In Psalms we find praise, varying emotions, lamentations, and gratitude. There’s a dash of hope mixed in as well. God will not abandon you. His love endures forever!
The book of Psalms covers many different emotions and prayers over a thousand year period. God is worthy of praise and the wise will trust Him. Some key verses include.. Ps. 8:1 “how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Ps. 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God.” and one that most people know is Ps. 23:1-6 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Nehemiah follows along closely with Ezra in the restoration of the temple, community, Jerusalem, and the covenant. It shows the many ways that God was at work to restore the people of Israel to their land. Allegiance was made to God, and the Jews were restored. God never forsakes, and nothing is impossible for Him.
Esther was a Jew who heard of the plan of Haman, the chief administrator to the Persian King, which was to kill the Jews. She approached the king and told him of the plan, hiding the fact that she herself was a Jew. The king listened to her, and Haman was put to death. Esther was very brave for approaching the king. God used her to save His people.
Job is a great read when you’re feeling down and out. Job suffered the loss of everything at the hand of satan, but he never rebuked God. Satan took everything but his life, and Job maintained his innocence to his 3 friends who came to comfort him. They didn’t believe that Job was innocent. Why would God take it all away? Just confess your sins and repent! But Job stayed firm and steadfast, even questioning God as to why he was suffering so much. God answered him in a roundabout way, showing him all He’d created, and the greatness of it all. Job demonstrated his righteousness and God heaped His blessings upon him for the rest of his life.
Ezra begins where 2 Chronicles left off, the exiles return. They started rebuilding the temple and found opposition from the enemies of Judah. A letter was written against Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes, and he ordered the rebuilding to stop. That lasted until King Darius was petitioned to search for documentation that King Cyrus had issued a decree that the temple be rebuilt, and that documentation was found, and a decree made for construction to begin.
Chapter 7 tells us that Ezra was well versed in the Laws of God, and a teacher. 7:10 says”for Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. ” Ezra travels from Babylon with a large number to Jerusalem under the allowance of king Artaxerxes.
Chapter 9 discussed the disgrace that Ezra felt when he heard of the intermarriages. It says he tore his cloak, pulled hair from his head and beard, then fell on his knees with his hands spread out and prayed. v6 – “O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. ” A large crowd gathered around Ezra while he prayed, and they cried and confessed their sins. Those found guilty pledged to put away their wives, and they presented a ram from the flock as a guilt offering.
The author of 1 and 2 Chronicles is thought to be Ezra by many bible scholars. 1 Chronicles was written for the Jewish exiles so they could relate to their ancestry. It covers the history roughly the same as 1 & 2 Samuel, but it leaves out David’s sin and consequences of it, and it stresses in great detail the building of the temple and establishing worship for God. It also lists the most comprehensive of genealogies. The importance for the Jews to preserve their racial and spiritual heritage is stressed, as well as the importance of the law, and the temple and priesthoods ongoing relationship with God. That was more important than a relationship with an earthly king!
2 Chronicles covers the same time period of 1 & 2 Kings, but it focuses more on Judah’s history, worship, revival and reform. A thought—focus on the temple. There seems to be lots of focus on the temple. So if we think about the temple, and the importance of it, then how does it relate to the New Testament? What is the temple? Doesn’t Jesus refer to His body as the temple in the New Testament? Is the temple destroyed and raised again in 3 days? Do God and the Lamb replace the temple? YES!! I can see the relationship between the OT and the NT by reading it like this. I’m not saying that the OT is always a truly enjoyable read with all the geneaologies, but it helps me put things together relationally. Tomorrow we start and finish Ezra.
1 Kings 2:3-4 David is talking to Solomon. “I am about to go the way of all the earth, so be strong, show yourself a man and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in His ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’
When David died, his son Solomon became king. Solomon prayed for wisdom and discernment, and he was given that by the Lord. You may recall the story of the two mothers, and one of their children had died. The mother of the child who died had tried to trick the other mother into believing it was her child who was dead, and they took their plea to Solomon. Solomon said the baby should be cut in half, and the woman whose son it was said No, don’t kill him. That is how Solomon knew she was the real mother. Solomon was wiser than any other man from all the nations because he asked God for wisdom! He built a beautiful temple for the Lord in Jerusalem, and brought the box of the covenant to the temple.
Solomon angered the Lord when he had many wives who had many different idols that they worshipped, and sometimes Solomon would join in with the offerings to the idols. The people saw Solomon doing these things, and thought it was OK, so they became interested in the idols too. Solomon died and Rehoboam took over as king. He was nothing like Solomon, and the Israelites separated into two kingdoms. The ten tribes to the north of Jerusalem made their own king and made sacrifices to idols in Bethel and Dan. The prophet named Elijah felt as though he was the only true worshipper of the Lord left. He was told by God to stay with the widow at Zarephath, and she provided for him what she didn’t have to provide. Then her son became ill and died, but Elijah took him and prayed for his life to return and it did. The widow knew that he was a man of God. Elijah then went on to prove that Baal was not the real God, but still had to run for his life because king Ahab’s wife wanted to kill him. Elisha was called to succeed Elijah.
In 2 Kings, Elijah is walking and talking to Elisha, when a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the men, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha was a faithful servant, and went wherever God needed him to go. He was helpful to all peoples. On the other hand, the kings of the two kingdoms seemed to thrive on personal fame and success, and not on God. Kings Hezekiah and Josiah wanted the people to be loyal to God, but in the end even they succumbed to the evil ways of the people. The Babylonian army attacked them while under the reign of king Zedekiah, and they destroyed the temple. The descendents of David were led into exile by King Nebuchadnezzars army. The people were slaves, but God was still with them. Little by little, things improved for them, and the king Jehoiachin was released.
I think we are caught up now, and I so apologize for falling off the blog! Life took over, or satan thought he could get a stronghold on me, and I’m now saying NO WAY! I will follow Jesus Christ, He is my Lord and Savior! Bless you all.
SAMUEL- THE KINGMAKER What would make me think the Israelites would be happy once they arrived in the Promised Land, and obey God? Naive, I guess. They didn’t listen to the judges, and went back to doing whatever they wanted to do. But again, God had a plan. He helped the childless Hannah become pregnant, and she gave birth to Samuel. She promised to give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and she did just that. Samuel was a very special boy, and he grew up to be a priest and prophet who led the people through many difficult times. Again, the Israelites were not happy, and complained they wanted a king, just like the other nations. So Saul became king of the land. At first, everything went well, then power went to Saul’s head and he turned his back on God. That led to God turning against Saul, and the end of his kingship. He did realize too late what was happening, and confessed his sins to Samuel and God. David is then chosen as king by the Lord. The irony is that Saul was chosen by the people’s standards, and David by God’s. Which was more successful? David!
David had worked in Saul’s service for a while. He had played the harp when Saul was tormented by an evil spirit because he had turned from the Lord. David went on to defeat Goliath, and then run from Saul because he was trying to kill him. He had many accomplishments that showed his faithfulness to God. Saul ended up taking his own life, and David is annointed King in 2 Samuel. David was a good king, who made his kingdom stronger and stronger for a long time. Until Bathsheba came along. David saw her and wanted her, even though she was married. She became pregnant, and then David had her husband sent out to the front lines and killed. David sinned, and confessed, and God forgave him, but turmoil came upon him and his home because of the sin. Bathsheba lost the baby she was carrying, and David’s daughter Tamar wasraped by her half brother Amnon. Tamar’s brother Absalom killed Amnon and then fled for his life. Absalom then planned to kill David, and was killed himself by David’s soldiers.
I’m doing the single parenting thing this week as my husband is out of town on business. It happens to be a particularly busy week with dance, and the first performance coming up this weekend. There’s also a few other things going on too, so it’s about all I can do to finish my readings daily (which I am!). I just can’t seem to summarize it all to blog form! I hope to get my routine going again, but feel free to chime in with your reading input if you’d like.
We have finished Joshua, Judges and Ruth, and will start with 1 Samuel tomorrow. The weekend began with my birthday on Friday, and boy did I feel older! It was so bitterly cold here that I just wanted to pull the blanket over my head and hibernate! We had a chocolate cake with the whipped icing that I love, and it had chocolate bars on top. Too bad it’s all gone, or I’d have a piece right now. Saturday my mom and dad came up and we all had lunch. It was really good, and I really didn’t do much else after that. My dad called after they got home, and he had received word that his cousin had died suddenly that morning. He was in his early 50’s, married with three kids. It was a big shock, and I ask for prayers for his family to feel the healing love of Christ throughout the next few months.
This week is going to be busy finishing costumes and getting ready for the first dance performance of the year. I am not a sewing mom, so these costumes are kicking me! Luckily I only have one major one to finish, everything else fit really well this time. Also on the list for the week, clip coupons, work on the budget, shampoo the carpets, catch up on laundry, organize the towel closet, and a few other things that I can’t think of right now.
Yesterday we finished Deuteronomy with a very short read. God knew the Israelites would fall short again and turn from Him. He also told Moses that they would turn away, but that when they decided to obey Him with all their heart, He would bring them back to the promised land and bless them with more. Moses told them the offer of life or death was in their reach. Chapter 30, verse 15 says ” See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.” Moses blesses the tribes and then dies, leaving Joshua to take over andlead the people to the promised land.
32:1-43 is the song that Moses taught to the people per God’s command, so that when they sang it, it was a witness for God against them. I would love to record that here for you, but I know you already read it. It’s really amazing!