The Bible 101 - Part 15
The Old Testament - A Beacon of Hope
Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.
Before we get going, I need to take a moment and say thank you for joining me in this journey through the Old Testament.
This series was placed on my heart last Fall. My initial excitement became procrastination when it came time to actually start writing. If you know me, you know procrastinating is not something I do.
Truth is, I was intimidated to write this. Doubts entered. I'm not a Bible scholar. I don't have a seminary degree. Rather, I'm the one who asks a lot of questions and likes to read children's books when I'm not understanding something. For these reasons and more, I don't have the expected background to write a series on the Old Testament.
But, I do have the heart for it.
As I thought about it more, it dawned on me maybe you don't want to hear from someone who thinks they have it all figured out. Usually that attitude lends itself well to an expensive textbook. And if we struggle to find time to read The Bible, then we for sure don't want to pick up a textbook about it.
The most humbling part of all of this is seeing how if God leads you to something, He helps you along the way and He makes it so much fun! I have had so much fun digging into the Word and writing about this book of God's crazy love for us. I hope and pray it has been meaningful to you, too.
After that Grease parody last week, I think CSV (Candace Standard Version) is only a matter of time before it really catches on.
I kid, I kid!
Guess what? We get to wrap up the Old Testament today!
Wow, just wow. Let that sink in. This is not easy. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Not everyone is, but YOU are! And I'm honored and so humbled to get to be here with you.
We're going to start off today a little sad, but hang in there with me. We'll end with a beacon of hope!
Lots of Lamenting in Lamentations
As the name suggests, this book laments, or mourns, the destruction of the temple.
Obadiah - Ohhh No You Did-n't!
Before "Ohhh no you did-n't!" was a thing, Obadiah was sayin' just that. He preached to the people of Edom. These were enemies of Judah who were genuinely excited to see it fall. Obadiah is the one to tell them they would be punished.
Fun fact - There were 2 brothers in Genesis who help us understand why there is division between Judah and Edom. One got the other's blessing in exchange for a bowl of soup... Yep! Jacob "Israel" and Esau. See how this whole story comes together as one, great big story?
Yay! We're getting it!
Nahum - Jonah Round 2, Kind of...
He's speaking to the same people Jonah spoke to 150 years before, the people of Nineveh (capital city of Assyria). There was revival after Jonah, and then they destroyed the Northern Kingdom, and then there were a series of conquests followed by the Hebrews in exile. After 70 years, Cyrus, the King of Persia, allows the Jews to build a temple in Jerusalem, so now we see some of the Jews return to Judah.
Ezekiel and Daniel - The 'iel's Have the Floor!
During the 70 years of exile, these two share their messages.
Zeke is the eccentric one, acting out his messages with dramatic illustrations like shaving his head and beard and digging through walls. WALLS! Eek, there goes Zeke again!
Daniel finds favor with King Nebuchadnezzar and requests 'Rach, 'Sach, and Benny have positions of authority as well. Yes, if you're picturing a fiery furnace, you're right on target. And if you're also picturing a lions' den, give yourself two gold stars!
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 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.” - Daniel 3:16-18
A faith that says "God is able and even if He doesn't, our faith will not waver." Oh, read the whole story, friend. You will not regret it.
Joel - Don't Skip!
Although no one is quite certain when he lived, he shares about a locust plague. On the surface, that sounds rough. I know what you're probably thinking, "Eh, skipppp." But it's one of my favorite promises in all of scripture,
I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. - Joel 2:25
Friend, if there is a season where you felt robbed, proclaim this promise over that area of your life and believe in full faith that if it's not good, God's not done. May He restore what was taken - ten, fifty, one hundred fold!
Haggai and Zechariah - Time to Get Busy!
These prophets spoke to the people once they had returned to the promised land. With Zerubbabel as their leader (539-529 B.C.), the first wave of people are chanting, "We're free! We're free!" while Haggai and Zech are urging them to get busy. They need to start rebuilding the temple that had been destroyed.
P.S. Zech also foretells about Jesus and even gives us specific details about his death - HUNDREDS OF YEARS before it happened.
Our God is just so cool!
Ezra and Nehemiah - Psych! This is More History!
These two are actually not prophets; they are part of the history of the Old Testament, which explains their placement.
Ezra leads the second wave back to the promised land (458 B.C.) and works to bring worship back to the temple.
Nehemiah leads the third wave (445 B.C.), and because the city was a mess, he is motivated to build the wall around Jerusalem. It's a big task, but he is focused and determined. Go 'head and dog ear this book. When you feel your priorities getting a little (or a lot-tle) out of whack, read the words God gave Nehemiah for the people.
Esther - For Such a Time as This
God uses a woman who is beautiful and bold and JEWISH to save His people.
Remember back to King Saul? Remember when he was instructed by God to defeat all of the Amalekites and he didn't do it? Well, God still remained faithful to His people and now we see Him use Esther to stand up the Persian King to save her people from genocide.
Malachi - We Will be Rescued!
Malachi is the last prophet of the Old Testament who shares a reassuring message of hope. The Jews have been back in their promised land now for 100 years. The temple is not as good as it once was but it is rebuilt and that is worth celebrating.
Revival has come, but as we often do, the people are getting comfortable with God again. That's when Malachi reminds the people, "We will be rescued. Be faithful to God's commands. God will rescue us!" (I paraphrase. You know this by now.) Malachi's are the last words we read in the Old Testament, the lighthouse guiding our path. And this, my friend, is no accident, considering we turn the page to the New Testament, where we read our rescue story.
Oh, dear friend, this journey through the Old Testament with you has been an honor. Like I said before I, myself, am no Bible scholar. I don't have a seminary degree and I don't know Greek or Latin. But, I do have a heart that wants to know more and understand more of God and His great, unconditional love for His people - for you and for me.
I pray our time together over these last few months has helped you knock down barriers which may have previously kept you from opening The Bible and or being engaged in biblical community.
Good news, we're not done. Not even close. The Savior is coming! But, like the 400 years of silence between the Old Testament and the New Testament, we're going to take a little break. I'll continue to share stories that encourage and inspire your heart to grow near to the heart of God, and I hope you'll join me again in the Fall as we dive into the New Testament, our rescue story, together.
May we find strength in the Word of God. May our joy for reading scripture grow as we intentionally choose to set aside time to spend reading it each day. May our peace overflow as the Word of God reads us and changes us from the inside out. Then, we will know rest this world can't give.
Remember how we said 5 minutes a day can change your day, your life and even your eternity? Well, here's what I'll be reading this week. I really hope you'll join me!
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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