Daily Readings – September 2018

Bible Readings & Prayer Points

In the Old Testament there are five ‘major prophets’: Isaiah to Daniel. There are also twelve ‘minor prophets’: Hosea to Malachi. Over the next couple of months, we are going to look at some of these minor prophets, with the exception of Jonah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah and Malachi, which we have already covered either in Bible readings or in sermons. We begin this month with Hosea, Joel, Obadiah and Jonah.

Saturday 1st September
Hosea 1
Hosea prophesied for a long time, perhaps thirty years or more, during the reigns of several kings (see verse 1). He was a contemporary of Isaiah, although Isaiah prophesied to the southern kingdom of Judah, with its capital in Jerusalem, whereas Hosea prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel. The prophecy of Hosea is a kind of ‘acted parable’, with the life and experiences of the prophet himself being used as an illustration of God’s relationship with Israel. God told Hosea to marry Gomer, who would prove to be an ‘adulterous wife’. In other words, God told Hosea to marry a wife whom he was told in advance would be unfaithful. The message of the book starts here. Just as Hosea’s wife became unfaithful, so Israel, God’s people, have become unfaithful. Just as Gomer went after other men, so Israel went after other gods. God uses this sad story of Hosea’s life to illustrate with great power the unfaithfulness of Israel.

Prayer Point
Pray for Andrew and June McGowan as they go on annual leave, with Andrew serving as chaplain with the National Trust for Scotland cruise.

Sunday 2nd September
Hosea 1
Hosea and Gomer had three children and they were given names which underlined the message which God had sent Hosea to declare to the nation of Israel. The first was called ‘Jezreel’ and we are told the reason in verse 4: ‘because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel’. This massacre is described in 2 Kings 9 and 10. This prophecy was fulfilled in 752 BC and the entire northern kingdom lasted only another thirty years. The second child was called ‘not loved’ or ‘not pitied’ as a statement of God withdrawing His grace and love, albeit temporarily. The third child was called ‘not my people’. There came a time when the people of God, by their actions made themselves strangers to God and could no longer be regarded as his people. This is a recurring danger for the people of God, in Hosea’s day and in ours. God will not be mocked by those who use his name but do not live as his people.

Prayer Point
Pray for Douglas Horne taking morning and evening services today and Alex Stephen taking the Raigmore service.

Monday 3rd September
Hosea 2:1-13
These verses describe in detail the judgement of God which will fall on Israel because the nations has worshipped the Baals instead of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As the covenant people of God, they should have been faithful but were not. In verse 8, God says that they refused even to recognise that he was the one who ‘gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold – which they used for Baal’. They were so bound up in their disobedience and rebellion that they did not even recognise God’s providence. God says that, as a punishment for this, their harvests would suffer, their religious ceremonies would be taken away and Israel would be punished ‘for the days she burned incense to the Baals’ (verse 13). God had commanded that only he was to be worshipped. Moses, in the Ten Commandments, describes God as a ‘jealous God’ (Exodus 20:5). God will not share the worship of his people with anyone or anything.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Fellowship Groups, asking that God would use them to deepen our knowledge of the Bible and to provide valuable Christian fellowship.

Tuesday 4th September
Hosea 2:14-23
In the second half of this chapter the tone changes. The judgement having been pronounced and acted upon, God now speaks tenderly to Israel and seeks to bring the nation back to himself. He will remove all worship of the Baals, he will make a covenant with them and once again, their crops will produce a good yield. The illustration of a marriage continues. God will betroth his people to himself and restore them to high position as the covenant people. God will say to them ‘You are my people’ and they will respond, ‘You are my God’. One of the characteristics of the Minor Prophets is the way in which God’s judgement is followed by expressions of God’s love and faithfulness. God might punish his people for a time, a process of fatherly discipline but he always seeks to bring them back to himself. So it is with us.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Girls’ Brigade as they begin again this evening. Pray for the new co-captains of the company: Jennifer Morrison and Sheena Fraser.

Wednesday 5th September
Hosea 3
This chapter probably describes events many years after chapters 1 and 2. Hosea’s wife Gomer has become an adulterous woman and remained so for a long time. Now Hosea is told by God to go and bring her back again into his house and to restore her to her position as his wife. In verse 2 it says that he ‘bought her’ implying that he had to pay to release her from her adulterous relationship. In effect she became his slave because of this purchase but he treated her as his wife. The symbolism of this chapter concerns Israel. Israel had gone after other gods and was therefore in an ‘adulterous relationship’ but God had decided to bring her home to himself. He would forgive her, restore her and set his affection upon her. The adultery would be in the past and the relationship between God and Israel would be restored.

Prayer Point
Pray for Christine Macdonald from ‘Old Macdonald’s Farm’ in Lusaka, Zambia. She is in London waiting for a liver transplant and her condition is serious. Pray for Don who has had to return to Zambia for a time.

Thursday 6th September
Hosea 4
Hosea had been reconciled to his wife as a picture of the reconciliation between God and Israel but Israel was not yet ready to be reconciled to God. In this chapter, God lays out his charge against them, indicating the many ways in which they had offended him. The primary problem was a lack of faithfulness. Just as Gomer had been unfaithful, so Israel had been unfaithful to God. This unfaithfulness had led to bloodshed and violence (verse 2). The result of this unfaithfulness and bloodshed was that the land was suffering. Even the priests, who should have been leading the people in the ways of God, were guilty. Look at verses 7-8: ‘The more the priests increased, the more they sinned against me; they exchanged their Glory for something disgraceful. 8 They feed on the sins of my people and relish their wickedness’.
They would be punished. The rest of the chapter makes it clear that the people of Israel, like their priests, had forsaken God and would likewise be punished. This chapter s a real warning to us of what happens when a nation abandons God and his Word.

Prayer Point
Pray for the bereaved, both those who have recently been bereaved and those whose bereavement is still very hard to bear, even after a long time. Ask for God’s comfort and his loving care to support them.

Friday 7th September
Hosea 5
God addresses the king, the priests and the people in this chapter, as we see in verse 1. They are unable to return to God because of their actions. They have a ‘spirit of prostitution’, meaning that they go after the Baals. The key problem, however, is that they ‘do not acknowledge the Lord’ (verse 4). To acknowledge the Lord means to recognise him as Lord and to submit to his authority. The failure to do so makes it impossible to find forgiveness and reconciliation. In our own situation we might say that our nation will continue to suffer until the leaders of the church and the nation acknowledge God and submit to him. Hosea makes it clear that, in their present sinful condition, Israel would not find God, even if they searched for him, because ‘he has withdrawn himself from them’ (verse 6). God never finally abandons his covenant people but often in their history he ‘withdrew’ from them because of their sin and poured out his judgement. Even in the midst of this trade against Israel God says, ‘I long to redeem them’ (13).

Prayer Point
Pray for Open Doors and for Bob Matheson and his team. Pray that those who come in will receive a friendly welcome and see the love of Christ in the volunteers.

Saturday 8th September
Hosea 6
In the first three verses of this chapter, Hosea sums up what the people of Israel are saying. They are quite convinced that what they have gone through is temporary and that God will forgive and forget. In other words, they had no idea of how bad their situation was, nor how seriously God took their sin. God responds in verses 4-6 by spelling out the level of repentance he requires. Note particularly verse 6, where God makes it clear that religious observance was not what he wanted. Instead, there must be a real change of heart and real evidence of repentance. After all, as we see in verses 7-10, they had broken the covenant and were living appalling lives. The lesson for us is that church involvement is not enough, God wants faith and repentance.

Prayer Point
Pray for our Sunday School teachers and Ark Sunday Club leaders. Pray for all the children who come (either regularly or infrequently) and ask that they would come to know the Saviour.

Sunday 9th September
Hosea 7
In the first seven verses, Hosea addresses the rulers of the nation. He speaks of intrigue and of the fall of the kings of Israel (most of them died in coups). He then goes on in verses 8-13 to speak of the corrupt nature of the national leadership and their constant tendency to trust in the nations round about instead of in their God, now turning to Egypt, now to Assyria (verse 11). Finally, in verses 14-16, he speaks of the insincerity of their worship. It was not from the heart and thus not acceptable. God had ‘trained them and strengthened them’ (verse 15) but instead of appreciating all that the Lord had done for them, they plotted against him and engaged in idolatry. Their judgement would come. We need to learn the lesson of what happens to a nation which does not acknowledge God or recognise all that he has done for them.

Prayer Point
Pray for Douglas Horne as he takes both morning and evening services today, for Iain Macdonald as he takes the Raigmore service and for the Rev D.A. Maclennan as he takes the Gaelic service.

Monday 10th September
Hosea 8
Hosea summarises the sin of the nation of Israel and its inevitable consequences. The people had broken the covenant (verse 1); they had rejected the good (verse 2); they appointed kings without consulting God (verse 4); they make idols to worship (verse 4); they rejected God’s law (verse 12). In summary, ‘Israel has forgotten his Maker’ (verse 14). As a result, ‘they sow the wind and reap the whirlwind’ (verse 7). Truly the whirlwind of God’s wrath would soon come upon Israel. They had passed the point of no return. There was no way back to God because their lives, their worship and their leaders had turned permanently away from God.

Prayer Point
Pray for the sick, the elderly and the housebound in the congregation, especially those who miss very much being in church with us. Pray that we might be able to give them the support they need to sustain their faith.

Tuesday 11th September
Hosea 9
The reference to Assyria in verse 3 indicates what would happen to the Israelites. Having abandoned God, he would send them off into exile in Assyria. This is described in 2 Kings 18:9-12: ‘In King Hezekiah’s fourth year, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria marched against Samaria and laid siege to it. 10 At the end of three years the Assyrians took it. So Samaria was captured in Hezekiah’s sixth year, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel. 11 The king of Assyria deported Israel to Assyria and settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River, and in towns of the Medes. 12 This happened because they had not obeyed the LORD their God, but had violated his covenant – all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out’. This took place in 723 BC. The southern kingdom of Judah would also go into exile, this time to Babylon in 587 BC.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Deacons in the church. Remember especially Calum Campbell, the Fabric Convener, as he oversees the repairs to the roof. Pray too for Donald MacVicar, Bill Flett, Duncan Fraser and others as they organise the fund-raising to pay for it.

Wednesday 12th September
Hosea 10
In the Bible we often have the imagery of trees and fruit. Jesus himself warned, in Matthew 3:10, that ‘The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire’. Elsewhere he said that a bad tree could not bear good fruit nor a good tree bear bad fruit (Matthew 7:18). That is the language we have here in Hosea 10. God says that the nation had produced bad fruit and so the tree would be cut down so that this did not continue. There was to be no more idolatry. In verses 7-15 it is the king who is specified as a source of sin and idolatry and the judgement is passed on him and future kings. We only have to read 2 Kings to see how the whole situation deteriorated to this point. Are we producing good fruit or bad fruit?

Prayer Point
Pray for Fraser and Dawn Jackson in South Africa. Pray for Fraser’s work in assisting a number of colleges with their library IT systems. Pray for Dawn as she begins to work with prisoners, sharing the Gospel.

Thursday 13th September
Hosea 11
The first verse is a description of a past event. It speaks of how God heard the cries of his people as they laboured under the oppression of Egypt and sent Moses to bring them out of the land of bondage and into the Promised Land. Verses 2-7 make it clear that they will again go into slavery and bondage because of their sin. Verses 8-11 give a word of hope, and the promise of final deliverance. That constant movement between grace and judgment is typical of this whole Book. We see both the anger of God and also his love. We see his judgment and also the promise of restoration. The holiness of God and the love of God may sometimes seem to be standing in sharp contrast to one another, but in this chapter of Hosea they come together. Because he is the Holy One (verse 9) it is inevitable that sin will be judged, but because he is also the God of love (1 John 4:7-12) he weeps over his people and longs to bring them back to himself. Unless we properly understand this tension in God between love and holiness we shall fail to have a balanced Christianity, and we shall also fail to understand the atonement.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Senior Citizens’ lunch today in Raigmore and for Ian Challinor who will give the message.

Friday 14th September
Hosea 11
We read this chapter again today to reflect on the amazing love of God. God’s love shines through the pages of this prophecy of Hosea. In this story and its meaning, we discover three things about God and his amazing, persevering love. The first thing to say is that God loved his people dearly. The reason God entered into a covenant with Israel in the first place was because of His love. Second, because of his love for his people, God was hurt by Israel’s unfaithfulness. Just as we can understand the pain in Hosea as he sees the behaviour of his unfaithful wife, so we can imagine the pain in God as he contemplates his unfaithful people. Third, there was no reason for unfaithfulness and no justification for Israel’s adulterous turning to other gods. Since he loved his people, God had done everything that was possible for Israel’s good. In another prophecy, in Isaiah 5:1-4, we can hear the agonised astonishment of God that his people should turn away from him. God says, in effect, ‘what more could I have done for you? The message of the book, however, is that the amazing, persevering love of God triumphed in the end. Just as Hosea took action to bring his unfaithful wife back home, so God acted to bring Israel back to himself.

Prayer Point
Pray for our young people who will be going off to university soon, both those who are returning to continue their courses and those who are leaving home for the first time. Pray that the Lord will protect and keep them.

Saturday 15th September
Hosea 12
In this chapter the prophet speaks out against both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Both were guilty of sin, not least the sins of greed, injustice and fraud. Worst of all, they were guilty of idolatry, worshipping idols which they had made instead of worshipping the God who had made them. Their sins were compounded because they were sins against the God who had chosen them, made them his own covenant people and blessed them richly. The prophet reminds them of how God had blessed Jacob, how he had redeemed them from Egypt and how he had sent them prophets to guide and teach them. Despite all of this they refused to turn back from their evil ways.

Prayer Point
Pray for Jim Fraser, our organist and for the Music Group. Pray too for the Multimedia Team which puts the hymns up on the screens, controls the sound and records the sermons to go up on our website.

Sunday 16th September
Hosea 13
Hosea returns to the theme of idolatry which has recurred so often in this prophecy. They were making idols and were even guilty of human sacrifice and kissing calf-idols. The Lord cries out against them in verse 4: ‘But I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Saviour except me’. The people of God were only to worship the Lord their God. To do otherwise was to court disaster. The prophet goes on to remind them of all that God did or them, in giving them the land of Canaan and in providing prosperity (verses 5-8). Unfortunately, they used their prosperity in order to sin. The final judgement is pronounced in verses 9-16. It is a frightening description of what would happen when the Assyrians invaded.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Minister as he takes the morning service, Donald MacVicar as he takes the Raigmore service and Alex Stephen as he takes the evening service. Pray too for safe travel for the Minister. He is attending a twenty-four hour, Council of Assembly meeting in Peebles, which begins this afternoon with worship.

Monday 17th September
Hosea 14
In this final chapter, God calls on his people to repent. It is late in the day and the Assyrians are coming but it is not too late to return to the Lord with repentant hearts and to seek his face. This is further evidence of God’s love for his people that he could make this evangelical appeal at this late stage in the life of Israel. In verses 4-9 God promises to forgive those who repent, to heal them and to love them. He promises once again to shower them with blessings and set them up again as a nation respected and famed. The message of God to sinners in our day is the same as his message to the people of Israel in Hosea’s day: despite the state of the church and the state of the nation, it is not too late to repent and turn back to the Lord. If we do so, we shall find a welcome from a loving God who longs to have us as his children.

Prayer Point
Continue to pray for the important Council of Assembly meeting, attended by the Minister, to help develop a radical strategy for the Church of Scotland.

Tuesday 18th September
Joel 1:1-12
We know virtually nothing about this prophet. We do not know when he prophesied, although there are similarities with Amos and some of the other prophets which might place him as one of their contemporaries. The occasion for the prophecy is a plague of locusts. Joel compares this to an invasion of the land by a powerful nation (verse 6), possibly referring to the Assyrians invading Israel. The destruction caused by the locusts and the sheer darkness brought on the land by the swarms of them, are used to speak of the darkness and destruction of the Day of the Lord.

Prayer Point
Pray for Jack Macdonald as he prepares to begin his theological studies in New College, University of Edinburgh, in preparation to become a Minister of the Church of Scotland.

Wednesday 19th September
Joel 1:13-20
The prophet issues a call to repentance. He begins with the priests and those who minister in the temple in verse 13: ‘Put on sackcloth, O priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God; for the grain offerings and drink offerings are withheld from the house of your God’. The priests are to call for a fast, hold a solemn assembly and summon everyone to the house of the Lord. The urgency is because ‘the day of the Lord is near’. Their fields are devastated, their store houses have been destroyed, the streams have dried up and fire has causes devastation. The people must cry out to the Lord for help and must return to him in repentance.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Far East Broadcasting Association (FEBA) and other organisations who, by radio, television, websites or social media are able to reach countries where it is difficult to take the Gospel.

Thursday 20th September
Joel 2:1-11
The swarm of locusts becomes the army of the Lord as he comes in judgement. The day of the Lord is coming and a ‘mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come’ (verse 2). This day of the Lord refers to a coming day of judgement. On that day, the full force of God will be raised against all his enemies, including his own people for their sin. Notice particularly verse 11: ‘The LORD thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?’ We might well take these words to heart because each one of us will stand before God on the Day of Judgement when Christ returns. If we are not ready, clothed in the righteousness of Christ then ‘who can endure it?’

Prayer Point
Pray for the Gathering today and for June McGowan and the team. Pray that those who come will enjoy a time of fellowship over coffee.

Friday 21st September
Joel 2:12-17
In the midst of the warning about the day of the Lord, a word of hope is given. It is not too late. The Lord calls people to return to him. Notice verse 13: ‘Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity’. This is the same message we saw in Hosea. Even on the brink of judgement, it is still possible to turn back and find forgiveness from the Lord. Are there people we know who are unsaved, standing outside of the covenant, who have neglected Christ’s call? We must urgently call them to turn to God through Jesus Christ. Just as Joel pleaded with the people, so we must plead with those who are heading for a lost eternity in Hell.

Prayer Point
Pray for those who contribute to the life of the church as volunteers: delivering the Easterly, serving on duty teams, doing creche duty, preparing teas after the service, arranging the flowers, serving on teams at Raigmore and much more.

Saturday 22nd September
Joel 2:18-32
The Lord takes pity on his people. He promises to replace all that the locusts have taken and to drive out the invading army. The Lord will do great things. The pastures will become green again, the trees will bear fruit and the autumn rains will come. God says that he will ‘repay you for the years the locusts have eaten’. More than all this, however, God promises to pour out his Spirit upon them. On that day amazing things would happen, as we read in verses 28-29: ‘Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days’. This is the prophecy which Peter quoted in in Acts 2:16-21, to explain what was happening on the Day of Pentecost. The prophet says that ‘everyone who calls on the name of the lord will be saved’. Have we called on the name of the Lord and been saved?

Prayer Point
Pray for the Minister as he leads a session on ‘What is Presbyterianism?’ at a Conference Session during today’s Inverness Presbytery meeting.

Sunday 23rd September
Joel 3
The enemies of God’s people will themselves be judged for all that they have done to Israel and Judah. The Lord himself will pass judgement on them and bring them to nothing. The enemies of Israel will themselves suffer in the way that God’s people have suffered. On that day, as we read in verse 16, ‘the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel’. No longer will the Lord turn his back on the people of Israel because of their sin. They will be forgiven and restored. Judah will be restored and the city of Jerusalem will once again be the city of God. Some of this came true when the people of God returned to Judah and Jerusalem after the Exile. Some of the prophecy, however, will only be fulfilled when Christ returns.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Minister as he takes the morning service and the Raigmore service today. There is no evening service because of the Opening Meeting of the Scottish Northern Convention in Dingwall at 8pm.

Monday 24th September
This prophecy only has one chapter. The prophet is someone about whom we know nothing. His name means ‘servant of the Lord’ and he was certainly used by God to speak a word against Edom. The Edomites were descended from Esau but they constantly made raids on Judah. Their land was high up, above cliffs and largely inaccessible, so it was a difficult place to attack but perfect for launching attacks down into Judah. In 587 BC, when the Babylonians were attacking Judah and taking people into exile, the Edomites chose that moment to invade themselves. It was this act which led to Obadiah’s prophecy. The Edomites were condemned for attacking ‘your brother Jacob’. They should not have stood back while enemies attacked Judah, nor should they have attacked Judah and carried off their wealth ‘in the day of their disaster’. God promises revenge upon them for this treachery.

Prayer Point
Pray for all the Scottish Northern Convention meetings this week, beginning today and finishing on Thursday. Pray for the speakers Paul Mallard and Peter Grainger.

Tuesday 25th September
Obadiah was not the only prophet to prophecy against Edom. We see the same in other prophets. For example, in Ezekiel 25:12-14, we’re told that the sovereign Lord had promised judgement on Edom: ‘Because Edom took revenge on the house of Judah and became very guilty by doing so, 13 therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “I will stretch out my hand against Edom and kill its men and their animals. I will lay it waste, and from Teman to Dedan they will fall by the sword. 14 I will take vengeance on Edom by the hand of my people Israel, and they will deal with Edom in accordance with my anger and my wrath; they will know my vengeance, declares the Sovereign LORD”’. In contrast to the judgement promised on Edom, Obadiah tells us that one day the Israelites would return and would occupy the land again, including the lands of Edom. In other words, they would be vindicated and their enemies the Edomites would suffer.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Word at One service at lunchtime today. Ask that God’s Word will be clearly preached and understood.

Wednesday 26th September
Jonah 1
The prophecy begins with the news that God told Jonah to go to preach in Nineveh. This was a word from the Lord but Jonah refused to listen to the Lord’s instructions. The second thing we see in this chapter is a picture of Jonah running away from God. It was bad enough refusing to obey God’s instructions but now he actually runs away from God. Jonah went in the opposite direction to where God wanted him to go. Running away from God led Jonah into deep trouble (literally). These verses speak to us of the sovereign power of God. God was able to have Jonah thrown into the sea and God was also able to rescue him from the sea. God used the sailors. Do you know people like Jonah? They know the Gospel and they know God’s call to turn back to him but they refuse to listen to God and they try to run away and live their lives according to their own wishes and desires. The truth is that when we try to run away from God, it always ends badly.

Prayer Point
Continue to pray for the Scottish Northern Convention, especially the church leaders’ meeting at lunchtime and the Communion Service in the evening.

Thursday 27th September
Jonah 2
The passage begins with these dramatic words: ‘From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God.’ Imagine that! Jonah in prayer to God from the belly of the great fish. Something has happened to him. This is the man who was running away from God and now he is deep in prayer. Was it just because he was in trouble? Or was God acting in power to change the heart of Jonah? Jonah was restored to the presence of God. It might be said that this is the basis of all Christian work and all Christian preaching, to bring people into the presence of God. Jonah came to realise that there was no possible escape from God. God wanted a preacher to go to Nineveh, and he had chosen Jonah for that task. God used his rebellion and his running away to change his heart and to prepare him. The lesson that he couldn’t escape from God and from the purposes of God was one very important lesson.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Kirk Session meeting tonight and pray for the elders in their continuing work of pastoral care. Pray too for those elders who regularly preach at Raigmore.

Friday 28th September
Jonah 3:1-4
The first three verses of chapter 3 demonstrate that Jonah is a changed man: ‘Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh’. Notice several points here: first, Jonah was given a second opportunity to obey God; second, the Word of the Lord came to him; and third, Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord. He went to Nineveh and preached the message God had given him. He was faithful to his calling and his mission. He did not try to water the message down to make it more palatable and he did not add to it anything of his own making – he simply passed on what he had been told to say. In this way, he acted as a good ambassador should.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Gideons as they distribute testaments to College and University students all over the country. Pray for open doors for this work and pray that the students will read the Scriptures.

Saturday 29th September
Jonah 3:5-10
The result of Jonah’s preaching was an amazing revival. The people of Nineveh, from the king down, heard, believed and responded to the message. This was remarkable result. If you read most of the prophets, their message fell on deaf ears. Indeed, some of them were told when they were called that their message would fall on deaf ears. That was not the case here. The result was that the people were saved from destruction. God had called on them to turn away from their sin and when they did, he was pleased to have compassion on them and did not destroy them. It would be wonderful to see today a response to God’s Word of this magnitude.

Prayer Point
Pray for our planned outreach today, ‘Celebration of Christ’. Pray that all the arrangements will work out and the Gospel will be heard and received.

Sunday 30th September
Jonah 4
Now you might imagine that Jonah would be delighted to be the instrument of God’s grace and salvation in Nineveh. Most Ministers that I know would give anything to be used by God in this way. Despite what we might expect, however, we’re told that ‘Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry’. He tells the people of Nineveh to repent or destruction would come upon their city, and is terribly upset when they do repent! Jonah moves outside the city and builds himself a shelter. God, we’re told, provided a vine to provide some shelter from the scorching. At dawn the next day, however, God provided a worm which chewed the vine so that it withered, and Jonah was exposed to the full force of the sun once again. Jonah was furious. God, however, was trying to teach Jonah a lesson in all of this. Jonah was concerned about a vine but couldn’t understand God’s concern for the people of Nineveh. He had a lot to learn!

Prayer Point
Pray for the Minister as he takes morning and evening services today. The morning service is our Harvest Service and we shall also have the baptism of Harry Duncanson. Pray for Donald MacVicar as he takes the service at Raigmore.