I'm on a journey to read through the Bible in chronological order. Taking it one day at a time, I will read based on a list I found on the internet and blog about what happened, thoughts provoked, emotions conjured, etc. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nehemiah

Nehemiah is serving as cup bearer to the king when he learns that Jerusalem has fallen. This upsets him immensely and he asks to go home a rebuild. He surveys the walls to see what a wreck they are in and gathers a team to start rebuilding. As always, they had haters that threatened to kill them while they worked. God helped Nehemiah station armed guards and the people worked with a spear in one hand at all times.

He then hears that the people are being oppressed by the officials and being charged outrageious taxes so he has all debts cancelled...wish he would come do this now! The wall is finished and he works with Ezra to get the Jews registered in a census and they have a season of prayer and penance.

Nehemiah leaves for a while and returns to hear that the people are backsliding. He prays for strength and again reminds the people of how they should be living. It is such a vivid reminder of our sinful nature and how stubborn we are!

Ezra 7-10

Ezra wraps up by being commissioned to look into Judah and Jerusalem in regards to the Law. He gathers a large number of "chosen" ones and they go to the Temple to make offerings. They learn that the people have been marrying foreigners and having children with them--not consistent with God's law. Ezra has the men make a covenant that they will no longer continue this practice. The wives and children are sent away.

It doesn't really say what happens to the wives and children. I understand that they broke God's law for them, but it's really sad that families had to break up as punishment...hmm..

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Esther

Its the book of my blog's namesake! oh man I'm excited! I'm telling you, you couldn't make a better story if you wrote it yourself!

King Xerxes and his wife Vashti throw elaborate parties. So elaborate that they last for days, weeks even, and they split up the men from the women. Xerxes thinks Vashti is pretty hot stuff and wante s to show her off at his party, but she refuses the summons. Scared that all women will take a page from her book and disrespect their husbands, Vashti is banned and the search for a new queen begins.

Xerxes begins a parade of women each night (only after each of them has gone through 12 months of beauty treatments to be somewhat presentable) but Esther catches the king's eye. She has to keep her race and history a secret as she was raised by her cousin, Mordecai and Jews are not very popular. Esther is beloved by the king and he gives he whatever she wants. Her and Mordecai save the king from a plot to assassinate him but Mordecai is never honored. When a decree goes out to have people bow to a high official (Haman), Mordecai refuses as he is a Jew. Instead of dealing with just him, the officials decide to kill all Jews and have the order approved. Esther is distraught, but Mordecai tells her that perhaps she was made queen "for such a time as this"... God's inside person, if you will :)

Haman (bad guy) is really hatin' on Mordecai and builds a gallows on which to hang him. Esther, thinking quick on her feet, reminds Xerxes that Mordecai was never honored for saving his life. Xerxes makes Haman parade Mordecai around the city in fine linens--ultimate suck punch. Over dinner later, Esther explains to Xerxes the evil that Haman has been doing to her and her people and Xerxes hangs Haman on the very gallows he built for Mordecai.

Mordecai is appointed to Haman's old position and Haman's sons and those who schemed against the Jews were killed.

Esther is the freakin woman! Thats all I have to say :)

Zechariah

Zechariah gets a series of visions that are a historical depiction of what Judah has gone through.

A few years later he lets the people know that they no longer need to mourn the fall of Jerusalem as they have been for the last 70 year. Then God says my new favorite thing "you're interested in religion, I'm interested in people"....LOVE IT. The people are given a message meant to rejuvenate them and refocus their purpose.

Chapter 9:9-10 tell of the coming of a king who will ride a donkey who will be the savior .

Later chapters tell that God will reconcile his people and rebuild them. Sins will be washed away, false prophets will be brutally exposed, day and night will be obliterated...perfect world. Those who stood against God's people will be killed by a flesh eating virus--sounds like a zombie apocalypse to me :)

Haggai

This book is only 2 chapters sooo...

God tells Haggai to get the people to rebuild the temple--it's not cool that they are living in nice places and throwing money away. He promises to shake the foundations of the old and rebuild anew. No work done for the Lord will be in vain.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ezra 1-6; Psalms 137

God inspires king Cyrus to have the Israelites go home and rebuild the temple. Over 42,000 make the journey. The leaders build the altar and lay the foundation...followed by much celebration. What an amazing time for them!

Some former enemies come and offer their services but are refused because it is for the wrong reasons. They decide to take on vengeance for being rebuffed. Work is halted when surrounding kings learn of the rebuilding. They fear that the people are evil and will not pay taxes. The people begin rebuilding anyways while the kings search for the official decree from Cyrus to rebuild. They think the people are lying and have no permit.

The decree is found and orders are given to not disturb the people while they work (WIN!). There is a feast and much celebrating after the temple is complete...

The Psalm is written while the people are in Babylon and missing the "motherland"...little do they know they are closer to home than they think!

Daniel

Nebuchadnezzar (from now on--Nebbie) takes siege of Judah and requests that 4 natives be brought in a indoctrinated into the Babylonian way of thought to make them leaders. Daniel and 3 others are taken and given Babylonian names. You may know the others as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. What I didn't know was that Daniel also receives a new name--Belteshazzar.

Daniel does not want to defile himself with the royal menu and convinces the guards to feed the 4 only veggies and water. The guards are afraid that they will become scrawny and the king will notice, but the realize that the 4 are actually healthier and in better shape that the rest! The king loves them and puts them as leaders in the kingdom.

Nebbie starts having disturbing dreams and is enraged that none of his enchanters can't figure them out. Daniel says he'll take a crack at it, and in an amazing stunt, tells the king that he is not interpreting the dream, but there is a God who is doing it through him (gutsy move). Daniel interprets the dream (a statue of Nebbie falling, symbolizing the collapse of his kingdom) and Nebbie is so amazed that he appoints him in high honor.

The rest is pretty well known--Nebbie builds a statue to be worshipped, the men refuse and are thrown into a fiery furnace. An angel comes and protects them.. Nebbie is impressed and the men are appointed again.

Daniel interprets another dream that Nebbie will be driven out--it come true a year later. He is forced into the wild for 7 years to learn that God is sovereign. Meanwhile his son takes over and does a knock-up job. He throws lavish parties and lives boldly against God. During a party, God has a ghostly hand write on the wall ::For a moment, please imagine you are at a party and all of a sudden a hand (think "Thing" from Adamms Family!) just appears and starts to write...ho-lee-crap:: The writing is : mene, teqel, and peres which means his days are numbered, he has been weighed and a Mede will take over his kingdom. He died later that night and Darius the Mede took over as king.

Darius loves Daniel, but his officials try to conspire against him. They make a law that everyone must only pray to Darius. When Daniel disobeys and continues to pray to God, Darius must follow the law and throw him to the lions. He is relieved when God saves him--having his angels close the mouths of the lions...I tell ya, Daniel has seen and been through some pretty amazing things!

Daniel continues to have visions. Some of which scare him, but God sends angels to comfort him.