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!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jeremiah 30-37

God further explains His promise to deliver Judah after the appointed time--everything will be better for them. God also says that each man will be punished for his own sins, not the sins of their ancestors. Of course this will change again when Jesus comes, but thats for later :)

God tells Jeremiah to buy a plot of land. He is really torn up about this because the people are about to be captured and ravaged and there he is--buying land. God tells him that after this is over, lots of people will buy land; God is just providing for Jeremiah early. There will be a great restoration, all in God's timing. The people are rejected because people see their own God turning them away. But God will change all of this and raise his nations up again.

But for now, they are still living in sin. People are diligently following things their ancestors told them to do and not to do, but they still refuse to do the Lord's will. Ridiculous. How can you just listen to your father, and not obey your heavenly father??

God has Jeremiah put the prophecies on a scroll which is read to the people. The officials hear about it, and burn the scroll. No big deal. God has Jeremiah write another one put some fun extra words in it about special damnation that will come to the guy who threw the scroll in the fire... not a smart guy.

Jeremiah was then thrown in jail for again warning the people that the Babylonians were going to plunder, burn and pillage their land...

Denial sure is the best.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jeremiah 23-29

God promises to raise up an honest king who will rejuvenate the land--Jesus. What a great prophesy to read right before Christmas!

23: 5 “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.
6 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.

God warns against false prophets and how destructive their lies are. The people seem to get caught up so easily by whoever the best speaker is. Sadly, they don't want to listen to Jeremiah's warnings and continue on with their gods and false teachings.

God sends Jeremiah out yet again to warn the people. They become enraged and threaten to kill him, but ultimately relent. if God knows the future and what the people are going to do, why send Jeremiah out? One of those though provoking circumstances... is Jeremiah speaking for the good of the people, or is God using the tough circumstances to strengthen his faith?

God gives Judah over to Babylon as slaves. They are warned to not listen to the false prophets who will tell them they don't have to be slaves. A false prophet does come forward and ends up getting the people into even more trouble and more bondage. They are really dumb...fo real.

29:11 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.

This verse in context is so much more powerful! God promises that after 70 years in Babylon, the people will be reconciled and He will hear their prayers once again!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Jeremiah 14-22

The people cry out because they are experiencing famine and drought. God says they can fast all they want--He doesn't care. Prophets can pray for them--He's not listening. They can burn offerings--He won't accept them. False prophets tell the people that peace is coming, but this just makes God angrier.

At one point God says that Judah's sin is engraved on their hearts.. I kinda got chills because after Jesus comes, HE is written on our hearts and our sins are wiped away... This whole book just shows what a jealous God we have--and how thankful we should constantly be to Him for sending Jesus to us to take our place against His wrath.

God has Jeremiah go to a potter's house and watch him work. Then God reminds him that He can mold Israel just as the potter does--He has all the power. He buys a pot and takes some leaders on a walk. He reminds them that God is calling them to repent and that they will be like a broken pot (here is where Jeremiah smashes the pot), beyond repair. Another prophet hears all of this and has Jeremiah thrown in the stocks.

Jeremiah had quietly complained here and there, but now he really loses it. He's tired of being laughed at and ridiculed. The life of a prophet is not as dazzling as one might think--it's tough business. Jeremiah knows that God is with him, but is tired of God talking about all He's going to do to these wicked people and not acting fast enough for his liking.

Jeremiah soon gets his wish--Judah is about to be attacked by Babylon. the Judean (sp?) asks God to help them. Not only will God NOT help them, He promises to actively fight against them and to help the Babylonians. To add insult, God offers to spare the lives of those who surrender to their enemies. It's so sad to me that people would rather surrender to an enemy in battle than to repent of a sin and surrender to God.

Jeremiah 10-13

10:3 For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.
5 Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field,
their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
they can do no harm
nor can they do any good.”

6 No one is like you, LORD;
you are great,
and your name is mighty in power.
7 Who should not fear you,
King of the nations?
This is your due.
Among all the wise leaders of the nations
and in all their kingdoms,
there is no one like you.

Jeremiah's message continues. Jeremiah asks God why He hasn't taken action yet...God tells him that everything will happen in time. To give Jeremiah a visual, God tells him to buy a linen belt and wear it around for a bit--it is clean and perfect. Then God has him hide it in a crevice. After a while, he goes back to the crevice to find the belt tattered and useless...the belt is like the people--they will be withered but it will all happen in God's timing.

Jeremiah 4-9

Jeremiah continues speaking the Lord's words to the people, warning them of the disaster to come. He promises to not completely destroy the earth, but will put a serious hurtin' on it.

God even promises to forgive the city if they can find just one truthful and honest person. Jeremiah thinks...surely in the temple there will be someone...but nope. God is angry at how many times the people have been warned and have not listened. I can understand how frustrating this must be. The only confusion I am having is--when Adam and Eve sinned, the whole world was fallen. God knows this is our nature, while He still wants better from us, He still knew that the people would not listen... it just seems weird that he would know what was going to happen, but was still upset when it did.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jeremiah 1-3

Jeremiah is the son of Josiah's head priest. When he is very young, God comes to him and starts priming him. He puts the words in his mouth and then sends him out to talk sense into Israel. God is not happy with either Israel or Judah, but shows more favor with Israel. He wants to use Jeremiah to turn his people back to Him.

Jeremiah thinks he is too young and that people won't listen to him. God tells him that He will give him the words to say.

1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

6 “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

7 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.

8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.

Zephaniah

During Josiah's reign, Zephaniah is given a vision:

A general smackdown is coming to Judah for their wickedness. Then each area is listed by name with their offenses and the hurtin' that's coming their way. He wants his people to return but He knows they are stuck. He will destroy the bad and uphold the good on His day of judgement.

I'm just sayin, I'm getting angry at how much flip-flopping is going on in Judah, I completely understand why God is mad.

2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34-35

King Josiah has his men go out and restore the Temple to what it should be. Give it a little sprucing up if you will. While they are working, they find a book with words from God in it. Josiah reads a little bit and becomes sad because he knows the laws in the book were not followed by his ancestors. A prohpet tells him that Judah will one day be punished for their actions, but because Josiah is a wise and repentant man, he will not see this suffering in his lifetime.

Josiah takes the book and reads it to all of his people who then promise to keep the covenant. His and his priests then went on a rampage throughout the land destroying all false idols and evil practices.

Even though Josiah was only 8 (yes 8!) years old when he became king, even lnog after his death he was thought to be a favorite of the kings of Judah.

The 2 kings following Josiah returned Judah to their evil ways. This must be so confusing for the people... for 10 years they worship God, then for 7 they follow baal, then for another 15 they follow God, etc... how can they stand the yoyo?!?!?!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nahum

The prophet Nahum is seeing that God has plans to destroy Ninevah. He sees them trying to build up their army, but they just stumble. They are pillaged and ransacked; left for nothing. Why the animosity towards Ninevah? The passage calls them a "city of blood". They were murderers, committed evil with their hands and their hearts and showed no remorse. God does not like an unrepentant heart! Ninevah had fallen off track and God was going to punish them for their actions. I am not sure where Jonah comes in, but I'm sure he is sent to give Ninevah a warning to allow God to work in their hearts before destruction hits.

God is an angry jealous God, but He longs to show his people compassion. Most always get a warning beforehand and have to make their own choice as to where they will go from there.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2 Kings 20-21; 1 Chronicles 32-33

More evil kings doing bad things...Manasseh began his reign at age 12.. yes TWELVE. Can you imagine a 12 year old running a region?!?! As he grew he established pagan traditions, asherah poles, etc. He even sacrificed his own son--to a false God. Can you imagine? In Kings, his story simply ends with his death, but in Chronicles, we get to see God work in his life. God sends the Assyrians to capture him--he becomes distraught and cries out to God for help. When he is released, he gets rid of all of the idols and turns things around. 33:3 "And when he prayed to him, the LORD was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD is God. "

His son follows in his evil footsteps as king and is assassinated. Nothing else is really mentioned.

Before both these kings, the story of Hezekiah is told. I've already read about this in Isaiah, but its always good to get another writer's perspective. Yes that is the same story in 3 books... must be a big deal. What isn't mentioned in Isaiah is the extended taunting that happened between Hezekiah and the Assyrians. If you don't remember, Hezekiah feared an attack from Assyria and was advised to ask God what to do. God told him not to worry about it--He's got their back. An angel wipes out the troops, and all is well. In Chronicles, they are jeered at for days and begin to fear for their safety. But God sends an angel who wipes out the army. Defeated, the Assyrian king goes to his temple and is killed by men, including his own sons.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Isaiah 64-66

Praising God can help us keep ourselves in check. Take a moment to think about his power, awesomeness and magnitude...do you feel smaller? We so often feel compelled to shower those around us with affection and affirmation, but do we take the same time to praise God for His work in our lives?

We read more promises of things for Zion, for those who follow Him. Giving praise is one of the easiest ways to show someone respect. It shows the condition of your heart and allows you to humble yourself before God and affirm that you are with Him. I await for the day that these prophesies come true and I find myself in the new heaven and earth... just praising God for all eternity!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Isaiah 59-63

1:3 For your hands are stained with blood,
your fingers with guilt.
Your lips have spoken falsely,
and your tongue mutters wicked things.

What a convicting way to start today's reading. In short, we are scum. We are unable to save ourselves and have done things too numerous to count. But nothing is beyond the reach of God. He sent Jesus to intervene and to take on our sins. I won't even dive into the magnitude of this act--save that for another time.

The rest is all prophesy and the promises to Zion and God's people. No more hurt, the paupers will be kings, etc. Pretty great if you ask me. I think something important to note here is that just becoming a Christian does not mean that we will all of a sudden obtain the greatest riches and be placed next to kings. While we are storing treasures in Heaven, this life will still be filled with pain and struggles, but it's all for God's glory and our benefit. God's promises are wonderful and divine.. you just have to be willing to wait!