Journey Through the Bible in 13 Months – weeks 29-45

Bible with coffee.jpg

Update: July 15, 2018

Week 45

This is the last week of the Old Testament

Great job, friends for having completed the Old testament portion of our Journey Trough the Bible over the past 10.5 months!!

Day 2: https://www.simplybible.com/f639-toi-remnant-returns-rebuilds.htm

Day Of   Journey

 Week Daily Readings

Nugget

309

Week 45

1

Ezra 7,8,9,10

Ezra returns to Jerusalem around 458 BC

1 So the Temple has been rebuilt and Ezra with the exiles return to Jerusalem. What a wonderful time for the Israelites…. Well at least for those who did not inter-marry. Those families would have had much heartbreak. However, it was the Israelite’s unfaithfulness to God’s laws that got them in the exile mess in the first place, so they needed to start somewhere to make things right with the Lord.

2 Just be aware that the exiles that return are those that were from Judah, not the Israelites that had lived in Samaria and were taken into captivity by Assyria.

 

310

2

Nehemiah 1,2,3

Nehemiah returns around 445 BC

What a blessing Nehemiah was to his people! He is another example when God places something on your heart, you just need to go with it, despite the obstacles that may seemingly be in the way. For Nehemiah, it wasn’t like God was giving him prophecies like Jeremiah and Ezekiel to go and rebuild the walls. Nehemiah just felt the need to help, so he asked his boss, the King, for permission. Nehemiah’s desire was for the Lord and his heart was in the right place, and God blessed his endeavours. The remnant must have been so happy to hear that Nehemiah had come prepared to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls and city. It’s such an exciting time for them!

 

311

3

Nehemiah 4,5,6

Wow! Only 52 days it took to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem! Despite opposition and the poor state of living for many of the Israelite’s, God continued to bless the work of their hands. There was no flash of light and the walls were rebuilt. No. God blessed them with physical means – strength to endure the hard work day in and day out, and he blessed them with protection from the opposition. May we see God’s every day blessings in our life- with good health, work for our hands, safety, etc. as we walk in his ways.

 

312

4

Nehemiah 7,8,9

1 Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. (9:5b-6)  …But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them. (9:16-17)

Finally! … the Israelites proclaim God’s praises as one voice. They acknowledge the sins of their forefather’s and see God’s patience, warnings, righteous judgement and mercy upon them. God’s people have returned to him. What a glorious time!

2 Many of the Israelites were hearing the Law of God for the first time. It must have been quite overwhelming for them.

 

313

5

Nehemiah 10,11,12

Time to get the Israelites settled in Jerusalem, the Priesthood and Levite duties firmed up, and head counts taken. Once again, Jerusalem, with its processes as prescribed by the Lord, was up and running. Wow, what a journey!

 

314

6

Nehemiah 13; Malachi 1,2

Malachi 430 BC

Nehemiah is the last of the story from creation to the rebuilding and inhabiting Jerusalem, and Malachi is the last of the prophets.

Nehemiah’s last words and actions to set the Israelites straight and doing what God required in his law was quite rudimentary. So were Malachi’s words of guidance to the people. What will happen to them over the next 430 years before Christ comes?

 

315

7

Malachi 3,4

The Old Testament ends with God’s words of warning to remain faithful and walk in God’s ways. Let’s end our Old Testament with these words of challenge and promise from the Lord:

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 4:10

I love these words because it is God’s promise that we can never out give the Lord. In other words, whatever you choose to give to the Lord – and his direction is a tithe which is 10%- he will surely return to you greater blessings than what you give back to him. If you challenge yourself and give him more, he will simply bless you more. You will never out give the Lord. May we take up the challenge!

Update: July 1, 2018   HAPPY CANADA DAY! 

Weeks 43 and 44

Week 43 Day 3 link: https://www.biography.com/people/ezekiel-9290439

 

Day Of   Journey

 Week Daily Readings

Nugget

295

Week 43

1

Ezekiel 40,41,42

In these and the remaining chapters of Ezekiel, Ezekiel shares his vision of the rebuilding of the Temple and its ornate details. Again it will be an awesome structure. I amazes me, as did the details of God’s plans to build the Ark of the Covenant and Tabernacle back in Exodus.

 

296

2

Ezekiel 43,44,45

1 Wow! Ezekiel must be bursting within himself and writing things down like crazy. Oh to see the Temple restored and his people be reunited. What an exciting time! As the reader, it’s easy to get caught up in the magnificence of the Temple and to forget that Ezekiel is only seeing a vision.

2 In Chapter 43, it is interesting that Ezekiel is to tell the people of the magnificence of the Temple, and if the people are ashamed of their past behaviour, then Ezekiel can tell them the dimensions and design of it. In other words, if they are not repentant of their previous sinful, adulterous behaviour towards God’s house, then they won’t be getting this new one either. However, God seems to continue as if knowing that the Israelites have been brought to a point of repentance.

 

297

3

Ezekiel, 46,47,48

1 Today’s reading was the conclusion of Ezekiel. Oh the journey of his life with the Lord was from one extreme to the next. It started with needing to proclaim the Israelites’ destruction, and it ended with proclaiming their renewal, even though the Israelites still had a few decades to live in captivity before the vision of the new Temple would become a reality.

2 From what I could find, in the link at the start of this week’s journey, Ezekiel prophesied for about 3 decades, 597-570 BC. I’m not sure how long he lived but his ministry was intense and if you were like me, you felt that intensity as you read. It was hard to endure at times, but I’m sure his calling was hard to endure at times too.

298

4

 Ezra 1,2,3

Exiles Return to Jerusalem to start Rebuilding the Temple 537 BC

1 Again we see God’s word being fulfilled through a gentile in having King Cyrus moved to having the Temple be rebuilt and freeing the Israelites to do so.

2 What an exciting time for the Israelites; to be able to settle back in their own land and rebuild the Temple of the Lord.

3 In Chapter 3 when it says some were rejoicing after the foundation was laid, but some of the older ones who knew the original temple that had been destroyed, were weeping. What a solemn time this would be for those older folk. They had endured and experienced much. Now after the distress and pain of going into exile, seeing their land and their temple destroyed, being confronted with their own shame and guilt of their sin, God is reuniting and rebuilding them. I think I would be weeping too!

 

299

5

Ezra 4; Haggai 1,2

1 Oh no! After all that anticipation of rebuilding the temple, they are told to stop because some stinkers wanted to help rebuild the temple and were told they weren’t welcome to join in. I’m not sure if the Israelites’ original response to the request was the right thing to do or not, but the response of those who were rejected certainly was not a God pleasing response.

2 About 14 years passed by where no work was done on the Temple, until Haggai proclaimed God’s word to them to continue work on the Temple. This again is a case where you see that listening to God, and not man, is what needs to be done, and all other things will fall into place.

 

300

6

Zechariah 1,2, 3

Zechariah 520 BC

It is so comforting to hear God’s words of love and grace and protection towards the Israelites, instead of the harsh words of discipline, captivity and death. As parents, can’t we relate?… The child disobeys, the parent becomes angry and discipline their child, the child is humbled, the parent showers his/her love over them with an extra measure of love and mercy. Together, both child and parent are happy that the discipline is over.

2 Zechariah 3:8 is a quick reference of the coming of the Branch of Jesse…Jesus.

 

301

7

Zechariah 4,5,6

 1 The analogies of the visions that Zechariah saw are difficult to understand and beyond what is actually happening in Zechariah’s present day. However, God’s words for Zechariah to tell Joshua the High Priest to go and start working on the Temple again is very relevant and exciting. It is the same encouragement that Haggai has given but is in opposition to what they had been commanded to do. What will they do?

2 Although 6:11-13 is literally talking about rebuilding the Temple in Judah, it can also be a reference to the coming of Jesus –or in Hebrew, Joshua- and his throne. It is in this understanding that the phrase in verse 13, “…and there will be harmony between the two, makes any sense to me…Between what two? Well, in Christ, it could be talking about the harmony between the earthly kingdom and the heavenly kingdom. What do you think?

Day Of   Journey

 Week Daily Readings

Nugget

302

Week 44

1

Zechariah 7,8; Ezra 5;

1 Thanks be to God that the people listened to Haggai and Zechariah, and despite what had been said, they continued on with the rebuilding of the Temple.

2 I like how when they were confronted, the elders’ and priests’ response was a humbling one, referring to themselves as servants of God.  It’s been a long time since they referred to themselves as that.

 

303

2

Zechariah 9, 10

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you,  righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
9:9This verse is the verse that is always read on Palm Sunday. Just think, these words were prophesied to Zechariah over 500 years before they happened. How awesome! In fact this portion of chapter 9 and chapter 10 continue to tell us about Christ’s Kingdom and his people….us. J

304

3

Zechariah 11, 12, 13

In these remaining chapters of Zechariah, God tells how he will Shepherd the Israelites, and make them stand as firm as a rock against their opposing enemies and how he will punish their enemies.

Personally, these are burdensome chapters, again. Although hopeful for the Israelites and all who worship the Lord, these chapters are heavy with destruction. Which can be taxing on us and burden our souls. In the same way, sin causes destruction and is a burden on our souls. Thanks be to God that we are on this side of the cross in order to know with certainty that our souls are cleansed from sin and we are reunited with our Lord!

 

305

4

Zechariah 14;  Ezra 6

Hurray! The Temple is completed. From what I have read, it was completed in 515BC. Therefore, it took around 5 years to rebuild it once they got going again. This is truly an astounding feat; to build such an amazing structure with the limited tools that they had in only five years. God’s hand was surely with them!!

 

306

5

Esther 1,2,3

1 Wow! So many things happening…treatment of women in relationships/marriages, the extensive beauty treatment of women, and acts of genocide. It’s like a soap opera…

2 Although we don’t know if Queen Vashti’s refusal to go to the king was justifiable, it was the act that God used to put Esther in the high position to be able to counteract the decree to annihilate the Jews, instituted by Haman, the King’s right hand man.

3 Pride and arrogance can make us do such evil things. Because of Haman’s arrogance, he couldn’t stand that Mordecai didn’t give him the respect he wanted, even though he had wrongly accepted the praise that was due Mordecai.

307

6

Esther 4,5,6

Oh goodness… the plot thickens…

1 Haman must have felt utterly humiliated while he led Mordecai in a King’s robe, on the king’s horse, around town proclaiming how pleased the King was with Mordecai. Even his family and friends acknowledge the power of the God of the Jews and that Haman’s downfall has started.

2 Queen Esther’s request for all the Jews in the vicinity to fast on her behalf is an example of the importance of intercessory prayer. She feared her life and desired God to be with her as she spoke to the King for the sake of her people. As Mordecai stated in 4:14b:

 “…who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

We too are used by God to fulfill his purpose. May God give you the courage and wisdom to fulfill all that he asks of you as it is revealed to you.

 

308

7

Esther 7,8,9,10

1 It is interesting that the King could not revoke his original decree of inhalation of the Jews, but instead gave permission for the Jews to fight back. However, the fear of the God of the Jews kept many of the others from fighting the Jews. Their victory was immense.

2 There is no other story like the Esther’s that shows of how God used her and Mordecai to save the Jewish people, the outcomes between arrogance and humility, and the encouragement for us to hold fast to God and his ways in the midst of adversity. May you find strength and courage as God’s redeemed child in Christ to be humble, and to trust and stand firm in the Lord in the midst of adversity.

3 Purim is celebrated to this day. You will find it on the calendars somewhere around March, approximately two weeks following Ash Wednesday.

Update: June 17, 2018

Weeks 41 and 42

 

 

Day Of   Journey  Week Daily Readings Nugget
281 Week 41

1

 

Jeremiah 44,45

 

Knowing that God’s words will come to fulfillment can be the scariest thing, especially when the prophets share his plans for punishment and destruction, as in chapter 44. However, God’s prophecies and promises of love, care and salvation bring the greatest of joy. Take heart! In the midst of these prophecies of punishment are his prophecies of his plan for our salvation.

 

282 2 Jeremiah 52; Psalms 74, 79 1 Today, Jeremiah summarizes the whole time it took for the Jews to go into captivity. It wasn’t something that happened over night.

2 Also, the psalms that were written about these activities express the pain and confusion they are enduring. Yet, in Psalm 74, the writer states that there are no prophets left and yet there was Jeremiah and others who were proclaiming loud and clear what was happening and why. Oh how blind and deaf man can be at times!

 

283 3 Jeremiah 50, 51

 

Now that the Jewish nation is in captivity, these words of Jeremiah are prophesying against Babylon and reminding the Israelites that the remnant will one day return to their land. Although God used the Babylonians to discipline the Israelites, they will not go without punishment for all their ungodly acts.
284 4 Ezekiel 26,27; Lamentations 1 Ezekiel Prophecies and laments over the downfall of Tyre. It sounds like quite a prosperous city in its time, and yet it too will come to its ruin. Even though it is a gentile nation, God still proclaims his Word to them.

2 Lamentation 586 BC is historically accredited to Jeremiah, at the time of the fall of Judah. What great grief is expressed over the ruin of Jerusalem.

 

285 5 Ezekiel 28,29; Lamentations 2 1 The prophecy against the King of Tyre seems to be an analogy of the casting of Satan out of heaven.

2 These prophecies against nations that surround Judah are in preparation of God’s restoration of his people after the 70 years of captivity. Although those living in the midst of becoming captives can’t see it, God continues to work on their behalf. In the same way, trust that God continues to work in ways you cannot see or understand to bring you to a place of peace and restoration.

 

286 6 Ezekiel 30,31; Lamentations 3 1 Today Ezekiel prophecies against Egypt and Pharoah. Perhaps this destruction upon Egypt is the destruction that was prophesied earlier that will be the end to the Jews that escaped to Egypt instead of becoming captive in Babylon.

2 For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. Lamentations 3:31-33

This passage from Lamentations is such a great reminder of God’s goodness and our need to be accountable for our sins.

 

287 7 Ezekiel 32,33; Lamentations 4 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain.  Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. Ezekiel 33:31,32

May we not be as the Israelites, as we hear the words of the Lord proclaimed, but do not put them into practice.

 

Day Of  Journey  Week Daily Readings Nugget
288 Week 42

1

Ezekiel 34, 35; Lamentations 5 Although chapter 34 is a reprimand against God’s Israelite Shepherds, the Levites, and the Israelite people. It is also a beautiful passage to guide our own shepherds -pastors, priests, etc- and all church members. It is a beautiful prophecy of Christ coming to shepherd his church.

 

289 2 Ezekiel 36,37 1 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 36:26-27

What a beautiful passage of restoration and life. How gracious is God!

2 ‘Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones…’ I remember this Sunday School song and I love this passage of Ezekiel and the dry bones coming to life at the command of God. It is very fitting with today’s readings which focus on how God can bring life to the dead and hard hearted.

 

290 3 Ezekiel 38,39 Today’s reading is a prophecy against Gog, but, even more so, it is about the restoration of the Israelite nation. Although God disciplined them for their sinfulness, he continues to give them hope of their restoration. He is the ultimate parent, our Heavenly Father!

 

291 4 Daniel 3,4;

 

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” 3:17-18

What words of faithfulness! May we be able to stand firm in the midst of persecution and trials. So many times we get mad when the Lord doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want him to. May we take the words of these faithful men to heart; to trust and proclaim our Redeemer God, no matter how he chooses to answer us.

2 Chapter 4 is the conversion to faith of King Nebuchadnezzar. I find it interesting that it was more so God working in Nebuchadnezzar’s life than it was Daniel and his three buddies forcing God upon him. In fact all that Daniel and his crew did was focus on their relationship with the Lord and remain steadfast when confronted by others. We too can trust God to work faith in others. All we need to do is nurture our own relationship with him and be prepared to stand firm when asked about it or to deny it. God does the rest!

 

292 5 Daniel 7,8,5 1 Today’s readings were during the time of King Belshazzar’s reign, possibly King Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson. He didn’t reign long – only a few years. It seemed to be a time of uneasiness for Daniel due to the disturbing dreams. Yet, Daniel only first met King Belshazzar on the final night of his reign, to interpret the hand’s writing on the wall.

2 Seeing the hand writing the words on the wall must have been a terrifying experience for the King and his company. What amazes me is that even though the interpretation is not positive, the King is still thankful and gives honour to Daniel.

 

293 6 Daniel 9,6 1 Chapter 9 is a prophecy of the restoration of Jerusalem but, even more so, the coming of Christ and his death. It is amazing how exact the numbers are… seventy 7s is 490 years, or seven 7s and sixty-two 7s is 483. The exile families return to Jerusalem in 457 BC and Christ is born around 3 BC and is crucified about 27 AD. How could our Saviour, Jesus, still be denied?

2 The story of Daniel and the Lion’s den is such a wonderful story of remaining faithful to God, even in the midst of great trials and tribulations, and God’s protection and saving grace for his people. Have courage! Stand firm!

 

294 7 Daniel 10,11,12; Daniel is given a vision of the prophecy of the end times, which are still to unfold. We should not be surprised of the war and battle that endures in this world. There is a great one yet to come, as we read today. Although I do not understand the times that are spoken of, in the end, may we be among the wise, as it is written in 12:10:

None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.

 

Weeks 29-40

Week 33 Day 3 link:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Israel_(Samaria)#/media/File:Kingdoms _of_Israel_and_Judah_map_830.svg

Week 38 Day 3 link: https://924jeremiah.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/know-your-bible-lesson-31-ezekiel-begins-period-5/

Day Of

Journey

 

Week

Daily Readings Nugget
197 Week 29

1

2 Chronicles 15,16, 17; Doesn’t it make you wonder how someone so faithful in serving the Lord, could become so stubborn and self-centred when the Lord disciplined him. When the Lord told Asa of his disappointment regarding seeking help from the King of Aram and not the Lord, Asa threw a temper tantrum and didn’t want to hear the Lord’s rebuke. What a different response to the Lord’s correction between Asa and David. When David was told his sin, he repented and was forgiven. No correction and discipline never feel good at the time, but we need to remember that God corrects the ones he loves. May we be more open to correction like David, than Asa. All Asa had to do was repent and who knows how God would have blessed and healed him.

 

198 2 1 Kings 16, 17

 

1 This is the beginning of Samaria. Tuck this piece of information away as we continue to read through the Bible. Knowing how Samaria started due to hostility within Israel, gives clearer understanding to the Samaritans’ and Israelites’ distaste for one another.

 

2 I find the actions of today’s readings very relevant for us. In chapter 16 we read about the kings of Israel and their evil actions, killings and being killed. In 17, we read about Elijah and the woman of Zarephath and the blessing he was to her and her son. Despite the actions of the country’s leadership, God was still working in the people’s everyday lives, even during a drought. He was using people to bless others, and he cared about their everyday lives. Take heart, in whatever is going on around you with the leaders of the world and your country’s leaders, whether they are doing right in the eyes of the Lord or not, God is still with you in your every day life and desires to use you to bless others.

199 3 1 Kings 18,19, 20 1 How awesome is the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. How wise was Elijah’s approach! He didn’t come in trying to persuade the Israelites against Baal; he let God do all the work and wonder. How Elijah taunts the prophets of Baal is priceless. God does not need big, glorious, flamboyant acts, he just wants a faithful heart who quietly trusts in and calls on Him, and he will show himself, whether it be through a magnificent fire or a still small voice.

 

2 Do you get discouraged in your walk of faith? So did Elijah. Take heart! God in his faithfulness will strengthen you and refresh you. Continue to feed on his word and rest in his peace.

200 4 1 Kings 21,22; Obadiah 1 King Ahab just sounds like a spoiled little child; first with his attitude towards Naboth, and then his whiney words about Micaiah: “Boo hoo, Naboth won’t give me what I want and I don’t want to be friends with Micaiah because he never says anything nice about me. Boohoo!” Although he is childlike and immature, it is clear to see the greed and evil in him and his wife, Jezebel. May we know how to, and may we teach our children to be able to, handle rejection in a healthy way, to know God’s ways and to understand discipline as a tool to become wise and to walk according to God’s will.

 

Obadiah’s vision ends with Edom being governed as mentioned in 1 Kings 22:47 where it is stated that Edom did not have a king, but only a provincial governor. Remember that the father of the Edomites was Esau.

201 5 2 Chronicles 18,19,20 Although a repeat between 1 Kings 22 from yesterday and 2 Chronicles 18 from today, the focus for today was not on Ahab, as much as it was on Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat walked in the ways of the Lord and was considered a Godly king, however there were still things he did that were not God pleasing. On the one hand Jehoshaphat’s faith was evident when he requested to seek God’s guidance from a prophet when going into battle with Ahab against Ramoth Gilead. He would have been a light of the Lord for Ahab in that instance; however, things seemed to go south when he actually went into business/made an alliance with Ahab. God did not like him doing that. We can find guidance for our own lives in these acts of Jehoshaphat, the righteous, with Ahab, the unrighteous. Be a light of Christ to all, but be careful with whom you make commitments.
202 6 2 Chronicles 21; 2 Kings 1,2 1 The story of Elijah taken up to heaven is such a beautiful story. Elijah in his great faithfulness never experienced death. What awe Elisha must have felt to be witness to this awesome event.

 

2 It is also interesting how Elijah phrases his response to Elisha’s request to receive double portion of his spirit. It is a difficult request for Elijah to fulfill because Elijah knows that it is not up to him to bestow double portion of his spirit because what he does have comes from the Lord. Therefore, his response puts the focus back on it being the Lord’s decision: if the Lord allows you to see me ascend then he will fulfill your request, but if he doesn’t let you see me, you won’t receive double portion. Such wisdom!

203 7 2 Kings 3,4,5 1 What an exciting day of miracles, grace and God’s amazing works through Elisha and among mankind. These stories of God working through Elisha are so encouraging. Oh to be the recipients of the blessings that were bestowed, not to mention the instrument through whom God worked. However, the words and actions of Elisha, compared to those of Gehazi, are good for us to remember. To be humble in the midst of God working through us and to acknowledge that all blessings come from God, not from us, or the Jordan River, as in Naaman’s case. All glory, praise and honour should be given to God. Unfortunately, Gehazi got caught up in his pride, instead of giving all the glory to God.
Day Of

Journey

 

Week

Daily Readings Nugget
204 Week 30

1

2 Kings 6,7,8 If the people, especially the Kings knew that Elisha was a man of God, and what he said was true and would happen, despite how unbelievable it was, why didn’t they walk in God’s ways. It never ceases to amaze me how stubborn, blind and opposed man is to the ways of the Lord. How grievous! Dear Lord, help me to desire to walk in your ways and to be obedient and humble towards your workings in this life. In the name of Jesus, AMEN!
205 2 2 Chronicles 22; 2 Kings 9,10 This King Ahaziah, King of Judah, is a not the same person as King Ahaziah, King of Israel.

 

Jehu accomplished the annihilation of Ahab and his descendants, and the prophets and temples of Baal, but he just didn’t destroy all idols of worship. Are we the same? Do we turn our back on those major idols of worship and focus our Sunday worship on Christ our Saviour, but then go about our daily activities worshipping those other idols of money, self-indulgence, prestige while ignoring Christ and his ways?

206 3 2 Chronicles 23, 24; 2 Kings 11, 12 Young King Joash starts off so well under the tutelage of Priest Jehoiada. Unfortunately, in the end he too turns away. So sad.

 

It seems that the Zechariah mentioned in these chapters, is not the Zechariah who wrote the book of the Bible.

207 4 Joel 1,2,3 There is debate surrounding the writings of Joel since there is no date placement given with his writings.  In any case, Joel’s prophecy of a great army devouring Judah for their unfaithfulness and then restoring them because of God’s faithfulness is clear.

 

Imagine you are watching all this history unfold as if in a movie with God sitting beside you, and he is constantly whispering in your ear what’s going to happen next. Are there really any surprises with what happens to Judah and Israel? These prophecies are so cool!…They are really going to start coming now…

208 5 2 Chronicles 25; 2 Kings 13,14 Oh Amaziah, just like your father, you started off so well, but couldn’t bear to be corrected. After all God had visibly done for him, how he could begin to worship other gods/idols is mind boggling. May we all stand steadfast in faithfulness to our great God!
209 6 Jonah 1, 2, 3, 4 Jonah around 790 BC

 

1 There are so many lessons in the story of Jonah. First of all, is Jonah any different than anyone else when God calls them to do something outside their comfort zone. God was calling Jonah, an Israelite, to go to an enemy of the Israelites and proclaim judgement on them. I’m sure he was thinking “What would keep them from killing me?”, or even more so, “Why would I do that, they are our enemies. I want them destroyed.” Yet, God called and no matter what Jonah tried to do, God made it happen. May we be willing instruments to go where God calls us.

 

2 Then there is the situation with the sailors on the boat and being torn between saving Jonah’s life or doing something not pleasing to God like killing Jonah by throwing him overboard. That would have been a tough decision, but they did it with prayer and repentance and God blessed it by saving Jonah. In fact, God needed them to do that in order to redirect Jonah. So in the toughest decisions of your life, take it to the Lord and trust him to guide you through it.

 

2 Finally, I find it interesting that in the midst of Israel, now Samaria, and Judah’s ungodliness, God in his grace and compassion sent prophets to gentiles, or non-Israelite, nations. Nineveh was the Capital of Assyria, and an enemy to the Israelites. Yet, he cared about their ungodliness, and desired them to turn from their ways or be destroyed.  Why would he warn them of their destruction and give them a chance to change their ways and live? Could he be preparing their hearts for something that will be coming in the future? Hmmm….

210 7 2 Chronicles 26, 27; 2 Kings 15 King Azariah and King Uzziah are the same person. It is beneficial to read the events of his reign as written in 2 Chronicles before reading 2 Kings 15 because in 2 Kings, there is only a small writing on King Azariah. In fact, although he reigned the longest, 52 years, his account is about as long as King Shallum who only reigned 1 month. It’s not until 2 Chronicles that you learn of all that King Azariah did and why he died of leprosy.

 

Here is another case where, although he started out well in the eyes of the Lord, his pride and arrogance of success was his downfall. Humility… if only we could remember humility.

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Week

Daily Readings Nugget
211 Week 31

1

Amos 1,2,3, Amos around 767-753 BC

 

God is not happy with Israel and he is letting them know he’s got plans for them. It is sad that they have strayed so far from his truth and commands that they now “don’t know how to do right,” as stated in 3:10

 

212 2 Amos 4, 5,6 In 5:14-15, the grace of God is proclaimed, that even after all the evil they have done, if they would just see the Lord and do good and hate evil, the Lord would relent. But they do not heed these words. What a terrifying judgement. Even Nineveh, a gentile nation, repented. Oh Israel, how sad for you…
213 3 Amos 7 8,9;

 

Even the priests of Israel speak against God; however, we read that when Judah and Israel split under King Jeroboam, the priests in Israel we no longer the priests of God from the Levite tribe, necessarily.

 

Again we see how God calls people from any walk of life. Amos was a shepherd. He did not ask to be a prophet, but when God calls and reveals himself and he had to share, in the same way we too must go when God calls.

 

Even after God proclaims his judgement, he ends with grace and hope for the Israelites to return. God is gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love! Alleluia!

214 4 Hosea 1,2,3 Hosea around 755-725 BC

 

Could you imagine being Hosea, and being told by God to go marry a prostitute and allow her to continue in her ways? It is a perfect analogy of how the Israelites regarded God. The calling of Hosea was more than just proclaiming God’s prophecies, Hosea was asked to live it. Could I do that? Could you? All I’ve been asked to do is to walk in God’s ways and proclaim him through my words and deeds. That is much easier than what Hosea was asked to do.

215 5 Hosea 4,5,6 In the first three chapters God had Hosea live out the relationship between the Israelites and God. Now, through Hosea, God is proclaiming their prostitution and adultery towards him and announcing his judgement upon Israel and even Judah. I love how God uses analogies to help us understand what he is saying.
216 6 Hosea 7,8,9 God continues his judgement on Israel. What do you think you would do if you were faced with God’s proclamation of judgement from some guy? Would you take to heart what he is saying, or call him crazy and ignore everything he has to say? Now think about those people on the big city street corners proclaiming God’s wrath and his salvation through Christ. What do we say about them? The only difference is that the people to whom Hosea was proclaiming judgement should have known better. They knew they were Israelites, God’s chosen people. Many people today have never heard or known of God’s Law and Gospel, his saving grace. So to them, the proclaimers of judgement and salvation are just noisy annoyances. However, to us, their words which make us a bit uncomfortable should be a reminder to reflect on our ways and to seek the one true God.
217 7 Hosea 10,11,12 Well, we now know what is going to happen to the Israelites from chapter 11. No need to read on…. Lol

 

I find reading the Bible through to be so enlightening. One reason being because when you read chapters like these, it’s not until you’ve read the Bible history to know how God has called, loved and guided the Israelites and then the Israelites’ behaviour towards and relationship with God to understand fully the anger and turmoil that God is professing through his prophet.

 

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Week

Daily Readings Nugget
218 Week 32

1

Hosea 13,14

 

… and after all is said and done, it comes down to this for us:

 

Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them. (14:9)

 

Dear Lord, give me the wisdom and discernment to not stumble, but to walk firmly, in your ways.

219 2 2 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 28;

Isaiah 1

Ahaz King of Judah about 735 BC

 

1 God was not pleased with King Ahaz. He did not follow in the ways of David. He brought great distress on the people of Judah. God used ungodly nations, including Samaria, to discipline his people. However, do you notice that only Judah and Samaria are disciplined by God for their ungodliness. The Lord disciplines those he loves.

 

2        Isaiah around 745-685 BC

In Isaiah, he warns of the impending judgement but in the midst of it he adds hope if they return to obedience to him:

 

“Though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
    they shall be like wool.”

 

God never stops trying to stir man’s heart back to him.

 

220 3 Isaiah 2,3,4 Isaiah starts out speaking of what it will be like in the last days. They could be in reference to the days following the upcoming exile, but more specifically the days of Jesus’ coming. Reread 2:3-5 again with the focus of Jesus’ in mind.

 

 

Isaiah is filled with prophetic writings of the coming of the Saviour. What joy! What hope!

 

221 4 Isaiah 5,6,7 1 The words of Isaiah in chapter 6, “Here I am Lord. Send me,”  is stated in such a beautiful way with the cherubim cleansing Isaiah’s lips and Isaiah answering God’s call. May we trust that God cleanses our guilt and gives us the words as we too willingly answer his call by saying, “Here I am Lord. Send me.”

 

2 In Chapter 7, there is another prophecy of the coming of the Saviour, and that he will be born a virgin.

 

222 5 Micah 1,2,3 Micah 740-700 BC

 

Micah really denounces the false prophets who are proclaiming goodness and plenty during this time. It really brings to light the fact that we need to be discerning in what we hear, and knowledgeable about what God says. People want to just believe what their itching ears want to hear, but that does not make it true. What God proclaims will come to pass. It will happen. And all else will wither as in the scorching sun. Do not be lead astray.

 

223 6 Micah 4,5,6 1 Does Micah 4:3-4 sound familiar? It should. It is almost verbatim the words of Isaiah 2:3-4 which we read three days ago. Amazing isn’t it; two different prophets profess, almost to the word, the same prophecy with only a few years separating them.

 

2 Chapter 5 is another prophecy of Jesus’ coming. He will come from Bethlehem.

 

3 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

 

Micah 6:8 is my favourite Bible verse. It keeps me grounded in my days and brings me back into proper balance when I am not acting justly, loving mercy or walking humbly. It draws me back to repentance and focuses my desires on the Lord’s strength to be whom he needs me to be.

 

224 7 Micah 7; Isaiah 8,9 1 Micah ends with acknowledgement of God’s mercy. Despite Israel and Judah’s unfaithfulness, God remains faithful.

 

2 In Isaiah 8 & 9, prophecy of the Messiah is made but 9: 6-7 are well known and spoken at Christmas every year.

 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (9:6)

 

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Week

Daily Readings Nugget
225 Week 33

1

Isaiah 10,11,12 1 Chapter 11 begins with a prophecy of Christ’s coming. How beautiful are these words in the midst of God’s judgement. From within Israel’s and Judah’s evil ways and God’s anger, God shares his beautiful plan for a Saviour, the branch of Jesse that will arise from within the stump of the remnant.

 

2 Chapter 12 may sound familiar as it is used in the liturgy of some denominations’ worship services.

226 2 Isaiah 13,14,15 We’ve read prophesies against Assyria. Now, today we read about prophesies against Babylon, Philistine and Moab. Although God has/will use these nations to discipline his people – the Israelites, he will bring them low. It is quite mind boggling and overwhelming trying to understand all that God is planning against these nations. It does make me aware though that God is watching over his people and will subdue those nations that suppress his children. He has all leaders and nations under his watchful eye. This is a comforting thought.

 

227 3 Isaiah 16,17,18 In these chapters Isaiah continues with prophecies against the nations of Moab, Damascus and Cush. These nations are bordering nations to Israel and Judah. To get a better idea, check out the map at the link posted at start of Week 29-40.  In Chapter 16, God is quite specific that in three years something is going down and Moab will be included. During the writing of these chapters, it is approximately 725 BC.

 

228 4 Isaiah 19,20,21 More prophecies against nations again today – Egypt, Cush, Babylon, Edom and Arabia. I wonder how Isaiah felt proclaiming all this news to these nations. I’m wonder what it looked like; Did he go to each king and tell him what was going to happen? Did he just stand outside his home and yell on a street corner this news from God? How serious was he taken by the nations? Did they respond to him like the Ninevites responded to Jonah? I don’t think so. Yet, Isaiah proclaimed these prophecies and watched as the time got closer and closer. Boy was he faithful when he said, “Here I am Lord. Send me.” (6:8b) I wonder if Isaiah really understood what God was asking of him, back in chapter 6 verses 11-13a, when Isaiah asked, “For how long Lord?” and the Lord replied, “Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken.” That’s a lot of destruction!
229 5 Isaiah 22,23,24 So now not only Judah, Israel and their surrounding nations, but the Earth will be destroyed too. Although I am not a Biblical historian, I am wondering if the destruction of the Earth is in reference to the destruction of that region of the Earth with all its nations. Therefore, the combining of all the nations that Isaiah is prophesying against in summed up in Chapter 24 under the umbrella term ‘Earth’.

 

230 6 Isaiah 25,26,27 Beautiful words of praise and thanksgiving:

Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago…You have been a refuge for the poor,  a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. (25:1-4) AMEN!

 

 

231 7 Isaiah 28,29,30 1 In 28:16-17a we see another glimpse of Christ -our cornerstone. This is a reference used for Christ in the New Testament.

 

See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line.

 

2 These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. (29:13)

 

Dear Lord, open our hearts that they seek and trust you, so that our lips honour you and our worship is filled with true thanksgiving and praise.

 

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Week

Daily Readings Nugget
232 Week 34

1

Isaiah 31,32,33 1 Woe to those who rely on Egypt, chapter 31’s title, could read Woe to those who rely on anyone or anything besides God alone. How God desires his people to turn to him for help, to trust in his care, and not to turn to anyone or anything else to help see them through. God brings assured victory, always!

 

2 The Kingdom of Righteousness; another prophecy of Christ and his Kingdom. How beautiful it sounds.

233 2 Isaiah 34,35; 2 Kings 17 1 Joy of the Redeemed. The beauty continues… the glory of life with the Lord. What hope and joy these glimpses of heaven are to Isaiah and the faithful who are listening, in the midst of such evil and distraught times for Judah and Israel/Samaria. What joy they are to us, too.

 

732 BC Hoshea, last King of Israel

722 BC Israel taken into Exile by Assyria

 

2 Well, the nation of Israel has turn from the Lord as predicted by Moses back in Deuteronomy 31. Everything that the Lord had warned against has occurred. It only took 686 years, to go from entering the promised Land with God’s strength and power, to becoming exiles because they turned their back on the Lord and did all the things God, through Moses, Joshua, and the prophets, warned them not to do. So sad…

 

234 3 2 Chronicles 29, 30, 31 Oh what a joyous reading today. It just goes to show God’s faithfulness and that it is never too late to return to the Lord, as a nation or just one person. God hears his people and heals them. Thanks be to God like King Hezekiah who took a bold step, one contrary to his constituents and even his fellow Israelites, and re-established the ways of the Lord, and God blessed his efforts with faithful people.

 

2 I also find it uplifting reading how God blessed and heal the people even though it wasn’t done 100% according to the law and regulations. God heard their prayers and worship and he was faithful. It’s all about a true and heartfelt desire to worship our God, and his faithfulness and mercy.

 

235 4 2 Kings 20; Isaiah 38, 39 King Hezekiah would have only been around 39-40 years of age when he had become ill. So young to hear the words that he was going to die. However, God was faithful to Hezekiah, and answered his prayer. But what about if God hadn’t healed him. What about if we receive such news and our health continues to deteriorate until death, what then? Is God unfaithful? By no means! At some point we will all die, and in Christ, we have the assurance of life eternal. Whether we live or we die may we stay faithful and trusting until he takes us home.
236 5 Isaiah 40, 41, 42 1 Isaiah 40:3-5 prophecy of John, the Baptizer.

 

2 I love the contrast between Chapter’s 41 and 42. The majority of 41 confronts false gods and idol worship with contempt and pronounces how useless they are. Then in 42 he prophecies about Jesus. In one breath, God condemns the useless idols and then in the next breath he presents the one who is the most useful and trustworthy, the Saviour of the world!

237 6 Isaiah 43, 44, 45 No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals.  I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?” (44:19)

 

I love how the creation and worship of an idol is expressed in Isaiah 44. Did it really make any of the people who heard Isaiah stop and think, and change their ways? I sure hope so. It is understandable that God would be frustrated, disheartened and angry.

238 7 Isaiah 46, 47, 48 In today’s chapters, Isaiah prophecies about a connection with Babylon and Judah, and speaks of Judah being in captivity in Babylon but then being restored, and Babylon falling. This is all to come.
Day Of

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Week

Daily Readings Nugget
239 Week 35

1

Isaiah 49, 50, 51 Today’s message of restoration and trust in the Lord is not just for the Israelites, but also for us in Christ:

 

[The Lord] says, “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” 49:6

 

 

240 2 Isaiah 52, 53, 54 1 It is interesting to see the distinct change in Isaiah’s writing with the Israelites in exile now. Before Isaiah 40 it was prophecies against nations, and harsh warnings. Now there is compassion, reconciliation, and hope for the future.

 

2 Isaiah 52:13-15 is a prophecy of Jesus foretelling the cruel treatment after he’s arrested. Then, the prophecy of Jesus continues in Isaiah 53 with the beautiful and well known passage that is read at Christmas.

 

241 3 Isaiah 55, 56, 57 Isaiah 55:10-11 is such an encouraging passage reminding us that God’s Word will ALWAYS fulfill its purpose. Though man’s words may falter and fail, the use of God’s Word will never fail:

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

 

2 Isaiah 56 is hope for the gentiles; non-Israelites. God is faithful to anyone who loves him.

 

242 4 Isaiah 58, 59, 60 1 Fasting is meant to be a private act of renewal and humility to the Lord. It doesn’t sound like the Israelites carried out fasts according to God’s desires. Personally, I have never fasted, but being alone and focussing a full day on the Lord, where the only thing I intake is the Word of God, would be such a cleansing and peaceful.

 

 

2 The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. 60:19

 

Can you imagine how glorious this will be; when God is our everlasting shining light?

 

243 5 Isaiah 61, 62, 63 …my own arm achieved salvation for me… (63:5)

 

What an awesome statement! Think about it… There was no one worthy to redeem God’s people; to pay the penalty for their sins – so he did it himself. He paid the penalty. Why? Why did he pay the penalty? Why did he even desire to have them redeemed, rescued? …Because of his deep love for his people. Wow!  That’s an unconditional love that we, I, have a hard time, if not impossible, getting our heads around.

 

244 6 Isaiah 64, 65, 66 1 In chapter 64, Isaiah is pleading to God which is a change from his usual proclamations to the Israelites from God. However, in chapter 65 we’re back to normal with God responding to Isaiah’s plea and having Isaiah proclaim his word and prophecy to his people.

 

2 These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit,  and who tremble at my word. 66:2b

 

God is not desiring the actions of the sacrifice of animals but the true heart that loves and seeks him. Such a comforting verse.

 

245 7 2 Kings 18; Isaiah 36; Can you relate to how others taunt and ridicule God’s faithful people, and get them/us to question the faithfulness of the Lord? I can. It can be so easy to believe the lies and turn our backs on trusting God. The proclamations from Sennacharib would have been terrifying for Judah, and been very tempting for them and Hezekiah to get caught up in all the threats of Sennacharib. I guess we’ll find out what happens between Sennacharib and Hezekiah tomorrow…
Day Of

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Week

Daily Readings Nugget
246 Week 36

1

2 Chronicles 32; 2 Kings 19; Isaiah 37 Hezekiah held fast to the Lord. Despite his fears he consulted other faithful people, Isaiah, and he prayed for Judah. God heard their prayers and God heard Sennacharib’s blaspheming words against him. Not only did God give victory to Judah, he did all the work. They didn’t even have to go out to fight. God is great! God is faithful! May we remember this story of Hezekiah next time we feel tempted to turn from trusting the Lord and his timing. Stand firm! Be strong and courageous! Remain faithful!
247 2 Nahum 1, 2, 3 Nahum 697 BC

 

Although this is just a few years after Sennacharib fleas from Hezekiah, God’s wrath continues against Assyria. Remember from Jonah that Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, and that God permitted Assyria to take the Samaritan Israelites into captivity a couple decades before. However, Assyria will not be taking Judah.

 

248 3 2 Kings 21; 2 Chronicles 33 King Manasseh  around 699 BC

 

1 In the end, despite what his faith life was like prior, Manasseh left this world with the Lord – though you’d never know that from 2 Kings 21. Although Manasseh knew of the Lord, through his father’s teachings and faithfulness, Manasseh did his own thing, his own evil thing, through the majority of his days. However, very undesirable circumstances led Manasseh to turn to God for his help and relying on his faithfulness. Through these very undesirable circumstances, Manasseh returned to the Lord and ended his days with the Lord. Although undesirable circumstances can be filled with pain, they really can be the things that bring us, stubborn children, eternal blessings in the end.

 

2 Kings 21 says nothing about Manasseh being taken to Babylon, his prayer and humility before the Lord, God’s faithfulness in answering his prayer, and his changed heart after his return to Jerusalem. It is so interesting reading the similar passages together in order to obtain a fuller and more clear picture. It’s like reading the gospels together; each one may tell the same story but each with unique and particular details.

249 4 2 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 34 Josiah 640 BC

 

1 Once again, God is faithful to those who are faithful, as is shown with Josiah. God answers those who seek him. It doesn’t matter what age. No matter what your life has been or is, seek the Lord, walk in his ways, and he will be faithful!

 

2 Huldah is an example of a female prophet. We don’t hear about too many of them but they are there.

250 5 Zephaniah 1, 2, 3 Zephaniah must have had some impact on Josiah. Zephaniah’s proclamation of God’s wrath, judgement, and restoration would have made Josiah aware that God was angry with Judah. However, it isn’t until Josiah is in his 18th year of reign that he finally reads the Law and understands fully what God expects and what they are doing wrong.

 

251 6 Jeremiah 1, 2, 3, 4 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. (1:7-8)

 

Again, God calls and uses all people, even the young. Do not discredit the words and service of the youth of the church, and encourage them in their faith life with the Lord.

252 7 Jeremiah 5, 6, 7 In today’s reading, we can see and feel God going back and forth with his anger and his explanation of why he’s angry. Like any parent who needs to discipline their child, he says “Why didn’t you listen to me? If only you had listened to me.” The following passage really sums it up:

I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. (7:23-24)

 

Many people question, “If God is a loving God, he wouldn’t keep anyone from heaven. If God is a loving God, how could he let such terrible things happen to me or my loved ones. If God is a loving God why….?”

 

If man walked with the one true God, followed in his ways and trusted in his promises, we would see fully his love. In fact, because of his love for us, he has told us explicitly what is required of us. It is no surprise. It is not the lack of God’s love we see; it is the depth of man’s sinful that hangs as a dense cloud that is prominent in this world and that we see. The same sinfulness that God is angry about. But like any parent, at times the whole family bears the consequences of the other member’s wrongdoing.

 

Oh the heartache God must feel over his children and their sinfulness.

 

Day Of

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Week

Daily Readings Nugget
253 Week 37

1

Jeremiah 8, 9, 10 1 It is beginning to sound like the nations have begun to devour Judah. However, there are still about 40 years before they are taken into captivity. You think they would heed these warnings of the prophets. However, as written, there were many false prophets telling people that everything was okay.

 

2 Jeremiah proclaims the same as Isaiah regarding the uselessness of idols. It is still astonishing that in knowing the faithfulness of God, how easy it is for man to turn his back on the Lord and trust in useless things.

 

254 2 Habakkuk 1, 2, 3 Habukkuk 625 BC

 

Oh the heaviness of all the prophecies of destruction over these past few weeks. It can be so discouraging. I can understand Habukkuk’s complaint about all the corruption and sinfulness going on all around him. Thus these prophecies and the imminent downfall of Judah. However, in the midst of it all and despite it all,  Habakkuk ends with these beautiful words and encouraging image:

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food; though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. (3:17-19)

 

Have you ever seen a deer move? They bounce as they go. Can you visualize the above verses; that in the midst of desolation we can be as joyful as a deer bouncing along on its merry way?

 

255 3 Jeremiah 11, 12; Psalm 42, 43 Jeremiah is faced with a very real situation and very real questions:

 

First, with all his prophesying of their unfaithfulness and God’s punishment, his life has been threatened. Thankfully he takes it to the Lord and lets him deal with it and desires to continue prophesying.

 

Secondly, Jeremiah sees how prosperous and carefree the people continue in their evil ways. They attend ‘church’ from the sounds of it but it is meaningless and their hearts are not dedicated in the Lord and his ways. We see the same, I think. We can have the same questions. However, for many of them, unlike the Israelites, these people do not know of God’s ways, necessarily.

 

256 4 2 Kings 23; 2 Chronicles 35 Jehoahaz 610 BC

Jehoiakim 609 BC

 

Josiah killed by Necho. Jehoahaz taken captive to Egypt all the remaining days of his life after only 3 months as king. Jehoiakim required to pay hefty amounts of silver and gold. It is clear to see how Judah is losing its stability.

 

257 5 Jeremiah 13, 14, 15 In Chapter 15 Jeremiah is feeling the heaviness of his prophesying. There is hatred from the people towards him, and he questions God. Do we not do the same? However, God is with Jeremiah – as he is with us – and tells him the good and the bad of what is to come. Although it won’t be easy, God will not leave Jeremiah, nor us.

 

“If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you,
but you must not turn to them. I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you,
for I am with you to rescue and save you,” declares the Lord. “I will save you from the hands of the wicked and deliver you from the grasp of the cruel.”
(15:19-21)

 

 

258 6 Jeremiah 16, 17, 18 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (17:7-8)

 

What a visual: in the midst of a forest of shriveled and dying trees, there stand a beautiful lush tree with plump fruit to be had by others. The above passage is so encouraging for us to stand firm and trust in the Lord in the midst of chaos around us. It’s during the tough times, when we cling to him, that he shines the brightest and stands out for others see.

259 7 Jeremiah 19, 20, 46 Poor Jeremiah! I can’t imagine it was easy proclaiming God’s plan of judgement to the people, day after day; to be beaten, ridiculed, and rejected by his own people. Yet, despite his own feelings, he acknowledges that he cannot stop proclaiming the words that God gives him because if he does, they just burn in his heart until he does.

 

Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. 20:8-9

Day Of

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Week

Daily Readings Nugget
260 Week 38

1

 

Jeremiah 47, 48, 49 Today’s readings were prophecies against gentile nations. God’s desire that all people know and love him, and his disappointment when they live evil lives is evident in these chapters. Just like with Israel, although he will bring his wrath upon them, he will restore them, as he says to Moab in 48:47.
261 2 Daniel 1,2 Daniel 605-530

 

1 As shown with Daniel and his friends, even in the midst of heartache and the unknown, God works blessing to his faithful people, and uses them to show others who would not have necessarily seen God’s goodness, if God had not allowed the trial to take place for his faithful child. In all things remain faithful and trusting to the Lord, and watch as he uses you to proclaim his goodness, love and salvation.

 

2 Daniel and his friends are great examples of intercessory prayer. Although the revelation of the King’s dream only came to Daniel, it was the prayers of all four men that went up to the Lord and to which God answered. God loves to hear prayers from his people and he is faithful in answering them. However, it is also important to note how Daniel gave God the credit of being able to interpret the dream, not himself.

 

262 3 Ezekiel 1,2,3 Ezekiel 593 BC

 

Ezekiel’s experience as a prophet is seemingly the most magnificent. The vision he sees in chapter 1 is very difficult to create in human means. The above is one attempt.

 

2 God’s words are as sweet as honey. What a metaphor Ezekiel experienced! It is how God’s word works though; once we have taken it in, God will use it from within us to spread to the world.

 

263 4 Ezekiel 4,5,6;

Psalm 42

Can you imagine lying on your side for 390 days. That is over a year! That would have been excruciating for Ezekiel. However, I bet he got the people’s attention, and God was able to make the point he was trying to make.

 

It is interesting how God uses not just words but these types of actions to impress on the people what he is trying to say. He uses the senses and different learning styles to teach his people. With teaching in today’s society, we call that Differentiated Instruction, and we think that’s a new and awesome concept. Lol….

 

264 5 Ezekiel 7,8,9; Psalm 43

 

1 In Chapter 8, God expresses his hatred to the idolatry and wicked acts of the people. How does he look on our world or nation today?

 

2 In Chapter 9, the faithful are marked and then spared from the angel of death that goes through the land. It reminds me of the Passover with the mark of the blood of the lamb on the door lentil. In Christ, we too are marked; in Christ we need not fear whatever may come our way.

265 6 Ezekiel 10,11,12 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.  Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. (11:19-20)

 

What beautiful words! May we be counted as his; that we are his people, and he is our God!

266 7 Ezekiel 13,14,15 Chapter 14 emphasizes the reality that in the end, we are all responsible for our own sins and it is each person’s faith in Christ that will redeem them. We cannot redeem our children or any family member, friend or loved one. Take heart, we can pray for God to move them and to stir their hearts to seek him, and we can share God’s saving news to them in our words and actions.
Day Of

Journey

 

Week

Daily Readings Nugget
267 Week 39

1

 

Ezekiel 16,17,18 Today is filled with analogies: Israel the Prostitute and the Two Eagles and a Vine, The first is directed at the nation of Israel, who prostituted herself to idols and wickedness and was unfaithful to the one true God. Then the second analogy is directed at the King of Babylon and King Zedekiah, the last King of Judah. It is beneficial to consider our relationship with Christ individually, as well as, corporately. We know well our personal relationship with our Lord, as Moses, David, Daniel and the prophets did. However, our lives are interconnected to God corporately as well. Corporately means the group of believers we are part of: whether it be our own little church body with whom we worship with on Sunday – which is called corporate worship, or the nation in which we live and have our citizenship. For the Israelites, the two entities, their church or fellowship of believers and their nation would have been considered one and the same. And the whole nation, all citizens whether righteous or unrighteous, was disciplined for the sins of its leaders and people. However, the whole nation was blessed with righteous leaders who led the people in God’s ways, as we saw with David and Solomon, corporately. Pray for your nation and church leaders, that they are faithful in God’s ways.
268 2 Ezekiel 19,20,21 Throughout Ezekiel and other prophets, many of the people didn’t believe their words. The Israelites continued to do their own thing, believing their own thing. However, in chapter 21:23 God references that despite what one believes to be true, only truth – God’s will – will abound. In the same way, many say, “Well you can believe this or that, but I’m going to believe this.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what you want or feel to be true, if it is not the truth, it will come to pass. In the end, it all comes down to holding on to the truth, which God has been revealing to us through our readings of his Word. Hold fast to him.
269 3 Ezekiel  22,23; Jeremiah 21; Psalm 44  Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives. Jeremiah 21:9

 

What a tough decision this would be for so many. The time has come for Judah to go into captivity. For those who fight it, they will die. For those who give themselves over, they will live. Despite the fear of the unknown, the thought of being taken captive, and leaving all you have behind, it is better to trust in the Lord and walk as he directs, than to fight against it.

270 4 Jeremiah 22,23; Psalm 50,73 1 “Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord. 22:15-16

In chapter 22:15-16, God’s statement about what it means to know him is so relevant. How often do we strive for more, more, more. Thinking that stuff will give us satisfaction and make us better off. But our focus is on the wrong thing. Seeking to know God and by knowing him, doing what’s right is what really matters, and by doing so, God will continue to care for us and bestow upon us all we need.

 

2 In Jeremiah 23, he prophesies of Jesus’ coming:

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.” 23:5-6

271 5 Jeremiah 24,25; Psalm 75,76 Despite their hatred towards Jeremiah and their desire to kill him, the leaders and the people could not deny the fact they knew in their hearts that he was speaking God’s truth. Despite being at death’s doorstep, Jeremiah kept proclaiming God’s words and God spared his life.
272 6 Jeremiah 26,27; Psalm 77,78 Jeremiah’s life is being threatened. The king, his officers, his officials, the false prophets and the priests are hating him. However, at the darkest moments for Jeremiah, it seems he is getting through and has support from some elders. For us, proclaiming God’s truth is not necessarily easy nor a crowd pleaser, but God will never leave us nor forsake us.
273 7 Jeremiah 28,29; Psalm 80,81 Besides the reprimand of false prophets who try to proclaim hope by telling lies, there is a lot of hope given in these passages proclaimed by Jeremiah in God’s truth. Jeremiah 29:11-13 is one of great comfort and assurance for all people:

 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Day Of

Journey

 

Week

Daily Readings Nugget
274 Week 40

1

 

Jeremiah 30,31; Psalm 82,83 Today is a continuation of yesterday’s message of hope for a future in the midst of bondage.

‘Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing…But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord. 30:12..17

As God promises to do for the Israelites, he does for us all in Christ. There is no cure for sin, but he restores us in the redeeming sacrifice that Christ endured on our behalf.

 

275 2 Jeremiah 32,33; Psalm 84,85 Not only is God disciplining his chosen people but he is preparing for the coming of his son, Jesus. Chapter 33 prophesies about his coming.

“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. “‘In those days and at that time I will make a right Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’ 33:14-16

276 3 Jeremiah 34,35,36; Psalm 87 What extremes in today’s reading. On one hand we have the great and mighty being so unfaithful and living in their sin, and then on the other hand, we have this simple, nomadic family who live simple lives with love, respect and obedience to each other and their ancestors. Whom is it that God lifts up? Whom is it that God brings low?

 

To live a simple life in faithfulness to the Lord is better than a life of abundance and unfaithfulness.

 

277 4 Jeremiah 37,38;

Psalm 88

 

Oh poor Jeremiah! First in jail and then thrown in a cistern. Yet in each case God sent a rescuer. Jeremiah was not to come to his end in each of these situations, so he didn’t. God continued to watch over him, protect him, and rescue him. Just as he continues to watch over, protect and rescue us as we walk in his ways.

 

278 5 Ezekiel 24, 25;

Psalm 89

What sacrifice of the prophets! Yesterday we read how Jeremiah was thrown into jail and a cistern and today we read how Ezekiel cannot mourn over the death of his wife. Just as God calls us to serve him and stand up for what is right and proclaim his goodness, we too may need to sacrifice ourselves. Be ready and waiting to do the Lord’s bidding. Also, pray for those who are proclaiming the Lord amidst turbulence and hostility. Pray for missionaries in countries where the proclamation of Jesus is supressed.
279 6 Jeremiah 39; 2 Kings 24, 25; 2 Chronicles 36, The fall of Jerusalem 586 BC

 

After all God had said to the Israelites when they crossed over Jordan River into the Promised Land, the time has come to pass where God has had enough. The People of God are taken captive by the Babylonians because of their sins and unfaithfulness. What a sad day for the Nation of Israel. However, we are given a glimpse of how God still cared for his faithful people even during the time of captivity, and he informed them that it will only be for 70 years. Even in their midst of being disciplined and ridding his nation of the sin that was so rampant, he continued to give them hope and a future.

280 7 Jeremiah 40,41,42,43 I can’t imagine being just an average person living through all that has occurred in these chapters. I can see how it would be scary to continue to live in a desolate land under the control of another nation with the fear of being poorly treated and even death on your mind every day. However, even after they go to Jeremiah, whose words had always been true, they deny God’s words because of their fears and head to Egypt. Oh how weak and untrusting they were…we are! Continue to trust the Lord, even when the road ahead may seem scary.

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