Daily Encouragement

December 21 – Are you aware you’ve enlisted?

December 21
Zechariah 1:1-21
Revelation 12:1-17
Psalm 140:1-13
Proverbs 30:17 

We only have 2 books left in the Old Testament – a few chapters left in the New Testament, we’ve done Psalms already and are almost thru it a second time, and have one chapter left in Proverbs! Congratulations for those who’ve been with us from the start – and welcome to those joining us lately!

Zechariah 1:1 – This prophecy came between Haggai 1:15 and Haggai 2:10.

Zechariah 1:3 – Are you calling yourself a follower of God but feel that He is distant from you? Want the LORD to be closer to you? All you have to do is turn to Him, by turning away from your sin (Zechariah 1:4).

Zechariah 1:12 – This is the seventy years that Jeremiah foretold (Jeremiah 29:10), the Chronicler recorded (2 Chronicles 36:21), and Daniel counted down (Daniel 9:1-2).

Zechariah 1:14Jimmy DeYoung believes that this is a theophany – that the angel of the LORD is a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus.

In verse 14 the Lord says He is “jealous for Jerusalem”. The Hebrew flavor for “jealous” is “aggressively possessive”. The Lord has chosen Jerusalem for His eternal abode, the place to dwell among His people, the Jewish people, forever. Therefore, He is “aggressively possessive” of the city.

Author’s photo of the Temple Mount at night. Wailing Wall is center, Dome of the Rock is on the left, and the Mount of Olives is behind the Wailing Wall.

Revelation 12:1John Walvoord explains the meanings:

As many commentators have noted they are seven in number: (1) the woman, representing Israel, (2) the dragon, representing Satan, (3) the man-child, referring to Christ, (4) Michael, representing the angels, (5) Israel, the remnant of the seed of the woman, (6) the beast out of the sea, the world dictator, and (7) the beast out of the earth, the false prophet and religious leader of the world.


Revelation 12:6 – 1,260 days is 3 and a half years. The place many think will be where the woman will be protected is Petra. Petra is surrounded by high cliffs.

Author’s photo.

You can also take a 3D tour of Petra courtesy of the Smithsonian:


Revelation 12:7 – Michael the archangel was the one who helped the messenger get to Daniel (Daniel 10:13), contended with the devil in Jude 1:9, and led the angels fighting against Satan (Revelation 12:7).

Revelation 12:10 – What does it mean that Satan is the accuser of the brethren? Similar to Job 1 – Satan’s job is to tear us down. But we can overcome by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11)!

Revelation 12:17 – We are in a war. We won’t end up with a truce where Satan has half the world and Jesus has half the world. One side will win, and one side will lose. We’re not the generals – we’re the foot soldiers that have the privilege of serving in the army of the Lord. So let’s make sure that we know our Commander (“have the testimony”), and we keep His commandments. Here’s a song from Patch the Pirate about our responsibility in the Army!


Psalm 140:1 – The Psalmist knew about the war. He knew that his Hope was in the LORD (Prsalm 140:4, 6, 8).

Proverbs 30:17 – A visual depiction of the 5th Commandment.

Daily Encouragement

December 20 – What’s so important about the temple?

December 20
Haggai 1:1-2:23
Revelation 11:1-19
Psalm 139:1-24
Proverbs 30:15-16 

Haggai 1:1 – This is the same year as Ezra 4:24 (520 BC). Haggai is the first prophet to the returned remnant. We’ve read about Zerubbabel and Joshua in Ezra 3:2.

Haggai 1:4 – Interesting priorities – it wasn’t time to build the LORD’s house, but it was to build “cieled houses.” This was “roofed with costly woods” – and some think “with the very cedar provided for the rebuilding of the temple” (Ezra 3:7). (Pulpit Commentary).

Haggai 1:5-7 – From Earl Martin:

Haggai 1:9 – We’re told that God doesn’t dwell in temples (Acts 7:48, Acts 17:24). God did not need a temple – but this is indicative of the hearts of the people. Construction stopped for 16 years because of opposition (Ezra 4:24), but instead of seeking the LORD, they built their own houses. So what was so important about the temple? For man to obey God, they must follow his rules – and that includes the sacrifices. Well over a hundred of the Torah laws dealt with the temple. Under Babylonian captivity they had an excuse – but now there is no excuse.

Haggai 1:14 – God has put it in some people’s spirit to do the Work of the house of the LORD God. Let’s do the work today – remember His Last Command (Matthew 28:19-20).

Haggai 2:3 – This building was not going to rival Solomon’s Temple, but God still encouraged those building it (Haggai 2:4), because He would fill it with His glory (Haggai 2:7). He even promised that it would be more glorious than Solomon’s (Haggai 2:9).

Zerubbabel’s Temple

Haggai 2:9 – How would this humble building rival Solomon’s Palace? Because in this place God would give His peace. If you’re interested in learning how that happened, check out this article yours truly did on the Peace of Christmas.

Haggai 2:19 – Blessing comes from obeying the LORD. (Haggai 2:18). Now what is the blessing: is it always health, wealth, and prosperity? LutheranSatire matched up present day “religious affirmations” with martyrs of church history in a provocative video. God’s blessings undo the ceremonial uncleanness (Haggai 2:13-14), and his chastening (Haggai 2:17).

Revelation 11:1 – We read about something similar in Ezekiel 40:3.

Revelation 11:3 – Who are the two witnesses? They have the power to shut heaven like Elijah (1 Kings 17:1), and their enemies are destroyed like Moses’ (Numbers 16:32).

Revelation 11:10 – Welcome to Alternative Christmas. Celebrating the death of the intolerant bigots. What could be more joyous than the termination of people who didn’t get along with the Antichrist’s political correctness?

Revelation 11:15The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ! And He shall reign for ever and ever! Hallelujah!


Psalm 139:1– Welcome to the greatest Psalm on omniscience. God knows me (Psalm 139:1), my goings (Psalm 139:2), my ways (Psalm 139:3), my words (Psalm 139:4). What is my response? Psalm 139:14 – I will praise thee!

Psalm 139:17 – This verse forms part of the chorus to I Have Been Blessed.


Psalm 139:23 – The song Search me, O God is based on these two verses.


Proverbs 30:16 – There is a harsh pain in those who want to have children but cannot, even from Biblical times (Genesis 30:1).

Daily Encouragement

December 19 – Zephaniah had the message that Jonah wanted!

December 19
Zephaniah 1:1-3:20
Revelation 10:1-11
Psalm 138:1-8
Proverbs 30:11-14 

Zephaniah 1:1 – There’s a debate as to whether Hezekiah, the ancestor of Zephaniah, was the King of Judah, if so – that would make him a cousin of Josiah.

Zephaniah 1:5 – Note what the LORD will judge – those who swear by the LORD and by Molech/Malcham. The lukewarm followers (Revelation 3:16) who try to hedge their bets, who halt between two opinions (1 Kings 18:21).

Zephaniah 1:17 – God judges those who “have sinned against the LORD” – sin has consequences!

Zephaniah 1:18 – Peter echoes this thought (1 Peter 1:18).

Zephaniah 2:3 – Seek ye the LORD – before the decree (Zephaniah 2:2). As Isaiah said, “Seek ye the LORD while He may be found!” (Isaiah 55:6).

Zephaniah 2:11 – The LORD is jealous.

Zephaniah 2:13 – Interesting to think of: Zephaniah had the message that Jonah wanted to have. Ninevah will be destroyed! But God gave the message to Zephaniah not to Jonah, and 100 years later than Jonah wanted. Jonah was bitter because he wanted God to act on his timetable not on the LORD’s. This verse helps us understand the “imprecatory Psalms” – it’s ok to hurt, to seek justice – but it must be on God’s time not ours (Psalm 90:4 / 2 Peter 3:8).

Zephaniah 3:2 – That’s a scary epithet on a tombstone: “she trusted not in the LORD.”

Zephaniah 3:9 – This verse hasn’t been fulfilled yet! Some day all will call upon the name of the LORD! The LORD will save! (Zephaniah 3:17).

Revelation 10:6 – Yes there is coming a day when time will be no more! This verse was included in the song, The Great Judgment Morning.


Psalm 138:2 – If you have the time, notice the similarities between this and Jonah 2:4 and Jonah 2:7.

Psalm 138:6 – We saw pride in Zephaniah 2:10 today, and we see it again here. God loves the lowly – not the proud.

Proverbs 30:13 – And if you didn’t notice the theme of the problem of pride – we have our Proverbs reading!

Daily Encouragement

December 18 – Who is the “doubting Thomas” of the Old Testament?

December 18
Habakkuk 1:1-3:19
Revelation 9:1-21
Psalm 137:1-9
Proverbs 30:10 

Habakkuk 1:1J. Vernon McGee has an interesting take on Habakkuk:

 I call him the doubting Thomas of the Old Testament because he had a question mark for a brain. His book is really unusual. It is not a prophecy in the strict sense of the term. It is somewhat like the Book of Jonah in that Habakkuk told of his own experience with God—his questions to God and God’s answers. 


You’ll notice that Jonah reads easier than Habakkuk – Jonah is in prose (story-form), and Habakkuk is in poetry (thought rhyme, not sound rhyme).

Habakkuk 1:4 – Most Bibles don’t include the quote marks to indicate the dialogue going on in this book. 

  • Habakkuk 1:1-4 – Habbakuk’s 1st Affirmative Constructive: “Judgment doth never go forth” (in contrast to Nahum’s recitation of judgment, Habbakuk says why isn’t it happening yet?).
  • Habakkuk 1:5-11 – The LORD’s reply: “I raise up the Chaldeans”
  • Habakkuk 1:12-2:1 – Habbakuk’s response: “the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?”
  • Habakkuk 2:2-20 – The LORD’s reply: “Because [Bablyon] hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee”
  • Habakkuk 3 – Habbakkuk’s prayer: “Revive thy work!… Yet I will rejoice in the LORD”

Habakkuk 2:4 – “The just shall live by his faith” is quoted in Hebrews 10:38, Romans 1:17, and Galatians 3:11.

Apocalypse 10. Destruction after the sounds of the fifth angel. Revelation cap 9 vv 1-12. Scheits. Phillip Medhurst Collection

Revelation 9:3 – Some people have identified the locusts with helicopters, and Revelation 9  with the gulf war. While the breastplate of iron and the sound of wings could fit, the heads, faces, hair, teeth, and tails don’t seem to fit. We need to make sure we’re reading the text, and not reading current events into the text (Nahum’s traffic prophecy).

Revelation 9:16 – In addition to the locusts, a 200 million man army is heading to slay a couple billion people (Revelation 9:18). Yet in spite of this, we see the same situation as in the Old Testament:

Revelation 9:20 – “yet repented not” of 1st, 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th Commandment sins.

Psalm 137:8 – Sounds a bit like Habakkuk – weeping about the suffering coming to Israel (Psalm 137:1), and looking forward to the Babylonians being destroyed. 

Psalm 137:9 – Sounds a little harsh, even for the Old Testament? GotQuestions notes that it shows a) total destruction, b) will be a fulfillment of Isaiah 13:16, c) is an expression of intense emotion, d) is restrained – not engaging in revenge himself (Romans 12:17) but leaving it to God.

Proverbs 30:10 – An ancient warning against “tattle-tales.” John Gill notes:

Doeg the Edomite accused David to Saul, and the Pharisees accused the disciples of Christ to their Master, ( 1 Samuel 22:9 ) ( Matthew 15:2 ) ; the apostle’s advice is good, and agrees with Agur’s, ( Romans 14:4 )


It also seems to address the universal problem of pride. Many of us try for superiority by any means – yet God continually warns about trying to puff ourselves up.

Daily Encouragement

December 17 -Nahum the Comforter brings Judgment to Ninevah.

December 17
Nahum 1:1-3:19
Revelation 8:1-13
Psalm 136:1-26
Proverbs 30:7-9 

Nahum 1:1 – Nahum means “comforter” – but there is little comfort in this book. We’ve jumped ahead 150 years since the book of Jonah. The revival faded away, the people forgot when they repented. J. Vernon McGee asks why Jonah was sent to Ninevah but Nahum just sent a letter? “Why doesn’t Nahum go? Because they have already had the light, and they’ve rejected it.”

Nahum 1:3 – “will not at all acquit the wicked” – we’re seeing the need for forensic justification (Jesus didn’t come to just make good people better, or poor people rich, but to set guilty people free!) outlined here. God cannot let guilty people go free – unless there is a substitute.

John MacArthur sees the qualities of the LORD in this chapter: “He is a God of inflexible justice, irresistible power and infinite mercy.”

Nahum 1:7 – How can a good God be furious like fire (Nahum 1:6)? 

“God has the absolute right to rule and authority over His creatures because He is God. He makes the laws, He determines the standard and He judges in terms of the results. He created everything at His own pleasure. He didn’t have to therefore He has the total and the perfect right to set the principles by which His creation must function.”


Nahum 1:11 – Contrast the wicked counsellor with the Wonderful Counsellor of Isaiah 9:6. A wicked counsellor plots evil against his Creator, a Wonderful Counsellor is the Creator reconnecting with His creation.

Nahum 1:15 – We’ll notice parallels between Nahum and Isaiah. Nahum 1:15 excerpts Isaiah 52:7. Nahum 3:5 references Isaiah 47:3.

Nahum 2:4John MacArthur jokes that this verse may be talking about Los Angeles traffic.

Nahum 3:4 – Notice the list of sins.  The 7th Commandment and Witchcraft (Exodus 22:18 / Deuteronomy 18:10). In Nahum 1:14 we’ve seen the 2nd Commandment, in Nahum 3:1 the Sixth, Ninth, and Eighth Commandment.  At the end of the chapter, we see the rhetorical question, “upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?”

Apocalypse 8. Opening the seals. Revelation cap 8 v 1-5. Mortier’s Bible. Phillip Medhurst Collection

Revelation 8:7 – We saw in Nahum that the LORD held all nations accountable for His laws, now we see Him judging all nations for their sins.  The Seven Seals now lead to the Seven Angels. Notice the universal nature of the judgment:

  • First Angel – 1/3 of Trees burnt up 
  • Second Angel – 1/3 of Sea becomes blood
  • Third Angel – 1/3 of Rivers became bitter
  • Fourth Angel – 1/3 of Sun became dark

Psalm 136:1 – We’re on the second lap thru the Psalms – remember Psalm 136? “for his mercy endureth forever.” While we’re on this lap, notice again the universal character of God.

  • God of gods, Lord of lords, that alone doeth great wonders (Psalm 136:2-4)
  • Made the heavens, the earth, the sun and the moon (Psalm 136:5-9)
  • Divided the Red Sea, and led Israel through it (Psalm 136:13-14)
  • Giveth food to all flesh (Psalm 136:25)

Our God is Great! Let’s thank the God of heaven! (Psalm 136:26).

Proverbs 30:9 – The dangers of poverty and riches.  Notice the conclusion – stealing is not just a violation of the 8th Commandment – but of the 3rd Commandment. Someone that claims to follow God but disobeys Him, takes the name of their God in vain.

Daily Encouragement

December 16 – Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with thy God!

December 16
Micah 5:1-7:20
Revelation 7:1-17
Psalm 135:1-21
Proverbs 30:5-6 

Micah 5:2 – Read thru this verse again. A promised ruler in Israel, that is from everlasting? Who can that be other than God? This is the promised Messiah! Coming from Bethlehem Ephratah!

People were aware of this prophecy in Jesus’ adult ministry (John 7:42) and this was part of the confusion – Jesus was thought to be from Galilee (John 7:41). The chief priests and scribes knew this when Jesus were born (Matthew 2:6). But when we look at Matthew 2:6 – it’s missing the last phrase: “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” That’s the key phrase in the verse – this is no mere created being, but the very Mighty God, Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6).

By the way – let’s compare the prophecies of the contemporaries Micah and Isaiah:

Isaiah 9Micah 5
“unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6)
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah…
out of thee shall he come
forth unto me” (Micah 5:2).
“the government shall be upon
his shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6)
“of the increase of his government…
there shall be no end” (Isaiah 9:7)
“that is to be ruler in Israel” (Micah 5:2)
“his name shall be called Wonderful,
Counseller (Isaiah 9:6)
“and he shall stand and feed” (Micah 5:4)
“the Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6)“in the strength of the LORD” (Micah 5:4)
“the Everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6)“whose goings forth have been from of old,
from everlasting (Micah 5:2)
“the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6)
“of the increase of his …peace… 
there shall be no end.” (Isaiah 9:7)
“and this man shall be the peace” (Micah 5:5)
“of the increase of his government … 
there shall be no end.” (Isaiah 9:7)
“for now shall he be great unto
the ends of the earth” (Micah 5:4)

Micah 5:5 – Jesus is the peace! He made peace thru the blood of his cross (Colossians 1:20). Then we see Micah shifting to the present day challenge of the Assyrians. “After the pattern of the prophets, Micah blended near and distant ages in his prophecy” (EnduringWord).

Micah 5:10-14 – Notice how the LORD is cleansing His people?  By going back to the law. Horses and chariots (Deuteronomy 17:16), witchcraft (Exodus 22:18, Deuteronomy 18:10), graven images (Exodus 20:4, Leviticus 26:1, Deuteronomy 5:8), groves (Exodus 34:13, Deuteronomy 7:5, Deuteronomy 12:3).

But why cities? The LORD destroyed cities before Israel (Sodom and Gomorrah –
Genesis 19:25), enlisted Israel in the destruction of the Canaanite cities (Numbers 21:2 and Joshua 6:17 – “accursed / under the ban“), and threatened to destroy rebellious cities (Leviticus 26:31-33). Destruction of cities is a “capital punishment” judgment for egregious sin, and we’ve seen the sins listed already.

Micah 6:8 – Micah has simplified the Old Testament law – the 613 commands of the Torah, the 10 Commandments of Moses, into the 3 requirements. Do Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly with thy God.

  • Do Justly – the “second tablet” of negative commandments – murder, steal, lie, covet, adultery (Exodus 20), not to mention the “divers weights” (Deuteronomy 25:13-14, Proverbs 20:10, Proverbs 20:23).
  • Love Mercy – the “positive” second greatest commandment – “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31). Mercy is the word “hesed” (see exposition at Ligonier).
  • Walk humbly with thy God – the “first tablet” of commandments – no other gods, no graven images, no name in vain, remembering the Sabbath (Exodus 20), not to mention literal “humility before God” (Exodus 10:3, Deuteronomy 8:2, 1 Kings 21:29, 2 Kings 22:29, 2 Chronicles 7:14, 2 Chronicles 12:7, 2 Chronicles 12:12, 2 Chronicles 34:27, Psalm 34:18, Psalm 51:17, Proverbs 29:23, Isaiah 57:15, Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 18:4, Matthew 23:12, Luke 14:11, Luke 18:14, James 4:6, James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:5-6).

Micah 7:2-3 –  The world hasn’t changed much. “there is none upright among men… that they may do evil with both hands.”

Micah 7:6 – Jesus referred to this in Matthew 10:35.

Micah 7:9 – Even for those who have sinned against the LORD, God will hear (Micah 7:7), if we will repent – not avoiding the consequences but bearing them. As Micah concludes, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity?” (Micah 7:18). He will have compassion! (Micah 7:19). And will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19). Yes my sins have been cast in the depth of the sea! Down, deep in the sea! Join Martha and Bradley Garvin as they perform.


Revelation 7:4 – No the 144,000 are not the number of people who will reign with Christ (Got Questions). 

Revelation 7:17 – Yes there is coming a day when no heartaches shall come, no more clouds in the sky, no more tears to dim the eye. All is peace forever more, On that happy golden shore. What a day, glorious day, that will be!


Psalm 135:5What a mighty God we serve!


Proverbs 30:5 – We are holding the pure Words of God in our hands! Thank God that we have His Word!

Daily Encouragement

December 15 -Migdal Eder, Tower of the Flock

December 15
Micah 1:1-4:13
Revelation 6:1-17
Psalm 134:1-3
Proverbs 30:1-4 

Micah 1:1 –  Micah is a contemporary of Isaiah – he was around in the days of  Hezekiah. Notice that even during good king Hezekiah, Samaria (capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel) and Jerusalem (capitol of the southern Kingdom of Judah) still had sin problems.

Micah 1:13 – Micah is warning Lachish of coming judgment – this was fulfilled when Sennacherib destroyed Lachish as he moved toward Jerusalem.

Tel Lachish ruins

Micah 2:2 – “even a man and his heritage” – This is written 100 years after 1 Kings 21:3 , where Naboth refused to sell “the inheritance of my fathers” to Ahab. In Joshua 18-19 (that was a while back!) we read about the division of the land. The LORD God used up two chapters of Scripture to assign property – it must be important to Him – and yet constantly people are trying to redraw maps to benefit themselves.

Micah 3:4 – The scariest verses in the Bible talk about people crying “unto the LORD, but He will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time.” Let’s turn to God while we still can, before it’s too late! Learn more at 2019pray.org

Micah 3:11 – They are violating some of the oldest commands in the Bible (Exodus 23:8).

Micah 3:12 – This prophecy was quoted in Jeremiah 26:18. In the days of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah prophesied against Jerusalem and the leadership wanted to execute Jeremiah (Jeremiah 26:11). But the “cooler heads” (see Gamaliel in Acts 5:34) pointed out the precedent (Jeremiah 26:17-19) of not executing prophets. By way of context, this was in the days of Hezekiah that the judges were corrupt and the priests were for pay. Even though Hezekiah cleaned up the temple, it appears he let things go 

Micah 4:1 – Remember Micah preceded Daniel (even though Daniel’s book comes first). Micah is prophesying the “mountain of the house of the LORD.” This mountain would be seen by Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2:35 and explained in Daniel 2:45.

Micah 4:3 – This verse  is almost identical to his contemporary Isaiah in Isaiah 2:4. Outside  the UN headquarters is a statute of beating swords into plowshares, but that is not yet fulfilled! We can’t do that with human strength, we need the Prince of Peace!

Micah 4:4 – “Under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid.” We saw this phrase used once – in 1 Kings 4:25 under Solomon. (In the apocrypha – 1 Maccabees 14:12 – they claim that this was the status under Simon). George Washington loved this phrase according to Dan Dreisbach, author of Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers. From the Library of Congress:

In his letters he referred often, as an expression of this devotion and its resulting contentment, to an Old Testament passage. After the Revolution, when he had returned to Mount Vernon, he wrote the Marquis de Lafayette on Feb. 1, 1784: “At length my Dear Marquis I am become a private citizen on the banks of the Potomac, & under the shadow of my own Vine & my own Fig-tree.” This phrase occurs at least 11 times in Washington’s letters. “And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree” (2 Kings 18:31).


Micah 4:8 – The “Tower of the flock” is where the King will come. From Jimmy DeYoung:

Author’s photo, model “tower of the flock” in Israel.

Micah 4:8 says that the Messiah’s birth at Migdal Eder, the tower of the flock, is evidence that Jesus will one day come back to Jerusalem and set up his kingdom. The tower of the flock, Migdal Eder, is at the edge of the Shepherd’s fields where Priestly Shepherd’s watched over their lambs that were to be sacrificed at the Temple about three  miles away in Jerusalem. Therefore, the sacrificial lamb, Jesus Christ, had to be born at Migdal Eder.


Revelation 6:9 – “slain for the word of God.” We’ve put together on Facebook a small collection of people throughout history who have been “slain for the word of God.” 

Revelation 6:12 – This was prophesied of in Joel 2:31, and reiterated in Acts 2:20. 

Revelation 6:16 – The first coming of the Lamb was the silent sacrifice (Isaiah 53:7). The second coming of the Lamb is the forewarned wrath.

Psalm 134:1-2Behold, Bless Ye the Lord is a song based on these two verses.


Proverbs 30:4 – From EnduringWord:

c. His Son’s name: Agur knew there was something special about the Son of God. We don’t know to what extent he prophetically anticipated the Messiah, God the Son, Jesus Christ – but Agur knew that God had a Son, and the Son had a name.

Daily Encouragement

December 14 – Jonah (my favorite OT book)

December 14
Jonah 1:1-4-11
Revelation 5:1-14
Psalm 133:1-3
Proverbs 29:26-27 

Jonah 1:1 – This wasn’t the first prophetic message of Jonah.  He was a popular prophet of victory, and we know he’s from Gath Hepher and that Jonah is a contemporary of Jeroboam II who reigned from 793-753 BC (2 Kings 14:23)

Jonah 1:2 – Why is Jonah afraid of preaching to Ninevah? It was the Assyrian hub, would grow into the largest city in the world during the 7th century BC. The Assyrians were a particularly brutal people, here’s an example of their artwork commemorating their victories.

Author’s photo, Oriental Institiute
Author’s Photo, Oriental Institute

The Assyrians in just a generation would brutally conquer the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC.

Jonah 1:3 – Count the times the word “down” is found. Down to Joppa, Down into the ship. Down into the sides (Jonah 1:5). Down to the bottoms of the mountains (Jonah 2:6).

Jonah 1:4 – Let’s count who all obeys the Lord in this book:

  • The wind & the sea (Jonah 1:4, Jonah 1:15)
  • The lots (Jonah 1:7)
  • The crew (Jonah 1:16)
  • The great fish (Jonah 1:17, Jonah 2:10)
  • The people of Ninevah (Jonah 3:5)
  • The King of Ninevah (Jonah 3:6-7)
  • The gourd (Jonah 4:6)
  • The worm (Jonah 4:7)
  • The east wind (Jonah 4:8)

Jonah obeys eventually, but reluctantly.

Jonah 1:5

Jonah 1:9 – Does Jonah really fear the LORD God? The mariners appear to fear the Lord more  (Jonah 1:10, Jonah 1:14) and then fear the LORD “exceedingly” (Jonah 1:16).

Jonah 1:13 – Doesn’t this picture look like us in our lives before we met Christ? The prospects look dim, our fear is great, our possessions are worthless (Jonah 1:5), and we need supernatural help (Jonah 1:15). The Psalmist writes about a similar situation (Psalm 107:28-29). Peter knew of Jonah and the Psalmist, and when in a similar situation, effectively declared Jesus to be the LORD God of Israel (Matthew 14:28).

Jonah 2:6 – From ICR: “bottoms of the mountains. In Jonah’s day, so far as we know, men had no means to explore the sea floor, yet Jonah somehow knew that mountains had “roots” extending deep into the earth’s crust. In fact, this may even be another way of referring to his descent into “hell.”

Jonah 2:7 – Like Hezekiah, Jonah prayed only when it was pretty late in the game.

Jonah 3:4 – Notice his message was just 8 words. 

Jonah 4:2 – Jonah is quoting Joel 2:13 almost verbatim! Joel was written about 50 years before Jonah’s ministry. Jonah isn’t just a mouthpiece for the LORD – he’s able to quote Scripture verbatim!

Jonah 4:11 – Jesus loves the little children, yes all the children of the world! 

Revelation 5:5 – Ron Hamilton wrote a great song based on this verse, reminding us not to weep because of the Lamb!


Revelation 5:12-13 – George Frederic Handel incorporated this text into Handel’s Messiah.


Revelation 5:14 – The only one to be worshipped is the LORD God. See Revelation 22:9, Matthew 4:10, Luke 4:8, Romans 1:25, Colossians 2:18.

Psalm 133:1 – May we be united in the truth and living in peace (Ephesians 4:3). Sadly quarrelsome brethren have destroyed many a church.

Proverbs 29:27 – You can’t make everyone happy! Better to have the right kind of enemies than the wrong kind of friends!

Daily Encouragement

December 13 – The Anonymous Prophets

December 13
Obadiah 1:1-21
Revelation 4:1-11
Psalm 132:1-18
Proverbs 29:24-25 

Obadiah 1:1 – From J. Vernon McGee:

The name Obadiah means “servant of Jehovah.” He is one of four prophets about whom we know absolutely nothing except that he wrote prophecy. The other three prophets are Habakkuk, Haggai, and Malachi. These four prophets are cloaked in anonymity. Obadiah is like a ghost writer in that he is there, but we do not know him. He lived up to his name, for he was a servant of Jehovah. A servant boasts of no genealogy neither exploits nor experiences. He doesn’t push himself forward. He has to demonstrate by what he does that he can even claim the place of a servant. So Obadiah is just a prophet who wrote one of the great prophecies of the Scripture.


Obadiah 1:4 – The LORD is serious about pride. Why? It can lead to violations of every commandment. And everything we have to be proud of, is given to us from Him. So is the root of pride ingratitude?

Obadiah 1:12 – Speaking of pride, this specific type of pride is known in German as schadenfreude. 

Obadiah 1:21 – Amos was a Judean sent to the Northern Kingdom. Obadiah was sent to Edom. Jonah was sent to Ninevah. Notice that God is implying that His standards are not local/tribal but universal. That assumes that those without specific revelation are accountable – i.e. general revelation is enough to condemn them (Paul will amplify this point in Romans 2:15).

Revelation 4:1 – That’s a strange thing – a door opens in heaven and John is told to come up to the door! How could he? He didn’t – God told Him what He would do – and then proceeded to do it. Just like the rest of Revelation – God is telling us what He will do, and He is getting ready to do it!

By the way, we’ve read about this in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. A voice like a trumpet will call out “Come up hither,” and then we will be caught up like John was. 


Revelation 4:4 – Who are the four and twenty elders?  The 12 Tribes and the 12 Apostles – united together in the day when “all Israel shall be saved.” (Romans 11:26).

Revelation 4:6 – Yes one day we can sing HIs praise as we gather by the crystal sea.


Revelation 4:11 – This is a great verses to meditate on. Thou Art Worthy is almost word perfect KJV, and great for meditating.


Psalm 132:12 – Notice the conditions of the Davidic Covenant. In Psalm 132:11 we see that the LORD swore that He will set David’s children on the throne, but He did not say which ones. In Jeremiah 22:30, for example, God says Jehoiachin’s line is over.

Proverbs 29:24 – As we say today, “There is no honor among thieves.”

Daily Encouragement

December 12 – Amos and the Famine of the Word of the LORD

December 12
Amos 7:1-9:15
Revelation 3:7-22
Psalm 131:1-3
Proverbs 29:23 

Amos 7:3 – Notice how powerful prayer is? God’s judgment by grasshoppers was stopped. Judgment by fire was stopped in Amos 7:6. Similar to Abraham in Genesis 18:16-33. Prayer changes things. If you have been praying for God’s mercy on America – we’ve seen it in His continued protection. But let’s make use of this window of opportunity!

Amos 7:10 – Sadly today we have false doctrine spread by our political establishment. Baptismal regeneration was taught at President George H.W. Bush’s funeral. This is no different from today.  J. Vernon McGee does a masterful job visualizing this story happening today – below is merely an excerpt, I encourage you to read his whole description of this situation.

Amos preached the Word of God. Many people were moved, and some turned to God; but he disturbed the liberal element. Organized religion in Bethel, the worship of Baal and of the golden calf, got together. They had the ecumenical movement going there, so they had the same program. If you don’t believe anything, my friend, there is nothing to keep you apart. If I don’t believe anything and you don’t believe anything, we can get together. That is the ecumenical movement, and it was going great guns even in that day….

They had a mass meeting of all the religions in Bethel—it was really the first meeting of the World Council of Churches—and the motto of this first meeting was, “Away with Amos, away with Amos.” And the inevitable happened at this meeting: they appointed a committee chairman, Amaziah, to go and confront Amos. Amaziah was a priest who had gone into idolatry. (Does all of this sound modern to you? It’s the same old story; we think it’s modern, but this sort of thing has been happening ever since man got out of the Garden of Eden.) Amaziah was the hired hand of religion. He was polished, he was educated, he was proud, he was scholarly, he was pious, and he was a classic example of a pseudosaint.


Amos 7:12 – Amos is dismissed and told to flee (reminds me of Psalm 11:1) to Judah where he can earn a living preaching to a receptive audience. But Amos cannot go – the LORD said these are His people (Amos 7:15). Notice that phrase “prophesy unto my people Israel.” God loves His wayward people. We are commanded to preach to His people!

Amos 8:5 – Notice the two things that distress the Almighty. They observed the Sabbath (4th Commandment) physically, but not with their heart. They violated the 8th Commandment thru the false balance. Notice how often this is condemned in Scripture (Leviticus 19:35-36, Deuteronomy 25:13-16, Proverbs 11:1, Proverbs 16:11, Proverbs 20:10, Proverbs 20:23, Ezekiel 45:10-12, Hosea 12:7, Micah 6:10-11).

Amos 8:11 – US Senator Zell Miller (D-Georgia) quoted this verse in 2004 and talked about the famine of the word of the LORD in America today on the floor of the US Senate (watch on C-SPAN).

Amos 9:3 – Why does God talk about the top of Carmel? Because it is high above Israel and has an incredible view. Near the statute of Elijah commemorating his defeat of the prophets of Baal, is the peak of the mountain. Yours truly took this panorama photo from the top of Carmel.

View from Mount Carmel, photo by the Author

Amos 9:10 – The sad truth is that sinners will die. Eternal death is awaiting, yet if we repent and turn to Jesus we can enjoy incredible promises! Amos 9:13 – there will not be time enough to gather in the overabundant harvest that is coming! God’s judgment will come to an end (Amos 9:15).

Revelation 3:8 – We don’t have to have a lot of strength, we just need to keep His Word and go forward!

Revelation 3:10 – John Ankerberg talks with both John Walvoord and Jimmy DeYoung about this verse, that it outlines the case for the “secret rapture,” a pejorartive according to GotQuestions.

Revelation 3:17 – The Laodiceans are similar to the Israelites – they are unaware of their spiritual condition – “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” The answer is again repentance (Revelation 3:19).

Revelation 3:20 – Jesus wants to dine with you!

Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20

Psalm 131:1 – Remember James 4:6?

Proverbs 29:23 – And yet another warning on pride!