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Showing posts from April, 2019

April 30 + Daily readings & notes

DAY 120 DAILY READINGSIsaiah 45-48 & Psalm 119:33-64


Cyrus does not know it, but he will be an instrument of the Lord.  He is the founder/leader of the Persian Empire.  "Cyrus is the only non-Israelite designated in the OT as God's anointed (messiah), a term usually reserved for Israel's kings or high priests."What a message!  God says that it was never his intention for his people to live in chaos.  Did God ever say, "Seek me in chaos" (vs19)?  No!  Another way it's thought God asks the question is: I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, "Seek me in vain." Isaiah 46 Idols are made need to be carried.  God does not.  God says, "I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save." Isaiah 47 Babylon is illustrated as a princess who has been stripped of all things.  She was once a princess, but now she stands in disgrace.The reason Babylon is punished by God is because they showed Israel "no mercy&qu…

April 29 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 119 We are taking 6 days to read Psalm 119.  Yes, it has that many verses!  If you want to know how to read the Bible, take in all the words of Psalm 119.  It's not about reading for reading's sake.  It's about pursuing the heart of God.

Today's Bible Project video talks about the way Jesus announced and spreads the news of God's kingdom.

DAILY READINGS Isaiah 42-44 & Psalm 119:1-32
A servant of God is announced.  This chosen one of God will have God's spirit and bring justice to the world.  This is one of several "servant songs" written in Isaiah.His arrival is a part of God's redemption plan.A hymn of praise springs forth as a result.  God's redemption comes even though Israel has been disobedient. Isaiah 43 God promises that the people who have been scattered will return.What about those taken by Assyria?This new thing of God will take the place of the suffering and punishment the people have endured.  According…

April 28 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 118 Now that we've been reading through Isaiah and have seen the circumstances the prophet addresses, it helps put into perspective why the church has used some of these passages to point to Christ.  Think about what it means for us to read Isaiah 40 at Christmastime, for example.  
Watch today's Bible Project video that illustrates the second part of Isaiah's book.

DAILY READINGS Isaiah 39-41 & Psalm 118


The king of Babylon sends representatives to wish Hezekiah well after his illness.  This seems like a nice gesture, but may be a first attempt to get Hezekiah to side with them.Notice how quickly Hezekiah shows off the nation's treasures.  "There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them."  Why was he so giddy?  Was he worried?  Isaiah sees this as a sign of a future domination by Babylon.The first part of Isaiah dealt with Assyria.  This chapter seems to take a turn toward Babylon. Isaiah 40 You…

April 27 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 117 You'll find today's reading probably are easier to read than some of what we've read lately.  These chapters outline a few stories of Hezekiah and Isaiah.  You'll probably feel like you've read some of it before. DAILY READINGSIsaiah 36-38 & Psalm 117


The Assyrian king takes captive cities of Judah and sets his eyes on Jerusalem.  This could be a fulfillment of what was spoken in Isaiah 7:16-17.Rabshakeh is a title, not just a name.  He is the commanding officer.Interestingly, the Rabshakeh says the same thing God would say.  The Lord didn't want Israel to join with Egypt because they would trust them more than they would trust God.  The Rabshakeh tries to intimidate the soldiers by speaking their language, but they have already been instructed not to answer anything. Isaiah 37 Hezekiah turns to Isaiah so that he would "lift up a prayer for the remnant that is left."Isaiah assures him that God is still controlling this…

April 26 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 116
DAILY READINGSIsaiah 31-35 & Psalm 116


Notice the imagery the prophet uses to describe God.  The people have trusted the alliances they have made with Egypt. Isaiah 32 A future king will rule over the people.  The king will rule in righteousness and the kingdom will do likewise.   Isaiah 33 God again assures the people that they will be restored. Isaiah 34-35 The prophecies deal with the time after the exile.   Psalm 116 The psalmist was "brought low" and God saved him.The psalm points to an illness the psalmist endured that God delivered him from.The outcome is healing and thankful praise.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS "The Egyptians are human, and not God."  Of course.  We know that.  We know that we are not God.

What happens, though, is that we put too much trust in ourselves and/or other people.  We give others or ourselves the place God should have in our decision making.  In other words, even though we know we're not God, we sure start a…

April 25 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 115 DAILY READINGSIsaiah 28-30 & Psalm 115


The people had trusted in themselves. God assures them he has "one who is mighty and strong."  It's been said that God has a mighty wind that will bring destruction to the people.The Church has found in this chapter (Verse 16) a messianic prophecy that points to Jesus. Isaiah 29 How low will Jerusalem be brought down?  Verse 4 says their voice will come "deep from the earth," and "from the ground like the voice of a ghost."Verses 9-10 remind me of what God told Isaiah to do back in Chapter 6. Isaiah 30 The people had planned to align themselves with Egypt.  They were confident in the protection and aid Pharaoh would give them.  Of course, to turn to Pharaoh meant to turn their back on God.  Not only did they turn from God, the people wanted to make sure the prophets weren't speaking what God told them.  They wanted to hear "smooth things," or flattery.Still, God promi…

April 24 + Daily readings & notes

DAY 114
DAILY READINGS Isaiah 23-27 & Psalm 114


A judgement against Tyre Isaiah 24 The whole earth is called to judgement.  Verse 5 tells us why.Notice why Isaiah is upset in Verse 16. Isaiah 25 Another hymn/psalm of praise.  God will deliver his people. Isaiah 26 This is the song of Judah that will be sung "on that day."  "On that day" is a common phrase in Isaiah.  You should have noticed how important that day, when God executes judgement, is.There will be victory and a song because God is just. Isaiah 27 What a great chapter.  There are a couple of images that we have already seen in Isaiah to illustrate the people.  In Chapter 27 those images still illustrate Israel but in a different way.  Can you name them? Psalm 114 A call back to the exodus and when the people crossed the Jordan River.  Notice the earth's participation.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS Faith in God requires waiting.  There's a reminder of that in Judah's song of victory …

April 23 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 113 There's a lot of politics involved in today's readings.  Consequently, it can be hard to understand everything that's happening or make all the connections to the nations that are mentioned.  Just remember that we're hearing a prophetic voice in the midst of those circumstances.
DAILY READINGSIsaiah 18-22 & Psalm 113


Ethiopia is going to bless Israel with gifts. Isaiah 19 God has judgement for Egypt.  Later, Egypt, Assyria and Israel will be a 3-fold blessing. Isaiah 20 Don't worry!  You'll never have to worry about this happening at our church. Isaiah 21 God denounces 3 foreign nations. Isaiah 22 Instead of mourning their sins as God told them to do, the people of Israel celebrated victory.  So, God gives them a warning of destruction. Psalm 113 A psalm about God's willingness to help those who are in need.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS We're all mature adults.  So, let's not freak out too much about the naked prophet.

Ok.  I'…

April 22 & Daily notes & readings

DAY 112 Today, we're reading a part of Isaiah that centers on oracles against some of the foreign nations.  You'll notice how they are spoken against because of their pride and arrogance.  As we've already seen before, they are used as weapons of God, but will endure judgement, too.

DAILY READINGSIsaiah 13-17 & Psalm 112


I've read "oracle" translated as burden and or harsh prophecy.  That puts these words into great perspectiveBabylon will face the the day of the Lord's judgement as well.  It will mean destruction for the nation. Isaiah 14 Judah will be restored.  Not only will they live in peace, but they will have dominion over those who ruled them.God gives them a "taunt," also translated as a proverb or parable, to use against Babylon.  A spiritual nana-nana-boo-boo? Isaiah 15 There is an oracle spoken against Moab.Notice the  sense of compassion in Verse 5.  Does this mean the prophet/God does not look forward to doi…

April 21 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 111 You're probably going to recognize some of today's readings.  Some of these are used during Christmas time to anticipate Christ as the coming king.  We know what that means for us.  Think what it might have meant to the people first hearing from Isaiah.

April 20 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 110 You didn't know the prophet Isaiah could sing, did you? DAILY READINGSIsaiah 5-8 & Psalm 110


Isaiah sings a song for his friend's (beloved) vineyard.  Notice that the vineyard was on a "very fertile hill."  It should have been fruitful.  His friend expected it to yield grapes, but it did not.Isaiah says that the people of God are like that vineyard.  God expected something from them, but saw something else.Notice the expectation of justice that is highlighted in Verse 8, and how justice and righteousness relates to God in Verse 16.Consequently, God will give a signal to foreign countries to lay waste to Israel. Isaiah 6 Isaiah's vision of God.  Notice the details about the vision.  My favorite part of this chapter is after Isaiah says, "Here I am; send me!"  Pay attention to what God tells Isaiah to say. Isaiah 7 Isaiah assures Ahaz. The chapter outlines the birth of a child, Immanuel, as a sign; God gave the sign himself …

April 19 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 109 You'll notice that we are skipping around a bit in our reading.  1 Chronicles would be next, but we're actually finishing the Old Testament with that book.  So, today, we're starting with the book of Isaiah.  You'll notice some familiar themes, names and occurrences--that's part of why we're reading the prophet now.

Here's today's Bible Project video to help illustrate the content of Isaiah 1-39:

DAILY READINGSIsaiah 1-4 & Psalm 109

DAILY NOTES Isaiah 1 God condemns the people of Judah.  God also says that he has no joy in the people's offerings (worship?).  Notice what he wishes they would do instead.And always notice the sign of hope! Isaiah 2 Jerusalem will be built as a city that nations recognized as blessed.   Isaiah 3-4 Notice how so much is what would be considered backwards, or not the way it was intended to be.  Still, by the end of Chapter 4, there is a promise that the "branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious...…

April 18 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 108 We're finishing 2 Kings today.  Much like we've seen with other books, there is no happy ending.  Although, can you spot the sign of hope at the very end?

DAILY READINGS2 Kings 23-25 & Psalm 108

DAILY NOTES 2 Kings 23 This chapter outlines all of King Josiah's reformation.  Notice the amount of work he did to eradicate the false worship of the people.  There's also a remind of 1 Kings 13, when Josiah asks about the grave of the prophet.  For the first time since the judges, Passover is observed by the people.  I'm curious what their thoughts were when they did that.  According to the writer, God's wrath did not turn away.  That is a set up for how the book will end. 2 Kings 25 In 2 Kings 24, there is a first exile of the people of Jerusalem.  This second deportation is the final one that leaves Judah in complete exile.   Psalm 108 Imagine being so filled with awe and wonder, thanksgiving and praise that you couldn't help but sing/shout to God.  Th…

April 17 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 107 We're reading about 4 kings today.  Two good ones. Two evil ones.   DAILY READINGS2 Kings 20-22 & Psalm 107

DAILY NOTES 2 Kings 20

Hezekiah's illness and the visit from the Babylon representatives are thought to be out of chronological place.  Notice that Isaiah wants nothing to do with Babylon (really with any foreign nation).  Of course, Babylon's force will come into play later as they fulfill what Isaiah predicts.We assume, because of Verse 19, that Hezekiah thought dealing with Babylon was a good idea because it spurred trade and peace.If you're familiar with Hezekiah's tunnel, we read a little more about that later in Chronicles. 2 Kings 21 Another two kings do did evil in the sight of the Lord.   2 Kings 22 Josiah becomes king and discovers the book of the law.  Rabbinic tradition says that Ahaz burned the Torah, but this scroll was hidden under a rock and, therefore, saved.  It's also been suggested that Hilkiah wrote the scroll and "conv…

April 16 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 106 The threat of the Assyrian king is real.  Hezekiah has already seen it played out in Israel.  Who could blame him for feeling scared and worried?  
DAILY READINGS2 Kings 18-19 & Psalm 106

DAILY NOTES 2 Kings 18

Hezekiah takes reign over Judah.  He "did what was right in the sight of the Lord."  Notice his actions; we typically refer to them as Hezekiah's reforms.  He finally cuts down the sacred pole and, among other things, the bronze serpent that Moses created.The bronze serpent had become something the people began to worship.It even has a name!  Nehushtan means a "thing of brass."  It's also been called a "trifling thing of brass." Verses 9-12 review what happened at the end of Chapter 17.  Israel is taken captive and the people are taken away to Assyria.  The Assyrian king takes Judah captive and threatens Hezekiah as well. 2 Kings 19 Hezekiah is fearful about what the Assyrian king will do.  Hezekiah goes to the prophet Isaiah for…

April 14 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 104 DAILY READINGS2 Kings 12-14 & Psalm 104
DAILY NOTES 2 Kings 12

Did it take 23 years (Verse 6) to realize that the temple wasn't being repaired?  No one called a trustee meeting? 2 Kings 13 We aren't told what illness Elisha had.  He has been a prophet for about 50 years!  Remember him praying for that double portion of Elijah's spirit?  Even as he is dying, he keeps maintains his prophetic role--his power is felt even after he is dead!When the king came and wept before Elisha, he said the same thing that Elisha said when Elijah went up in the whirlwind.  Something to reflect upon? 2 Kings 14 Kind of feels like some kings just want to keep fighting, right? Psalm 104 God is the God of all Creation.  God even plays with the sea monsters (Verse 26)--God's rubber ducky?  Because of God's care for us and all Creation, God is worthy of praise.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS Those pesky poles!
Have you noticed that even when a king comes along and does good, those poles still…

April 13 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 103 After we hear again from the mother of the child who Elisha raised from the dead (Chapter 4), most of the rest of today's readings deal with the succession of kings.  You know how peaceably that always works out 😏
DAILY READINGS2 Kings 8-11 & Psalm 103
DAILY NOTES 2 Kings 8:4 The king is talking with Gehazi.  Didn't Gehazi get leprosy?  Aren't lepers shunned?  And is this the same king that was ready to kill Elisha back in Chapter 6? 2 Kings 9 Here's an interesting bit of commentary I found: "The death of Jezebel brings to an end the influence of the most powerful woman in the history of the Northern Kingdom." 2 Kings 10 (death chapter?)
2 Kings 11 There's been a lot of revolt and death within the kingdoms.  It seems that the end of Chapter 11 describes a time when that tension has dwindled and brought about a time when the influence of Baal is being eradicated. Psalm 103 A psalm of thanksgiving.  The psalm not only mentions things that God has …

April 12 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 102 Elisha asked Elijah for a double portion of his spirit.  In today's reading, we're seeing how some of that is played out in Elisha's role as prophet. DAILY READINGS2 Kings 4-7 & Psalm 102
DAILY NOTES 2 Kings 4:1-7 It's been said this was Obadiah's wife.  It doesn't if the husband had just died or not, but how long would a creditor have waited to collect?Elisha doesn't tell the woman to pour oil, but it is understood.  We aren't told she is pouring oil; only that she is pouring.  It isn't until she's done that we're told "the oil stopped flowing."  The miracle is that the oil is multiplied; she will still have to do the work of selling. 2 Kings 4:8-37 The next part of the chapter centers on Elisha raising a child from death.  The child was born to a woman who had helped Elisha--she made sure he had a parsonage (What a great Methodist!).  Since we're told her husband was old, does that mean she was younger?  Because of…

April 11 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 101 The great prophet Elijah leaves the scene (He'll appear again later.  Do you remember where?).  Elisha takes his place and immediately begins to act as prophet among the people.  

DAILY READINGS2 Kings 1-3 & Psalm 101

King Ahaziah is injured and he wants to know if he'll live.  He seeks input from the prophets of Baal-zebub.  Elijah finds out and interrupts Ahaziah's men from going to the prophets.  Notice that Elijah, that hairy man, is divinely protected by the captain and his men.  Ahazia never hears from the prophets.  Elijah speaks directly to him to tell him that he will surely die. 2 Kings 2 Where did the idea of a whirlwind come from?  Did anyone expect that Elijah would be taken "to heaven by a whirlwind"?  Everyone seems to know that today Elijah will be gone.Elisha's command to the band of prophets seems to indicate his sense of loss but also a vigor within himself; he is standing up to the prophets.  Once Elijah le…

April 10 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 100 100 days in the books.....or 100 days in the Book!

We're finishing 1 Kings today.  There's no happy ending here.  We've still got a long way for that.

DAILY READINGS1 Kings 20-22 & Psalm 100

DAILY NOTES 1 Kings 20 Ahab fights the Arameans.  Initially, he concedes to their king (Verse 4).  When King Aram asks for more than Ahab is comfortable with, he asks his elders for advice.  The war is initiated afterwards.Don't forget that Ahab is not a hero.  Elijah has defeated Ahab's Baal prophets.  Ahab does not have complete prophetic support.  The victory he sees is God's.By the way, by the end of the chapter, Ahab is portrayed as a "resentful and sullen" person.  The next chapter offers the same description.  Does that mean he's a big cry baby? 1 Kings 21 Ahab wants Naboth's vineyard for himself.  Naboth refuses.  Ahab sulks, and his wife, Jezebel, plots to have Naboth killed.The prophet Elijah appears again and gives a judgement against…

April 9 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 99 There's a bit of a break in the fighting of kings in today's reading.  Today we're focusing on some of the prophet Elijah's work.  It's good to read today's chapters in light of the fact that the people had turned to worship of Baal.  Elijah does everything he is commanded by God to demonstrate something about the people's choosing.
DAILY READINGS1 Kings 17-19 & Psalm 99

DAILY NOTES 1 Kings 17

The prophet Elijah declares there will be no rain in the land "these years."  Elijah is taken care of first by ravens and then by a widow.  Later he'll be fed by an angel.Elijah demonstrates this God, through Elijah's words, has power over the circumstances the widow (and everyone else) faces because of the drought. 1 Kings 18 Obadiah is introduced.  He works under King Ahab, though he is faithful to the Lord.  Obadiah's faith is demonstrated by his protection of 100 prophets.  Elijah meets Obadiah and asks him to relay a message to Aha…

April 8 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 98 Today's readings center around the reign of the several of the kings of Israel and Judah.  You'll notice, for the most part, a common thread surrounding each king's activities.

Here are the kings we've met so far:

DAILY READINGS1 Kings 11-13 & Psalm 98

Because we know the Lord's victory, we are to sing praises to God.  God has been faithful and victorious.  Our joyful noises are celebrations of God's awesome power and judgement.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS What a way to be remembered!  If you were a king of Israel or Judah, sure some of the specific things you did would be remembered.  They're written in the Books of the Annals of somebody.  
More importantly, though, you would be remembered, first and foremost, by if you did what was evil in the sight of the Lord or what was right in the sight of the Lord.  
You and I may not reign over kingdoms, but people still know us.  If asked, what do you hope would be the first thing someone …

April 7 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 97 By the time we're done reading today, Solomon is dead and the kingdom is divided.  
DAILY READINGS1 Kings 11-13 & Psalm 97

DAILY NOTES 1 Kings 11 This chapter describes Solomon's wrongdoing.  He followed the gods of his wives.  As a result of Solomon's turning away, God says the kingdom will be torn apart.  That is a foreshadow of what to expect in the coming chapters.Jeroboam rises against Solomon.  He will serve as king of Israel (the northern kingdom).  Solomon dies and his son, Rehoboam assumes the throne. 1 Kings 12 The kingdom is divided.  The northern tribes secede.  Jeroboam is made king.Jeroboam worries that people will return to Judah to continue worship and thus turn on him.  So, he erects golden calves for the people to worship (Remember how that worked out before?). 1 Kings 13 The story of two prophets.  Notice how the word given by God stands throughout the ordeal. OTHER OBSERVATIONS Solomon, in all his wisdom, was unable to stand against the temptat…

April 6 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 96 We've come a long way from wondering in the desert.  Now, after many battles and years of disarray, God's people are living in peace and the Lord has a house built.
DAILY READINGS1 Kings 8-10 & Psalm 96


Solomon brings the ark of God to the temple.The temple is dedicated.  Solomon offers a prayer for the occasion.Solomon blesses the people. 1 Kings 9 The highlight of this chapter is that God appears to Solomon again (in a dream?).  The line of David will continue through Solomon, assuming he follows the way of God.  The people must also follow. 1 Kings 10 The Queen of Sheba visits Solomon to see for herself his wisdom.  She is amazed (breathless).  The two crowns exchange gifts.Some of Solomon's furniture is described as a way to emphasize the grandeur of his reign and the temple.  Notice how "the whole earth" wanted to see Solomon (10:24).
OTHER OBSERVATIONS Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the temple demonstrates a trust i…

April 5 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 95 We're building the temple today.  I found a video that may help you visualize what you're reading about the temple's construction.  It's not a Bible Project video, but it is a reading of 1 Kings 5-7 depicting the sizes of each area accordingly.

Let me know what you think about the video.

DAILY READINGS1 Kings 4-7 & Psalm 95


Notice that Solomon has an organized kingdom.  There is peace among the people and within the land.  The people "were as numerous as the sand by the sea; they ate and drank were happy."  Things were good!Of course, the wisdom of Solomon is highlighted once again.  It is assumed that, since God gave Solomon his wisdom, God is the source of the peace and prosperity of the people. 1 Kings 5 Solomon makes a treaty with King Hiram.  Hiram commits to provide wood and labor for Solomon to build the temple of God.  Solomon puts together a work force and labor begins. 1 Kings 6-7 You may not know what a cubit is, but …

April 4 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 94 How does it feel to start another book of the Bible?!
Be sure to watch today's Bible Project video about 1 & 2 Kings.

DAILY READINGSI Kings 1-3 & Psalm 94

With David close to death, his son, Adonijah, assumes he is to succeed the king; he is the next in line, by the way.  1 Kings 1 doesn't tell us exactly why Nathan chooses Solomon over Adonijah.  We'd have to remember when David wanted to build God a house and what God's response was--who did God say would build the house?  Then read 1 Chronicles 22 (By the way, in our reading plan, we are skipping 1 & 2 Chronicles until we complete the rest of the OT).Everyone would have known about Solomon, I suppose.  So, that Adonijah elevated himself could also be why Nathan would not support him.We tend to forget that Bathsheba is more involved than just that time she first met David.David appoints Solomon as king through a royal procession and has the priest anoint him as king.  As a res…

April 3 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 93 After today we'll have finished another book of the Bible.  King David's place in the story of God is winding down.
DAILY READINGS2 Samuel 22-24 & Psalm 93

DAILY NOTES 2 Samuel 22

This is a psalm of praise and thanksgiving.  Psalm 18 is a variation of this psalm. 2 Samuel 23 David's reign (and life) are drawing to a close.  These are some of his last words and speak of men that have served under him.   2 Samuel 24 David wants a census of the people.  Since he later sees it as a sin, we can gather that he had prideful purposes for doing so.  The king repents, but also suffers the judgement of the sin.  Technically, 70,000 of the people he just counted suffered.Afterwards, David builds an altar to God. Psalm 93 God's rule over earth is celebrated.  This is what's called an enthronement psalm. 
OTHER OBSERVATIONS There's an interesting observation to consider about 2 Samuel 24:14.
David has to choose between 3 forms of judgement.  Call it divine Let's …