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December, 17 2021
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Daily Devotional

The Lord is good and it cannot be disputed. God shows His mercy to everyone who is willing to accept it. However, when people come to harm His children, He takes it personally. Because God is loving, He will vigorously protect His children.

Nineveh had a history of disobedience and they were under God’s judgment. But God still would not allow Nineveh to be overrun by her enemies. God will always be an enemy to our enemies.

You never need to fight for yourself because God fights for you. It is really an act of faith to allow God to protect you even when you feel like you are being mistreated. There is something within us that wants to be self-protective. But, when we live our lives for God, God will protect us. He will stand up for you even if you feel like you can do it. Let God be your defense.

 

December 16
Old Testament

Nahum 1-3

This message concerning Nineveh came as a vision to Nahum, who lived in Elkosh.

The Lord’s Anger against Nineveh

The Lord is a jealous God,
    filled with vengeance and rage.
He takes revenge on all who oppose him
    and continues to rage against his enemies!
The Lord is slow to get angry, but his power is great,
    and he never lets the guilty go unpunished.
He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm.
    The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet.
At his command the oceans dry up,
    and the rivers disappear.
The lush pastures of Bashan and Carmel fade,
    and the green forests of Lebanon wither.
In his presence the mountains quake,
    and the hills melt away;
the earth trembles,
    and its people are destroyed.
Who can stand before his fierce anger?
    Who can survive his burning fury?
His rage blazes forth like fire,
    and the mountains crumble to dust in his presence.

The Lord is good,
    a strong refuge when trouble comes.
    He is close to those who trust in him.
But he will sweep away his enemiesa]
    in an overwhelming flood.
He will pursue his foes
    into the darkness of night.

Why are you scheming against the Lord?
    He will destroy you with one blow;
    he won’t need to strike twice!
10 His enemies, tangled like thornbushes
    and staggering like drunks,
    will be burned up like dry stubble in a field.
11 Who is this wicked counselor of yours
    who plots evil against the Lord?

12 This is what the Lord says:
“Though the Assyrians have many allies,
    they will be destroyed and disappear.
O my people, I have punished you before,
    but I will not punish you again.
13 Now I will break the yoke of bondage from your neck
    and tear off the chains of Assyrian oppression.”

14 And this is what the Lord says concerning the Assyrians in Nineveh:
“You will have no more children to carry on your name.
    I will destroy all the idols in the temples of your gods.
I am preparing a grave for you
    because you are despicable!”

15 b]Look! A messenger is coming over the mountains with good news!
    He is bringing a message of peace.
Celebrate your festivals, O people of Judah,
    and fulfill all your vows,
for your wicked enemies will never invade your land again.
    They will be completely destroyed!

The Fall of Nineveh

c]Your enemy is coming to crush you, Nineveh.
    Man the ramparts! Watch the roads!
    Prepare your defenses! Call out your forces!

Even though the destroyer has destroyed Judah,
    the Lord will restore its honor.
Israel’s vine has been stripped of branches,
    but he will restore its splendor.

Shields flash red in the sunlight!
    See the scarlet uniforms of the valiant troops!
Watch as their glittering chariots move into position,
    with a forest of spears waving above them.d]
The chariots race recklessly along the streets
    and rush wildly through the squares.
They flash like firelight
    and move as swiftly as lightning.
The king shouts to his officers;
    they stumble in their haste,
    rushing to the walls to set up their defenses.
The river gates have been torn open!
    The palace is about to collapse!
Nineveh’s exile has been decreed,
    and all the servant girls mourn its capture.
They moan like doves
    and beat their breasts in sorrow.
Nineveh is like a leaking water reservoir!
    The people are slipping away.
“Stop, stop!” someone shouts,
    but no one even looks back.
Loot the silver!
    Plunder the gold!
There’s no end to Nineveh’s treasures—
    its vast, uncounted wealth.
10 Soon the city is plundered, empty, and ruined.
    Hearts melt and knees shake.
The people stand aghast,
    their faces pale and trembling.

11 Where now is that great Nineveh,
    that den filled with young lions?
It was a place where people—like lions and their cubs—
    walked freely and without fear.
12 The lion tore up meat for his cubs
    and strangled prey for his mate.
He filled his den with prey,
    his caverns with his plunder.

13 “I am your enemy!”
    says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“Your chariots will soon go up in smoke.
    Your young mene] will be killed in battle.
Never again will you plunder conquered nations.
    The voices of your proud messengers will be heard no more.”

The Lord’s Judgment against Nineveh

What sorrow awaits Nineveh,
    the city of murder and lies!
She is crammed with wealth
    and is never without victims.
Hear the crack of whips,
    the rumble of wheels!
Horses’ hooves pound,
    and chariots clatter wildly.
See the flashing swords and glittering spears
    as the charioteers charge past!
There are countless casualties,
    heaps of bodies—
so many bodies that
    people stumble over them.
All this because Nineveh,
    the beautiful and faithless city,
mistress of deadly charms,
    enticed the nations with her beauty.
She taught them all her magic,
    enchanting people everywhere.

“I am your enemy!”
    says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“And now I will lift your skirts
    and show all the earth your nakedness and shame.
I will cover you with filth
    and show the world how vile you really are.
All who see you will shrink back and say,
    ‘Nineveh lies in ruins.
Where are the mourners?’
    Does anyone regret your destruction?”

Are you any better than the city of Thebes,f]
    situated on the Nile River, surrounded by water?
She was protected by the river on all sides,
    walled in by water.
Ethiopiag] and the land of Egypt
    gave unlimited assistance.
The nations of Put and Libya
    were among her allies.
10 Yet Thebes fell,
    and her people were led away as captives.
Her babies were dashed to death
    against the stones of the streets.
Soldiers threw diceh] to get Egyptian officers as servants.
    All their leaders were bound in chains.

11 And you, Nineveh, will also stagger like a drunkard.
    You will hide for fear of the attacking enemy.
12 All your fortresses will fall.
    They will be devoured like the ripe figs
that fall into the mouths
    of those who shake the trees.
13 Your troops will be as weak
    and helpless as women.
The gates of your land will be opened wide to the enemy
    and set on fire and burned.
14 Get ready for the siege!
    Store up water!
    Strengthen the defenses!
Go into the pits to trample clay,
    and pack it into molds,
    making bricks to repair the walls.

15 But the fire will devour you;
    the sword will cut you down.
The enemy will consume you like locusts,
    devouring everything they see.
There will be no escape,
    even if you multiply like swarming locusts.
16 Your merchants have multiplied
    until they outnumber the stars.
But like a swarm of locusts,
    they strip the land and fly away.
17 Your guardsi] and officials are also like swarming locusts
    that crowd together in the hedges on a cold day.
But like locusts that fly away when the sun comes up,
    all of them will fly away and disappear.

18 Your shepherds are asleep, O Assyrian king;
    your princes lie dead in the dust.
Your people are scattered across the mountains
    with no one to gather them together.
19 There is no healing for your wound;
    your injury is fatal.
All who hear of your destruction
    will clap their hands for joy.
Where can anyone be found
    who has not suffered from your continual cruelty?

Footnotes

  1. 1:8 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads sweep away her place.
  2. 1:15 Verse 1:15 is numbered 2:1 in Hebrew text.
  3. 2:1 Verses 2:1-13 are numbered 2:2-14 in Hebrew text.
  4. 2:3 Greek and Syriac versions read into position, / the horses whipped into a frenzy.
  5. 2:13 Hebrew young lions.
  6. 3:8 Hebrew No-amon; also in 3:10.
  7. 3:9 Hebrew Cush.
  8. 3:10 Hebrew They cast lots.
  9. 3:17 Or princes.
New Testament

Revelation 8

The Lamb Breaks the Seventh Seal

When the Lamb broke the seventh seal on the scroll,a] there was silence throughout heaven for about half an hour. I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and they were given seven trumpets.

Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great amount of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people as an offering on the gold altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out. Then the angel filled the incense burner with fire from the altar and threw it down upon the earth; and thunder crashed, lightning flashed, and there was a terrible earthquake.

The First Four Trumpets

Then the seven angels with the seven trumpets prepared to blow their mighty blasts.

The first angel blew his trumpet, and hail and fire mixed with blood were thrown down on the earth. One-third of the earth was set on fire, one-third of the trees were burned, and all the green grass was burned.

Then the second angel blew his trumpet, and a great mountain of fire was thrown into the sea. One-third of the water in the sea became blood, one-third of all things living in the sea died, and one-third of all the ships on the sea were destroyed.

10 Then the third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from the sky, burning like a torch. It fell on one-third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star was Bitterness.b] It made one-third of the water bitter, and many people died from drinking the bitter water.

12 Then the fourth angel blew his trumpet, and one-third of the sun was struck, and one-third of the moon, and one-third of the stars, and they became dark. And one-third of the day was dark, and also one-third of the night.

13 Then I looked, and I heard a single eagle crying loudly as it flew through the air, “Terror, terror, terror to all who belong to this world because of what will happen when the last three angels blow their trumpets.”

Footnotes

  1. 8:1 Or book.
  2. 8:11 Greek Wormwood.
Psalm

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
His faithful love endures forever.

Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights—
His faithful love endures forever.
the sun to rule the day,
His faithful love endures forever.
and the moon and stars to rule the night.
His faithful love endures forever.

10 Give thanks to him who killed the firstborn of Egypt.
His faithful love endures forever.
11 He brought Israel out of Egypt.
His faithful love endures forever.
12 He acted with a strong hand and powerful arm.
His faithful love endures forever.
13 Give thanks to him who parted the Red Sea.a]
His faithful love endures forever.
14 He led Israel safely through,
His faithful love endures forever.
15 but he hurled Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea.
His faithful love endures forever.
16 Give thanks to him who led his people through the wilderness.
His faithful love endures forever.

17 Give thanks to him who struck down mighty kings.
His faithful love endures forever.
18 He killed powerful kings—
His faithful love endures forever.
19 Sihon king of the Amorites,
His faithful love endures forever.
20 and Og king of Bashan.
His faithful love endures forever.
21 God gave the land of these kings as an inheritance—
His faithful love endures forever.
22 a special possession to his servant Israel.
His faithful love endures forever.

23 He remembered us in our weakness.
His faithful love endures forever.
24 He saved us from our enemies.
His faithful love endures forever.
25 He gives food to every living thing.
His faithful love endures forever.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His faithful love endures forever.

Footnotes

  1. 136:13 Hebrew sea of reeds; also in 136:15.
Proverbs

Proverbs 30:7-9

O God, I beg two favors from you;
    let me have them before I die.
First, help me never to tell a lie.
    Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
    Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
    And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.

Old Testament

Nahum 1-3

This message concerning Nineveh came as a vision to Nahum, who lived in Elkosh.

The Lord’s Anger against Nineveh

The Lord is a jealous God,
    filled with vengeance and rage.
He takes revenge on all who oppose him
    and continues to rage against his enemies!
The Lord is slow to get angry, but his power is great,
    and he never lets the guilty go unpunished.
He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm.
    The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet.
At his command the oceans dry up,
    and the rivers disappear.
The lush pastures of Bashan and Carmel fade,
    and the green forests of Lebanon wither.
In his presence the mountains quake,
    and the hills melt away;
the earth trembles,
    and its people are destroyed.
Who can stand before his fierce anger?
    Who can survive his burning fury?
His rage blazes forth like fire,
    and the mountains crumble to dust in his presence.

The Lord is good,
    a strong refuge when trouble comes.
    He is close to those who trust in him.
But he will sweep away his enemiesa]
    in an overwhelming flood.
He will pursue his foes
    into the darkness of night.

Why are you scheming against the Lord?
    He will destroy you with one blow;
    he won’t need to strike twice!
10 His enemies, tangled like thornbushes
    and staggering like drunks,
    will be burned up like dry stubble in a field.
11 Who is this wicked counselor of yours
    who plots evil against the Lord?

12 This is what the Lord says:
“Though the Assyrians have many allies,
    they will be destroyed and disappear.
O my people, I have punished you before,
    but I will not punish you again.
13 Now I will break the yoke of bondage from your neck
    and tear off the chains of Assyrian oppression.”

14 And this is what the Lord says concerning the Assyrians in Nineveh:
“You will have no more children to carry on your name.
    I will destroy all the idols in the temples of your gods.
I am preparing a grave for you
    because you are despicable!”

15 b]Look! A messenger is coming over the mountains with good news!
    He is bringing a message of peace.
Celebrate your festivals, O people of Judah,
    and fulfill all your vows,
for your wicked enemies will never invade your land again.
    They will be completely destroyed!

The Fall of Nineveh

c]Your enemy is coming to crush you, Nineveh.
    Man the ramparts! Watch the roads!
    Prepare your defenses! Call out your forces!

Even though the destroyer has destroyed Judah,
    the Lord will restore its honor.
Israel’s vine has been stripped of branches,
    but he will restore its splendor.

Shields flash red in the sunlight!
    See the scarlet uniforms of the valiant troops!
Watch as their glittering chariots move into position,
    with a forest of spears waving above them.d]
The chariots race recklessly along the streets
    and rush wildly through the squares.
They flash like firelight
    and move as swiftly as lightning.
The king shouts to his officers;
    they stumble in their haste,
    rushing to the walls to set up their defenses.
The river gates have been torn open!
    The palace is about to collapse!
Nineveh’s exile has been decreed,
    and all the servant girls mourn its capture.
They moan like doves
    and beat their breasts in sorrow.
Nineveh is like a leaking water reservoir!
    The people are slipping away.
“Stop, stop!” someone shouts,
    but no one even looks back.
Loot the silver!
    Plunder the gold!
There’s no end to Nineveh’s treasures—
    its vast, uncounted wealth.
10 Soon the city is plundered, empty, and ruined.
    Hearts melt and knees shake.
The people stand aghast,
    their faces pale and trembling.

11 Where now is that great Nineveh,
    that den filled with young lions?
It was a place where people—like lions and their cubs—
    walked freely and without fear.
12 The lion tore up meat for his cubs
    and strangled prey for his mate.
He filled his den with prey,
    his caverns with his plunder.

13 “I am your enemy!”
    says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“Your chariots will soon go up in smoke.
    Your young mene] will be killed in battle.
Never again will you plunder conquered nations.
    The voices of your proud messengers will be heard no more.”

The Lord’s Judgment against Nineveh

What sorrow awaits Nineveh,
    the city of murder and lies!
She is crammed with wealth
    and is never without victims.
Hear the crack of whips,
    the rumble of wheels!
Horses’ hooves pound,
    and chariots clatter wildly.
See the flashing swords and glittering spears
    as the charioteers charge past!
There are countless casualties,
    heaps of bodies—
so many bodies that
    people stumble over them.
All this because Nineveh,
    the beautiful and faithless city,
mistress of deadly charms,
    enticed the nations with her beauty.
She taught them all her magic,
    enchanting people everywhere.

“I am your enemy!”
    says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“And now I will lift your skirts
    and show all the earth your nakedness and shame.
I will cover you with filth
    and show the world how vile you really are.
All who see you will shrink back and say,
    ‘Nineveh lies in ruins.
Where are the mourners?’
    Does anyone regret your destruction?”

Are you any better than the city of Thebes,f]
    situated on the Nile River, surrounded by water?
She was protected by the river on all sides,
    walled in by water.
Ethiopiag] and the land of Egypt
    gave unlimited assistance.
The nations of Put and Libya
    were among her allies.
10 Yet Thebes fell,
    and her people were led away as captives.
Her babies were dashed to death
    against the stones of the streets.
Soldiers threw diceh] to get Egyptian officers as servants.
    All their leaders were bound in chains.

11 And you, Nineveh, will also stagger like a drunkard.
    You will hide for fear of the attacking enemy.
12 All your fortresses will fall.
    They will be devoured like the ripe figs
that fall into the mouths
    of those who shake the trees.
13 Your troops will be as weak
    and helpless as women.
The gates of your land will be opened wide to the enemy
    and set on fire and burned.
14 Get ready for the siege!
    Store up water!
    Strengthen the defenses!
Go into the pits to trample clay,
    and pack it into molds,
    making bricks to repair the walls.

15 But the fire will devour you;
    the sword will cut you down.
The enemy will consume you like locusts,
    devouring everything they see.
There will be no escape,
    even if you multiply like swarming locusts.
16 Your merchants have multiplied
    until they outnumber the stars.
But like a swarm of locusts,
    they strip the land and fly away.
17 Your guardsi] and officials are also like swarming locusts
    that crowd together in the hedges on a cold day.
But like locusts that fly away when the sun comes up,
    all of them will fly away and disappear.

18 Your shepherds are asleep, O Assyrian king;
    your princes lie dead in the dust.
Your people are scattered across the mountains
    with no one to gather them together.
19 There is no healing for your wound;
    your injury is fatal.
All who hear of your destruction
    will clap their hands for joy.
Where can anyone be found
    who has not suffered from your continual cruelty?

Footnotes

  1. 1:8 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads sweep away her place.
  2. 1:15 Verse 1:15 is numbered 2:1 in Hebrew text.
  3. 2:1 Verses 2:1-13 are numbered 2:2-14 in Hebrew text.
  4. 2:3 Greek and Syriac versions read into position, / the horses whipped into a frenzy.
  5. 2:13 Hebrew young lions.
  6. 3:8 Hebrew No-amon; also in 3:10.
  7. 3:9 Hebrew Cush.
  8. 3:10 Hebrew They cast lots.
  9. 3:17 Or princes.
New Testament

Revelation 8

The Lamb Breaks the Seventh Seal

When the Lamb broke the seventh seal on the scroll,a] there was silence throughout heaven for about half an hour. I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and they were given seven trumpets.

Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great amount of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people as an offering on the gold altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out. Then the angel filled the incense burner with fire from the altar and threw it down upon the earth; and thunder crashed, lightning flashed, and there was a terrible earthquake.

The First Four Trumpets

Then the seven angels with the seven trumpets prepared to blow their mighty blasts.

The first angel blew his trumpet, and hail and fire mixed with blood were thrown down on the earth. One-third of the earth was set on fire, one-third of the trees were burned, and all the green grass was burned.

Then the second angel blew his trumpet, and a great mountain of fire was thrown into the sea. One-third of the water in the sea became blood, one-third of all things living in the sea died, and one-third of all the ships on the sea were destroyed.

10 Then the third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from the sky, burning like a torch. It fell on one-third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star was Bitterness.b] It made one-third of the water bitter, and many people died from drinking the bitter water.

12 Then the fourth angel blew his trumpet, and one-third of the sun was struck, and one-third of the moon, and one-third of the stars, and they became dark. And one-third of the day was dark, and also one-third of the night.

13 Then I looked, and I heard a single eagle crying loudly as it flew through the air, “Terror, terror, terror to all who belong to this world because of what will happen when the last three angels blow their trumpets.”

Footnotes

  1. 8:1 Or book.
  2. 8:11 Greek Wormwood.
Psalm

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
His faithful love endures forever.

Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights—
His faithful love endures forever.
the sun to rule the day,
His faithful love endures forever.
and the moon and stars to rule the night.
His faithful love endures forever.

10 Give thanks to him who killed the firstborn of Egypt.
His faithful love endures forever.
11 He brought Israel out of Egypt.
His faithful love endures forever.
12 He acted with a strong hand and powerful arm.
His faithful love endures forever.
13 Give thanks to him who parted the Red Sea.a]
His faithful love endures forever.
14 He led Israel safely through,
His faithful love endures forever.
15 but he hurled Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea.
His faithful love endures forever.
16 Give thanks to him who led his people through the wilderness.
His faithful love endures forever.

17 Give thanks to him who struck down mighty kings.
His faithful love endures forever.
18 He killed powerful kings—
His faithful love endures forever.
19 Sihon king of the Amorites,
His faithful love endures forever.
20 and Og king of Bashan.
His faithful love endures forever.
21 God gave the land of these kings as an inheritance—
His faithful love endures forever.
22 a special possession to his servant Israel.
His faithful love endures forever.

23 He remembered us in our weakness.
His faithful love endures forever.
24 He saved us from our enemies.
His faithful love endures forever.
25 He gives food to every living thing.
His faithful love endures forever.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His faithful love endures forever.

Footnotes

  1. 136:13 Hebrew sea of reeds; also in 136:15.
Proverbs

Proverbs 30:7-9

O God, I beg two favors from you;
    let me have them before I die.
First, help me never to tell a lie.
    Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
    Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
    And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.

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