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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB December 18

  • Julie Ferwerda
    Are you ready for change in 2009? Grab a One Year Bible (NLT), commit to reading it daily, and join Julie Ferwerda on an extraordinary adventure that will transform your life as you experience its relevance in a fresh, understandable way. In addition to 20+ years in Bible teaching ministry, Julie is a professional speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in publications such as Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, Christianity Today, Marriage Partnership, Brio, and Revolve Biblezines & Devotional Bible (for teens). She's also the author of "The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love," and also the upcoming book, "One Million Arrows for God: Raising Your Children to Change the World." Learn more at www.JulieFerwerda.com.
  • 2009 Dec 18
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Today's One Year Bible Reading

Habakkuk

1:6 I am raising up the Babylonians, a cruel and violent people. They will march across the world and conquer other lands. The weird thing about this is that it was already happening as Habakkuk was prophesying. It wasn't a distant future event, but a "this is what is happening to us right now..." As we read about the characteristics of the Babylonians in the next few verses, I wonder if it is also a reference to spiritual Babylon in the end of times, especially verse 11:

1:11 But they are deeply guilty, for their own strength is their god.

Chapter 2. At first I thought this was God speaking about the Babylonians, but as you read this chapter, it becomes clear that God is explaining to Habakkuk why He has allowed the Babylonians to oppress His people. You can see this below in the beginning of chapter 3.

2:3-4 This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. "Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked.

2:14 "For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea." I do love thinking about that day. Think of it like a soft blanket of truth wrapped around the entire world!

3:2 I have heard all about you, Lord. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger, remember your mercy. This is Habakkuk's response to God's expressed anger over the idolatry and wickedness of His people, confirming chapter 2 being a judgment against them.

3:6 He shatters the everlasting mountains and levels the eternal hills. Now there's a brilliant translation!

3:13 You went out to rescue your chosen people, to save your anointed ones. Yay! What a relief.

3:17-19 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! No matter what the circumstances, we must rejoice in our Lord. Man, this is such a great reminder that when things are really looking down all around us, yet we have hope and a reason to rejoice! Our life circumstances truly must not dictate our joy and strength in our Yeshua Salvation! He is enough.

Revelation

9:1 Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen to earth from the sky, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. See what I mean about symbolic? Since when is a star a "he"? Stars are often referred to as angelic beings, whether holy or fallen.

9:6 In those days people will seek death but will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them! I remember as a little kid hearing this verse and being frightened by the thought of God not allowing people being tortured to die. Apparently He is going to remove the ability to die somehow. But also remember that at this time, God will be protecting His holy ones.

9:11 Their king is the angel from the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon—the Destroyer. Who is this destroyer? The idea of a destroyer (I don't know if it's always the same one) is referred to in about 16 other places in the Bible, including as the one in Egypt who killed the first born sons. Here are a couple:

"For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you. Exodus 12:23

"Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals And brings out a weapon for its work; And I have created the destroyer to ruin. Isaiah 54:16

9:15 Then the four angels who had been prepared for this hour and day and month and year were turned loose to kill one-third of all the people on earth. If 1/3 of the current population of the earth was killed, it would leave us with about 4.6 billion people.

9:17 And in my vision, I saw the horses and the riders sitting on them. The riders wore armor that was fiery red and dark blue and yellow. The horses had heads like lions, and fire and smoke and burning sulfur billowed from their mouths. As an example of our symbolism here, later the fiery red, dark blue, and yellow are explained as plagues:

9:18 One-third of all the people on earth were killed by these three plagues-by the fire and smoke and burning sulfur that came from the mouths of the horses. If another 1/3 of the remaining people were killed, there would be about 3 billion people left on earth. That's a lot of death and destruction!

9:20 But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood—idols that can neither see nor hear nor walk! Mind boggling!

Psalm

137:8 O Babylon, you will be destroyed. Happy is the one who pays you back for what you have done to us. Speaking of Babylon and the Destroyer! Can't wait until the spirit of Babylon is removed from earth.