Ezra likes lists. I like lists because they keep me organized. For Ezra to take on such a big mission, being organized would certainly be a good attribute to have. This reading lets us know who did what and more about their responsibilities during this transition or rebirth of a people. The hand of God played a huge role in the success of this mission back to Jerusalem!
God was giving his people a second chance to love him and live honorably following the laws given to Moses. This whole return had been orchestrated by God, even down to the last gold bowl and who was responsible to get it to Jerusalem. Was I the only one that still ponders how you move 24 tons of silver? Tons!
Continue reading “Ezra 8:24-36 – By God’s Gracious Hand”
I’ve reflected on the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah before in the book of the 12 Prophets. These prophets of God spoke encouragement to those charged with rebuilding the temple of the Lord. Haggai, especially, is a hidden gem filled with all sorts of encouragement we can apply today.
We’re seeing how this rebuilding project is getting a lot of attention from the enemies of God. But God ordained this work, so I’m confident he won’t let it fail. In today’s reading, Tattenai, governor of the province Jerusalem is part of, attempts to distract the people so they question their motives. We can be thankful the people had prophets like Haggai and Zechariah to keep them grounded and devoted to God’s purpose.
Continue reading “Ezra 5:1-5 – Questioning Your Motives”
What surprised you in today’s reading? Was it that a religious leader who publicly recognized Jesus’ healing power or was it how a woman was healed by simply touching Jesus’ garment? Jesus’ ministry is packed with amazing moments of seeing God at work among his people.
Let’s focus on the woman who has been afflicted for twelve years. Could she even remember what it was like to not be bleeding? Can you remember what you were doing twelve years ago? Take a moment to do the math. While you certainly won’t remember what you had for dinner twelve years ago tonight, try to place yourself in that moment of your history. I was leading Vacation Bible School in a church where my husband was serving. Many of the kids attending that year are grown up with children of their own!
Continue reading “Mark 5:21-34 – Faith Healing”
Habakkuk is processing God’s message to him in this second complaint. Have you ever said to God, “You’re going to do what?” You can imagine how unbelievable it would be to know that God was going to use an enemy nation to destroy the same misbehaving children who were appalling Habakkuk.
Habakkuk’s observations are valid, don’t you agree? Babylonian forces would be given victory and yet they weren’t believers in the one true God. How could that be? He calls out to God again saying, “Should you be silent while the wicked swallow up people more righteous than they?” This is a good example to show us how God can and will use any means possible to bring about his purposes in this world. We don’t always have to understand or agree.
Continue reading “Habakkuk 1:12-17 – When Your World is Rocked”
Read Jeremiah 47:1-7
The Philistines had always been a rival to the Israelites. Now, they, too, were caught in between the powers of Babylon and Egypt. The exact date of Egypt’s attack spoken of here is not known, but it’s clear God was going to destroy the Philistines, too. I was curious to note that the prophecy’s destruction seemed to be from the north whereas Egypt is on the southern border of the region.
Scholars have looked at how God’s prophecies speak of a major transformation in world power. We can’t help but ask what was God’s purpose in all of this? Wasn’t he simply angry at his own people for falling away and refusing to listen to him? No reason was given as to why the Philistines would suffer in this manner.
Continue reading “Jeremiah 47:1-7 – What is God’s Purpose?”