Saturday, November 29, 2014

DBRP_Nov30_2014 Est5-6 Is41b 2Thes2

In Esther 3-4 Haman cast lots (purim) to find out that March 7 was the lucky date to exterminate the Jews. Mordecai requested that Esther intercede directly to the king. And the only way to do that would endanger Esther herself, since no one was allowed to approach the king in the inner court uninvited.


Did you notice that in Isaiah 41, we heard about something Daniel predicted as well?

2 “Who has stirred up this king from the east,

rightly calling him to God’s service?

Who gives this man victory over many nations

and permits him to trample their kings underfoot?

With his sword, he reduces armies to dust.

With his bow, he scatters them like chaff before the wind.

3 He chases them away and goes on safely,

though he is walking over unfamiliar ground.

4 Who has done such mighty deeds,

summoning each new generation from the beginning of time?

It is I, the LORD, the First and the Last.

I alone am he.”

That king from the east was Alexander the Great. And why did the sovereign Lord decide that? The account does not tell us. But history does. It seems to have been God’s plan to extend Greek language and culture and infrastructure to enable the spread of the Gospel when the King of Kings would appear.


In preparing for his topic of Christ’s return, in 2 Thes1 Paul mentioned the punishment of people who refuse to obey the Good News about Christ. They will ‘suffer’ or ‘pay the penalty of eternal destruction’. Note that if people are going to be burned up in hell, or if God’s punishment was simply that people would cease to exist, it would not be called ‘suffer eternal destruction’. This understanding is not just a doctrine. It turns out that this gives great comfort to those who are suffering persecution, and gives a great motivation to all of us for sharing the Good News.



Check out this episode!

Friday, November 28, 2014

DBRP_Nov29_2014 Est3-4 Is41a 2Thes1

I thank Ashlee Smith for recording the part of Esther. Ashlee has often been heard in smaller parts without introduction this year. She directs our church’s program for children and also is the secretary. I thank her also for preparing the PDF files for the podcasts while I was in Indonesia in September and October.


Yesterday we heard how Esther became the queen, and how she continued to keep her Jewish background a secret. We also heard how Mordecai, her uncle, was promoted to a palace official after uncovering a plot to assassinate king Xerxes.




The shift to such beautiful poetry that occurs in chapter 40 of Isaiah is one of the things that has made people think the last part of this book was authored by someone else. But that is the silliness of worldly-minded people. As I have pointed out as we have gone along, Isaiah has made beautiful and memorize-able verses from the beginning. And Isaiah’s amazing predictions about the Messiah are not just found in chapter 53, as we heard again yesterday.




Today we start 2nd Thessalonians. We read 1st Thessalonians starting in the last two days of August— for those few of you who are in sync with our calendar. (By the way, next year should I hook readings to a calendar, or just have Day 1, Day 2, etc.?)


2 Thes. seems to have been written soon after the first letter, around 51AD. Paul was evidently still at Corinth. And the letter seems to have been written to clarify a very important points about Christ’s second coming. This letter contains some of the clearest teaching about the antichrist, although Paul does not use that term.


Constable’s notes say, “Paul wrote to encourage the Thessalonian believers to continue to persevere in the face of continuing persecution (1:3-10). He also wanted to clarify events preceding the day of the Lord to dispel false teaching (2:1-12). Finally, he instructed the church how to deal with lazy Christians in their midst (3:6-15).” Constable’s notes can be found at




3Dear brothers and sisters,c we can’t help but thank God for you, because [you so fully believe in Christ//your faith is flourishing] and your love for one another is growing.

11So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your [full belief in Christ//faith] prompts you to do.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

DBRP_Nov28_2014 Est1-2 Is40b Philemon

In the final two chapters of Nehemiah, we heard of the culmination of Nehemiah’s work— the ceremony for the dedication of the wall. The people proved that the wall could stand up to more than just a fox walking on it. Then Nehemiah went back to Babylon. When he came back to Jerusalem, he needed to right several wrongs, as the people had allowed a deterioration in the temple worship.


We now turn to the book of Esther, which may have been written by Mordecai (a major character in the book), or by Ezra or Nehemiah, who would have known this story. The king Xerxes was defeated in a famous naval battle against Greece. From the historian Herodotus we find that the feast mentioned in the first chapter of Esther was the occasion for planning that battle. Esther has been compared to Joseph and David. She also started out as just an ordinary person, but God planned something great for her.


The Jews always read the book of Esther in the celebration of Purim. Whenever Heman’s name is mentioned the people boo and shake rattles or noisemakers to drown out his name.




We return to Isaiah 40. I stopped our reading yesterday at verse 17. Three memorable musical compositions in Handel’s Messiah are taken from just verses 1-11. Today I will start in verse 12.




In chapter 4 of Colossians we heard Paul encourage alertness in prayer and making the most of every opportunity to share the Good News. Our speech should be (literally translated ‘seasoned with salt’. NLT does a nice job translating that meaningfully as ‘attractive’.


Along with other people, Onesimus was mentioned at the end of Colossians. He was the slave of Philemon. We will read that letter now. I wish that we knew if Onesimus was so attracted to the Gospel after over-hearing Paul speak at Philemon’s house that he ran away to search for Paul when he was under house arrest in Rome. Or did Onesimus just run away as any ordinary slave might do and just ‘happen’ to ‘end up’ in prison with Paul in Rome? Each story would be fascinating!


One of my spiritual fathers was Dr. Glen Zumwalt, who taught aeronautical engineering at Wichita State University and was the faculty advisor for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Whenever Glen had the opportunity to do a one-off Bible study, he picked Philemon. I think I heard him lead a Bible study on this book four times. He always showed how this little book is a picture of the Gospel. Philemon is in the place of God. Paul is an advocate like Jesus. And picture yourself in the position of a runaway slave.

Check out this episode!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

DBRP_Nov27_2014 Neh12-13 Is40a Col4

Happy Thanksgiving!


In yesterday’s chapters in Nehemiah, we heard the names of the various religious and civil leaders who signed the statement of commitment to follow Moses’ Law, which was almost certainly penned by Ezra. Then there was a listing of the various leaders and clans that volunteered or were chosen by lot to live in Jerusalem.




I always am very disappointed with Hezekiah when he does not pray and ask the Lord to not allow Jerusalem to be conquered by Babylon and not to allow his sons to become eunuchs in Babylon’s palace. God had already responded amazingly to him in answering his prayers. The New Testament teaches us to be alert in prayer, and I think that includes being alert to what to pray.


Today we start the glorious final section of Isaiah, with favorite words set to music in Handel’s Messiah.





Our resurrection to new life because of being one with Christ is not just being raised from death to this earth. We get raised right to heaven. Our real life is ‘hidden’ with Christ. The picture continues with our bodies and evil desires being pictured like clothes. We put off the old life like old clothes and put on the new life like clothes.


Yesterday’s chapter ended with instructions for wives, husbands, children, fathers, and slaves. Today’s chapter continues with the instruction to masters.


Check out this episode!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

DBRP_Nov26_2014 Neh10-11 Is39 Col3

The returned exiles showed how sincere they were in following the Lord! They gathered together for the express purpose of hearing the Law. By this time their language had changed so much that they needed 13 Levites to explain what was said in the readings. The people wept because they realized how far they were from obeying the Law of Moses, and also for joy in hearing it. One month later, the leaders gathered to explore the Law in more detail, and they found that Israel had always neglected celebrating the Festival of Shelters. They did that for the prescribed week. Ezra read the Law to the people every day. Then afterward, the was a meeting for confessing their sins including the long prayer in chapter 9. This seems to have been an extra event, about one week after the Festival of Shelters was over. After that prayer,


38eThe people responded, “In view of all this,f we are making a solemn promise and putting it in writing. On this sealed document are the names of our leaders and Levites and priests.”



After the prophet Isaiah told Hezekiah that he would die, in 2nd King’s 20 we are told that Isaiah only managed to get to the middle courtyard when the Lord’s message came answering Hezekiah’s prayer. 15 years were added to Hezekiah’s life, and he receive the promise that the Assyrian king would not conquer Jerusalem. In his poem of thanks, Hezekiah said:

15But what could I say?

For [God/he] himself sent this sickness.

Now I will walk humbly throughout my years

because of this anguish I have felt.




Note the distinction about old Jewish religious laws that Paul makes, comparing them with true Biblical Christianity. Those old religious regulations had no ability to help one conquer our persistent evil desires. Following the teachings in the New Testament does allow us to be freed from bondage to evil desires. This deliverance happens when we understand, believe, and meditate upon spiritual realities such as these:  (2:13-15, 20-23)

13You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15In this way, he disarmedd the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

20You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21“Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? 22Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. 23These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.




Check out this episode!

Monday, November 24, 2014

DBRP_Nov25_2014 Neh8-9 Is38 Col2

Nehemiah 7 ends with an incomplete sentence in our translation. That chapter dealt with listing the various families and temple workers who came back after exile. And the transition to the next events as we heard yesterday starts like this:

73 So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Temple servants, and some of the common people settled near Jerusalem. The rest of the people returned to their own towns throughout Israel. In October, when the Israelites had settled in their towns,


In chapter 37 yesterday, we heard of Hezekiah’s triumph through his prayer. As we have seen before in Isaiah (and not just in Isaiah’s message to the king), this defeat was prophesied, and we heard the fulfillment yesterday.


After that wonderful poem in Colossians chapter 1— which I can barely resist reading to you a second time, Paul says these things:

21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

Then in talking about the revelation of the Good News, he says,

 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

Check out this episode!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

DBRP_Nov24_2014 Neh7 Is37 Col1

Yesterday we heard how Nehemiah stood up for all the people in financial difficulty. The nobles were rich, and everyone else was suffering,—some even having no option but to sell their children into slavery. He convinced the nobles to forgive debts, and had them take a solemn oath about that. The wall was finished in just 52 days, but Nehemiah was getting more and more threats from Sanballat and his cronies.


We heard the challenge and mocking of the Assyrian chief of staff who brought the Assyrian King’s message to Jerusalem with a huge show of force. The challenge was shouted out in Hebrew for all the people to hear. What a thing to happen to a king that 2Kings 18 praises with these words:

1Hezekiah son of Ahaz began to rule over Judah in the third year of King Hoshea’s reign in Israel. 2He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah,athe daughter of Zechariah. 3He did what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done. 4He removed the pagan shrines, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because the people of Israel had been offering sacrifices to it. The bronze serpent was called Nehushtan.b

5Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after his time. 6He remained faithful to the LORD in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the LORD had given Moses.


We finished the wonderful book of Philippians yesterday. I count three wonderful promises in that 4th chapter. But note: This time I feel that all of them are really conditional promises— even the last one. If we are going to have God’s peace with us, guarding our hearts and minds, and if we want God to supply our needs, then we must give attention to how Paul told the Philippians to live and what they were doing in support of Paul’s mission.


I encourage everyone to spend more time looking at the treasures of Philippians, and the same goes for the book we start today— Colossians. I have named the next year’s podcast program Digging Deeper Daily. Especially if you feel like your spiritual life seems to be repeatedly short-circuited, dig deeper in these two books.


Colossians was written around the same time as Philippians, and Philemon was a member of this church. This letter has another wonderful poetic portion in chapter one exalting Christ. In all of my recent presentations in Indonesian seminaries, I have introduced our translation by reading Colossians 2 and the first part of chapter 3. The things Indonesians don’t understand in their Bibles— and the things I hope you will understand in the NLT, are spiritual realities. The things that are true of us spiritually which cannot be seen with physical eyes. If we understand those things, we get the opportunity to believe them. If we believe them, we can meditate on them. If we meditate on them, we find them working powerfully in our lives to transform us and release us from our persistent sinful cravings.

Check out this episode!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

DBRP_Nov23_2014 Neh5-6 Is36 Php4

Yesterday Nehemiah gave a listing of the people who rebuilt the wall. This included Shallum and his daughters, and two named goldsmiths, merchants, and priests. The residents of the land opposed to the construction were threatening violence, so the people armed themselves and had men on guard at all times. Nehemiah and his men stayed fully armed at all times, even when they ‘went for water’— which I take as a euphemism for going potty.

Nehemiah 5-6


It was interesting to find this verse among many beautiful portions in chapter 35:

3With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands,

and encourage those who have weak knees.

This verse was probably in the mind of the writer of Hebrews in chapter 13. And in fact, the Holy Highway and its destination is very much like the ‘place’ we ‘come to’ in Hebrews 13!


Today we start on the prose portion of Isaiah from chapters 36-39.

Isaiah 36


I have found deep meaning and great spiritual help from the portion around verse 13 in chapter 3. And I am certainly not alone in that. This would be one of the most quoted verses in this letter:

 13No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved [perfection//it],d but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.


15Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things... 

Philippians 4

Check out this episode!

Friday, November 21, 2014

DBRP_Nov22_2014 Neh3-4 Is35 Php3

After Nehemiah’s wonderful prayer for Jerusalem, more than three months went by before the king noticed him looking sad. He says he had never before looked sad, so he must have waited. God must have been in the timing, because the king wonderfully agreed to help Nehemiah in every way. And the leaders in Jerusalem also were enthusiastic in their acceptance of his proposal to rebuild the walls.

Yesterday we heard that the land of Edom would become an eternal waste land and a home for owls and other creatures. I take it that the locations would be in modern-day Jordan, and GoogleMaps shows almost nothing green in that whole area.
Yesterday we heard Paul’s wonderful poem of praise about Christ’s humility and subsequent exaltation to the highest place. And we heard this promise:
13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

DBRP_Nov21_2014 Neh1-2 Is34 Php2

The returned exiles responded to Ezra’s shock and demonstration of his sorrow, and his prayer of repentance. The book ended with the names of those who were found guilty of forbidden marriages. Note that these are not just names of the guilty, but names of those who repented and sacrificed to God. They are the names of the forgiven.
As I said just a few days ago, the book of Nehemiah was, according to Jewish tradition, written by Ezra, and this book was originally bundled with the book of Ezra. Nehemiah and Ezra had to have been close friends. If Ezra wrote the book, he did so as one writing Nehemiah’s testimony, since Nehemiah speaks in the first person throughout the book. Nehemiah is a wonderful example of a man living in prayerful trust of the Lord, and a man willing to take on huge tasks because of his full belief in God. He is a wonderful example of a leader who does not take advantage of his position to enrich himself, but works for the good of all the people.
Amid the statements of judgment for Assyria, we still have amazing prophecies in Isaiah. From chapter 33, here are two:

17 Your eyes will see the king in all his splendor,
24 The people of Israel will no longer say,
“We are sick and helpless,”for the LORD will forgive their sins.
Here is a promise to claim from the first chapter of Philippians:

6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Check out this episode!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

DBRP_Nov20_2014 Ezr9-10 Is33 Php1

Yesterday we heard how Ezra introduced himself. Note that he spoke of himself in the 3rd person, but finally resorted to ‘I’. King Artaxerxes was certainly impressed by Ezra! Ezra was given  everything he could have wanted, guaranteeing full government support of the temple worship in every way. Note how methodical Ezra was, making sure that he took Levites and temple servants along. His total party must have been at least 1,000 men, so with women and children, it would have been quite a group. And evidently others were coming back separately as well.
Having eyes to see and ears to hear is a theme in Isaiah, and remember what Jesus always said, “You got ears, don’t ya? Well then use them!” So this part of yesterday’s reading bears repeating:
1 Look, a righteous king is coming!
And honest princes will rule under him.
2 Each one will be like a shelter from the wind
and a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert
and the shadow of a great rock in a parched land.
3 Then everyone who has eyes will be able to see the truth,
and everyone who has ears will be able to hear it.
As we closed 2nd Corinthians yesterday, I emphasized how Paul so clearly loved the Corinthian believers. Now in Philippians, written around the year 61 when Paul was under house arrest in Rome, we have a love letter to the Philippian church. However unlike 2nd Corinthians, in this letter there is no scolding. This is a prison letter. Paul has suffered so much! Yet there is such a tone of joy in this letter from beginning to end. One is reminded that it was in Philippi where Paul and Silas were unjustly beaten and put in the lowest dungeon, but were singing praise in the middle of the night. 
This letter includes Paul’s wonderful poem of praise that portrays the humility of Christ and the final outcome of his self-sacrifice. And in this letter Paul exhorts us to imitate Christ in his humility. This also means that we should forgive one another and strive for unity. Note the example of the Euodia and Syntyche in chapter 4.
This letter holds some of the most precious promises in Scripture. Let’s find them and claim them!

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

DBRP_Nov19_2014 Ezr7-8 Is32 2Cor13

Yesterday we read of how King Darius completely sided with the Israelites seeking to reestablish the temple worship. Note that the letter to Darius from the government officials was rather complementary and not threatening loss to the king’s interests as the letter from the earlier officials. Remember also that this King Darius is the one who was duped into putting Daniel into the lions’ den, and who then issued a decree that everyone must respect Daniel’s God.


Isaiah’s prophecy in yesterday’s reading certainly came true!

8 “The Assyrians will be destroyed,

but not by the swords of men.

The sword of God will strike them,

and they will panic and flee.

That happened on the night recorded in 2Kings 19 where the Lord put to death 185,000 men. Quote, “When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere.”


Paul continues to speak about what he hopes NOT to find when he comes this time to visit. Continuing from yesterday’s last paragraph,

Paul was saying:

19 Perhaps you think we’re saying these things just to defend ourselves. No, we tell you this as Christ’s servants, and with God as our witness. Everything we do, dear friends, is to strengthen you. 20 For I am afraid that when I come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior. 21 Yes, I am afraid that when I come again, God will humble me in your presence. And I will be grieved because many of you have not given up your old sins. You have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.

This chapter 13 is another good place to tout the virtues of the New Living Translation. Paul uses the word ‘test’ in three different senses in this chapter. This makes several verses hard to understand in a literal translation. The NLT has done a good job helping the reader understand the senses in which Paul uses that word.

Check out this episode!

Monday, November 17, 2014

DBRP_Nov18_2014 Ezr5-6 Is31 2Cor12

When the Israelites returned from exile, they were determined to get worship started again, and they made great progress, not waiting for the temple to be repaired in order to start sacrifices on an altar built upon the old location. They made a fast start to building too. But then opposition developed, and several Persian kings later the progress was halted.


One of the great verses from yesterday’s reading was this:

15 This is what the Sovereign LORD,

the Holy One of Israel, says:

“Only in returning to me

and resting in me will you be saved.

In quietness and confidence is your strength.

But you would have none of it.

And here is a good summary verse:

18 So the LORD must wait for you to come to him

so he can show you his love and compassion.

For the LORD is a faithful God.

Blessed are those who wait for his help.


Yes, Paul took his gloves off yesterday and was forced to talk like a madman. I like how some of Paul’s statements drip with irony in that section. And you gotta believe that is hard to translate! 

This is another chapter break in an awkward location. Especially the last paragraph from yesterday’s reading needs to be connected with today’s chapter. 

30 If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am. 31God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, who is worthy of eternal praise, knows I am not lying. 32 When I was in Damascus, the governor under King Aretas kept guards at the city gates to catch me. 33 I had to be lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall to escape from him.

Check out this episode!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

DBRP_Nov17_2014 Ezr3-4 Is30 2Cor11

Yesterday in Ezra we heard about Cyrus’ decree to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, the return of the temple treasures that were taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, and the first large wave of returning exiles and their gifts to God.


Yesterday’s reading in Isaiah included several verses quoted in the New Testament about Israel’s hypocrisy. Then at the end, did you catch who Isaiah was talking about?

18 In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book,

and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness.

20 The scoffer will be gone,

the arrogant will disappear,

Isaiah was not talking about healing for ordinary deaf, blind people, not ordinary scoffers or arrogant people, but he was talking about those people previously mentioned: The Israelites who refused to open their ears or open their eyes, those who refused to read a book given to them, and yet were arrogant scoffers.


Up to yesterday’s reading, Paul has been more reserved in criticising the men who have come masquerading as apostles. Those men have been more forceful speakers than Paul, and it has seemed that Paul is only bold in his letters. He said,

12 Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are!

But we will see that Paul takes his gloves off as we go forward. Yet, what he boasts about follows that verse he quoted from Jeremiah:

 17 As the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”

Check out this episode!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

DBRP_Nov16_2014 Ezr1-2 Is29 2Cor10

There is much for digging deeper in the last two chapters of Daniel. History tells about those kings, and we know from what Jesus said and what is written in Revelation, that God plans for history to repeat itself. The main take away points are clear, just as they are in Revelation: Blessed are those who endure and live wise and holy lives.


It is a great time now to return to the three small remaining books of history left for us to read, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. These books allow us to see the fulfilment of prophecies we have read about. King Cyrus was one of the kings served by Daniel and alluded to in his prophetic visions. Now, in Ezra, we will read Cyrus’ proclamation, which is in accordance with Jeremiah’s prophecy about the 70 year duration of the exile in Babylonia. And we haven’t read it yet, but Isaiah specifically names Cyrus twice. Isaiah wrote those prophecies some 150 to 200 years before Cyrus was born.


Ezra, a scribe and priest, doesn’t start speaking about himself until chapter 7. Originally the books of Ezra and Nehemiah were one book, and Jewish tradition holds that Ezra wrote both of them. The dates of writing are somewhere between 458 and 420 BC. Ezra deals with two periods of time: The rebuilding of the temple, and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.



The advantage of reading a meaning based translation like the NLT is that you readers and listeners had the pleasure of understanding the mocking of the people of Israel toward God, and God’s mocking response (in yesterday’s reading, v. 7-13). Then in that context, it is shocking to find the famous verses quoted in the New Testament:

16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says:

“Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,

a firm and tested stone.

It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.

Whoever believes need never be shaken.

Note that the verses in the New Testament are a bit different because they are quoted from the Septuagint (the ancient translation of the OT into Greek).



The heart of what Paul was teaching about in chapter 9 the practice of Christian charity is this:

6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

Note that (like Philippians 4) the promise that God will generously provide is in the context of people who are sharing. Verses like that should not be isolated from their context.

Check out this episode!

Friday, November 14, 2014

DBRP_Nov15_2014 Dan11-12 Is28 2Cor9

In yesterday’s reading in Daniel, we heard Daniel’s moving prayer. Note that he had been seeking the Lord with limited fasting for 3 weeks. Then the angel Gabriel is again sent with a message for Daniel, who needs to be strengthened in order to hear and understand the message. Note that the phrase ‘anoint the Most Holy Place’ is probably referring to what we read about that our High Priest Jesus did in heaven. We read about that recently in Hebrews. And the seventy sets of seven, or seventy weeks and 62 weeks, are both a difficult translational problem and a prophetic mystery. If we could solve the mystery, then we would know how to translate it.

Yesterday’s chapter was again full of contrasts. Israel is God’s fruitful vine, and he slays the great sea serpent (which pictures Satan) for his vine. But then God also calls Israel a stupid nation and vows that they will not escape the punishment they deserve.
Yesterday we heard how Paul is testing the Corinthians in this issue of giving, and he called on them to remember Christ as they give:
9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.
Paul doesn’t want anyone to give beyond their means. And he sends men along which are for two purposes: He wants there to be witnesses to the integrity of how the large gift will be administered. Although it is clear that Paul wants giving to be with joyful hearts and without a feeling of obligation or pressure, he is however putting pressure on the Corinthian church to follow through with what they previously promised.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

DBRP_Nov14_2014 Dan9-10 Is27 2Cor8

Yesterday in Daniel, we heard of the vision of four beasts representing four kingdoms. After the fourth would be the start of the rule of One whose kingdom would last forever. This vision was explained, then Daniel had a second and more detailed vision that gives greater detail. It is a major amazing sign of God’s sovereignty over human governments that Alexander the Great is so clearly portrayed, and then the iron kingdom of Rome. Just as certain as these things happened, our Savior’s reign will one day come to earth.


There were beautiful verses in yesterday’s reading, too many to review. But here is a famous one:

3 You will keep in perfect peace

all who trust in you,

all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

We therefore echo the words:

4 Trust in the LORD always,

for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.

I found it interesting that Israel’s suffering was compared to a woman in childbirth, but unlike a childbirth, Israel gave forth no result:

18 We, too, writhe in agony,

but nothing comes of our suffering.

We have not given salvation to the earth,

nor brought life into the world.



Yesterday we heard of the terrible time of suffering Paul and his companions faced in Macedonia, where he had gone to find Titus. But when Titus came, it brought wonderful joy, because he brought such encouraging news about the Corinthian believers.

Check out this episode!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

DBRP_Nov13_2014 Dan7-8 Is26 2Cor7

In Daniel yesterday, we heard the famous ‘writing on the wall’ chapter. That is where that idiom in English comes from! While that was happening with King Belshazzar, the Medes and Persians were outside the wall and the prophecies of Ezekiel, Isaiah and Jeremiah all happened. Daniel was to be proclaimed the third ruler because Belshazzar was in fact the second ruler under his absentee father, Nabonidus. Then under King Darius, Daniel was thrown to the lions. I am estimating that Daniel would have been around 70 years old at that time.


Yesterday’s reading in Isaiah was not primarily dark with the sun piercing the darkness momentarily, but was a sunny psalm of praise. We heard even of the marriage supper of the Lamb, and there were glorious verses like this:

4 But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD,

a tower of refuge to the needy in distress.

You are a refuge from the storm

and a shelter from the heat.

But at the end of yesterday’s chapter, gloomy clouds blew in with a word about the nation of Moab. 


Here we have another chapter where it is good to review the last part of the preceding chapter. Chapter 7 starts with a word about ‘promises’ that are in the end of chapter 6.

14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devild? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:

“I will live in them

and walk among them.

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.

17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,

and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD.

Don’t touch their filthy things,

and I will welcome you.

18 And I will be your Father,

and you will be my sons and daughters,

says the LORD Almighty.”

Check out this episode!