Friday, September 25, 2009

Job - Continued

As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to share some of the cool “nuggets” from the commentary I read on the book of Job (“The Gospel According to Job” by Mike Mason, all thoughts below are from this book) in honor of the book of Job we read last week (sorry I have not been able to post this sooner). Notes: 1) There were many great points in the book and it was difficult to narrow them down to a few, but here are some that I really liked. 2) The structure of the book: the author took a verse or group of verses from the Job, broke it down, then provided life applications based on the verse(s). The following are thoughts/life applications drawn from the verses in Job.

Job 33:1-2
One of the principle lessons of the book is the need to wait upon the Lord and persistently seek Him though times of darkness. Without painful waiting, true faith would be impossible.

Job 36:16
Often unhappiness merely signals that the Lord is about to open some new door for us, or to unveil some new facet to our character. Happiness may be given to us not so much for our own comfort, as to enable us to bring relief to someone else in need.

Job 23:16-17
Without fear, one does not take evil seriously. Yet without comfort, one cannot take a stand against it.

Job 26:7, 14
Throughout the bible the things of nature are immensely significant as living signs of our Creator’s glory. Yet more than that, they are signs of the inestimable worth of His highest creature, human beings. Just to look into the eyes of the most miserable and repulsive person on earth is to be closer to God, in truth, than when gazing at a flowery meadow or starry sky. Stars are finite things, but a human being can go on forever. A flower can develop only so much and be only so beautiful, but for people there are no such limits.

Job 27:2
Faith is the ability to tolerate the intolerable paradox of God’s clear and undisputed title as Lord of the universe in spite of His apparent absence.

Job 31:13-15
What makes an act truly great is not its bigness, but the purity of heart of the one who performs it.

Job 34:33
We do have free will, but it is the freedom to make just one choice: Christ. If we do not choose for Christ, then already we have chosen not to be free. We have thus abdicated our freedom. We are not free but are in the grip of something we might call fate, a kind of self-determined prison existing outside the freedom which is only to be found in Christ.

(There are many more great points, but I need to go to bed, sooooo sleeeeepy hehe)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ezra- mixed emotions

Hey guys,
I'm no blog pro, nor am I a bible scholar.  However, I felt compelled to share something which struck me as very poetic as well as powerful.  To me, the September 23rd reading, the first couple chapters of Ezra, came as a relief, as it was the beginning of a new regime and its attendant policies.  Thankfully the Israelites were able to live in happiness, which entailed rebuilding their temple, due to the fact that Cyrus figured that a happy people would lead to a submissive nation. 
I think this happiness is evidenced in the reading, is a stark dichotomy from the previous readings, and culminates in the passage Ezra 3: 11-13, specifically, "No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise.  And the sound was heard far away."  The exiles were in an emotional upheaval.  It seems to me that happiness is not just being happy, but being afforded the opportunity to display a wide range of emotion.  That is powerful.  We as disciples are safe, and have every good thing in Christ.  

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Job - Background

Since the Chrono bible scheduled the book of Job for the last few days (Sep 8th until today) I wanted to share some thoughts from a commentary on the book of Job that I read last year (“The Gospel According to Job” by Mike Mason… all thoughts below are from this book).

The book of Job can be viewed in 6 parts:
1) Job 1-2: Prologue
2) Job 3-11: Round 1 of the discourse between Job and his friends
3) Job 12-20: Round 2 of the discourse between Job and his friends
4) Job 21-31: Round 3 of the discourse between Job and his friends
5) Job 38-42:6: Theophany
6) Job 42:7-17: Epilogue

There are 7 main characters involved:
1) God
2) Satan
3) Job: God called him “blameless” (1:1b). Guiltless and blameless are 2 distinct terms. When someone is guiltless, he has done nothing wrong. When someone is blameless, it means no matter how horrible his offense may have been, all charges against him are dropped and absolutely no blame attaches to him.
4) Eliphaz: Most mature member among Job’s friends; comes off as a kindly and articulate older man. Job sat before his friends stripped of everything, his heart torn and exposed, his words desperate, and what does Eliphaz offer? Amidst his smoothly eloquent talk, perhaps the gist of his entire message may be summed up by the stinging yet almost hidden little comment in 4:8 “As I have observed, those who sow trouble reap trouble.”
5) Bildad: Comes across as a staunch, ramrod traditionalist, one who sees all issues in black and white and who prides himself on his straightforward, no-nonsense approach. He is the kind of person whose mind is already made up and whose faith is a simple matter looking to the past for answers (8:8-9). People who place such heavy reliance on tradition show that they have little in the way of a personal relationship with God. Bildad insinuates that Job’s faith is like “relying on a spider’s web. He leans on his web, but it gives way” (8:14-15).
6) Zophar: Probably the least sophisticated of the 3 friends. He wastes the least breath on tact and diplomacy. A sort of fellow who shoots first and asks questions later. In his criticism of Job he is not just blunt but insulting, calling his friend a scoffer and a windbag (11:3) and broadly accusing Job of arrogant self-righteousness (11:4). Zophar has an open scornful attitude. Zophar’s real fault, as with all Job’s friends, lies in his forcing of the issue-that is, in the injury he does to the freedom and inviolability of Job’s will by trying to press him into accepting simplistic answers.
7) Elihu: Comes into the scene near the end. He is a classic angry young man, and does not side with Job or the other 3 men. He talks too much, repeats himself, and is enormously conceited. The actual substance of Elihu’s arguments is similar to Job’s other 3 friends even though it contains some slight variations. But his last comments (38-40) are stirring and profound, comparable to what God will say in the last chapters.

That is all for now, I will be posting the cool “nuggets” from the book in my next post…

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fall of Jerusalem

It's sad to see Israel, Judah and Jerusalem destroyed. I was watching Kingdom of Heaven the other day and it kind of gives a glimpse to what this might have looked like. The city is attacked and in flames. I've seen the movie before, but this time I connected it to the exile and the destruction we've been reading about recently. So if you need something to help you visualize this it might help. It's not the same time period, but it might show you a glimpse of what it was like.

Also I have to say it's pretty hard core for God to tell Ezekiel not to mourn for his wife. That would be a tough situation to be in.

Keep up the reading everyone!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

the weeping prophet, Jeremiah

My reading today was Aug 31 and it ended with Jer 51:46b "The words of Jeremiah end here." That made my heart sad :(...

Jeremiah was a prophet from 627-586 BC, that's 41 years. What constituted those years?
  • He prophesied during the reign of the last 5 kings of Judah (Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah).
  • He began delivering God's message to Judah during Josiah's reign... it was well received, Josiah lead the people to repentance and obedience.
Things declined after that.
  • During the reign of the next 4 kings, he was thrown into prison, then a cistern, he was rejected by his neighbors, his family, and his friends... he was alone.
  • His personal sufferings aside, his heart was grieved as he witnessed Judah's increasing depravity and moral decline.
  • He wept as he witnessed many of God's people exiled, many others killed, and those left were suffering and dying.
And the last of his years was the worst.
  • God told the remnant, through Jeremiah, if they remained in Israel, He would deliver them from the Babylonians, and He would restore and heal them.
  • But again, they did not obey. Instead, they went to Egypt! They went back to the very land God had freed them from! Jeremiah was forced to go with them and before he died, he saw them bowing down to the Egyptian gods.
Jeremiah died with a broken heart, and that made my heart sad :(

And yet, Jeremiah's days were full of faith and obedience to God. What was his motivation? He didn't have the Holy Spirit in him to give him power and strength? He didn't have the promise of heaven like we do? He didn't have Jesus' example of suffering and sacrifice to follow? He couldn't tell himself that his suffering was nothing compared to what Jesus suffered? Wow, sad but... AMAZING.

The temple

Time line of the temple

Today and yesterday's readings in Ezekiel are about rebuilding the temple and restablishing worship and service.

Here is a timeline of the temple:

Solomon begins construction on temple on Mt. Monah. (Ca 697 BC)
1 King 6:1, 2 Chron 3: 1-2
(Chronological Bible May 13th)

Ezekiel's vision of God's Glory leaving the temple (591 BC)
Ezekiel 10:18
(Chrono Bible Aug 16th)

Destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (586 BC)
2 Kings 25: 8 - 10, 2 Chron 36:17&19, Jer 39:8, Jer 52: 12 - 14
(Chrono Bible Aug 28th)

Ezekiel's vision of rebuilt temple, and restablished worship and service. (572 BC)
Ezekiel 40:1 - 47:12
(Chrono Bible Sept 5 - 6)

Preparation to rebuild house of the Lord begins (538 BC)
Ezra 1:5-6
(Chrono Bible Sept 23)

Jesus is greater than the temple (28 AD)
Matt 12:6
(Chron Bible Oct 25)

Jesus predicts destruction of temple (30AD)
Matt 24: 1-2
(Chrono Bible Nov 12)
(Jesus' prediction comes true when temple gets destroyed in 70AD)

Followers of Jesus are God's temple on earth.
1 Cor 3: 16-17 (written 55 AD) (Chrono Bible Nov 30)
1 Cor 6: 19-20 (written 55 AD) (Chrono Bible Dec 1)
2 Cor 6: 16 (written 56 AD) (Chrono Bible Dec 4)

The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are temple in Heaven/New Jerusalem
Rev 21:22
(Chrono Bible Dec 31)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The scripture that I connected with most from my reading today (Aug 30)...

Lamentations 3: 19-26
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

Why I like this scripture...

It must have been hard for Jeremiah to observe everything around him; the death of so many, and those who were left were starving, abused, dying... he wrote "My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within, my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city." (Lam 2, from Aug 29 reading)

And the only hope he held onto was that God loves His people and will have compassion on them. God will save them, His people need only to hope in Him, seek (pray to) Him, and wait quietly for Him.

Jeremiah was so faithful. I want to be like that...

In the difficult times in my life, when I am hurt or broken, or my faith is weak... I need to do that; hope in Him, pray to Him, and wait quietly for Him.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ezekiel's Wife

So today (for me August 21), God tells Ezekiel not to mourn for his wife. Wow that's tough. That'd be a hard one for me.

The reading the day before was also interesting. God tells Ezekiel what was happening back in Jerusalem, while Ezekiel is in Babylon.