Day Twenty-Six: Habakkuk

So obviously this isn’t Deuteronomy. Again I made the decision to move to a smaller book. As we prep for vacation, a trip to Centrifuge with my students and carving out some time to celebrate our 10 years of marriage my days are getting fuller and fuller!

So Habakkuk it is! This book started off a little differently than the other minor prophets I’ve read so far- it started off with Habakkuk’s complaint! Through the book he has 2 complaints for the Lord. When he receives the Lords reply to those complaints he ends up praying and praising God!

Both of his complaints center around the wicked. First, that he is surrounded by those who love evil, love to argue and pervert justice. God responds by telling Habakkuk of the coming conquest by the Babylonians- which prompts the second complaint.

Habakkuk complains about the Babylonian conquest- surely the Lord will not let these evil people wipe out his chosen ones even as sinful as they are! It sounds rather similar to my children- pointing out the flaws of each other to ensure that if they go down, they at least go together. (Golden example: When they colored the cat pink.)

The Lords response to this second complaint is a call to faithfulness. He discouraged the people from trusting in their wealth, friendships or fortifications promising that sorrow will be found in all those places. He assures them that their trust should be in Him alone.

After this Habakkuk begins to pray, and the closing lines of his prayer in Habakkuk 3:17-18;

“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

Tomorrow is our anniversary and we are planning to be gone most of the day, so I am planning on reading the book of Nahum. Thanks for following along! Feel free to subscribe down below!

In Christ,

Karen

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Day Twenty-Five: Malachi

Today I used my ability to switch books again and ended up in the book of Malachi. In this brief message God brings 4accusations against his people:

1. They are offering defiled sacrifices.

After spending so much time in the Old Testament lately, this is pretty horrifying to be honest. There was a time where kings and prophets offered hundreds of animals to the Lord, and did so joyfully! David and Solomon are some great examples. To see that the people clearly no longer offer their sacrifices with joy but merely out of duty is devastating.

2. The priests have left God’s path.

God specifically accuses the Levites of no longer serving Him with reverence- and thus passing that lack of reverence to the people. He says that the Levites “…have shown favoritism in the way you carry out my instructions.” (Malachi 1:9b). Their actions are leading the people into sin, and God demands that they stop.

3.They are unfaithful.

This accusation addresses the husbands and wives of Judah. God accuses them of marrying women who serve idols, and divorcing their wives. As a result the Lord declares that he is not going to accept their offerings.

4. They are robbing God of the tithes and offerings due Him.

Again, after reading so much in the Old Testament lately this is really disappointing. According to the Law every feast has a different purpose and required offerings. God uses these offering for many things- to give the people a way to demonstrate their faith and love for him, as an atonement for sin and as a way to provide for his priests. God promises to bring them into abundance if they just start obeying his commands again!

It all sounds pretty grim- except for promise God included in chapters 3 and 4. He says:

“Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heavens Armies.- Malachi 3:1

They don’t know it, but Jesus is coming! And as I look at this list of accusations I am fully aware that God could lay these same things and more at the churches feet- but the promise of Malachi still applies to us!

Jesus is coming.

Tomorrow, I’ll be headed back to Deuteronomy. See you then!

In Christ,

Karen

Day Twenty-Four: Numbers

This book is very appropriately named. It has covered the counting of God’s people and the counting of wealth of Israel. It also included how many animals should be used for which sacrifices, what tithes should be paid, and lists of the physical provisions God had made for each tribe.

But one of the biggest things I noticed was Moses’s brother Aaron. He served as Israel’s high priest during their wilderness wandering and after reading this I don’t think he gets nearly enough credit!

Moses was clearly the one speaking directly to God (Numbers 12:8), but Aaron was responsible for the day to day running of the Tabernacle. He supervised setting it up and packing it up when God moves Israel to a new location. He lead the sacrifices, mixing incense, directing the Levites who served in the Tabernacle. And considering the fighting men of Israel numbered over 600,000 he has no small task before him!

And all that aside Aaron stood beside his brother. Every time Israel backslid and brought the wrath of God upon themselves, Moses and Aaron physically stood between the people and God’s wrath, interceding on their behalf.

I’m very impressed by this man of God, and again I don’t think he received the credit he is due at times.

Tomorrow I will continue on into the book of Deuteronomy! I’ll be traveling with our student ministry next week, so I’m trying to hit some of this bigger books this week and save the smaller ones for our trip.

In Christ,

Karen

Day Twenty-Three: Zephaniah

Greeting! We are officially 1/3 of the way through this challenge- only 43 books left to go!

My reading in this first section have focused heavily on the Major and Minor prophets, with occasional forays into the New Testament. So I’m really starting to get a clear picture of the nations of Israel and Judah before the exile to Babylon. For example, yesterday when I read 2nd Chronicles it talked about Josiah one of the faithful Kings of Judah. Then today Zephaniah opened up by stating that it was written during the reign of Josiah!

As I read further I was a little surprised. Because Josiah’s reign was a pretty good one, as he tried to drive the people back to God. And Zephaniah is again warning the people that God will judge them for their disobedience.

It has reminded me that God is remarkably patient with his people. We are talking about generation after generation that is warned of the consequences of disobedience and prophet after prophet speaking the word of the Lord. He has to care so much to be that patient!

Tomorrow I’m still in the Old Testament this time in the book of Numbers!

In Christ,

Karen

Day Twenty-Two: 2nd Chronicles

Tonight as I read 2nd Chronicles it felt a lot like a history book for the kingdom of Judah. This king ruled for this many years and did evil/good in the sight of the Lord. Pretty straight forward right?

So I tried to look a little deeper- after all this is right before the people are carried off into exile. There has to be something more than just a historical record there.

Then something in chapter 25 caught my eye. Verse 2 says:

“Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly.”

As I skimmed the previous chapters most of the King’s of Judah (or the people during their reign) had something similar said of them. Either they did evil, or they pleased the Lord, but did not serve Him wholeheartedly. There were very few who served the Lord without any reserve- and the nation paid for it!

Are we serving God wholeheartedly? Or are we doing the bare minimum that our faith requires?

Come back tomorrow as I read Zephaniah!

In Christ,

Karen

Day Twenty-One: 1 Chronicles

First off some of you following may have realized that this post is a day late. My challenge has been to do one book of the Bible everyday for 66 days and up until yesterday I’ve managed that. Part of it was poor planning on my part- I thought the holiday would be a slower day. But once I got closer to the time I would normally be reading or writing we were heading to fireworks and I made the choice to skip a day.

Family is sacred too and lately work schedules have made that time scarce. Additionally in a week our family will be splitting up- the kids to go visit grandparents, my husband will be home working and I’ll be taking a group of teenagers to camp. So, yesterday I just enjoyed our family and fireworks.

Today however I’m back at it! When I opened up my Bible and started reading I discovered a LOT of genealogies. The first 8 chapters were all about the family lines from Noah to David.

Then in chapter 9 they listed the genealogies of everyone who returned to Judah after the exile to Babylon. And King Saul’s family tree.

Starting in chapter 10 it had a lot more of a narrative feel- but now you start to see a lot of lists. Lists of David’s mighty men, lists of men in the army, lists of David’s preparations for the Temple- it really goes on and on through the entire book.

One of my favorite parts was in chapter 17. David’s starts planning to build the Temple himself, and the Lord stops him. In verses 4-14, God tells David that he is going to make his descendants into a dynasty, and that his son will build the Temple- not David himself. (Hints of Christ’s coming are here as well!)

When David hears this he isn’t disappointed that God has essentially shutdown his project for the time being. He is excited about God’s promise! He says:

“And now, O God, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty! You speak as though I were someone very great, O Lord God! What more can I say to you about the way you have honored me? You know what your servant is really like.” – 1 Chronicles 17:17-18

David, God’s anointed King of his Chosen People is amazes at God’s promise to continue his line. He says “You know what your servant is really like.”- to me this shows incredible humility. David really sounds shocked that God would give this gift to him!

I know many times we feel like God owes us something. They way we pray screams it- everything is about the people we love, the things we need or want- I know I personally at least need to step it up in being thankful and worshipful in my prayer life. So seeing David truly honored and humbled by God’s blessing on his life is a real reminder to me that this show is not about me- its all about God and his plan and purposes.

Join me tomorrow in 2 Chronicles!

In Christ,

Karen

Day Twenty: Ezekiel

In this challenge so far I’ve found that the major and minor prophets in the Old Testament are some of the hardest to read. Ezekiel was no different but it did have one powerfully overriding theme that jumped out at me.

God is Sovereign.

God calls himself Sovereign, nations and people address him as Sovereign and Ezekiel declares it multiple times. And I would bet that most of us have heard that God is Sovereign or even said it to others. But do we really register what we are saying?

Sovereign means the ultimate authority. No questioning or no bargaining- just complete obedience to The Sovereign. Do we treat God this way? For example, if he prompts you to go pray with someone, or to speak out in a situation, is your first response obedience?

The people of Israel didn’t- and as a result ended up in captivity. In Ezekiel, God tells them that he will remove them from the land, and then restore them so that they and all the other nations will know that he his the Sovereign Lord.

It’s pretty intense- and a topic I’ve marked down to revisit after these 66 days are up. Tomorrow, I’ll be moving on to 1 Chronicles!

In Christ,

Karen

Day Nineteen: Ruth

Today I am making use of the rule that this challenge has to be flexible. I had intended on reading Ezekiel today, but a migraine schedule changes and an overall topsy turvy day lead me to the book of Ruth instead.

Like some of the other books I’ve read, this one is an old favorite. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read Ruth over the years. As I looked at it again today I’m reminded of God’s abundant blessings.

Naomi left Israel with her family and returned with only her daughter-in-law. She even tells her friends and family who welcome her home to change her name to Mara because her life is bitter- by the Lord’s hand. She says that she “…went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty.” (Ruth 1:19b)

But starting almost immediately after that you start to see God’s abundant provision. He bring Ruth to Boaz’s field where he blesses her gathering and provides extra portions for her. And she stays through the entire barley harvest and the wheat harvest! After that, Boaz redeems Ruth and they have a son to continue the line of Naomi’s husband- something she told Ruth would be impossible (Ruth 1:12-13).

But even more so, the very end of the book leads us to God’s ultimate provision. Because it tells us that Ruth’s son was Obed, the father of Jesse. Who was the father of David- and through David we are most abundantly blessed with Jesus!

Tomorrow I’ll be heading back to Ezekiel. See you then!

In Christ,

Karen

Day Eighteen: Job

I’m going to say something you will probably find weird.

I love the book of Job.

Seriously this book is filled with so much sarcasm, witty comebacks and outright debating I absolutely love it.

Many years ago I was on my high school’s debate team and I learned to love a good reason based debate and that’s exactly what this book provides. It reads like a debate transcript at times and I felt like I was mentally awarding points to different sides as the book went on!

You probably know the basics of this book already. Job was a righteous man. Satan challenged God, saying that Job wouldn’t remain a faithful follower if he wasn’t in the middle of prosperity. And God took it all away- wealth, family, health, reputation and relationships all stripped away. Still Job didn’t blaspheme God.

In the midst of this trial, 3 of his friends show up and another comes later. After grieving with him for 7 days, they urge Job to repent and turn from whatever sin he has committed. He repeatedly declares his innocence (Job 16:17), blames God for his situation (Job 21:4), and outright challenges God to hear his case (Job 13).

The first 3 friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar all take turns debating with Job. They all approach the debate in different ways and by the end of their discussion they have failed to convince Job of anything. In Job 27:5-6, Job begins his final rebuttal and says:

“I will never concede that you are right, I will defend my integrity until I die. I will maintain my innocence without wavering. My conscience is clear for as long as I live.”

An incredibly bold and passionate statement! Job in his final statement is fierce and unwavering and by the end of it his 3 friends refuse to reply further and by any debate standards it would appear Job has won. Except for that 4th friend.

Elihu is younger than his companions and out of respect has stayed silent so far. But now his is angry.

First, he calls out his elders.

“Sometimes the elders are not wise. Sometimes the aged do not understand justice.

So listen to me, and let me tell you what I think.

“I have waited all this time, listening very carefully to your arguments, listening to you grope for words.

I have listened, but not one of you has refuted Job or answered his arguments.” – Job 32:9-12

Then he turns to Job.

“But you are wrong, and I will show you why.
    For God is greater than any human being.

So why are you bringing a charge against him?
    Why say he does not respond to people’s complaints?
For God speaks again and again,
    though people do not recognize it. – Job 33:12-14

For the next 4 chapters Elihu reminds Job that he has no right to challenge God. That God is powerful, just and that Job is being arrogant in assuming he has done no wrong.

Enter God.

Chapter 38 simply says that God spoke to them out of the whirlwind. No indication that a storm was brewing, or an entrance given. God started speaking and it must have been terrifying! Because this is what God says to Job:

“Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.” – Job 38:3

God said, “Brace yourself.” I can’t help but imagine a car barreling out of control. And for the next 2 chapters God reminds Job of exactly who He is. There is so much majesty in these verses! You can clearly see God is worth worshiping and following wholeheartedly and without question. And Job trembles before him, takes back everything he said and repents (Job 42:1-6).

Then God commands Job’s 3 friends to bring their sacrifices to Job because The Lord is angry that they have not spoken accurately about Him. He essentially leaves their fate in Job’s hands, saying he will accept Job’s prayer on their behalf (Job 42:7-9). And finally Job is restored– his family, his wealth, reputation– everything.

But someone is mysteriously absent. What happened to Elihu? He had the courage to speak against Job and his elders and God doesn’t include him in His rebuke. Apparently this young man’s accusations were right on the mark!

So what do we take from this? It’s a lot. Normally, I am reminded that while he was arrogant, Job did not blaspheme God or turn from following him and was rewarded for his trials.

But reading it all at once had left me with a completely different impression.

1. Do not assume you know why people are enduring a particular trial. Job’s friends assumed that his woes were a result of sin and in doing so misrepresented God.

2. Do not assume you know better than God. No where does God offer Job an explanation- just reminds his of his sovereign power and majesty.

3. Spend more time exploring and reveling in God’s character Elihu did not hold the same views as Job or his elders. He did not assume Job was being punished, but warned him of the sin he saw in that moment and reminded him of God’s character.

What a powerful message! I love every second of this book! Tomorrow- Ezekiel!

In Christ,

Karen

Day Seventeen: 2nd Thessalonians

Welcome back!

Today I read 2 Thessalonians- my 17th book of the Bible in as many days. Like 1st Thessalonians, this letter was penned by Paul, Silas and Timothy. It’s a little shorter than the first, but full of encouragement!

First, they encourage the church to continue with what they are doing- and that they are continually praying for them.

Then, they encourage the church not to be alarmed- the return of Jesus hasn’t happened yet. They remind the people of what is to come and the regardless of how bad it gets, Jesus still reigns victorious.

Finally they encourage the believers to pray for them- that the Gospel is spread quickly and that they will be rescued from evil people. They also remind them to avoid living an idle life dependent upon the church- they encourage them to work to earn their own living.

As I read this the call to prayer really stood out to me. Because in each prayer- both the one for Thessalonica and the one for Paul, Silas and Timothy- focuses around advancing the Kingdom.

“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him.” – 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12a

“Finally, dear brothers and sisters we ask you to pray for us. Pray that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you. Pray too that we will be rescued from wicked and evil people, for not everyone is a believer.” -2 Thessalonians 3:1-2

It made me reflect on my own prayer life. How often do my prayers reflect this? Sure, I pray for ministries, fellow pastors and those I want to see come to Jesus- but if I’m honest a lot of my prayer time goes toward people who are physically injured or ill.

Now, I’m not saying that these prayers are wrong at all! But these passages did make me think that I need to spend more time praying over and for the mission of the church- both locally and globally! A new personal challenge perhaps?

Tomorrow I will be reading the book of Job! Thanks for following along!

In Christ,

Karen