‘Lord, what should I do?’: 1

 

‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.’ Psalm 119:105 NIV

When you pray, asking the Lord for help, He can respond in several ways. Let’s look at some over the next few days. He will answer you through His written Word. So, make His Word your first option rather than your last resort.

The psalmist wrote, ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.’ Without a regular daily intake of God’s Word, you’ll be ‘in the dark’ as to what’s best for you and the direction your life should go. ‘I, the Lord, will speak what I will, and it shall be fulfilled.’ (Ezekiel 12:25 NIV) If God says it in His Word, you can count on it. There are definite commands in Scripture, but mainly God has given us general principles to follow. These principles require wisdom and discernment.

The psalmist said, ‘I believe in Your commands; now teach me good judgment and knowledge.’ (Psalm 119:66 NLT) This doesn’t mean you must have a particular verse for every decision or move you make. That’s not how it works. Most times when you ask God for guidance, He will give you ‘good judgment and knowledge’, and that’s enough to get you moving in the right direction. Will you sometimes experience fear? Yes, but that’s when you must use your faith! Your greatest clarity as to God’s will often comes from hindsight, not foresight. It’s in looking back on how God has led you that you say, ‘Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave.’ (1 Kings 8:56 NIV)

SoulFood: Amos 1:1–5:17, Mk 13:12–23, Ps 82, Prov 14:5–8

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2018

Today’s Readings

Amos 1–5:17 (Listen)

1:1 The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.

And he said:

  “The LORD roars from Zion
    and utters his voice from Jerusalem;
  the pastures of the shepherds mourn,
    and the top of Carmel withers.”

Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Damascus,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because they have threshed Gilead
    with threshing sledges of iron.
  So I will send a fire upon the house of Hazael,
    and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.
  I will break the gate-bar of Damascus,
    and cut off the inhabitants from the Valley of Aven,
  and him who holds the scepter from Beth-eden;
    and the people of Syria shall go into exile to Kir,”
      says the LORD.

Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Gaza,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because they carried into exile a whole people
    to deliver them up to Edom.
  So I will send a fire upon the wall of Gaza,
    and it shall devour her strongholds.
  I will cut off the inhabitants from Ashdod,
    and him who holds the scepter from Ashkelon;
  I will turn my hand against Ekron,
    and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish,”
      says the Lord GOD.

Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Tyre,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because they delivered up a whole people to Edom,
    and did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.
10   So I will send a fire upon the wall of Tyre,
    and it shall devour her strongholds.”

11 Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Edom,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because he pursued his brother with the sword
    and cast off all pity,
  and his anger tore perpetually,
    and he kept his wrath forever.
12   So I will send a fire upon Teman,
    and it shall devour the strongholds of Bozrah.”

13 Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of the Ammonites,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because they have ripped open pregnant women in Gilead,
    that they might enlarge their border.
14   So I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah,
    and it shall devour her strongholds,
  with shouting on the day of battle,
    with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind;
15   and their king shall go into exile,
    he and his princes together,”
      says the LORD.

2:1 Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Moab,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because he burned to lime
    the bones of the king of Edom.
  So I will send a fire upon Moab,
    and it shall devour the strongholds of Kerioth,
  and Moab shall die amid uproar,
    amid shouting and the sound of the trumpet;
  I will cut off the ruler from its midst,
    and will kill all its princes with him,”
      says the LORD.

Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Judah,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because they have rejected the law of the LORD,
    and have not kept his statutes,
  but their lies have led them astray,
    those after which their fathers walked.
  So I will send a fire upon Judah,
    and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem.”

Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Israel,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because they sell the righteous for silver,
    and the needy for a pair of sandals—
  those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth
    and turn aside the way of the afflicted;
  a man and his father go in to the same girl,
    so that my holy name is profaned;
  they lay themselves down beside every altar
    on garments taken in pledge,
  and in the house of their God they drink
    the wine of those who have been fined.
  “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them,
    whose height was like the height of the cedars
    and who was as strong as the oaks;
  I destroyed his fruit above
    and his roots beneath.
10   Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt
    and led you forty years in the wilderness,
    to possess the land of the Amorite.
11   And I raised up some of your sons for prophets,
    and some of your young men for Nazirites.
    Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?”
      declares the LORD.
12   “But you made the Nazirites drink wine,
    and commanded the prophets,
    saying, ‘You shall not prophesy.’
13   “Behold, I will press you down in your place,
    as a cart full of sheaves presses down.
14   Flight shall perish from the swift,
    and the strong shall not retain his strength,
    nor shall the mighty save his life;
15   he who handles the bow shall not stand,
    and he who is swift of foot shall not save himself,
    nor shall he who rides the horse save his life;
16   and he who is stout of heart among the mighty
    shall flee away naked in that day,”
      declares the LORD.

3:1 Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt:

  “You only have I known
    of all the families of the earth;
  therefore I will punish you
    for all your iniquities.
  “Do two walk together,
    unless they have agreed to meet?
  Does a lion roar in the forest,
    when he has no prey?
  Does a young lion cry out from his den,
    if he has taken nothing?
  Does a bird fall in a snare on the earth,
    when there is no trap for it?
  Does a snare spring up from the ground,
    when it has taken nothing?
  Is a trumpet blown in a city,
    and the people are not afraid?
  Does disaster come to a city,
    unless the LORD has done it?
  “For the Lord GOD does nothing
    without revealing his secret
    to his servants the prophets.
  The lion has roared;
    who will not fear?
  The Lord GOD has spoken;
    who can but prophesy?”
  Proclaim to the strongholds in Ashdod
    and to the strongholds in the land of Egypt,
  and say, “Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria,
    and see the great tumults within her,
    and the oppressed in her midst.”
10   “They do not know how to do right,” declares the LORD,
    “those who store up violence and robbery in their strongholds.”

11 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:

  “An adversary shall surround the land
    and bring down your defenses from you,
    and your strongholds shall be plundered.”

12 Thus says the LORD: “As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the people of Israel who dwell in Samaria be rescued, with the corner of a couch and part of a bed.

13   “Hear, and testify against the house of Jacob,”
    declares the Lord GOD, the God of hosts,
14   “that on the day I punish Israel for his transgressions,
    I will punish the altars of Bethel,
  and the horns of the altar shall be cut off
    and fall to the ground.
15   I will strike the winter house along with the summer house,
    and the houses of ivory shall perish,
  and the great houses shall come to an end,”
      declares the LORD.
4:1   “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan,
    who are on the mountain of Samaria,
  who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,
    who say to your husbands, ‘Bring, that we may drink!’
  The Lord GOD has sworn by his holiness
    that, behold, the days are coming upon you,
  when they shall take you away with hooks,
    even the last of you with fishhooks.
  And you shall go out through the breaches,
    each one straight ahead;
    and you shall be cast out into Harmon,”
      declares the LORD.
  “Come to Bethel, and transgress;
    to Gilgal, and multiply transgression;
  bring your sacrifices every morning,
    your tithes every three days;
  offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened,
    and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them;
    for so you love to do, O people of Israel!”
      declares the Lord GOD.

  “I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,
    and lack of bread in all your places,
  yet you did not return to me,”
      declares the LORD.
  “I also withheld the rain from you
    when there were yet three months to the harvest;
  I would send rain on one city,
    and send no rain on another city;
  one field would have rain,
    and the field on which it did not rain would wither;
  so two or three cities would wander to another city
    to drink water, and would not be satisfied;
  yet you did not return to me,”
      declares the LORD.
  “I struck you with blight and mildew;
    your many gardens and your vineyards,
    your fig trees and your olive trees the locust devoured;
  yet you did not return to me,”
      declares the LORD.
10   “I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt;
    I killed your young men with the sword,
  and carried away your horses,
    and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils;
  yet you did not return to me,”
      declares the LORD.
11   “I overthrew some of you,
    as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
    and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning;
  yet you did not return to me,”
      declares the LORD.
12   “Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel;
    because I will do this to you,
    prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”
13   For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind,
    and declares to man what is his thought,
  who makes the morning darkness,
    and treads on the heights of the earth—
    the LORD, the God of hosts, is his name!

5:1 Hear this word that I take up over you in lamentation, O house of Israel:

  “Fallen, no more to rise,
    is the virgin Israel;
  forsaken on her land,
    with none to raise her up.”

For thus says the Lord GOD:

  “The city that went out a thousand
    shall have a hundred left,
  and that which went out a hundred
    shall have ten left
    to the house of Israel.”

For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel:

  “Seek me and live;
    but do not seek Bethel,
  and do not enter into Gilgal
    or cross over to Beersheba;
  for Gilgal shall surely go into exile,
    and Bethel shall come to nothing.”
  Seek the LORD and live,
    lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph,
    and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel,
  O you who turn justice to wormwood
    and cast down righteousness to the earth!
  He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
    and turns deep darkness into the morning
    and darkens the day into night,
  who calls for the waters of the sea
    and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
  the LORD is his name;
  who makes destruction flash forth against the strong,
    so that destruction comes upon the fortress.
10   They hate him who reproves in the gate,
    and they abhor him who speaks the truth.
11   Therefore because you trample on the poor
    and you exact taxes of grain from him,
  you have built houses of hewn stone,
    but you shall not dwell in them;
  you have planted pleasant vineyards,
    but you shall not drink their wine.
12   For I know how many are your transgressions
    and how great are your sins—
  you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe,
    and turn aside the needy in the gate.
13   Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time,
    for it is an evil time.
14   Seek good, and not evil,
    that you may live;
  and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you,
    as you have said.
15   Hate evil, and love good,
    and establish justice in the gate;
  it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts,
    will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

16 Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord:

  “In all the squares there shall be wailing,
    and in all the streets they shall say, ‘Alas! Alas!’
  They shall call the farmers to mourning
    and to wailing those who are skilled in lamentation,
17   and in all vineyards there shall be wailing,
    for I will pass through your midst,”
      says the LORD.

Mark 13:12–23 (Listen)

12 And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

14 “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, 16 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 17 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 18 Pray that it may not happen in winter. 19 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. 20 And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. 21 And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.

Psalm 82 (Listen)

A Psalm of Asaph.

82:1   God has taken his place in the divine council;
    in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
  “How long will you judge unjustly
    and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
  Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
    maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
  Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
  They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
    they walk about in darkness;
    all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
  I said, “You are gods,
    sons of the Most High, all of you;
  nevertheless, like men you shall die,
    and fall like any prince.”
  Arise, O God, judge the earth;
    for you shall inherit all the nations!

Proverbs 14:5–8 (Listen)

  A faithful witness does not lie,
    but a false witness breathes out lies.
  A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain,
    but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding.
  Leave the presence of a fool,
    for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
  The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way,
    but the folly of fools is deceiving.

Sat 02 June, 2018


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