Well, I am continuing to read the Bible in 90 days, with this inspiring group of people, reading through this amazing chronological plan, and today…day #70, and the conclusion of the Old Testament…and I am continuing to learn so much! From the 4th week, to the 8th week, and now into the 11th week…what a journey this has been!
The story that has unfolded is a marvelously contiguous story, designed by the God of the Universe, for this, His ultimate goal:
That each person in the entire world would come to know Him, and have a personal and deeply meaningful relationship with Him…
Every detail having been woven together, transpiring over time, with exacting detail and continuity…Him initiating the revealing of Himself, and Him the One making a way for us to be with Him forever. I am amazed and so blessed to have gained the perspective that this experience is teaching and showing me.
And picking up from day #51, Isaiah continues to bring a message of hope to the people in the Southern kingdom of Judah, explaining to them the goodness of the Lord to those who love Him and follow His ways. He tells them of the coming Messiah, and the hope that is theirs if they obey.
But they don’t listen.
And God continues to send messengers to the people, prophets like Nahum, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, and Habakkuk…to warn the people and to encourage them to do what is right…
But the people do not listen.
And the Northern kingdom of Israel is finally captured by the Assyrians, and the people are taken into exile there. And although the Southern kingdom of Judah is spared, and has another chance…
They still do not listen.
So Jeremiah continues to warn the Southern kingdom of Judah to turn from their disobedient ways…and for a time, a new king, Josiah, changes everything. The temple is restored, the law is read and obeyed, Passover is celebrated for the first time since Samuel. And yet, after Josiah dies, his successor chooses to disobey, and the people turn away again. And although Josiah, and several other kings before him, did what was right, in the end, it will not be enough to outweigh three centuries of evil, betrayal, and disobedience.
“Sin sometimes sets in motion certain consequences, which even subsequent good intentions cannot forestall…”
And the Southern kingdom of Judah is eventually captured by the Babylonians, and the people are taken into exile there. And Jeremiah continues to try to encourage the people even still. And another prophet, named Ezekiel, is with the people in Babylon, and begins to encourage them to do what is right, and warns them of the future destruction and fall of those who do not obey.
The people lament about the exile they are in, but Jeremiah and Ezekiel continue to tell them of the hope of the future restoration of the Kingdom, and little do they know the kind of Kingdom they are speaking of…not a physical Kingdom as they are expecting, but a Spiritual Kingdom that will never end.
Lamentations 3:22-33 (NASB) 22 The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
26 It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the LORD.
27 It is good for a man that he should bear
The yoke in his youth.
28 Let him sit alone and be silent
Since He has laid it on him.
29 Let him put his mouth in the dust,
Perhaps there is hope.
30 Let him give his cheek to the smiter,
Let him be filled with reproach.
31 For the Lord will not reject forever,
32 For if He causes grief,
Then He will have compassion
According to His abundant lovingkindness.
33 For He does not afflict willingly
Or grieve the sons of men.
And then, as Daniel is rising in the service of Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, Job is suffering, and not understanding why. And in the end, it is in God’s Sovereign power, where Job places his trust, knowing that His purposes and ways are beyond our own ability to understand or comprehend them.
While in exile, the people sing praise and give thanks for all that God has done for them…eleven Psalms…declaring the goodness of the Lord.
Psalm 107:8-9,21-22,43 (NIV) 8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men,
9 for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things. 21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men.
22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy. 43 Whoever is wise, let him heed these things
and consider the great love of the LORD.
And as the Babylonians are eventually conquered by the Persians…
Ezra leads a group of exiles from Babylonia, with the Persian King’s permission, to begin to rebuild Jerusalem. And Haggai and Zachariah encourage the people as they rebuild under great opposition and duress. Daniel has visions, and Esther has profound personal courage, as she is appointed queen for such a time as this, saving her people from destruction.
Then, Malachi arrives as a messenger to tell the people of God’s great love, to remind them to persevere and to know that restoration is coming, and that in the meantime they should live holy lives and obey.
Finally, Nehemiah goes to Jerusalem and leads the people in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, dedicates it, and reminds the people to do what is good and right, to live holy lives, and to obey.
The intertestamental period that follows, about 400 years between the Old and New Testaments, is a time of preparation for Jesus’ arrival, as the people adapt to the cultures in which they are living.
They are dispersed and endure all the future changes in power…From the fall of the Persian empire, to the rise of Alexander the Great, the establishment of the Greek empire, and the rule of Julius Cesar, Cleopatra, Antony, and Octavian (Augustus Cesar). The Greek language becomes prevalent, as well as Greek philosophy and influence. And the Roman empire is eventually established, with Herod placed in charge of Judea.
And in all this, the time has come, the stage is set, all this history preparing for the birth of the long-awaited Messiah, who will rescue and save the world.
What a marvelous story…and I can’t wait to continue…
What have you been learning in your study lately?
And linking to Mom’s Toolbox here…