Saturday, December 11, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Saturday, December 11, 2021

The Birth of John the Baptist

The Daily Bible Readings
Saturday, December 11, 2021
Isaiah 12:2-6; Amos 9:8-15; Luke 1:57-66
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible


In today’s lectionary readings, our psalm comes from the book of Isaiah. It speaks both to those who suffer water’s absence and those who feel drowned in the waters of destruction. God’s salvation flows and overflows, fulfilling the deepest need of parched souls with the very presence of God in their midst. Our reading in Amos is the last sermon on the book of Amos, and we are given a wondrous promise of restoration and blessing of Israel. The prophecy begins with the words “In that day.” This tells us that the prophecy refers to sometime in the future. This would indicate that this prophecy refers to a promised restoration of Israel beyond the coming of the Messiah and the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost. Our gospel reading is the account of the birth and naming of John the Baptist. The arrival of the babe was in exact fulfillment of Gabriel’s prophecy and caused widespread joy. Eight days after the birth of John, he was to be circumcised in accordance with God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17:10-14. In our verse of the day, God sent a message of hope to Israel that would authenticate the arrival of His anointed Savior—the Seed of the woman, the Messiah of Israel, and royal descendant of the great king David. He would save His people from their sins.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
It may seem like an insignificant detail, but the virgin birth of Jesus Christ is central to our salvation. It emphasizes the fact that the Lamb of God had to be absolutely perfect (Lev. 22:17–21; Mal. 1:6–14). Because of the virgin birth, Jesus does not have the same sin nature as we do (Gen. 3:15; Rom. 5:12), which is why He was able to take all of our iniquities and forgive us of them on the Cross. “Immanuel” means “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). The Lord Himself came to dwell among us and save us from our sins (Phil. 2:5, 6; Col. 1:15, 19; 2:9).

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Prophetic Books of Major Prophets
Isaiah 12:2-6
In Your Midst is the Holy One of Israel

2 Surely God is my salvation;
     I will trust and not be afraid.
  The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense;
     he has become my salvation.”
3 With joy you will draw water
     from the wells of salvation.

4 In that day you will say:

  “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
     make known among the nations what he has done,
     and proclaim that his name is exalted.
5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
     let this be known to all the world.
6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
     for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”


The song of praise in this chapter is suitable for the return of the outcasts of Israel from their long captivity, but it is especially suitable to the case of a sinner, when he first finds peace and joy in believing; to that of a believer, when his peace is renewed after corrections for backslidings; and to that of the whole company of the redeemed, when they meet before the throne of God in heaven. The promise is sure, and the blessings contained in it are very rich; and the benefits enjoyed through Jesus Christ, call for the most enlarged thanksgivings. By Jesus Christ, the Root of Jesse, the Divine anger against mankind was turned away, for he is our Peace. Those to whom God is reconciled, he comforts. They are taught to triumph in God and their interest in him. I will trust him to prepare me for his salvation, and preserve me to it. I will trust him with all my concerns, not doubting but he will make all to work for good. Faith in God is a sovereign remedy against tormenting fears. Many Christians have God for their strength, who have him not for their song; they walk in darkness: but those who have God for their strength ought to make him their song; that is, give him the glory of it, and take to themselves the comfort of it. This salvation is from the love of God the Father, it comes to us through God the Son, it is applied by the new-creating power of God the Spirit. When this is seen by faith, the trembling sinner learns to hope in God, and is delivered from fear. The purifying and sanctifying influences of the Holy Ghost often are denoted under the emblem of springing water. This work flows through the mediation of Christ, and is conveyed to our souls by means of God's ordinances. Blessed be God, we have wells of salvation opened on every side, and may draw from them the waters of life and consolation. In the second part of this gospel song, verses 4-6, believers encourage one another to praise God, and seek to draw others to join them in it. No difference of opinions about the times and seasons, and other such matters, ought to divide the hearts of Christians. Let it be our care that we may be placed amongst those to whom he will say, Come, ye blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.

From the Prophetic Books of Minor Prophets
Amos 9:8-15
God Will Set Things Right

8 “Surely the eyes of the Sovereign Lord
     are on the sinful kingdom.
  I will destroy it
     from the face of the earth.
  Yet I will not totally destroy
     the descendants of Jacob,”
  declares the Lord.
9 “For I will give the command,
     and I will shake the people of Israel
     among all the nations
  as grain is shaken in a sieve,
     and not a pebble will reach the ground.
10 All the sinners among my people
      will die by the sword,
   all those who say,
      ‘Disaster will not overtake or meet us.’

11 “In that day

   “I will restore David’s fallen shelter—
      I will repair its broken walls
      and restore its ruins—
      and will rebuild it as it used to be,
12 so that they may possess the remnant of Edom
      and all the nations that bear my name,”
   declares the Lord, who will do these things.

13 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,

   “when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman
      and the planter by the one treading grapes.
   New wine will drip from the mountains
      and flow from all the hills,
14    and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.

   “They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.
      They will plant vineyards and drink their wine;
      they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
15 I will plant Israel in their own land,
      never again to be uprooted
      from the land I have given them,”

   says the Lord your God.


The astonishing preservation of the Jews as a distinct people, seems here foretold. If professors make themselves like the world, God will level them with the world. The sinners who thus flatter themselves, shall find that their profession will not protect them. Christ died to gather together the children of God that were scattered abroad, here said to be those who were called by his name. The Lord said this, who does this, who can do it, who has determined to do it, the power of whose grace is engaged for doing it. Verses Amos 9:13-15 may refer to the early times of Christianity, but will receive a more glorious fulfillment in the events which all the prophets more or less foretold, and may be understood of the happy state when the fullness both of the Jews and the Gentiles come into the church. Let us continue earnest in prayer for the fulfillment of these prophecies, in the peace, purity, and the beauty of the church. God marvelously preserves his elect amidst the most fearful confusions and miseries. When all seems desperate, he wonderfully revives his church, and blesses her with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. And great shall be the glory of that period, in which not one good thing promised shall remain unfulfilled.

From the Gospels
Luke 1:57-66
The Birth of John the Baptist

1:57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.

59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”

61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”

62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.


In these verses we have an account of the birth of John the Baptist, and the great joy among all the relations of the family. He shall be called Johanan, or "Gracious," because he shall bring in the gospel of Christ, wherein God's grace shines most bright. Zacharias recovered his speech. Unbelief closed his mouth, and believing opened it again: he believers, therefore he speaks. When God opens our lips, our mouths must show forth his praise; and better be without speech, than not use it in praising God. It is said, The hand of the Lord was working with John. God has ways of working on children in their infancy, which we cannot account for. We should observe the dealings of God, and wait the event.

Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Morning Prayer for Saturday, December 11, 2021


The Morning Prayer
Saturday, December 11, 2021

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.
Psalm 16:1–2, NIV

Dear Father in heaven, look on us as your children, and grant that we may feel in you the highest good for time and eternity. Even if we have to deny ourselves and make great sacrifices, you remain our treasure, our riches, our love, and our joy. Give us strength as a gathered people ready to serve you. Grant us your Spirit whenever we do not understand what we should do. Shelter us always in your hands, and allow us to see your miracles in souls and in bodies. For you are our God, the Almighty, and you find the way to help in everything. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Saturday, December 11, 2021


Verse of the Day
Saturday, December 11, 2021

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
It may seem like an insignificant detail, but the virgin birth of Jesus Christ is central to our salvation. It emphasizes the fact that the Lamb of God had to be absolutely perfect (Lev. 22:17–21; Mal. 1:6–14). Because of the virgin birth, Jesus does not have the same sin nature as we do (Gen. 3:15; Rom. 5:12), which is why He was able to take all of our iniquities and forgive us of them on the Cross. “Immanuel” means “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). The Lord Himself came to dwell among us and save us from our sins (Phil. 2:5, 6; Col. 1:15, 19; 2:9).

Read all of Isaiah Chapter 7

Listen to Isaiah Chapter 7

Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.

Our Daily Bread — Caring for Those in Need


Caring for Those in Need

I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. Deuteronomy 15:11

READ Deuteronomy 15:7–11

Elvis Summers answered the door to find Smokey, a frail woman who stopped by regularly to ask for empty cans to return for cash. This money was her primary source of income. Elvis got an idea. “Could you show me where you sleep?” he asked. Smokey led him to a narrow patch of dirt about two feet wide next to a house. Moved by compassion, Summers built her a “tiny house”—a simple shelter that provided space for her to sleep safely. Summers ran with the idea. He started a GoFundMe page and teamed with local churches to provide land to build more shelters for others who were homeless.

Throughout the Bible, God’s people are reminded to care for those in need. When God spoke through Moses to prepare the Israelites to enter the promised land, He encouraged them to “be openhanded and freely lend [to the poor] whatever they need” (Deuteronomy 15:8). This passage also noted that “there will always be poor people in the land” (v. 11). We don’t have to go far to see this is true. As God compassionately called the Israelites “to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites” (v. 11), we too can find ways to help those in need.

Everyone needs food, shelter, and water. Even if we don’t have much, may God guide us to use what we do have to help others. Whether it’s sharing a sandwich or a warm winter coat, small things can make a big difference!

By Julie Schwab


Who do you know or have seen that may be in need of help today? What can you do to help?

Jesus, help me to find ways I can help those around me. Please give me a generous heart.


Before the Israelites crossed to the promised land, God gave them some final commands, one of which addressed how to treat the poor. This involved forgiving debts of fellow Israelites every seven years (Deuteronomy 15:1) to prevent any of them from becoming poor (v. 4). It’s even noted that no one would be poor in the land if they faithfully obeyed God and all His commands (vv. 4–5). However, God knew that this mandate could cause bitterness to sprout if an Israelite asked for a loan when those seven years were coming to an end, for the lender would be wary knowing he would likely have a larger amount of debt to forgive. So God warned them that harboring resentment would cause them to be guilty of sin (v. 9), but He also reassured them that they’d be blessed if they gave generously (vv. 6, 10).

Visit to learn more about a biblical perspective of money.

Julie Schwab