Daily reading for Thursday, December 12, 2013

Reading Plan:

Amos 7:1-9:15; Revelation 3:7-22; Psalms 131:1-3; Proverbs 29:23 (Contemporary English Version)

Amos 7-9

A Vision of Locusts

The Lord God showed me that he is going to send locusts[a] to attack your crops. It will happen after the king has already been given his share of the grain and before the rest of the grain has been harvested.[b] In my vision the locusts ate every crop in the land, and I said to the Lord, “Forgive me for asking, but how can the nation survive? It’s so weak.”

Then the Lord felt sorry and answered, “I won’t let it be destroyed.”

A Vision of Fire

The Lord showed me that he is going to send a ball of fire to burn up everything on earth, including the ocean. Then I said, “Won’t you please stop? How can our weak nation survive?”

Again the Lord felt sorry and answered, “I won’t let it be destroyed.”

A Vision of a Measuring Line

The Lord showed me a vision of himself standing beside a wall and holding a string with a weight tied to the end of it. The string and weight had been used to measure the straightness of the wall. Then he asked, “Amos, what do you see?”

“A measuring line,” I answered.

The Lord said, “I’m using this measuring line to show that my people Israel don’t measure up, and I won’t forgive them any more. Their sacred places will be destroyed, and I will send war against the nation of King Jeroboam.”[c]

Amos and Amaziah

10 Amaziah the priest at Bethel sent this message to King Jeroboam of Israel, “Amos is plotting against you in the very heart of Israel. Our nation cannot put up with his message for very long. 11 Here is what he is saying:

‘Jeroboam will be put to death,
and the people will be taken
    to a foreign country.’”

12 Then Amaziah told me, “Amos, take your visions and get out! Go back to Judah and earn your living there as a prophet. 13 Don’t do any more preaching at Bethel. The king worships here at our national temple.”

14 I answered:

I’m not a prophet! And I wasn’t trained to be a prophet. I am a shepherd, and I take care of fig trees. 15 But the Lord told me to leave my herds and preach to the people of Israel. 16 And here you are, telling me not to preach! 17 Now, listen to what the Lord says about you:

Your wife will become
    a prostitute in the city,
your sons and daughters
    will be killed in war,
and your land will be divided
    among others.
You will die in a country
    of foreigners,
and the people of Israel
    will be dragged
    from their homeland.

A Basket of Fruit

The Lord God showed me a basket of ripe fruit and asked, “Amos, what do you see?”

“A basket of ripe fruit,” I replied.

Then he said,

“This is the end[d]
for my people Israel.
    I won’t forgive them again.
Instead of singing
in the temple,
    they will cry and weep.
Dead bodies will be everywhere.
    So keep silent!
I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Israel Is Doomed

The Lord said:

You people crush those in need
    and wipe out the poor.
You say to yourselves,
“How much longer before the end
    of the New Moon Festival?
When will the Sabbath[e] be over?
Our wheat is ready,
    and we want to sell it now.
We can’t wait to cheat
and charge high prices
    for the grain we sell.
We will use dishonest scales
    and mix dust in the grain.
Those who are needy and poor
    don’t have any money.
We will make them our slaves
for the price
    of a pair of sandals.”

I, the Lord, won’t forget
    any of this,
though you take great pride
    in your ancestor Jacob.[f]
Your country will tremble,
    and you will mourn.
It will be like the Nile River
that rises and overflows,
    then sinks back down.

On that day, I, the Lord God,
will make the sun
    go down at noon,
and I will turn daylight
    into darkness.
10 Your festivals and joyful singing
    will turn into sorrow.
You will wear sackcloth[g]
    and shave your heads,
as you would at the death
of your only son.
    It will be a horrible day.

11 I, the Lord, also promise you
a terrible shortage,
    but not of food and water.
You will hunger and thirst
    to hear my message.
12 You will search everywhere—
from north to south,
    from east to west.
You will go all over the earth,
    seeking a message
from me, the Lord.
    But you won’t find one.

13 Your beautiful young women
and your young men
    will faint from thirst.
14 You made promises
in the name of Ashimah,
    the goddess of Samaria.
And you made vows in my name
at the shrines
    of Dan and Beersheba.[h]
But you will fall
    and never get up.

Judgment on Israel

I saw a vision of the Lord
standing by the temple altar,[i]
    and he said,
“Shake the columns
until the tops fall loose,
    and the doorposts crumble.
Then make the pieces fall
    on the people below.
I will take a sword and kill
    anyone who escapes.

“If they dig deep into the earth
or climb to the sky,
    I’ll reach out and get them.
If they escape to the peaks
of Mount Carmel,
    I’ll search and find them.
And if they hide from me
    at the bottom of the ocean,
I’ll command a sea monster
    to bite them.
I’ll send a sword to kill them,
wherever their enemies
    drag them off as captives.
I’m determined to hurt them,
    not to help them.”

His Name Is the Lord

When the Lord God All-Powerful
touches the earth,
it melts,
    and its people mourn.
God makes the earth rise
and then fall,
    just like the Nile River.
He built his palace in the heavens
and let its foundations
    rest on the earth.[j]
He scoops up the ocean
and empties it on the earth.
    His name is the Lord.

The Lord Is God

Israel, I am the Lord God,
    and the Ethiopians[k]
are no less important to me
    than you are.
I brought you out of Egypt,
    but I also brought
the Philistines from Crete[l]
    and the Arameans from Kir.[m]
My eyes have seen
what a sinful nation you are,
    and I’ll wipe you out.
But I will leave a few
of Jacob’s descendants.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

At my command, all of you
    will be sifted like grain.
Israelites who remain faithful
will be scattered
    among the nations.
And the others will be trapped
    like trash in a sifter.
10 Some of you are evil,
    and you deny
that you will ever get caught.
    But you will be killed.

The Lord’s Promise to Israel

11 In the future, I will rebuild
    David’s fallen kingdom.
I will build it from its ruins
and set it up again,
    just as it used to be.
12 Then you will capture Edom
and the other nations
    that are mine.
I, the Lord, have spoken,
    and my words will come true.

13 You will have such a harvest
    that you won’t be able
to bring in all of your wheat
    before plowing time.
You will have grapes left over
    from season to season;
your fruitful vineyards
    will cover the mountains.

14 I’ll make Israel prosper again.
You will rebuild your towns
    and live in them.
You will drink wine
from your own vineyards
    and eat the fruit you grow.
15 I’ll plant your roots deep
in the land I have given you,
    and you won’t ever
    be uprooted again.
I, the Lord God, have spoken!


  1. 7.1 locusts: See the note at 4.9.
  2. 7.1 harvested: This would have been an especially bad time for a locust attack. The non-grain crops such as vegetables and onions were just beginning to sprout, and the grain crops were almost ready to be harvested.
  3. 7.9 Jeroboam: Jeroboam II, who ruled Israel 783-743 B.C.
  4. 8.2 end: In Hebrew “ripe fruit” and “end” sound alike.
  5. 8.5 New Moon Festival. . . Sabbath: Selling grain at these times was forbidden by the Law of Moses.
  6. 8.7 though. . . Jacob: Or “though I am the God that Jacob proudly worshiped.”
  7. 8.10 sackcloth: A rough, dark-colored cloth made from goat or camel hair and used to make grain sacks. It was worn in times of trouble or sorrow.
  8. 8.14 You made. . . Beersheba: Or “You made promises to the goddess Ashimah at Samaria, and you made vows in the names of other gods at the shrines of Dan and Beersheba.”
  9. 9.1 the temple altar: The one at Bethel.
  10. 9.6 He built. . . earth: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  11. 9.7 Ethiopians: The Hebrew text has “people of Cush,” which was a region south of Egypt that included parts of the present countries of Ethiopia and Sudan.
  12. 9.7 Crete: Hebrew “Caphtor.”
  13. 9.7 Philistines. . . Arameans from Kir: The Philistines were Israel’s enemies to the west, and the Arameans were enemies to the northeast. For Kir, see the note at 1.5.

Revelation 3:7-22

The Letter to Philadelphia

This is what you must write to the angel of the church in Philadelphia:

I am the one who is holy and true, and I have the keys that belonged to David.[a] When I open a door, no one can close it. And when I close a door, no one can open it. Listen to what I say.

I know everything you have done. And I have placed before you an open door that no one can close. You were not very strong, but you obeyed my message and did not deny that you are my followers.[b] Now you will see what I will do with those people who belong to Satan’s group. They claim to be Jews, but they are liars. I will make them come and kneel down at your feet. Then they will know that I love you.

10 You obeyed my message and endured. So I will protect you from the time of testing that everyone in all the world must go through. 11 I am coming soon. So hold firmly to what you have, and no one will take away the crown that you will be given as your reward.

12 Everyone who wins the victory will be made into a pillar in the temple of my God, and they will stay there forever. I will write on each of them the name of my God and the name of his city. It is the new Jerusalem that my God will send down from heaven. I will also write on them my own new name.

13 If you have ears, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.

The Letter to Laodicea

14 This is what you must write to the angel of the church in Laodicea:

I am the one called Amen![c] I am the faithful and true witness and the source[d] of God’s creation. Listen to what I say.

15 I know everything you have done, and you are not cold or hot. I wish you were either one or the other. 16 But since you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 You claim to be rich and successful and to have everything you need. But you don’t know how bad off you are. You are pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.

18 Buy your gold from me. It has been refined in a fire, and it will make you rich. Buy white clothes from me. Wear them and you can cover up your shameful nakedness. Buy medicine for your eyes, so that you will be able to see.

19 I correct and punish everyone I love. So make up your minds to turn away from your sins. 20 Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together. 21 Everyone who wins the victory will sit with me on my throne, just as I won the victory and sat with my Father on his throne.

22 If you have ears, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.


  1. 3.7 the keys that belonged to David: The keys stand for authority over David’s kingdom.
  2. 3.8 did not deny that you are my followers: Or “did not say evil things about me.”
  3. 3.14 Amen: Meaning “Trustworthy.”
  4. 3.14 source: Or “beginning.”

Psalm 131

(A song by David for worship.)

Trust the Lord!

131 I am not conceited, Lord,
    and I don’t waste my time
    on impossible schemes.
But I have learned to feel safe
    and satisfied,
    just like a young child
    on its mother’s lap.

People of Israel,
    you must trust the Lord
    now and forever.

Proverbs 29:23

23 Too much pride brings disgrace;
    humility leads to honor.

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