Note: Today’s primary text for the week’s readings focuses on the captivity of Judah. Some further study of captivity may follow in preparation for reading prophets of captivity.
2 Kings 25: 10, 11 The whole Babylonian army under the commander of the imperial guard, broke down the walls around Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile the people who remained in the city, along with the rest of the populace and those who had gone over to the king of Babylon.
Prayer: Lord God, in hours of uncertainty we turn to you in faith.
Thought for the day: The creator knows.
Deuteronomy 28: 64, 65 Then the Lord will create you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods – gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart.
Prayer: Lord God, we would be faithful in our covenant relationship with you.
Thought for the day: A promise is only as good as the one who offers it.
Isaiah 55: 6, 7 Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our god, for he will freely pardon.
Prayer: Lord God, we set this day and hour aside to seek you in the midst of the turmoil of the world.
Thought for the day: When bad news is breaking, you can still reach out to God.
Ezekiel 12: 10, 11 “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This oracle concerns the prince in Jerusalem and the whole house of Israel who are there. Say to them, ‘I am a sign to you.’ “As I have done, so it will be done to them. They will go into exile as captives.”
Prayer: Lord God, as your prophet captured the attention of your people may your servants capture our attention today.
Thought for the day: What are the prophets of this hour saying to us? To you?
Jeremiah 29: 10, 11 This is what the Lord says: “when seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Prayer: Lord God, we rejoice that you would plan for our future blessing.
Thought for the day: Why not open up a tax exempt spiritual savings bank of prayers for your loved ones today?
Ezra 1: 1, 2 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: “this is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “’The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah.
Prayer: Lord God, we give thanks for the way you keep your word again and again.
Thought for the day: God’s messengers appear in many forms.
Matthew 24: 30, 31 At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Prayer: Lord God, may we be ready for the ingathering of those who have accepted your Son.
Thought for the day: Christ can set the prisoners free.
A – W – A – Y
Alliance with God through the covenant. God gladly covenanted with Israel for their good.
Woes promised to those who disregard the covenant. The covenant with God had positive and negative consequence — positive consequences for obedience, and negative consequences for disobedience.
Abandonment of God for the ways of the nations, the world. When the ways of the world became more attractive to Israel and Judah, they were lured into disobedience.
Yielding to God in captivity and in return restores the relationship God intended. After suffering the consequences of their disobedience, God still had a plan for Israel.