundred 144,000. You’ve probably heard of the 144,000 in a lot of ways before. And there’s a wide range of speculation among scholars, and entire church denominations have been formed out of interpreting this. So, if you take a literal view of the book of Revelation then 144,000 people, 12,000 people exactly from specific tribes will get the seal of Christ. And these are all ethnic Jewish people who know the tribes that they come from, which would be rather complicated because when the northern kingdom, the kingdom of Israel, the 10 tribes there were taken into exile by Assyria, they’re lost, like they’re lost to history. And when the southern kingdom, which would be Benjamin and Judah, were taken into exile by Babylon, they were eventually able to go back and they were paying close attention to the Levites, like to the priestly tribe. But tribal identity was mostly lost. So, if John is talking about ethnic Jews then then it’s complicated. And if we were taking a presentist attitude interpretation, like this is all happening or this is about to happen then it’s kinda complicated to find 12,000 ethnic Jews who know the tribe that they are from in this day and age, and it would be equally is difficult to find 144,000 ethnic Jews who live in modern-day Israel who are believers in Jesus. The number’s more like 10% of that. Just for a little perspective I mean, there are mega churches in the world that contain more people who are professing to be followers of Jesus than all of the believers who live in modern-day Israel put together. And for those who don’t take 144,000 as a literal number, some would say that this represents all ethnic Israel, all those who are ethnically Jewish will be saved at Christ’s second coming, while others would say the 144,000 isn’t a literal number. It’s a figurative number and it represents all who will be sealed, the people of God and the formation of a new and true Israel. And I'm…I’m not gonna upack that conflict right now. Like, we’ll wait until we get into Paul’s letters next year because it would take us down a bunny trail that would take way too long. So, I think it’s safe to say that most but not all scholars do not take this 144,000 number to be a literal number with exactly 12,000 people from specific tribes. Like this is more of a figurative speech representing God’s true people. And part of that comes from what comes next. So, we have this 12,000 from all of these tribes numbering 144,000, and we get to the end of that. And then John says after this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the lamb and they were robbed in white with palm branches in their hands. So, if the number’s just 144,000 then the next thing we know we have people without number. No one can number them. So, more than 144,000 which leads some scholars to say, okay there’s 144,000 and those people are being sealed in this time of testing, this tribulation, and they’re the remnant army of God. And then we move to this other visionary experience, where the host of heaven, all the souls standing before God and before the Lamb, from every nation, tribe and tongue are standing before God. And we can easily think these are the ones that had been martyred, but that’s not the…then the ones that are martyred aren’t talked about here. So, who is this throng of people dressed in white if they’re not the 144,000 and they’re not the martyrs? So, we get an answer that as we read along. One of the elders, so one of the 24 elders asks John who they are. Who are the people robbed in white? Where did they come from? And, so, John’s like, sir, you know. So, he’s saying like, you would know but I don’t know. And, so, the elder tells him. These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. So, these are the ones that stay true. And some interpret this as that these are the true children of God descended from Abraham. God’s promise to Abraham was that he would multiply their descendants and they wouldn’t be able to be numbered. So, these are the children of God who have come out of the great tribulation. So, if we’re interpreting this futuristically then there is a great tribulation to come that’s can be very, very, very difficult on the earth, but if we’re a little more pragmatic in our interpretation then tribulation has been around a while and Christian specific tribulation has been around since Jesus. And enduring that and growing strong because of it and allowing it to shape us and build character and make us true is part of the metanarrative of the New Testament. Either way, this throng of people from every tribe and nation and tongue are before the Lord and they have washed their robes and they have become white, and they have washed them in the blood of the Lamb. So, to look at this literally would present some challenges. Like if…if you wash a robe in blood, it’s not going to come out white. And where did they get these robes in the first place? And…and where can one acquire one of these robes, it becomes difficult to make literal. Symbolically, the interpretations are that, you know, those who wash their robe in the blood of the Lamb, and it comes out white, that is representing the ongoing work of sanctification, the process of becoming pure and clean and Christ like, which requires endurance and perseverance and all the things that we’ve been talking about all year. And for those people, beautiful, beautiful imagery is given. These people serve God, day and night in His sanctuary in His presence. And the one seated on the throne will shelter them and they won’t hunger anymore, and they won’t thirst anymore, and the sun won’t beat down on them and strike them anymore and…and…and heat won’t hurt them anymore because Jesus the Lamb who is at the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will shepherd them. He will guide them to springs of living waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. And I think that is beautiful no matter how you’re looking at this book, no matter how you’re interpreting this. It’s a beautiful picture that in the end there is God’s presence and things are as they should be, and nothing is lost and there is no lack, and tears will be wiped away by God himself, which is where we end today in the book of Revelation,
Father, once again we’re inviting you to speak through all that we’re reading in your word and we’re taking it all in and inviting you. And it is our hearts desire to be one in that wrong with people from every tribe and nation and tongue. We want to be one of them and we have the clear picture that we must endure and that we must remain true and that our lives can’t be spent just trying to be one in that throng but one of many that you were able to reach and love and rescue because you were able to work through us. Come Holy Spirit. Give us the eyes and the ears of the kingdom. May we each be responsible for a great cloud of witnesses celebrating before your throne. Come Jesus we pray. In your holy name we ask. Amen.