10 Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we unfaithful to one another , profaning the covenant of our ancestors?11 Judah has been faithless, and a detestable thing has been done in Israel and in Jerusalem. Judah has profaned the sanctuary of Yahweh which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 May Yahweh cut off from the tents of Jacob the man who does this, the one who is awake and who answers, and the one who brings an offering to Yahweh of hosts!
13 And this you do as well :you cover the altar of Yahweh with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because he no longer regards the offering or accepts itwith favor from your hand. 14 But you ask, “ For what reason ?” Because Yahweh stands as a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have been unfaithful, even though she is your marriage partner and your wife by covenant .15 Did not one God make them? But a remnant of the spirit is his. And what does the one God desire? An offspring of God. You must be attentive to your spirit, and you must not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. 16 “For I hate divorce,” says Yahweh, the God of Israel, “and he who covers his clothing with violence,” says Yahweh of hosts. “ You must be attentive to your spirit and you must not be unfaithful.”
17 You have wearied Yahweh with your words, but you ask, “With what have we wearied him?” You have done so when you say , “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of Yahweh, and in them he delights,” or “Where is the God of justice?”
3 “Look! I am going to send my messenger, and he will preparethe way before me . And the Lord whom you are seeking will come suddenly to his temple, and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you are taking pleasure—look!—he is about to come,” says Yahweh of hosts. 2 And who can endure the day of his coming? And who is the one who can stand when he appears ? For he is like a refiner’s fire, like launderers’ alkali.3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the children of Levi, and he will refine them like gold and like silver, and they will present to Yahweh offerings in righteousness. 4 And the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to Yahweh, like in the days of old and like in former years.
5 “Then I will approach you for judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers, and against those who swear falsely , and against the oppressors of the hired worker with his wages, the widow and the orphan, and the abusers of the alien, and yet do not fear me,” says Yahweh of hosts.
6 “For I, Yahweh, have not changed, and you, O children of Jacob, have not perished.7 From the days of your ancestors you have turned aside from my rules, and have not keptthem! Return to me and I will return to you,” says Yahweh of hosts, “but you say, ‘How shall we return?’
8 Will a human dare to rob God? Yet you are robbing me! And you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In the tithes and the contributions! 9 You are being cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you! 10 Bring the whole tithe to the storehouse , so that there will be food in my house, and test me please in this,” says Yahweh of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour forth for you an overflowing blessing .11 I will rebuke the devourer for you; it will not destroy the fruit of your soil; your vine in the field will not be unfruitful,” says Yahweh of hosts. 12 “And all the nations will call you blessed, because you will be a land in which one takes joy ,” says Yahweh of hosts. 13 “Your words have been harsh against me,” says Yahweh. “But you say, ‘How have we spoken together against you?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God! What is the gain if we keep his requirements, and if we walk as mourners before Yahweh of hosts? 15 And now we are calling the arrogant blessed! Not only do those who do wickedness prosper; they also test God and they escape!’ ”
16 Then those who revered Yahweh spoke with one another . And Yahweh listened attentively and heard, and a scroll of remembrance was written before him of those who revere Yahweh and ponder his name. 17 “They will be mine,” says Yahweh of hosts, “on the day that I am acting, my treasured possession. I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. 18 You will return and see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve him.
4 “For look! The day is about to come, burning like an oven, and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble. The coming day will consume them,” says Yahweh of hosts. “It will not leave behind for them root or branch. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise, with healing in its wings, and you will go out and leap like fattened calves .3 You will trample down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I am going to act,” says Yahweh of hosts.
4 “Remember the instruction of my servant Moses, which I commanded him at Horeb to all Israel, the rules and regulations. 5 Look! I am going to send to you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of Yahweh! 6 And he will bring backthe hearts of the fathers to the sons, and the hearts of the sons to their fathers, so that I will not come and strike the land with a ban.”
28 And after we were brought safely through, then we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 And the local inhabitants showed extraordinary kindness to us, for they lit a fire and welcomed us all, because of the rain that had begun and because of the cold. 3 And when Paul had gathered a large number of sticks and was placing them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. 4 And when the local people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “Doubtless this man is a murderer whom, although he was rescued from the sea, Justice has not permitted to live!” 5 He, in turn, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 But they were expecting that he was going to swell up or suddenly to fall down dead. So after they had waited for a long time and saw nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began sayingthat he was a god.
7 Now in the regions around that place were fields belonging to the chief official of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8 And it happened that the father of Publius was lying down, afflicted with fever and dysentery. Paul went to him and after praying, he placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 And after this had taken place, the rest of those on the island who had diseases were coming and being healed also. 10 They also honored us with many honors, and when we were putting out to sea, they gave us the things we needed .
11 Now after three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered at the island, an Alexandrian one with the twin gods Castor and Pollux as its insignia .12 And putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there three days. 13 From there we got underwayand arrived at Rhegium, and after one day a south wind came up and on the second day we came to Puteoli, 14 where we found brothers, and were implored to stay with them seven days. And in this way we came to Rome. 15 And from there the brothers, when they heard the news about us, came to meet us as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns. When he saw them, Paul gave thanks to God and took courage. 16 And when we entered into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself with the soldier who was guarding him.
17 Now it happened that after three days, he called together those who were the most prominent of the Jews. And when they had assembled, he said to them, “Men and brothers, although I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, from Jerusalem I was delivered as a prisoner into the hands of the Romans, 18 who, when they had examined me, were wanting to release me, because there was no basis for an accusation worthy of death with me. 19 But because the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar (not as if I had any charge to bring against my own people).20 Therefore for this reason I have requested to see you and to speak with you, for because of the hope of Israel I am wearing this chain!” 21 And they said to him, “We have received no letters about you from Judea, nor has any of the brothers come and reported or spoken anything evil about you. 22 But we would like to hear from you what you think, for concerning this sect it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere.”
23 And when they had set a day with him, many more came to him at his lodging place, to whom he was explaining from early in the morning until evening, testifying about the kingdom of God and attempting to convince them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets. 24 And some were convinced by what was said, but others refused to believe. 25 So being in disagreement with one another, they began to leave after Paul made one statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through the prophet Isaiah to your fathers, 26 saying,
‘Go to this people and say,
“ You will keep on hearing and will never understand,
and you will keep on seeing and will never perceive.
and with their ears they hear with difficulty,
and they have shut their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their heart,
and turn, and I would heal them.” ’
30 So he stayed two whole years in his own rented house, and welcomed all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, without hindrance.
and I was powerless because of his majesty.
or I have called fine gold my security,
or because my hand found a fortune,
orat the moon moving in splendor,
and my hand threw them a kiss ,
for I have deceived God above.
or have exulted when evil overtook him—
to ask his life with a curse.
‘ O that someone had not been satisfied with his meat’?
I have opened my door to the traveler.
to hide my iniquity in my bosom
and the contempt of clans terrified me,
so that I kept quiet, I did not go out of the doorway?
Here is my signature;
let Shaddai answer me!
As for the written communication that my adversary has written,
I would bind it on me like a crown.
I would approach him like a noble.
and its furrows have wept together,
or I have caused the breath of its owners to die,
and noxious weeds in place of barley.”
The words of Job are ended.
The book of Acts ends on a somewhat unsatisfying note. After all that Paul has been through—imprisonment, trial, shipwreck—we expect a showdown with Caesar or mass conversions of the Jews. Instead, the plot seems to sputter out.
Paul arrives in Rome and appeals to the Jews living there. He quotes Isaiah to the Jewish leaders: “You will keep on hearing, and will never understand, and you will keep on seeing and will never perceive” (Acts 28:26). When they fail to respond, Paul determines to reach out to the Gentiles. “They also will listen” (Acts 28:28) and will respond differently.
The poignant end of this book leaves Paul “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, without hindrance” (Acts 28:30). Facing either rejection or reception, he continues proclaiming the good news to both Jew and Gentile.
Paul is a key player in the Church that is being gathered by Jesus Christ, but the drama cannot end with Paul. Jesus is the main character in the story of humanity’s redemption. The book of Acts leaves the ending open so that we can pick it up and carry it forward. The work of Jesus, through His Church, continues to the present day, and Jesus is using both you and me in His grand narrative.
How do you see your life as a story that honors God as the key player?
Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord
Publisher: Lexham Press
Publication Date: 2012
This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.