Daily Devotional Readings: Year Three - October
1st October: Ezekiel 38:1-23
We read here of God's judgment upon 'Gog from the land of Magog': 'When Gog attacks the land of Israel, My hot anger will be aroused...I will execute judgment upon him...' (1,18,22). The names 'Gog and Magog' are also found in Revelation 20:7-10. There, we read of rebellion against God - 'They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people...' - and God's judgment - 'Fire came down from heaven and consumed them'. In this divine judgment upon 'Gog and Magog', we see the Lord's final triumph over 'Satan': 'The devil who had deceived Gog and Magog was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur' to be 'tormented day and night for ever and ever'. 'Hallelujah! Our Lord God Almighty reigns' (Revelation 19:6).
2nd October: Ezekiel 39:1-29
Gog's defeat points forward to Satan's final defeat (1-6; Revelation 20:10). We look ahead to God's final victory over Satan. While we're here on earth, we must never forget that Satan is a very powerful enemy. He will do all that he can to make us sin against the Lord. We see this in the life of God's people, Israel. They allowed Satan to get the upper hand - and God was not pleased with them: 'The nations shall know that the people of Israel went into captivity for their sin, because they were unfaithful to Me'(23). God's Word assures us that - even when Satan has gained the upper hand - , we can be 'brought back' to the place of blessing. God will 'have mercy' on us. He will 'pour out His Spirit' upon us (25,29). 'Restore us, O God...' (Psalm 85:4).
3rd October: Psalm 140:1-13
When we are threatened by 'men of violence', we must must put our trust in the Lord, our 'strong Deliverer'. We must pray that the 'men of violence' will not succeed in their 'evil plans': 'Do not let their plans succeed...May disaster hunt down the men of violence' (1-2,7-8,11). The 'men of violence' may seem to be getting things all their own way. We must not allow ourselves to be brought down to their level. In our battle against the 'men of violence', we must use God's 'weapons': 'truth...righteousness...peace...faith ...salvation...prayer'. These 'weapons' have 'divine power to demolish the strongholds' of Satan (Ephesians 6:13-18; 2 Corinthians 10:4). Never forget this: 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord' (Romans 12:19).
4th October: Psalms 141:1-142:7
The Psalmist continues to emphasize the importance of 'prayer' in our battle against 'evildoers': 'My prayer is ever against the deeds of evildoers' (141:5). We pray that their 'wicked deeds' will not succeed. We pray that they will see 'the error of their way', returning to the Lord and being 'led in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake' (141:5; 23:3; James 5:19-20). We may feel that our 'persecutors' are 'too strong' for us. We must never think that 'no one cares'. We must bring our fear to God, praying, 'Set me free from my prison, that I may praise Your Name'. Faced with powerful enemies, we must remember this: The Lord is our 'portion in the land of the living'. In the face of fierce opposition, we must learn to say, 'Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord for ever' (142:4-7; 23:6).
5th October: Ezekiel 40:1-49
God was revealing Himself to Ezekiel. 'The hand of the Lord was upon' him. He received 'visions of God' (1-2). Ezekiel was not to keep this revelation to himself: 'Tell the house of Israel everything you see' (4). We are to learn from 'the prophets who spoke in the Name of the Lord'. Like them, we are to seek to bring 'sinners' back to the Lord, showing them 'the error of their ways' and pointing them to God's way of salvation. This work is to be done prayerfully, never forgetting that 'the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective' (James 5:10,16,19-20). God promises great blessing to those who are faithful in this work of winning others for Him: 'Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars for ever and ever' (Daniel 12:3).
6th October: Ezekiel 41:1-42:20
'This is the Most Holy Place' (41:4). Here, God is speaking about the Temple. The Temple was the place where God's people were to gather together to worship Him. There is another 'holy place', another place where God is to be glorified: 'Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit ...Glorify God in your body' (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We worship God when we are in the place of worship. That is only a part of our worship. Our heart is to be a 'holy place' where God alone is worshipped. We are to worship Him in everything we do: 'Be holy in all you do'. At the heart of our worship, there is thanksgiving for God's love. At the heart of the holy life, there is love. We 'obey the truth' when we 'love one another deeply from the heart' (1 Peter 1:15-16,22).
7th October: Ezekiel 43:1-27
This is not only about the glory of the Temple. It's about 'the glory of the God of Israel'. This is the greater glory - 'the glory of the Lord filled the Temple' (1,5). God is not only concerned about the creation of a beautiful place of worship. He wants our lives to be 'radiant with His glory'. This happens when 'the Spirit lifts us up' and brings us close to God - 'into the inner court' (2,5). We pray that the glory of the Lord will fill the place of worship: 'May the fragrance of Jesus fill this place'. We pray that 'the glory of Jesus' will 'fill His Church'. We are not only praying for God's glory in the place of worship. We are praying for His glory in our lives: 'May the beauty of Jesus fill my life...Fill my thoughts, my words, my deeds' (Mission Praise, 462).
8th October: Jude
The wrong kind of people had come among God's people: 'certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you...godless men...' (4). Such people do not like to hear the words, 'The Lord rebuke you'. They 'speak abusively against' those who speak the Word of the Lord to them (9-10). God's Word warns us against such people: 'In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit' (18-19). With people like this around - life gets like a 'minefield'. You never know where the next "explosion' is going to come from! How can we 'stand tall' and not be dragged down by this kind of thing? 'Keep yourselves in the love of God' - He 'is able to keep you from falling' (21,24).
9th October: Ezekiel 44:1-31
'I looked and saw the glory of the Lord filling the Temple of the Lord...' (4). We look to the Lord and, catching a glimpse of His glory, 'we become more and more like Him'. He is leading us out of our life of sin, a life that 'falls short of His glory', and into His life of salvation, a life of 'being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory' (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 3:23). We have not yet arrived at our full deliverance from sin: 'When He appears, we shall be like Him' (1 John 3:2). As we await our Lord's return, let us keep on praying: 'Change my heart, O God ...May I be like You'.'Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full on His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace'. (Mission Praise, 69,712).
10th October: Ezekiel 45:1-25
We read here of 'the sin offerings, cereal offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement for the house of Israel' (17). All of this points forward to the single Sacrifice for sin made by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: 'Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God' (1 Peter 3:18). 'We have been forgiven and made clean through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all' (Hebrews 10:10). This is what we must see here. We must learn to look beyond the many sacrifices to the one Sacrifice: 'Christ has offered one Sacrifice for sins, an offering that is effective for ever'. Let us rejoice in our Saviour: 'He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him' (Hebrews 10:12; 7:25).
11th October: Psalm 143:1-12
The Psalmist prays, 'Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord' (9). He is not concerned only about his own welfare. He is concerned about the glory of God: 'For Your Name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life' (11). How does God lead us in victory? How is He glorified in our lives? He brings to us the teaching of His Word - 'Let the morning bring me Word of Your unfailing love' (8). He gives to us the strength of His Spirit - 'May Your good Spirit lead me in good paths' (10). Through His Word and Spirit, God shows us His 'unfailing love'. He enables us to say, 'You are my God', 'I have put my trust in You' and 'I am Your servant'. He 'shows us the way we should go'. He 'teaches us to do His will'. He gives us victory over our 'enemies' (8,10,12).
12th October: Ezekiel 46:1-24
We read here about the 'offering' of 'a lamb without defect'. This was to happen 'morning by morning' (13). From these offerings , we look on to another Offering, 'a single Offfering', the 'once for all' Offering of Jesus Christ as 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world'. Jesus Christ - the Lamb of God - has 'offered for all time a single Sacrifice for sins' (John 1:29; Hebrews 10:10,12,14). As we read about the many lambs, we hear God's voice calling out to us, directing our attention to our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world' (John 1:36). 'Christ' is 'our Passover Lamb'. He 'has been sacrificed' for us. Through His 'precious blood', we are 'redeemed' (1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
13th October: Ezekiel 47:1-23
Here, we see the rising of the 'river' of God's blessing - 'ankle-deep...knee-deep...up to the waist ...deep enough to swim in - a river that no-one could cross' (3-5). This is the river of 'life' - 'a great number of trees ....Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows...large numbers of fish because...where the river flows everything will live' (7-9). 'The Spirit' brings 'rivers of living water' into our lives (John 7:38-39). Don't settle for a shallow experience of God's blessing - 'ankle-deep', 'knee-deep'. 'Deep calls to deep'. Let 'the Spirit' lead you into 'the deep things of God'. 'Launch out into the deep'. 'Swim' in God's mighty 'river' of blessing. 'Be filled with the Spirit' (3-5; Psalm 42:7; Luke 5:4; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Ephesians 5:18).
14th October: Ezekiel 48:1-35
'The Lord is there' (35). He is with us when we gather for worship: 'Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them' (Matthew 18:20). He loves to be among us when we are worshipping Him: 'He looks down upon us, delight in His face, enjoying His children's love, enthralled by our praise'. We are to come into the Lord's presence with joyful praise - 'The King is among us. His Spirit is near. Let's draw near and worship. Let songs fill the air!' - and reverent fear - 'Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here. Come bow before Him now with reverence and fear' (Mission Praise, 650,50). When we leave the place of worship, let us take His promise with us: 'I am with you always' (Matthew 28:20).
15th October: Revelation 1:1-20
This is 'the revelation of Jesus Christ' (1). It comes from Him and it speaks of Him. Christ 'loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood' (5). We rejoice in Him. Christ is 'coming with the clouds' (7). We must get ready for Him. 'The revelation of Jesus Christ' calls for our response. It is not 'for information only'. We are to 'pay attention to what is written in it'. We are to 'take it to heart'. We are to 'do what it says' (3). Christ reveals Himself to us. Is it for our benefit only? Is it just to make us 'feel good'? No! We are to share with others what the Lord is teaching us. Christ said to John, 'Write what you see' (19). Don't keep it to yourself. Share Christ. Tell others about Him. Tell them what the Lord has done for you. Speak His words of love: 'Come...and learn from Me' (Matthew 11:28-30).
16th October:Daniel 1:1-2:16
'Daniel resolved not to defile himself' (8). Daniel was devoted to the Lord. It was not easy to live as the Lord's faithful servant. His dedication to the Lord was put to the test - 'Test your servants' (12). Our faith is put to the test. We 'suffer many trials'. Why does God allow our faith to be tested by 'all kinds of trials? - 'The testing of your faith produces steadfastness'.'These have come so that your faith, which is much more precious than gold, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed' (1 Peter 1:6-7; James 1:2-3). Knowing that 'every trial falls from above, traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love', may we learn to 'trust God fully' and 'find Him wholly true' (Mission Praise, 421).
17th October: Daniel 2:17-49
'In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom that will never be destroyed' (44). There is only one Kingdom which stands forever - the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom is eternal. Through Christ, 'the Kingdom of God has come near to us' (Luke 10:9). Christ is the 'King of kings' (Revelation 17:14;19:16). 'His throne will last for ever and ever'. 'His Kingdom will never end'. 'He will reign for ever and ever' (Hebrews 1:8; Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15). Christ is 'triumphant...ever reigning...enthroned for ever': 'Sin and death and hell shall never stifle hymns of love. So, our hearts and voices raising through the ages long...this shall be our song: Yours the glory and the crown...' (Mission Praise, 77).
18th October: Daniel 3:1-30
'We want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up' (18). We have no other king but the Lord. He alone is King. He alone is to be worshipped. We are to 'have no other gods before Him'. We are 'not to make for ourselves an idol' which takes the place of the Lord (Exodus 20:3-4). The Lord must come first in our lives. He is to be our 'first love' - 'the love of our heart: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart...' (Revelation 2:4; Mark 12:30). Jesus asks us, 'Do you love me?'. He waits for our reply: 'I love You' (John 21:15-17). 'I love the Name of Jesus. King of my heart, He is everything to me'. 'I love You, O Lord, You alone...my God who shall have all my praise'. (Mission Praise, 285,286).
19th October: Daniel 4:1-37
'His Kingdom is an eternal Kingdom; His dominion endures from generation to generation' (3). The generations rise and fall - 'You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning...by evening it is dry and withered'; 'As for man, his days are like grass ...the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more' (Psalms 90:5-6; 103-15-16). The Lord is 'the everlasting God': 'From everlasting to everlasting You are God'. His love is an 'everlasting' love: 'From everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear Him'. The Lord 'has established His throne in heaven, and His Kingdom rules over all'. He is 'our dwelling-place throughout all generations' (Isaiah 40:28; Psalms 90:1-2; 103:17,19).
20th October: Daniel 5:1-31
We are not to 'praise the gods of gold and silver...' (4). Material possessions must never take the place of God. Seeking material prosperity is not to be the most important thing in our lives. We are to 'seek first His Kingdom...'. We are to 'grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ' (Matthew 6:33; 2 Peter 3:18). 'I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold, I'd rather be His than have riches untold...I'd rather have Jesus...than to be the king of a vast domain and be held in sin's dread sway. I'd rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today. I'd rather have Jesus than men's applause, I'd rather be faithful to His dear cause; I'd rather have Jesus than world-wide fame, I'd rather be true to His holy Name' (Mission Praise, 319).
21st October: Daniel 6:1-28
'He is the living God and He endures for ever; His Kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end' (26). He is the living God. He is also the loving God - 'His love endures forever' (Psalm 136). He is the King. He is a very special kind of king. He is 'the King of Love'. The coming of God's Kingdom will be the victory of His love: 'Kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of the Lord: Love has the victory for ever!'. We enjoy the victory of His love as we lift our hearts to Him in worship: 'Who can see Your greatest Gift and fail to worship You?'. We enjoy the victory of His love as we give our lives to Him in service: 'Let us labour for the Master ...Let us talk of all His wondrous love...' (Church Hymnary, 388; Mission Praise, 86,759).
22nd October: Proverbs 25:1-28
'The Lord will reward you' (22). The work done by God's servants is tested by fire: 'the fire will test what sort of work each one has done'. There is work of real 'quality' - 'gold, silver, precious stones'. There is work which has no real value - 'wood, hay, straw'. God wants us to think about the work we do in His Name. We are to 'remove the dross from the silver' (4). We are not to be content with superficial work which does not lead to changed lives. Our words are to be 'apples of gold in a setting of silver'. They are to be words of wisdom, words which are 'better than fine gold', words which 'surpass choice silver' (11; 8:19). We are to bring God's Word -'good news' - and God's Spirit -'rivers of living water' - to our hearers (25; 1 Peter 1:12,23-25; John 7:37-39).
23rd October: Daniel 7:1-28
'There before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven...His Kingdom is one that will never be destroyed' (13-14). These words point us to Christ's description of His Second Coming, the Coming of His Kingdom: 'They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory' (Matthew 24:30). In Revelation 1:7, we have another echo of Daniel's 'vision': 'Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him'. 'Lo! He comes, with clouds descending...Yea, Amen! let all adore Thee, high on Thine eternal throne; Saviour, take the power and glory, claim the Kingdom for Thine own. O come quickly! O come quickly! O come quickly! Alleluia! Come, Lord, come!' (Church Hymnary, 316).
24th October: Daniel 8:1-27
Here, we have a 'vision' concerning 'the distant future', 'the time of the end' (26,17). Here, we catch a glimpse of Satan, the very powerful enemy of God's people. Satan's power is very frightening - 'His power shall be great, and he shall cause fearful destruction...'. It was the power of Satan which lay behind the 'stern-faced king': 'He will become very strong, but not by his own power' (23-24). Satan's power will be broken. Satan faces certain defeat - 'He will be defeated'. How will he be defeated? We will not defeat him - 'He will not be destroyed by human power'. There is only one Power able to destroy the power of Satan: 'He shall be broken by the hand of God'. 'Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ' (1 Corinthians 15:57).
25th October: Revelation 2:1-29
Every church in every nation and every generation has so much to learn from 'what the Spirit says to the churches' (7,11,17,29). Christ is to be our 'first love'. We are not to 'abandon' Him. We are to 'keep right on to the end of the road' - 'faithful until death' (4,10). We are to 'remain true' to Christ, pressing on with Him to a life of real spiritual growth (13,19). Living for Christ will not be easy. There are always those who make things difficult for God's people (14-15,20). Let your commitment to Christ be very definite: 'I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. The world behind me, the Cross before me. No turning back. Tho' none go with me, I still will follow. No turning back'. 'Will you decide now to follow Jesus?': Say 'Yes' - and let there be 'no turning back' (Mission Praise, 272).
26th October: Daniel 9:1-27
'O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act!' (19). How do we know God will hear and answer our prayer as we look to Him for salvation? - 'The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him' (9). We come to God with our sin - We are 'dead in our sins and wickedness'. He comes to us with His grace - 'By grace you have been saved through faith'. We come to God, deeply conscious of our sin. We know in our hearts that we can do nothing to save ourselves. The way of salvation can never begin with the word, 'I'. It always begins with God. It begins with His love - 'His great love for us': 'God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our sins' (Ephesians 2:1,4-5,8).
27th October: Daniel 10:1-11:13
Daniel came to God in great weakness - 'I am helpless...My strength is gone...' (16-17). From the Lord, Daniel received great strength - 'The One who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength...When He spoke to me, I was strengthened...'. Daniel's strength came from the love of God and the peace of God. God assured Daniel of His love for him. He called Daniel a 'man greatly beloved'. God spoke His Word of peace to Daniel: 'Peace be with you'. As God revealed His love and peace to him, Daniel came to realize that there was no need to be afraid. He could 'be strong' in the Lord (18-19). When we are weak, let us come to God and receive His strength - 'His grace is sufficient for us. His strength is made perfect in weakness' (2 Corinthians 12:9).
28th October: Proverbs 26:1-28
'There is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!' (13). This is the voice of fear speaking. We need to speak with the voice of faith - 'I believed, and so I spoke' (2 Corinthians 4:13). We know that 'the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour'. The devil can fill us with fear. We must not let him do this. We must face him with faith - 'Resist him, standing firm in the faith' (1 Peter 5:8-9). When we 'resist the devil', standing firm in the faith, 'he will flee from us' (James 4:7). Let us face the 'roaring lion' with faith in an even more powerful 'Lion'. Jesus Christ - 'the Lion of Judah' - 'has conquered' Satan. He 'has triumphed' over him (Revelation 5:5). May Christ's 'perfect love drive out our fear' (1 John 4:18).
29th October: Daniel 11:14-45
We are to live for God - 'The people who know their God shall be strong and do great things'. We are to stand against Satan - 'The people who know their God will firmly resist him' (32). Living for God and standing against Satan, we must 'put on the whole armour of God'. 'Strong in the Lord', we 'take our stand against the devil's schemes' (Ephesians 6:10-11). 'Soldiers of Christ, arise and put your armour on, strong in the strength which God supplies through His eternal Son...From strength to strength go on, wrestle and fight and pray, tread all the powers of darkness down and win the well-fought day that, having all things done and all your conflicts past, ye may o'ercome through Christ alone and stand complete at last' (Church Hymnary, 441).
30th October: Daniel 12:1-13
We read of two very different futures - 'everlasting life' and 'everlasting contempt' (2). We receive 'eternal life' through 'believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God'. Through faith in Him, we 'know that we have eternal life'. God gives us His promise: 'He who has the Son has life'. To those who 'overcome', through 'believing that Jesus is the Son of God', God gives this promise: 'I will never blot his name out of the Book of Life'. Alongside His promise, there is His warning: 'He who does not have the Son of God does not have life'. To those who refuse to come to Christ for salvation, God gives this warning: 'If anyone's name was not written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire' (John 20:31; 1 John 5:5,11-13; Revelation 3:5; 20:15).
31st October: Proverbs 27:1-27
'Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring' (1). God speaks to us about today. He says, 'Now is the day of salvation'. Today, we are in 'the valley of decision'. We must make up our mind about Jesus Christ. Today may be your last opportunity to act on God's precious promise: 'Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved' (Joel 3:14; 2:32; Acts 2:21). Tomorrow may be too late. Your life may be over before tomorrow comes. Tomorrow, you may hear God's Word of judgment: 'I never knew you. Depart from Me, you evildoers!'. Tomorrow, you may face 'eternal punishment' (Matthew 7:23; 25:46). Tomorrow need not be a day of judgment. Choose Christ today. Let today be your 'day of salvation'.