Monday, October 16, 2017

Marc 1:21-39 (daily bread of 16/10/17)

key verse: 25
JESUS CASTS OUT A DEMON 
Capernaum was Jesus' headquarters of his ministry in Galilee. As soon as Jesus was baptized he was faced with evil spirits. Indeed, most of the diseases are caused by the influence of evil spirits.
1. "What have we to do with you ?" (21-27)
Jesus entered the synagogue and taught God's word. His word was very powerful and its impact was considerable. Its authority was unbeatable. The crowd was used to the teaching of scribes who didn't bear Jesus' word which had the true authority. The leaders claimed the recognition of their authority supported by human institutions, but they were powerless. But Jesus' authority had an other source. It came from God himself. John the Baptist also had authority which came from his obedience to God. Jesus' authority was the same source: absolute obedience to God's will. Before the authority of God's word, the demon scrambled. The demon was the first to recongnize Jesus. But Jesus casted it out so that it leaved the man. Our absolute obedience to God's word give us authority over the demon.
2. Jesus had the custom of the morning prayer ? (28-39)
Then, Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law who was sick. When Jesus touched her the fever left her. The demon had seized this woman, but Jesus delivered her. Then, she became a very useful person. In the evening, all kinds of sick flocked around Jesus. So he healed and above all he cast out many demons. The people suffered so much under the domination of the devil. But Jesus delivered all of them. Jesus was very occupied in the evening, but he didn't miss his appointment with God, because it was his source of power. Sometimes, he spent the whole night praying, but his habit was rather the morning, the first hour was for God. At this time, he looked for God's direction for his day. God gave him the direction to move to the next village, contrary to the will of his friends who wanted to enjoy to renown of the world. God's will is to save the souls. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Mark 1 :14-20 (Daily Bread of 14/10/17)


I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN


Key verse 1 :17

In today's lesson, Jesus calls his first four disciples on the Galilean seafront.

1. Spread the Gospel (14-15)

Jesus knew that John the Baptist was captured. John was a man of God. He categorically reprimanded Herod because he had taken his brother Philip's wife to be his own. John was not afraid of the King but he bravely fought against the sins that were common amongst his compatriots. In this situation it appeared as though God's was shaking and as though His justice took a serious blow. Those were some very dark days. However, Jesus did not become dispaired but rather he got up and spread the Gospel. The first message that he preached was that the time and the Kingdom of God were coming soon. This message meant that they were neither a far off nor futuristic. They were right there and then. How can one access them ? One needs to use the only two pathways that exist : repentance et faith.

2. The first four disciples followed Jesus (16-20)

Jesus called his first four disciples two by two. First he called Simon and Andre. They had a low social status. However, they were seeking the truth. Jesus therefore invited them to follow him. Follow Jesus means learning from him and becoming his disciple. Becoming one of Jesus' disciples entails looking for the truth, finding it and practising it. Jesus then gave them their mission. Their mission was to fish men out of the sea of sin. Up until now their joy or their sadness came from the number of fish that they caught. However, from now on their joy would come from saving the dying souls in the sea of sin. Jesus gave them the holy salvatory mission inspite of their youth and inexperience. He put a lot of hope in them. After their training period this vision will surely come to pass. These young people were so happy to get this call that they left behind their jobs and their families to consecrate their lifes to Jesus. These elements would have been dangereux to their spiritual growth and their future work.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Mark 1 : 1- 8 (Daily Bread of 12/10/17)


THE BEGINNING OF THE GOSPEL


Key verse 1 :1

Mark enters directly into the description of Jesus’ ministry unlike the authors of the other Gospels. Let's start studying the Gospel from now on. Mark was not one of Jesus’ disciples but he was Apostle Peter's secretary and so he learned the Gospel’s message through him. This is the shortest Gospel and Mark wrote it about 67 A.D. The Gospel according to Mark focuses on the relationship between God and man. Mark wrote this Book for the pagans and so he tried to cite the ancient prophecies as little as possible.

1.     Beginning of the Gospel (1-4)

The Gospel according to Mark focuses on Jesus' ministry and so it talks very little about his birth. Moreover, from the very first page of the Gospel according to Mark,  he proclaims that Jesus is the Son of God. This proclamation is very similar to that of John's but unlike John Mark does not make it a doctrine. Jesus is the Son of God about whom Isaiah prophetised. Isaiah also prophetised the coming of Jesus' predecessor : John the Baptist. John was very humble as he was considered as the voice crying out in the desert. This is as a result of his complete self-denial. John's birth was  marked by his the mission that God gave him. His mission was to prepare the way of the Lord. Opening up the way refers to the act of contrition. When we repent the pathway to God opens up in us and we accept Jesus entirely and as we ought to.

2.     John appeared and started baptising (5-8)

In accordance with Isaiah’s prophecy, John appeared. Luke presented him by referring to his priestly origins whereas Mark barely speaks about this and that's leads us into thinking that he has a divine origin like Melchisedek. John was sent by God in order to prepare the way of the Lord. He therefore baptised many people in the River Jourdan to help them repent of their sins. Many came to him and many believed that he was th Messiah. However, John was so humble. He lived a very simple and humble life as he even went on to say that he was unworthy to lick Jesus' shoes. A man of God is of great value before God when he is humble. When the people confessed their sins and came to be baptised ; God forgave them of their sins.




Marc 1:9-13 (daily bread of 13/10/17)

Key verse: 9

JESUS WAS BAPTIZED AND TEMPTED

Today's story tells the two first works: Jesus's baptism and his temptation. The description of Marc is very short, but it has a great significance.
1. Jesus was baptized (9-11)
Baptism is defined as burying of the old nature and procurement of the new and holy nature (Rm 6:3). It's the result of repentance of a person. Jesus had any reason to be baptized by a man. But Jesus made it, because Jesus did'nt act according to his own desire but according to God the Father's will. God's will was to make God's work take turn from John the Baptist. Here we learn:
1) Our God is a God of history. All persons and things must be included in this history.
2) Many people act according their own way. Behind a mask of Christianity, in reality they act according to their own ideas and intelligence. But look at Jesus. Even if he was the Son, he renounced his self, he curved and lowered his head to be baptized. God the Father fully rejoiced and opened the heaven to send the Holy Spirit and make his voice listen to mankind, not because Jesus was the Son, but because of his obedience. These things was the inaugural ceremony of the ministry of Jesus. 
2. Jesus was tempted (5-8) 
The second inaugural ceremony of the ministry of Jesus was his passing to the desert and his tentation by Satan. According of the others gospels, Jesus was in the desert during 40 days and 40 nights. Jesus came on the earth with a precise goal: to destroy the enemy who in the past seduced all the earth. Therefore Jesus' coming was a divine ultimatum against the evil and tempter spirit. The fight is very hard so Jesus almost succumbed. But during each tentation of Satan about bread, abuse of God's name or vainglory of the world (Mt 4:1-11) Jesus pushed Satan by God's word. The wild beasts accompagnied him and the angels served him, so the fight was very bloody. This fight will be continue when Jesus will be killed, but the final victory is garanteed by his resurrection by which Satan's head will be crushed. 

Jonas 3 : 1-10 (Daily Bread of 10/10/17)


GO THERE AND SPREAD MY WORD

Jonas 3 : 1-10

Key verse 3 :2

God gave Jonas a second chance to accomplish his mission which entailed telling the inhabitants of Ninive to repent. By denying himself,  Jonas' message bore a lot of fruits.

1. Go there and spread the Word (1-6)

Ninive was the capital of the enemy's country. How can one love the inhabitants of Ninive ? However, that was the condition of God's heart towards them. After his repentance, Jonas was saved from the fish's stomach and he was convicted that God forgave him. Moved by God's grace, Jonas obeyed God's ordered and He took off joyfully. During one day Jonas preached the message of repentance. His message was very powerful. The result was remarkable because the inhabitants of Ninive, who were idolaters, abandonned their idols and started believing in God. It was not a simple matter of wanting to believe in Him but it was a national call for repentance. All of the citizens covered themselves with sackcloth as this act was symbolic for penitence. This information even reached the King who swapped his royal garments for sackcloth .

2. Who knows if God might… (7-10)

The King then made a decree calling for a national day of fasting. Therefore all of the inhabitants of Ninive and even the animals neither ate nor drank anything in order to express their profond penitence. All of creation suffers because of man's sins. That's the Apostle Paul's theology. The animals in Assyria were suffering as a result of their owners sins. They repented as well by covering themselves in sackcloth and by shouting towards God. However, only man is reponsible for changing his ways before God. Every man, animals not included as they are without sin, came back to God and turned away from his sinful ways. The decree is verse 9 seems a bit weird. However, it clearly shows at what point the Assyrians were desperate for God's help. « Who knows if God might… »This is the desperate cry of a hopeless man standing who is awaiting God's judgement.  God saw their sincere repentance and He changed his mind. He decided to no longer judge the city. Therefore, we see how God blesses the penitent heart and the fruits of repentance that it bears.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Jonah 2:1-11 (daily bread of 9/10/17)

key verse: 2:10
I WILL SING MY GRATITUDE
Jonah was a nationalist. He cant' waive his desir to see his country prosper and see evil for his enemy. God loved him and gave him training.
1. Jonah's prayer (1-7)
Jonas was dumped from the boat by the sailors, because he was the cause of hurricane which could kill them all. When he was dumped, a great fish waited for him. He stayed in the stomach of the sea monster during 3 days and 3 nights. In the absolute darkness, Jonah kneeled and prayed to God. In his prayer he doesn't express his repentance but he praised God who has answered his prayer when he was in absolute agony in the sea bottom. "I cried to you and you have answered me". When someone desesperately cries, God listens to him, regardless of his past sin. The environment in the sea bottom was terrible, Jonah became a marine plant engulfed in algae. His monologue was that the Lord was driven far from him. But it was Jonah who had fled from the Lord's face. In this situation, Jonah had a holy desir of come back to see the face of God in his temple. He makes sure that his prayer was rised to God's throne in his temple.
2. I will sing my gratitude (8-11)
Jonah thought that he was on his last legs. All was engulfed and crushed in the stomach of the fish. It was the moment when life seemed to have left Jonah. But, in this moment, God intervenes and listens to Jonah's prayer in his temple. The temple is the place where mankind worships. The people worship false gods. They lost their chance to be saved. But those who truly worship God are blessed by God and enjoy the divine life. The assurance of salvation comes to them. Jonah swears that now he will offer true worship to God. True worship consists of having the gratitude of the heart which is expressed through our songs. Jonah vows a vow to God that he will give a sacrifice to him and that he will keep his promise. So, this very pleasant vow had an immediate effect. God listened to his very humble and very desperate prayer and God intervenes in his matter, and Jonah was vomitted by the fish on the mainland.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Abdias 1:1-21 (daily bread of 6/10/17)

EDOM WILL BE DEDUCTED FOREVER
Introduction :
We don't know about Obadiah's life. He surely belonged to Judas' tribe, because he concerns himself with the behaviour of Edom towards Jerusalem. The Edomites had benefited from the invasion of Judah and of taken Jerusalem by the enemy armies to turn against God's people, aggravate their misfortune and be enhanced with their corpses. For that, the prophet announces to them that they will be wraped in the general God's judgment towards all the Pagans, and Judah will be a tool of their punishment, when they will be restored in their possessions. While the nations will perish, Judah will become the centre of God's reign.
1. The insolence of Edom's heart (1-9)
Edom is a descendant of Esau, the brother of Jacob. He tooks possession of the mountain of Seir. Their geopolitical situation was invincible. Their rest, thaf is their emplacement, was considered like in the stars. Because of their wealth, their heart became arrogant, saying "who will make me run down up to the earth" (3b). But God says that he will punish him because of his arrogance. The arrogance is the beginning of destruction. God will send enemies to invade his country (1). The country will be deeply humiliated by their friends who will betray him. They will mock of him because he was had, they had misled him. In fact, God made of this very smart people a stupid people, taking off his wisdom. God is the formidable sovereign. God blesses who we wants, God curses who he wants.
2. On the mountain of Zion, there will be survivors (10-21)
Edom had a serious problem which was jealousy, when his brother Israel was invaded by the enemy and taken in captivity, he enjoys (12). They looked him ans looted his property. But God says that he will be judged ans deducted forever (10) because of his pride. The day of the Eternal God was coming (15). This day wasn't only for Edom, but for all the nations (15). All the nations will be judged for what they done. Everyone will be summoned to Christ's court to be judged about what he done good of bad in his body (2 Co 5:17). It's a condemnetion reserved to all the sinners of the world. Nevertheless, the final sort of God's people is luminous because God has reserved a special place for them. Israel will be safeguarded by God's mercy without suffering the common sort of perdition. Through the power of Jesus Christ's sacrifice, God decided to forgive them and saveguard the life of Christ's people. The territory lost by Edom and the other countries will be finally fully restored. Our God is the sovereign God who reigns on the world (21).

Jonas 1 : 1-16 (Daily Bread of 7/10/2017)


RISE UP AND SHOUT


Key verse 1 :3

Introduction : Jonas worked during the time when Jeroboam II was King. Hosea and Amos were sent to predict the calamity that would fall on the idolatrous people inspite of their prosperity. Jonas, on the other hand, was sent to Ninive to preach God's Word. However, he was afraid to be used by God to save a people who were enemies to his own. During his flight, Jonas encountered a storm and was swallowed by a whale. He then realised his stupidity. The titles « Rise up and shout »(1) « Jonas prayed » « Rise up and shout. Make my Word known »(3) and « Jonas got upset » efficiently reveal the structure of this Book. The inhabitants of Ninive were saved by their faith in Jehovah God. This Book highlights the narrow-minded hearts of the Jews.  As Jesus said the only way to be saved is by repentance and obedience not by one’s works. It's a divine truth applicable to all time periods.

1.     Rise up and shout (1-3)

Jehovah God spoke to Jonas and He told him to go to Ninive in order to spread His Word. God had mercy on the Assyrians even though He will use them later on to punish the Israelites. However, Jonas fled as soon as he heard that his people’s foe was going to be saved. He did not want to obey God. In fact the real problem is that he did not understand God's heart which is aimed at saving all the peoples of the Earth. Jonas' heart was very narrow and so he took off in the opposite direction : Tarsis. He removed himself from God's presence. Following our own whims and fancies as opposed to obeying God separates us from God and prevents us from seeing His face.
2. A great storm brewed (4-16)
However Jehovah God used a natural disaster to manifest His presence. The ship that had taken Jonas was in danger. The seamen drew lots to determine the origin of this unfortunate sea event. The result fell on Jonas. He must of felt guilty at this point and that explains why he gave himself up so willingly as a sacrifice. In the meanwhile he was to talk about God whom he had disobeyed. The seamen were thus able to adopt the Hebrew English in spite of their fear. After praying they decided to throw Jonas overboard. According to the Word they gave God an offering and they made their vows before Him. A disobedient man was used to bring salvation to others !


Amos 9 : 1-15 (Daily Bread of 5/10/2017)


IN THOSE DAYS I WILL RAISE THEM UP 


Key verse 9 :11

Amos had a last vision which concerne the Lord. In this vision Bethel, the temple in which the people adored the golden calf, will fall. Amos proclaimed that God will come after the people.

 1. No survivor will escape again (1-10)

Amos saw the Lord standing on the altar. He then ordered His angels to destroy the temple. The altar, which was supposed to geared towards adoring God, was soiled because the Israelites religious amalgation. Therefore, the day of judgement against this religion will be one of vengeance .God's anger began to spark when the sinners abused His patience by walking over His orders. God will them down to punish them. They will try to flee without finding any place of refuge. There where the dead lie, on the summit of mount Carmel, in the enemy’s country, God will follow them wherever they go in order to destroy them. There God said : I will have my eyes on them constantly and I will dream of their doom, not of their happiness (4b). The God of Israel is the Lord God who created the heavens and the Earth.  Heaven is his home and the Earth His footstool. When He touches the Earth, it crumbles. The once chosen people no longer had any privileges and were seen as Ethiopian pagans. Nevertheless, Amos tried to remind God of His grace by which He saved His people from Egypt. However, God decided to destroy them because of their sins. Nevertheless, He promised to not destroy them completely ; He will them up a bit but the Earth shall not be destroyed (9c). Only those who were sinning shall be destroyed, those who impeded Amos from prophetising.

2. God promises to restore Israel (11-15)

After this last vision, God gave Amos a new one wherein He will restore Israel. David's shaky hut is the only legitimate Kingdom that shall be restored. The other tribes shall be under their control. In any case, after have been deported the two brother tribes will be brought together. Therefore, God will rebuild Israel as it was in the past. He will then take possession of the neighbouring tribes. The day of fertility and of abundance will come back to the country. God will then bring back His people from their captivity in order for them to live in the devastated country. His people will no longer be uprooted from the promised land, the heritage that God promised them.




Amos 7 : 1-17 (Daily Bread of 3/10/2017)


AMOS SAID : I CAN ONLY SPEAK 

Key verse 7 : 15 

In the third part of this Book we get to see Amos' visions. They came from God. Amos was persecuted until hewas finally chased by the religious people. In the meanwhile Amos' faith was revealed .

1.     Amos' shepherd heart. (1-9) 
Amos' first vision was about the devastating locusts. God gave him this vision during the time of the recovery. The first shoot belonged to the King while the rest was given to the owners. Therefore, this catastrophe threatened everyone. After speaking on God's behalf, Amos made a request before God on the people’s behalf. Amos did not protest against the justice behind God's judgement but rather he called upon His compassion. His goal was to soften God's heart towards the people’s weakness. However, one second after this a greater threat made its appareance. The fire consumed all of the sea water (the abyss) and the fields. However, one again the prophet's intercessory prayers encouraged God to turn His judgement away. The third vision concerns the plumb line (the spirit level).  Nowadays, masons use this triangular shaped instrument .The plumb line is suspended from this triangular top. The level is used for construction but the spirit level is used to entirely destroy the Earth. Here Amos speaks about King Jeroboam for the for the first time. His action comes without warning and it provokes the violent scene that followed. Amos could no longer intercede for them. The moral here is that even though one can stop God’s judgement through intercession, this only last for awhile before God punishes the unrepenting hearts.


2.I have no alternative (10-17)

The great prophetess Amastia denounced Amos and what he said. She called him a visionary and ordered him to return to his home country. However, Amos was a man sent by God and thus he could do nothing more but accomplish the mission that He gave him. Moreover, the time for punishing Juda had not yet arrived whereas the sins in Israel had to be quickly with. Amos had a shepherd’s heart towards his fraternal tribe. He knew that he came from humble beginnings but God's call in his life was as clear as crystal. Therefore Amos did not soften his tone but he answered Amatsia with her same cynical tone. He proclamed God's judgement on her family, a judgement that will be very tragic for them when they are abroad.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Amos 8:1-14 (daily bread of 04/10/17)

Key verse : 11,12

THEY WILL HAVE HUNGER AND THIRST TO LISTEN

God gave to Amos a fourth vision of a basket of fruit. The social injustice in economy was great because of falsification. God swears that he will judge this nation. Amos predicts hunger and thirst.

1. The vision of a basket of fruit (1-3)
The fourth vision was à basket full of ripe fruit. So the time of God's judgment was ripe. At this time, the joyful song of the singers of the king will become complaints, because an earthquake will fall on them and will cause many deaths. The corruption of the people is revealed through their economic life. Their hearts are avide and they abandon morality in business. They trample on the poor and eliminate the weak. They falsify the measures, sell the waste and take the poor as slaves who can't pay off debt even for a mediocre value like sandals. They were cruel and inhumain, so God didn't prevent himself from raising his hand of punishment. God eliminates them out of the country. Their feast of profit will become mourning.

2. They will wander in the desert (10-17)A great hunger will be sent. The poor will always have thirst. God declares the famine in the country, including the wealthy. God heard the prayer of the prophet about punishment of grasshoppers and fire. Therefore, God economically safeguarded the country. But, when the judgment will come, the punishment for the quiet people will be very serious. God says that they will be hungry but not for bread, but for the Lord's word. They will wander here and there to seek God's word but in vain. They surely have the Torah, the book, the Bible. But this doesn't ensure they eat the word, because the servants of this time were blinded, so the people didn't receive any spiritual food. Therefore, their souls continued to dry up. The people swore to idols. But the idols were only mute work of their hands, who couldn't teach them.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Amos 6:1-14 (daily bread of 02/10/17)

Key verse: 6:8b

I LOATHE THE PRIDE OF JACOB

The opulence of the greatest is unimaginable. The word tells us the reason for that. God feels disgusted by this. We must be vigilant when we are blessed. 


1. Woe betide those who live quietly (1-7)

The nobles of Sion quietly lived. The greatest exploited the poor and they rolled up on luxurious sofas. Those who lived in this way in Jerusalem and in Samaria were invited into the homes of the nations's greatest people. The greatest of Israel always begrudged the neighbouring nations. But they weren't very prosperous. They were already blessed by God, but without thanking God they begrudges others. The greatest of the country quietly lived. They thought that the misfortune of others would not attain them. Their lifestyle was voluptuous (4), and they were skilled musicians. They liked fine food. 

2. God's predicted judgment (7-14)

Because of their sins God will take them into captivity. The fundamental reason of this carefree life was pride. They received a lot of blessing but they never give thanks to God who is the source of blessing (8). They will be offered to the enemies by God Almighty, because God loathes this. God always loathes the pride of mankind. Unimaginable calamities fall on them. All the houses they were proud of are ruined, the small and the big. The dead bodies are used as fuel. The unrighteousness of the country is very great (10 c) so its prevents the people from calling God for help. They often flout right. The people are accustomed to bragging saying that their power is because of their own strength (13). I'ts a banal phenomenon when the heart of a man is proud. They don't attribute the power to God, but they attribute it to themselves, either their physical strength or their exceptional intelligence, etc. But God will not tolerate pride, he will come to judge and punish. Humility is the way of salvation and blessing.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Amos 5 : 1-27 (Daily Bread of 30/9/2017)

SEEK YEE GOD AND LIVE

Key verse 5 :4

Man has the right to live amongst his peers. However, since the beginning of time the strong oppress the weak and helpless. God judges the nation that does evil.

1.     Seek God and live (1-17) 

God’s judgement is concentrated on the sinful nation. There will be an earthquake and the Earth’s inhabitants will lie down on the Earth. The enemy will come and nine tenths of them will be Lille. Therefore what can we learn from this? Amos told them « Seek yee God and live ». The only route to have life is to seek and find God. Israel’s amalgamated religion is horrible before God. God wants them to be purified and He wants them to believe in Him. Seeking God means fearing God (6b). Fearing God means not doing what’s evil but what’s good (14,15).God is the souvereign Creator who controls how the stars move and He changes darkness into light. The Israelites oppressed the just and the poor without reason and they behaved as though God was does not exist. They will be correctly judged. When we act justly we are reassured that God is with us and He will give us the victory. Due to their multiple crimes, the Israelites will be in constant lamentation. 

2. The day of the Lord (18-27)

As in the days of Joel, the Lord’s Day is one of divine judgement. It's the day of darkness wherein the wicked will receive the salary of their acts. They are like a man who escapes the lion but who falls upon a bear that strikes him or a snake that bites him. Israel’s real problem is their false beliefs. Inspite of their appearance, they are not actually believers but they are those who adore the golden cow as another element to their religion. They were therefore used to bringing many animals before God as their sacrificial offering but this was a useless act as their heart was not really in it. God asks His people if they are not fed up with bringing Him offerings that are useless just as those that they used to bring Him in the desert. God wants these offerings to be removed from before Him. That which is important to His people is mentioned in verse 24. The law has to flows like water and righteousness like a never-drying river.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Amos 4:1-13 (Daily bread of 29/09/17)

key verse: 6b

DESPITE THIS 

After an apostrophe about the women of Samaria, Amos makes an indictment against the non-conformist worship. Then, he emphasizes the tenacious impenitence of Israel and he defies Israel for a last face to face with God.

1. The sins of the people and the religious leaders (1-5)

First, the wealthy women. They encourage the people to commit carnal sin. The holy Eternal God swears that he will punish the country, deporting the women and their children. The most serious sin is that they give a deviated woship to God, because of their formalism it's only a compromise. They observe rites but which are deprived of moral sense which can please God. They venerated God each day, the rigorous people offered the tithe every three days and the legal tithe at least every three years. But in the sight of God, what is the point of this excess zeal if they join it a life of sin ? This reproach is comparable to that of Jesus towards the Jews (Mt 23:23). They loved the outer shapes, but they were not engaged (5).

2. Despite this... because of this... (6-13)

God made all things, in particular he sent lot of suffering to convert his people. But all his hits were unsuccessful. The first wound is famine, the second wound is the lack of rain, then the thirst. The fourth and fifth wounds are the desease of wheat and the burning of coal. The sixth is plague. The seventh is the war and the strangled young people. The last is earthquake. But all this suffering was useless in making the heart of the people come back. Because of their persevering hardness (12, 13), they must prepare for facing God one day. God is the Creator which changes the aurora to darkness. He can operate the most unexpected, he can suddently send a calamity instead of the expected prosperity. No obstacle can prevent God from going according to his way or execute his plans. God is a formidable judge who will hold accoutable of all the violated laws and despised mercies. Who can stand up to God ?

Amos 3 : 1-15 (Daily Bread of 28/9/2017)


I WILL HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS


Key verse 3 :2

The second part of this book comprises chapters 3-6 that all start with the words « listen to this Word ». Each one of these parts containing the summary of one of Amos' evangelic messages probably concerning Bethel.

1. No one can stay calm when the lion roars (1-8)

In the first instance Amos tasks about the particularities bond that God shares with His people (1-2). The more kind God was towards His people, the more their situation got worse in light of their multiple sins. Then Amos spoke about the different examples that showed that the calamities that they had to pass through were not accidental but coming from God. The prophets had already been taught to acknowledge that (7). There are seven long illustrations which show us that there «  everything happens for a reason » (in the case wherein the judgement is the effect, then sin is the reason). However, given that the last reason does not fit in well with the others, it would be more to say that « every action has a consequence ».

2. Come see what the Samaritans have done (9-15)

Amos invited the people of other foreign nations to come take a look at the evil things that the Samaritans did (9-10).Members of the noble class were especially invited to see the generated state of their Isralien homologues. After that Amos declared the punishment that would fall upon Israel (11-15). Amos' description of the shepherd is very shocking. He describes the end result of God's judgement as the mutilated lamb that the shepherd managed to rescue from the lion. The withholders of power in Samaria live very comfortable lives with beds that are actually extremely comfortable sofas. God's judgement will also fall upon the sanctuary at Bethel wherein the horns were thought to be symbolic of God's saving grace. With the Assyrian invasion these horns will be broken. The winter house and the ivory palaces, which were symbols of luxury that housed the bourgeoisie and the princes respectively, will all be reduced to ruins (15). The prophet reproaches them for the violence that they practised here as opposed to the existence of such houses. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Amos 2:1-16 (daily bread of 27/09/2017)

Key verse: 6

GOD JUDGES ISRAEL

The judgment of the nations continues. The cousin people Moab and the brother people Juda are under the judgment. Then, Amos speaks about God's judgment for Israel. God hasn't any personal consideration. But we must note the criterion: for the Pagans and the cousins the criterion of judgment is their attitude towards Israel, whereas for Israel the criterion is the personal relationship with God.

1. The judgments on Moab and Judah (1-5)
Moab is the cousin people of Israel, the other descendant of Loth. But there was a fratricidal conflict with Edom, and he burnt the bones of the king, not by incineration but damaging the dignity of the human creature. Therefore God will send fire. The powerful will be killed. Then, God will judge Judah because he rejected the Eternal God's law. The judgment of Judah made Israel shudder because of God's judgment for them as severe as for other people.

2. The judgment of Israel (6-15)
The problem of Israel is greed. They sell the poor and righteous people to obtain a little material thing which has no value. They agreed with idolatry, their lifestyle is very carnal and randy. They are heinous because the father and the son have the same mistress. God will judge them. But God judges Israel differently than the other people, even Judah. God remember his favour towards Israel throughout history. In spite of the gentle appearance, this reminder aims to bring Israel's double guilt out. God speaks about their aggravating circumstance: his particular and enormous mercy for Israel. God made them get out of Egypt by his mighty hand. God made them victorious on the invincible races like the Amalekites with a formidable power (9). Not only that, but God blessed them sending prophets and generating dedicated people, but Israel treated them jumble as they see fit. They seducted the people to not leave a holy life and prevented the prophet to prophesy. Amos describes the judgment which can be understood through the terrible phenomenon of earthquake (cf. 1:1b): the earth crack like under a cart heavily charged; everybody tries to escape, but to not avail.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Amos 1 : 1-15 (Daily Bread of 26/9/2017)


AMOS



INTRODUCTION

Amos, shepherd of Juda, called himself a worker and He went to Israel as a prophet. He has a very background and he is a very courageous servant of God to Bethel who preached against Israel 's idolatry of the golden cow. He gave his life for this mission. Surely he will return home afterwards. He uses a lot of popular sayings and field derived imagery. In the days of King Ozais in Juda and Jeroboam II in Israel, bothering countries had a very great prosperity. However, they gave themselves over to corruption especially the Israelites who adored the golden cow believing it to be the only true service for God. God gathered quite a bit of hate in His head due to this. The Book of Amos comprises 9 chapters that can be divided into three parts : Introduction (1-3), Israel's accusation by its neighbours (3-6), Visions of ruins and of the reconstruction of the Kingdom (7-9)

God roars from within Zion

Key verse 1 : 2

In the first two chapters, Amos writes about God's judgement on the countries surrounding Israel. After that he goes on to talking about the judgement that will fall upon Israel. God, He who judges these nations, ressembles a roaring lion. The result of his roars on the Earth is the country's complete and total devastation.

1. God's judgement on the Syrians, the Philistines and the Phenecians.    

They are just the neighbouring countries around Israel. Amongst the three parent countries (Edom, Amon and Moab) the Chapter deals with Edom and Amon at the end. Amos writes in this way in order to highlight the universiality of God's power and the fact that God's justice applies to all without any consideration based on someone's title. This jugement will first fall on the Syrians. The first verse of each sentence « 3-4 » refers to the fact that they keep on sinning and becoming more and more wicked. Syria mercilessly crushed Israel like a harrow ploughs the ground. Other meanings of the name of Damas are House of nothing and House of pleasure. Qir is where Georgia is nowadays. The Philistines comes thereafter and this group of people is based on the coming together of fire different peoples. The first one of which is Gaza. They were were responsible for carrying out a number of conquests on Juda and Israel which ended in the captivity of many Jets. These Jews were later sold to the Edomites and the Arabs. Then comes the Phenecians whose main city was Tyr and who sold the enslaved Jews into captivity under the Edomites.

2. Edom and Ammon (9-21)

The Edomites are Esau's descendants and so they are one of Israel's close relatives. However, history shows that they were one of the most persistent hostile countries towards the Israelites. God will judge them like one who is very irrated. The Ammonites are descendants of Loth so they are also one of Israel's relatives. The capital city of Ammon is Rabba (12). In order to decimate this people, there needs to be a war with a lot of violence and blood-shed. This event is similar to the hurricane Maria that passed through the Caribbean Islands this year (2017). At the end of this war, the King and his shall all be deported. This judgement will be carried out by the Assyrian Kings who will subjugate all of the islands in West Asia. Nowadays only the ruins of Rabba remain and they are called Amman. This is the abbreviation of Rabbath-Ammon (Dt 3v11).

Monday, September 25, 2017

Joel 4:1-21 (Daily bread of 25/09/2017)

key verse: 2b

I WILL EXECUTE JUDGMENT ON THEM

God's judgment falls on the nations. It's the remuneration for all the calamities caused by the nations to Israel. God is living, acting his justice throughout history. 

1. I will gather all the nations (1-8)
The sending of Holy Spirit prepares the supreme expression of his opponent's hate. For now, God make the captives of Judah and Jerusalem come. They were prisoners and sold to remoted people by the Phoenicians, the Philistines, the Edomites. They must heave so that the opponents be defeated, so God make them go down and conduct a siege. They think that they spontaneously act but they are wrong, they only accomplish the secret God's will. They act like foolishs selling the Israelites at the price of a slave. But now the Eternal God's day will come and they will be revenged by the Israelites. The valley of Jehoshaphat is ambiguous and considered as the valley of Kidron, east of Jerusalem. The name of Jehoshaphat means God judges. 

2. The Eternal God will remain in Zion (9-21)
The Eternal God convenes himself all the nations to the final war against his people so that judge them together (9). Their famers make their instruments become ploughing weapons of war. The prophet instantly invokes God so that the celestial army be sent (11b). The enemies are compared to a ripe harvest to mow, to a tank full of grapes to crush. God gives a verdict between those who take sides for or against him. The nature itself ties to this solemn act (15). God's people will profit material and temporal blessing (18). A source will flow from God's house like the river of Ezekiel 47. It's the emblem of the spiritual blessing which will spread over the faithful. The part the most arid of Israel will be fertilized while Egypt very watered will be deprived of his fertility and of Edom's pastures (19). It's because of the wicked treatment of Judas' sons. The world ennemi of God depicted by Edom and Egypt will be desolated (19). The Eternal God will purify by the eternal judgment and he will live among his people (21; Ap 21:3)

Joel 3 : 1-5 (Daily Bread of 23/9/2017)


I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT ON THEM


Key verse 3 : 2

When the priest prays whilst standing between the door and the altar and once his heart is sincerely broken because of his sins, God will get ready to work. Many try to do a lot of things save one : pray. Before the match the boxers take off their clothes. If one does not repent and confess his sins to get rid of his large burden of sin, he cannot hope to win the victory. God has already give Israel its fruits but there is still a blessing to be had.

1. I will put my Spirit on them (1-3)

Therefore after this, the repentance of the people and their prayer under the priest’s guidance, God will give them a spiritual blessing. They first received a material blessing but God will give them a spiritual one whose value is incommensurate to the material one. Thus, God says that He will pour out His Spirit on everyone. The human body is ephemeral (1P 1:24) but when God’s Spirit touches it, it will no longer undergo decomposition but it will be by a living hope in God’s kingdom (1P1 :3,4). When the Spirit come miracles come with it. Young people have visions and prophetise whilst old people have dreams. It is impossible to imagine a servant (enslaved) have a vision or a dream given that their only hope is to have three meals per day. However, God says that they too will receive the Holy Spirit and visions. Nowadays there are many who have dreams of living like the bourgeois. However, when the Holy Spirit falls upon them their eyes widely open and they try big things. This vision of life is similar to that of William Carey who was an English missionnary in India. When the Holy Spirit falls upon us we can have a great vision of the evangelisation of France far beyond the unsurmontable reality. God will do so many miracles of conversion that we will be unable to count them.

2. The Lord's Day, a most frightening reality (4-5)

When the Holy Spirit is poured on God's people, one needs to realise that the end is near. For this reason God sends calamities that hail the coming of His judgement so that the hearts of men will be ready. The Sun and the Moon shall become darkened and the Earth void of light. God's judgement is only for the unbelievers as the believers will not be judged as they have already gone from death to life (Jn 5 :24). God's will is to save His people from judgement and to save them (5). After Jesus' ascension into heaven, the disciples came together in the upper chamber and prayed. They therefore denied their inner fear. Thus the Holy Spirit fell upon them. In the same way Joel previously said « reunite the people to form a holy assembly » The Holy Spirit therefore fell upon them. If we look carefully at verse 5 we will notice that God's call is the basis on which we are saved. Whosoever calls upon God's name superstitiously without having received His call will not survive His jugement.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Joel 2 : 1-17 (Daily Bread of 21/9/2017)

WHAT YOU DO ON JUDGEMENT DAY

Key verse 2 : 12
Joel's call for repentance continues. As he witnessed the devastation of the Earth by the grasshoppers (sauterelles) Joel warns the people that the Lord's Day is approaching.

1. God's big army (1-14)
God says to Sonnez du cor. This is the priest's role and he does this to announce the coming of the Lord. This glorious moment hails hope, victory and salvation (Am 5 : 18). However, Joel forwarns his people that should they not repent of their ways, it will be their judgement day. Joel describes this day in Great detail explaining that it starts with the invasion of the sauterelles. It will be a day of absolute darkness and one with an overcast sky. The Earth that was once like Eden will change into a desert Land and this will be due to the sauterelles. These sauterelles have heads similar to those which horses have. The sound they make when marching is similar to that of chariots. The insects run like soldiers that climb a wall in rank and file as they prepare for war. Faced with the silmultaneous changes in weather and in nature, the people tremble with fear. This description, often considered as a part of Joel’s exageration, is only used to help his people to repent. No one can withstand the great Day of Judgement.

2. Come back to me (12-17)
After having showed the Israelites the great and terrible judgement that shall fall upon them should they not repent, He reassures them that it's not too late to come back to Him. He promises them that should they return they will avoid this calamity. However, God does not a formalistic type of penitence but a real one coming from the heart (12,13). We must not mourn in appearance but mourn deep down in our hearts. For God is good, merciful and slow to anger but He also knows the heart of every single one of us. If our heart is really sincere God will come and restore us. The priest plays a very important role in this process as it is they who consecrates themselves to God and offer him prayers of intercession whilst crying (17). It is they who declare a fast for everyone including the babies in the community (16). Even though God’s anger is impetuous it will dissipate due to Israelites's penitence.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Joel 1:1-20 (Daily bread of 20/09/2017)

Introduction of Joel's book
Joel is the prophet of Judah who speaks about the temple,  Jerusalem and Judah. He is a contemporary of Obadiah, before Jeremiah and Isaiah. He worked by 870 when the king Jehoash reigned over Judah, after the rescue of his uncle Jehoiada​ against the conspiracy of Athaliah who wanted establish the worship of Baal. He speaks about the calamities of grasshopers and famines, and interpretes it as God's will against Judah. The goal is that Israel be stripped of all and invited to turning to God beg him. The counting is the condition of his salvation. The book prophetically announces that one day this presence will be given to all people, because God will spread his spirit over all people, like the day of Pentecost (3 :1-2 ; Ac 2 :16-21)
Key verse: 1:15
THE DAY OF THE ETERNAL GOD APPROACHES
​Joel's book begins with the calamity of grasshopers. Their power of destruction is formidable. Because they destroy those in its path. Joel says that this calamity announces the day of the Eternal God.
1. Invasion of insects (1-12)
Joel particularly addresses to the high priest, not to political class. It seems that in this time, the priestly power was leading, because the fate of the people depends on them. If they are corrupted, God, who haven't any individual consideration, will severely judge them. God is huddled before the door with formidable calamities. First, the grasshopers will come to ravage the fields. After their passage nothing will remain. The insects are like a nation of an army which invade the country (5). The high priests have nothing to offer because the fields are ransacked. There are not wine nor oil nor wheat, because there isn't harvest. 
 They are in tears. When this phenomenon happens the people must repent. First, the high priest must mourn because of their role, and they must proclaim fast to all the people, and must call for God's help in his house.
2. The day of the Eternal God (13-20)
This word "the day of the Eternal God" is used by Joel and Amos and it means the crisis which ends each period of the history or which ends the existence of each people (in a relative sense). This word also means the final crisis who ends the development of mankind on earth (in an absolute sense). God successively judges all that spreak out against him throughout history; but there are only partial and provisional judgments which announce the divine act when he will slaughter all which is high and he will elevate all which is oppressed. Joel see this day approaches, there will be the final jugdment of this people. In his opinion, the invasion of grasshopers announces it. There is the same phenomenon for the return of Christ. Before his second coming there will be a great calamity. As on longer-term, before the formidable judgment of fire and flame, Joel kneels and cries towards the heaven (19,20)

Hosea 14 : 1-10 (Daily Bread of 19/9/2017)


LET WORDS OF REPENTANCE BE ON YOUR LIPS


Key verse 14 : 3

We often say that one has more hate towards the traitor than the enemy. However, in according to the principal theme of the Book of Hosea, God is not man. His love will never die. Let's learn more about this love in this last chapter, we who are only mortal human beings.

1. Come back to God (1-4)

Sin the fall, man has always tried to accuse God for his pain and suffering. However, the Bible clearly explains to us that it's man's fault and not God's (2). Hosea shows the sort of love that God holds in His heart for His people. God's love is generous.  That means that God would say « I don't need to force myself to love you. » It is extremely difficult and disgusting to love an idolater as Hosea did in chapters 1-3 wherein he took this degenerated woman by obligation an with distaste. Therefore God forced himself to love them. However, now God loves them willingly because they have returned to Him. Hosea commands them to repent for their sins (3). Repentance means acknowledging the sins that we have committed in the past. The Israelites had to therefore acknowledge that their idols were all man made and not divine. Thereafter they had to express their love for God by saying « Forgive us ours sins, we want to give you the praise from the bottom of our hearts rather than worthless sacrifices. »

 2. I shall answer their prayers (5-10)

Now that God’s people are penitent, God promises them His forgiveness, prosperity and holiness. After the promise of healing that God gave them in the previous verse (4) God will answer favorably to all that they seek. Moreover their cursed condition will be transformed into one that is blessed. They will become like the dew in fields, flowers in blossom the cedar tree in Liban with its abundant branches, the olive tree, the leefy cyprus tree and the fine wine in the country. They shall be protected as God's eyes will constantly follow them. In this epilogue Hosea encourages his people to accept this prophetic Word with intelligence and wisdom. Wisdom goes hand in hand with humility. If we are humble enough we will be able to see the spiritual reality of our nature and the blessing that God sets apart for those who are penitent. However, if we harden our hearts we shall fall like the wicked ones.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hosea 13: 1-15 (Daily Bread of 18/09/2017)

Key verse: 14
I PUT THEM TO DEATH WITH MY HAND
God gives a death threat to Israel because of his idolatry. Hosea doesn't abandon his hope of Israel's restoration. He knows that it's God's hope to Israel, which doesn't wither while his people be infidel. God cans save his people from death, but provided that...
 1. You will be without value (1-8)
Once, Ephraim was an object of fear among the peoples. Now he is an object of mockery without value before them, because they are idolatrous, not more valuable than their handmade works. Their existence is compared with the morning cloud, the dew which passes early away, the chaff, and the smoke coming out of the chimney, all are ephemeral. In the past God was very friendly and favorable towards his people, he was a "shepherd" in the desert (5), but nos God appears as an enemy. All of a sudden he becomes as a devouring lion, as a tearing bear. The fundamental cause of this woe is indicated at verse 6: pride. As soon as the people were in the pastures, they felt their hunger was satisfied, and when they were full, they were puffed up (VF).
2. O Death, where is your sting ? (9-15)
Verse 14 is one of the most hardly decipherable verses. But the meaning the most likely is that God is Almighty to save Israel from death. But he can't exercise his power if the people doesn't repent, that's why he says: "clemency conceales from my eyes". There is in God so much power of life that he can be for death what plague is for mankind, he can be for sepulchre what sepulchre is for our bodies: he can kill death as death kills us, he can swallow the sepulchre as the sepulchre swallow us. God prepares himself to exercise his power when Israel will be penitent. Similarly, for each person who repents. In the context of the Corinthians, Paul says that when the moral conditions of resurrection will be met, that means conversion and faith, God certainly will operate it (1 Co 15:55). Verse 14 can be translated like: "You would like I redeem you while you refuse to repent, it's not possible." What doesn't prevent that there is a hope, but after the consumed punishment... 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Hosea 11: 1-11 (Daily Bread of 15/09/2017)

Key verse: 8
THE HEART BURNS IN SPITE OF TREASON
God treats Israel with gentleness but the second captivity will come, more difficult than the first captivity in Egypt (1-7). But after this threat God gives his promise of raising them up. God's love will abound more than the infidelity of his people, because God's gifts are irrevocable; It's true that the exile is imminent, but Israel will come back (8-11).
1. He didn't recognize (1-7)
God loved Israel. He considered him as his firstborn son. From his youth, he loved him and took care of him. God's affection towards Israel was unimaginable. He was like a father who carries his little child, cheek to cheek. Then, he nourished him like a father. Then he healed him like a doctor, because the people were infected with Egyptian idolatry. But Israel didn't recognize this love, he turned his back on God to move towards the idols and worship them. Israel had a policy of coalescence with the powerful, but they abused him and they invaded his territory.
2. God's true heart (8-11)
The consequence of Israel's sins is the invasion and the havoc of the country by the enemy. It was a punishment worthy of his treason. But it wasn't what God wanted. What God wanted was to bless his people. God had never any idea of destroying Israel. But they are responsible for that, not God. God is always loving, not punitive. Israel's God is the holy God. He is full of mercy towards the people, though they are terrible sinners. If God wants to juge, none can remain on the earth. But God judges and punishes not like humans without mercy, but with love. Israel is indestructible because there is a "holy". This applies to the Church who will not perish. Thank you Lord, in spite of our unforgivable sins, God didn't destroy us but you cared for us because of your great mercy. The Lord roars like a lion who gathers his little ones. When they listen to his voice, the children run toward him like the doves who split through air to come back to their dovecote.