Old Testament: Habakkuk (1:1-4; 2:1-4)
The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw. O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrongdoing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails. The wicked surround the righteous— therefore judgment comes forth perverted. I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint. Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.
- 609-600 BCE is when Habakkuk probably lived around Jerusalem.
- Some musical verses with directives are inserted in his writings.
- The focus is on God’s justice and judgment.
- God will respond and care for the righteous, but it may take time.
- Some of these verses were used by Paul in explaining how you are saved by faith and grace.
The Response: Psalm 119 (137-144)
137 You are righteous, O Lord, *
and upright are your judgments.
138 You have issued your decrees *
with justice and in perfect faithfulness.
139 My indignation has consumed me, *
because my enemies forget your words.
140 Your word has been tested to the uttermost, *
and your servant holds it dear.
141 I am small and of little account, *
yet I do not forget your commandments.
142 Your justice is an everlasting justice *
and your law is the truth.
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me, *
yet your commandments are my delight.
144 The righteousness of your decrees is everlasting; *
grant me understanding, that I may live.
- Psalm 119 is very long and made up of acrostics… each of 8 lined verses starts with letter of alphabet.
- There is an extra effort on current suffering, but hope in God for the future.
The Epistle: 2 Thessalonians (1:1-4, 11-12)
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring. To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfill by his power every good resolve and work of faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- This is a message about Jesus coming very soon.
- 1 Thessalonians is the oldest book of the New Testament, written around 51 AD.
- 2 Thessalonians is an updated version of the earlier works complete with some contradictions.
- 2 Thessalonians is not nearly as joyful as the first writing, as it is almost a rage.
- The book was written as if it came from Paul.
- These verses are introductory to the letter.
The Gospel: Luke (19:1-10)
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”
- This is a continuation of Luke’s long narrative (started June 26) about Jesus’ path to Jerusalem.
- The last place Jesus stops is in Jericho.
- Zacchaeus is the chief tax collector, very wealthy, and despised by many.
- He is seeking to find Jesus, but Jesus sought and found him.
- Today — stay at house / salvation.
- The laws of restitution at that time dictated 2x, 4x, or even 5x repayment for the wrong doing.