Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Tag: Psalms 13

Prophecy About John The Baptist

July 13 – Today’s Readings – Isaiah 40-42 and Psalms 13

Aside from the great encouragement found in verses 20-31 of Chapter 40 – aside from the wonderful messianic prophecy found in verse 11 of the same chapter – we also find a prophecy about John the Baptist in verses 3-5; “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

I find it amazing that Isaiah could be so specific in describing John’s ministry of ushering in the Messiah. I find it even more fascinating that this prophecy can be directly applied to OUR lives as we “prepare the way” for God to move in our cities and in the lives of people we are encouraging. More importantly we are preparing the way for the Lord’s second coming to Earth. So then, what is this “John the Baptist Ministry” we are suppose to have?

First we have to possess an “expectancy” that we are indeed preparing “a way” for God.
Second, we need to demonstrate a “straight way” in the middle of “a wilderness” of immorality.
Next, our hearts and the hearts of others need to be prepared (re-engineered) – the “valleys” in our lives (the low self esteem and the lack of confidence) have to be brought up and the “mountains” in our lives (the pride and cockiness) have to be brought low. The “rough ground” and “rugged attributes” too need to be worked on.
What does this mean exactly? I believe that we need to seriously submit to the Holy Spirit as He works in our lives. It is the Spirit who empowers us to “prepare the way” for the coming of the Lord. It will no doubt require that we “speak up” concerning the plan of God in this world and in the lives of those we come in contact with.

My prayer is that we let this Scripture become part of our personal sense of mission – that we see it as our task to usher in the presence of God wherever we go. The ministry of John the Baptist was very specific, but the spirit of that ministry is lived out constantly in our lives.

Questions:

1. Are we preparing the way of the Lord at work – at school – in our families – with our neighbors? In which ways are we doing this?
2. Is there anything we can specifically do to prepare the way for the Lord’s second coming?

God’s Will Sometimes Accomplished In Messy Situations

January 13 – Today’s Readings – Genesis 37-39 – and Psalms 13

I was wondering how things would have worked out for Joseph if his father had not favoured him more than his brothers – if Joseph had not repeated his dreams to his brothers and father – if his father had not always kept him at home, only sending him out to “spy” on his brothers or to do special missions for him. It’s unwise and unfair parenting to give such preferential treatment to one child over the others based on petty issues. Bad parenting made things more than a little tense in Jacob’s family – especially between Joseph and his brothers. We know the outcome of the story – how Joseph saved the family from starvation and provided them a place of shelter in Egypt. The question is whether God would have accomplished His will in Joseph’s life if the family had not been such a mess. I’m wondering whether all of Joseph’s intense suffering was really God’s explicit plan or whether “life happened” and God used very rotten circumstances and “worked them together for good” despite – his brothers – his father – his owner Potiphar – Potiphar’s lustful wife and the jailer. The answer, of course, is that God certainly would have accomplished His plan for Joseph had things been different, but he worked His will out for Joseph despite the family dynamics.

Suffering for no apparent reason is one of the great mysteries of life – we will be able to ask Jesus (and Joseph) about this and many other issues when we get to meet them. My suggestion to you in the mean time is to not be constantly asking the “Why God” question – it will only lead to frustration in your faith. Certain things we experience are mysteries and should be left that way.

The important thing to remember as we walk along this sometimes trouble-filled journey is to keep ourselves in the love of God – in the centre of His care for us. When troubles come, we need Him to walk with us through the valley. We can’t afford to become bitter towards Him and lose faith in the fact that He truly is with us. These “nasties” we sometimes face are only part of the sinful world we live in. Somehow Joseph got it right and was able stay sweet and in the love of God while living through his troubles. Through great examples like Joseph we too have learned the secret of being thankful to the Lord in all circumstances in life. Note that Scripture says “in” every circumstance but it does not mean “for” every circumstance. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) The lessons Joseph learned are the same lessons we have to learn in order to be successful in life – don’t get bitter, get better.

Questions:

1. Please comment on a situation in your life where you had to be thankful even though things were not going in your favour.

2. How do you think Joseph managed to “stay sweet”?

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