What an amazing time I continue to have reading the Bible in 90 days! Today…day #51, and as I’m continuing to read I am learning so much! There is so much to absorb and learn in God’s Word, and yet reading at this pace brings it together in a unique and awesome way!
While reading in 1 & 2 Samuel about the reign of King David, my chronological plan took me through the Psalms…all grouped together in categories. There were 25 Psalms of the troubled soul, 17 Psalms about righteousness and wickedness, 36 Psalms of joy and peace, 16 Psalms expressing a variety of sentiments, and 8 Psalms of the Messiah.
I was moved and edified, encouraged and uplifted, to read words that were like soul food…words I will return to over and over again. I just love the Psalms!
And then the death of King David. And the peaceful reign of Solomon, the son of David and Bathsheba. King Solomon loves God and follows His commandments, and builds the majestic and glorious temple for the Lord. While reading of the time of his reign, I also read through Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs, which were all written by King Solomon.
In Proverbs I learned how to acquire wisdom…by fearing and revering our God, by knowing Him, and trusting in Him instead of trusting in my own knowledge or understanding.
Proverbs 9:10 (NASB) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
I was encouraged by the book of Proverbs to choose righteousness, to weigh motives, to control self, to lay down pride and to walk in humility, and to love and honor justice, honesty, and hard work.
After Solomon had lived a long life honoring God, unfortunately he made some wrong choices. He intermarried foreign women and worshipped foreign gods. And at the end of his life, in Ecclesiastes, he reflects back over his life, and returns to the Lord. And he writes how he has learned that everything really is meaningless, in comparison to fearing the Lord God, and keeping His commandments.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NASB) The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.
And then, as Solomon dies, there is controversy over who will succeed him as king…and the Kingdom of Israel becomes divided into two nations: Israel to the North, and Judah to the South.
My journey from day 39 until today has been through 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles, reading of the succession of the Kings of Israel and the Kings of Judah, and the failure of most of them to love God and keep His commandments. They struggle to stay faithful to the Lord God…the One who rescued them out of Egypt and brought them into the promised land. The God who went before them and fought their battles throughout the times of Joshua and the Judges. The God who helped them conquer so they would inhabit the promised land and reign in it.
And as the people of Israel and Judah betray God over and over again in their poor and betraying choices, God sends prophets to warm them of the certain destruction of them as a people if they do not turn from their wicked ways and return to the Lord.
In Joel, there is a warning to Judah, that anything less than total devotion to the One True God will result in punishment.
Joel 2:12-13 (NASB) “Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
“Return to Me with all your heart,
And with fasting, weeping and mourning;
And rend your heart and not your garments.”
Now return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And relenting of evil.
Then Jonah is selected by God to take a message of repentance to the Assyrians who are living in Ninevah. And after learning a rough lesson in the belly of a whale, Jonah decides to obey God, and he brings them the message of repentance. And the people are saved from destruction. And this, such a demonstration of God’s grace and concern for all people, not only His wayward people. God desires all to know Him.
As Israel and Judah continue in disobedience, Hosea and Amos come to warn the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Hosea uses his own life’s experience to warn of the Israelites of their adulterous hearts. He shares with them his own experience of his wife, Gomer’s adultery and betrayal of him. And he declares that just as he has redeemed Gomer, his wife, even after her unfaithfulness, so God stands ready to redeem Israel of their sin, if only they would turn to Him.
Hosea 6:1-3 (NASB) “Come, let us return to the LORD.
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
“He will revive us after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
That we may live before Him.
“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD.
His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
Like the spring rain watering the earth.”
Amos, a lowly shepherd, warns Israel of the meaninglessness of their half-hearted worship. He urges Israel to seek good and not evil so they may live.
Amos 5:15 (NASB) Seek good and not evil, that you may live;
And thus may the LORD God of hosts be with you,
Just as you have said!
Hate evil, love good,
And establish justice in the gate!
Perhaps the LORD God of hosts
May be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
Micah then warns the Southern Kingdom of Judah that God desires righteous thoughts and deeds, not just a show of tradition or insincere formal worship. He describes the gracious forgiveness of the Lord God, if the people would only turn to Him and repent, and choose to do what God requires.
Micah 6:8 (NASB) He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
And then Isaiah comes to give warning to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. He urges them to turn from their wickedness and to instead choose to love and obey the Lord their God. Isaiah comes at a time of tremendous political upheaval. The Northern Kingdom of Israel, as well as the Southern Kingdom of Judah, are both at risk of being seized by Assyria. They are both struggling to maintain their control of the land, and Isaiah predicts the future doom of both Kingdoms as well as the eventual fall of Assyria and Babylon.
I am so very saddened by the choices of the people of Israel and Judah…
- They do not remember all that God has done for them.
- They do not give thanks.
- They indulge in selfishness and sin,
- And they do not choose to set themselves apart in holiness and righteousness of the truth.
Isaiah speaks of the hope that is sure with the coming of the future Messiah. He so beautifully paints the picture of our God, of who He is, and how He will provide the Ultimate Sacrifice for our sin, in the sending of His Son, our Messiah. He predicts the eventual wholeness and restoration of Israel, even before they are ever conquered. And his message is one of eventual hope and redemption!
I want to always remember what God has done for me….
- I want to be careful to always give thanks for the abundance and beauty and blessings He gives.
- May my heart be wholly devoted to my God,
- And may His Spirit have His way in my surrendered heart, is my prayer!
What have you been learning in your Bible reading lately?