Jeremiah 38-40, Psalm 74 and psalm 79

Chapter 38:

Zedekiah was a wimp.  He is swayed by whoever is talking to him at that moment. Four nobles or princes complained to Zedekiah that Jeremiah was weakening the morale of the soldiers and discouraging the people from resisting the enemy. They accused the prophet of desiring to harm the people, rather than seeking their well-being. Zedekiah was smart enough not to have a prophet’s blood on his hand and handed him over to the nobles.  Well, they were smart too and rather than kill him they lowered him into a cistern.  If he died down there, well they didn’t technically kill him. (Oh we can self-reflect on that!)

Beyond the Sunday School - A Bible Blog by Jacob Cherian: Jeremiah 38

 

Ebed-melech (a foreigner, a court official from Egypt)  informed the king that Jeremiah’s enemies had acted wickedly by putting him in the cistern. The prophet would die if he remained there because there was no more food in Jerusalem and he would be neglected. Zedekiah had previously promised to provide food for Jeremiah as long as there was food available (at the end of yesterday’s read), so Ebed-melech may have been appealing to this promise.  So, Zedekiah, had him taken out of the cistern.

Jeremiah tells Zedekiah: surrender to the Babylonians like the Lord commanded OR suffer the consequences that your whole family would suffer the consequence.  The fate of the nation landed on Zedekiah’s soldiers!  Zedekiah basically said “but won’t the people taken in the first wave of captivity talk behind my back!”


Chapter 39:  The Fall of Jerusalem.   We had to know how this was going to end becuase we looked at this chart about 100 times 😂, Zedekiah was the LAST priest before the captivity.

The Babylonians attacked Jerusalem JUST like the Lord warned because the people did not repent, King Zedekiah and his posse tried to outrun the Lord…

But the Babylonian army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. They captured him and took him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced sentence on him. There at Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes and also killed all the nobles of Judah. Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon.

So Judah falls to Nebuchadnezzar BUT those who listen to the Lord were separated!  Gives me such hope that when a Nation is disciplined, The Lord will sift us and protect us.  The Lord put a hand of protection on Jeremiah,  as well as,   Ebed-Melek the Cushite from the last chapter.❤

Did anyone stop to think about verse 10?

10 But Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard left behind in the land of Judah some of the poor people, who owned nothing; and at that time he gave them vineyards and fields.

🧡 I wonder if this was the land Jeremiah purchased from his cousin when he was in prison?!?!  How cool would that be.  Nebuzaradan freed the prophet from his shackles, and gave him the choice of going to Babylon as a free man or staying in Canaan. If he went to Babylon, the captain promised to take care of him there. If he chose to stay in Canaan, he could live and move about wherever he wished.


We need to just stop for a moment and look at the Lord in all this.  For hundreds of years, God has been so patient.  Even AT the Exile into Captivity, He protects those that listen to HIm.

old testament timeline for kids - Google Search | Bible timeline ...


Jaxon, I love when you ask clarity questions.  This was a lot, so did the end of chapter 40 confuse you with all the names and places?  If it did, here is your recap:

  • Gededlaih: Nebuchadnezzar appointed him to rule over Judea and look after the people left behind
  • Johana: One of the remaining princes of Judea
  • Ishmael: king of Ammon- enemy nation BUT he was from the line of David

Several of the Judean commanders, who had escaped from the Babylonian attack came to Gedaliah in Mizpah, a few miles north of Jerusalem. They came with some of their men, when they heard that Nebuchadnezzar had appointed Gedaliah over the region.  Gedaliah urged these commanders not to fear the Babylonians but to cooperate with them. If they remained in the land and submitted to Babylonian authority, things would go well for them. The Babylonians did not colonize Judah as the Assyrians had done with Israel. Jews that fled to foreign nations came back to the land now that they felt it was safe.

One of the remaining Judean princes, Johanan , asked Gedaliah, governor ruling Judah under Babylonian authority, if he was aware that the king of Ammon had encouraged another one of the Judean princes, Ishmael to assassinate him (he was from the Line of David so maybe he thought he deserved to be the next king?

Johanan offered to assassinate Ishmael secretly, so Gedaliah would not die, and harm would not come to the remnant community.

And the read ends with:

16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, “Don’t do such a thing! What you are saying about Ishmael is not true.”

TO BE CONTINUED!! Commercial Break!


Psalm 74 and 79- Reading this at any other time would have been confusing.  However, reading this Psalm after Jerusalem has been destroyed completely makes sense!  (It’s hard not to think of our current World News situation when you read it)

 

2 King 18:9-19:37, Psalms 46,80,35

FEEL FREE TO SKIP STRAIGHT TO THE PSALMS!!

We start with a flashback.  It took me a minute of flipping around the Bible thinking I messed up because “we just read this”.  It was trippy for a minute.  So this will be a cool recap:

  • The king of Assyria: Sennacherib attacked and deported the Northern tribes.
  • The king of Judah: Hezekiah feared Assyria- and paid them tribute so they didn’t get attacked
  • The Assyrian’s in a speech basically said “You might as well surrender, you can’t put your confidence in your God”
  • Hezekiah goes to the Temple to pray to the Lord about the situation (about time someone did)
  • Much is said about Jerusalem will be attacked BUT will be delivered
  • Isaiah prophesies about Sennacherib’s fall

Why is this happening?

11 The king of Assyria deported Israel to Assyria and settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in towns of the Medes. 12 This happened because they had not obeyed the Lord their God, but had violated his covenant—all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded. They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out.

Basically, the Lord is saying “I brought you into this land…I can take you out of this land!”

Assyrian & Babylonian Captivity & Exile of Israel & Judah Map

In chapter 39 why does is say:

34 I will defend this city and save it,
    for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.’”

Why does it say for the sake of David? (put in comments)

Also, underline this in your Bible:

:30 Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah
    will take root below and bear fruit above.
31 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant,
    and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors.

  • Assyria will attack Israel.  They will be no more.
  • Babylon will attack Judah.  But a remnant will survive and return.  WHY?

(It is related to the above question.  If you are not sure take a guess.  If you need a hint let me know). This is good stuff!


Psalms!!!!  Oh I need a Psalm!!

Click here for Psalm 46

When I read “familiar” Scriptures in context, it always freaks me out! (In a good way)  When we read “Be Still” it is not when you are at a “thinking point” it is when you are under attack from Assyria and you run to the Temple to put it before the Lord.  You can’t hear him if you are not still!  ( trust me, I try it all the time)

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.

10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”


Click here for Psalm 80

It makes sense.  What do you do in time of trouble?? Call out to the Lord!

Click here for Psalm 35

Isaiah 37-39 and Psalm 76

Continuation from yesterday….

So when Hezekiah (The king of Judah) received the message…what did he do??  Prayed to the Lord!

Hezekiah’s Prayer

14 Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16 Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 17 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.18 “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. 19 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 20 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God.”

It’s been a long time since God received the glory!

The Lord states that Sennacherib would fall and gives Hezekiah a sign to assure him that God would indeed do what he had said. The Lord would preserve a people for Himself from among Jerusalem. This would include the Davidic line of kings, as He had promised (2 Sam. 7:16)  The Lord promised Hezekiah that Sennacherib would not conquer Jerusalem, let alone attack it.

The Lord will defend Jerusalem and preserve it.  Hezekiah was rewarded for his Faith.  However, you have to remember the BIG picture:  The Lord promised an everlasting dynasty to bring a Messiah.

35 “I will defend this city and save it,
for my sake and for the sake of David my servant!”

So there was definitely no confusion about “whose” victory it was…

36 Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! 


Chapter 38 -I hope you don’t mind me sticking with all the TV analogies and it’s not confusing.  But when we get to chapter 38 think of it like this:  We just finished the above and you realize that you must have missed something 30 minutes ago (I am assuming you were looking in the kitchen for a snack)  So even though you know how the show ends you rewind the show ‘just in case” you missed something good.

And thank heavens you did rewind it or you would have missed that Hezekiah almost died earlier in the show,  but God gave him another 15 years.  The sign that this would occur was setting the shadow back 10 steps from the sun (The Sun didn’t move, just the shadow).   The shadow on the steps was used to determine the “time of day” (like a sundial)…he was setting it back.

台阶步库存图片. 图片包括有拱道, 抽象, 影子, 线路, 台阶, 操作的, 对 ...

Don’t miss the song Hezekiah wrote following this.  It’s amazing.  I had cut and pasted my favorite part BUT I deleted it…I would rather you do that in the comments.


CHAPTER 39—YOU MADE IT!!

In the overview I talked about how this book is set up JUST LIKE THE BIBLE.  So today is the equivalency of finishing the Old Testament.

NEW KEY WORD:  BABYLON!!  This is a  short chapter BUT HUGE!!! The 3 world powers were: Assyria, Egypt, and Babylon.  Sooooo the son of the Babylonian king comes over to check out what is going on with the little city called Jerusalem because they were probably in shock that Assyria fell to them.  I like to think Hezekiah was not bragging on His riches BUT what the Lord has provided:

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord Almighty: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”

“The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.”


To Be Continued….In the meantime read Psalm 76

In this psalm of declarative praise, Asaph praised God for His power. He had destroyed the wicked and delivered the godly. Therefore the leaders of His people should follow Him faithfully.

2 Kings 18:1-8 (only) and 2 Chronicles 29-31 and Psalm 48

Click here to read *yes some of this may seem ‘skimmable’ BUT it’s good.

THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE READS TODAY!  I hung on every word.  Two reasons:

  1. I get to take so many details and see if they ‘make sense to the whole story.  I truly think you are going to read this and realize you have absorbed a lot more than you thought.
  2. This read is not about Hezekiah.  It is about God’s Mercy, Grace, Patience, Love, and Forgiveness!!

OK…I am pumped!  Read 2 kings the first 8 verses only.   Hezekiah King of Judah.  (refresh: The nation that has the Davidic Covenant, the nation that will be exiled BUT a remnant of people will survive, the nation that every once in a while has a good King).

I am Team Hezekiah!!

He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.)

Nehushtan - Sunset Church of Christ in Springfield MO

I could make a sermon out of this!  What God made for good, man made evil.  Anything that we worship, even in the “Church world” is idolatry.    (You can skip this part if you remember the story)

On March 4th (that was 136 days ago!)

Numbers 22

They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea,[c] to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

Why is Jesus compared to a snake in the book of John? — Hope Radio KCMI 97.1 | Cross Times Newspaper | Cross Reference Library

Well, who has John 3:16 memorized besides Tim Tebow?  Well, what is the scripture JUST before it??

14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

The Crucifiction of Jesus and the Nehushtan (serpent staff of ...

What was a beautiful foreshadow of healing through FAITH became an act of idolatrous worship.  And YES every time I see an ambulance I am reminded to PRAY for Healing through my Faith (even though the symbol is from Greek mythology, Asclepius, the god of medicine and healing)

Free Stock photo of Ambulance showing the snake and staff ...

Sorry, I fell down a rabbit hole on that.


2 Chronicles 29- Same story…a lot more words.  Why?  Who wrote it?  (Yes I know God wrote it silly) I mean who did God use to write it?  Ezra.  Ezra was a priest, and the Chronicles were written for the remnant people that return after the captivity to rebuild the Temple.(you knew that)  So if we are in a ‘good’ period Ezra will want to write MORE so the Israelites feel encouraged when they read this.  (It’s like reading the American History Books…only the good stuff is in there 😂). When you read it, you will definitely see that a Priest wrote it.  Lots of sacrifices…Geneology…musicians…temple….etc.

So look for all the beautiful details in this chapter:

(Trivia: Which Levite family was the High Priest from?)-put in comments.

Focus 1Tabernacle #2 Polson. The Tabernacle is the most complete ...

  • 10 Now I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. 
    • What is needed for a “covenant”?  The shedding of blood.  The New Testament Covenant is the shedding of Jesus’ blood,
  • The king commanded the priests, the descendants of Aaron, to offer these on the altar of the Lord.

So the service of the temple of the Lord was reestablished. 36 Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for his people because it was done so quickly.


Chapter 30.-The Passover.

It feels like we have read 1000 names in the Bible.  Who are the 12 tribes again?  Who are the enemies?  Who are the Kings?.  When you read the Passover and who is being invited to celebrate God’s deliverance from Egypt, here is a reminder of who The Tribes of Israel are:

The 12 Sons of Jacob vs. The 12 Tribes of Israel | Bible Fun For Kids

18 Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone 19 who sets their heart on seeking God—the Lord, the God of their ancestors—even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.” 20 And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. ❤️❤️❤️


chapter 31-  Read the ABOVE IN BLUE and then read this.  I could write a book on this topic (I won’t, I promise).  I actually started writing quite a bit BUT it may have translated wrong (my biggest fear) so I deleted it.

When all this had ended, the Israelites who were there went out to the towns of Judah, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. They destroyed the high places and the altars throughout Judah and Benjamin and in Ephraim and Manasseh. After they had destroyed all of them, the Israelites returned to their own towns and to their own property.

The chapter ends with:

20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. 21 In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.

Can 1 person make a difference??


Finally, the Sons of Kora write this to be sung in the Temple:  Click here for Psalm 48.Psalm 48


Follow this chart:  sad days are coming.  The apple falls far from the tree!!

Obadiah and Psalm 82-83

Edom was a well-established nation way before the Israelites were.  The Edomites denied them a passage route in Numbers, however, the two nations co-existed for a long time, even during the reign of Saul.  David battled with them and defeated them (God defeated them) in 2 Samuel 8 but they grew to a large nation again.  The other day I said I skimmed over a passage but we would come back to it: 2 Chronicles 8:

In the time of Jehoram, Edom rebelled against Judah and set up its own king. So Jehoram went there with his officers and all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he rose up and broke through by night. 10 To this day Edom has been in rebellion against Judah.

V.1-4 helps give us the imagery of Edom.  They were prideful in their settlement because they sat above any enemies.  Anyone who attacked them did not stand a chance.  (except the Lord!)

Petra

v.5-9 describes the judgment compared to robbers or grape pickers.  Both took what they could carry or wanted.  However,  God’s judgment will look different on Edom: It will be ransacked!! (Esau and Edom are used interchangeably in the read.)

v.10-14 is the “why”.  Note that the indictment is harsh because their sins were committed against their “brother”-Jacob is Israel.

v.15-21-A universal judgment is given and this can also be viewed as “futuristic” for end times as well.

An eye for an eye….you reap what you sow….but it can all go back to the covenant with Abraham too:(Genesis 12:3)

I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;

So read this in the context it was written referring to Edom, however, once I knew this book was about God bringing justice on a nation that thought they were untouchable, filled with Pride, and did not follow the laws of the Lord, I read it as it will be applied TODAY on current countries.

“The day of the Lord is near
for all nations.
As you have done, it will be done to you;
your deeds will return upon your own head.


Psalm 82-83

Psalm 82-if you read it once you may need to re-read it after this.  In Psalm 82 God refers to the people on earth that have been set in a position to judge as ‘gods’.  Those officials who on earth are here to not pervert justice and be the law keepers according to God’s scriptures.  In the Gospel, as the Jews are unjustly accusing Jesus in John 10, and pervert justice to have Jesus stoned he QUOTES THIS PSALM!

3Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 


Psalm 83-

Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord
    that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

Psalm 134, 146, 147, 148, 149, and 150

Psalm 134-Now that the Temple is dedicated, this is a Psalm for the Priests. Priests were on duty 24 hours a day at the temple. They served as guards, and they also offered sacrifices and carried out other functions during the daylight hours. The psalmist called on them to praise God even at night.

Click here for a song 🎶


Psalm 146

Psalms 146—150 are the last Hallel (‘praise’) collection.  These psalms were used at some point as a part of the daily prayers in the synagogue worship. They all start and end with the same verse “Praise the Lord” (“Hallelujah!”).

Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.

We as humans need to depend and trust on other men, we should avoid the temptation to trust in human beings entirely or even primarily. God is worthy of our absolute trust.


Psalm 147- I think songwriters just sit in the Psalms all day!  When I read them I can’t help but think of songs:

He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.

Here is the song in my head…Click here 🎶


Psalm 148- “Praise” appears 13 times in the 14 verses of this psalm. This psalm combines the themes of wisdom, creation, and praise.

The whole creation should praise God because He is the Creator of all. The “horn” God raised up—is Jesus Christ, the descendant of David. Follow this psalm through Genesis 1. You will see it 😁

Genesis 1:1 BDC: Is the earth only 6,000 to 10,000 years old? Are ...


Psalm 149-This psalm is a reminder, to us who are believers, that praising God does not just involve praising Him with our lips. It must also include obeying Him with our lives.  Every time I see “New Song”, this song goes through my head.

Click here.  🎶


150- The conclusion of the Praise Psalms!

Which verse in 150 did you underline (physically or in our head if you read electronically).

 

2 Chronicles 6-7 and Psalm 136

Very similar to the read from yesterday so I will keep this brief.  Solomon’s prayer is one of the most important prayers in the Old Testament.  In his prayer, Solomon explained the significance of God coming to dwell in His temple. God had come to empower, to have fellowship, and to judge, if necessary.  God was present among His people, and He would hear their prayers when they obediently called out to Him.

Solomon specified seven specific situations in which he asked the Lord to intervene in answer to prayer.

  1. when the people swore an oath in the temple (v. 22-23)
  2. suffered defeat and exile from an enemy (v. 24-25)
  3. lacked rain (v. 26-27)
  4. when they experienced disease or other disasters (v. 28-31)
  5. when foreigners would come to pray toward the temple (v. 32-33)
  6. when Israel was at war (v. 34-35)
  7. when Israel was in captivity due to sin (v. 36-39).

How is this applicable today?  Dear Lord…Please intervene when…

  1. when we make an oath in church(v. 22-23)
  2. suffered defeat from an enemy (v. 24-25)
  3. lacked rain (needs) (v. 26-27)
  4. when we experience disease or other disasters (v. 28-31)
  5. when lost people come to pray for you (v. 32-33)
  6. when we are at war (v. 34-35)
  7. when America will be defeated by our enemeies due to sin (v. 36-39).

The biggest difference between the 2 prayers is the insert from Psalm 132 into the prayer:

40 “Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

41 “Now arise, Lord God, and come to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might.
May your priests, Lord God, be clothed with salvation,
may your faithful people rejoice in your goodness.
42 Lord God, do not reject your anointed one.
Remember the great love promised to David your servant.”


You know me by now, I see the “If” and I KNOW this can’t be good!!!

Chapter 7 ends with:

19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’”

Listen, if I get started on this topic, this post will be longer than the Bible.  If this is your first time reading- SPOILER ALERT- It WILL happen.


Don’t forget to read the Psalm, if I hadn’t posted the song yesterday…I would have totally posted it today.

His love endures forever.

Mercy, or loyal love, is one of the most prominent attributes of God’s character. By His very nature, He shows unstoppable, limitless, everlasting mercy, even to those who don’t deserve it.

“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy” (Micah 7:18).

Proverbs 16-18

 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24

I was reminded last night that Solomon asked for 1 thing = Wisdom (1 Kings 3).  What would you have asked for? I am going to be real:  I would ask for a self-cleaning house, a chef, an unlimited ATM card, or for my children to live long happy lives.  BUT God wants us to live life abundantly!  You are at a crossroads…choose 1:

  • Read or listen to today’s reading, check it off your list, go about your day
  • Pray, think about what you are reading….this is the WISDOM.  Read them, take some notes so that you can APPLY them.  The scripture says it will straighten your path!!

Each year I do a read-through,  I read in a new Bible so that I am not distracted by what God might have said to me previously.  After I read today, it was fun to take out old Bibles to see what I underlined.  Some are similar (too good not to underline them) BUT some were very different.  It was also a great time of reflection to see if I am actually applying God’s word or just underlinining.

 

Proverbs 4-6

  • Click here to read
  • Click here to listen
  • This read is not long, but it will take some to get through (if you are seeking Wisdom).  A lot to think about.  So brew some coffee.  Get a Bible and a pencil.  Lots to underline.

Proverbs 4 is a “speech” from a father to sons.  Men/boys are more visual learners so this text is written so that the learner could picture Lady Wisdom,  and the blessings of holding on to her:  “watch over you”, “protect you”, “give you a garland and a glorious crown”.  However,   the strongest imagery is the two paths.

Yesterday Solomon compared light verse dark.  In 2021,  we do not relate to that like people in Solomon’s time.  Even if we are driving down a dark county road we have headlights on our cars.  If we are walking the dog on a New Moon night, we have our cellphone screen to see our feet.  Solomon’s sons would understand the darkness.  Now compound darkness with a crooked path.

Scary Forest Wallpaper | Dark wood background, Forest background ...

Imagine sending your child into the night to find their way safely?  Do you want them on a well-lit-straight path? Or a dark crooked path?  We know that on either path life will happen, trouble will be before us. But Wisdom selects our path.  What’s the solution: Verse 7

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

How do we get wisdom? Proverbs 2:4 says:

and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.

Where do we begin? Proverbs 1:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

This just might be my new favorite chapter in the Bible.  (I laugh because I say that in my head several times a week).

Take a minute (it is worth it).  Think of the straight path and the crooked path.  Can you picture them?  Now click here and read the Proverb again.


Chapter 5 talks about sexual immorality.  Even though Wisdom is from God, it may come through a long experience of “not holding on to that Wisdom”.  Solomon,  of all people, would understand the seduction of another woman, it was his ‘Achille’s heel’ after all.  Chapter 5 is a Proverb of warning, not from a hypocrite, but from someone who experienced it.

We all have a “past” in something.  If we repent from the past and truly have God’s words in our hearts, are walking on a straight path, God can give you wisdom.


YIKES!!

Chapter 6The title in my Bible says: Warning against Folly.  Folly is foolish.

Verses 1-5 Solomon writes about being responsible with our resources.  Taking on other’s debts-generosity verse good stewardship.  I like to say “enabling others”.  We think about the downside of enabling others, without God’s view of how that foolishness is an unwise decision in our own life.

Verses 6-11 talk about the Sluggard (Sounds like a word Willy Wonka would use).  A sluggard is a lazy person.  “I don’t have time for that” is a phrase I hear (or use myself).  Just because we are busy doesn’t mean we aren’t a sluggard.  What are we busy with?  What are we lazy with? 

Verses 12-15 One verse stood out for me more than the rest:

who plots evil with deceit in his heart—
    he always stirs up conflict.

In my head, I read it as a “pot stirrer”.  God is talking to each of us about (verse 12)-a corrupt mouth-pot stirring.   Self-reflect if you are really seeking Wisdom.

Verses 16-19- other practices of foolishness- attitude, thoughts, speech, actions,  and influence.


There are 6 things the Lord hates and 1 is detestable.  STOP everything and meditate on these for the day.  If the Lord hates it we need to pray that we will hate it too.

Notice the sequence analyzes our bodies from the head down to our toes in the first 5, then the last 2 are the actions:

16 There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19         a false witness who pours out lies
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

  1. Haughty Eyes (arrogance and pride)
  2. Lying Tongue
  3. Hands that shed innocent blood
  4. A heart that devises wicked schemes (does not say they are carried out…ever think of them though)
  5. Feet that are quick to rush into evil
  6. A false witness who pours out lies (Gossip)
  7. A man who stirs up dissension among brothers (pot stirrer)

Ouch!


If Wisdom is the woman God gives you to hold onto, the wayward woman would be the woman the world tells you to hold on to.

25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
    or let her captivate you with her eyes.

The world will do that, so go back to Proverbs 4:4

    “Take hold of my words with all your heart;
    keep my commands, and you will live.
Get wisdom, get understanding;
    do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
    love her, and she will watch over you.

Proverbs 1-3

Proverbs 1:1-7

My Bible calls this first section the purpose and theme, I think of it as a mission statement.

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

for gaining wisdom and instruction;
    for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
    doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,
    knowledge and discretion to the young

let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance
for understanding proverbs and parables,
    the sayings and riddles of the wise.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

  • “Fear of the Lord” is used 50 times in the Bible,  18 of them will be in the Book of Proverbs.

V. 7- This phrase does not mean to cower in terror or to feel a threat.  To fear the Lord means to respect-absolute reverence for someone.  It is the same word used in places of the BIble to explain the respect children should have for their parents.  Here is a phrase I read recently “Fear of the Lord is Reverential AWE that produces humble submission to a loving God based on a relationship, not repercussion.”

The scripture says this is the beginning.  The beginning is the foundation on which all instruction will be placed.  So before you read any further take a moment to reflect on your view of where you acquire knowledge?

  • V: 8-9 is an introductory call to pay attention to those instructions and the benefits of doing so
  • V:10-14 is the warning against yielding or ignoring these instructions
  • v 15-19 discusses the reason for doing so.

Starting in verse 20 you will see Wisdom is personified: it is given a feminine pronoun.  She seeks to rescue us from our errors.  When we ignore her, we will face consequences therefore by verse 28, we will call out for help.  The phrase that hit me was 31: “They will eat the fruit of their ways…but in 33 it says “but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease without fear of harm”(PEACE).  I want the latter!


Chapter 2– starts off strong!

  1. ACCEPT these words,
  2. then HEAR these words,
  3. then APPLY these words.

So if you TRULY want wisdom, you will have to dig into these Proverbs:

verse 4:

and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,
 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.

Here is a kick in the stomach: The time and effort I put in looking for my phone when I can’t find it is greater than the effort I put into seeking God’s wisdom when I can’t hear it.  Ouch!  (btw, the other day I spent 30 minutes looking for my phone, finally, I said “mom, I am going to have to call you back, I can’t find my phone). If you get it…then you understand my life!

The ultimate source of Wisdom is found in the hidden treasure:

For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

In verse 16 we are introduced to the other female- “the adulterous woman”.  She represents what we “want” not need.  This woman will tempt us but through God’s wisdom, we can resist giving in to sin. (we will talk about that in more detail in upcoming chapters)

Verse 20-22 gives the example of living in the land which we can now look back on historically and understand the correlation.  When the Israelites followed God’s commands they had Peace in the land when they strayed from his commands they fell into their own consequences.


Chapter 3:

  • Verse 1-4  again talks about the advantages of holding on to God’s wisdom.
  • Verse 5- I am betting many of you underlined this familiar scripture:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Wisdom is more profitable than silver, rubies, and gold.

Pile of gemstones | Semi precious gems, Gems for sale, Gems

The chapter ends with “do not” phrases. What not to neglect and what not to engage in.

Ok, if we don’t do a read-through in 2022 THEN we have to at least come back to Proverbs, that was AWESOME!!  I underlined almost every word!