Read Good Books

Welcome to Read Good Books, inspirational books authored by Dr. Gene Baillie. Please browse the descriptions of his books below, with links to each site.
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The Journey Home

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.”—Proverbs 16:9tjh.hero

When Dr. Gene Baillie’s wife, Gini, was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, their world was forever changed. This book shares the lessons that Gini and Gene learned as God led them through—and beyond—their darkest valleys on their own journey home.

Nothing Matters

When we cry out to God and nothing seems to change, nothing is really changing! We may think God is doing nothing in response to our prayers, but be assured He is not wasting this “nothing”! And deep down we know that He truly is doing something, just not acting in the way we desire or even see. What appears to be undesirable to us for the moment or for a lifetime is still God’s answer and response to our prayer, even if it appears to not be anything. God works through even the worst affliction to accomplish far more than we can even imagine at the moment, even to coming generations.

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Death Takes Time

Time is a gift. As we live this life and go on toward death, we have a progressive knowledge that our lives have served some definite purpose. Sometimes, however, it seems just as this new life in Christ has sprouted, takes root, grows and matures in us, we also begin to lose our vitality, much like dying green summer leaves become autumn leaves. While our time is a purposeful and useful gift from God, it is also just a pixel in the whole picture of the history of His universe.

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About The Author

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Dr. Gene Baillie grew up in rural Nebraska, the oldest of six children and the first member of his family to attend college. He and Gini were married during his first year of medical school. (more…)

47 thoughts on “Read Good Books

  1. John
    We will start the New Testament with the book of John and then come back to the other 3 gospels. Gini or I have often gone through the book of John with individuals as ‘discipleship’ which was always mutually encouraging. The intent and purpose was to observe what we learn about Jesus and what does that information mean to us? We will not do a detailed study of all the aspects of John’s gospel. So, this is the way we will start the New Testament, a process someone first shared with me that put my Bible study, and its purpose, on firm ground. Firmly planted in study and application is my desire for each of you. Mostly we will have a series of selected verses with a question or request, and then my answer. It would be good for you to read the passage and then consider your answer before reading mine, as that is what I would do if we were sitting down one on one, in our discussion sessions together.
    A side note in reading John first. The introduction and first chapters are very different than the other gospels. Matthew and Luke start with Jesus birth and some of His childhood. Matthew, Mark and Luke then have the account of the baptism of Jesus as His ministry begins, then the account of His temptation, and next finding out that John is in prison. Each of the four gospels contributes to what we know about Jesus, and John includes much more about the first year of the earthly ministry of our Lord.
    Some suggested a title for this document: See, John, See! A Short Primer of Bible Study and Discipleship
    Read John 1:1-5. What is meant by the term ‘Word’ in verse 1? Jesus, see verse 1:14.
    What all do we learn about Jesus then as the Word in these first 5 verses? Word (Jesus) was with God, was God, in the beginning with God, all things made (created) through Him, in Him was (is) life = light of men.
    Observe verse 5 and realize a flip of a switch turns on light that dispels darkness, but no ‘darkness’ switch exists to dispel light! We can perceive a single star a vast distance away, but we cannot distinguish anything about darkness. In Him there is no darkness, He is the true Light.
    Now, I want you to read the following excerpt from a Bible Study website about the word “Word” which includes many reference verses. http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/word/
    Read 1:10-13. What is the greatest need of someone who is agnostic or an unbeliever? Verse 12-To receive Him, believe in His name, then become God’s adopted child. Fallen humans are not children of God, only those granted faith to believe. Also to know God through Christ as Word, see 1:17-18
    What does verse 14 teach us about Jesus? He took on human nature (2 natures united- Colossians 2:9). After belief, what is the next great need? To get right with God.
    1:29. Why is Jesus called the Lamb of God? First, because He was perfect and without blemish, having fulfilled all righteousness. Second, because He was to become the sacrifice for sin, the payment for our sin which allows us to be right with God. Exactly how though? Jesus is the substitute/atonement and punishment in our place.
    Can you define sin? In at least 3 ways (we will discuss specific categories of sins in Galatians 5:19-21 later). 1- legal guilt (Romans 3:9, 4:8, Galatians 3:21-24), 2- inner corruption (Romans 7:17-18), and 3- wrong actions in thought, word, and deed (omission, James 4:17, commission, 1 John 3:4).
    1:35-42. Trace the 2 witness chains as they occur through pretty ordinary circumstances. First, John speaks out and 2 disciples hear and follow because they want to find out about this man called Lamb. Jesus says to them, ‘Come and see’. One of the 2 who followed Jesus and learned from Him that whole day was Andrew, and the first thing he then did was to find his brother Simon, and told him they had found the Messiah (Christ). Andrew brought his brother to Jesus, who told Simon, ‘you are Simon (means wishy-washy)….you shall be called Cephas’ (means Peter or Rock). One of the foremost of the disciples was witnessed to by his brother who was curious of something John said that started the entire chain of events. So, we see physical hearing and mental pondering leads to curiosity and listening, then resulting in seeking/receiving teaching and finally following.
    Next we see Jesus preparing to leave for Galilee. Before leaving Bethany, he meets Philip and says, ‘Follow me’. We next see Philip found Nathanael and said, ‘we have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth.’ A discussion unfolded about whether anything good could come out of Nazareth (remember that name came from a Hebrew Netzer that included a meaning of root/shoot/branch. And although Jesus was born in Bethlehem, his mother rode a donkey down from Nazareth for the census). When Nathanael comes to meet Jesus he is ‘blown away’ at the initial comment of Jesus, telling Nathanael he has no deceit and other details of his life. He immediately acknowledges Jesus as Rabbi (teacher) and Son of God, King of Israel. So, we see a question asked after sharing Christ, with a follow-up invitation to come and see, and how the Lord opens eyes.
    In chapter 2 we see Jesus performing miracles. The miracle of making water into wine is interesting because the water used was from the pots of purification water (remember the red heifer that was burned so that the ashes could be used to filter water to be used in purification– Numbers 19:9).
    2:23-25. Note it says many believed. Are the ‘many’ who believed saved? No, they were believing in Jesus because of the miracles, so this is not a true belief. How can I say that? They desired something other than Jesus. Are you truly saved? We often have doubts and have need to see the truth of 1:12, what it is to truly believe in His name, that He is the one who has saved you from your sins, is your Lord, and these truths result in your knowing you are a child of God. Belief is a work of God, being counted by God as righteous (as a replacement for our sin). Salvation is by faith, also a gift of God. There is a difference in a belief which is based on or of our own ability, what we see, as observed in the last verses of John 2 we just looked at. We see there is a record of believing in Jesus name because of seeing the miracles (and probably a desire for a miracle in their life or to perform miracles). However, we learn this is not a true or real belief ‘in’ Jesus, rather a belief ‘about’ Jesus. Remember, a sign has secondary importance, it points to something, but is not the real thing (see John 2:30-31)
    Now, let’s make sure we see this from a little different perspective as well. When we are saved, we often say we are justified or made righteous by the substitution of Christ on our behalf. Saying this is perfectly alright as long as we complete and understand the meaning. God elects whom He calls and the justification is not by infusing righteousness into the believer but by pardoning their sin and thus we are counted (accounted) as righteous. But, justification goes so much farther! You see, there is not simply a removal of our sin that essentially brings us back to ‘neutral’ or ‘zero’ from the ‘negative’ state of our
    pre-saved, sinful and lost state, –we also have the accrediting of Christ’s righteousness to us, that puts us at an infinite ‘positive’, thus we are seen as holy because Jesus is holy.
    This is not anything we have done, but is because of the faith we have been granted. We see then, salvation by faith alone, but it is a faith that is not alone. And, it is not a faith of ourselves or any of our doing, it is a gift of God. Read the Westminster Confession of Faith chapter on Justification and supporting scriptures for more on this subject. This is also a good reference to understand more fully the process of sanctification, and our glorification. Another way of saying this is, you are saved at one point in time (justification), are moment by moment being saved (sanctification), and one day will be saved and in the presence of God for eternity (glorification). This true belief in Jesus will be further explained in John 3 (see also Genesis 15:6, Hebrews 11:8-16, Romans 4:13-25, and Romans 1:16-17). I am declared righteous because of my God given faith in Christ, I am adopted and belong to Him, I am blessed and have the privilege of being a blessing, to confess Him as my Lord, proclaiming His good news to others.
    3:1-21, 36. What does it mean then to be born again? As we turn to this account of a religious leader coming to Jesus at night (think of the concept of darkness again), seeking the truth, then note we see a statement and not a question (teacher come from God is the phrase used, but now, you and I really know He is God come to teach!), to which Jesus responds with the answer to the question at the root of the statement. In order to see the kingdom of God, one has to be born again. This is confusing when taken at face value, but then Jesus clarifies, –born of flesh is flesh, born of the Spirit is spirit. And, being born again is a divine work of God, you do not know how it happens, you only know it did happen. A wind example is given. We do not know the circumstances that caused and brought the wind, but we can feel it and know its presence. Then we have the capstone verses of 3:15-21. Verse 15 is important as it says the believing must be ‘in’ not ‘about’ Jesus. We must not just want some miracle or good thing for ourselves, but instead really want and have Jesus (but remember the unsaved person is in darkness, unable to do anything. Just as physical light is needed to see in physical darkness, Light and the ability to ‘see’ and perceive must be given). We can see facts and explain what we see; but verse 16 teaches us true faith (which is given to us), is to believe what is unseen, that we might have eternal life because of God giving His one and only Son. One point of clarification is the words ‘the world’. This is not a universal, every person world, but rather refers to all kinds of people, Jews and Gentiles, and specifically and only those He has called and chosen to be a part of His family. Not everyone is saved.
    Now, a bit more regarding 3:17-21. In verse 18, unbelievers are judged and condemned already, and if not changed by God, they will perish. We read that Jesus came not to judge and condemn which is referring to those who are perishing (all of sinful unbelievers), but to save those the Lord has called—making them able to hear and see, acknowledge being born again, and have Jesus as Savior and Lord, with the promise they will dwell with the Lord eternally—they are among the lost He came to save. We have the Light that shone in our darkness, giving us the ability to realize and turn from our sinful life. We call this saving from perishing, the Lord’s amazing grace! If we think about this account, we have a Jewish man trained in the writings who thought, and was taught, the Messiah (Jesus) would come to them, be their king, and judge all their oppressors. All the Jews in like darkness did not see that they would need to change from their sins—or that He would redeem all His elect among the entire world (both Jews and Gentiles)
    Then in 3:19 note that the Light has always been present to shine in the darkness, just that unbelievers are in the dark, have blind eyes, and cannot see the Light. They love their sin, and are unable to see without being given changed eyes able to see. And those that think they can see but still believe in self and not Jesus are the righteous unbelievers who think they are OK. As we continue our reading of John, we will see much emphasis on the subject of light, which ties in what we learned in the first few verses of chapter 1, along with what we are going to see in chapters 6 through 9, along with many other New Testament passages. In chapter 9 we will see self-righteous leaders who confront Jesus with a question, “We are not blind too, are we?”
    4:1-26. What do you learn about Jesus? He is weary and tired as He leads His disciples through Samaria, and at noon, stops at a well to rest, sending the disciples on to town to get food.
    What happened when He asked a Samaritan woman for a drink? She immediately recognized Him as a Jew and asks why He would even ask of her, as there was usually no association of a Jew with a person of mixed race (remember in the Old Testament, some poor Jews were left when Jerusalem was captured and they intermarried with the descendants of Esau to become the Idumeans or Samaritans). Jesus answers that if she knew about God’s gift and who He was, she would have been the one asking for a drink and been given ‘living water’. She notes He has nothing to draw water with from the deep well. Jesus tells her that water from this well will only temporarily satisfy thirst, but He will give water that will well up to eternal life.
    What happens next? A little confused, she asks for this water. Jesus says to go and bring her husband back with her. She says she has no husband, and Jesus confirms that indeed she has had 5 husbands and is currently living with a man.
    Why does she ask the question about worship differences of the Samaritans and Jews? She perceives Jesus is a prophet and we surmise she has always wondered about the worship differences, but has not had or been taught the Jewish perspective. This is an opportunity she might not have again to have one of her deepest questions answered.
    Define worship. As you read Jesus response that the place is not the essence of worship, but instead Whom you worship, now think through what it means to worship in spirit and in truth. Worship is giving back to God honor, glory, praise, love, adoration, thanksgiving, and all that He has given us, especially giving us Jesus to save us from our sin. Read Psalm 8, 145:8-9, 150, Revelation 15:3-4. Purpose to make worship important. Worship outweighs any and all worry, and praise outweighs pride (I often demonstrate this with a drawing of a teeter-totter).
    As an aside, the Samaritans were generally regarded as ‘half-breeds’ in a detestable sense, and thought heretical as they believed in the books of Moses but no more.
    4:27-42. What is the woman’s response? She knows ‘that’ Messiah will come and explain everything. Jesus tells her He is! As the disciples return, she goes back to town, leaving her water pot (she had found ‘Living Water’ and coming to get plain water was now entirely unimportant!), then tells the whole town about this encounter with the Messiah. In verses 39-42 we learn that her witness and testimony causes many to believe in Jesus. Seems a bit unusual to us that anyone would listen to this woman, considering her past.
    What about the disciples? They went to town to get food and brought it back just as the woman is leaving. We only have a statement that they were surprised Jesus was talking to a Samaritan. We can only surmise– when they were in town they likely did not have any meaningful conversation. Only to get the food, but probably minimal talking, not any touching, handshakes, or even wanting to touch the money exchanged!
    After she leaves what does the food exchange conversation mean to you? Note the disciples try to get Jesus to eat, but He replies He has food to eat they know nothing about, which confuses them. He then relates a parable. We need to see the opportunities to share our testimony and witness for the Lord in whatever field He has placed us (for them a Samaritan town!). We need to engage with people when it seems awkward or uncomfortable. We need to follow Jesus example and not have encounters (really no encounter) like the disciples probably had. The harvest field requires us to be sowers as well as reapers (we are told both groups will be glad together at harvest time).
    5:1-15. Do you have a deep need in your life? So you want to get well? Notice that after Jesus heals this man, there is a confrontation with the leaders about what can be done on the Sabbath. In verse 14, Jesus tells the man, ‘See you are well! Sin no more.’ We often speak of sin that incapacitates us or cripples us. We need to name sin and not just say, I am a sinner. We need to turn from our specific sins. Continuing in sin is a dangerous matter! See Galatians 5:19-21 for a listing of some sins by category of body or sexual sin, idolatry or religious sin, attitude or mind sin, and indulgence or appetite sin. We need to see sin involves self, God, and others. Admit sin by name to God (1 John 1:7), turn all over to Him (Romans 12:1-2), reject Satan’s influence and interference (Colossians 1:13-14), and thank God (1 Corinthians 10:13).
    5:18-29. Observe truths about Jesus Christ. God is Jesus’ own Father, He is equal with God, through His Word and our hearing He is author of our spiritual life, judge. Notice in verse 19, the Son acts precisely as the Father; in verse 20, the Father shows the Son all things; and in verse 21, both give life.
    5:39. What is the focal point or purpose of the Bible? Jesus Christ. See also 2 Timothy 3:16. Leaving your Bible shut cuts off communication with the Lord and His teaching.
    6:1-15. Read verse 9. Do you ever feel like you or your resources are inadequate? God created you for His specific purpose. Jesus can use what you have and multiply it! We are to have faith in Jesus, not circumstances (Matthew 14:28-31). Joy is well-being based on truth (1 Peter 1:8-9).
    6:22-46. Do you hunger and thirst? Of course, and the reason is an unmet need that causes those feelings. Read 6:35 to see that Jesus says, “I AM the bread of life.” He is the one that meets every need and fills/fulfills. This is the first of the series of “I AM” statements of Jesus. He is the One who meets our need of hunger, but not for physical bread. 6:37, 44, 65 gives us the assurance that when we come to Him, the bread of life, we will not hunger. Once His, He keeps us! (As an aside, verse 44 also tells us that we cannot resist the call of God, the dead person cannot do anything, and is like water being drawn out of a well. The water cannot come up of itself and when it is drawn up, it cannot resist being drawn up or raised up!)
    6:47-58. See that eating and drinking parallel believing. Unless you eat and drink, you will die. Verse 47, by believing you have eternal life. Verse 51 ties in the Word becoming flesh, that Word we take in as life indeed. As we celebrate communion or the Lord’s Supper, we remember these symbols of bread and
    the cup as spiritually partaking and reminding us of his sacrifice for us, his continuing intercession, and the promise of eternal life through God’s gift of Jesus to believers.
    7:7,12,43. Have any separated from you because you are a Christian? There are tensions that occur. Some hate Christ in you. Divisions arise in the world because the world is wicked and evil and hates Christ. See Matthew 10:28-29.
    7:15, 45, 47. What is the answer to the questions poised in these 3 verses? The answer is in verse 16 and 46 (Also note this in the middle of the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles which lasted a week, when the Jewish people were reminded of the time they lived in tents in the wilderness and depended on God’s provision.
    7:37-39. What is the drink? It is living water flowing through believers when the Holy Spirit has given them the ability to believe (salvation). The belief is a gift of God and brings us to Christ for living water that will then flow through us (see Ephesians 2:8-10). Where do you go to receive this drink? In verse 37, Jesus again states He is the inexhaustible source of living water. As you read this chapter and correlate with the bread and drink passages of chapter 6, you see that in chapter 7, especially in verse 37, the setting is the last day of the Feast of Booths. This was the end of the ceremony when the Jewish people were reminded of the provision of water from the rock (see Exodus 17:6, Numbers 20:8-12, 1 Corinthians 10:4). Jesus stood up at that point, dramatically making the same truth statement He made to the Samaritan woman in John 4. At this point I like to share the example of a water pipe with water in it. There is a need for inflow and outflow to have running/flowing water versus stagnant. If the outflow is shut off, it is like our saying that we have water, but we are not sufficient which may result in feeling un comfortable to share (we just do not know enough of truth to share the gospel yet!). If the inflow is shut off, there soon is only a trickle remaining to share (we don’t do Bible study or take in new truth, we depend on our granted faith to continue to carry us through). So, you see, either way the flow of Christ’s living water through us is held up. This is a reminder to stay in the Word, study to be approved, a workman ready for the Lord’s task, who then provides the needed supply of His water through us, sufficient for each day’s needs, with His love and gospel message flowing out in our conversations and interactions with others around us each day, the ‘thirsty’. We often say to be light and salt in your daily walk, but we also need to say, ‘Be living water!’
    8:12-30. Jesus says, “I AM the Light of the world.” He who follows Jesus will not walk in darkness, and will have the light of life! At the end of the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles we mentioned, there was a light ceremony, so this statement by Jesus follows His telling about living water at the end of chapter 7. A controversy immediately erupted about His statements and who He was. This reference to light came at the time of the lamp lighting ceremony, that is again related to the time in the wilderness when the Lord was a pillar of fire/light to follow at night (Exodus 13:21-22). Note again how Light is needed to dispel and now lead in darkness. This ceremony took place opposite the treasury where Jesus also taught about the widow and her 2 mites (see Mark 12:31, 43)
    8:31-32. What does it mean to be free? These 2 verses are often memorized and we need to see in them the knowledge of the truth that is the basis of true freedom. But that is not all. Satan has all the words memorized and knows them, so we see we also must have belief/faith from God. These 2 verses are in the midst of more interaction and conversations between Jesus and religious leaders and followers. Note this is after telling listeners His testimony is true because He is from His Father who sent Him. One interesting question is in verse 19, “Where is your Father?” They did not understand at all, or their
    question would have been, “Who is your Father?!” Notice Jesus response, again is to know Him, and then because we know His Word, and have belief, we will know His relationship with His Father—and the truth. Note verse 47 also. (See John 10:31 where Jesus also says, “I and the Father are One.”)
    8:44. Now see an unbeliever has the devil as father and can only do evil. That person is not free, and the devil is a murderer, liar, and has no truth. Go back to verse 34 and see we were all slaves (not free) to sin before believing in Christ. If we remain such slaves we have no inheritance in Christ, but if the Son sets us free, we become adopted sons, and now bondservants of the Lord, the definition of true freedom we have as believers (I often use the illustration of a train locomotive is most free when it is on the tracks).
    8:23-25, 50, 59. Two questions are asked, ‘Who are You?’ and ‘You are not yet 50 years old, and you have seen Abraham?’ It is important to see all through this chapter that Jesus was teaching the truth, including who He was, and His relationship to God the Father. Take note of these statements that we need to understand about Jesus: I am from above. If you do not believe I am He, you will die in your sins. If anyone keeps my Word he shall never see death (death means eternal separation from fellowship with God). Before Abraham was, I AM (this is the 3rd of the I AM’s of Jesus in John). We often call Jesus the great I AM—He was, is and evermore shall be, but better understood as the ever-present One.
    John 9. As we read this chapter about the man born blind, the question is, ‘Why was this man born blind, or more generally as application, why is there suffering?’ There are multiple answers and here are some: 1- God’s judgment (1 Corinthians 11:20, 30-34), 2- general calamities or disasters (Luke 13:1-5), 3- Satan’s assault (Luke 13:16), 4- correction by God (Hebrews 13:5), 5- trial for strengthening our faith (1Peter 2:19-20), 6- display of God’s work, by either enabling and sustaining grace for the one suffering (2 Corinthians 2:5-7), or delivering power as seen here in the blind man (note that Jesus says sin was not the reason for this suffering, but that the work of God through Jesus might be seen).
    I love to ‘see’ and understand Jesus as the Light of the world dispelling darkness and allowing me to perceive who He truly is. This subject started us at the beginning of this book and now continues, so we see it is of key importance. Note the physical to spiritual progression of ‘light’ and ‘seeing’ of this ‘blind’ man in verses 11, 17, 24, 30-31, 32, 33 (if, then statement), 36-38 (belief and worship as result of spiritual ‘seeing’ = faith). Now go back and see the progression of blind to seeing in verses 1, 6-7, 11, 15, 25 and the contrast of darkness and light in verses 4-5 (see also Colossians 1:13, 1 John 1:5-7). Think now about the physical ability to see which requires both light and properly formed and functioning eyes. Then think about spiritual seeing occurs after knowing and receiving the ‘Light’ as well as the God given ability to perceive and believe. As a Christian, we can truly sing the truth of Amazing Grace (note ‘amazing’ in verse 30), ‘I once was blind, but now I see!’ Then ‘see’ that you too need to apply this amazing chapter which has followed the previous revelation of Jesus saying, ‘I am the Light of the world’ –as you tie in the accompanying spiritual ‘seeing’ of this believer as an example to us, and then to ‘see’ also that this blind man now ‘seeing’, shares boldly about the Lord. Finally, the last 2 verses speak of those who are lost who cannot ‘see’. Jesus confronts them with, ‘If you knew you were blind (I consider this to mean their spiritual blindness and guilt), you would have no sin (or like saying you would obviously seek illumination from the Light = salvation)
    For a moment, go back to verses 4 and 25 and ‘see’ no matter if we feel we lack or do not have enough ability, the time is short (daylight with night coming), and we must be about the work of testifying about
    the Lord, no matter the limits we feel. He then will reveal greater truths about Himself to you, as you ‘see’ the Light brighter and brighter.
    As we transition to chapter 10, now is a good time for an attitude check. Satan continues his subtle influence and would have us believe 1- ‘I am only human’, as an excuse for sin, 2- ‘I can’t’, which really means I won’t even try (I had a grandmother who, every time I said ‘can’t’ would quietly reply, “’Can’t’ died in the cornfield last night!”), 3- ‘I am too weak’, as a way we resist the Lord’s gracious help, 4- ‘I will let the Lord lead’, also our own interpretation of ‘Wait upon the Lord’, which shows our irresponsibility and passive rebellion and refusal to consider obeying, and 5- ‘I know so little’, which is very damaging if it continues to lead to our refusal to read, study and ask for understanding of God’s Word including memorization and prayer.
    10:1-30. Why is Jesus called Shepherd and why are we called sheep? This chapter is considered allegory and not parable, therefore we need to understand the illustration but cannot press the details. Jesus as the Good Shepherd is the 5th I AM, and immediately follows His 4th I AM statement of being the Door (entering the door is not only a symbol of the way/path, but a promise of salvation and provision—note verse 9, ‘will be saved’ and ‘find pasture’). We know and learned about the Lord as Shepherd in Psalm 23 and many other places in the Old Testament (see Zechariah 13:7, a passage that Jesus applies to Himself in Matthew 26:31). Now, in this chapter, we again see many of the Shepherd qualities of care, provision, protection, leadership, direction, sacrifice (lays down His life for the sheep), and gives His sheep eternal life.
    The sheep are believers and a saved sheep’s nature is to hear the voice of their Shepherd, they listen and heed, and they follow His leading, showing evidence of His care and discipline. And, as sheep, we need to claim all He provides in times of struggle or trouble. We have eternal security. A conclusion I can make (based on 10:14-15 and 29 about His knowing His sheep), “Jesus knows me, this(thus) I love!”, a reversal of phrases in the song we learned as a child and still sing. A side note is all this took place at the Feast of Dedication, which remembers the restoration of the temple and was in December (currently celebrated as the Jewish Hanukkah).
    11:1-44. What is your recourse or response when you question a particular trial or testing situation? In this chapter formulate your response as you read verses 4, 15, 25-26, 40 and 42. Trials stretch our faith, but a teaching is, “there is no trial that is not a trial!” Trials or testing also cause us to more fully realize His purpose in all things. In verses 25-26 Jesus provides our 6th ”I AM the resurrection and the life.” See this is followed by the question, “Do you believe this?”
    Let’s review this and imagine yourself as Martha, or a disciple, or one observing at the tomb. Jesus learns that Lazarus is sick. We are told He stayed 2 days longer after telling His disciples this illness does not lead to death, but instead is for the glory of God. We see that Jesus knows all that has, is and will happen. Jesus arrives after Lazarus has been dead 4 days, and before getting there, Martha hears He is coming and goes to meet Him, saying, if He had only been here, her brother would not have died. Jesus says her brother will rise again, and she says she knows that (because she believed in the resurrection of the dead, see Daniel 12:2). Then we see Mary also goes to the Lord and says also, if He had only been here. Jesus arrives at the tomb and weeps. Now notice in verse 36 that the observers wonder why this Jesus who made the blind man see could not have kept this man from dying. At this point Jesus asks that the stone be removed.
    Now, even though Martha had professed and believed in the resurrection, she is dealing with the reality of her brother’s death and decaying body that would be found. Jesus tells her again as He had also told His disciples they would see the glory of God. He then prays to His Father that those gathered might believe that God sent Him, and then orders Lazarus to come forth (remember, the call of the Lord is irresistible). It specifically says that Lazarus does come forth with hands, feet and face wrapped and bound. Jesus says to unbind or strip him and let him go. We too have to be stripped of what binds us from seeing the way and hindering in our walk. Wow, Jesus really does raise the dead to life! Martha is an example of one who believed but now she really believes. One sermon summarized this chapter as delay by Jesus is deliberate, then seems devastating, and finally is recognized as divine.
    12:1-8, 24-26. What does the anointing of the feet of Jesus by Mary suggest to you? The setting is a dinner with Lazarus, Mary and Martha. The disciples are there also. Mary gives, shows, and shares the very best from what she has,– and also her loving heart, by using the costliest ointment and her tears. The disciples were also present and Judas is grieved at the extravagant waste. The contrast points out our hearts and our faith. You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. We all can have excuses for our failure of self-denial in the areas of worship, talent, money and time. Turn now to verse 24 and see that self-denial is a dying to self which is best explained by a seed dying so a new, fruit bearing plant arises! And, as Christians, we need to ask, “What is Jesus death for you, now requiring of you?” We too need to see self-denial is key, so we are freed from Satan’s rule and are not like Judas.
    There are a couple more things we learn about Jesus in this chapter. First, he rides into Jerusalem at the time of the feast and is heralded as King as He fulfills the prophesy of Zechariah 9:9, and they are singing Psalm 118:25-26. This is a day we still remember on ‘Palm Sunday’. Second, 12:27-50 is a long section in which Jesus speaks of His death and the need for belief in those that follow Him. He says that when He is lifted up, all people will be drawn (again, as in John 3:16, this is not every single person, rather all kinds of people without distinction). The people are confused about ‘He will be lifted up’ since their teaching was ‘the coming Christ (Messiah) remains forever’.
    13:1-20. What do you learn and apply by Jesus example of foot washing? Jesus rose from supper, filled a basin and proceeded to wash the disciples’ feet. Peter objected and Jesus said that he was clean except his feet (seems obvious). Then Jesus sits down and ‘resumes’ His place. Then He teaches for their understanding and our application. He says He has given them an example. Interpreting these verses needs to include that we have had a ‘full bath of salvation’, but we need moment by moment cleansing of sin stains (dirt) in order to remain clean (see Luke 22:27, Ephesians 5:6-11 and 1 John 1:8-2:2). We also learn that Jesus is an example of servant leadership as we too should seek to humbly serve others. (Many point out that the culture was the lowliest person would wash your feet when entering a house, so it seems likely none of the disciples considered himself lowly enough to do this task)
    Then in the midst of this chapter there are a couple instances of Jesus referring to Himself as ‘I AM’ or ‘I AM He’ (13:13, 19) I have a separate WORD document about the occurrences of I AM in John that I will send to my email list, but others who want it, email me GeneBaillie@gmail.com
    Now, beginning in 13:18, we see that Jesus identifies His betrayer as Satan working through Judas. It seems that maybe only John knows the identity at this point. Jesus also refers to a heel being lifted up against Him, quoting from Psalm 41, but also go back and read Genesis 3:15 concerning Satan and the crushed heel.
    13:34-35. What do we learn from this verse? What I am in Christ and what He did for me can be simply said, “I can love only because I am loved.” This is a new commandment only in the sense of being freshly applied to ‘love one another’ by seeing He has loved you, recognizing a key part of His grace in you, who also are one of His disciples. Note also that ‘love thy neighbor’ is now clarified by saying ‘love one another’
    14:1-31. Where is Jesus? What is He doing? Also read Hebrews 7:25. He begins by telling the disciples He is going to prepare a place for them, that they may follow. We of course know He rose from the dead and is in heaven at the right hand of God the Father, interceding for us (as an aside, this passage also points out the importance of knowing that we pray in Jesus name because we recognize this interceding on our behalf before God—see verses 6 and 13, and Hebrews 7:25). Then the question is asked, ‘How can we know the way?’ Jesus responds with the 7th I AM, “I AM the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.”
    Verse 12 can be a bit puzzling as to how we can do greater works than Jesus? His earthly ministry was a brief 3 years and localized to only the places he walked. With the Holy Spirit indwelling us and our current world and its technology, we can indeed witness and share with more people in more places than He did. The remainder of the chapter explains the coming of the Holy Spirit, which we now have. He is a person of the Trinity who is and will be the Helper who will come alongside (paraclete) and teach all things. Praise the Lord for His Spirit who helps understand and apply the Word (see John 15:26).
    15:1-17. The 8th I AM is, “I AM the true vine.” The question is what does the fruit refer to? See first that the vine is cared for and the branches are either being nourished or are dead. So, the connected branches are either pruned (those in Christ = true believers) or cut off to be burned (those not in Christ). If you visit a vineyard, you will learn that the branches that are to bear fruit are pruned, and then tied in to a position to have the most sunlight, and then only the new growth bears grapes. This is so the branch can go from none to some, then more and finally the most fruit possible! Note the word ‘more’ in verse 2 and ‘much’ in verses 5 and 8. So, the conclusion is that all believers will be pruned (and this is not punishment) and the fruit is the believer’s Christ-like life produced in us by the Holy Spirit, that can also result in your outward ministry in God directed evangelism. To say it another way , we are to realize the fruit mentioned is not specified as either internal fruit (sanctification) or external fruit (personal ministry) and it could include both. Later we see ‘produce fruit that will remain—and thus prove to be my disciples’. This again could be either internal or external or both. This does not mean that the result of a branch (you) with much fruit will not do anything—quite the contrary, you will persist in being fruitful inside and out, you will do good works, you will witness, you will share, and you will praise and worship the Lord (see Colossians 1:10, Hebrews 13:15).
    We are to remain securely placed (closely abide) and be subject to pruning and fruit bearing (see Romans 12:1-2). A corollary thought process is that the Lord is making us into sharp and straight arrows for His purposes. First He selects our branch, whittles off the bark and removes the knots, then carefully dries the wood, then shapes it straight and true, sands smooth, applies finish, makes the notch at one end, puts on the feathers and the point. Then He puts this arrow into His quiver to keep safely until the time He chooses to send it to its intended place, to do the intended work. The work and the place, but especially the time, is something we try to manage, but cannot!
    Continuing on, we should see the fruit of the Spirit’s work in and through us, before we see any of the gifts of the Spirit (see Romans 12:13, 1 Corinthians 12-14, 1 Peter 4:7-11, Jude 20-25)
    Chapter 16 points out the work of the Holy Spirit with the coming departure of Jesus from His earthly ministry. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness and judgement. A review of other work of the Holy Spirit we see in John includes our regeneration we equate with being born again (3:5-8), comforting (14:16-18), telling or teaching us about Christ, plus helping us witness (15:26-27), and teaching us or reminding us of truth (14:26).
    Chapter 17 is the threefold prayer by Jesus for Himself, His disciples, and for all believers. We are to be like Olympians and carry the torch of truth (17:4, 8 20, 21).
    18:1-11. What difficulties keep you from praying? In this passage we note that Satan knew the place Jesus was praying. He also knows the place we set aside, and then hinders our getting there physically and mentally. Our list of hindrances includes wandering thoughts, too busy, not enough time, tired, lusting, distractions of people and events, and guilt.
    Now think about Judas and Peter. Both are standing there, one counterfeit and one a genuine believer. You might not be able to discern who is the believer if you only had the scene and aftermath. But their sorrow is different (see 2 Corinthians 7:10). I remember another example. Two snowflakes look identical to us in all respects, and fall on the peak of a mountain. As they melt they go down opposite sides and end up worlds (oceans) apart!
    Chapter 19. Think how Jesus was a substitute for us in life and in death. His life was an example to us and His righteousness is credited to our account. He died in our place, taking the penalty for our sin and our total disobedience (depravity). Hebrews 9 and 10 is a good place to review His once for all sacrifice and the reasons it does not need to be repeated.
    20:1-18. What does the reality of the resurrection mean to you? For starters, Jesus was really dead and really rose again—that is reality. His death for us was important, but the resurrection is key in sealing the benefits to each of us as believers (Romans 5:10, 1 Corinthians 15, Hebrews 7:25, 1 John 2:1-2) Death is not conquered by eliminating life culminating in death only and final, end, over. We instead know that death is conquered and note the victory when we depart this world is that we go from earthly life to everlasting eternal life in an instant.
    20:30. What is the purpose of the book of John? Eternal life begins while we are believers on this earth. We will face death, but we have the promise death is only that instant, has no sting, and immediately we are in the presence of the Lord forever, more alive than we have ever been.
    Chapter 21 tells of Jesus being recognized cooking fish on the seashore and His restoration of Peter. Remember that Peter had denied Jesus 3 times beside a charcoal fire (18:13-27), with a stark reminder of Jesus words by the rooster crowing. Now see that Jesus asks Peter a repeated question 3 times beside a charcoal fire (21:9)! Peter is brought back to the point of remembering his denial. The first and second times Jesus now asks whether Peter loves Him using the ‘agape’ word for love or the love of God, each followed by a command to feed and then tend sheep (other believers). The last time is a very penetrating question of ‘Do you love me’ using the ‘phileo’ or brotherly love form of love, also calling him Simon (remember it means wishy-washy). This speaks to each of us like saying, ‘Do you even have brotherly love for Jesus?! Jesus then even points out to him that he will glorify God in his death. We too need to be reminded of all that Jesus has done for us and is doing for us. We too will suffer, but we are
    to love God in all ways, and serve Him, both in the good and the suffering times, bringing Him glory. It is all about Him.
    As I finish, I again note the beloved ‘wife of my life’ Gini departed this world to the eternal presence of God in May, 2015. I wrote 3 books, praying that each would be used in some way to bring God glory. They are available at ReadGoodBooks.org with ‘The Journey Home’ being about our dealing with trials and difficult times but many reviewers call it a love story of our 51 years of marriage. The second is a thinking book, ‘Nothing Matters’ as something that does matter! The third is ‘Death Takes Time’ as a serious play on words. Also available on Amazon by searching for Gene Baillie.

  2. 38 Zechariah is the next to last book of OT
    Zechariah’s ministry starts at the same time as Haggai, but lasts longer. His name means ‘God remembered’. Quotes regarding his prophesies of Christ are mentioned in the New Testament second most frequently (Isaiah is quoted the most). One noteworthy feature of many reviewers is the tightly interwoven present and future aspects of the visions of the first half of the book..
    Here at the beginning let me list the verses related to Christ with corresponding NT references, some of which are exact quotes in the New Testament and others are more general references.
    2:5, 10 Dwelling with His people (John 1:14)
    3:8 Branch as Servant (Mark 10:45)
    6:13 Branch as Priest (Hebrews 6:20-7:1)
    6:13, 9:9-10 King (Matthew 21:4-5)
    11:12-13 Betrayed (Matthew 27:5-10)
    12:10 Pierced (John 19:34,37)
    13:1 Fountain (Revelation 21:6)
    13:7 Shepherd (Matthew 26:31 and John 10:11)
    13:9 the Lord is God (John 1:1)
    14:9 Kingdom over the whole earth (Revelation 11:15)
    Chapters 1-6 describe 8 night visions. I will make a few verse comments along the way, but you can read other commentaries about the meanings of each of these 8 visions.
    Chapter 2 opens with a vision about a measuring line used to ‘size up’ the width and length, possibly for a time of rebuilding and restoration. Later in chapter 4:8-10 we see a ‘plumb line’ as a different example of the Lord ‘measuring’ the uprightness and nearness to the truth in the rebuilding of the walls, but also to apply to our own lives (see also Amos 7:7-8).
    2:5, 10 tells of God dwelling in the midst of His people (see John 1:14 about Jesus tenting or dwelling with us, and we know that the spirit of Christ dwells with His children).
    2:8 reminds us again that God’s children are the ‘apple’ of His eye (meaning the pupil or of central importance)
    3:2 “brand plucked from the fire”. This is applying to a vision of seeing Joshua like a brand plucked from the fire (fire representing Satan’s control). Remember Joshua was a mighty brand of, and used by the Lord as an ‘imprint’ or ‘stamp’ as he was the high priest and a ‘brand’ name! We saw this same brand metaphor earlier in Amos 4:11 and I wrote notes as follows: ‘the people “were like a firebrand plucked from the burning” but they still did not turn back to the Lord’. Despite the mercy of God on such occasions, the people still were sinful and will not turn back to the Lord. I grew up in rural Nebraska and occasionally we would brand cattle and so this particular verse has a special meaning to me. The metal branding iron is first heated in the fire but not to the point of melting the metal. Then it is “plucked” from the fire and used to instill or burn its impression (a brand) on the animal. In applying this verse to us, we are often heated in the furnace of affliction, but the Lord then uses us to accomplish His purpose to place His “brand” on those around us. I see affliction and trials have at least three purposes in our lives. First, like Amos describes, it is used as a punishment by the Lord to get our attention and turn us from sin. Second, it is the Lord’s way of getting our attention and turning us from our own desires and ways, to accomplish His will, not ours, and for our good and for His glory. And third, as a believer, it is the Lord’s way of removing the worldly from us as we age, –as He prepares us for leaving this earth to join Him in heaven.
    3:8 (and again in 6:12-13) refers to the Branch which is Jesus in the ‘two offices’ of priest and king upon a throne!
    4:6 is an oft quoted verse reminding us that in our own might or power we cannot accomplish anything. Instead, we need, and have to depend on God’s Spirit as our power. This is followed in verse 7 with a reference to the capstone, the last and most important stone holding the entire structure together (read about the construction of arches, ancient and modern such as the St Louis arch. There are New Testament references to Christ as the capstone. Also note in 3:9 the reference to stone. There are also many references to Christ as the stone (such as the stone the builders rejected) and as Rock.(Psalm 18 as one example).
    4:10 speaks of despising the day of small things, importance of plumb line and finishing well our walls built upon the properly laid foundation (see note for chapter 2 above)
    After the first 6 chapters of visions, chapter 7 occurs about 2 years later and a question about whether to continue to fast came up. His answer is that obedience to the Lord is better than sacrifice, repeating the principle we have read about time and again. It applies to us as well. No amount of fasting and prayer counts for anything if we are not turning ourselves, and every detail, over to the Lord completely, –resting, trusting, gaining strength for any task or trial, finding in ourselves He gives us but we also give His comfort (see 2 Corinthians 1), being confident in His plan and control, not ours.
    This is followed by chapter 8 which is a picture of the coming restoration result, and blessings of the Lord. And verse 23 states it includes us Gentiles—praise the Lord!
    9:9 King who comes riding into Jerusalem on a donkey is quoted in the New Testament (Matthew 21:1-11 as one passage) regarding King Jesus on what we now call Palm Sunday. As an aside, the word rejoice (as the verse 9 begins) is a joy that is best described as joy while you are turning around in circles (today we might express this by jumping up and down, turning cartwheels, and shouting for joy). And then note verse 9:11 where the blood of the covenant sets the prisoners free, including those in the miry/muddy/pit (refer back to Psalm 40:2)
    10:2-4 speaks of sheep without a shepherd (see Matt 9:35-37), but the Lord will make these sheep a part of His army and the cornerstone (or capstone) will come out of Judah (a reference again to Jesus as Shepherd, Mighty King, Savior, and the Cornerstone). Then in 10:8-9, 12 we see that after redemption, this people will be sent out to proclaim in His name (After we are saved, we are part of His mighty army, proclaiming His gospel truth,–and as the old ‘Battle Hymn’ goes, ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory of the Lord…His truth is marching on!’
    11:4-17 Here we read the example of Zechariah being a shepherd to a flock of sheep that will be slaughtered. Notice also that Zechariah is detested. Then he asks that he be given his wages, whatever is fair –and is given 30 pieces of silver (this is the price for a man slave—see Exodus 21:32 concerning the pricing of a slave, and then in Matthew 26:14-16 regarding Judas betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver). We don’t know for sure why, but Zephaniah throws the ‘lordly’ or ‘handsome’ price paid in silver into the temple to the potter working there. It seems that giving him only a slave price for his work was an insult.
    Also in this account note that Zechariah has 2 staffs as he cares for the sheep. One is named Favor (also means Beauty or Grace) and the other is named Bonds or Cords (also means Unity). Each is broken in turn to be an example of breaking of the covenant relationship, first the people with God, and second the brotherhood of Israel now divided.
    12:10 is a reference to the looking upon (in the sense of seeing and understanding) the one pierced. This is none other than Jesus as ‘seen’ in John 19:34, 37. Also, we see repeatedly in the New Testament that faith is ‘seeing’ and believing (see John 6:40 as one example).
    13:1 speaks of a fountain (that from which pours out) that reminds us of the cleansing of sin and impurity, which we now know is provided by the blood of Jesus, –which we sing about, ‘there is a fountain filled with blood’.
    13:6 wounds in the house of friends reminds us of Judas betrayal of Jesus with a kiss in Matthew 26:49. And Jesus called Judas a friend (in this case it seems to be in the sense of a false friend)
    13:7 Striking the Shepherd to scatter the sheep is quoted by Jesus in the betrayal passage in Matthew 26:31 which then tells us Judas does betray Jesus.
    14:9 speaks of the Lord as King and as One, His name ‘One’. He is the Only One!
    14:16-20 is a reference to the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles that may be manifested in the future in the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-3)
    Chapter Titles
    1- A Call to Repentance and Return to the Lord
    2- God’s Favor to Zion / Vision of Man with Measuring Line
    3- Vision of Seeing Joshua the High Priest
    4- Vision of Golden Lampstand and Olive Trees
    5- Vision of Flying Scroll and Woman in Basket
    6- Vision of Four Chariots
    7- Hearts Like Flint
    8- The Coming Peace and Prosperity of Zion
    9- Prophecies Against Neighboring Nations
    10- God Will Bless Judah and Ephraim
    11- The Doomed Flock
    12- Jerusalem to be Attacked / Him Whom They Have Pierced
    13- False Prophets Ashamed / Idolatry Cut Off
    14- God Will Battle Foes / Coming Day of the Lord

  3. 37 Haggai

    As we indicated in previous notes on Ezra and Nehemiah, Haggai is not only the first (chronologically also) of the last 3 minor prophet books that end the Old Testament, but these 3 books of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi are the only post exile prophetic books. Haggai takes place (along with Zechariah) in the 2nd year of King Darius when the Jewish people had returned to Jerusalem and correlates with the timeline of the book of Ezra as the temple restoration resumes and is finished (Malachi takes place a little later and is related to the book of Nehemiah timeline). I find it interesting that Haggai means festive or festival, and the date given is around the time of the Festival of Booths, when the people build temporary structures like we would with tents at fairs or tailgates, but instead were to honor and remember the Lord. But the people are living in their nice houses while the temple of the Lord is in ruins. Throughout the book, we see Haggai confronts, but also tells of the Lord’s blessing on the people, each time beginning (as many other of the prophetic books) with, “the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai”. Another key phrase in these last 3 books of the OT is, “the Lord of hosts”. The word ‘hosts’ has the meaning of those that go forth on behalf or at the order of, suggesting the agents God uses to accomplish His purposes (like His angels or His army), but the Lord is the one who is directing and accomplishing the work. A key word used 4 times is ‘consider’ (see 1:5 and 2:15)
    Haggai 1
    The book opens with a date statement that lets us know he is speaking and writing just as the 16 year gap in the rebuilding of the temple is ending, when King Darius re-issues a previous decree of Cyrus that had allowed the exiles to return to the rebuilding of the temple. Haggai is the Lord’s messenger to awaken the people from their lethargy and complacency.
    1:2-8 This is the first confrontation for the people given to him from the Lord is to say (while the people think it is not time to restart the building) and to point out they are living in nice houses while the temple remains in ruins. Instead, they need, like us, to “Consider your ways!” (of futile and temporal thinking), and take action to get the materials and build the temple, that the Lord might be glorified. For you see, outward opposition and internal indifference had halted the work on the temple for over 15 years. How many times do our many personal and temporal goals, as well as minor persecutions, keep us from our work for the Lord, stymie us, or crowd out time with the Lord?
    1:9-11 follows with a statement concerning how the people have sought much, but received or have little in way of results (and even the little, the Lord has ‘blown away’). He goes on to say the Lord will continue getting their attention through a drought.
    1:12-15 As we finish this chapter, we see the response of the people to Haggai’s words from the Lord is repentance or a turning from their standstill, and in less than a month, they begin again the work on the temple in obedience to the Lord.
    Haggai 2
    As this chapter opens, we see that another month has gone by and Haggai again is speaking, “Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory?” There were a few elderly who had gone to exile 70 years previous (and now returned) who were still alive and could remember what the temple looked like. This further encourages the people in the work, and Haggai confirms the words of the Lord by saying, “…and work, for I am with you.”
    Please note in verse 5 that the Spirit of the Lord is “abiding in your midst, do not fear!” Then see verse 9 indicating the latter glory of this house will be greater than the former. This definitely refers to the current temple to be rebuilt as compared to the former, but also is referring to a future temple as well. God is dwelling in each of us, if we are His chosen, His temple. We are His temple, for His glory!
    2:10-14 Note that it is now only 2 months later. The people are now on board to begin the actual work, but Haggai gives another of the Lord’s confrontation, this time their defilement before a holy God. The people are unrighteous and none of their work is pleasing to the Lord. A couple examples are given in going to get promised grain or wine that really turns out to be only half as much as promised. As we shall see in the next book, and in the corresponding passage in Zechariah 1:3-6, (he is giving the Lord’s message at the same time), the people need to “turn from your evil ways and your evil deeds”. See too the application to our lives as the Lord separates you from the worldly, blowing away the defiling, vanity and useless in us.
    2:15-19 Haggai begins with ‘now’ which indicates they have turned, and instructs that before a stone is laid upon stone to carefully consider and know the Lord will bless–just as we too need to constantly ‘consider’ to determine our own heart, goals and attitudes, so that our work for the Lord is blessed and then becomes a blessing to others through us as our temple of living stones is built up individually and together as the body of Christ—see 1 Peter 2:4-9.
    2:20- Haggai concludes with the promise of the Lord to overthrow the Gentile kingdoms who will submit to God as their Lord (again, for the intended application for us, note what we saw in Daniel 2:44, 7:27, that this temple they are rebuilding is an image of the future kingdom that shall never be destroyed). Just as Zerubbabel was chosen of God, so each of us, as His precious child, are chosen.
    In summary, ‘consider’ your life and your path/steps, that you might ‘build’ up in the Lord, not self. Do His work, not your own.
    Haggai Chapter Titles
    1- Haggai Instructs Rebuilding the Temple Begin
    2- The Builders Encouraged

  4. 35 Habakkuk
    Habakkuk means embrace as one who tenderly, but firmly and closely embraces. 2:4 is an important verse that Martin Luther saw clearly referenced and connected to Romans 1:17, and became an important truth of the reformation, “the righteous will live by his faith.” So, we see that salvation has always been by faith and faith alone. See Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38.
    Chapter 1:1-4, Habakkuk takes a complaint to God for not dealing with evil and saving His people. In 1:5-11 we read of God’s response that He will work through the Babylonians. 1:12-17 Habakkuk understands God’s holy standards, but questions the seeming unholy means. (My yearly reading assignment included chapter 1 just after the World Trade Center attack and collapse in September, 2001!)
    Chapter 2 describes God’s plainly written and merciful response of ‘the righteous shall live by faith’ followed by woes to the unrighteous, represented by the Babylonians. One must continue to trust in and cling to God even in the darkest days. Waiting on the Lord is not sad resignation, but a time for active trust. Again, everything is for God’s glory and about Him and His purposes, not about us! The chapter ends with ‘the Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him’.
    Now look back at the ‘woes’ of chapter 2: woe to him who increases what is not his, covets evil gain, builds with bloodshed, getting another drunk to accomplish your goal, and trusting in idols.
    Now in chapter 3 notice Habakkuk’s prayer with his ‘transformations’ list, which Gini recorded the following comparisons in her Bible provided from a talk of sermon. From questioning to praying, confusion to certainty, perplexed to full trust, pride to humility, and trusting self to faith. See also that God is merciful, provides salvation, we are to wait quietly, rejoice in our God. Also see 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 about our needed change in focus and Jude 24 emphasizing God is sovereign.
    3:17-19 is what Gini termed a Christian farmer’s motto. Both of us grew up in rural Nebraska, her entire childhood was on a farm, and on our 20th wedding anniversary, she cross-stitched these verses to hang in our home. The last verse is also meaningful to me as we envision the Lord’s provision for us as we attain to the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus, running the race, climbing the heights, knowing He also carries our burdens! Have you ever watched a video of the mountain deer climbing sheer rock faces of mountains? That suggests only a part of our awesome Lord who holds our hand, carries us (and our burdens) to the heights. See 1 Peter 5:6-7 and Philippians 3:12-14
    Gini also had this note at the end of Habakkuk: The cross is God’s divine perspective on suffering—realize our suffering is never as great or as serious as we deserve and the cross is also the ultimate evidence of God’s love and sacrifice for His children. Then she wrote out the verses of the song by William Cooper from 1774, ‘God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform…’ Look up the entirety of this song as it reflects the message of Habakkuk.
    Chapter Titles
    1- Chaldeans Used to Punish Judah / Habakkuk’s Complaint
    2- God Answers the Prophet / The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
    3- God’s Deliverance of His People / Habakkuk’s Prayer

  5. I am putting several of the Bible books together in this post as we finish up the Old Testament. So, these are several after last post of Daniel, and are in reverse order. Only 5 books left in OT.
    34 Naham
    Nahum means comfort, but only a couple verses in the book hint at the comfort of the redeeming love of God (1:7). All this evil in Nineveh which is described is only 125 years after Jonah had been there– when we know there was widespread repentance of the people. The book is written as a series of Hebrew poems.
    Although Nineveh is the specific subject, this book is his vision and really a sermon to show God is sovereign in and over absolutely everything, knowing all things including those who trust or take refuge in Him (1:7). Naham points out that the Lord not only expects this trust, but also obedience, and there are consequences of failure to trust and obey in cultures, governments and individuals. The patience of the Lord is not to be misunderstood, and He orchestrates all events for His purposes and in His timing (see 1:3 that the “Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and…will by no means leave the guilty unpunished”). The Lord is also redemptive, as that also fits into His perfect plan for His created universe.
    The imagery of total destruction of Nineveh in my mind would be likened (but also certainly very different) to our modern laser technology first reducing structures and people to a puddle, and then evaporating/vaporizing the puddle! Certainly at the beginning of chapter 2 there is much battle language, a warning to protect the fortress, watch the road, and also of shields, spears, chariots, –but there is indication of a backstory also! In 1:8, Naham predicts an overflowing and destroying flood. This seems to have been accomplished when the Medes diverted the Chebar or Khebar River (the same river mentioned in Ezekiel, but a different place along the river) into the city of Nineveh which allowed not only the flooding of the city, but also allowing the slow dissolving of the bricks! See 2:6,8 that the palace is ‘dissolved’ and the city reduced to a ‘pool of water’. Then see the language in 2:10 of fear that has knees knocking together, but also hearts ‘melting’, and faces ‘drained’ of color. All of this water language shows the Lord empties and makes desolate, reducing to nothing to be left, identifiable, or visible.
    But, now go back and see the contrast in 1:15 of the proclamation on the mountain of good news that will be brought by someone on foot (and is quoted in Romans 10:15). Contemplate your own ‘walk’.
    Chapter Titles
    1- God is Awesome
    2- The Overthrow of Nineveh
    3- Nineveh’s Complete Ruin

    33 Micah
    Micah is written to both pre-exile Judah and Israel (Assyria will capture Israel during his ministry as he prophesies in 1:2-7, and Assyria will then march against Judah and come near to Jerusalem as described in 1:8-16, –actually to the very gate as noted in 1:12).
    In contrast to Jonah, Micah knows and obediently fulfills his call by the Lord. Micah makes 19 separate prophesies. Some reviewers suggest these prophesies be divided into 3 sections beginning in 1:2, 3:1, and 6:1. His theme is mostly judgment is coming, then contrasted with salvation promised. God will judge because of the ongoing evil of idolatry, sorcery, deceit, and oppression of the poor. A covenant relationship with its promises, means both sides having responsibility. Because of disobedience to the covenant by His people, God’s punishment is required. But then Micah looks to coming restoration and blessing to a remnant.
    Just to point out an interesting presentation in 2:11. Micah essentially points out that the false prophets are telling the people what they need, can expect and what they should do. Then Micah basically says, if you agree with these liars, then you have just the prophet (drip of wine) you need! The word in my translation is ‘prophesy’ but literally means ‘a slow ooze, drip, or a small and incomplete portion’, and is in direct contrast with the other word used for a true prophet that is ‘abundant and bubbling up’! They are getting a dabble of dabbling! This is then confirmed in the next phrase of calling the false messenger a ‘prattler’ (see Isaiah 30:10 and 2 Timothy 4:3-4). I love word studies! –but space and time does not allow me to express very many, so delve in to reference assistance when you see something of interest or question.
    4:10 is a reference to Babylon, many years before it even was a power.
    5:1-5 is the promise of the Messiah (Jesus) to arise out of Bethlehem, Ephrathah (this is like our ‘city, state’ and a dual designation of the birthplace of Jesus).
    6:1-7 is ‘taking your case’ in the sense of to a judge and into a courtroom, which in this instance is the Lord’s created world! And the pronouncement of the court is a carefully worded 3 part requirement in verse 8 noted in the next paragraph.
    6:8 is an important verse that should be on your memory list, “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?” At first the question mark at the end of the verse seems a bit misplaced, but reading it carefully applies it correctly as we see the embedded answer to the question within the requirement.
    In the last chapter, we see that although throughout the book, he has been warning and pulling no punches concerning evil, responsibility and consequences, Micah also knows of the Lord’s promises and restoration as seen in 7:7-9, 18-20
    Chapter Titles
    1- The Coming Destruction of Israel and Judah
    2- Woe to Oppressors
    3- Rulers Denounced
    4- Peaceful Latter Days-Restoration in the Future, but Babylon Now
    5- Coming Birth of the King in Bethlehem
    6- God’s Indictment of His People
    7- Wait for the God of Salvation, Love and Compassion

    32 Jonah
    Jonah is a well-known account to most of us. Jonah was swallowed by a whale and after 3 days was ‘vomited’ onto the beach. A lessor known fact about the book is that Jonah was teaching and telling about himself, instead of preaching the words of the Lord to others. God teaches us His truth in this book by this personal account. Gini had this summary note: ‘1 Corinthians 13 states, “If I have the gift of prophesy…but have not love, I am nothing.” Jonah had the gift of prophesy and is one of the worst cases of rebellion in Scripture!’
    Chapter 1, We see Jonah refusing the call of the Lord to go call out (preach to) Nineveh (he thinks the people are evil and undeserving) and instead goes (flees) the opposite direction, getting on a ship. There is a storm and we are told the experienced sailors (professional ‘old salts’) are afraid but Jonah is calm and sleeping! Even these sailors know there is a power causing all this and want Jonah to call upon his God also. Jonah then admits he is running from his God who is the one controlling the sea and this situation. Only his substitution (by throwing him overboard) will save them and the ship. They tried saving their ship in their own might, but saw they could not, so resorted to throwing Jonah overboard. We are told the sea calmed and the men feared the Lord, offered sacrifices, and took vows (Jonah was used to sharing the Lord despite his wayward course, and the Lord granted salvation to these sailors as part of His plan).
    As chapter 1 ends we see our sovereign God continues His plan to preserve Jonah in the belly of a large fish (we usually interpret this as a whale). In chapter 2 Jonah prays while in the fish and recounts his feelings of nearly dying in the deep waters, but in 2:6-7 Jonah knows the Lord is the one who saves, and then Jonah makes a vow while being thankful. Read it again, but it appears that Jonah never repents (he is sorry and thankful, but not quite willing to give up on ‘self’)
    As chapter 2 ends, Jonah is vomited upon the shore and Jonah goes to Nineveh as originally instructed. He preaches to this city of wicked people (but note we are only told he says that in 40 days the city will be overthrown—there is no mention of Nineveh’s sin (in 1:2 he was to cry out against their wickedness), nor any response needed, or even God). Yet God causes widespread belief in Him, with the people of Nineveh turning from their evil ways.
    In chapter 4, Jonah expresses anger at the Lord’s goodness, kindness, grace, and mercy. He tells the Lord that this is why he fled to begin with, because this evil city should not be spared. He is essentially saying, ‘I did not want to do ministry in a place that did not deserve to be saved, because I knew you would save them and this is not what I wanted nor what I wanted to do.’ He just wants God to take his life. God then queries whether his anger with God is justified.
    The last account in the book is an object lesson of God providing a plant for much needed shade and relief from the hot sun, then withering the plant through a worm damaging it and taking away the shade. Jonah has the mix of thankfulness to the Lord and then confirms his anger that the plant has been removed. Although Jonah sees the Lord is the one who provides and takes away, also the one who makes the decisions not Jonah, Jonah ends the account with his hearing the Lord confirm that He has had pity on the people of Nineveh, just as Jonah has had pity on a single plant! Are not the elect of God as He determines far more important than a single plant? And God decides whom are to be His children, not us. We are simply to obey and tell of His good news.
    Review
    As you finish reading, consider with me the application to our own lives: ‘oh, what peace and happiness we often forfeit’, when we are in our wayward and rebellious ways, with the accompanying emotional and physical drain–even depression. Jonah is the only “thing” in the entire book disobeying God! We can learn much. In chapter 1 we learned that substitution saved the sailors and we also know that substitution saves sinners.
    Even when Jonah does go to Nineveh it appears that his short message of the upcoming ‘overturn’ is going to be one of destruction (I wonder if he was thinking of the changes God caused in the flood, the tower of Babel, or Sodom and Gomorrah recorded in Genesis). Instead it is a drastically different kind of change or upset. I see God’s humor in all this a bit too—Jonah had a 180 degree rebellious turn against God, and then Jonah observes a 180 degree turn of the rebellious to God! An unexpected kind of ‘overturn’ for sure, –see 1 Samuel 10:6 regarding turning.
    Then in chapter 4, we see that we often are like Jonah and angry, displeased and bitter with God when we see the wayward then blessed on their turning from their wicked ways. Like Jonah, we simply do not want to yield our ways to the Lord! We don’t want to accept Jonah 4:2, and we need to be confronted, like Jonah, with 4:4, ‘Do you (in this case I) have good reason to be angry?’ Even though we may answer correctly (‘I do not have reason’), we often do just as Jonah did in 4:5 and are passive, going off to brood! After more correction and teaching, we finally realize God is sovereign and we are not in control. The ultimate question is why we are more concerned with a single detail of our own life than in other people, especially those that don’t know the Lord. We have been saved out of the rebellious ways of our evil hearts, yet we still judge others who are helpless and unable to change without the Lord. He is using us in some way, we just need to not only see the opportunity, but to obey and share, despite our feelings. We are to know the Lord has a plan, and it is not about us, but about Him!
    Gini had these 4 application points for the book of Jonah.
    1- Be the reason for joy in a time of depression of another, helping them to evaluate their thinking in light of God’s ways.
    2- Be a friend and get involved in telling a depressed or unsaved person about the things of God, taking them away from any over-activity and busy work they have resorted to; a direction that is taking them in a way of avoiding seeing what God wants them to do.
    3- Don’t let yourself or others brood in your ‘rights’, respond instead with your responsibilities, allowing your will to align with the will of God.
    4- Are you OK with God loving your enemies?
    Chapter Titles
    1- Jonah’s Disobedience
    2- Jonah’s Prayer
    3- Jonah Goes to Nineveh—Nineveh Repents
    4- Jonah’s Displeasure Rebuked

    31 Obadiah
    Obadiah is a single chapter book of 21 verses often pretty much skipped over, but we shall look at the salient principle of ‘loving your brother’. Although the timing cannot be precisely determined, Obadiah likely was a prophet in Judah (the Southern Kingdom) at the end of the reign of king Jehoram and during the reign of Joah (also called Jehoash). This is at the same time as Elisha is a prophet to the North during reign of Jehu. Obadiah will be followed by Joel and then there will be a silence from prophets in the South for about 70 years until the time of Isaiah. Although there are many more pre-exile prophets that proceed Obadiah, this is the first with a separate book in either the North or the South. It is also the shortest book in the Old Testament. (However some suggest there is an alternate dating to a much later date of another battle just before the fall of Jerusalem, because of similar verses in Jeremiah 49:7-22 –but which Jeremiah may have been simply restating because of a repeated similar situation—see also Psalm 137 and Ezekiel 35:1-15)
    Obadiah starts with saying Obadiah has a vision concerning Edom. Edom was allied with Israel’s enemies when they attacked Jerusalem. The Edomites are the nation resulting from Esau, the twin brother of Jacob (Israel) and thus the reference to ‘brother’ in this book. The book begins with words against the Edomites for their siding with the enemies of Israel with the prophesy in verse 2 that Edom will be small among the nations and despised. This is followed by a reminder in verse 10 that this dissension among brothers has been going on since the original Esau/Jacob conflict, and is followed by verse 15, “As you have done, it shall be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.” (this is one of the sources cited for our ‘golden rule’ phrase, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’)
    Obadiah means ‘servant of the Lord’. There is reference to an attack on Jerusalem in which the Edomites watched with a degree of joy (descendants of Esau who you remember did not let the Israelites pass through their land, but really should be acting like brothers in both instances). This same lineage will be the Idumeans that includes Herod in the New Testament.
    Beginning in verse 17 and for the remainder of this short book, there is the assurance given that in the end Israel will triumph. This will be because of God’s sovereign deliverance and His justice and His purposes that will prevail, despite evil men. Verse 17, “But on Mount Zion shall be deliverance….and holiness”, and then continues in verse 19, stating the South shall possess not only all their enemies, but also Esau.
    The last verse indicates that the resulting “kingdom shall be the Lord’s”.
    Review / Application
    The conflict of Israel with the descendants of Esau that began with the jealousy, divisions, resentment, fear, and threats to kill between twin brothers is seen to continue much beyond the refusal to let the nation even pass through their nation, now to the point of glee at seeing an attack on, and refusal to come to the aid of, their brothers. This will continue on to another “battle” situation in the New Testament between King Herod, the Idumean descendant of Esau, and Jesus, the “King of the Jews” or “King of Kings”.
    There is much that can lead to our needed application in this short book. First, the attitude of Edom reminds us regarding our own attitudes of thoughts, words and actions against our ‘brothers’ in a host of spheres (our personal superiority feelings leading to sinful pride for ourselves regarding nation, race, work, income, privileges just to start!). We really don’t have a specific word for sin against a brother in our culture. And the underlying pride issue is the cause of nearly every fall, and why the Bible says, and we often quote, ‘pride comes before the fall’. (see Proverbs 16:18 and following verses)
    Then evaluate your degree of envy of others, or the seeming opposite in your joy at their misfortune. Again, pride can quickly enter in and even lead to hatred in both situations. Think for a minute, there is a tendency to spread the news of a situation in others as ‘concern’ or ‘we need to pray about…’, while we
    secretly deal with a bit of rejoicing in the suffering, rather than seeking attitudes and avenues of helping, loving, restoring and being a part of the healing—knowing we should be showing ‘brotherly love’ and kindness (Galations 6:1-2, Romans 12:3)
    And, let’s not forget the true and direct family interactions. The true ‘blood family’ connections are sometimes the most difficult, and again, our pride and personal feelings and opinions definitely play a role. It is especially important to prevent wounds, but if there are wounds, we are not to contribute to keeping them open and festering.
    Remember too that we need to trust, rest and have faith in our God, knowing He cares for His elect despite persecution, testing and other circumstances. Read, acknowledge and apply James chapter 1!
    Chapter Title
    God’s Coming Judgement Concerning Edom

    30 Amos
    Amos was a shepherd from Tekoa (just south of Jerusalem in Judah) but his message foretells the destruction coming from Zion for Israel as well as Judah. He supplemented his income by tending and carving sycamore or fig trees. He was such a thorn in Israel’s flesh that he had to return to Judah, where he committed his message to writing. 1:1 also tells us that he was a pre-exile prophet (just before Hosea) during the reign of Uzziah in Judah and Jeroboam in Israel.
    Notice in chapters 1 and 2 the pronouncements of the transgressions or sins are given as 3, and for 4 (the additional one mentioned is “for good measure” in our way of thinking), but the language really means each listing of a few is only the start of numerous, implying ‘too many to list’. And I think it was probably the same as now—we are comfortable when challenges and pronouncements are against others (in this case the beginning pronouncements are against the neighboring countries and what they have done to Israel and Judah), but then when the judgments are made against Israel or us, it is a different story! The message is against the wealthy, not because they have wealth, but what they are doing with it.– and the wealth is gained deceitfully (see 3:10 and 8:5)
    In chapter 3 we learn that Israel had been given the opportunity to know the will of God, thus would be expected to live by a higher standard of righteousness. In 3:3-8 several examples of connected phrases and sayings are given to alert our minds that ‘things just don’t happen spontaneously’, and the prophets writing has a purpose determined by God.
    4:1 “cows of Bashan” is a reference to the women. The social life of the nation was characterized by adultery, robbery, murder, and the luxury of the wealthy was built on injustice and oppression of the poor. Gini also emphasized this verse as the corollary teaching of the cause and results in a dissatisfied wife, 1- causes her to take and use what she has been given for herself instead of being used to serve the poor and needy, and 2- causes a loving husband to become a work-alcoholic or to oppress poorer people he interacts with, in order to provide for her inappropriate demands.
    Beginning in 4:6, the account is of various punishments that have been given to Israel, but they have “not returned to Me”. The term “cleanness of teeth” refers to hunger. Being deprived of basic needs is often used by the Lord to get our attention, again emphasizing our dependence on the Lord to supply our every need, all the while we often ignore Him, even demanding our wants.
    In 4:11 there is reminder of how the Lord dealt with Sodom and Gomorrah where the Lord allowed punishment by fire and brimstone. Then we are told the people “were like a firebrand plucked from the burning” but they still did not turn back to the Lord. Despite the mercy of God on such occasions, the people still are sinful and will not turn back to the Lord. I grew up in rural Nebraska and occasionally we would brand cattle and so this particular verse has a special meaning to me. The metal branding iron is first heated in the fire but not to the point of melting. Then it is “plucked” from the fire and used to instill or burn a brand on the animal. In applying this verse to us, we are often heated in the furnace of affliction, followed by the Lord using us to accomplish His purpose to place His “brand” on those around us. I see affliction and trials have at least three purposes in our lives. First, like Amos is describing, it is used as a punishment by the Lord to get our attention and turn us from sin. Second, it is the Lord’s way of getting our attention and turning us from our own desires and ways, to accomplish His will, not ours, which is for our good and for His glory. And third, as a believer, it is the Lord’s way of removing the worldly from us as we age, as He prepares us for leaving this earth to join Him in heaven. 4:12 with the phrase “prepare to meet your God, O Israel” is a reference back to Exodus 19:15-17. As you review those verses, see that we too, need to go through a time of preparation and sanctification to not only be in the Lord’s presence, but also to be properly used by the Lord, –and then follow the advice in Amos 5:5 to seek God and live.
    Chapter 5 has multiple examples that also apply to us–of seeking the Lord, His Word, His strength and protection, not the strength of men; seeking His righteousness, not that of surrounding people; seeking His provision and defense, not depending on our own power and work; seeking good, not evil or hating those speaking truth, or hating those who are in authority; seeking His light for our dark path, not calling on professional protestors; and seeking to worship Him rightly so that you might live.
    In 5:21 and 6:1, we need to see that we are not to be complacent, to have just a form of worship and appearance, but also to have a changed heart (see John 4:23-24 where the Lord challenges the woman at the well, as she realizes it is not the place of worship or its mode which matters, but a changed heart to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth–it is not where, but rather who and how). Chapter 6 generalizes the 4:1 example of just resting in the ease of life, even being arrogant, turning from the Lord completely, followed in the last verse of chapter 7, the prophesy that the land will go into exile (just as in Hosea 9:3). Then read the declaration in 8:11-12 about a famine of the Word. Now apply all that you have read to your own life, family, nation and world.
    6:12-13 are interesting verses indicating we too need to consider the following of our own ways is like riding horses on rocks or tiling rocky land. Pursuing our own worldly goals is really like rejoicing over nothing. Amos then reemphasizes the perversion of justice and righteousness.
    This is followed in chapter 7 relating 3 visions to emphasize the way the Lord could deal with disobedience. In the first two, He could have locusts devour the crop just before harvest or 2nd, have fire consume all of the accomplishments of the country. The third is a plumb line (a weight hung down on a string or rope) which is used by a carpenter or builder to accomplish a straight vertical line or straight wall. This vision seems to be that Israel will be subjected to a straightening or a decision about whether they “measure up” (and also note that the relationship measured is a vertical one). Gini often wore a small “plumb bob” on a necklace chain to have this plumb line example evident as she looked in the mirror at her own walk, and as she talked with others when they asked about it. She desired to be accountable to the Lord as she shared and taught His truths. Now I want you to turn to 7:14 and see, in addition to being a shepherd, Amos also tended the sycamore fruit. This is the process of removal of some of the budding fruit, and pruning of plants, so the result is the fruit being of superior quality. This is also where we get our phrase “Nip it in the bud!” In 8:11-12 there will be a hunger and thirst in the land for the words of the Lord, but they shall not find it. In contrast, 9:9-12, after “sifting” His people, the Lord will raise, rebuild, and restore the people, which will now include the Gentiles. Praise the Lord that He has allowed for us to also be called by His name, to be the children of God, to be called Christians!
    Then, as you read 9:11-15, rejoice that the Lord is allowing all which happens for His purposes, all things are in His perfect plan, and although there seems to be no solution, God has already won the battle!
    Chapter Titles
    1- Judgement on Neighbor Nations
    2- Judgement on Judah and Israel
    3- All the Tribes are Guilty
    4- Yet You Have Not Returned to Me
    5- Seek Me that you May Live
    6- Those at Ease in Zion
    7- Visions of Locusts, Fire and Plumb Line
    8- Vision of Basket of Fruit
    9- God’s Judgement is Unavoidable

    29 Joel
    The first verse of Joel tells us that the word of the Lord came to Joel, the prophet and author of this 3 chapter book. His message was primarily to Jerusalem and Judah, pre-exile (Joel was an early prophet just after Obadiah under the reign of King Joash). The dreadful day of the Lord is coming, and in Joel 2:28 there is reference to God’s promise to pour out His Spirit (quoted by Peter in Acts 2:14-21 when the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost)
    There is no reference to a specific sin in this book, allowing the focus to be on God’s call for repentance, and to see His “doings”, not ours.
    1:4, I have always been intrigued by the locust example (remember locusts were part of the plagues and ate up everything of the Egyptians –see Exodus 10 and Psalm 105:34, as well as many other references to locusts in the Bible). Here in Joel, the description of the locusts is used to describe the completeness of the destruction and devastation the Lord will allow—which is way beyond anything previous. Note the progression of 4 different types or stages of locust infestation, each eating more than the previous wave, –gnawing (cutting), swarming, creeping (hopping), and stripping.
    Chapter 2 opens with a description of the day of the Lord that will come and it will be terrible, such that no one who is against the Lord can endure. In 2:13, Joel pleads, “rend your heart and not your garments, now return to the Lord your God,…”
    Then in Joel 2:25, a restoration is described concerning the Lord making up for (restoring) the years that the locusts have eaten. Take special note of the restoration description which reverses the order of the specific locust stages mentioned, in conjunction with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit already noted.
    2:32 describes the Lord calling us to be His, and giving the ability to call on the name of the Lord.
    Chapter 3 confirms that the Lord will judge. There will be a conflict. There will be a valley of decision, but those fighting in the Lord’s army will prevail. He will again gather His people.
    Chapter Titles
    1- Locusts, Starvation, and Drought
    2- The Terrible Visitation
    3- The Nations Will Be Judged

    28 Hosea
    As we continue to finish the Old Testament, we will go in book order, but know this is not the chronological order. You can refer to various charts and other aids to correlate whether the prophets were to Israel or Judah (or both), and also whether they were pre-exile, during exile, or post-exile.
    As we now begin the section of the Bible termed the “minor” prophets, it is again important that we see the term “minor” is not in regard to their importance or message, but instead these written books are just much shorter in length. Hosea and Jonah, like Elijah and Elisha, were from cities in the north. Hosea wrote to his own people in the Northern Kingdom, just before Assyria attacked. In the first verse we learn that Hosea has been living during the reign of 4 kings of Judah and during the reign of Jeroboam, the 13th king of the north (Israel). The book details the back and forth faithful, then unfaithful, nation of Israel as the Lord deals with them, yet still loving His people. There is also a lesson to us, as we are very much up and down in our relationship with the Lord, –and we see the world and especially the United States also seems to be in a political and social decline. Hosea was instructed to marry a prostitute, Gomer, paralleling or symbolizing Israel’s unfaithfulness to her Husband – the LORD, “for the land has committed great harlotry” (Hosea 1:2). The application to us is to remember the church is called the bride of Christ and to know behind a faithful or unfaithful church is a faithful Father and Husband. Hosea’s first child was a son to be named Jezreel (God sows or scatters), then a daughter to be named Lo-Ruhamah (No Mercy) – “For I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, but I will utterly take them away.” (Hosea 1:6). The prophet was then told to name his third child Lo-Ammi (Not My People) – “For you are not My people, and I will not be your God.” (1:9). As chapter 2 opens, there is a foretelling that the north and south will come together, but soon we learn that Gomer is still not faithful. But the verses can also be interpreted to apply to Israel (and applying to us) The people are again consumed by sin and when there is no place to turn, they (we) are confronted with sin and see God is calling to turn back to Him.
    See 2:6 where there is a hedge or wall against her (means “confusion”) so she cannot find her path. See 2:8 where God is the one who gives everything, but yet we think we are in charge of our own lives. We have gifts given by God which we use in wrong worship, reminding us to ask, “How do I use God’s gifts given to me?” Turn for a minute to Hosea 10:5 and see how the people of Samaria are sacrificing cattle because they worshiped them, and then realize that we sacrifice much to, and worship money, just as told about Israel in 10:1.
    2:16 Ishi means “my husband, my master” (Gini has a note that the wife is “ish shah” and maybe that is why children are called “issue”!)
    Beginning then in 2:19, we see marriage language that the Lord will betroth the people to Himself forever and in verse 23 will sow the people and bestow mercy. See Revelation 21:1-5 and 2 Corinthians 5:17 how Christ makes all things new, we are His bride, we have a changed heart, and are given the ability to love our Lord.
    In 4:2 note the charge against Israel includes violation of 5 of the 10 commandments! In 4:6 note that the reason for destruction is lack of knowledge, rejecting and turning from the written Word. They were too comfortable within themselves (see also 13:6 and then go back to read 13:4-5)
    5:15 The Lord will seem to be absent until guilt is acknowledged, and then in affliction they will seek the Lord. We see in chapter 6 the call for repentance, to turn back to the Lord who will heal, revive, raise up, and also the call to pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
    In chapter 7 we see a change (Ephraim refers to the northern kingdom with Samaria its capital). The Lord would have healed Israel—if they had not again turned to sin! Note the verses have language of fraud, robbers, wicked, adulterers to describe their enticement. Interesting to me is the oven, bread, dough, leaven language and how many errors are described in the preparation and cooking of the bread (cake). See the end result in 7:8 that the “cake unturned” indicating that the people have not turned to the Lord, and have not completed what they were to do. We have a phrase we hear concerning all this, “go off half baked!”
    In chapter 9 we see that the people are using various sacrifices, but really worshipping those sacrifices instead of God. We too need to heed our worship of money or other things, thinking we are sacrificing to the Lord.
    We often hear the phrase, “You reap what you sow” and note the language of 8:7 that sowing ‘wind’ can only yield a whirlwind (see also 12:1), but in 10:12, sowing righteousness reaps mercy. Then 10:13 is a reminder of the effect and results of sowing wickedness, only to reap sin. As we are tempted to trust in our own way, also remember you will reap what you sow. Sowing right and good things will bring in a harvest of blessings from the Lord, but not always our definition of blessing or in our timing. Now note back in 12:1 again as the ‘wind’ also is a reference to lies, and we have a term we use that is similar, “That is a lot of hot air!”
    In 11:8 see a verse that indicates the tension we observe between God’s love and justice, but it has been resolved by the cross—see Romans 3:26 where God is both just and the justifier. Gini has a note from John Piper at the verse in Romans, ‘What God upholds, unfolds, and displays we need to make much of. If God is dislodged from being the center of our universe, all of our “planets” will fly out of orbit—our dollars, time, marriage, joy, and self-worth to mention just a few.’
    In 13:9-14, Hosea ends with the promise of the Lord that the destruction allowed (due to their ‘forgetting’ the Lord, wanting to depend on themselves, and their sin) will bring them to know that their help is only from the Lord (14:3 is a reminder to them and to us that any outside solution or help other than the Lord will not help or save us). The Lord will ransom them from the grave and redeem them from death. (Note in 14:3, and also the last 2 verses 14:8-9, He will be like the dew that will allow life and fruit and the end result is walking in the ways of the Lord—see also Psalm 1 and 133:3) Thanks be to God that He provided Jesus Christ to conquer death and redeem us to His glory. God has the victory. Death does not have the power to do anything. As I close, I am reminded that I watched the “wife of my life” who died in 2015, go through that death process and I know it is only a shadow and not really anything harmful (I love the analogy of “would you rather be hit by a truck or its shadow?”). Death is that instantaneous moment from life to life as she (and I know myself also) entered into eternal life. I wrote a book about all this entitled, “Death Takes Time” which can be obtained from ReadGoodBooks.org or on Amazon.
    Chapter Titles
    1- Hosea’s Wife and Children
    2- Israel’s Unfaithfulness Condemned
    3- Hosea’s Second Symbolic Marriage
    4- God’s Controversy with Israel
    5- The People’s Apostasy Rebuked
    6- The Response to God’s Rebuke
    7- Ephraim’s (Israel) Iniquity
    8- Israel Reaps the Whirlwind
    9- Ephraim (Israel) Punished
    10- Retribution for Israel’s Sin
    11- God Yearns Over His People Israel
    12- Israel Reminded
    13- Israel’s Idolatry
    14- Israel’s Future Blessing

  6. Daniel
    Daniel is a fascinating and very interesting book for many reasons. The word Daniel means ‘God is my judge’. Daniel was about 15 years old and among the first wave of those deported to Babylon. His ministry began and ended there, and now all of us have been ministered to and affected by our recollection of hearing and being taught about several of the accounts in this book. For instance, take a moment to reflect on, ‘Daniel in the lions’ den!’ or ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown in the fiery furnace!’ What comes to mind and what does that memory now instill in you? Likely several things, but among them might be courage to overcome fear, trust in God whatever happens, perseverance, and standing up for your faith despite circumstances or consequences (seeking His plan and not our own—and certainly not a way thrust upon us by the world). Think of how you or how missionaries maintain a Christian witness, despite being taken to a place of very different culture and worldview. How would you follow the Lord and not succumb to the foreign ways.
    OK, now think how this all came down, “Get the brightest of the young people, move them to palatial quarters, give them a ‘free ride’ of benefits and goodies, provide special education to indoctrinate them to their new place and culture, and change their names.” Think of our present day culture and world and how you are being subjected to all kinds of attempts to change your ways and allegiance away from Christian truth, walk, and talk. There are many changes in names and current ‘political correctness’ that allow control and management of how we think and respond. We are to rest, trust, find comfort and strength, have peace, and be true to our God who is sovereign in every detail and situation of our lives. He is the one who has given us life, has a plan in and through us, as well as giving us the free will and responsibility to follow-through, seeking His direction and counsel.
    Again, a good opportunity to express my life verse by applying my personal interpretation of the Hebrew words from Proverbs 16:9, ‘In my heart/mind/being I make/decide my plans/ways/course/ideas, but the Sovereign Lord directs/guides/determines my way/course/results/affects/effects/my every step!’ Notice that I used the same word ‘way’ and ‘course’ in both what I intend, and what God does in His sovereign control. What I intend is really His plan all along! When you read of the king’s vision in Daniel, chapter 2, remember that God is sovereign as He works through those that do not know Him. His timing and circumstances direct the course of His plan in individuals and nations.
    The first 6 chapters have 6 historical narratives which confirm and strengthen our understanding that God is sovereign in all things (I will point out some of the applications to and for us, but let you make any connection to the actual history timeline through cross reference in your Bible).
    The last 6 chapters have 4 visions, which have been the subject of much debate as to meaning, and when they will or have occurred. With some fear and trepidation, I approach putting any notes, and even thought about not putting any for the last chapters. Many scholars believe the ‘time of trouble’ referred to in 12:1 is the time of great tribulation before the second coming of Christ (see Matthew 24:21 and Revelation 7:14), while the events of Matthew 24 are believed by others to have already occurred. This also brings up the discussion of the millennium or 1000 year period and whether that also has, is already, or will occur in the future, –or whether it will occur at all. I will not try to elaborate further except to describe briefly the three possibilities. First the pre-mil position is that there will be a 1000 years of peace on earth after the 2nd coming of Christ (Isaiah 2:1-5, 11:1-10). The post-mil position considers this 1000 years is not necessarily just 1000 years but refers to a long period of time that will
    occur before Christ comes back again, citing the very same verses as proof, while the amil (without millennium) position is that the 1000 years is a figurative reference to the current age, however long, not future, but instead is the spiritual kingdom of Christ’s rule in the church. I have probably added to your confusion, but you can study more from many sources, each of which will have a belief base, and will be presented from one of the 3 positions. This whole area of the millennium and prophesy issues in general, has greatly divided believers for a very long time.
    Then there is the use of the word ‘time’ in such verses as in Daniel 7:25 and 12:7, ‘for a time, times, and half a time.’ This also has varying interpretations that include ‘the Persian time, the Greek times, and half way through the Roman time’. Other interpretations include reference to time as years, or a time of no specific duration that is then cut short by God’s intervention.
    Daniel 1:1-10 Note Daniel’s resolve. He and his 3 friends are pressured by name change and other means to give up their Jewish identity. God’s grace brings and allows full commitment to God accompanied by kindness, courteousness, love and compassion. Notice in 1:11-21 the power of previous purpose. What is my attitude in abstinence (taking a stand for the Lord)? He gives grace, but with that gift comes responsibility and giving grace! How does my love of God manifest itself? How do I respect authority? Do I cut and run at the first difficulty, or seek to know God has a purpose in all things? 1:6-7 reflects the name changes and note the ‘el’ and ‘iah’ ending of their Hebrew names meaning and referring to God, while their new names contain a part of a foreign god’s name.
    Daniel 2 relates the king has a dream which he will not reveal and demands the dream and its interpretation be provided. When it seems no one is able, the king decreed to kill all of wise men including Daniel. Daniel then acts with wisdom, discretion and discernment and requests time, and he will interpret for the king. With his friends he then seeks the Lord’s compassion, and during the night the Lord reveals to Daniel the dream in a night vision. At the 11th hour of the coming destruction of the wise men, Daniel is taken to the king and in 2:27-30 speaks to confirm that no one could declare the dream or its interpretation to the king; however, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries and the dream—and that dream is to tell the king what will happen in coming days.
    Daniel then interprets the meaning and points to the dissolution of the Babylonian empire portrayed as the current king being a head of gold. The subsequent kingdoms are symbolized and most scholars note the first replacement is by the Medes and Persians, then by Greece and finally by the Romans. The stone that strikes the statue in 2:34-35 is believed to be a reference to Jesus Christ, whose kingdom replaces all the earthly kingdoms.
    Daniel is promoted to a high leadership position, along with his 3 friends. Now note in chapter 3 that Nebuchadnezzar does indeed construct a golden image that is 90 feet tall and 9 feet in diameter. All Babylonia is to fall down and worship this image when commanded, and of course Daniel and his friends do not. There is a movement to penalize those who do not by throwing them into a fiery furnace. In 3:12-17, we see the 3 friends are then accused and brought before the king, and respond that God can deliver them from this fire, and if not they will still be delivered out of the king’s hand. He is so angry at disobedience that the furnace is heated so hot as to kill those that threw them into the furnace. The king looks and sees 4 instead of 3 in the furnace! They come out without any smell of fire, no hair or clothes even singed.
    Chapter 4 relates the king acknowledges God, but then having another fearful dream. Daniel now called Belteshazzar (given a Babylonian name as have the 3 friends) is called to interpret and does. Basically the message is the same, the kingdom will be taken away, and the king will eat grass like a cow. The king is to turn from his sin, and it seems he tried and failed, because 12 months later, he proclaims himself as the builder of the great Babylon by the might of his own power (verses 29-30). Immediately he is relieved of his kingdom and began eating grass. 4:32 reminds us that God is the one that bestows and allows earthly rulers.
    Chapter 5 starts after several other kings have ruled a short time in Babylon and now Belshazzar is king. In 5:3-4 this king asks that gold and silver vessels taken from Jerusalem (from the temple and had been used as tools in worship of God) be brought in and they drink from them, then praise the gods of gold and silver. They are worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. In the following verses, suddenly the fingers of a man’s hand begin writing on the wall. This is very upsetting and he demands that someone be found to read the inscription.
    Starting in 5:10 we see the queen enter and relate that there is a man who has the wisdom of the gods and has interpreted dreams, explained puzzles, and solved difficult problems. This is again Daniel, who is brought to the king. He begins by refusing the king’s gifts, then tells him it is not gods but the Most High God, and in verse 21 says this is the same God who dealt with his forefather Nebuchadnezzar. God is the one who sets over kingdoms whom He wishes and the message to Belshazzar is that he is not humble and has exalted himself. In verse 23, Daniel further explains that false gods do not see, hear or understand.
    He then explains that God had this hand and fingers write these simple words they all could see and read, but interprets the phrase, “Number, Number, Weighs, Divides” as 1- God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it (repeated so it is important), 2- the king has been weighed and found deficient (ancient Egypt and other countries believed that when you die, your heart was weighed and should only weigh as a feather—a heavy heart was bad), and 3- the kingdom will be divided and given to the Medes and Persians.
    Chapter 6 begins with Darius (a Mede) now the king. Daniel is one of the 3 commissioners of the satrap leadership of the country. He is a threat to the others, they do not like him, and devise a plan to discredit him related to his following the law of God. Notice in verse 7, Darius is elevated to a status similar to the gods and must be worshipped. The king agrees to sign a document presented to him.
    6:10 see that Daniel knows the decree has been signed (and once done, a decree could not be changed). He enters his house with the windows open and prays to God just as he has always done. Caught in the act, the king is told, the king is distressed and wants to spare and rescue Daniel (verse 14). Note now in 6:16 that the king orders that Daniel be cast into the lions’ den and speaks to Daniel knowing that God will deliver him. Still he fasts all night and at dawn goes in haste to the den to find Daniel alive and well. All those who had accused Daniel are then tossed to the lions along with their wives and children, and are crushed.
    Note that this is the same Darius (and Cyrus of the Persians also mentioned) who makes the decree that the exiles be allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild (and be supplied with provisions). We previously read this account in Ezra and Nehemiah.
    In chapter 7 and 8 we return to the time of the previous king Belshazzar. Daniel describes a vision of 4 beasts coming out of the sea. Each beast has a likeness used by the nation in question, so historians are pretty certain of the meaning of each part, so I will list the vision and its meaning, as well as verse references to a corollary vision in chapter 8 with a two-horned ram and goat instead of beasts. First a lion = Babylon, then a bear = Medes and Persians (8:3, 20), then a leopard = Greeks (8:5, 21). The dreadful and terrible beast = Rome. For history buffs, you can read various commentaries about the Greeks having 4 divisions after Alexander’s death, and then you can read about the probable meaning of the 10 horns which many feel references the various districts of the Roman empire, –and Herod the Great was over 3 of them. In 7:9 we see a second part of the vision and the phrase ‘Ancient of Days’ = Christ taking the throne. There is mixed opinion about 7:13, but I favor that this is the Son of Man presented as vindicated and upon His throne and not the second coming. Specifically verse 13 is in the sense of coming up and not down, so my teaching has been this representing the kingdom and rule of Christ now. See Matthew 26:24, 24:30, 28:10, Isaiah 9:6, Acts 1:9, Luke 1:31-33, Mark 1:14, and Ephesians 1:20-23.
    Beginning in 7:17 we see the 4 beast analogy is repeated with specific reference to kings, and the 4th beast is again introduced in the vision as terribly dreadful, a fourth kingdom which correlates with the Romans until the time of Herod. 7:18 refers to an everlasting kingdom, not one of 1000 years. In the corresponding vision in chapter 8, note in verse 8 that the large horn (Alexander the Great) was broken as noted above, and the great kingdom was divided into 4 parts (Macedonia, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt).
    Chapter 9. Now we return to the time of Darius and, beginning in verse 3, we have a prayer of Daniel that is one of the longest private prayers in the Bible. Note the elements of a God centered prayer: 1- Seek God and His Word, ‘cultivating’ or meditating, 2- Concentrate on God’s presence, 3- Consider who God is, and His attributes and work, 4- Confess your sins to God, 5- Consider God’s mercy, 6- Cry out to God for His provision and request specific answers, and 7- Ask that we see God glorified and honored in all things.
    There is much debate on the meaning of the last part of chapter 9 through to the end of the book, especially those passages relating to ‘time, times, and half a time’ we see in 7:25 and 12:7, the appearance of Gabriel the angel concerning time in 8:17, and the ‘time of the end’ in chapter 12. And, what do the various weeks in chapter 9 refer to and how long are they? I rest in the fact that God is sovereign over His appointed time and timing.
    Some parts of these last chapters interplay with what we have already seen in the visions discussed, but I will ask that those interested seek out other commentaries as any discussion here would be found insufficient. In fact, I find comfort in Daniel 12:4 where Daniel was to conceal and even seal up the book, yet many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase. I praise the Lord that He continues to reveal more and more of His truth to us, and know His teaching and truth is sufficient for my walk with Him on this earth, and the task He has for me. All will be fully revealed only when I am in His presence for eternity. I pray the same for you, that you read and study to become knowledgeable and have understanding that He grants, along with some of His wisdom to be a follower and doer of His will. I pray too you will not be frustrated at the myriad of different opinions as to this particular prophetic book of Daniel.
    Application of Daniel
    There are many applications to each of us and you have seen many in this book, but Gini had a note I want to share concerning our striving to follow the Lord, using factual information about Daniel as our guide. First- we are to be striving for righteousness in our service to our Lord, by: A- 6:4 No omission or commission faults, B- 10:19, 9:23 Be recognized as highly esteemed, C- As in Ezekiel 14:12-14 be compared to Noah and Job, and D- To grow in righteousness we need prayer-2:17-18, precepts-9:2, and godly friends. Second- we are to be reverent in suffering (Psam137) and not treat what is happening with disregard, and third- we are to be reconciled with the sovereignty of God, not just in our head but with our heart and life.
    Chapter Titles
    1- The Choice Young Men
    2- The King’s Dream
    3- The King’s Golden Image
    4- The King Acknowledges God
    5- Belshazzar’s Feast
    6- Daniel and the Lions’ Den
    7- Vision of the Four Beasts
    8- Vision of the Ram and Goat
    9- Daniel’s Prayer for his People
    10- Daniel is Terrified by a Vision
    11- Conflicts to Come
    12- The Time of the End

  7. Ezekiel
    The only information we have about Ezekiel is in this book. This is also the only prophetical book written in first person (autobiographical). He was a priest and about 20-25 years old when he was in a second group of captives from Jerusalem who were deported to Babylon (city in Chaldea so we often see Chaldeans used interchangeably with Babylonians). He died when he was about 50 years old. A priest started his official duties at age 30 and it appears this was the time Ezekiel had a vision and was called by God to begin his ministry as a prophet among the captives (beside the Chebar River). Ezekiel means ‘God makes strong’ (see 3:8). The book repeatedly points out God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. The phrase, ‘then you shall know that I am the Lord’ is used more than 70 times.
    The book is complex and begins with a vision using symbols, then continues throughout to use a large number of symbolic elements and events, all having an interconnected message.
    Chapters 1-32. An initial vision and call/commission followed by symbolic play acting, then accusations and judgments against Judah, and finally against the surrounding nations.
    Chapter 1 The “30th year” is Ezekiel’s age and coincides with the age that a priest began his duties and official ministry. The reference to the 5th year is noted to be the year of exile since the capture of king Jehoachin. Jerusalem is still not destroyed.
    The initial vision is complex but is a symbolic, moving throne of God on wheels that appears out of a storm (Ezekiel recognizes it is the presence of the glory of God and may represent God’s power and Spirit). The symbolic presence has four beings each have 4 faces (man, lion, bull and eagle) and 4 wings. Each being also has human hands and is connected to a wheel below and the wings uphold or are connected to an expanse with something like a throne above. Upon the throne was a figure resembling a man and Ezekiel says in the last verse the appearance was of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. He fell on his face and heard a voice (this possibly represents the glory of the Lord leaving the temple in Jerusalem and now arriving in Babylon with the exiles).
    Chapter 2 begins with the voice calling him, ‘Son of man, stand on your feet…I am sending you …to a rebellious people…you shall speak My words to them, whether they listen or not’. Then he ate a scroll that was handed to him.
    Chapter 3 We note that Ezekiel as instructed to eat God’s Word, take it to heart and to listen closely to the Lord—all before he shared God’s message to the people. We too are to read, learn and listen, but also realize that we cannot learn everything. Indeed, the Lord begins to use us in ministry as we continue to learn and be fed His truths. Note too in 3:16-19 that Ezekiel is to be a ‘watchman for the house of Israel”
    Chapters 4 and 5 describe Ezekiel’s play acting roles to lay on one side for 390 days! He is to build first a model of Jerusalem that he then playacts by building siege works to destroy the city. This then includes binding himself with a rope to prevent any movement from his side, and eats a mixture of grains we now call Ezekiel bread, except note that it is cooked on a fire made with dung! The next ‘act’ of the play is to use a sword to cut off all his hair, 1/3 to burn in the center of his model city after the siege, 1/3 to be chopped by the sword, and 1/3 cast to the wind. Note in 5:3 a few of the hairs are bound to the edge of Ezekiel’s garment (representing the remnant). As 5:12 tells us, the people of Jerusalem will die by plague or famine, die by the sword, or be scattered.
    Now, for the next chapters 6-24, we see the hard and evil heart of the Israelites described and the punishment and judgment that is to come. A couple points of interest follow
    Chapter 6:9 As Christians, we are the bride of Christ and are not to ‘play the harlot’ (see James 4:4)
    Ezekiel’s ministry began in the early years of Babylonian exile, from 592-570, lasting 27 years. He was a younger contemporary of Jeremiah. His messages date from Jehoiachin’s surrender to Nebuchadnezzar. He was taken to Babylon in 597 B.C. in the 2nd deportation.
    Chapter 8 is another vision indicating the temple now serves as a place of idolatry, 9:4 tells us that a mark be put on the forehead of those not committing idolatry (last Hebrew letter, Tau that looks like an X and some references compare this to the early Christians using this as a cross mark of Christ saving us).
    In chapter 10 we again see the same structure described in the opening vision is now the glory of the Lord leaving the temple. 11:17-20 is a reference to the Lord restoring His people (remnant), giving them a new heart and a new spirit (we will see this again in chapter 36).
    Going through chapters 12-32 we see explicit situations and language for Jerusalem residents comparing them to harlots and adulterers. Chapter 17 has the eagle as a symbol of Babylon that removes the leadership and its strong cedar tree, replacing with a lowly vine, which has to be uprooted and destroyed. But the chapter ends with the Lord promising a even more majestic cedar.
    Read 18:17-22, 31 and recognize you are only righteous if the Holy Spirit is in you and has changed your heart.
    22:30 Recognize that ultimately, only Christ can stand in the gap!
    Chapter 24 describes a pot that is like the people, is filthy and cannot be cleansed.
    Chapter 33 describes the message of the fall of Jerusalem, so the focus of the message changes to restoration.
    The last section of the book first describes in chapter 34 the false shepherds of God’s people and how He is the true Shepherd.
    36:22-28 is a key passage in all the Bible to remind us that we have 3 problems of a bad heart, bad record, and bad life. The Lord provides a saving solution for all 3 of these problems as He cleanses us of our filthiness and idolatry, then replaces our heart with a new heart which is now able to follow Him. He does this through His Holy Spirit within us, that not only initiates the Father’s perfect plan, as well as replacement of our bad record with the righteousness because of Christ’s sacrifice for us, but also causes us to walk in His way and statues. Note this is a work of our Triune God and cannot be done in our own ability!
    Chapter 37 with the dry bones vision is symbolic of dead being raised to life, restored. While this applies to the remnant restoration, it could apply to our being born again, following the verses of chapter 36 just mentioned, but is also the certain hope of our resurrected bodies being restored in heaven in the presence of God!
    Chapter 38 and 39 are concerning Gog, which may be an evil nation example based on Genesis 10 nations, which you remember built the tower of Babel in Genesis 11. Gog is also mentioned in Revelation 20. The message of Ezekiel is God wins against evil in the end!
    Chapters 40-48 then tell us of the hope that will come to all nations, and includes a vision of a new city and a new temple (so we see in 43:1-2 the glory of the Lord returns). There will be a new land area as well, a seeming perfect place (reminds me of a return to something like Eden?). There is symbolic language again of a stream of water in chapter 47 that is very deep (think of it as the Living Water) that flows out from the temple to provide new life along the way to the sea, also healing the waters (Dead Sea in view?–think of this water similar to the streams in Psalm 1 causing bearing of fruit by the trees on both sides, and again in the ‘river of life’ of Revelation 22—read Revelation 21:22 to the end of the book and note the description of the glory of the Lord and the river).
    48:35 ends the book with the name of the new city, ‘The Lord is there’ and is a reference to Immanuel to come, ‘God with us’ and the promise of our heavenly home in the presence of the Lord for eternity

  8. Time for Lamentations review notes for this 5 chapter book
    Lamentations
    Lament means wail or weep. This book is attributed to Jeremiah (see 2 Chronicles 35:25 mentioning laments for King Josiah). This book was read each year as a reminder of the pain and grief of the fall of Jerusalem, but also to remember that God who judges also keeps His covenant. The ‘day of the Lord’ had been prophesied and appears to have arrived and is now to be remembered. Thus the book title is because of its content of grief, 5 chapters, each beginning with a new and different lament. The Hebrew alphabet is 22 letters long, the book is written as poetry and each chapter is 22 verses long, with each verse starting with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet, except chapter 3 has 66 verses (3 times 22 is 66). As you read this short book, pay attention to the sequence of sin, judgment, consequence. Although the time and circumstances are different than ours, this sequence has correlation with, and application to, our present world and our lives.
    Laments are also seen in other parts of the Bible, mainly in Psalms. Usually there is reference to the specific difficulty or sin. Punishment, or wrath is justified/needed/accepted, and followed by deliverance by/from the Lord because of His character and covenant relationship with His children. Knowing that God hears, there is often an expression of trust, hope and/or rest in the mercy and faithfulness of the Lord. Often there is a knowledge God will not only conclude the situation in His perfect way for the individual or people, but will judge all enemies. We see in the New Testament that Jesus has His own lament for Jerusalem, with the resulting gospel message that ‘God wins!’ (See Matthew 23:37-39, Romans 11:22-23).
    Another comment. Before we are saved, in our sinful and fallen state we still have free will and choice, but, we cannot and it is impossible to choose God. Our evil heart, until changed by God cannot and will not accept Him as Lord and Master. Instead, we will and can only follow a wayward path away from and opposed to God. As you think about the subject of free will, ordinarily we think that it means we can do anything we decide to do, but there are limits to what we can and cannot do. I was once given the example question, ‘When is a train most free?’, and the answer, ‘When it is on the tracks!’ Before we are saved, we do have free will in all things except spiritual. God is the only One who ‘changes the track we are on.’ (Search through Google for Westminster Confession of Faith and read chapter IX concerning free will.)
    As you read through this short book of Lamentations, see yourself and your relationships (both worldly/horizontal and spiritual/vertical) as complicated (as a large city like Jerusalem) with multiple interacting/intertwining thoughts, words, and interactions. Whether you are saved or unsaved, acknowledge your own sin and waywardness in not following the Lord. You have not kept every thought, word and deed captive to His will, but instead have sought your own way and desires. As you desire to change and make a 180 turn, plead with Him in prayer, reading of His Word daily (seeking Him while reading, in prayer and quietness before Him, and before doing anything else each morning seems to work best for me), and then continue to seek Him all day, every day in all things. As you read the ending of this book in 5:15-22, if you are unsaved, ask for and desire a changed heart, that you might be restored. If you are a child of God, praise Him for your joy and hope.
    A key passage to me is Lamentations 3:21-25 with verse 25 reminding us that God is good, will do good in His timing, as we trust, hope and wait on Him. I expressed this as a modification of what a great preacher said at his own wife’s funeral. This is what I said at the funeral of my wife, “God was good to
    place my wife Gini on the earth when He did, God was good to give her to be my wife for over 51 years, and God was good to take her to His heavenly home when He did.”
    Then read the follow-up verses 3:31-33 and 37-39. What God speaks and commands IS what occurs. Thank Him for His perfect will, compassion, and mercy –our only hope of eternal life is with Him. This turns our every lament into joy!
    3:21-23 then can be a memory passage on our lips: “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindness indeed never ceases, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness”, Lord unto me.
    Chapter Titles
    1- The Sorrow of Zion / Jerusalem, Once Great Now Devastated
    2- God’s Anger with Judah
    3- Jeremiah Shares in Israel’s Affliction and Hope
    4- Distress of the Siege Described
    5- A Prayer for Mercy and Restoration

  9. Jeremiah
    This is now our second of the major prophets, and remember the term ‘major’ is used as an indication of the length of the book, not to indicate more importance. Also a reminder that as we continue through the rest of the Old Testament, God is adding in details and prophetic writing that took place before, during and after the exile of the Jewish people. As I mentioned in Isaiah, the events and records are not always chronological and my intent in these notes is to point out the big picture and areas of Gini and my interest rather than an exhaustive commentary. This book also can be a bit confusing as it is not always chronological. So, as you read, when you encounter an interesting point or question in your mind, especially a verse which ties in with a specific point in history, you likely can find additional information quickly by cross references in your Bible or in a commentary, many of which are linked to specific verses in the tools section of BlueLetterBible.org, –after you search for the particular verse. I have used this resource quite often through the years for this kind of study.
    Jeremiah’s ministry began in 626 B.C. in the 13th year of Josiah’s reign. He died in Egypt a few years after the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC. For a little history, Ninevah fell in 612 BC and the Assyrian Empire disintegrated with the rise of Babylon. There were pro-Egyptian and pro-Babylon forces in Judah seeking for power in Jerusalem. In 605 BC Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egypt and became King of Babylon. Jeremiah is one of many prophets who counseled the nation to look to neither of these earthly powers, but to trust in the Lord. The book has multiple times that the word ‘listened’ is used but Judah did not listen to God, only to false prophets who tickled their ears. Repeated words in the book are water and rain. Jeremiah is a long book and not always chronological. Please note that Jeremiah is also wrote Lamentations and is often referred to as the weeping prophet, often saddened by the refusal of his people to listen to the Lord’s words or turn from their destructive paths.
    The first chapter is critical to understanding the rest of the book. Nearly everything in Jeremiah is rooted and revolves around chapter 1. Chapters 2-38 contain Jeremiah’s record of Judah’s sin and God’s warnings to return to Him. 39-45 relates Jerusalem’s fall and then the removal or uprooting of Judah. 45-51 are about other nations including Babylon that are used to accomplish God’s purposes, yet held accountable, and 52 is about Judah’s exile.
    I have a note in my Bible that another way to look at Jeremiah is as a play. God is the playright, writer, director, creator, and chief character. Man’s sin is the problem. Plan is chosen Israel will have a Savior for sin. A surprise turn is the sin is leading to consequences and seeming disappearance of Israel as a nation (into captivity). Now, what will happen? (surprise and suspense part!) A remnant remains and the Gentiles were always to be a part of the restoration people. Life and salvation is now to be more plainly seen as through the life, death and resurrection of Christ, told about all along. He has, is, and will defeat human sin.
    Jeremiah 1:5 Right away we see God’s sovereign choice of Jeremiah, followed by two image examples. The first is an almond tree (the Hebrew word for almond is similar to ‘watching’ and
    with Jeremiah’s response, the Lord says, “You have seen well, for I am ready…” (really means watching in the sense of seeing/knowing His word will be proclaimed through Jeremiah). The second is a boiling pot which is an Oriental symbol of a raging war, foreshadowing the invasion; because, as 1:16 indicates the people have forsaken God, for their own idols and the works of their own hands.
    Now go to 1:10 (which many say is a summary verse of the entire book) and see the dual mission of Jeremiah “to pluck up and break down—to destroy and to overthrow” (the challenge aspect or negative impact of his ministry to confront the seriousness of Judah’s situation), followed by “to build and to plant” (the healing or positive aspect of his ministry to encourage a return to following the Lord).
    1:16 states that wickedness and idolatry are the two reasons for God’s judgment.
    1:17-19 Jeremiah is given his marching orders, along with specific information that he is prepared and properly fortified in all respects for his mission and journey.
    Jeremiah 2 See that Jeremiah immediately speaks the words of God. 2:13 summarizes the two points of 1:16 (rejecting God or wickedness, and idolatry) using water language, then followed in 2:18 with naming rivers that are a branch of the Nile in Egypt and the major river of Babylon. All of this water imagery is to emphasize not turning to Egypt or Assyria for help.
    3:3 (also in 8:12) Refusal to be ashamed and not even blush at sin by using harlot imagery in this chapter, verse 16 says the people refuse the symbol of God’s covenant (the ark of the covenant) which is forgotten.
    4:14 Note the water language again with ‘wash’ and later in the chapter the absence of water is a wilderness where there used to be fruit and produce.
    Jeremiah in chapter 5 is to roam through the streets and will find nothing but Godlessness, with leaders preaching falsely, and Jeremiah will say in 5:19, “Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?” The answer is because you have forsaken the Lord. This is followed by verse 21, “have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not” and notice again water language in verses 22-24 concerning the boundary of the sea, tossing waves, and rain in season.
    6:10 is an example of the ear and listening problem of the rebellious people. The remainder of the chapter is advice to us also to listen to God’s Word and follow Him, not covet, we are superficial in our worship, indifferent to sin, we want the ‘good ol days’, and are often prone to pronounce ‘peace, peace’ when there is no peace. A side note in my Bible at 6:28-29 from somewhere is ‘Get the lead out!’ I wonder if this verse might be the basis of that phrase we use to put a fire behind someone to head in the right direction with more speed and intent?
    7:11 again notes the Lord seeing in the sense of ‘watching’. 7:19 is a verse basis of ‘cut off your nose to spite your face’
    8:22 is the verse about “no balm (healing medication or salve) in Gilead”. Jehovah Rapha (see also Exodus 15:26) means ‘God who heals’
    9:1 ‘is a wish to have more tears for the sin (see James 4:9-11). 9:23-25 is a good reminder for us, as we have a tendency to think of how great we are, in our own ability and accomplishment, forgetting God has granted and provided everything.
    Jeremiah 10 is a satire and I consider a funny commentary on idols. 10:23 is a variation of my life verse Proverbs 16:9 in how to see our steps directed.
    In 11:21, Anathoth is Jeremiah’s home town.
    12:5 This is battlefield language with the foot soldiers and cavalry, which reminds me of the preparation I continually need as I compete and run the race set before me, and for the battles the Lord will use me in (earlier, we referred to our being a polished arrow in the Lord’s quiver, being ready to be aimed and shot into the exact place He desires, in His timing).
    Chapter 13 first uses the sash or waistband allowed to become useless as an example of how pride will be destroyed. Then, because the people will not see or listen, Jeremiah says they will ‘take a lowly seat’. 13:23 confirms the certainty of God’s judgment, comparing to a dark skinned person not being able to change his skin color or a leopard not able to change his spots! Judah does not have the ability to repent and obey.
    But in chapter 14 we see the false prophets and people do not believe Jeremiah, but instead believe they are called by God’s name and they will not see the sword, famine or pestilence.
    In chapter 15, the people continue to believe falsely and will not repent, and we see Jeremiah is dejected. His response then is to turn to ‘eat’ God’s words that became a joy and delight to his heart. As chapter 16 continues to lay out the details of the waywardness of the people and their idolatry and evil hearts, 17:9 points out a truth in a verse many of us have memorized concerning ourselves without the Lord’s intervention, to change us and give us a new heart, “the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” The Lord is the one who searches the heart and our inner core being. We depend on Him and must put our trust in Him and not in mankind. (See also 18:12 about our stubborn hearts)
    Chapter 18 tells us He is the potter and we are the clay. If the pot is marred, He remolds it. We are in the hand of God ‘who’ makes of us the pot He desires, a pot for His use ‘however’ and ‘when’ He desires (what kind of pot, how, when, where). In 19:1-11 we see Jeremiah is to buy a pot, go out to where all the broken pottery is thrown away, describe the people’s condition to them, and then break the pot as an example of the Lord breaking the people—and no repair is possible.
    Chapter 20 is a record of a priest persecuting Jeremiah, followed by Jeremiah’s message to the king in chapter 21, warnings of Jerusalem’s fall in 22 including telling the king again in 22:17 that his eyes and heart are intent only on his own dishonest gain.
    23:1-6 notes the ‘shepherds’ who are destroying and scattering the sheep of the Lord. This is in contrast with the Lord Himself who will gather His flock by raising up a righteous Branch (Jesus as Shepherd and King—see Matthew 3:15, 5:20,48)
    23:16, 28 are interesting verses. A true vision is the word or revelation from God, but these were false dreams spoken as visions. The comparison to grain is: dreams are like the chaff on wheat, worthless and not the real wheat (or some translations compare the straw with the grain for the same meaning)
    25:11 notes the captivity will last 70 years as it indeed does. As you read about the wine cup of fury, read about it in conjunction with notes for chapter 35 below. Chapters 26-28 are messages and warnings of what is coming.
    Chapter 29 is a message to the captives and includes verses they did not understand from their limited perspective. Such an instance is 29:11-13 where the people will ‘know the plans I have for you’ indicating an ongoing current plan and planning that includes their welfare, future and hope. This is followed by the promise that they will seek the Lord and find Him. They will have a heart able to search for Him! That promise is again stated as ‘behold, days are coming’ in 30:3 and many more times in subsequent chapters. One of these is 31:31 where we learn the coming days also include the establishment of a new covenant relationship, the only time ‘new’ precedes covenant in the Old Testament. This not in the sense of a different covenant, rather in restoration with a progression of the revelation of the relationship God has and continues to have with His elect or chosen people throughout all generations. This is the same covenant we first learned about in Genesis 12:1 and see explained and revealed progressively throughout scripture (see Mathew 26:28, 1 Corinthians 11:25, 2 Corinthians 3:4-6, and Hebrews 8:8-12, 9:12-15, 10:1-18)
    31:3 ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, with lovingkindness I have drawn you’ is not only truth to these captives, but we see that the Lord is the one who does the drawing and initiates the relationship with His chosen or elect children, not us (see John 6:44)
    31:21 suggests we have a plan, a map idea, and check-points along the way, staying on the way. We have responsibility for planning and going while knowing our amazing Lord is directing each step.
    31:31 notes on this key verse are just above in chapter 29 paragraph.
    32:17, 27 nothing is impossible with the Lord and then see in 32:37-42 the Lord promises to gather His people back, giving them one heart and one way to fear Him always, making an everlasting covenant (see also Ezekiel 36:26-29 and 37:26)
    33:14-26 This section is about the Davidic kingdom. As you read these verses, note that the Lord promises in verse 15 to ‘cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth’ (Jesus). In verse 19, see that God’s covenant cannot be broken any more than day and night will occur at other than their appointed time! Just as for the remnant of Israel and Judah, we Christians also have
    the promised eternal security as a child of God; the Lord’s covenant cannot be broken, and His mercy endures forever.
    Chapter 34 is about the last king of Judah and then in chapter 35, we go back to the next to last king and the first siege of Jerusalem is referred to (this is when the strong and talented were taken off to Babylon, including Daniel). Chapter 35 is also about the Rechabite obedience to their earthly fore-fathers to refuse to drink wine (remember, one of the 10 commandments is to honor your father and mother, that it might go well with you), while the rest of Judah disobeyed their heavenly Father, God Almighty! Now, go back to 25:16-17 regarding the wine cup of fury.
    Chapter 36 goes back one more king in the time sequence, telling of God’s command to Jeremiah to write on a scroll all the words. Baruch was his scribe and when the scroll was taken to the king, it was read to the king, he commanded that after reading each few columns, it be cut off and thrown into the fire! But the Lord had Jeremiah dictate to Baruch all the words for a replacement scroll.
    37:13-21 Jeremiah is arrested and imprisoned, but the king secretly asks him if there is a word from the Lord. Jeremiah repeats that Judah will be given over to Babylon. In chapter 38, Jeremiah is considered a ‘discouragement’ to the men left defending Jerusalem so is put into a cistern of mud. Note it says he sank into the mud and it seems he was sitting or lying there long enough for his skin to become very fragile, so that when rescued, they had to carefully put rags and cloth under his armpits so the rope would not tear his skin loose! Again in chapter 38, Jeremiah is to tell the king what will happen (it appears to be a secret meeting at the ‘third’ gate). Jeremiah says the king should turn himself over to the Babylonians to live.
    39:6-7 Jerusalem is captured, the king and his army went through a seeming secret gate in the walls, but were captured and all the king’s sons were killed as he watched, and then his eyes were blinded. (Note most of the people were taken to Babylon, but the poorest people were left, and are will be those that intermix to become the Idumeans, of whom Herod in the New Testament is a descendant). Jeremiah is released and chooses to remain in Judah.
    Continuing through chapter 46 Jeremiah describes those remaining in Jerusalem under appointed governors, and gives a warning against siding or going to Egypt; however, many do go to Egypt, taking Jeremiah with them. In chapter 44, Jeremiah tells that Egypt will be conquered. 44:15-23 describes idolatry to the ‘queen of heaven’ (one of the false gods of the Egyptians) with the promise of resulting harm. Note the example phrase in 46:20 about the coming invasion. Growing up around cattle in Nebraska, I can testify that a horsefly is very bothersome and it stings when landing on you!
    The remainder of Jeremiah tells of the judgments on the surrounding countries and peoples of the growing Babylonian empire, ending with a prophesy of judgment against Babylon in chapters 50-51. Chapter 52 reviews the fall of Jerusalem and the 4600 Jewish people who went
    into exile. Worthy of note is to remember that the Exodus and later entry into Israel across the Jordan, 40 years later, included over 600,000 men, not including the priestly line.
    Chapter Titles
    1- Jeremiah’s Call and Commission
    2- Judah’s Apostasy
    3- The Polluted Land
    4- Judah Threatened with Invasion
    5- Jerusalem’s Godlessness
    6- Destruction of Jerusalem Impending
    7- Message at the Temple Gate
    8- The Sin and Treachery of Judah
    9- A Lament Over Zion
    10- A Satire on Idolatry
    11- The Broken Covenant
    12- Jeremiah’s Prayer
    13- The Ruined Waistband – Destruction of Pride
    14- Drought and a Prayer for Mercy
    15- Judgment Must Come
    16- Distresses Foretold
    17- The Deceitful Heart
    18- The Potter and the Clay
    19- The Broken Jar
    20- Pashur Persecutes Jeremiah
    21- Jeremiah’s Message for Zedekiah
    22- Warning of Jerusalem’s Fall
    23- The Coming Messiah- The Righteous Branch
    24- Baskets of Figs and Returnees
    25- Prophesy of Captivity
    26- Cities of Judah Warned
    27- The Nations to Submit to Nebuchadnezzar
    28- Hananiah’s False Prophesy
    29- Message to Exiles
    30- Deliverance From Captivity Promised
    31- Israel’s Mourning Turned to Joy
    32- Jeremiah Imprisoned
    33- Restoration Promised
    34- Prophesy Against Zedekaih
    35- The Rechabite’s Obedience
    36- Jeremiah’s Scroll Read in the Temple
    37- Jeremiah Warns Against Trust in Pharaoh
    38- Jeremiah Thrown into Cistern
    39- Jerusalem Captured
    40- Jeremiah Remains in Judah
    41- Gedaliah is Murdered
    42- Warning Against Going to Egypt
    43- In Egypt, Jeremiah Warns of Judgment
    44- Conquest of Egypt Predicted
    45- Message to Baruch
    46- Defeat of Pharaoh Foretold
    47- Prophesy Against Philistia
    48- Prophesy Against Moab
    49- Prophesy Against Ammon, Edom, Syria, Jordan, Elam
    50- Prophesy Against Babylon
    51- Babylon Judged for Sins Against Israel and Judah
    52- Judah’s Exile/Fall of Jerusalem Reviewed

  10. Isaiah
    Introduction comments about prophets and prophesy
    As I organize my notes for this major book of the prophet Isaiah, I am reminded I only have the extent and understanding of the truth that the Holy Spirit leads me into. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. God has revealed in the Word written, and in the life of Jesus, all that is necessary for me for my walk during my earthly life. So, the following comments are just those that He has provided for my walk through reading and application, often supplemented by the writings of theological scholars.
    Also, as we now head to the finish line of the Old Testament, my purpose in notes will be to point out only certain details and passages of the prophets, focusing on application to our walk as Christians. Not that I will completely avoid history, but you will be able to correlate historical facts and details of timelines by other means. There are many books written about Isaiah.
    Isaiah is the first book of the prophets but this is not the beginning of God using prophets. As we know God spoke through Aaron as a prophet or spokesman for Moses (see Exodus 7:1-2). So a prophet of God is one who spoke or transmitted the words of God. God could speak for Himself, and examples are when He gave the 10 Commandments, when He spoke to Samuel, and also in His still small voice given to Elijah. But He also chose to speak His revelation through human beings in various ways (see Hebrews 1:1). Note too that many of the early prophets do not have their own separate books but are included in the other books that we have studied. These include Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, and Elisha as examples. And, of course there were false prophets whose pronouncements were not fulfilled. In order for a prophet to be considered a true prophet as coming from God or speaking for God, any foretelling of future events must come true as well as having a life in conformity to God’s word. The prophet’s message must also be consistent with God’s character and teaching. Besides these books of the prophets that we will now read and study, the last prophet before Christ is John the Baptist. It is critically important to understand that with the coming of Jesus Christ as the Messiah (the last and greatest Prophet–see Luke 7:25-28), prophecy concerning the future coming of the Messiah was no longer needed. Another change is the Holy Spirit coming and being our interpreter and guide of God’s word. There is then a short period of inspired New Testament or apostolic teaching and writing by Jesus’ disciples, also including Paul. Their new authority and inspiration is distinguished from the Old Testament prophets. The New Testament scriptures are then completed. We no longer have a need for any additional revelation. This is a good time to bring up the issue of the gift of prophecy that is referred to in the New Testament and is given to believers. This is one of many gifts referred to as gifts of the Spirit. My teaching and belief is that this is the ability to be forth-telling of the Bible truths that have been completed for or apply to us. There is no longer a need for any future pronouncements that go beyond our God given, written and completed Word (Bible). Of course this does not prevent the continued debate over our interpretation of the meaning and extent of the written word by various people and denominations.
    Isaiah ministered or served for about 60 years and was a trusted advisor to King Hezekiah
    Chapters 1-39 were likely written when Jerusalem was under Hezekiah as king (Assyria from the north was threatening capture of Judah, but then entire army of Assyria under Sennacherib was destroyed — see 2 Kings 19:35-37, 2 Chronicles 32:21 and compare with Isaiah 47:36-38).
    Then chapters 40-66 were likely written during Babylonian captivity. Isaiah sees that Persia under King Cyrus is growing in strength under God’s hand and therefore also sees the potential for freedom of Israel. One might summarize Isaiah as a message of judgment of Israel because of rebellion against God contrasted with the certain hope for Israel because of God’s covenant promises expressed to Abraham
    and offspring in Genesis 12 to bless, then to Moses and the people in Exodus 19-20 in the commandments, followed by promise of a future King through David’s offspring in 2 Samuel 7, as well as other examples of God’s covenant with His children that includes you– if you are a Christian.
    Isaiah 1 Chapter 1 opens with a summary of the rebellion, with the analogy given that even animals know their master, but God’s people have forsaken the Lord and provoked His anger. The people are called to hear the word of the Lord, but they are not hearing His truth, instead are thinking sacrifices and prayers “in name only” are sufficient. God has left a very small remnant. 1:14 is a key verse often quoted about our sinful nature.
    1:22 This term of dilution of wine with water indicates the concept of loss of purity and innocence and in the New Testament, there is also a similar concept with the Greek word for pure meaning ‘innocent’ as used in Phil 2:15 regarding being pure, unmixed, undiluted. If we know the Lord, He deals with our sin!
    Isaiah 2 has the phrase ‘last days’ – but we also will see ‘that day’. The meaning seems to be a later time or day ‘in store’ describing a time when the Lord has a particular or defined result/victory in view rather than referring to the same day in each case (see verses 2, 12, 20, 3:18, 4:2 as examples).
    3:9-10 Our facial expressions are a witness to our interior. And we do eat the fruit of our actions.
    3:24 has the burning scar or branding reference that identified a slave as a mark of servitude, and there is also a rope which binds one, instead of the freedom to wear a sash.
    Isaiah 4:2 refers to the Branch, Tender Root, Stump or Shoot of the Lord and is capitalized in most Bible translations, so that we know the reference is to the coming Messiah/Christ (the Hebrew word is Netzar, which signifies either a branch or the city of Nazareth, see 6:13, 11:1, 53:2—this is a different word than the Nazarite vow elements discussed when we studied about Sampson and Samuel. See also Matthew 2:23 regarding the Greek words for Nazerene or Nazareth meaning ‘one separated’. Matthew Henry indicates that Branch ‘is alluded to when Jesus is called a Nazarene in Matt 2:23’)
    5:20 reminds we also define things or people by our own standards, changing absolutes and truth for our own definitions of what is right and wrong.
    Isaiah 6- Gini has the following notes: At Isaiah 6:5, I cannot depend on my own “natural” ability
    At Isaiah 6:5-13, Seeing my own sinfulness and that of my culture helps me realize God’s great mercy to me, THE sinner (see Luke 18:13) At Isaiah 6, My prayer: “Send me, O God. Deliver me from small, peripheral prayers. You are Lord of the nations. The whole earth is full of Your glory. Deliver me from my puny, self-absorbed priority list. Let me live freely and generously, giving of my material wealth to serve those in need. Deliver me from my addiction to security and self-preservation. I’m at Your disposal to take the good news of forgiveness through Jesus Christ across the street or across the world. Send me.
    Chapter 6 is an important/key chapter concerning the call and sending of the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah starts his ministry as prophet when King Uzziah dies of leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:16+). Isaiah visits the temple and sees God as holy. Angelic beings called seraphim are also present and call to one another “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory!” In the Hebrew language the repeating of a phrase, even in a different way, or the repeating of the word itself indicated emphasis and meant it was important. This is somewhat similar to our English use of quotes, underline, italics or an exclamation point. Repeating three times is like using all the emphasis indicators together! It is the only instance in the Bible where an attribute of God is repeated three times so it is very important! Holy, holy, holy is repeated in Revelation 4:8 (It is again important to point out that no one can see the Lord fully or they will die–remember Moses requested he be hid in the cleft of the rock as the Lord passes by. Also, in Exodus 3, Moses saw the presence of the Lord in the burning bush and was told that he was standing on holy ground.) The meaning of the word holy is to be separated, set apart, to be wholly other. When the Bible tells us to be holy as God is holy, it also means to be holy in the sense to be separate or set apart. We
    are to strive to understand and go in the direction of holiness, but that is impossible for us to achieve,
    even to a small degree
    The word glory implies an unimaginable weightiness from above–that weightiness or powerful presence
    of God shakes the very foundations of the temple and the temple is filled with smoke (remember that a
    cloud was above the tabernacle in the wilderness, indicating the presence of the Lord).
    Isaiah totally realizes he is in the presence of God, and so he says that he is undone or ruined. This is in
    the sense of being separated into little tiny pieces or disintegrated! The one thing that he does is to say, “I
    am a man of unclean lips” (in the New Testament we will see that Jesus teaches that is not what goes
    into a man that is unclean but what comes out, referring to our thoughts and speech coming in spoken
    words through our lips that shape and express what comes forth from our interior being). See Isaiah 64:6
    as a reference that our entire being is unrighteous as filthy rags.
    One of the Seraphim takes a burning coal from the altar and touches Isaiah’s lips, saying “Behold, this
    has touched your lips, your guilt is taken away, and your sin is atoned for” and Isaiah then hears the voice
    of the Lord say “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” His response is “Here am I” (Note this word
    order of “am I” is not the same as it was back in verse 5 where the reverse order “I am” indicated position,
    situation or location. Now it is availability!
    These verses of the first part of chapter 6 are the calling of Isaiah to be a prophet and I pray that you too
    have had a very certain and definite call of the Lord upon your life, knowing He has not only changed you,
    but now, as we see in the subsequent verses, He too has commissioned you to go out and be one of his
    disciples, to share His good news with people in a lost world who, otherwise truly will disintegrate or be
    separated forever if they do not know, and are not changed by the Lord. He also gives us lips to speak
    and also tells us that He is in charge of opening ears and opening eyes, causing those ears to hear and
    eyes to see, to understand and perceive who He is (6:9-10). God uses lips as His instrument and sinful
    lips are not qualified. The symbolism of the seraphim taking the tongs from the altar also reminds us of
    the Lamb of God (Jesus), slain before the foundation of the world, that our sins might be purged/atoned
    for.
    The last verse of chapter 6 tells us that there will remain a remnant that will include a stump and the holy
    seed is its stump. This separate or set apart seed refers to not only the stump of Jesse, but later we will
    know that it has also pointed to Jesus Christ, the son of God, one sent as separate. See Isaiah 11:1,10,
    53:2, and also Matthew 2:23 as noted earlier).
    (For those of you interested, I only know of three other instances of a triplet use of a single word in the
    Bible–Jeremiah 22:29, “Oh, land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord”, Ezekiel 21:27, “A ruin, ruin, ruin I
    will make it. This also shall not be, until He comes, the one to whom judgment belongs, and I will give it to
    Him”, and Revelation 8:13, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth…” In Jeremiah 7:4, a phrase
    is repeated three times, “the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD”.)
    7:14 is key verse about a sign through a son born to a virgin which will be Jesus, our Immanuel (God with
    us, see Matt 1:21-23). This is but the first of many prophesies in Isaiah about the coming Messiah, Jesus
    Christ.
    8:19-20 We are not to consult mediums or the dead, but to consult God!
    Isaiah 9 is another key chapter with many of the verses familiar to us, partly because we hear them in
    Handel’s Messiah at Christmas time (verses 2, 6-7) As we grow in understanding of Christ, we
    understand more fully His increase in perfect and complete rule over us. Since we hear these verses and
    many others about Christ at Christmas, we should remember God’s Gift to us and I do not need anything
    else at Christmas or any other time to bring or cause joy. Gini has a note at this point, “Does my joy
    surpass the angels? Read Luke 15:10. Do they have more joy in my salvation than I do? We need to
    sing Isaiah 12:2”
    As you read chapters 10-24, see that although Israel will be ‘chopped’ down to a stump, we have already
    referenced 11:1, 10, concerning a branch, root, shoot that will arise. That new King prophesied is Jesus
    as Messiah. Note that most of the rest of the content is concerning warnings, not only to Israel, but to,
    and about surrounding nations. The last verse of chapters 16 and 21 is interesting, ‘Within three years,
    as the years of a hired man’ which means that each day is counted or marked off (like a prisoner marking
    each day on the wall of his cell until his release), because of the dread of their condition– and therefore
    the time seems much longer! No other specific notes, but if you want to correlate a passage to your
    previous Bible reading, note the cross references in your Bible.
    Isaiah 25 begins a section of praise to God
    26:3 Be simple or single minded in the sense of only trusting in God alone and He will keep you in perfect
    peace. Another version says to have your mind ‘stayed’ on God. The words translated as steadfast mind
    mean a single mindedness or single focus, being completely and only concentrating on the Lord, with an
    unmoved heart that cannot be any other than resting and trusting. This is an example of the richness of
    doing an in-depth word meaning study and applying it to the context of the verse, passage and entire
    Bible message.
    26:10 reminds us of God’s common grace.
    28:9-10 The Lord gives us knowledge, then understanding, and finally a part of His wisdom when we
    study, pray and apply little by little, moment by moment, precept upon precept. Now, read 28:23-29 in
    conjunction with 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Note that Old Testament parables begin with ‘give ear, listen’,
    whereas the New Testament parables end with ‘he who has ears, let him hear’, eyes to see.
    31:1, the folly of not trusting God, instead thinking or relying on man’s abilities.
    Again, in chapters 27-39, the content is mostly warnings against alliances and about other nations, again
    reminding to rest and trust only in God. 29:13 is a verse similar to Ezekiel 33:31-32 in not doing what the
    Lord commands, thus our hearts are far from Him, we know the words to say, and we give lip service
    only. Chapter 35:5-10 is an encouraging section and 35:9-10 is one of my favorite songs.
    In chapters 40-66, the word ‘sing’ is used more frequently than in any other prophetic book of the Bible.
    Isaiah 40 is another key chapter reminding the Israelites and us that we have a great God who is
    preparing for us to “go home”. This chapter has much that is sung in the Handel’s Messiah during the
    Christmas season. The Israelites sang this often as a way of remembering the words of the Lord and for
    teaching and molding their children (our culture too learns much by way of songs so we need to be
    singing the right kinds of songs). In the Psalms we saw the songs of ascent sung as the people traveled
    to Jerusalem each year. Psalm 137 is one which describes singing from the captive’s perspective. Isaiah
    40 is also a passage that indicates the desire and growing hope the captives will be able to return home
    to Jerusalem and Judah. The kings would build a ‘kings highway’ which was a very smooth and level
    highway, so symbolizes what the Lord provides for us as we travel ‘home’.
    40:12 reminds us of the vastness of the created universe. Our limited human estimates are that the
    oceans contain more than 340 quintillion gallons, the earth weighs 6 sextillion metric tons, the known
    universe is more than 130 billion light years in expanse, with at least 100 million known galaxies, each
    made up or more that 100 billion stars!
    Note then 40:15 may be the basis of our term of ‘a drop in the bucket’
    The last verse of chapter 40 is often quoted and memorized and as you read it note that 40:31 starts by
    “those that wait upon the Lord”. Teach me Lord to wait! We have to stop our wearisome running and just
    walk or even stop, knowing the Lord provides a renewing (or exchange) as we gain new (His) strength,
    then allowing us to run the race set before us and even soar as if on the wings of eagles. And this is
    followed by 41:10 in the next chapter!
    I have a note at 41:4, 10-13, 43:1-2, 10-14, ‘God is Creator and is the provider and caretaker of
    everything, He is all in all. Wager on “God IS” and if you win, you win all. If this is not the case and you
    should lose, you have not lost anything, so believe that “God IS”’
    42:1-4 is a good passage to apply to how we are to live our lives as servants, serving one another, getting
    excited about making others successful, not only in physical or worldly ways, but in their daily walk with
    the Lord. The term ‘bruised reed’ implies a person crushed by another uncaring person so that their life is
    like a barely burning candle that is near to being ‘snuffed’ out.
    Isaiah 42:16 tells us that the Lord will lead and guide the blind in the way they simply are unable to see or
    distinguish. Then He will turn the darkness before them into light and make the rough places level. I love
    these concepts that remind us that when the Lord chooses us (election), He changes us by His Spirit from
    dead to alive by our new birth. We cannot do anything because we are dead, but He brings us up out of
    the miry pit (see Psalm 40:2). And then He leads us as blind, opening our eyes to see in the light He
    provides to dispel the darkness (see John 1:4-5, 9:25). In the Bible sin is equated with darkness in many
    verses, and darkness can try but cannot control the influx or entrance of light! In like manner, our
    sinfulness attempts to control, but the Lord wins the battle with the Light (Himself), He provides for His
    chosen children. Finally, the ups and downs of life are also smoothed out as our sanctification process
    takes place. We may stumble so as to fall, but we never are completely fallen if we are His. At this point,
    I want to expand a bit. We know the verse that faith comes through hearing the Word (Romans 10:17).
    Also see Ephesians 5:11-17. I see that prayer and God’s Word are important beyond measure. I love
    the aspect of God’s Word being referred to as a sword and in fact, a double edged sword. It is available
    to fight with, but also is what cuts out our own sin as we are encouraged to speak truth (scripture) into our
    own hearts. The Lord is the Great Physician and when we are down but not out, He heals us by His
    healing balm of His Living Water and His blood transfusion, then we are able again to take up His Sword
    for battle. Bunyan in Pilgrim’s Progress gives us a story about Maul, the giant (with a club) who comes
    against Great-Heart who has a sword. The giant strikes and Great-Heart falls to one knee but is not
    completely down. Great-Heart then turns to prayer and again takes up the sword and defeats Maul.
    Summary: I see God’s Word as that two-edged sword that defeats the enemy within us and without us. It
    is as important to preach God’s Word to your own heart thereby to ingest His Word for use in external
    battles for the Lord.
    43:2 This and other passages in the Bible teach us that when we are in ‘deep water’, the Lord is there
    with us, holding our hand, when we cannot know or see whether there is a deep hole on our next step.
    Also, when you cross a river it becomes variably deeper as you progress. Shortly after Gini’s diagnosis of
    her brain cancer, we encountered some very challenging trials and near death health issues that seemed
    to be drowning us. This passage in Isaiah was of comfort and help, but also wanted to copy something I
    wrote on the CaringBridge site for those that were praying for us at that time:
    “One of our praying friends from Desiring God Ministries sent me a short quote from Pilgrim’s Progress.
    In his note he told me has found this passage tremendously encouraging during the ebb-and-flow of life,
    and their family trials. He went on to write me, “In describing the final journey through the River of Death
    for Christian and Hopeful, Bunyan has tapped into something powerful for believers to consider as they
    go through their own ‘little’ rivers of death or suffering day-by-day.” I have read this story/allegory several
    times, but this message was one I really did not see or understand until this trial. So, I hope this will be
    an encouragement to you this day and coming days also, as we all face the trials of this life and the
    accompanying valleys and rivers to cross.
    “CHRISTIAN AND HOPEFUL ENCOUNTER THE RIVER OF DEATH
    So I saw that when they awoke, they prepared themselves to go up to the City. But, as I said before, the
    reflections of the sun upon the City were so extremely glorious, for the City was pure gold, that they could
    not behold it with an open face, at least not yet; rather they had to view it through an instrument specially
    made for that purpose. So I saw that as they moved forward, two men met them who were dressed in
    clothing that shone like gold; their faces also shone radiantly like light.
    These men asked the pilgrims from where they had come, so they told them. They also asked them
    where they had lodged, what difficulties and dangers they had met with, as well as what comforts and
    pleasures they had experienced along the way; so they told them. Then these Shining Ones advised the
    pilgrims that they had only two more difficulties to deal with before they gained entrance into the City.
    Then Christian and his companion asked these men to accompany them along the remainder of the way
    ahead, and the Shining Ones agreed to this. But they also explained that the two pilgrims must complete
    the journey through their own faith. So I saw in my dream that they went on together until they came
    within sight of the gate of the City.
    Now I further saw that between them and the gate was a River, but there was no bridge so that pilgrims
    might cross over; moreover, the River was very deep. So Christian and Hopeful were shocked at such a
    sight; but the men escorting them declared, “You must pass through this River or else you cannot arrive
    at the gate of the City. Then the pilgrims asked if there was any other way to the gate. The Shining Ones
    answered, “Yes, but no one else has been permitted to travel that way since the foundation of the world
    except Enoch and Elijah; and no others will be allowed until the sounding of the last trumpet.” Then the
    pilgrims began to despair in their minds, and especially Christian; they looked this way and that way, but
    no alternative route could be found by which they could avoid the River. Then they asked the men if the
    water was all of the same depth. They replied “No,” but could offer no further help other than the
    comment, “You shall find it deeper or shallower according to your trust in the King of the place.”
    At this the pilgrims resigned themselves to face the water. Upon entering, Christian began to sink so that
    he cried out to his good friend Hopeful, “I sink in deep water; the billows go over my head, all his waves
    go over me!”
    Then Hopeful replied, “Be of good cheer, my brother, for I feel the bottom and it is firm.”
    Then said Christian, “Ah my friend, the sorrows of death have totally compassed [surrounded] me, so that
    I shall not see the land that flows with milk and honey.” And with that a great darkness and sense of
    horror fell upon Christian so that he could not see ahead of him.
    Here, to a large degree, he also lost his senses so that he was unable to remember or talk intelligently
    about any of those sweet refreshments that he had experienced while traveling on pilgrimage. Rather all
    of his present talk tended to reveal the present terror of his mind and the fear that he would perish in that
    River and never gain entrance into the Celestial City. Here also, those who were able to stand by
    observed that he was greatly troubled with thoughts about the sins that he had committed, both before
    and after he became a pilgrim. It was also noticed that he was disturbed with visions of hobgoblins and
    evil spirits; his words would reflect this over and over again.
    Therefore, Hopeful struggled here in his attempts to keep his brother’s head above water; yes sometimes
    Christian would seem to have sunk down for good, and then after a short while he would rise again
    seeming half dead.”
    Just 2 weeks later I wrote, ‘Hold my hand Lord, this hole is deep!
    Gini has “stepped into a deep place in the river!”
    Monday she had chest pain and when the doctors at Duke saw her they were very worried about blood
    clots in the lungs, a known complication of the chemo treatment and her tumor.
    All day Thursday for tests which showed large blood clots on both lungs. The doctors said many would
    not have survived.
    A few days later, a filter was placed in her vena cava to prevent more clots from reaching her lungs. She
    has too low platelet count to allow blood thinners so they are pretty sure there will be some permanent
    damage to her lungs.
    Pray she will not have further life threatening events and this hole will be one to step out and allow me the
    privilege to continue this walk with her a bit longer…I love her so much!
    We are exactly 3 months from surgery and the daily Psalms 18,19 and 20 we read are so comforting to
    us these last 3 days!
    Psalm 18
    1 I love you, O LORD, my strength.
    2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my
    shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
    3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
    4 The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me;
    5 the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.
    6 In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice,
    and my cry to him reached his ears.
    Psalm 20
    6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving
    might of his right hand.
    7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God
    Then a few days later, I quoted the song, ‘Precious Lord, take my hand, Lead me on, help me stand, I am
    tired, I am weak, I am worn; Through the storm, through the night, Lead me on to the Light’
    “This song has more lyrics but this first verse is as far as we seem to have gone this particular week. Gini
    is not through this storm yet, but has stabilized and is requiring less oxygen and is walking a little with my
    holding her hand and in turn the Lord is leading both of us through this with the help of family, doctors,
    nurses, social workers, meal servers, cleaning folks, and all of you. Thank you for your prayers and the
    many encouraging comments. Our prayer for each of you is that the Lord would bless you, not so you are
    blessed only, but that you would continue to be a blessing to all you come in contact with. This is based
    on God’s blessing to Abraham in Gen 12:2-3 “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will BLESS you
    and make your name great, SO THAT YOU WILL BE A BLESSING. I will bless those who bless you,….in
    you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
    You have truly been a blessing to us and we ask for your continued prayers that Gini indeed would get
    through this storm (as one of our doctors said, “This is more than just a little shower–this is a strong
    thunder storm”), she would get stronger, the lungs would heal and the blood clots dissolve, even without
    the usual medicines she could not take, enabling her to get off oxygen completely and be able to function
    with just room air.”
    I know the above was a bit long, but was to make the point of the extreme joy to see that God indeed did
    allow our faith, rest and trust in Him to get us through that and many more difficult times.
    43:7 Note everyone who is called a Christian has also been created for God’s glory.
    Isaiah 44 has verses about the foolishness and folly of idols, and we need to make the transition and
    application to confront the various ‘idols’ in our lives.
    45:4-5 reminds us we have a sovereign God who is glorified even through unbelievers. 45:9 is another
    application to our lives as we so often want to say, “Why is this happening to me?” or “What are you
    trying to do?” We are desperate in our want to control and decide who we are, what we do and how we
    should act, even what the result will be/how it will end. We want to make our own clay vessel and then
    use it the way we want to!
    46:8-9 again reminds us that God is sovereign and the one in control of absolutely every detail.
    48:4 is the basis of ‘stiff-necked’ (See also Ezekiel 3:7-9)
    48:16 is one of many verses in the Bible containing words for the Trinity and is a prophesy of God
    sending forth His Son (see also Zechariah 2:9-11)
    49:2 God also made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand He hid me; He made me a
    polished arrow; in His quiver He hid me away. The Lord gives us strength, making us into a straight arrow
    which is carefully polished; prepared then for use when He wants to use us.
    49:16 We are not only ‘in His hands’ as the song we sing goes, and not only are we written in the Lamb’s
    book of life, but we are inscribed on the palms of His hands.
    50:2 is one of many examples of attempts to describe actions of God related to our own body parts, in
    this case suggests the hand (or arm) being too short to accomplish or deliver, or being devoid of power.
    50:4-7 teaches us the Lord has given us a tongue to disciple, sustain, and uplift the weary with our words,
    and also ears to be a good listener.
    And, now look at 51:1 that says to turn or look to the Rock (God) from which you were hewn. I love this
    verse that tells us that we have and are a ‘piece’ of the Rock! And the Rock is not some insurance
    company; instead, it is the Lord, our true assurance! After reading 51:23, turn to Luke 22:42
    52:13-53:12 These last verses of chapter 52 and all of chapter 53 were included in Gini’s memorized
    verses and tell of Jesus our exalted and suffering Servant. Various divisions of chapter 53 usually
    describe each set of 3 verses. One such division is 1-3 Divine Sufferer, 4-6 Divine Substitute, 7-9 Divine
    Sacrifice, and 10-12 Divine Satisfaction. Another way to describe is by verses such as 4 Payment of sin,
    5 Punishment for sin, 6 Problem of and Provision for sin, 7 His Patience, 8 His Sacrifice, 9 His Death, 10
    His Sin Offering, 11 His Triumph, 12 His Intercession.
    55:1-2 What a delight we have of being thirsty and having no means to obtain water, yet we receive
    Living Water as a true gift.
    55:8-9, 11 are important verses to remind us God is God and we cannot even imagine His thoughts, His
    ways or His accomplishments. We cannot do things our way, including our preferences in worship.
    58:10 is a verse of remedy for times of feeling depressed, and a need to turn from self to the Lord,
    followed by 59:1-2 to see the abilities of the Lord contrasted with our sin that has separated us from our
    God.
    Notice too the progression in chapter 59:1-15 of you/your followed by they/their, and then we/us
    60:1 has the Hebrew order of the phrases that really means that since your light has already come, arise
    and shine
    60:19 is echoed in Revelation 21:23—the Lord is our everlasting Light
    61:2-3 These verses comfort the grieving
    61:1-3 are verses reminding us of our privilege of bearing witness of the Lord’s work through us and
    words of comfort when we are grieving, followed by verse 10 telling us to rejoice in the Lord and his
    granted salvation and righteousness.
    61:10 As believers in Christ, we see that we are clothed with garments of salvation and wrapped in a robe
    of righteousness.
    62:2 Our new name is Christian and a child of God and we are the bride of Christ so we will dwell in
    ‘married’ (Beulah) land.
    63:14 reminds me of a phrase John Piper uses, ‘God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in
    Him’
    64:4 Our eyes see, and our ears hear, because God has provided them and made/allowed them to
    perform their function. (now turn to 65:24 and see that the Lord is hearing while we are still speaking)
    Then back to 64:8 which again reminds us that we are the clay (made from the dirt of the earth), and God
    is the potter, thus we are the work of His hand. He molds us into the vessel He desires for the use He
    desires (see Romans 9:20-21)
    65:11 is a reminder that there is no such thing as “luck”.
    65:17 regarding the new heavens and a new earth (see 2 Peter 3:13
    As we finish ISAIAH the word means ‘Yaweh (God) is Salvation’
    Remember that God uses the Bible’s words to tell us about the nation Israel, which sets in place the
    message of the coming Christ, followed by Christ Himself as the Word and who is our salvation. Another
    way to say this is using the ‘hourglass’ example: Salvation follows the Many to One to Many pattern:
    The servants of God were first all of Israel, then (getting smaller) a remnant, and then Christ as a
    servant remnant of one. From Christ we see salvation as the hourglass enlarges again to the remnant
    Jews and then to include elect Gentiles.
    Isaiah Brief Review:
    1) Isaiah has a strong emphasis on the Holiness of God.
    2) Through the prophet Isaiah, God had his message of salvation to the nation
    of Israel often veiled or obscured in ambiguity or paradox. The central paradox is that salvation would
    come by way of destruction.
    3) God also veiled people’s ability to see and hear the message of salvation.
    4) Isaiah contains many prophesies concerning Christ, especially as a servant
    leader.
    Isaiah 56-66 addresses prophecy to the returning exiles and proclaims salvation to
    the remnant Jews, then extended to the Gentiles.
    Tree example: God chose the Israelite nation as His people (tree), but only some of
    the branches and fruit were truly His children. We have seen in Isaiah that Israel is
    to be ‘chopped down’/destroyed so that God’s plan of salvation can be accomplished through the root
    or stump which is Christ (Isaiah 10:33-11:1). Then the elect Gentiles are called servants
    and grafted into the stump or root and are part of the new tree.
    Big picture: Gen 12: 2,3, Ps 1:3-6, Rom 9:6, Rom 11:7-25
    Root, Stump, Shoot, Branch: Isaiah 4:2, 6:13, 11:1,10, 53:2 Matthew 2:23, John 1:46 “Can
    anything good come (grow) from ‘Nazareth’” (also Jeremiah 23:5 33:15 Zechariah 3:8 6:12)
    In the last section of ISAIAH there is continuing emphasis that God is salvation
    55:1-3, 6, 8-9, 11, 12 Invitation and promise
    56:1, 4b-5 My salvation is about to come.
    57:15, 17b-18a, 19a My name is Holy and I dwell in a high and holy place.
    I will not always be angry.
    58:13-14a, 59:1 Keep Sabbath holy, honor God, not your own ways/pleasures
    59:2 Sin separates us from God
    59:15b-16a We are not pleasing to the Lord. – No intercessor
    59:16b-17, 20 God provides a redeemer / intercessor
    60:1, 3 Light shall come (Gentiles shall come to God’s light)
    60:19 – 61:3 Lord will be your light (Rev 21:23 regarding heaven too)
    We are the shoot (or branch) of God’s planting – trees of righteousness
    62:2 New name, 4 Delight and Married – “Sweet Beulah land”
    64:1a, 5b, 6a, 8 We need to be saved
    65:1-2 Salvation to Gentiles
    (See Rom 10:20-21 for the Lord’s explanation through Paul)
    65:11-15 The servant theme we have followed in Isaiah now points to Gentiles
    65:17, 22b, 24 66:1, 12, 18-19, 22a, 23b
    The new heaven and new earth await Christ’s return (2Pet 3:13 Rev 21:1)
    Chapter Titles
    1- Rebellion of God’s People
    2- God’s Universal Reign
    3- God Will Remove the Leaders
    4- The Branch or Nazarene for the Remnant
    5- Parable of the Vineyard
    6- Isaiah’s Vision—The Messenger
    7- War Against Jerusalem
    8- Damascus and Samaria Fall
    9- Birth and Reign of Prince of Peace
    10- Assyria is God’s Instrument
    11- Righteous Reign of the Branch
    12- Thanksgiving Expressed
    13- Prophesies About Babylon
    14- Israel’sTaunt
    15- Judgment of Moab (sacked in 539 BC)
    16- Prophesy of Moab’s Devastation
    17- Prophesy About Damascus
    18- Message to Ethiopia
    19- Message to Egypt
    20- Prophesy About Egypt and Ethiopia
    21- God Commands that Babylon be Taken
    22- The Valley of Vision
    23- The Fall of Tyre
    24- Judgment on the Earth
    25- Songs of Praise for God’s Favor
    26- Song of Trust in God’s Protection
    27- The Deliverance of Israel
    28- Ephraim’s Captivity Predicted
    29- Jerusalem is Warned
    30- Judah Warmed Against Egyptian Alliance
    31- Help Not in Egypt but in God
    32- The Glorious Future
    33- The Judgment of God
    34- God’s Wrath Against Nations
    35- Zion’s Happy Future
    36- Sennacherib Invades Judah
    37- Hezekiah Seeks Isaiah’s Help (Where, What, When)
    38- Hezekiah Healed
    39- Hezekiah Shows his Treasure
    40- The Greatness of God
    41- Israel Encouraged
    42- God’s Promise Concerning His Servant
    43- Israel Redeemed
    44- The Blessings of Israel
    45- God Uses Cyrus
    46- Babylon’s Idols and the True God
    47- Lament for Babylon
    48- Israel’s Obstinancy
    49- Salvation Reaches to the Ends of the Earth
    50- God Helps His Servant
    51- The Righteous Listen/The Ransomed will Return
    52- Cheer for Prostrate Zion
    53- The Suffering Servant-Messiah
    54- The Futility of Zion
    55- The Free offer of Mercy
    56- Rewards for Obedience to God

  11. Song of Solomon
    This book is also called ‘Song of Songs’, as it is poetic collection of songs. Although the book is attributed to and in the collection of Solomon, the main speaker throughout this love poetry is a woman, and the man speaking is a one woman man in my thinking, and not Solomon whom we know had over 700 wives. This is a book to read straight through from beginning to end in one sitting, so no chapter titles are needed. Some wonder why a book about the love of a man and woman would be in the Bible. Maybe because the physical, emotional and spiritual love relationships of this world are so important to our lives. And our relationships include all of the three types of love we usually consider: agape = God’s love, philio = brotherly love, and eros = erotic or sexual love. Certainly you will note the book has many Hebrew phrases describing physical attraction that are a bit different than we might express in our culture—eyes like doves, hair like a flock of goats, and teeth like lambs for starters!
    The book may also be an example of using human love relationships of a man and woman before and during marriage to demonstrate the privileges and difficulties in any of the 3 love relationships. In the Jewish tradition, the book is considered an allegory of the relationship of Israel and God. In Christian tradition, it is an allegory of the relationship of the church or individual Christian as the bride of Christ (see Ephesians 5:25-33). Although there are themes of seeking, finding, joy and embracing contrasting with wanting, needing, separation, and anxiety, the overwhelming message is of the beauty and advantages of love and the need for constancy. The ending in 8:6-14 emphasizes that love is to be strong and passionate with power and intensity which makes it beautiful and life-giving, not to be used to make love dangerous and destructive. There is a desire in each of us to love and be loved. We want a love that burns brightly and cannot be extinguished by even a river, but does not burn us up. No amount of money or any other ability can obtain or attain love. God’s love for us is perfect and meets any positive criteria we can mention or think of and is way beyond our understanding, –but praise God He has given us the gift of knowing and having a portion of His transcendent and mysterious love.
    Gini and I often teased that if one tries to answer the spouse’s question of ‘Do you love me?’, any kind of answer or action ruins it. Love cannot be explained very well, if at all, and is not objective nor subjective. It is a feeling, an emotion, a part of us that just cannot be explained. So, why did I even try to write these notes! Enough said. Know that God loves you and, as His beloved child, He has given you the privilege of loving and being loved. See also 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 as one of many key cross references

  12. Ecclesiastes
    Ecclesiastes is now the third and last of the books considered to be wisdom literature, along with Job and Proverbs. It may have been read aloud to the people each year at the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths). Like many of the books of the Bible, there is some debate about the human author. The first verse indicates that the person in view seems to be Solomon and whether he wrote it or it was written after his death, these are words from his wisdom and his life–what the Lord wants us to read and apply. In general I see this book helping us answer the ultimate question of why God has us here and what is the meaning of life. As Christians we all struggle with knowing we do not have a works-based salvation, knowing also that after we are saved we do the Lord’s work. Thus we wrestle with what we are doing that is of ourselves versus seeing God at work through us. This book has key words such as “profit” or “advantage” and similar kinds of phrases to emphasize and challenge us to understand the Lord does have us on this earth for His purpose and work. And since the book is considered wisdom literature, we will see the difference between God’s wisdom and counsel versus our wisdom and how we think the use and meaning of our lives or what we should gather, do, perform, desire or consider valuable. In fact, another key word in the book is vanity (meaninglessness, uselessness) which is the opposite of “use” or “purpose”. Another repeated phrase that helps us to understand how God may be using this book in our lives is “what will -or- what does a man gain?” One of the conclusions of the book is that our death makes useless all of the works (gain or profit) that we have performed only for our own benefit. Therefore, again there must be another, higher (and really the only) benefit which is related to God’s purposes and intent. To correlate and apply our thoughts, we see His work through us in the New Testament with phrases such as a “labor not in vain” (First Corinthians 15:58, Philippians 2:16) Through the gift of salvation from the Lord, we have the privilege of working for and serving Him. So, as you read this book, I do not want you to get down or depressed by the seeming uselessness and futility of some of the descriptions of life events (which we also see in our own struggles, goals, trials, and achievements), but instead, to see that God has a purpose in all things for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28)
    Some have pointed out that this book presents a series of problems with corresponding solutions. Now, as we proceed through the book, we will point out salient verses, make summary statements, all mixed with challenges for our application, and then a separate review and application section with additional comments, especially if you have time to read through the book a second time.
    Ecclesiastes 1
    In the introductory verse, right away is the phrase “all is vanity” and “what does man gain (advantage, profit) by all the toil…” So we see vanity which can be translated “vain, breath, or vapor” for the Hebrew word. So, think of everything as just a breath or vapor that so easily vanishes and is hard to detect. This is followed by the phrase that is not “a man” but “man” referring to all of mankind for all that we think, do and say, but especially in the work that we do (if only considered from a human accomplishment standpoint).
    The verses following emphasize verse 2. Generations come and go, the sun comes up and goes down, the wind blows, the streams continually run without filling the sea, all things are wearisome, we are not satisfied, there is a repeating and nothing is new under the sun.
    Then, to cap it off, beginning in verse 13, a search for wisdom is done and the result is to confirm that while we can gain knowledge of much, all is like striving after the wind (this has the meaning of trying to grasp a handful of air!). Crooked stay crooked, what is lacking cannot be counted (in the sense of cannot be supplied, appointed, ordained or added to complete—this is like needing 4 of something but only 3 are
    available making it impossible to have the needed 4). In fact, the more we strive, the more “striving” or frustrating is the situation (vexing).
    Ecclesiastes 2
    Now the direction of searching for answers turns to evaluation of various choices to provide for self-pleasure and self-indulgence and all determined to be vanity as well (note that some are strictly personal –or enjoyed personally, while others utilize the work for you by others). Wine, houses, gardens, pools, servants, herds, money, entertainment, concubines, climbing up the ladder of success.
    Beginning in verse 12, after determining the previous path was not helpful, there is a turn to “wise living”. We know the many proverbs and wise sayings collected by Solomon so a summary here is: wisdom is better than folly, light is better than darkness, but being wise does not prevent any of the outcomes that happen.
    Then the rest of the chapter suggests that working hard be considered with the outcome that it goes to someone who may or may not be foolish. Maybe the answer is to just eat and drink and find enjoyment in the work—but wait, consider that even this is from and allowed by God. See here the first of “seeing” that pleasing God is the answer to having joy in the work we are allowed to do.
    Ecclesiastes 3
    With the revelation at the end of chapter 2, we now have the well known verses concerning recognition of a time for everything with the contrasts or extremes thereof, beginning with “a time to be born, and a time to die”. We see plainly that the Lord has a purpose and perfect plan for both elements in each of the “time” contrasts which mostly are polar opposites. Then the realization that applies to each of us for sure, “What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time.” And then, “whatever God does endures forever, nothing can be added it, nor anything taken from it.” He truly has made everything beautiful (appropriate) in its time and put eternity our hearts. What a mystery, yet what a comfort! God made man to work, and it is a great joy to realize our work is all for Him. That is our lot as man in the judgment seen in Genesis 3, but if you know Jesus as Lord and Savior, then it is a joyful and pleasant lot which helps us to cast off the self-indulgent aspects. And, did you see in verse 15 that we have an omnipresent God. The last verse (3:22) teaches us that we cannot know what will come after us but God knows and we can be confident in His plan and purposes for us.
    Ecclesiastes 4-6
    Now we return to observation of the world and see evil all around, envy, fools who are lazy, and attempts to deprive others or try to deprive self. See in verse 4:1 that both groups have no comfort—and the resulting discontentment deprives us of pleasure. God is our source of comfort. Be in the contented group knowing God is in charge (2 Corinthians 5:6, Psalm 16:5-6, Matthew 6:25-33, Philippians 4:11-13, 1 Tim 6:6-8). Envy also deprives us of pleasure
    An abrupt change takes place in verses 4:9-12 where we see isolation can also deprive us of pleasure. Companionship is God’s design to provide encouragement and support of one another. These are verses Gini cross stitched and then framed for our 20th wedding anniversary. What a joy to realize that two are better than one in so many areas of our lives, but paramount is the realization that a cord of 3 strands is not easily broken! The 3rd strand that is so necessary to the proper braiding, strength, and use of a rope is none other than the Lord Himself. Read these comforting verses and apply them in the true acknowledgement that we need one another, holding one another’s hand as we journey as aliens and strangers on this earth, but knowing that the Lord is also holding our hand, leading us in “the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:24)
    In chapter 5 we see that we are to seek God in worship, coming to listen and learn, not with foolish attempts to please God with vows, sacrifice or words that are often empty promises which we simply cannot, will not be able to, and do not want to keep. I appreciate also the advice that in many dreams and many words there is also much vainness and uselessness.
    This chapter ends and 6 begins with advice of the folly and lure of riches that can never satisfy. Riches are not the evil, it is how our God given talents we have are used (and goes far beyond money!) They may be a snare to not only those who never have enough and thus a source of much worry, but also protecting and acquiring riches will keep us from the more important task of being the father (or mother) we are intended to be to our children, and finally the certainty that we will not take or keep any of our earthly riches with us when we depart this earth! (See 1 Timothy 6:7, Matthew 6:19-21). I also wrote a book that includes this topic, “Nothing Matters”—see ReadGoodBooks.org
    Ecclesiastes 7-8
    Now we see a contrast of folly elements that are to be replaced by wisdom in several statements such as “a good name is better than precious ointment”, “better is the end of a thing than its beginning”, being patient in spirit to avoid pride and anger, and not to say ‘those were the good old days’.
    Then follows a knowing an important truth about God who preserves our life, seeing that He has made both the days of our joy and the days of our adversity, pointing out, “there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins”. We are so prone to self-righteousness, yet in our heart we know the many times we have failed to live up to, or even acknowledge any good we do is because of God’s provision of wisdom and righteousness.
    Chapter 8 continues to teach us that we do not have any power to control our days, and certainly not the day of death. We might claim to have some knowledge, but we simply cannot know the ways of God, (note the concluding the chapter, “Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.”)
    Ecclesiastes 9
    The first verse reminds that as we see any righteousness or wisdom among us, as well as actual deeds done, –all this is in the hands of God. Our capacity and ability to love and not hate is God given while we are living. When we die, any of our God given abilities and deeds on the earth will no longer be possible. So, the conclusion and advice is to enjoy life given you and “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might”. God is asking each of us to deal with life as we find it, because it is His perfect plan for our granted days on the earth. Gini and I, even in the news and subsequent days after her deadly diagnosis of a brain cancer, said or thought each day, “this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!” We held hands and “counted it all joy” as we not only endured each trial, but continued to know the content of each day granted to us to love one another was also His plan for use to serve others, telling of the newness of life He had given us, and the hope of spending eternity with Him
    Ecclesiastes 10-11
    The opening analogy of the overpowering smell of decay reminds us there is absolutely no advantage to a single bit of foolishness—instead we are to stay focused on and be Christ centered.
    I find these chapters to include many verses that are the basis of some of our phrases and concepts. Verse 2 about a heart inclining to the right (I think indicating the strong right hand of God metaphor) is my basis of being a conservative and on the “right”, but many of you, who are more liberal will certainly disagree!
    Verse 10 states the obvious that if your axe is dull and not properly sharpened, you will certainly have to expend more energy to accomplish the task. You probably have heard the story concerning this, the logging man who set records for ability to chop down trees quickly, yet fell behind his competition because he did not keep his axe sharp. Brute strength is not enough, or the saying, “Work smart, not just
    hard.” Taking the time to “sharpen” your axe certainly reminds us that proper and wise preparation allows us to be more effective in any mental or physical task, including our interaction with others.
    Verse 20 is the basis of a saying we have heard from our grandparents about being careful of the words we say even in seeming secret, “a little bird told me”. Note that the verse also indicates this concept extends to our “thoughts”!
    11:1 suggests good advice to “cast your…” idea and after some time you find it. This implies not making hasty decisions, seek counsel from others, praying and studying through all matters, and then processing the information that “you will find it after many days” Note also we are to give and not keep (hoard).
    11:2 is a verse I see also applying to many situations of life interactions, not just financial. When considering how to utilize the time, talents, and treasure (not just money), we are to divide into “portions” and then use 7 or 8 different “containers” or “uses” So, going with the theme of time we see throughout our study of this book, you have time given to you, a portion is to be divided among prayer, Bible study, church (more than one aspect or day), work, spouse, individual children, family, individual friends, small groups, neighbors, and so on. You can make your own portion description and decision list now for the abilities you have been given, avoiding the tendency to revert to “I can’t do that” or “I’m not good at that”, –indeed, sometimes we really just “don’t want to do that”. Similarly, your money or other treasure items need to be divided up into categories that go way beyond necessary budgeting to include investment, retirement and giving (also divided into various “portions” and not just in one place). Now read the continuing advice of verses 6 to the end of the chapter. Find God early in life and follow Him all your days.
    At this point, let me mention another aspect of talents we have been given. Often we see someone with definite talent but lacking in one aspect in that talent. Let’s use sports and basketball as an example. One might have excellent ability to play basketball, but missing the height needed to be able to pursue proper use. Instead of seeing this in a negative manner, we need to see that the root ability may be what the Lord desires we use in a completely different manner. In this specific example, it might be the Lord is preparing for an adult life of handling a multitude of different tasks with excellence and calmly—like being a mother or making executive decisions as a leader in your employment years. God given ability is to be properly used, and is often in unexpected ways.
    For 11:9- 12:1, I am reminded–I once was told that our lives break out into 3 different major sections, each with its major emphasis: Youth with Pleasure, Adult with Business, and Old Age with Religious.
    Ecclesiastes 12
    I love how this chapter concludes this book to remind us to remember God, our Creator not only in the days of our youth, but also “before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken.” This last phrase reminds me that we have a silver or 25th wedding anniversary, and similarly a milestone of the 50th or golden. As we understand we are but a clay pot or “pitcher shattered at the fountain” we will return to the earth as the dust we were made of, but our “spirit returns to God who gave it”. Praise the Lord!
    After these sobering truths that could suggest and continue to have us be negative concerning the “vanity” of our lives, I especially love the God inspired advice of understanding we are to have “nails firmly fixed” on the collected sayings given by one Shepherd and to beware of anything beyond. We are to be clinging to God’s Word and truth using the analogy of fingernails dug in and not letting loose, trusting and resting in His truth–nothing more, nothing less. Truly, “The end of the matter, all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
    Problems and Answers
    Let me start our review section with a summary of the problems (P) with corresponding solutions (S) or answers suggested by various passages of this book.
    (P) Striving for earthly wisdom, selfish pursuits (1:1-2:23) S Grateful acceptance of good from God (2:24-26) and (S) Life is a gift of God in the present and eternally (3:1-15)
    P Corruption and doubting of immortality (3:16-4:16) S Highest good to be sought in the house of God and to obey His law (5:1-20)
    P Who knows what is good for a man in life (6:1-12) S Wisdom from God is as good as His promised inheritance (7:1-29)
    P Who is like a wise man (8:1) S A wise man’s heart only discerns time and judgment (8:2-5)
    P Misery of many is great upon him (8:6-8) S Know that it shall be well with those that fear God (8:9-13)
    P There are righteous to whom happens the deeds of the wicked (8:14-15) S Righteous and wise (and their work) are in the hands of God (8:16-9:1)
    P All things come alike to him who sacrifices and those who do not (9:2-6) S God has already accepted your works. Let your garments always be white (9:7-10)
    P Like a computer, we think a certain input results in a certain output, but we see not always so! (9:11-20) S Do what God wants you to do without fear (11:1-6)
    P (12:8-10) S (12:11-14)
    Review / More Application Thoughts
    Think about vanity, vainness, the seeming useless or meaningless repeating of events and the like. Ecclesiastes opens pointing out the monotony of life as well as the fact that we cannot change any of our life, let alone the consistency of creation. The answer to all this vanity or uselessness we see, my friend, is not “blowing in the wind” but instead transcends beyond anything changeable and far above the sun. The answer is God Himself and His plan, His provision of our Redeemer in Christ, and realizing all things result in eternal glory. There is no happiness outside of God.
    1:9-10 See how we cannot insert anything new into life’s formula. We can make things somewhat different, but not new—we don’t even have the material for new! But, God gives us a new heart, a new record, and a new life when His Spirit changes us and we accept Jesus as Savior, Lord and Treasure. God has the wisdom and the ability to change us, making Christ wisdom for us (See 1 Corinthians 1:18-25)
    2:13-15 See that mankind, foolish or considering himself wise, has limited accomplishments. We can say that we live in a “rat race”, but in the end we might think, “are we any better off than a rat?” See also verse 16 and realize we remember the Hitlers as well as the Salks of this world. The next few verses teach of the limited appreciation,– and then the anxiety, over what will be done with what I have done after I leave this world.
    In 2:24 we realize that these limits that are sometimes agonizing are God’s gifts as well and without God there is no contentment despite any and all luxuries.
    Maybe a good conclusion to come away with for chapter 2 is “All I can do is all I can do—All I can do is enough.” I need to focus on what God is doing, not on any of my limited ability. Do I strive to see God in all things, or do I focus on myself (Philippians 4:11)
    Going on to chapter 4:1-5, we see the root problem in trying to discern, explain, and question why there is evil and oppression is our basic discontentment. The answer I see is to accept, seek, and be strengthened in our Sovereign God in all things. There is hope and joy as an advantage in contentment (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
    Verse 6 is similar to a phrase we use, “One in the hand is better than 2 in the bush”
    4:9-12 reminds us not to be in isolation, we need one another for encouragement when weak, support when vulnerable, and for protection from various attacks.
    Gini had an interesting note in one of her Bibles at this point concerning the necessity to truly get rid of the “mud” in our lives—We are told, “Don’t track mud on the carpet”, but the answer to recurring mud tracks is not to replace the carpet with tile, thinking it easier to clean up your mud. Instead, allow no mud!
    5:1 reminds us to be prepared for Sundays and other times of worship. Pray, read, be still before the Lord with principles of adequate preparation and active participation.
    In chapter 6 there are many phrases containing the word “better” so look through and see at least 8 in the NASB translation. And the word better is used about 15 more times in this book providing an interesting focused review.
    6:10, Focus on God, not on time and circumstances. Truly the end is better than the beginning as in verse 8
    Moving on to chapter 9:1-11, this is a section which could have a computer analogy with input/output litany of two choices like love/hate, righteous/wicked, clean/unclean. Then in verse 11, there is the occasional virus of time and chance thrown in! These verses also give us 4 things to ponder: God’s sovereignty, death, sin, reward. This is followed by 4 things to do: be happy, be holy, be “honey-moonish”, be hard-working. But, we are not the master of our destiny.
    In 9:13-18, ask the question, “Do you want to be impressive or effective?” This is like the golf analogy of ‘drive for show; putt for dough’? Is it impressing the world with your Bible knowledge, or affecting the world with how you live your life? 1 Corinthians 1:27-31 Remember to look not to yourself, but to God and trust Him, following His plan in every thought, word, and deed. 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 16-17, Deut 13:3-4
    Continuing in chapter 10 we can apply these verses and referenced verses to how we are to live our lives by 1- trusting Christ (Proverbs 3:5-6), 2- seeking God’s wisdom (Psalm 119:2), 3- know the ramification of just one sin—so guard your heart seeing there is no advantage in foolishness/sin (2 Timothy 1:12-14), 4- love God completely (Matthew 22:37-39), 5- sanctify Christ as Lord of your heart, asking Him to work in every aspect and area of your life (1 Peter 3:15)
    In 10:12-13, see how the ‘saying’ of thinking before talking may have its origin, “Eat your words, or your words will eat you!”
    And, 11:2, the possible origin of the ‘saying’, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, 11:3, “Bloom where you are planted”, and 11:4, “Don’t focus on things you cannot control—Labor and trust God for the result” (2 Corinthians 9:6-11)
    In chapter 12 again note how the end of things that is so aptly stated. Here is short statement Gini (my wife, given to me by the Lord for a season of 51 years) had written at this point in one of her Bibles: “If I were to die before I wake…What should I do today? I should have no regrets, be faithful, remember my vows, keep integrity, worship and praise the Lord.” I am thankful to read this advice a year after her death and realize she sought to do this all her Christian life, challenged me and many others to do the same, and is also my God given challenge to start and end each day with my Lord, trying and depending on Him, to follow Him throughout the day in my every thought, word and deed. When all I have heard or read and even written here is now done, the conclusion remains the same as Ecclesiastes ends in her beloved NASB version, “fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”
    Chapter Titles
    1- Vanity of Life; Grief of Wisdom
    2- Vanity of Pleasure, Possessions and Labor
    3- Everything has its Time
    4- The Evils of Oppression
    5- Your Attitude Toward God
    6- Futility of Life
    7- Eight “Betters”—Practical Wisdom
    8- Obey Rulers
    9- Men are in the Hand of God
    10- A Little Foolishness—The Heart of the Problem is Always the Problem
    11- Cast your Bread on the Waters
    12- Remember God

  13. Proverbs
    This book of the wisdom literature of the Bible is unique and we will read, study, meditate, and review Proverbs a bit differently. First, the book contains only those proverbs God intended for us of the more than 3000 proverbs consisting of mostly short 1 or 2 verse sayings of wisdom and instruction which Solomon spoke, had memorized, and many that he wrote. The outline of the book is: Proverbs 1-9, Fatherly proverbs—note the repeated use of ‘my son’; 10-15, antithetical—‘but’; 16-22:16, synthetic—‘and’; plus more important pronouns to observe throughout these and other Proverbs, like ‘if’, ‘so’, ‘for’, ‘though’, and ‘then’; 22:17-31, extended—most are more than one verse, and often in paragraph style in our Bibles. What now follows is a brief summary of Proverbs, with Gini’s chapter titles to begin each, sometimes the only note.
    (As noted in the Psalms notes, some like to read a Proverb for each day of the month along with reading 5 of the Psalms, thus reading through both Psalms and Proverbs in a single month).
    1 Beginning of Wisdom—Fear God. Usefulness of Proverbs. The basic purpose is spelled out, “to know wisdom and instruction”, “a wise man will hear and increase in learning”, and “if a sinner entice you, do not consent” (sounds similar to the counsel of Psalm 1). And then continuing, “keep your feet from their path”, and the last verse of Proverbs 1, “he who listens to me shall live securely, and shall be at ease from the dread of evil.” The words are from God as Father through an earthly father.
    2 Benefits/Value of Wisdom—Know God. Pursuit of Wisdom Brings Security. The wisdom words are to be received, treasured, heard, discerned in heart and mind, requested, pursued, discovered, pleasant, understand they guard and protect, deliver from evil, and keep you on the right path.
    3 Searching for Wisdom—Trust God. The Reward of Wisdom (odd numbered verses—about God’s law, even verses—about God’s sovereignty, the exception is 3:6) Notice in verses 1, 3, 5 the emphasis of God’s Word in your heart (and if you want to follow the ‘heart’ through Proverbs, go back to 2:2, 10, then 4:23, 7:3, and 16:1,9. Proverbs 3:5-6 is an often memorized and important verse. Also see verses 13,15,17, and 23 regarding wisdom versus our desire for health, long life, wealth, and prosperity.
    4 Supremacy of Wisdom—Hear God. A Father’s Instruction. Observe the progression in verse 18-19 as the righteous goes from dawn to a perfect or complete day, one totally full of light, in contrast with the deep darkness of the wicked. See especially verses 23-27 indicating what should be our focus.
    5 Warning Against Adultery. Pitfalls of Immorality.
    6 Warning Against Adultery-continued. Parental Counsel. Note verses 16-19 mentioning 6 things, but then adding a 7th, because in the Bible, 7 is a number indicating perfection or completion (the first instance is the 7th day of creation).
    7 Warning Against Adulteress. The Wiles of the Harlot.
    8 Appeal for Wisdom, Wise up! Commendation of Wisdom. Notice the many places where wisdom is personified. See especially verses 10, 17, and verse 21 regarding the filling of your spiritual treasury (speaking of the wealth of your being, substance, existence).
    9 Appeal for Watchfulness, Wise up! Wisdom’s Invitation.
    10-15 Contrast of Righteous/Upright and Wicked. Note the use of the word ‘but’ which makes up the contrasting part of most of these proverbs through chapter 15. Now we begin the individual proverbs and I will make a listing of some of my favorites, ‘but’ not stop or attempt to explain very many. There are numerous external references, summaries, and separation references of proverbs into categories—ones you can seek for answers to those the Lord would have you pay attention to. So, read through and gain knowledge, understanding, and a wee bit of God’s wisdom teaching. I have highlighted quite a few and referenced a couple which seem to teach me greatly, ‘but’ you too will see many to help you in your daily walk with the Lord.
    Favorites list: 10:19, 26, -11:1, 12, 22, 29, -12:1, 4, 6, 19, 25, -13:1-3, 7 (2 Corinthians 8:9 and Gini’s note ‘deep pockets, but short arms!’), 13:20, 22 (and may the ‘things’ we leave behind as an inheritance lead them to believe in Jesus Christ), 13:24, -14:7, -15:1-3, 16-17, 28.
    16-22 Contrast of Righteous/Upright and Wicked. Although ‘but’ contrasts continue, as well as several other contrast pronouns, there is now mostly the addition of a second emphasis phrase connected by ‘and’. Proverbs 16:9 is my life verse (and here is my expanded translation), “In his heart/mind man plans/decides his way/path/direction, but the Lord guides/directs each step along the path/way.” This is clearly man’s free will, right alongside God’s sovereignty! I tried for years to control everything, but when I finally ‘heard’ this verse, bingo! I realized I was not in control. I have the privilege of making plans but also have comfort, peace and complete trust in what God is working out, in and through me, down to every detail. By the way, this verse is also an example of the synthetic rather than the contrast use of the ‘but’. See also the last verse of Proverbs 16 as to why I teach ‘there is no such thing as luck’. And a comment about 22:6, the words ‘train up’ have the sense of making narrow as in a narrow passageway leading/designed only for a specified end point and thus starting/beginning with only the limited way/choices that reach that goal.
    Favorites list: 16:3, 4, 9, 18, 23-24, 28, 33, -17:3, 6, 13-14, 22, 27-28, -18:1-2, 13, 17, 21, 22, 24, -19:4, 6, 11, 13, 14, 17, 21, -20:3, 9, 11, 12, 14, 17, 22, 24, 29, -21:1, 2, 8, 9, 13, 20, 21, 29, 30, 31, 22:1, 2, 6, 26-27.
    22:17-31 Sayings of the Wise. The last section of the Proverbs are mostly extended phrases; however, single ‘but’ phrases are also seen again in chapters 28 and 29
    23 On Life and Conduct. One of our grandchildren had an appropriate paraphrase of the meaning of 23:13-14, “My mommy’s going to ‘pop’ me out of the fire if I do that again!” Thank you Lord for the correcting ‘pops’ you have provided in my life, and for providing Jesus to take my punishment for sin.
    24 Precepts and Warnings
    25-29 Instructions See 26:4, 5 for what at first seems like a contradiction, but instead is advice from different approaches of our interaction with a fool (and reminding us too, advice cannot always take the same ‘cookie-cutter’ approach in a situation). First, there is the principle of avoidance: we cannot play along with the foolish person and be drawn in, or even join him in being a fool. The other situation is that we sometimes need to discern an opportunity to confront error, so that he and others do not consider the fool wise or right.
    30 Words of Agur Verses 7 and 8 are a special prayer—that the Lord would not only keep me truthful and following His truth and way, but also to provide for me just what is needful. Not too little that I am
    tempted to steal and put things into my own hands, but also not too much that I have to deal with unnecessary riches and am tempted to hold possessions too tightly in my hands, rather than share and serve Him who has given me everything.
    31 An Excellent Wife. The section of verses 10-31 reminds me of the times Gini and I spent praising the Lord for our godly marriage. It was not perfect, but we studied and realized the truth of this proverb and many other Bible passages to see what the Lord required of us in our relationship, our parenting, and the responsibilities we had to each other before the Lord. What a joy we had to see together in this passage, the blessings, directions, and promised end results of being granted the aspects of ‘an excellent wife’. We taught and saw personally that in the Lord hands, He takes an ordinary woman and makes her extraordinary, only as she relies and trusts in Him (and it requires a godly, Lord directed husband too!).
    Favorites list: 23:1-3, 4-5, 6-8, 13-14, -24:3-4, 11-12, 30-34, -25:11-12, 17, 21-22, -26:14-15, 17, 18-19, 20, 24, -27:1, 6, 14, 15-16, 17, 19, 21, -28:6, 8, 18, 19, -29:15, 25, -30:5-6. 7-8, 25, -31:10-31.

  14. Bible Notes for Psalms
    As we read, study, and apply the Psalms, we need to start by noting that a large number are the psalms of David (see Psalm 18 as a specific example). In 2 Samuel, we referred to some Psalms which had a specific relationship to an event recorded in that book, often noted in the heading of the Psalm itself. Most attributed to David are in the first part of Psalms. Other authors of Psalms include Moses (Ps 90), and Solomon (Ps 72, 127) while many have no author noted. Psalms means “songs” (the Hebrew word has both a vocal and instrumental meaning). Many envision David composing and singing while tending sheep, then the many definite compositions while avoiding the pursuit of Saul, and then later as the reigning king.
    Some of the Psalms are giving God praise while others are requesting help from the Lord, asking Him to hear our pleas, and then answer. We also quickly see why many reviewers and theologians note that the Psalms have a threefold message: 1- a specific message and application to the particular time and event of its occurrence, often specifically noted (see Psalm 3, 51), 2- a reference to Jesus Christ in every Psalm, and 3- a message and application to each of us as we read a Psalm at a particular time and situation in our own lives.
    There are a number of ways to read through or group the Psalms. First, in the exact order as in our Bibles where there are 5 books of Psalms, 1-41, 42-72, 73-89, 90-107 and 107-150. Second, they can be divided according to some theme or genre, into those specifically attributed to David or another human author, or according to topic or situation. Third, as mentioned, they can be praise, laments, thanksgiving, trust, or about God as King or Lord. Lastly, as also mentioned, many (and some say all) refer in some way to Jesus Christ as King, Lord, and Messiah (Hebrew words we see interpreted as “Lord’s anointed” or “His son”). Thus there is a meaning for David or another author at the time of composing, while at the same time applying to the future Christ.
    You will also note some have musical instructions (Psalm 4-6, 59 and 60 are examples) or worship instruction (see Psalm 42, 44, 46 and the Psalms of Assent 120-134). Many ask about the often included common term “Selah”. The meaning is unclear, but may mean “rest” or “pause”, similar to our singing with interludes of contemplation or instrumental music.
    There are several ways to read through the Psalms, and each time I try to do it a little differently, but my favorite is to read every 30th Psalm (and the corresponding Proverb chapter) for an entire month which equals reading 5 Psalms each day, skipping Psalm 119 to be read by itself on the 31st, and one Proverb. So, day 1 would be Psalm 1, 31, 61, 91 and 121, Proverbs 1; day 2 Psalm 2, 32, 62, 92, 122, Proverbs 2; and then follow that pattern each day. For our notes however, I will go in the numerical order, pointing out only a few of the many observations, interpretations, and applications. Because of the wealth of information available from well-studied and learned theologians, I sometimes wonder why the Lord has prompted me to collate these Bible notes. There are numerous excellent commentaries on the Psalms, but a favorite of mine is by Derek Kidner (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries series).
    Just a little different format for the Psalms. I will put Gini’s chapter title for each Psalm and then any of our notes and commentary, so many will be shorter or absent a note. And now a fact or two for you—Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the Bible, 119 the longest, and Psalm 118 is the mid-point of all the chapters of the Bible, so at that point you will be half-way through in reading through the Bible! Although chapters and verses were added into our Bibles originally to help find certain passages more quickly, if you add up all the chapters except Psalm 118, you get a total of 1188 chapters, and Psalm 118:8 is the middle verse of the entire Bible.
    Psalm 1 The righteous and wicked contrasted- This is an introductory and summary Psalm for all the Psalms and likely was composed for such purpose. It clearly separates mankind into only 2 groups (righteous and wicked). This is the clear message of all of the Bible. There is no middle ground and no “foot in both” of the extremes. First there is instruction for the path we walk and the company we keep, followed by the truth of God’s Word to follow, then the elements or results seen in the two choices, and finally the ending we all face at the judgment. The Psalm begins with a word that is most often translated “blessed” or “approved”, but I prefer the translation with the aspect or meaning of “happy” as in “The happiness of” or “Happy is”. Psalm 1:1 is a principle I instruct myself and others, ‘Keep on walking!’, by which I mean we all have temptations occurring each day in our “walk” as we pursue or have a goal of “happiness” –God’s definition of happiness and not ours. So, even as we slow to a walk to rest or regain strength, we cannot allow our wandering eyes, minds, or heart to slow our “walk” or stop to consider and certainly not “stand” in the midst of the sinful situation that will lead to “sitting” and being involved. Another sequence for the “walk, stand and sit” is “thinking, behaving, belonging” or “thought, word, deed”. Instead, we need to preach scripture to our innermost being, so we are to be similar to an athlete in training, always having a goal as we ‘run’ that race toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus– see 1 Corinthians 9:25-27, Philippians 3:14. We also see that our life in Christ is not to be occasional and superficial but is daily (actually 24/7), being completely following the Lord in his Word and in prayer—and also deeply rooted in Him as the source of living water, causing us to properly grow and bear fruit. See also Jeremiah 17:5-10 and Hosea 14:4-9. While I would like to continue this level of comment on each of the Psalms, I cannot, and will concentrate on Gini and my key thoughts and impressions. As always, I pray God, through His Holy Spirit will help in your application as you read His Word.
    Psalm 2 The Reign of the Lord’s Anointed- The first verse is what is known as parallelism where the first phrase is stated and then the second adds to it as we would say, “and furthermore”. Psalm 6:1 and all of Psalm 20 are 2 more examples. Psalm 2 is also a great example of a Messianic Psalm with prophesy of the coming Christ as King that is central/prominent in verses 6-7. The Psalm is chiastic, starting with kings/earth, then God/heaven, Christ as King, then back to God/heaven and kings/earth. Now go back and see verse 1 in contrast to Psalm 1:2, in that non-believers are always ‘meditating’ on a way to get out from under the law of God, because they hate it; the righteous delight/have joy in God’s law
    Psalm 3 Morning Prayer of Trust in God- Verse 3 is among my favorite verses. I envision this all-encompassing shield about me like being in a bubble, protected on absolutely every side. Then verse 5 and Psalm 4:8 “Now I lay me down to sleep…”, knowing I am safe as I trust in Him.
    Psalm 4 Evening Prayer of Trust in God- As we read verse 4 we see meditation and trust as we go to bed each night. God reminds us to call upon the Lord who does relieve us of our distress and every stressful situation, and we know and truly understand if we know Christ, He has set us apart as His holy, godly children.
    Psalm 5 Prayer for Protection from the Wicked- This Psalm reminds me to come before the Lord in study, prayer and voice as I start each morning. I am to look upward which means to eagerly watch, with expectation.
    6 Request for God’s Mercy and Grace
    7 Show me if I’ve Sinned—If not, Defend me- Go back and see that each first verse of Psalms 4-7 have a request and now 8 does not.
    8 The Lord’s Glory/Majesty and Man’s Dignity- This is one of many Psalms we so enjoy singing, but let us see His majesty as Creator, LORD all caps in our Bibles. This word is the Hebrew YHWH as covenant keeper, while Lord with just capital L is the Hebrew Adonai = as my Sovereign Lord of all. Our God considers and works through us (verse 4 and following are small letter “him”). See the use and application of verse 2 in Matthew 21:16
    9 Psalm of Thanksgiving for God’s Justice- Our praise is to be whole-hearted (1), specific to include the past, present and future (5,13, 8), and praise Him for being a transforming God (19-20)
    10 Prayer for the Overthrow of the Wicked
    11 The Lord is a Refuge and a Defense—Tough Problems- Verse 7 reminds us “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt 5:8)
    12 God, a Helper Against the Treacherous—Tough People- verses 6-7 speak of pure using the example of removing the dross and impurities 7 times in the refining process of silver. Seven is the number of perfection/completion. The end point of refining was to have the silver so pure it was like a mirror to reflect exactly your image when you looked upon the surface. By being ‘purified’ in God’s Word is the way the Lord sets us in safety.
    13 How Long?—Tough Pain- Verses 5-6 remind us to speak truth to our heart
    14 Folly and Wickedness Contrasted—Tough Philosophy- Verse 1 reminds us that April Fools Day is the atheist’s holiday! Verse 3 is repeated in Psalm 53 and see also Romans 3 for our application.
    15 A Citizen of Zion- A good Psalm to memorize
    16 The LORD—my Portion in Life and Deliverance in Death- verses 2, 6-9, 10-11. Verse 6 is one of my favorites as the Lord has given me complete free will but it is within His sovereign boundaries/lines He has provided and into which He has placed me. It is akin to a parent placing a child in a fenced-in yard to do whatever they please. The parent has prepared the yard and the fence “keeps out” harm from the outside, and the child is “kept in”/prevented from leaving the yard. God is sovereign while I have free will, the latter we will not completely understand, because I cannot stop taking a breath, cannot go to Mars within the next 5 minutes, and so on. Another example: When is a train the most free?—when it is on the tracks, as it simply cannot make any progress if it is not.
    17 Prayer for Protection Against Oppressors- verse 14, worldly and this life is all that matters to some (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16), in contrast to verse 15, the heaven bound viewpoint. Note verse 8 is a phrase we often express as “you are the apple of my eye”. The word apple means “pupil, central” in the aspect of most important/keep our pupils from harm, and is followed by the protection (from view and harm), much like a mother hen, “in the shadow of your wings”
    18 Praise the LORD for Deliverance- He is our rock, fortress, deliverer, refuge, shield, stronghold and truly is worthy and due our praise. Verse 46 is often sung about our Rock, making me think that as a Christian child of God, I have been given a “piece of the Rock”, Jesus Christ. Verses 29-30 remind us we are walking along God’s path, illumined by Him.
    19 The Works and Word of God- This Psalm is divided into 2 sections, 1-6 instructing us concerning God’s general revelation in creation, power, beauty, wisdom, goodness (see Romans 1:18) and then 7-13 describing His specific/special revelation in His Word instructing us what to believe about God and how to worship, love, and obey Him. And verse 14 gives the result—may God permit our thoughts and words to be acceptable.
    20 Prayer for Victory over Enemies- We are not to trust or boast in chariots or horses but rather in the LORD
    21 Praise for Deliverance
    22 Cry of Anguish and Song of Praise—Christ—Suffering/Savior, Cross, Dying, Grace
    23 I Shall Not Want—Christ—Shepherd, Crook (staff), Living, Guidance- The longer I live, as well as saying this together with Gini the last 2 years of her life, make me absolutely know why we memorize this Psalm– to realize where God has placed us, He has provided for our every need, and will hold our hand for our last moment on this earth, as we pass through the shadow (that truly is just a shadow which cannot harm because Christ has conquered death and given His elect the victory), the result is eternal life with Him (we truly do go from life to life in an instant). Verse 1, “not want” because of peace with our provision, possessions, placement and protection. Verse 2, “still” is water that moves gently and therefore is pure, not stagnant and is not rolling or fearful either. Verse 4, “shadow”—think about it, the harmless shadow of a fist “hitting” you versus a real fist attached to a real arm actually moving quickly to harm your body!
    24 The King of Glory Entering Zion—Christ—Sovereign, Crown, Reigning, Glory- Verses 7-10, Jesus wins and rules
    25 Teach Me Your Paths- Lift up your soul to the Lord, trusting in Him who forgives your sin and shows you His ways. I love singing the first 4 verses of this Psalm as a scriptural hymn “Unto Thee O Lord, do I Lift up my Soul”
    26 Vindicate Me; I’ve Walked in Integrity
    27 Psalm of Fearless Trust in God–The Lord is my Light and my Salvation- Verses 1, 4, 8, 14
    28 Prayer for Help; Praise for Answer- The house of the Lord is a place of prayer
    29 The Voice of the Lord in the Storm- Give to the Lord the glory and worship due to Him
    30 Joy of Answered Prayer- When we go through difficult times that seem endless, seek the Lord for he promises “weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning”. See also Psalm 126:5, seeing praise does overcome lament!
    31 I Cry out to the Lord—A Fortress in Adversity- Verse 5, Jesus quoted these words on the cross, verse 15, both good and bad times are in the hand of the Lord—a comfort in times of distress.
    32 Blessedness of Forgiveness and Trust- Verses3-5, keeping silent about sin often is the root of depression. Both God and people can forgive sin, –guilt remains to be dealt with but see that only God can also take away the guilt of our sin. Verse 7 is the source of the song, ‘You are my Hiding Place’
    33 Praise to the Creator and Preserver- The counsel of the Lord does stand forever, verse 12 reminds us it is God who chooses (election). Verses 16-17 correlate with Psalm 20:7
    34 The Lord, Provider and Deliverer- Verse 1 is ALL, not some times—we praise the Lord because of who He is, not our circumstances. Verse 2 teaches us humility includes a positive enthusiasm, verse 7 reminds fear is emotion related (and the Lord surrounds us with protection and also rescues); while in verse 6 we see troubles are event related. Verse 8 reminds us that all our senses (including taste) are involved in our relationship with our God.
    35 Prayer for Rescue from Enemies- Notice the request for God to ‘stand up’ or ‘rise’ for our help, while letting the enemy be like ‘chaff’, unable to stand
    36 Wickedness of Men and Lovingkindness of God
    37 Security for those who Trust in the Lord, Insecurity for those who do Not- Verses 3-5 are often quoted, reminding us to trust, delight, commit and rest, especially to stay in whatever the joy or difficulty. As we are totally bound to the Lord, we are totally free—only holiness and our souls will remain after all else is gone. Some aspects of these verses also teach us to be pliable (able to be molded) and to roll our worries onto God, asking, inquiring, begging. I also like verse 24 as one of several verses in the Bible that teaches us that God’s elect will stumble and start to fall, but we will not completely fall to the ground.
    38 Prayer for the Suffering Penitent
    39 The Vanity of Life- We often say we will guard/muzzle our tongue (while our inner being or heart is still hot or disturbed; and we are musing or fussing while the fire burns!). Then verses 4-7 remind us that we do not have unlimited time, so we must not put off what we know we are to do, we must prioritize the time, and then answer the questions, “what am I amassing?, how am I using it?, and for what am I waiting?” In summary, we need to quit suppressing the truth by being silent when we ought to speak (some say this is resisting commission of sin which then leads to the sin of omission), quit shuffling time because it is precious and fleeting (don’t put off what you know your should do)—and realize accumulating is futile. And we need to quit complaining and start confessing and dealing with all of our sin.
    40 God Sustains His Servant- We are to wait patiently for the Lord, He is the one that draws us up out of the miry pit and sets us on the solid rock (and you can think of Jesus as the ‘solid Rock’ also). It is the Lord only who initiates our salvation, gives us the ability to confess Him as Lord and Savior, puts a new song in our mouth, giving us the ability to respond in trust, –and then we desire to give back to Him our time, talent, and treasure (that He has provided to us)
    41 The Blessing and Suffering of the Godly- This is the last Psalm of the first book and we will note that each of the last Psalms ends with a doxology closing with Amen or Praise the Lord.
    42 Thirsting for God in Midst of Trouble and Distress- Verse 1-2a is a favorite song. Then twice we see anxiety and worry mentioned, reminding us not to listen to self, rather speak praises of His hope and salvation to ourselves.
    43 Prayer for Deliverance Through God’s Light and Truth- This is another example of anxiety and worry, with the solution seen in God’s light and truth to lead/go to God, our exceeding joy.
    44 Former Deliverance and Present Trouble- God has always delivered and will continue to deliver us, and He needs to be our trust
    45 A Song Celebrating the King’s Marriage—Jesus as Bridegroom- Verses 6-7 is a prophesy fulfilled in Christ in Hebrews 1:8-9 –see also Isiah 61:1-3
    46 God the Refuge of His People- The first verses of this Psalm paraphrased are the basis of ‘A Mighty Fortress is Our God’ Verse10 reminds us to cease striving, let go, relax (see Psalm 62:5-8). This is also one of the ‘Zion’ Psalms along with Ps 24, 48, and 87.
    47 God, the King of All the Earth
    48 The Beauty and Glory of Zion- For verses 1-2 and portions of many other Psalms, I love just hearing the song rolling around in my head right now—‘Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised…’
    49 The Folly of Trusting Riches- See the contrast of death, the believer being alive, redeemed from the power of the grave, dwelling with the Lord in verse 15, versus the eternal darkness for the fool (senseless), who is absent all else but his soul in everlasting torment
    50 God the Judge of the Righteous and the Wicked
    51 Contrite Sinner’s Prayer for Pardon- Much has been written about this Psalm specifically referenced to David’s sin against the Lord with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12). Verses 6-17 remind us to also request the Lord to cause us to seek holiness, realize His compassion, and then evangelize, –teaching others God’s answer to our sin, praying that they too would be converted.
    52 Futility of Boastful Wickedness
    53 Folly and Wickedness of Man- We reviewed this with Psalm 14
    54 Prayer to God, the Sustainer of My Soul
    55 Cast our Burden on the Lord- Verse 6, we would like to have wings to fly away from our distress, but we cannot. Instead, verse 17-18 instructs we seek the Lord evening, morning and noon, seeing He redeems us even as we sleep.
    56 Supplication for Deliverance—Grateful Trust in God- See verses 4, 8-9, and 11
    57 Prayer for Deliverance and Refocusing- We truly can take shelter in the Lord while the storms/calamities of life pass by
    58 Prayer for Punishment of the Wicked
    59 Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
    60 Prayer for God’s Help- We need to understand verses 11-12
    61 Confidence in God’s Protection—Lead me to the Rock
    62 My Soul Waits for God Alone, My Refuge- Verses 1-2, 5. 8
    63 God’s Lovingkindness is Better than Life- Verses 3-4 are another song rolling in my head
    64 Hide me from Secret Enemies
    65 Thanksgiving Day Prayer, God’s Abundant Favor to Earth and Man
    66 Prayer to my Personal and Awesome God
    67 God Blesses us so that… We are blessed to be a blessing, reflecting the light He shines upon us, telling others His way and salvation, that all the ends of the earth may fear Him
    68 The God of Sinai and the Sanctuary- Verses 8, 35 with ‘holy places’ being translated as ‘sanctuary’ in most Bibles. Verse 19, God does bear our burdens with some translations instead being ‘bears us up’ or ‘loads us with benefits’ I personally see the complete combination of all of these English meanings of the original Hebrew.
    69 Urgent Cry for God to Save and Help in Distress- Verse 13 is a verse to pray and speak when depressed. Verse 21 is a prophesy concerning gall and vinegar given Christ (John 19:29)
    70 Prayer for Help Against Persecutors
    71 Prayer of an Old Man for Deliverance- Verses 5-9 and 18 that reminds us to declare or share the Lord with our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
    72 The Reign of the Righteous King- This Psalm is attributed to Solomon and ends Book 2 of the Psalter.
    73 Perspective of Prosperity- Notice the contrast of the protection from total fall (slipping) of the righteous (2) versus the fate of the wicked (18), followed by verses we sing as a familiar song (25-26). This Psalm points out that the most terrible inward conflict and/or our outward death is more desired than the greatest calm of false assurance! Our witness and attitude comes not from ‘Why or how the wicked are allowed to proper’, rather a passion for God’s justice, righteousness, glory and plan. Our chief and only good (prospering) is to be near to and saved by our God. Also, see in verse 15 to be careful about relating your doubts to those weak in faith. Then see in 23-24 how we are grasped, guided, and glorified!
    74 Appeal Against the Devastation of the Land
    75 God Abases the Proud, but Exalts the Humble- Verse 6-7
    76 The Victorious Power of the Lord- Verse 10, even the fiercest of men shall turn to God’s praise
    77 Comforted When Recalling God’s Mighty Deeds
    78 Tell the Coming Generation- Verses 1-8 teach that we are not to conceal what we know about God’s power, character, judgment and wondrous works. We ‘conceal’ if we avoid Him, don’t take time to study and know Him, and don’t share our struggles and sins with others, including our offspring. We often fail to teach our children by not setting an example of home where they see corporate discussions, teaching, prayer, and worship. Give them knowledge (1 Timothy 3:15), memorize verses together to put confidence in God, and teach servanthood by your example in love and serving. Then pray for God to make a difference in the next generation.
    79 Prayer for Israel
    80 Prayer for Restoration
    81 God’s Goodness and Our Waywardness- Advice to ‘open your mouth wide and I will fill it’ and ‘listen to Me’, ‘walk in My ways!’ You cannot take in food or drink if you stubbornly refuse to open your mouth, thus you cannot ‘taste’ or ‘absorb’!
    82 Plea for Justice
    83 God Implored to Confound Enemies
    84 Longing to Worship in God’s Dwelling Place- Verse 1 and 10 are included in a worshipful song
    85 Revive us Again! Verse 6 is another song we love to sing as a plea and then rejoicing
    86 Supplication and Trust- God has steadfast love in the face of all our arguments/situations, each starting with the word ‘For’. This Psalm could be termed “Praying with arguments”. Spurgeon, another reference source on the internet for you, in his “Treasury of David”, notes this and Psalm 17 have in their title “A Prayer of David”
    87 Privileges of Citizenship in Zion- Glorious things are spoken of Zion, the city of our God.
    88 Petition Day and Night to be Saved from Death
    89 I Will Sing of the Steadfast Love/Mercies of the Lord- Verse 1 should be on your memory list as we sing and share God’s faithfulness. This Psalm ends book 3 of the Psalms
    90 God is Eternal, Man is Transient/Mortal- Another Psalm for your memory list and of great importance. God Almighty is contrasted with our transient life on this earth (bluntly pointing out our return to dust), and the truth/instruction to number/consider/properly use our days that God might give us a heart of wisdom, working in and through us to ‘establish/give permanence to the work of our hands’ We are wanderers in the wilderness; the presence of God in our lives gives our life meaning, joy and significance to our hands that serve Him all of our days. As I pointed out in my book, “Death Takes Time”, Gini has written in 2 of her Bibles at verse 10 the number of days (not years) she had left in 1991 and 2002, if she were to live to 70 or 80 years. Then at the end of this Psalm she had written a note, ‘we as wanderers on this earth can leave no permanent monuments, but God gives us significance, purpose and a legacy in the deeds He carries out by and through our hands that serve Him. In the midst of life in the wilderness, only the blessing of God’s own presence can give meaning to life and give us joy.’
    91 Security of the One Who Trusts in the Lord- Gini has a note that this Psalm was the first thing she read in the Bible after finding out her father had suffered and survived a heart attack at age 61, who then lived to age 88. We need to trust, not fear; God truly is our shield and protects us better than a hen with her chicks under her wings. Note in verse 15, God does not remove troubles, but He is with us through tough times!
    92 Praise for the Lord’s Goodness- Praise the Lord for His work of creation and care, as well as His judgments. The righteous man will flourish, still yielding fruit in old age. Verse 10 has the interesting word ‘horn’ with the meaning of powerful strength.
    93 The Majesty of the Lord
    94 God is the Refuge and Comfort of the Righteous- Verses 9-10 teach that the one that created and formed us with ears and eye certainly can hear and see! Verse 19 is good to read when we are anxious.
    95 Sing Songs of Praise- Another Psalm to memorize the first 6 verses as we worship
    96 Worship God as Creator/Holy- Each of the Psalms 96-100 speak of God’s attributes and are Psalms of worship
    97 Worship God as King/Sovereign Lord
    98 Worship God as Judge and Provider of Salvation
    99 Worship God as Holy
    100 Worship God for His Goodness, Faithfulness and Mercy- Another Psalm often read as we worship, much has been written about, and to memorize. All people are encouraged to praise and serve the Lord with gladness
    101 Profession of Uprighness/Integrity/Faithfulness- Verse 3 is a reminder to not let the worthless or wicked enter in or control us in any way—think through the influence of some of TV, books, movies, video games, conversations (including social media), relationships…
    102 Prayer of the Afflicted- This is the title as well as recorded words of the Lord as loving and abiding forever, a name and help for His people yet to be created, that they too might see Him as Lord and also praise Him. See verses 12, 18-21, 28. The last verse is also a promise of His continuing covenant relationship with His people that includes us!
    103 Praise the Lord for His Mercies- After the opening promise that we are to bless/make happy our Lord with our whole/all being, then the reminder we have a God who is as everlasting, sovereign, merciful, helping and forgiving. Regarding verse 5, see Romans 8:28 and 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Verse 12 is another of my favorite verses in the whole of the Bible—to realize that God has (already a promised accomplished fact) removed my sins/transgressions from me. Then the illustration of separation of the east and west direction to prove to our hearts and minds, the completeness of His forgiveness. For if you take or imagine a globe of the earth, when you travel north to south (or south to north) you reach a pole and instantly the direction changes, but in this illustration of east and west directions, you can travel east towards west forever and never ever reach a turning point to begin to go the opposite direction! This does not mean I am sinless while dwelling on this earth, but the already accomplished promise of my sinless being when I join Him in His/my heavenly home for all eternity. See verse 14 and realize that, just as in Psalm 139:15, God knows what we are made of and what we can bear.

    104 Bless the Lord, O My Soul- Verse 30 reminds us again of the work and power of the Holy Spirit. I like studying the Hebrew of describing the Holy Spirit as ‘hovering’ as a powerful wave like energy over the waters in creation of the earth, then like the in and out of a breath that literally is manifested by our being able to breathe in and out of His created air. This same power and presence changed us in an instant from ‘dead in our sins’ to being ‘born again’ –then able to see, hear, understand the perfect will and plan of God the Father through the redeeming and accomplished work of Jesus Christ for us, and then to proclaim Jesus as Savior, Lord, Treasure and Intercessor. That same power and presence of the Holy Spirit also helps us to understand and apply the written Word of God to our lives. And, all this is only a small part of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
    105 The Wonderful Works of the Lord
    106 Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is Good- This Psalm concludes book 4 of the Psalms
    107 The Lord Delivers Men from Manifold Troubles- In the ESV version many of the “trouble” verses start with “Some” (4, 10, 17, 23) whereas the NASB uses words “Because” and “Those” but each is followed by “delivered them” and “give thanks” to God for His steadfast love
    108 We have Victory with God- Verses 3-5 are the basis of another praise song.
    109 Help me Against my Adversaries
    110 The LORD gives Dominion to the King- The all caps LORD is YHWH (Jehovah God) who says to the Lord (Adonai) to sit at My right hand. This prophesy about Christ as Messiah is fulfilled in Hebrews 1:13 (also see Matthew 22:41-45) Jesus is the reigning King and Lord over all.
    111 Praise God for All He Is- As we see and delight in the works of God and study about Him, we do give thanks to Him with a whole heart, knowing in verse 10, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments” We can have knowledge and understanding because of God and He allows us to also see a small peek into His wisdom.
    112 The Blessed State of the One Who Fears the Lord- The one whom God blesses is trusting and faithful no matter what might befall and knowing the further aim is that we are to be a blessing. Pause for a few minutes as I note the verses and list the blessings the Lord gives to His children in this short Psalm: 2- children, 3-sufficiency outward and inward, 4-light for our dark path, comfort, 5-composure and compassion, 6-constancy, steadfastness and trust in God’s sovereignty, love and wisdom over ALL things (Romans 8:28), and 9-we understand we have all this (and sometimes even are honored) so we can be a blessing
    113 Who is Like the Lord our God- Now see in this Psalm our response of what we saw we have received in 112, “blessed be the name of the Lord”. Psalms 113-118 were part of the Passover celebration to remember not only what the Lord has done, but to continue to rely on the Him.
    114 Power of God in Deliverance (from Egypt)
    115 Trust in God, not Idols- This Psalm begins with words we often sing–all is about God, not about us, and then the Psalm continues to caution against the idols of every kind in our lives. By pointing out the facts about idols, we are to see that God speaks through His Word, sees our every deed, knows our hearts, and hears our prayers.
    116 Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Death- The Lord will deliver my soul from death! What a comfort to read all this Psalm, but especially 8,9, 12-15 as I realize the aspects of the fact that death only lasts for an instant as we pass from life to life. Death does not have the power to do anything, and through our relationship to God through Jesus Christ, we can know our deliverance is a sure thing.
    117 Praise Him for His Lovingkindness and Truth- As noted as we began these Psalms, this is the shortest chapter in the Bible. But the message is clear—All whom He has called and who know Him, –ALL His saints includes people of all nations and tongues, are to praise Him, His truth is everlasting.
    118 Praise Him for His Everlasting Love and Mercy- This Psalm is middle chapter of the Bible with 1188 chapters before and 1188 chapters after, and verse 118:8 is the exact middle verse of the Bible, so if you are reading through completely, you are now at the blessed and encouraging half-way point. And what a verse to read as we do trust and find refuge in our God. Verses 22, 26 are fulfilled about Christ (Matthew 21:9, 42). And, verse 24 is a favorite of mine, giving God all praise for each day, rejoicing and trusting His provision of each of our days (I thank the Lord that both Gini and I could rest and trust in this verse and so much more, even on the day we found out she had a deadly cancer in her brain, –that we both knew would take her earthly life, and I can still quote this verse today as I write these words one year after her death, knowing the day of her passing was a joyous one, rejoicing that she is alive with her Lord, and I will join her shortly down the path of my own earthly journey)
    119 I love Thy Law- Now, the longest chapter in the Bible and nearly every verse has a word for God’s testimonies, truth, law, Word, precepts or similar. I do not remember from whom I learned or read, but what follows is a listing of a summary of each section or “stanza” of 8 verses, and I will point out some of Gini and my key verses for note or memory in parenthesis. Then I pray you might dwell on certain verses, for instance in the section of 9-16 to see the Word 9-cleanses, 10-controls, 11-embedded, 12-corrects, valuable and must apply to 13-speaks, savor/rejoice, and 16-not forget—you do have protection and peace when God’s Word is housed in your heart and mind.
    1-8, God’s Word Completes us; 9-16, Cleanses and Purifies (9,11); 17-24, Counsels (18, 24); 25-32, Revives our Strength (28); 33-40, Revives our Sanctification; 41-48, Revives our Trust and Hope; 49-56, Comforts in pain (50); 57-64, Calms us from panic (61); 65-72, Corrects us through problems; 73-80, Equips us for ministry; 81-88, Encourages us for ministry; 89-96, Establishes us for ministry; 97-104, Educates us for ministry; 105-112, Confirms our movements (105, 112—memorize 105); 113-120, Cautions our walk (113, 117, 120); 121-128, Clarifies our walk (128); 129-136, Creates Passion for obedient walk (130, 133, 136); 137-144, Creates Passion for truth (142, 144); 145-152, Creates Passion for God (145, 147); 153-160, Provides Rescue from affliction (153); 161-168, Provides Removal of stumbling blocks (165); 169-176, Provides Return back to God (168, 176).
    120 Prayer for Deliverance from Foes- Each of the 15 Psalms 120-134 are entitled “A Song of Assents” and were sung as entire families traveled to Jerusalem to worship This first one probably was sung as they started, to ask God to protect and guide (personally and as a group) as they traveled.
    121 The Lord, Our Help and Keeper- What a Psalm to remind us of the Lord as help, protector, keeper, and preserver of our entire being, body and soul
    122 The Joy of Going to the House of the Lord
    123 Our Eyes Look to our Merciful Lord
    124 Had the Lord Not Been on our Side- Our help is in the name of the Lord
    125 The Lord Surrounds His People
    126 Thanksgiving for Return from Captivity- We often sow in tears, but we have the promise we will reap in joy.
    127 The Lord Alone does all Things, Using Us- The Lord builds—we build. The Lord guards, we guard. The Lord provides children, we procreate
    128 Blessed are Those that Fear the Lord- What a privilege to have seen our children’s children
    129 Prayer for Overthrow of Enemies
    130 Hope in the Lord’s Forgiving Love
    131 Childlike Trust in the Lord- We often need calm and composure, resting and knowing we are already filled and provided, rather than struggling to obtain.
    132 The Lord’s Chosen Zion, My Resting Place- Verses 13-14
    133 Brothers Dwelling in Unity- Stop and admire the delight and beauty of unity. See Ephesians 4:3, Acts 2:1, John 17:11, Proverbs 6:19 (about strife and discord), teaching us that unity is not about us all being alike, but working together as one body, with each member helping toward the unified goal, resulting in the Lord’s blessing.
    134 Bless the Lord Always, Even in the Night- This is the last of the Assents Psalms
    135 Praise our Sovereign God- Verse 6, “Whatever the Lord pleases, He does.”
    136 Give Thanks, His Steadfast Love and Mercy is Everlasting
    137 An Experience of Captivity- This Psalm relates to the time Judah was in Babylonian captivity
    138 Thanksgiving for the Lord’s Favor
    139 God’s Character and Perfect Knowledge- This Psalm was a favorite of Gini’s, memorized and often quoted/shared/taught. Concerning God’s character, we see om verse 1- all knowing, 2- omniscient, 5- sets limits, guides/leads (see 10 also), 13- greatness as creator of all even to our most inward parts that include our personality and desires. And verse 16, our ordained days when written in His book when seeing our unformed substance. He does know everything about us to the inward core of our heart, and we do ask that He search us with that full knowledge, and yet lead us in the way everlasting.
    140 Prayer for Protection Against Wickedness
    141 Evening Prayer for Sanctification and Protection
    142 Prayer for Help in Trouble
    143 Prayer for Deliverance and Guidance- This Psalm reminds us that we are to know God by study, mediation, and prayer, then trusting in Him to make known His will and the way we should go, asking that He lead us on level ground (we each want to avoid a crisscross journey with lots of hills, valleys, and deep streams to cross). Our journey will have difficult times, but OK if it is the Lord’s will as He will guide and deliver, but not if it is our own doing!
    144 Prayer for Rescue and Protection- Verse 12 also is a prayer for our children, grandchildren and future generations, that they might be ‘corner pillars’ continuing to uphold faith in their (and our) great God
    145 The Lord Extolled for His Goodness and Greatness- An alternate title Gini had for this Psalm is ‘Eternal Praise to the Eternal King’. This Psalm starts the last 6 praise Psalms. Verses 1-7 tell of His greatness in being worthy of praise, unsearchable, His works, acts, majesty. We are to speak of this greatness, even in the things that are often considered ‘terrible’ or ‘frightening’, but still in the sense of ‘awesome’. Makes the term ‘scare the hell out of you’ make a bit of sense! Then in 8-16 we see God’s common grace for all His kingdom. Examples are: we all trust in (and hope for) a system of justice, that our work will result in our provision, trust in doctors for our health, and trust in counsel to help for our other needs. I stand in amazement that God, because of sin, allows common grace to any of us. And, our ‘blessings’ make us think we are sufficient of ourselves, so we don’t praise Him. Lastly, 17-21 teach of His goodness that includes His salvation, that I might truly know He is righteous and is truth, thanking and praising Him for His love and goodness, for saving me.
    146 My Help and Hope is in God, not Mortal Men- We are impotent, we cannot save. We are impertinent, we die, move and fail others. We are insignificant, our plans come to nothing, if they are not of God and eternal.
    147 Praise to God for His Word and Providence
    148 Whole Creation is to Praise the Lord
    149 Praise to the Lord with a New Song
    150 A Psalm of Praise/Let Everything Praise the Lord- Gini’s note at the conclusion of the Psalms: Praise is like a bride’s wedding band, 1- Her husband delights in seeing her wear it, 2- she herself delights in it, 3- It testifies to others of the beauty of the relationship. Might we shout with joy and rejoice as we truly enjoy the Lord, knowing all things are to bring Him glory, and all things are for our good.

  15. Job Bible Notes–On this Memorial Day celebration in the USA, I am sitting here thankful to God for the freedoms I have to be able to spend time in God’s Word and review and prepare these notes from our Bibles. The freedom also allows me to have a Bible, to meet and express freely, and know that others are protecting these freedoms. Praying this morning for our country and our world as we go through so many assaults on our core beliefs. Even more reason to encourage you to read, study, meditate, and apply our Lord’s teaching to every aspect of your life. Job endured horrific trials, stumbled without falling, questioned God, confronted bad advice, but did not waver from his trust and hope in God.

    Job is believed to be the first book written, so some reading plans have you read this book between Genesis 11 and 12. It is the first of 3 books called Wisdom literature, the other 2 being Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The book deals with the difficult question of the presence of suffering, while knowing God is just and good. As the book begins and as it ends, we see Job trusting in His all-knowing, completely sovereign and good God. But, just like each of us as Christians, Job also describes his feelings, asking why God is afflicting him, seemingly unjustly. We also need to see in this book the analysis given in James 5:11 telling us of the patience (perseverance, steadfastness) of Job, despite the challenges to his faith. This allows us to further learn and comprehend that we have a God who allows affliction and suffering, as we also see that beyond His justice and goodness, our God is also purposeful, merciful, and compassionate—just a few of His myriad of attributes as our loving, personal God, so that we too, can completely trust in God and His plan for our lives, and then, like Job in 18:25 can conclude, “I know that my Redeemer lives!”
    Some reviews of the book of Job say that the beginning and the end are from God’s perspective, while the majority of the middle of the book is from man’s perspective, through the words of Job, his wife, and the counsel/advice of his friends.
    Many years ago, Gini and I attended a Desiring God conference where pastor John Piper outlined and taught the entire book of Job. That series has been used by God to help with some of the parts that seem confusing. Much of what I now present in these notes are somewhat based on that outline with my own thoughts and modifications. In many of the passages, I will follow notes with an immediate review or comment section to prompt our application.
    Job 1
    This book begins with a description of Job by name and of his character being blameless, a man fearing God and turning from evil. Then we learn how blessed he is with children and possessions. He set an example of burnt offerings each morning for his children saying, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” They each held a feast in their house in turn. Then, similar to a play, the next scene is Satan before God saying he has been roaming the earth, and the Lord says to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job…” and repeats Job’s character qualities. Satan answers that God has made special provision for Job by putting a hedge around him and all he has, as well as blessing him. If all were taken away, he would curse God instead. God answers that Satan can control all that Job has, except he cannot lay a hand on Job. Next scene is one of the family feasts in the oldest son’s house (Job is not there), and Job is then told that foreigners have come in and taken his animals and a lightning strike has set fire to the remaining animals and servants. Then another comes to tell Job that the rest of his animals have been taken by 3 waves of Chaldeans. Finally, a 3rd person comes to tell Job all his children and families gathered have been killed in a great wind (like a tornado).
    Job’s response is to rise, tear his robe, shave his head and fall to the ground and worship. Although, obviously grieving, he says, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” The last verse of chapter 1 says that Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
    Each of us knows of or has gone through a severe trial that does not even approach these extremes. How have we handled the trial, or what advice have we given or been given? When I was about 15, on a Sunday afternoon, a tornado came through a farming area 10 miles from my home. It killed an entire family reunion gathering of 18 people as it destroyed the house and all the buildings of one farm. Another farm house was lifted and broken apart, spread out over the next half mile, but all of the kitchen appliances were in perfect order and upright in the basement, without damage. I was part of the volunteer clean-up and retrieval group that helped the next day. I was able to witness the power of this type of destruction, eliminating much in an instant, while also sparring. I also saw a piece of straw driven partially into a telephone pole. The amazing power of wind channeled to surround straw to make it like a nail! (Mythbusters tried to recreate this and were able to get the straw a quarter inch into the wood, but there are many other types of examples on the internet of items like a license plate or small sticks of wood driven into a tree or through concrete block walls without surrounding damage to the wall).
    Now, turning to my own life 55 years later–my wife developed a brain cancer called glioblastoma that I knew was deadly. Our lives changed the instant we learned of the diagnosis, but both of us were able to trust and rest in the Lord, while at the same time being devastated. Although essentially having our lives turned upside down, our response still had to be the same each morning, “This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” For 4 ½ years until her death, we both were able to know that the Lord has a plan for each of us, allows trials for the purpose of our good and His glory, and then knowing He was holding each of our hands as we held hands. Like Job, each of us should understand there is no other way but to trust and obey. Great is His faithfulness, unto me.
    Job 2
    Satan again is present before the Lord. Note that again the Lord asks the same question concerning Job and then says to Satan, “[Job] still holds fast his integrity…” to which Satan replies that a man will give all he has to keep his life, and if the Lord would “hand” out affliction to his bone and flesh, he would curse God to His face. Then the Lord “hands” Job to be in his Satan’s hand, “only spare his life.” So, Job is “struck” with sores so severe that he takes a piece of broken pottery to scrape off the pus. Then his wife confronts him about holding to his integrity, saying, “Curse God and die” but he responds to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” Again we see that in all this Job did not sin with his lips.
    Do you see that God is the primary cause or reason of all that is occurring and Satan is only the secondary cause or agent, and then only because he is allowed to do so. In verse 10, we specifically see God as the primary causation and Sovereign in charge of every detail of all things! He allowed a cancer to arise in my wife of 50 years, having a totally different, but still sovereign purpose in both of our lives as well as many around us. Although we can be saddened, we need to know that we have a loving and merciful God who has a perfect plan for every moment of our lives on this earth and then for all eternity.
    As chapter 2 ends, we see that 3 friends hear of the evil that has come upon Job and the make an appointment together to come to “show him sympathy and comfort him.” Arriving they do not even recognize him, lament, but then they “sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was great.”
    This is a reminder that being quiet and just being present is often the best advice in a time of crisis and great suffering. Many gathered in our home during the entire time of Gini’s illness; there was much anguish and crying out to the Lord, but we reamained steadfast in His plan, not ours, or any desire of our friends.
    Job 3
    Now we see that Job speaks out and wishes he had not been born, or why did he not die at birth. He is dealing with the reality of death. As we will see in subsequent descriptions, his faith becomes stronger during his long time of suffering.
    Job 4-33
    Now (for the next 29 chapters) begins 3 cycles of speeches from his friends and Job’s response. I do not want you to read through these chapters, thinking there is massive truth to meet Job’s situation. Instead, there are only kernels of truth, often tainted; to which Job must often confront. These 29 chapters of his friends’ advice can be best summed up as bad theology. All of us have heard similar things like, “that is from Satan, not from God,” “God is in charge, it will all turn out good and be OK”, “I will be praying for you”, and so many more.
    The first friend is Eliphaz who speaks too long and is both insensitive and superficial. He starts by saying that he just has to speak, knowing that Job has taught many in similar times of their stumbling and being feeble. He tells Job he seems to be impatient and dismayed. Then he says that he who was innocent does not perish and the upright is not cut off! This is terrible theology, saying that trouble comes because of sin! Then, look at 5:8 and see his superficial advice and answer that includes, “I would seek God”, and then beginning in 5:18, saying things are going to turn around, and God will deliver Job from 6 troubles.
    Job’s first response begins in chapter 6, “If my grief could be weighed,….it would be heavier than the sand of the sea…” He says his grieving explains his rash words as he feels the arrows of the Almighty within. In 6:6, he tries to explain in words that his situation is way beyond things like eating food without salt or the white of an egg (is he confronting the insensitive and superficial advice?). Then he says two things of importance in verses 8-10, first he will not deny or conceal the words of the Lord, but would desire that God would remove him from this situation, even if that meant more pain. The second is in 6:13 saying, “Have I any help in me; when resource (or success) is driven from me?”. He then asks in 6:24-30 for his friends to show him where he has sinned and how he has erred, and then in verse 26 compares the speech he has heard as “words to the wind!” We will see this similar phrase again in 8:2, 15:2, and 16:3. When we receive incomplete or foolish advice, we often use similar terms like, “that is a bunch of hot air”. When Gini was first diagnosed, I received some “sure to work” advice to immediately begin some regimen like juicing, organic foods and the like.
    In chapter 7:7 to the end, Job comes back to his thoughts on death. He just wants to fade out, even if there is no future. He just wants God to leave him alone.
    Chapter 8 now turns to Bildad’s first speech which can best be summed up as wrong theology. He relates that big sin produces big suffering, and since he is observing much suffering, there must be “big sin” to discover and deal with. He also presents the corollary of big righteousness results in big prosperity, and since prosperity is gone, there must not be righteousness. Like many of us, he starts out by taking words that Job has said and turns them on him, “how long will the words of your mouth be a great wind?” A coarse way of saying this would be, “Bull”, and much of what he says to Job is also confrontational.
    In chapter 9 Job responds with, “But how can a man be in the right before God? If one wished to contend with Him, one could not answer Him once in a thousand times.” He continues by saying that God is way beyond all comprehension and in 9:22-24 relates that though the wicked prosper, it is still God behind it all. And, though Job might be in the right and blameless, God would still prove him perverse. He admits in 9:28 that he is afraid of all the suffering and knows God will not hold him innocent. In verses 32-33, in fact, there would be no arbiter or umpire at a trial. In chapter 10, we see that Job is being pressed by this second friend and Job starts to overstate, which we will see God rebuke when we get to chapter 42. See 10:6-9 as Job confronts God, saying that he is not guilty, that God has destroyed him altogether, and to remember He made him of clay. He continues to bemoan his hardship a bit, then again asks God to leave him alone. He still wants to die, to go to a gloomy place where even light is as thick darkness. (This is as if to say, I am through with all this suffering. I am guilty and there is no hope of any different result. Just let me die and go to hell.)
    In chapter 11, it is now Zophar who gives his first speech. Basically his advice is that Job deserves worse, which can best be termed false theology. It is as if, listening to the previous two, he confronts Job with, “Should a multitude of words go unanswered, and a man full of talk be judged right.” He continues with words like babble, mock, shame, doctrine, clean, and then in 11:6 notes that God even forgotten a part of Job’s sin, “Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.” Wow! That would be hard to listen to even without suffering. In 11:14-15, he continues to challenge Job to cast away all his sin and then be able to lift his face without blemish, be secure, and not fear.
    Job replies in chapters 12-14, this time beginning with sarcasm to what his friends have presented, “No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you!” He then uses the animal world to show that even they know the hand of the Lord does all things. Even the “mislead” and the “misleader” are led and directed by Him.
    In chapter 13:3, Job says he will take his case to God, and not to his friends, who he then calls liars who whitewash and are worthless physicians. 13:15-21 is Job’s comment and prayer, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him”, knowing he would be silent when dead, thus asking God to withdraw His hand far from him, and not have this dread of God terrify him. He continues in 14:13-14 with some hope regarding death, asking God to hide and protect him from hell and asking the question, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” Again, see the progression of Job’s thoughts and relationship regarding God.
    Chapter 15 begins the 2nd cycle of speeches, with the question of whether windy knowledge and being a “wind bag” are simply words that can do no good. 15:20 is a false principle stating a “wicked man writhes in pain all his days.” To which Job replies in 16:2-3, sorry, you are miserable comforters all and your windy words need to end. He continues that if he speaks or is silent, the pain and suffering does not diminish. He notes in the last verse of chapter 16, in a few years he will go to death and there is no return. After listening again, in chapter 19, Job again says his friends are tormenting him with their words. God has placed him in the midst of this trial and he relates a phrase in 19:20 that we often hear, “I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.” Although we use this to indicate a narrow escape from a situation, it is most likely indicating that Job understands that all that he might have left through and after all of this ordeal is the skin (gums) with all else gone, including his teeth.
    Next are very important verses 19:25-27, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet (without) my flesh I shall see God.” We now see a turn in Job as he understands God, in Christ, is his hope of eternal life. His faith now has turned upward related to his death, and future. And, truly a significant verse for each of us to apply. As a Christian, our hope is based on only the shed blood of our Savior, who rose from the dead, is alive and at the right hand of God, whom we shall see face to face after our own death, for all eternity. What a hope and result of our faith, trust and rest, only in Him. May we all find our true significance only in our Redeemer. See Psalm 17:15, 1 Corinthians 13:12, and 1 John 3:2)
    Beginning in chapter 22, we see the 3rd and final cycle of speeches begin. The first has been termed a brutal discourse or “wooden theology” without any truth, and is just plain a lie! This discourse defies reality or the facts about Job and, in fact, makes Job to be a wicked man. Job responds in chapter 23 by confirming in verses 10-14 that God knows the way or path Job takes, and after the trial, Job will come out as gold (refined and pure). He has followed the Lord’s commandments and Word. What God has begun, He will complete (see Phil 1:6 as advice to each of us). In 24:13, we are to stay on the path and not rebel against the Light.
    Job continues to answer forcefully in chapters 26-31 that he will stand firm with God, supplying many statements showing that God is beyond understanding. One he repeats is, ‘any wisdom we have is from the source of wisdom, God’. Only through the wisdom of God imparted do we have any knowledge, understanding, or even a hint of the edges of His wisdom!
    Job 29-31
    Chapters 29-31 are sometimes termed Job’s monologue or final summary. Many are laughing at him or taunting, and in chapter 31 he lists that his personal life (like ours) has lust, lying and at least thoughts of adultery. His public life (like ours) includes mistreatment of others in his employ, withholding from the poor, widows, orphans, and needy (the New Testament confronts us with this again in James 1:27), and not recognizing our only support and any well-being is only from the Lord. Lastly, he points out the defects in his spiritual life (like ours) that incudes trusting in gold, failure to worship, wanting revenge, failing at hospitality, and having impure motives.
    Job 32-37
    In chapters 32-37, a young man named Elihu has been sitting, observing, and listening respectfully to the elder men’s discussions and is introduced as having something new, not just more bad theology. For these 6 chapters we see his monologue and there is not an argument or response from Job recorded as in previous chapters for the others. (See 33:31-33, and also note in 42:7, God does not criticize Elihu either). Elihu starts by pointing out that Job has been trying to justify himself rather than God, and pointing out that none of the friends has had any answers.
    We then see Elihu confirming any of our understanding comes from God (32:8), that Job never said he was without sin, but still has pride (33:9), God speaks to us in 2 ways, by dreams or visions, and through pain or trials. He then affirms God’s justice in chapter 34, tells of God’s greatness in chapter 36 as he points out it is suffering which opens our ears to instruction (36:10, 15 and Psalm 119:71), and you cannot tell God that He has done wrong (36:23). He ends in 37:14, “Hear this, O Job, stop and consider the wondrous works of God.”
    Job 38-41
    These chapters are termed God’s monologue as the Lord answers Job, essentially saying not to put God on trial, and now God will answer through asking questions! These are questions that we too need to answer.
    Concerning physical mysteries, 38:4, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” Followed by a list of “Where were you when…”, 38:8 concerning the sea, 38:12 regarding the dawn of each day, the gates of the shadow of death (38:17, Psalm 23:4), and the aspects of weather, including His calling or whistling for the lightning followed by rain from clouds (38:34-35).
    In 38:36-37, concerning wisdom, understanding, and knowledge (note also the word “number” in these 2 verses). I love the occurrences in the Bible of these 3 words of knowledge, understanding, wisdom– and their progression, often in a single verse. Knowledge allowed by the Lord is like a child learning, often by rote memory that 2 + 2 = 4 (he “knows it”, but often does not understand it). Next comes the understanding so that simple math skills learned can be repeated (like doing the math tables 1 through 12, but sometimes something outside this range that even includes just adding a zero will stump them), and finally wisdom which some would argue (and as in verse 37) can never be attained to any degree (about the closest we come in this math example is to apply and “discover” new mathematical concepts beyond our knowledge and basic understanding). God is the source of all wisdom and we only have what He reveals to us.
    In chapter 39, God continues to ask Job for answers about animal mysteries that include birth, feeding, freedom, care or not caring for young, strength and abilities, and even birds and their ability to fly.
    In chapter 40 God now confronts Job specifically and individually (but it applies to each of us as well) and basically tells him to be quiet and “man up!” A few examples: Job is not to put God in the wrong (40:8) and is to see God’s power is far beyond his. God will humble the proud (40:11-12).
    Finally, in chapter 41 we see that Job is presented with situations that he knows are beyond his ability or control—in fact any attempt is a false hope at just the sight of the situation (in this case we see the example of capture and control of a large sea creature or dragon)
    Job 42
    The last chapter of Job is his confession and repentance, followed by restoration by the Lord that includes material possessions. However, very important is Job’s recognition that God defines need, not Job (or us!) and the need may be to not receive anything! (See Philippians 4:11-12, 19 and Matthew 6:33). Job submits to God’s sovereignty (42:1), submits to God’s knowledge and wisdom (42:1-3), is humbled through repentance (verses 4-6), and is satisfied in God (verse 5).
    Job Review
    This section is further comments and applications from Gini’s most recent Bible
    The things this world values most: possessions, family, health – these cannot compare with the value of knowing God. He wants the world and the devil to see that through the life of His children He shows us our pride and deepens our faith (42:5,6)
    1:1 and 37:13 point out part of what God does is correction but our suffering is not necessarily indicative of sinfulness.
    1:8 it is important to know Job was not privy to this conversation or in 2:3
    At the end of chapter 1 Job attributes all of this “disaster” to God, yet he did not blame God or sin.
    In chapter 2, note that Satan is allowed and given permission to do things but spares Job’s wife and his three friends to further torment and confuse him. Remember, she too has lost 10 kids, the security of possessions, and a healthy husband.
    In chapter 3 we see that though Job has been able to run and not grow weary up to this point, it is now time for him to have a bit of fainting (3:3). But we will see as the book progresses this is part of his faith building as faith becomes stronger with his long period of suffering.
    All the friends’ counsel and advice has a bit of truth intermixed, but it is out of balance and is more related to what we might term prosperity teaching.
    In chapter 6, Job’s answer is essentially, “if we got what we deserved, we would not be able to bear it.”
    Just a note about 6:15 and the word “wadi” connected to deceitful or treacherous, a wadi always looks like a dry riverbed but raging floods can quickly and unexpectedly come.
    7:9, when we die it is like a cloud vanishing and then is completely gone. Fading out, no future is what life seems to be to Job.
    In chapter 8 we need to see compassion is often needed rather than blunt and unfeeling comments.
    11:6, see again that God exacts of us less than our guilt deserves.
    Chapter 13:3 is in important verse in that it reminds us that Job turns to God in prayer. All of his “counselors” never speak to God, but only about God.
    At this point, here is a list of believer’s defense against despair:
    1- Know that God is on my side (Romans 8:31), 2- know He is sovereign, 3- know justice will ultimately triumph, 4- don’t dwell on the circumstances but on the greatness of the Creator, 5- pray submissively (Matthew 26:39), 6- in faith ask for wisdom (James 1:5,6)
    17:15, are you feeling hopeless? Your hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.
    In 19:4-12, Job is accusing God of wronging him, not listening to his plea for justice, stripping him of honor, attacking him, and alienating him from friends and kinsman. However, in 13-20, Job realizes that he is all wrong. He was totally unaware of God’s higher purpose in this trial. He now understands that God in Christ it is his hope of eternal life. His faith is now upward.
    26:14, note the word translated as ‘outskirts, fringes or edges’. God is way beyond our understanding!
    Elihu’s discourse in 32-37 stresses the disciplinary and redemptive role of suffering which was not covered by Job’s “friends” God’s judgement is always righteous.
    33:22, also Psalm 103:4, seeing how God redeems our life from the pit.
    In chapter 35:1–8, there is a condemnation of self-righteousness. And there are two questions and answers. First, ‘what profit is there for acting righteous when you end up suffering in anyway?’ The answer is that God’s providence and justice is not determined or altered by human behavior. The second question is ‘why doesn’t God hear the cries of a broken heart?’ The answer is that he hears all prayers but ignores or dismisses those that are proud and empty prayers.
    In chapter 36, we learn that a righteous person still needs surgery to remove impurities and corrosion. It is not sometimes, but always, that the righteous must go through suffering. The timing and amount is known only to God. Just as you don’t understand the surgeon or surveyor and all of his techniques, you trust him. How much more must we trust in God as He accomplishes His purposes in our lives.
    Chapter Titles
    1- Job’s Character and Wealth
    2- Job Loses his Health
    3- Job’s Lament
    4- Eliphaz- The Innocent don’t Suffer (you can dish it out, but you can’t take it)
    5- God is Just
    6- Job’s Answer
    7- Job’s Life Seems Futile
    8- Bildad Says God Rewards the Good
    9- Job Says there is an Arbitrator between God and Man
    10- Job Despairs of God’s Dealings
    11- Zophar Rebukes Job
    12- Job Chides his Accusers
    13- Job Says his Friends’ Proverbs are Ashes (verse 12)
    14- Job Speaks of the Finality of Death
    15- Eliphaz Accuses Job of Folly
    16- Job Reproaches his Pitiless Friends
    17- Job Prays for Relief
    18- Bildad- The Wicked are Punished
    19- Job Trusts in his Redeemer
    20- Zophar- The Triumph of the Wicked is Short (verse 5)
    21- Job Says God will Deal with the Wicked
    22- Eliphaz Accuses and Exhorts Job
    23- Job Says he Longs for God
    24- Job Complains of Violence on Earth
    25- Bildad- How can a Man be Righteous
    26- Job- Man’s Frailty and God’s Majesty
    27- Job Maintains his Integrity
    28- Job’s Discourse on Wisdom
    29- Job’s Final Defense (Job’s Past was Glorious)
    30- Present State of Humiliation
    31- Job’s Self Examination
    32- Elihu Contradicts Job’s Friends
    33- Elihu Claims to Speak for God
    34- Elihu Proclaims God’s Justice
    35- Elihu Condemns Self-Righteousness
    36- Elihu Procliams God’s Goodness
    37- God is Behind the Storm
    38- The Lord Reveals His Omnipotence to Job
    39- God Speaks of Nature and Animals
    40- Job- What Can I Say?
    41- God’s Power Shown in Creatures
    42- Job’s Repentance and Restoration

  16. 15 /17 Ezra and Esther (Esther Midway Chronologically)
    This book of Ezra is the record of the return of some of the Israelites from captivity in Babylon in 2 waves (we will see a 3rd group return in the book of Nehemiah). They are authorized to restore the temple but encounter difficulties and resistance. The book of Esther takes place before chapter 7 begins (it is your choice to take up study of that 17th book of the Bible in its chronological order and then return to Ezra, or study Esther in its turn after reading Nehemiah). I will take up Esther at the midway point in this book of Ezra. So, an overview: Ezra 1-6 is about the restoration of the temple under Zerubbabel (the kings are Cyrus and Darius), –Esther (king is Xerxes) is the 60 years between,– and Ezra 7-10 are the reforms under Ezra (king is Artaxerxes). Nehemiah will then take up the rebuilding of the walls.
    Ezra 1-3
    Ezra and Nehemiah are one continuous book in the oldest manuscripts. No one knows for certain why certain books were split. Since Ezra refers to himself in 7:28, most feel that he is the author of both Ezra and Nehemiah.
    In the opening verses of Ezra we find Cyrus is now king of Persia. During his first year of rule, he is stirred up by the Spirit of God to make a proclamation to restore the house for God in Jerusalem. We also see a reference to the prophet Jeremiah and a prophecy he made which is fulfilled. Please turn to Jeremiah 29:10-14 to read Jeremiah’s words to the captives and better understand the prophesy concerning their future after 70 years. This verse is often quoted in the context of our comfort and hope in God for our future, but now you also see the original context of Gods plan to restore His people to Israel and for rebuilding the temple and Jerusalem. Just another example of God’s Word supplying for the moment written but also to apply to all future generations.

    The remainder chapter 1 then describes how Cyrus authorizes the exiles who want to go back to build the temple be allowed to do so, and have necessary provisions. Thus the first wave of exiles who return to Jerusalem begins. They also take along with them many of the articles from the temple which had been taken to Babylon some 70 years earlier.
    Note at the end of chapter 2, in the listing those returning, the number of people who return in the first wave is about 42,000 which is a very small number compared to the large number of people who were initially captured and put in exile.
    In chapter 3 we see that the rebuilding begins with the altar and immediately sacrifices are begun along with renewal of the various feasts and festivals.
    Beginning in second year and the second month they begin to restore the foundation. When this is finished, they have a time of celebration with instruments, singing and shouting. We also see reference to tears of joy by the older people who remembered seeing the first house so many years previous.
    Ezra 4-6
    In chapter 4 note there are adversaries and those who oppose the rebuilding of the temple. They first approach Zerubbabel to ask if they can help with the rebuilding, but are told that they have nothing to do with this building of a house to God, and Cyrus is the one who has commanded that it be done.
    Those that oppose the rebuilding then turn to discouragement and scare tactics, followed by bribes –and then a letter to the new king of Persia.
    This letter contains innuendos stating if the building of the temple and the walls of Jerusalem is allowed to continue, the people will then not pay proper taxes and tribute, because that is what happened before.
    The new king searches the ancient records and finds the city of Jerusalem indeed did not pay tribute and rebelled against the rule of Babylon. So the king orders all the work on the house of God of Jerusalem be stopped.
    In chapter 5 we see reference to the prophets Haggai and Zachariah who support the Jewish people to again begin to rebuild the temple. Their work continues despite another opposition letter being written to the new king Darius.
    Chapter 6: King Darius finds the decree of Cyrus and confirms the people were allowed to rebuild the temple and in fact are to be provided whatever they need. The temple is finished and the Passover is celebrated. Now note the time period between Ezra 6 and 7 is at least 60 years during which the events of the book of Esther occur. You can read Esther now as I include those notes, or come back to review the book of Esther after Nehemiah, its sequential place in the Bible.
    Esther
    We will now turn to the book of Esther as it occurs chronologically midway through the book of Ezra. For this book, we will not have a separate review section.
    At the end of Esther we will learn why the Jews celebrate a festival called Purim, to remember God is sovereign and their provider.
    The book will have sudden twists and turns as well as teaching us the inconsistencies of how we humans deal with events of life that occur. We all want to respond correctly and do the right thing but we are always tempted with alternatives and often fail.
    All too often we consider ourselves in the situation of first or only importance, and not the consequences that it will have upon others. See Philippians 2:3–4
    As noted in the notes about Ezra, the book of Esther takes place between chapter 6 and 7 and between the first and second return of exiles from Babylon.
    Esther 1-2
    Right away in chapter 1 we see that the king (Ahasuerus also known as Xerxes) is presented as rich and has glory and splendor, pomp, and also noted for his greatness. He has a great feast held for 6 months in his honor to prove and show all of his greatness. Note in verse 8 that all kinds of drinks are provided with an edict that there is no compulsion to drink–each man does as he desires.
    The queen is also allowed to have a great feast for the women.
    But then we see a sharp contrast. Because the king desires that his queen be shown off, at the end of the festivities she is summoned but refuses to come as commanded. The king is angry at the refusal and consults with his wise men. They conclude that a refusal by the queen will then cause all women to be insubordinate to their husbands. He then banishers her from his presence and makes a decree that all women will give honor to their husbands.
    This now is the scene for chapter 2 where the king is advised to replace the queen with a new young and beautiful woman. Then we learn about Mordecai who is one of the Jewish exiles raising his uncle’s daughter, Esther. Since the women have no choice in the matter, Esther is among all the young, pretty women taken into the king’s palace and put into custody to be prepared before being presented to the king for his choice. There was a regulation for a one-year period of beautifying. From a myriad of women, Esther is chosen as his new queen.
    As chapter 2 ends, the plot thickens with 2 pieces of information. Because Esther had followed Mordecai’s advice, she had not revealed her Jewish background. Mordecai had been sitting at the palace gate for more than a year. He overhears a plot by those who guard the king’s gate that they desire to harm the king. Mordecai relays this to Esther who is now queen, who then tells the king, giving credit to Mordecai.
    Esther 3-6
    In chapter 3 we see that the king promotes a man named Haman to the highest level of rule except himself. Everyone pays homage and bows down to Haman at the gate, but Mordecai refuses to do so. Haman does not want to publically harm Mordecai at the gate, but finding out that he is a Jew, he plots to kill all of the Jews.
    Haman uses a casting of Pur, which is a casting of lots (like we would roll dice) to determine the dates he will use. Then he goes to the king and obtains his signet ring and permission to do with the Jews as seems good to only Haman. An edict is drawn up and stamped with the king’s signet ring, meaning it cannot be changed. The edict advises regarding the people in the first month, but will not take place until the 13th day of the twelfth month. On that single day nearly a year later, everyone is commanded and authorized to kill, destroy and completely remove all the Jews, young and old, women and children.
    Mordecai as well as the rest of the Jews throughout the country then dress themselves in sackcloth and lay in ashes, fast and pray. Since Mordecai is not allowed inside the gate, Esther sends one of her trusted eunuchs to find out from him what has happened.
    Esther then replies via the eunuch messenger that she cannot go to the king unless invited, and his holding out his scepter. Mordecai replies that they will find all the Jews (including Esther within the palace and all Jews in the palace will be killed as well). In 4:14, we see one of the key verses, “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
    In chapter 5, we see that Esther presents herself just outside the king’s court and is invited in. He asks her what is her wish and desire. She requests that she be allowed to have a feast that day for the king and Haman, and then she will tell the king the next day her wish.
    After the feast, Haman goes out in joy, but is again angered by Mordecai at the gate lying in sackcloth. At home he consults with his friends and his wife. They decide since Haman has been so honored by the king and queen, that gallows should be prepared to hang Mordecai and the next day. No need to wait until the 12th month, and while feasting with the king and queen, he should tell the king to have Mordecai hanged.
    In chapter 6, we see how our sovereign God allows a subplot to occur. The king cannot sleep, rises and asks that the books of memorable deeds be brought to him and read. One item that is read is about Mordecai saving the king. The king asks whether Mordecai was honored, and the answer is that nothing has been done.
    At just that time, Haman enters the king’s palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged, but instead the king asks Haman what should be done for a man whom the king delights to honor.
    Thinking that it is himself, Haman tells the king all the things that should be done for such a person and then the king replies Haman should do this for Mordecai.
    So Haman has to dress Mordecai in fine robes and parade him on a horse throughout the city. He then returns Mordecai to the gate and hurries to his home “mortified”. His friends and his wife tell him that he will not be able to overcome this when Mordecai is found to be a Jew. They too are concerned for his ”mortality”!
    Esther 7-10
    Chapter 7 Haman is the only invited guest to the feast on the second day with the king and queen. The king asks Esther again of her request. She then says both her gift and request desired, is her life and the life of her people be spared from destruction.
    The king is then told Haman is the one who authorized this. In anger the king arises and leaves the room. Then Haman begs the queen for his life, but then is hung on his own gallows.
    In chapter 8 Esther tells the king her relationship with Mordecai, Mordecai takes the place of Haman, and is given the king’s signet ring. Esther pleads with the king to prevent the disaster of Haman’s evil plan.
    Since a king’s edict cannot be overturned, 8:11-12 describes a new edict that allows the Jews of every city to gather to defend their lives and to destroy or kill anyone who comes against them, seeking to kill or plunder Jews on that same 13th day of the 12th month.
    In chapter 9 we did learn that there are indeed some skirmishes that take place on this day but the Jews prevail. Going forward this is to be a day of rest and a feast of Purin, a day on which the Jews give food to one another and remember how the Jews got relief from their enemies, even through the casting of lots.

    A side note (trivia item) in the book of Esther is that 8:9 is the longest verse in the Bible at 72 words.
    Now, back to Ezra 7-8
    As we begin chapter 7 of Ezra, again note that there are 60 (some sources indicate 68) years between the end of chapter 6 in the beginning of chapter 7, during which the events of Esther have taken place.
    Artaxerxes has now replaced Xerxes as king and we learn that Ezra leaves Babylon to lead the second wave of returnees to Jerusalem. The king granted him all that he asked. He is described as a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, meaning he knew God’s Word!
    7:11 to the end of the chapter is the king’s decree and the last 2 verses relate Ezra’s thankfulness to the Lord to allow, provide and guide.
    Chapter 8 begins with a listing of those who return with Ezra. This contingent is much fewer in number then the first return that occurred about 80 years previous under Zerubbabel.
    Beginning in 8:15 we see the people gathering at camp beside the river prior to travel, and there is a specific request for more Levites join the returnees, to be able to minister in the house of God.
    8:21 Ezra proclaims a time of fasting and seeking the Lord for a safe journey (remember in chapter 7 that they have been allowed to take much gold and silver along).
    Chapter 8 concludes with Ezra dividing the silver and gold among some of the priests (since they do not have the king’s army for protection). They arrive safely in Jerusalem.
    Ezra 9-10
    If you compare 7:9 and 10:9, we see that the people have only been in Jerusalem for about five months when Ezra is told many of the people, including the priests, Levites and other leaders have not separated themselves from the people of the land. They have even begun to intermarry.
    9:3 Ezra then tears his garment and pulls hair from his head when he heard this. He sat appalled and then began to fast and pray.
    The remainder of Chapter 9 is his prayer realizing that God has not punished them nearly as much as their sins have deserved and has provided for this remnant to return, but now they are forsaking the Lord again quickly.
    Chapter 10 describes how the people come together and confess their sin, and then are willing to take an oath to put away these wives and their children.
    10:7 Absolutely all of the returned exiles must report in and take the oath, or lose their property and be banned from the congregation of the exiles.
    In verse 9 we are told that the people are trembling because of the sin and also because of the heavy rain (apparently it is in December and also cold).
    The individual review takes a couple months to complete. The book of Ezra ends with a listing of all the men who had married foreign women and some of the women had even borne children. 10:19 says they all pledged themselves to put away their wives, but we will find out in Nehemiah this pledge will again be broken. See Nehemiah 13:23 to the end of that book.
    Review and Application (for Ezra only)
    Ezra
    Zerubbabel is the leader of the first wave of returnees that begin the work of rebuilding the temple.
    I want you to take special note in chapter 6 of the effects of asking King Darius about Cyrus’ decree and the attempt to hamper in the rebuilding of Jerusalem. After he finds the decree, we see first, in 6:6 the opposition is told to keep away. In verse 8, we see a double whammy to the opposition as King Darius instructs the rebuilding is to be paid out of the royal treasury and without delay. And this is immediately followed in verse 9 by a third instruction to give the rebuilding group whatever provisions they need without fail. And, to add to this, see 6:11 where the king tells them he is totally serious and any resistance or delay will result in being impaled or hanged if they refuse or violate his edict!
    Ezra 7–10 is about the second group of returnees under Ezra’s leadership and is about the lack of spiritual vitality of the people.
    We will see the third group of returnees is nearly 100 years after the first and takes place in the first part of Nehemiah where he leads in rebuilding the walls. After over 150 years in Babylon, several generations have passed and most have become complacent and see no need to leave. It would be similar to you being told that you need to return to the homeland of your forefathers of the late 1800’s, which might include a European, Far East, African, or Mexico destination.
    Zachariah and Haggai are prophet books that take place during the first half of Ezra and Malachi is the prophet book that takes place during the book of Nehemiah. A good way to remember these is that these are the last three books in the Old Testament and are also the three books related to those post exile prophets.
    Now, let’s go back and review the reign of the four Persian kings regarding the temple and walls. Cyrus is the one who makes the initial decree at the beginning of Ezra that allows the temple work to begin. The work is resumed again 16 years later under king Darius and is completed another 4 years later, still under Darius.
    Next, in Ezra 4:5-6, the time difference between these 2 verses is 70 years (between Cyrus and now Ahasuerus also known as Xerxes). Please note that Esther takes place under this King Xerxes.
    It is another 30 years, now under the reign of Artaxerxes when the decree for the walls to be repaired is made. Please note that when we get to Nehemiah we will see that the wall is completed in less than two months!
    As we look at the reasons why the Israelites were in captivity, it is important to note that in 1 Chronicles 36:21–23, the Israelites had not paid attention to the Levitical statue that every seventh year the land was to lie fallow with no crops planted or harvested. Daniel 9:2 also refers to this reason for the 70 years of captivity. It also says it is because the people have not observed this rule for nearly 500 years. So, the Lord required 70 years to replace those Sabbath years that had not been observed (490 divided by 7). To put this in perspective, our country is 240 years old and it would be like all of us being taken off to captivity for the only the next 35 years, because we avoided following the rules to set aside each seventh year as special. This is also a good time to remind each of us that each seventh day is set aside as a day of rest and worship and to enjoy the Lord.
    9:3 Ezra pulls some of his hair out and sat down appalled at the leadership and their sin of intermarrying with pagans. See Nehemiah 13:25 where Nehemiah confronts the same problem by pulling out their hair!
    Chapter Themes
    Ezra
    1- Cyrus’ Decree—Holy Vessels Restored
    2- Returnees with Zerubbabel Listed (First Wave)
    3- Restoration Begins
    4- Adversaries Hinder the Work
    5- Temple Work Resumed—Adversaries Write Darius
    6- Darius Finds Cyrus’ Decree
    (Book of Esther Events under Xerxes occurs here)
    7- Artaxerxes’ Decree to Ezra
    8- Returnees with Ezra Listed (Second Wave)
    9- Mixed Marriages
    10- Reconciliation with God
    Esther
    1- Xerxes’ Banquet and Vashti’s Refusal
    2- Successor Sought—Esther Made Queen
    3- Haman’s Plot Against the Jews
    4- Esther Learns of Haman’s Plot
    5- Esther’s 1st Banquet—Haman’s Pride
    6- The King Honors Mordecai Instead of Haman!
    7- Esther’s Prayer—Haman Hanged
    8- Mordecai Promoted; Decree Avenges Jews
    9- The Jews Destroy Their Enemies
    10- Mordecai’s Greatness

  17. 13-14 First and Second Chronicles
    This is a short review of additional information items that were not included in our study of 1 and 2 Kings. Mostly, application notes and reminders. And, then ending with the Chapter themes for both of these books. If you see information of note I have not included, please email me (also with errors or confusing items) eebaillie@aol.com Most authorities believe that Ezra wrote the Chronicles
    1 Chronicles
    The first 9 chapters are genealogies and the remainder of 1 Chronicles correlates with the time of King David in 2 Samuel. Although there is some different information, both 1 and 2 Chronicles largely serve us as a review of 1 and 2 Kings, but from a different perspective, thus, I suggest you read through these Chronicles, seeking what the Lord would point out to your remembrance—and, if you want to correlate, you will find the corollary reference verses in most Bibles (and for 1 Chronicles, most will be in 2 Samuel).
    One note I found regarding 14:11 is concerning the name Baal in this verse naming a place. We often read that it was the name of a foreign god, but initially it was not a proper name of a single god, rather a title given having the meaning of master. We find this word was used in people’s names, but after a while it was considered detestable, –when the Canaanites adopted this name for their chief male god. So, the practice then changed to substituting the term “bosheth” meaning “put to shame”, instead of “baal” in names. This was to be a reminder to eliminate any reference to idolatry. The reason for relaying all this is, we sometimes see a name in the records that has been changed, but is the same person. A couple examples, Ishbosheth in 2 Samuel 2:8 is named Eshbaal in 1 Chronicles 8:33, and Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9:6 was called Meribaal in 1 Chronicles 8:34.
    Next, see in 16:7-36 a summary of what worship truly is: We are to give thanks and call upon the name of the Lord, 1- giving reverence (ascribe glory), 2- speaking, telling, making known, and proclaiming from a glad heart (public expression), 3- seeking Him (prayer), 4- bring an offering (implies your presence also), and 5- doing and giving because of what He has done (service).
    19:13 is another of many examples in the Bible that show God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility in the same verse.
    21:1,6 is about the repeat census, telling us again Satan was allowed to “move” King David to number Israel (census). In verse 6 we are reminded that the Levites were not to go to war, so Joab excluded them from the census. He also excludes the tribe of Benjamin, probably they were few in number, remember it was their past disobedience that lead to most of the men being killed (Judges 20)
    In chapter 25, we see sons of Asaph were to use music and musical instruments in service (ministry). Later, we will see many of the Psalms are attributed to Asaph.
    Chapter 29 has several verses telling of the willing offerings to the Lord. We tend to think, “How much of my wealth do I need to give God?” and thus we find that we lack joy in giving and lack joy in worship. Rather we should say or think, “How much of God’s blessings (entrusted to me) do I need to live on?” thus freeing up the ability to bless others out of His provided excess.
    2 Chronicles
    2 Chronicles was written after the Babylonian captivity, but focuses on the reign of the Kings of Judah, with only an occasional reference to the northern kingdom.
    1:10-11 when Solomon asks for wisdom, standing on the past promises of God and claiming the faithfulness of God, I am reminded of Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things (everything needed) shall be added unto you.”
    In chapters 3 to 7, we see the temple construction that has many similarities to the tabernacle. We have discussed the features, furniture, and serving of both the tabernacle and the temple a few times now. As needed, look at the cross references in your Bible and back to previous notes or other information sources.
    2 Chron 6:12-13, during Solomon’s prayer, he spread out his hands toward heaven and also knelt. A reminder of the appropriateness of lifting hands and kneeling, something not done in my childhood church and still difficult to apprehend in my worship.
    2 Chron 6:41, 7:10 Might you prayer be as mine, Thank you Lord for clothing me with your salvation, and I ask that you might clothe all my descendants with your salvation, that we, as your godly ones, might rejoice in what is good. That we might rejoice and be happy in heart because of God’s everlasting lovingkindness.
    2 Chron 9:7-8 is in reference to Queen Sheba honoring Solomon, but since all came from God, it is a reminder to me, –Open my eyes that I might see and worship the Lord rightly, and thank Him that I am continually in His presence to hear wisdom from His Word.
    Later in 9:23, Gini has a note that all the kings coming to hear all the wisdom that God put in Solomon’s heart is great, but since he only had a half a heart for God (compared to David), don’t be too impressed!
    In 10:7 Rehoboam is given advice that he does not listen to. It is also good advice that we should heed in our age as well. Be kind to people and seek to please them though your words–and I would add our thoughts and actions also.
    2 Chron 13:5, no one knows for certain the meaning of “covenant of salt”. Certainly salt was used as a preservative and to keep things from spoiling, and also was used to purify water in one account. Thus, some think (as I do) along the lines of the Lord’s “pure” lineage through David (including that of Jesus Christ) being preserved, and an everlasting relationship. The term is used 2 other times in the Old Testament in Leviticus 2:13 and Numbers 18:19.
    13:12 reminds us that we will ultimately be defeated if we choose to fight against the Lord!
    14:6, Asa, now king, built up fortified cities in Judah in peacetime. A reminder to us to build up and fortify ourselves (deepen our faith, study, pray, be attentive to be shown approved, serve), to prepare us for the times of spiritual warfare.
    Later in 14:12, when the king became diseased (most think it was gout), he did not seek the Lord, but physicians. A reminder that seeking the worldly help is fine, but remember the real Physician to put your trust in!
    19:7 teaches us that it is OK to judge with the fear of the Lord upon you as you make decisions, having no unrighteousness, partiality, or taking a bribe (can take the form of “I will let you in on a little secret and tell you the truth of this matter!”)
    20:1-30 is a passage about a battle and turning to the Lord, depending on Him, and seeing Him help us in battle. When we are fearful, we need to seek God. Seek His Word that is in your heart, then pray back to Him His promises. Remember where our life and riches came from and entrust their preservation back to God, my strength and confidence is in God because I am one of His children. I need to keep my eyes, heart, and voice fixed on God during the battles I face. Finally I know that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. (See this again in 2 Chron 32:7-8)
    In 2 Chronicles 29-32, Hezekiah orders many reforms in Israel. We can learn from this section the principles of training, equipping, discipline, and single-mindedness that is necessary to follow the Lord in all aspects of our lives.
    2 Chron 35:3 is an interesting verse where the ark is to be put in the temple, so “it will be a burden on your shoulders no longer. Now serve the Lord your God and His people Israel.” This is spoken to the Levites who now are free to spend time teaching and ministering to the people. The following verses imply that they are now to stand in holy places of the lay people, even preparing the Passover meal for them.
    As 2 Chronicles closes in 36:22-23, these are also the first 2 verses in Ezra, our next book of reading and study.
    Chapter Themes
    1 Chronicles
    1- Genealogy of Adam and Abraham
    2- 12 Sons of Israel and Line of David
    3- Sons (Kings) of David
    4- Line of Hur, Asher, Simeon
    5- Genealogy of Reuben
    6- Genealogy of Priestly Line
    7- Genealogy of Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Asher
    8- Genealogy of Benjamin (Saul)
    9- People of Jerusalem-after return from Babylon
    10- Defeat and Death of Saul and His Sons
    11- David, King and Mighty Men—Jerusalem Capital
    12- David’s Supporters in Ziklag—Gather in Hebron
    13- Peril in Transporting the Ark
    14- David’s Family Enlarged
    15- Priests Move Ark to Jerusalem
    16- Neat Chapter About Worship!
    17- God Covenants with David—David Responds in Humility
    18- David’s Victories
    19- David’s Messengers Abused = Amon and Aram Defeated
    20- David and Bathsheba—War with Philistine Giants
    21- Census Brings Pestilence
    22- David Prepares but Charges Solomon to Build the Temple
    23- Solomon Reigns—Offices of the Levites
    24- Divisions of Levites
    25- Musicians
    26- Gatekeepers
    27- Commanders of the Army
    28- David Makes Address in the Temple
    29- Offerings for Temple—David’s Prayer
    2 Chronicles
    1- Solomon Worships—Prays for Wisdom
    2- Solomon Builds Temple and Palace
    3- Temple Construction in Jerusalem
    4- Furnishings of the Temple
    5- Ark Brought into the Temple—God’s Glory Fills the Temple
    6- Solomon’s Dedication and Prayer
    7- Shekinah Glory
    8- Solomon’s Activities and Accomplishments
    9- Visit from the Queen of Sheba
    10- Rehoboam’s Reign of Folly
    11- Rehoboam Reigns Over Judah
    12- Shishak Invades Judah
    13- Abijah Succeeds Rehoboam
    14- Asa Succeeds Abijah
    15- Prophet Azariah Warns Asa
    16- Asa Wars Against Baasha
    17- Jehoshaphat’s Good Reign
    18- Jehoshaphat Allies (by Marriage) with Ahab of North
    19- Jehu Rebukes Jehoshaphat and Reforms Instituted
    20- Judah Invaded
    21- Jehoram Succeeds Jehoshaphat and Marries Ahab’s Daughter
    22- Ahaziah (also named Jehoahaz) Succeeds Jehoram
    23- Jejoida, Priest, Puts Joash as King of Judah
    24- Joash Reigns
    25- Amaziah Succeeds Joash
    26- Azariah (also named Uzziah) Succeeds Azariah
    27- Jotham Succeeds Azariah
    28- Ahaz Succeeds Jotham
    29- Hezekiah Succeeds Ahaz
    30- All Israel Invited to the Passover
    31- Idols Destroyed—Reforms Continue
    32- Assyria Invades—Hezekiah Prays
    33- Manasseh, then Amon Reign
    34- Josiah Succeeds Amon
    35- Passover Celebrated Again
    36- The Last 4 Kings of Judah

  18. I promised the next set of notes mid-week about 1-2 Kings, so here they are. There is also a separate pdf document of a table of the kings that will help immensely to organize their reign and key information. I need to send it to you by email, so contact me eebaillie@aol.com for Kings info table.

    11/12 First and Second Kings

    We will do both these books of the Kings together as the connected unit they are, and also indicate corresponding passages in the 2 books of Chronicles. In 1 Kings we will see 1 nation becomes 2 while 2 Kings begins with 2 nations and ends with 1 nation.
    In 1 and 2 Chronicles of the kings which comes after 1 and 2 Kings, there are many passages corresponding to the same time and events as recorded in the Kings, so we will refer to them as either corollary verses or in a review process. Thus, we will not have detailed notes, rather more of a summary in the next set of notes for the Chronicles.
    For both 1 and 2 Kings, some of less influential kings of Israel have more written about them than the kings who are very powerful who have less or even nothing written and recorded.
    I also have a separate document Gini constructed–a table of the kings of the north and the south. If you are not on an email list for these notes, please request by email to eebaillie@aol.com the separate attachment that is a 2 page summary of the kings in table layout that you should print out. It will provide valuable help—especially when we get to the divided kingdom with the back and forth accounts of the northern and southern kings that begins in 1 Kings 12 and continues through 2 Kings. I will post the information, but this table will not appear correct other than in PDF format.
    As we read, another definition to keep in mind–the kings are considered good or bad on the basis of whether or not they followed (adhered) to Israel’s covenant with God. Thus, all the kings of the Northern Kingdom are considered bad.
    These 2 books of the Kings also have much written about Elijah and Elisha, two very important prophets, but other prophets are mentioned, including some of the group of pre-exile prophets, who are also active at this time, whose books we will read later. There is specific reference to Isaiah and Jeremiah.

    During David’s reign there was relative peace because the surrounding nations were quite weak. This will continue into the reign of Solomon, but then we will see that Assyria arises as a powerful country to begin to attack the northern 10 tribes of Israel, followed by Egypt becoming an influential empire. There are several attempts to take over parts or all of Israel, but none are successful until after Assyria (with Egypt’s help) attempts to conquer Babylon. Then arises the Babylonian empire that finally does conquer Judah and Jerusalem, with the Israelite people taken into Babylonian captivity/exile for 70 years. Second Kings concludes just before the people of Israel are released from that captivity, with a remnant number returning to Jerusalem.

    First Kings begins with the final days at the end of the life of king David and then has intrigue among several who are vying for his throne. As noted, this book is about one nation which divides and becomes two at a pivotal point, which we will see beginning in chapter 12. The book also centers on the ministry of Elijah, a prophet.
    Chapter 1 describes David’s old age and then quickly brings in Adonijah who says, “I will be king”. It appears that he is the oldest living son after the death of Absalom in 2 Samuel 17. He is next in line and assumes he is going to be king. We see Joab and Abiathar (one of the priests) siding with him. But another priest, Zadok, along with Benaiah and Nathan the prophet, as well as several other mighty men of David are not with him. This group of men aligned with David play a very important role in the next few chapters.
    1:9-10 Adonijah calls a gathering of his new leadership and includes his brothers but excludes his brother Solomon and many of King David’s servants.
    Beginning in verse 11, Nathan speaks to Bathsheba about the plan for Adonijah soon to become king. She is to go in and inform the king of what is occurring, and then Nathan will come in and confirm her words. David has not set up succession so they remind David the next king should be Solomon; plus there is concern Adonijah will kill David and Solomon.
    So, the counter leadership group of David mentioned in 1:8 are summoned and instructed by King David to anoint Solomon as king at Gihon, a spring just outside of Jerusalem that is the source of water for the city, as well as the place we will see later is the site of Hezekiah’s water supply tunnel (2 Kings 20:20, 2 Chronicles 32:30).
    1:38-40 The leadership group had Solomon ride on King David’s mule and anointed him king with oil and blew the trumpet. There was so much rejoicing that the verses say the earth was split by their noise (Note Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a mule or donkey–this was a sign of a king).
    1:41-50 Adonijah and all of his guests heard the trumpets just as they are finishing their feasting, and quickly hear Solomon has been made king. All of the guests trembled and quickly rose, each going his own way. Adonijah feared Solomon, so seeks refuge in the temple at the horns of the altar. After a request, Solomon agrees to allow him to live as long as he shows himself to be a worthy man, thus he is placed under house arrest.

    1 Kings 2-3

    In chapter 2, David on his deathbed, gives advice to Solomon that includes punishment for Joab for the previous killing of army commanders, Abner and Amasa . He does not ask Joab be killed because he has been against David but because of the blood-guiltness of killing others. He gives other advice about how to rule under the charge of the Lord and also how to deal with some other situations. Then David dies and Solomon begins to establish his reign (it takes work to establish the kingdom and reign wisely, and with dignity and respect. Often there is a temptation to act and do what you want, rather than seek the Lord which often requires you go a different direction).
    So, the first thing that is recorded which he has to deal with is a request by Adonijah to have the young girl who assisted in caring for King David as his wife. He makes the request through Bathsheba who is Solomon’s mother and the response back is, “Are you asking for the kingdom also to be given to Adonijah?” Adonijah is killed as not being the “worthy man” that he promised Solomon he would be.

    In 2:26-27 note that another dissenter, Abiathar the priest, is spared his life because he had carried the ark before David the king. Also see that he is removed from the priesthood (In 1Sam 2:27-36, it was foretold all of Eli’s house would be removed from the priesthood).
    Joab has been commander of the army, but because he so often has taken matters into his own hands, is now afraid and goes to the temple to avoid being killed, but is killed anyway. See Exodus 21:14 where the altar in the temple it is not a place to protect a willful murderer.
    Shimei is not killed, but is told he must not leave Jerusalem, but, after a few months he does, and is executed.
    In chapter 3 we see that although Solomon prays for the Lord to give him wisdom, he is also intent on the establishment of his kingdom and makes a marriage alliance with the pharaoh of Egypt. We also see that he “loves the Lord” but offers sacrifices at the high places which was not sacrifices to God, but to idols.
    In 3:7 Solomon requests of the Lord he cannot do this job because he is but a child and he doesn’t know how to go out or come in, or to carry out the duties of the king. He is apparently about 20 years old (1 Chronicles 29:1)
    In 3:9 and following verses, we see the specifics of Solomon’s request for an understanding mind to govern the people and to be able to discern between good and evil. The Lord’s responds– because he has not asked for riches, or long life, or the life of his enemies, God is going to provide for him these things in addition to wisdom. Thus we have the basis of many phrases that include “the wisdom of Solomon”. This wisdom is immediately manifested in the account of the two prostitutes who each had a child. One of the babies dies and that mother attempts to say the living child is hers. The king makes a judgment of the truth in a unique way.

    1 Kings 4

    I find the differences in language fascinating. The interpretation of Hebrew words can often vary from our simple straightforward English translation. For instance, chapter 4 begins with a listing of various officials in Solomon’s kingdom. Azariah is mentioned as a son of Zadok the priest; however, he is really a grandson. The Hebrew for the word son can include the concept of descendent, which is only rarely included in the meaning of the word son in our culture.
    Next, we learn of the large size of Solomon’s kingdom that extended from modern-day Syria, Iraq and Iran all the way over to Egypt. All of these countries paid “tribute” which was a form of taxation. Then see a listing of tremendous daily provisions needed just for his household.
    The chapter ends with a reminder that God has given Solomon great wisdom and discernment. We also learn he has immense knowledge and has memorized 3000 Proverbs and over 1000 songs. People from all over his kingdom would come to hear his wisdom. Later, separately, we will read through 31 chapters of Proverbs that contain over 900 verses representing the Biblical portion of the various proverbs written and collected by Solomon. We will see that the actual individual proverbs begin in Proverbs10.
    One source of individual proverbs by topic is http://www.letgodbetrue.com/proverbs/topics/all.php

    This is also a good time to remind each of us to be hiding God’s word in our hearts (through reading, study, application, and memorization) and then asking Him to help us–that our every thought, word and deed might be glorifying to Him in all ways.

    1 Kings 5-8

    We learned previously that David provided for the temple but Solomon was the one who would build it. We now see Solomon prepares to build the temple. He first arranges with Hiram, King of Tyre, to provide cedar and cypress logs. Solomon also sent rotations of laborers to quarry out great and costly stones for the foundation.
    As chapter 6 begins, we find it is nearly 500 years since the people came out of the land of Egypt and the building of the temple begins in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign.
    Interesting to me is the fact that all of the stone and wood is prepared so well in advance that there is not a hammer or axe or any tool heard in the house while it’s being built! It also must have had a very pleasant smell with the cedar boards lining the inside walls.
    6:11-13, God tells Solomon concerning His house which Solomon is building, he should walk in the statues of the Lord, obey God’s rules, keep all of His commandments and also walk in them. Then God will establish His word with him and will dwell with the children of Israel.
    The inside of the temple was covered with gold.
    The temple was finished in seven years.
    In chapter 7 we learn of the various furniture items made and placed in the temple. The temple generally follows the pattern of the tabernacle of the wilderness as described in Exodus 25 through 40, but of course, this is a permanent structure made of stone, wood and gold.
    There was a holy place with the table of showbread, lampstand, and the altar of incense immediately outside the most holy place (holy of holies). Cherubim were made and placed in the most holy place.
    Outside the temple building in the courtyard, there is a bronze laver and an altar for sacrifices.
    Chapter 8 describes the careful bringing of the ark of the covenant into the temple and placing it in the inner sanctuary in the most holy place beneath the cherubim wings.
    Then Solomon has a blessing ceremony and after blessing the assembly of Israel, he turns his blessing to the Lord who has fulfilled all that was promised to David his father.
    In 8:20-21 notice Solomon emphasizes the temple as the place of the ark containing the covenant the Lord made when he brought the people out of Egypt.
    Now, read 8:22–61 carefully as it is Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple and is a marvelous example of prayer for the people and an example to us to see all that the Lord is and all that He does for His people.
    Then there are sacrifices to the Lord and a great feast for seven days.

    7:1 Go back now to the first part of chapter 7. Solomon built his own palaces at the same time as the temple but it took six years longer for a total of 13 years. In addition to his own palace, he built several houses for his wives, many from other nations who brought with them not only their beauty and customs, but also their idols.

    1 Kings 9-11

    Having finished the house of the Lord and his own houses, the Lord now appears to Solomon a second time.
    There is first a promise from God in 9:3-4 that is capsulated in the corollary verse in 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land”
    This is followed by a warning which is also more completely explained in the corollary 2 Chronicles 7:19-22, “but if you turn aside and forsake my statues and my commandments that I have set before you, and go to serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘why has the Lord done this to this land and to this house?’ Then they will say because they abandoned the Lord…”
    In 1 Kings 10 we have the queen of Sheba learning about the fame, riches and wisdom of Solomon. She comes to visit, bringing a great deal of spices and gold and precious stones. And she then told him what was on her mind to test him. He answered her questions and there is a phrase that she had no more breath in her which means that she was out of questions. She relates that she came, not believing what she had heard about him, but now she does because he has only told her the half.
    The remainder of chapter 10 describes the vast wealth of Solomon.
    Chapter 11 is a turning point when we learn Solomon loved and married many women from different areas and they have other gods. He had a total of 700 wives and 300 concubines and it says that his wives turned away his heart after other gods. 11:4 reminds us that David had a whole heart for God and now Solomon has only a half a heart for God.
    11:11 and following verses relate the Lord appearing to Solomon a third time and telling him that because of his practices, the Lord will tear the kingdom from him and give it to one of his servants. Then begins several areas of uprising and various alliances begin to be drawn up. The process of a divided kingdom begins to be fulfilled in verse 26 when Jeroboam, a servant of Solomon, lifts up his hand against the king.
    12:29-36 tells of Ahijah a prophet, wearing a new cloak, meeting Jeroboam, and tearing the cloak into 12 pieces, representing the 12 tribes of Israel, 10 of which Jeroboam is to take. Solomon seeks Jeroboam but he flees to Egypt.

    As we finish first 11 chapters of First Kings, turn to First Chronicles chapters 28 through Second Chronicles 9 for the Chronicles account and summary of Solomon’s life (we will not take up these corollary passages in Chronicles separately, but will continue to refer to some of correlating verses as we continue through 1 and 2 Kings).

    1 Kings 12-

    Now, for the rest of 1 and 2 Kings, along with the corollary verses in 2 Chronicles about many of the kings, you need the guide in PDF format that is 2 pages, 1 page each of the North and South kings. There are 19 kings in the North, all considered bad, and 20 kings in the South, only 8 are considered good. This separate table format presentation gives you each king’s name in numerical order, plus the dynasty in Roman Numerals for the Northern Kings—(the Southern Kings are all descendants of David), the length of reign, relationship to predecessor, manner of death, the scripture references, and a short description of key events and activities in italics. If you are not receiving emails of the notes as they are released, please send an email request to eebaillie@aol.com to receive the kings document in a better format than the appearance on FaceBook and ReadGoodBooks.org.

    In Review section that follows, after you finish whatever study you do with reading about the specific kings (there are also excellent timeline oriented study aids to help comprehend this information by a different approach), we will note other interesting information from the remaining chapters of the books of Kings and then follow with noteworthy additional information in the next set of notes about the 2 books of Chronicles. We will especially see the Lord working through the words and events of prophets, mainly Elijah in 1 Kings and Elisha in 2 Kings. We will study the books of the pre-exile prophets later and attempt to always relate the years they lived so you can correlate back to these events. For now, I will list these pre-exile prophets’ books in chronological order (please note that there are several other prophets mentioned in our reading, but who do not have a separate book attributed to them). For now, here is a summary of the order of prophets who do have separate books. First, in the south during the reign of Joash, the prophets are Obadiah and Joel. Then we turn to the north for prophets Jonah, Amos, Hosea. Then back again in the south (beginning about the midway in the life of Hosea), the prophets are Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Daniel, Ezekiel.

    Review and Application
    1 Kings 4:29-34 is the description of Solomon’s wisdom and we know he was the collector of proverbs and the author many as well. He is responsible for most of those included in the book of Proverbs.

    1 Kings 8:9 we note that the ark now contains only the two 10 commandment tablets.

    1 Kings 10: 7-9 reminds us of what should be our attitude as being God’s bondservant and as a “child of our King”, specifically our attitude in our quiet time, and our attitude in serving the Lord.

    As we noted above, for the remainder of this review section, we will now mention information not included on the accessory pages of king information in table format. The end of Solomon’s rule and death are recorded in chapter 11 and we note that God again is using pagan leaders to discipline His people. This is a reminder to us that God is sovereign and it is His purposes and His glory for which every detail occurs. Just as in the life of Solomon, God desires godly character in us. He provides for us and does not want us to seek our own separate goals of prosperity, peace, health, fame….

    1 Kings 12 is about Rehoboam, a son of Solomon, as he becomes king of the South. Jeroboam now returns from Egypt and, along with his following, petitions the new king to lighten the load of service for the people. See 12:15 about Rehoboam listening to the wrong advice of the young men, “for it was a turn of events from the Lord”
    A civil disobedience begins and Jeroboam becomes king of the North with a desire to take over and unite the entire country. He sees that his people may be tempted to go to Jerusalem to worship and thus he needs to provide a separate worship place in the North. This is the basis of his idolatry (that will later be called “the sin of Jeroboam”) in making two golden calves, one at Bethel and one in Dan (we have seen this sin of a golden calf before!).
    In chapter 13, Jeroboam makes an offering on the altar he has constructed in Bethel, and an unnamed prophet comes (from Judah in the south) to say this altar will split apart and a son of Judah (Josiah by name—the specific name if given for the man 300 years later!), will sacrifice false priests on this altar, and also burn human bones upon it. Jeroboam is angered and as he points to the prophet to have him killed, his hand “dries up, so that he could not draw it back to himself.” The altar is split. Jeroboam pleads with the prophet to have God restore his hand, which happens. The prophet is on his way back to Judah, is deceived by a local man of God into eating (he was supposed to fast the entire trip), and thus disobeys the Lord. The prophet is killed by a lion, his body is buried. Turn to 2 Kings 23:15-20 to see the fulfillment of the prophesy 300 years later and also note that the bones of this prophet are found and are burned on the altar (the burning of human bones desecrates a place).
    This is a good time to mention how many times we see God as sovereign over the actions of animals as a part of His plan. Here, it was a lion, but there is the “great fish” in Jonah, a donkey speaking to Balaam, cows when the Philistines returned the ark, ravens who feed Elijah, just to name a few.
    In 1 Kings 17, we see seeming illogical instructions followed by obedience twice, a reminder to us to follow the Lord and trust in His plan, not ours! First, see that Elijah is to prophesy that there will be no rain or dew, but he then is instructed to go east into a dry desert area and hide by a brook (where the Lord provided him bread by ravens and water from the brook). The second is Elijah asking the widow for bread to be made for him first, when she does not even have enough to make any more than a last meal for herself and her son before they die. She obeys and her flour and oil did not run out until the day rain came back to the land by the word of the Lord through Elijah. Ours is to trust and obey.
    Chapter 18 relates Elijah on Mt Carmel confronting the prophets of Baal (the god of nature and therefore thought able to produce rain and fire). 18:21, Elijah states, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him, but if Baal, follow him.” A test is set up to have the answer be setting on fire an ox on top of wood. The Baal prophets prepare first and fail. Elijah then prepares an altar to God, then wets the wood 3 times, followed by the Lord sending fire to completely consume it all! The prophets of Baal are all killed and Ahab the king pursues Elijah. In the last verse of chapter 18 is the term “girded up his loins” which means to tuck your long robe up through and over your belt so you are prepared to run, not stepping on the long robe. This is what Elijah must now do.
    1 Kings 19 relates what we go through when we confront sin in another. Elijah is now being pursued to be killed by the evil Jezebel, King Ahab’s wife. Following Elijah’s example applied to us, we need to give similar situations in our lives to God, seek any needed physical rest, knowing that God will provide, wait on God to direct, know you will feel alone, and then be ready to take action. His ways are not our often desired ways, neither is His timing our timing. Actually, 19:16,19 even tells us the Lord instructs Elijah to find Elisha and anoint him as the prophet to replace him. Gini has notes from a couple different years at this point, relating how the Lord has allowed our children and foster children to leave when we did not think they were quite ready and did not think we were finished with that portion of the work assigned to us. However, through the years, we saw that the Lord provided other people and circumstances to help to mature each one of them in His ways and in His timing!
    Read 1 Kings 20:11, reminding us of our similar phrase “don’t count your chickens before they have hatched!”
    In 1 Kings 21, King Ahab wants Naboth’s vineyard, but he will not sell it to the king. His wife Jezebel plots against Naboth to have him killed. Elijah is told to confront the situation and in 21:19, 23 he speaks the Lord’s words of prophesy, including the exact manner of death of Ahab and Jezebel. Turn to 2 Kings 9:33 to see the end result for Jezebel which takes place 20 years later.
    Note 1 Kings 22:21-23 where the Lord is sovereign over the message that the king hears through a deceiving spirit speaking through false prophets—even when a true prophet tells it like it truly is!

    2 Kings 1:17, check out these names–Jehoram (brother of Ahaziah and son of Ahab) is the new king in the North during the 2nd year of Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat) the king of Judah in the South!
    2 Kings 2, Elisha replaces Elijah. Elisha performs many more miracles than Elijah and this book contains many examples that again apply to us and how we live our lives.
    2 Kings 2:19, the city is pleasant to live in but the water is bad. So, Elisha “salts” the water and it becomes pure (many of our home water purification systems also use salts).
    In chapter 3, the king gets rid of Baal worship, but keeps the golden calves (persisting in the sin of Jeroboam noted earlier).
    In 2 Kings 4, Elisha performs miracles (a widow with only a little oil, a Shunemite woman whose only son dies, and a famine with poisoned stew) that teach us that the Lord is asking us, what is it that you have? You have been given much, but when you only recognize a little, you are prone to hold on to it tightly in the face of testing. We often think similar to Zechariah 4:10, “For who has despised the day of small things?” Instead, we are to truly have faith in the unknown, knowing God will do great things. (However, the opposite is also true in the lives of us who have been blessed with much. We also hold on tightly lest we not have enough to continue to live at our accustomed level. Greed at work in both instances!)
    2 Kings 5:13 Pride keeps us from doing what we think will not work. Here the advice is– if it had been something great and expected, would you not have done it?! So, do not be like this unsaved Naaman (who has leprosy) who tries to depend on his own position, money, gifts, self, and sensationalism to get what he wants.
    Nor be like Gehazi, Naaman’s servant, pulling out our religious card, but really being greedy to also get what is wanted. God gives grace to the humble (and to empty us of our own spirit), and we then should know we cannot pay our way into anything to justify ourselves. (Turn to Micah 6:6-8 as another summary.) Salvation is only granted by God through turning to Jesus, and that just seems foolish to the unsaved. This is in contrast to piety which is trying to make man’s will look like it is God’s way.)
    Here is another summary statement in one of Gini’s written notes using a ship example: At night, the captain sees light in distance and thinks it is another ship. Receives radio message to change course a few degrees to which the captain replies that the other should instead change his course.
    The message goes back and forth several times with commands to change course each time. Finally, as they are getting close in the fog, the captain radios that he is a battleship and they better change course. The reply is, I am a lighthouse! Sometimes we can be prideful, insistent on our way being best and intent on doing whatever we desire, “come hell or high water” as the saying goes, only to realize there is a higher, better and true authority in the Light! We do see in 5:14 that Namaan does do as directed, his heart is changed, and he then refuses a gift to take back, asking instead to take some of this “holy ground” back to build an altar to worship his new found Lord. As noted just above, the chapter finishes with the lie and greed of Gehazi disguised as piety.
    In chapter 6 there is the account of Elisha’s miracle of the floating axe head. This was a borrowed axe and a good steward is responsible until returned, and he knew exactly where he lost it. Similarly, we might apply this as a question to ourselves, “Where did I lose my ‘cutting edge’ for the Lord?”
    The remainder of chapter 6 relates to the enemy coming against Israel and the secret plan was to camp in a certain place. Elisha tells Israel where this is and they camp there instead. The enemy king is furious about who told (we often use the phrase, “a fly on the wall” or “a little bird told me”), but then is told Elisha is the one who knows. The Israelites are fearful of the horses and chariots circling around them. But, Elisha says, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” He then prayed that the Lord would open eyes of his servant to see the “horses and chariots of fire” all around. Elisha then prays for the enemy to be blinded, then tells the enemy they are not going the right way, and leads them away instead. Then the question is whether they should be killed. The answer is no, but to open their eyes, give them food and water, and send them back (kill them with kindness instead!)
    2 Kings 7, there is a famine in the land and even a small amount of bird dung to make a fire sold for 5 shekels. Elisha says that one day later they will be able to buy a whole measure of flour for only 1 shekel. The details are that the enemy hears horses and chariots coming and flee the city. 4 lepers just outside the city go in at twilight to beg (even if they should die as they are starving to death anyway), find the city empty, eat, and then tell others (Gini at this point has one of her favorite sayings about sharing her salvation story, “One beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.” The king thinks it is a trap, but it is not.
    2 Kings 10:27-31 is another example of removing Baal worship, but not removing the golden calves (the sin of Jeroboam again).

    2 Kings 12:15 (and again in 22:7), during a time of repairing the temple, there was no accounting of gifts and money necessary, for they dealt faithfully. We all need to have this mindset and be trustworthy in all things of heart, mind, speech and actions.
    In chapter 13, Elisha dies.
    2 Kings 15:29, we see the beginning of the Assyrian captivity of the 10 northern tribes, Israel (see captivity summary below), and in 17:6-7 many of the Israelites are taken from Samaria to cities 400 to 1000 miles away, “because…sinned against the Lord… and had feared other gods.” Samaria then has other people imported and intermixed with the remaining Israelites. Verses 23-41 provide an interesting account of the various people introduced into Samaria being killed by lions because they do not fear the Lord. The king specifically commands that a priest of God be brought back to Bethel in Samaria to teach the “custom of the god of the land”. But, “every nation still made gods of its own”, so we see in verse 33 that they “feared the Lord AND served their own gods”. There is intermarriage and polytheism, becoming the basis, why in the New Testament, Samaria is considered despised. (we still have nations and cultures that worship many gods, and in some instances when Gini and I did short term mission work, we were told the people could easily accept another god to add to their list of needed gods, so they did not have a true conversion to Christianity, and did not follow the one and only God, through Jesus Christ).
    2 Kings 17:33, 41, then reminds us there is always the temptation to partially follow the world and think we can still “fear” the Lord. Yes, we ought to fear! We are to be 100% for the Lord, living in the world, but not of it. To try to walk in both camps will result in the Lord spitting us from His mouth (see Revelation 3:16).
    2 Kings 18:4-7, Hezekiah (a king in the South) is the only king to remove high places of foreign god worship, and also broke to pieces the bronze serpent statue of Moses because the people were burning incense to it.
    The king of Assyria now comes against Judah and in 18:19-22 Hezekiah is asked, “What is this confidence that you have? …on whom do you rely, that you rebel…” and then continues to say he should not rely on Egypt or trust in the Lord, but instead should surrender. Then follows a listing of all the foreign gods who did not help Samaria! Note in 18:36 they do not answer a fool in his folly.
    2 Kings 19 introduces Isaiah the prophet (we will read his entire book later) who says the king of Assyria will return to his own land and be killed there. Hezekiah prays and the remainder of chapter 19 is an uplifting account to remind us the Lord fights our battles, sometimes assisting us, but other times while we watch and are amazed! The reference to fish hooks in 19:28 seems to be in reference to the Assyrians worshipping a fish god and being known to put fish hooks in the noses of captives as they led them away.
    In 2 Kings 23, while repairing the temple, King Josiah finds and has the word of the Lord read to the people and then announces reforms, but evil ways persist and the Lord allows Babylon to conquer and then deport the people to Babylon captivity (some are left behind), –along with the destruction of Jerusalem.
    As 2 Kings ends, note in 25:25-26 that some of the people of Judah also flee to Egypt. The ones who remain will intermarry with descendants of Edom (Esau) and become Idumeans, the lineage of Herod in the New Testament. But, the Lord has a remnant of Israelites that remain a pure blood line to this day (The Bible also records that some of the Northern Israelite tribe members had migrated into the South, so that a remnant of all the tribes of Israel seems to have been preserved by the Lord, not just Judah and Benjamin.) The book ends while Judah is still in captivity and we will see the return of a portion of the exiles described in Ezra and Nehemiah.

    Captivity Summary
    The summary of the downfall of first the Northern kingdom and then the Southern kingdom follows.
    Northern kingdom demise. Remember the various curses Moses said would come upon the Israelites if they forsook the God of their fathers. As we have seen in our reading, the 10 tribes of the North, called Israel, did not keep their covenant with the Lord. We will read later in a book named for and written by a prophet named Hosea, wrote his account of what the Lord said (saying through Hosea) to the people who had completely turned their backs on the Lord. Hosea put them on notice that their time had run out. God would no longer have mercy on them, would no longer call them His people; they were to be destroyed – forever.

    In the 800’s BC, when Jehu was king of Israel, Israel’s final destruction began with the demanded tribute by the Assyrians. These protection payments kept Assyria at bay until 745 BC, when their warrior king, Tiglath-pileser III, took over and, in 734, the Assyrian armies went down through the Philistine country to Gaza, just outside of Egypt, then moving inland to take the northern part of Israel (Galilee and area east of the Jordan). Tiglath died before taking Samaria, which fell to the next Assyrian king, Shalmaneser V in 721. The following year another new Assyrian king, Sargon II, completed the destruction of the northern kingdom.
    The Assyrian conquerors massacred a lot of the Israelites. Of those not killed, the elite were deported to be scattered throughout the then known gentile world, where they were assimilated and pure Jews pretty much disappeared.
    The poorer remnant left behind were absorbed by Chaldean and Aramean tribesmen that were sent in to colonize the newly conquered lands. Their offspring became known as the Samaritans, who from that point onwards were looked down upon by Jews as no longer as Israelites, but half-breeds. This sets up the background of verses about the Samaritans during the ministry of Jesus in the New Testament.

    Southern kingdom demise. The southern kingdom persisted for another 134 sometimes very difficult years. In 701 BC, 19 years after the northern kingdom of Israel was eliminated, Assyria, under Sennacherib, moved against the southern kingdom of Judah and laid siege to Jerusalem. God delivered Judah at that time by sending a plague against the Assyrians which killed many and caused Sennacherib to withdraw.
    Following this deliverance, awareness grew in Jerusalem of the connection between Judah’s increasing sinfulness and their loss of security.
    King Josiah rediscovered the word of God when repairing the temple and had the priests read these scrolls, which put the fear of God into the people, who then repented. By forging alliances with various nations, including Egypt, during this time, Judah managed to resist conquest for another nearly 100 years. However, idolatry continued, and in 605, the Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Egypt’s army, doing away with Judah’s main ally. From then on, Judah’s end was only a matter of time. Nebuchadnezzar’s armies went throughout the land and in 597, laid siege to Jerusalem, but did not destroy the city.
    Similar to the North, Nebuchadnezzar also took captive the talented, strong and soldiers (Daniel is in this group). He left only the poorest people of the land behind. But, different than what happened in the North, he appointed Zedekiah as the king of his choice who was to remain subservient and send tribute to Babylon.
    After a few years Jerusalem rose up against Nebuchadnezzar and he again besieged the city, this time destroying the temple, and completely demolishing the walls (we will read about 3 waves of return of the exiles and the rebuilding of the walls and temple later in Ezra and Nehemiah). Worthy of note is that Ezekiel the prophet is included in a second group of captives (includes skilled workmen) taken to Babylon after Zedekiah is killed. Gedaliah is made governor in place of Zedekiah. Gedaliah is also killed and Jeremiah the prophet is with a group that then flees to Egypt.
    Despite all this destruction and much bloodshed, hope remained for Israel’s future. It is also important that the Babylonians did not send pagan tribes in to colonize the conquered kingdom of Judah.
    The poor people of Judah (that appears to also include small numbers of all the other Israelite tribes) were allowed to remain on their lands and to some extent continue the worship of their God – though now without the temple and without priests to carry out the required sacrifices.
    We will read about the return that included only small numbers of the total who were exiled. So we see that from 588 BC until today a majority of the Jews have always lived outside the borders of the land of Israel

    Chapter Themes
    1 Kings
    1- David in Old Age
    2- David Charges Solomon then Dies
    3- Solomon Requests Wisdom
    4- Solomon’s Officials / Power, Wealth, Wisdom
    5- Alliance with Hiram
    6- The Building of the Temple
    7- Solomon’s Palace
    8- Ark Brought In; Solomon Dedicates Temple
    9- God’s Promise and Warning
    10- The Queen of Sheba
    11- Solomon Turns from God / Adversaries Arise
    12- Rehoboam Unwise Council Received
    13- Jeroboam / 2 Prophet’s Response
    14- Ahijah Prophesies Against Jeroboam
    15- Abiham, Asa, Jehoshaphat-South / Nadab, Baasha-North
    16- Prophesy Against Baasha
    17- Elijah
    18- Obadiah – Mount Carmel
    19- Elijah Flees Jezebel
    20- War with Aram (Syria)
    21- Ahab Covets Naboth’s Vineyard; Jezebel’s Plot
    22- Jehoshaphat Aligns with Ahab

    2 Kings
    1- Ahaziah’s Messengers and Elijah
    2- Elijah Taken to Heaven; Elisha Succeeds
    3- Moab Rebels-Jehoram and Jehosaphat Unite to Defeat
    God Fills Valley with Water—Looks like Blood
    4- Elisha Miracles / Widow’s Oil, Shunammite Woman’s Son, Poisoned Stew
    5- Naaman is Healed / Gehazi’s Greed
    6- Axe Handle; Seige of Samaria; Cannibalism
    7- Food – 4 Lepers
    8- Jehoram Restores Shunammite’s Land
    9- Jehu Assassinates Household of Ahab
    10- Judgment on Ahab’s House
    11- Athaliah, Queen of Judah
    12- Jehoash Reigns over Judah
    13- Jehoash (Different Person-Same Name) Reigns over North; Elisha Dies
    14- Amaziah Reigns over Judah
    15- Azariah Reigns over Judah / Assyrian Captivity of North Begins
    16- Ahaz’s Alliance with Assyria
    17- Hoshea Last King of North / Israel Falls in 722 BC
    18- Hezekiah 13th King of South
    19- Isaiah and Hezekiah Pray (Reference to Isaiah the Prophet)
    20- Hezekiah’s Illness and Recovery
    21- Manasseh and Amon
    22- Josiah Hears, Humbles Himself
    23- Josiah’s Covenant
    24- Babylon Controls Jehoiakim
    25- Jerusalem Burned and Plundered

  19. Here are notes for 2 Samuel, ready when you are. At the end of the review section, there are notes compiled by Gini about the key persons (often with confusing names) in this book. Enjoy, and may the Lord continue to allow you to read, research, reflect and respond to His word.
    2 Samuel 1-4
    In the review section below, you will find a listing of key people in this book. 1st and 2nd Samuel are one book in the original Hebrew. This is the second book about the period of the kings. The next two books of 1 and 2 Kings will continue the account of the 500-year period of kings ruling Israel, first as a united nation and then in a divided north and south. As we proceed through this book, we will refer to many of the Psalms that you should read along with certain passages. These are the many Psalms of David that relate to specific events or times in his life. When we read all of the Psalms, we will see many more. I like to think of David in 1 and 2 Samuel as ‘shepherd’ (first of sheep and then of people), ‘slinger’ (stones he used first to protect the sheep and then kill Goliath), and ‘strummer/singer’ (he possibly had a small lyre to play while tending sheep–we know he knew how to play as he did so for Saul. I also like to consider him singing the many Psalms he composed in his mind and heart).
    2 Samuel begins with turmoil and infighting of the Israelites after the death of Saul. During all this time, David attempts to heal parts and then all of the nation. First David is recognized as king of one tribe and then the entire nation of Israel. The remainder of the book will record the events of his rule. He has a whole heart for God, but still a sinful man. Just as we have already seen, the Lord will continue to use him in mighty ways.
    As second Samuel opens, we see a tie in to the last chapter of 1 Samuel with an account that Saul has died and David is in Ziklag after striking down the Amalekites. 1:6-10 is an account by one of the uncircumcised Amalekites to deceive and lie to David that he had killed Saul in the separate battle which Saul waged against the Philistines. He knows many of the details, but attempts to take credit in the eyes of David, the new king. See 1 Samuel 31:4.
    There is a time of mourning until evening and then David has this man killed for his lie and then laments over the death of Saul and Jonathan.
    In chapter 2, it is important to note David inquires of the Lord as to what he should now do and is directed to go to Hebron in the land of Judah. The men of Judah anoint him king over their tribe/clan.
    David is careful to find out and honor the men who had found and buried Saul.
    Meanwhile in verses 8 through 10 we find that Abner, the commander of the army under Saul, has taken one of Saul’s sons, Ishbosheth, and made him king over the remainder of Israel and this king reigns for a period of two years. Thus there begins a division in Israel.
    What follows for the remainder chapter 2 is an account that would make good action scenes in a movie. The two opposing sides confront each other at Gibeon and select 12 men from each side, and in the match up, all 24 mutually kill each other, so there is no victory by either side.
    A battle ensues that is fierce with the servants of David overcoming the forces of Abner.
    One of 3 nephews of David is Asahel and he pursues Abner on foot. Abner tells him to stop but he will not. Abner then kills him with the butt of his spear. All of David’s men who then arrive at that spot, stop and stand still, but the other two nephews, Joab and Abishai, continue to pursue Abner until the sun was going down.
    Abner is ahead of them and on the top of a hill with some of the men of Benjamin and calls to Joab, “Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that the end will be bitter?” Joab blows his trumpet and the fighting ceases for that battle.
    Chapter 3 adds additional intrigue. There is a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David, but David grows stronger with each ensuing battle.
    Abner has an affair with one of Saul’s concubines and Saul’s son Ishbosheth the new king, confronts him about this. Abner becomes angry and says that he is going to go to David’s side. He shares his decision with the elders of Israel who agree to this, and then goes with a delegation to David at Hebron.
    David accepts and agrees as he will now become ruler of all Israel. Meanwhile Joab comes back from a raid, and when learning of Abner’s visit, believes that it is a deception by Abner to infiltrate David’s camp.
    Joab immediately sends messengers after Abner to bring him back, but David did not know about this. Joab then kills Abner while talking with him privately. This death grieves David very much.
    In chapter 4 there is great dismay and failure of courage throughout the rest of Israel when they find out Abner is dead. The king Ishbosheth is killed in his bed and only a young son of Jonathan remains of the entire family of Saul. His name is Mephibosheth. Note that this very young son falls in the haste to escape and becomes crippled (actually dropped by the nurse carrying him).
    2 Samuel 5-8
    All of Israel gathers together in Hebron and David is officially anointed king over the entire nation of Israel. He is only 30 years old and has already reigned over Judah for seven years. He will reign over all of Israel for 33 more years.

    The first act recorded is David sending his men against the city of Jerusalem (which is held by the Jebusites). Jerusalem is established as the city of David, and also called the stronghold or city of Zion (word given to the entire city as well as one of 7 mounts/hills on which the city is built),
    David acquires more concubines and wives and has more children.
    King Hiram of Tyre (near the Mediterranean Sea) sends cedar and workers to help David build a house for himself and further establish the stronghold of Jerusalem.
    King Hiram’s response is in contrast to the Philistines who hear David is now king and immediately gather together to come against David. David inquires of the Lord as to whether he should go out and the answer is positive and the Philistines are defeated.
    In chapter 6 David directs that 30,000 go along in a time of joy and thanksgiving to bring to Jerusalem the ark that has been kept in the house of Abinibab, one of the priests, since its return from the Philistines some 20 years previous (see 1 Samuel 4-6).
    The ark is placed on a new cart (this is just as the Philistines had done) and when it begins to shift, Uzzah, one of the priest’s sons, touches the ark to steady it and is immediately struck dead. See 1 Chronicles 13,16, and Psalm 96.
    The joy of the party stops, David is afraid of God, and the ark is left there for three months while they try to figure out what has happened.
    Many have been puzzled by why God would take this immediate and seemingly drastic action. There is a definite reason. The ark has been placed on a cart. It is only to be carried with polls by the Kohathites, the particular division of the Levite priestly line assigned to do this. In 6:13, after the 3 months, we are told “those who bore the ark” bring it to Jerusalem and place it in a tent. See Numbers 4:5–15. Specifically, in Numbers 7:6–9, we were told that wagons and oxen have been given to the other two priestly tribes for carrying articles of the tent of meeting, but the Kohathites are given none, because they are to carry the properly covered furnishings on their shoulders with poles.
    Just as we heard in our childhood, ignorance of the law is not an excuse to prevent us from punishment and consequences!
    Chapter 7 is very interesting in that David is reminded that he has been moved from being a shepherd of the pasture to being prince and shepherd over the people Israel. The prophet Nathan comes to him and tells David that he is living in a house of cedar, while the presence of the Lord is in a tent that is similar to the place of His presence in the wilderness. God covenants with David that He will establish David’s kingdom, and David expresses a prayer of gratitude. See Psalm 18:50, 104:1.
    David will ultimately make a plan and provide all money and supplies needed to build a proper temple but it will not be started or accomplished until the next king, Solomon.
    In chapter 8, David has many victories over surrounding nations and enlarges his kingdom. He establishes leadership positions including his sons being priests, a position that was clearly not supposed to be assigned.
    2 Samuel 10-13
    We will read chapter 9 and the interconnected story of covenant promises concerning Jonathan’s crippled son at the end of the review section below.
    When the king of the Ammonites dies, David sends a delegation to console them, but they are worried that David has sent his men to spy out of the country and further control them. They cut off half of the beards of David’s men as well as cutting their garments in the middle up to their hips. David’s men are very ashamed and humiliated and when David hears of this, he instructs the men to remain at Jericho until their beards have grown back. The Ammonites now know what they have done has allowed them to become a stench to David so they hire the Syrians to join with them in battle and both are defeated by Israel.
    In Chapter 11 we are told, “in the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle….”, but see that really it is only Joab and the army go out to battle while David, the king, remains home.
    Late one afternoon and when David is walking on his roof, he sees a beautiful young woman bathing. He inquires about her, finds out her name is Bathsheba and her husband is at war, so she is brought to him. Later, she tells David that she is pregnant. (By the way, this is an excellent example of the Psalm 1:1 principle I instruct myself and others, ‘Keep on running!’, by which I mean we all have temptations occurring each day and even as we slow to a walk to rest or regain strength, we cannot allow our wandering eyes to slow or stop to consider and certainly not stand in the midst of the sinful situation that will lead to sitting and being involved. Instead, we need to preach scripture to our innermost being that we are like an athlete in training and we have a goal as we ‘run’ that race to the upward call – 1 Corinthians 9:25-27, Philippians 3:14).
    David compounds his sin by cover-up actions sending word to Joab his commander to have Uriah, her husband, sent home, on the pretense of updating David on the war. This tactic does not work as Uriah refuses to go and sleep with his wife because that would not be fair to all of the other men still at war.
    After a second night of refusal, even after David has gotten him drunk, David sends Uriah back to battle with a sealed note that tells Joab his commander to put Uriah at the front of a battle and then retreat to allow him to be killed.
    When told that Uriah has been killed, David takes Bathsheba to be his wife, and a son is born.
    Chapter 12 reminds us that sin can and most often blinds us from understanding the truth. Such is the case when Nathan the prophet is sent to David to tell him a story about a rich man who has much, and a poor man without anything but one little ewe lamb. David simply does not understand the story applies to him and his judgment is: the man who did this deserves to die. Nathan says “You are the man!”
    Through Nathan the prophet, God relates that David’s punishment will include his wives being violated in the sunlight instead of as David has done secretly (2 Samuel 16:21–22). His son also will die. He says that David will not die.
    David realizes his great sin is really against the Lord (read Psalm 51 that he writes at this time, and is cross referenced in most Bibles). Then follows the phrase of the Lord, “I have put away your sin.” (see Psalm 32:1-5 that while sin is removed, the consequences and guilt remain to be dealt with.)
    The battle against the Ammonites is concluded and Joab tells David that he needs to come to the battlefront else the city will be named after Joab. The crown of the king of the Ammonites is taken from his head and placed upon David (see Psalm 21:3).
    In chapter 13 we see sin in David’s children. He has sons and daughters by his various wives. Absalom, one of his sons has a beautiful sister named Tamar. One of the half-brothers named Ammon loves her and wants her, which she refuses. He then rapes her, and Absalom is angry but it takes two years before he has an opportunity to murder his rapist brother at a party for all the king’s sons. Absalom must then flee. It appears that David felt very bad about this and longs to make it right with Absalom. See 13:7 where David is the one who sent Tamar to Ammon’s house to prepare food for him while he pretended to be ill.
    2 Samuel 14-16
    Absalom fears the avenger of death and has spent 3 years banished from Israel on the east side of the Jordan. Joab knows that the heart of the king goes out to this son concerning what has happened. Then a woman from Tekoa, a town about 10 miles south of Jerusalem, comes to David the king with a concocted story.
    The story has the elements of two brothers, one of whom is killed, the blood of an avenger of death, and the failure to carry on the family line should the remaining brother be killed.
    Just as in the case with Nathan, King David makes a judgment which turns out to again be a judgment and sentence upon himself! David asked and the woman replies that indeed it has been Joab, the commander, who has set up this whole scenario.
    David calls Joab and sends him to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem to live. Absalom marries and has sons and also a daughter whom he names Tamar.
    Absalom has been back in Jerusalem for two years and the king has never sent for him or talked with him, so he requests Joab come and intervene, which Joab refuses to do on two occasions. On a third occasion when his field is burned, Joab does come. The end result is that Absalom is summoned by the king. We’re not told, but it appears that Absalom continues to be upset that he is neither killed nor completely forgiven by David, he is in the middle ground or “no man’s land”.
    Thus, we see in chapter 15 Absalom develops a secret conspiracy to take over the kingdom. After setting up details for a rebellion, he requests he be allowed to leave Jerusalem, and when he does, he is proclaimed king over Israel. He then starts back to Jerusalem and David must flee. We now see a division of the people, deciding which side they want to be on. In 15:29, even the priests bear the ark out of the city and David asks them to take it back. David says, “if I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me back and I will see both the ark and His dwelling place”. See Psalm 18:19. Others, including some loyal to David, remain in Jerusalem also.
    In 16:15, Absalom enters Jerusalem and then begins an interesting spy and counterspy sequences with intelligence and counterintelligence items that would again make a great movie.
    Upon entering the city, the first thing is advice to Absalom that he should violate his father’s concubines in broad daylight on the roof of the palace! See 2 Samuel 12:11. It is interesting that this advice is given by Ahithophel who is believed to be Bathsheba’s grandfather (could he have held a grudge for all these years for what David did with Bathsheba?)
    Please note that the events about Mephibosheth and Ziba in chapter 16 are continued at the end of the review section below.
    2 Samuel 17-21
    Both sides continue deceptive ways. The same counselor who gave advice about the concubines is asked what Absalom should now do. He is told to choose 12,000 men and immediately arise to pursue David. Counsel is obtained from another counselor who also had given counsel to David. Absalom instead takes this counter advice from Hushai to hold back, because David is such a good warrior, so should instead gather the entire country of Israel together as one nation and then completely wipe out the presence of David and his men later. Hushai is really on David’s side and then passes on the information from both counselors to the priests who then attempt to secretly just get the message to David via their sons.
    They are seen and have to hide in a well, but then are able to give David the message.
    In chapter 18 we find David has crossed the Jordan River and musters his troops together under the command of Joab. He then calls Joab and the other commanders and instructs them to deal gently with Absalom.
    David’s army prevails in the battle and in 18:9 Absalom is escaping in the forest and happens upon the servants of David while riding on a donkey. He escapes quickly to ride away in the thick forest and his head is held fast in a crook of one of the trees. No one wants to kill him as he hangs there without his donkey, until Joab arrives and kills him with his javelin.
    The remainder of chapter 18 describes Joab blowing a trumpet to halt the battle and then sending a substitute runner with news that all is well. This runner however is overtaken by one who gives the real news indirectly that Absalom is dead. David immediately grieves. 18:33 gives a hint of David’s thinking that is essentially, ‘if I only had stayed in Jerusalem I’d be the one dead and Absalom would be king.’
    In chapter 19 we see continued grief instead of rejoicing. Note in 19:11-15 that David requests that his tribe of Judah be sent out to be included in those that return him to Jerusalem and reestablish him as king.
    19:16 begins a section where David pardons all of his enemies throughout the land, but because of his seeming to favor his own tribe, we see continuing dissension in 19:41–43 as the men of Israel reply that they have 10 shares (10 of the 12 tribes of the entire country) and Judah is only one.
    In chapter 20, we see this leads to a rebellion led by Sheba, who says, “We have no portion in David, nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse; Every man to his tents, O Israel!”. David made Amasa commander of the army, but he is killed by Joab, and Joab then pursues all of the Israelites to destroy them.
    In 20:16–22, we see that a wise woman of the town where Sheba is hiding, asks to speak with Joab as she does not want one of the “mother cities” of Israel to be destroyed. She arranges with her people to find Sheba, cut off his head and throw it over the wall. Joab blows his trumpet and the battle is over.

    2 Samuel 22-24
    See in the review notes for comments for chapter 21. Chapters 22 and 23 are a psalm David wrote of deliverance (a review of all that happened during David’s life) that was also sung (See Psalm 18 and 30, especially 18:2-3 that is a praise song many of us still sing). Chapter 23 ends with a listing of David’s mighty men.
    Chapter 24 is the last of this book and has some special events to note. First we are told the anger of the Lord is against Israel again (see 1 Chronicles 21:1 that indicates that Satan has done this in Israel and moved David to number Israel and is a good time to remind ourselves God is the one who allows wicked acts of men and Satan as no event falls outside God’s sovereign determination of all things). The end result is that David orders a census be taken to register all the people so David may know their number. Joab confronts the king and desires to know why David would delight in a census. It takes over 9 months to complete and after the numbers are given, David knows he has acted foolishly and repents to the Lord. Then, in 24:11-12, the prophet Gad comes and proclaims the Lord is offering David 3 choices: seven years of famine, to flee before foes for 3 months, or 3 days of pestilence in the land.
    David’s answer gives us a great truth that we need to apply to our lives! He answers, “Let us now fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” So, the pestilence comes and destroyed 70,000 of the men whom David had just finished counting! David then requests, “Behold, it is I who have sinned, and it is I who have done wrong; but these sheep (the people of his kingdom), what have they done?” He instead wants he and his house to be the ones punished.
    In 24:18-25, in order for the pestilence to stop, David is instructed to build an altar on the threshing floor of a Jebusite. This man wants to give the site to David, but David purchases it after back and forth discussions (while people continue to die!), saying, “No, I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing.” This closes the book of 2 Samuel without any additional writing added about David’s last days and death, which we will see recorded in the first 2 chapters of 1 Kings.
    By the way, this threshing floor is on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem (one of those 7 mounts of Jerusalem we noted as we began), the site where Solomon later builds the temple (2 Chronicles 3:1). Read 1 Chronicles 29 for more detail about the plans and provision David makes for the temple that will be built by Solomon. This is also the place that Abraham and Isaac went to offer God a sacrifice in Genesis 22
    Now, as we finish the book of Second Samuel, turn to First Chronicles chapters 11 through 22, and briefly review those chapters as they are the Chronicles account and summary of the life of David.
    2 Samuel Review Notes
    In 5:2 David is the one who tried many times to keep the people together during the reign of Saul and even after his death. As a former shepherd he is now asked to be a shepherd over the people. We see this again in 7:8.
    Note also in 5:8, Jerusalem is attacked by going up through the water shaft. Later, in 5:20 we see another reference to the Lord being like water of a bursting flood as an example of how He helps David rush in to overtake enemies. This is akin to the actual rushing return of the Red Sea waters to destroy the Egyptians, after the Israelites had crossed on the dry sea bed.
    Please also note in 5:20 during the battle with the Philistines, idols are left behind, which David and his men carry away. In first Chronicles 14:12, it says that David burned them. Foreign idols in our lives are like this and may tempt and linger, being considered as valuable as gold. They are always snares and we need to destroy them. In this regard, I once had a man tell me that he had a complete collection of Playboy magazines before he became a Christian. They were quite valuable and stored in a very special and valuable cabinet. He was having trouble deciding what he should do with them. His immediate concern was that he could sell them for a fortune and then donate it to Christian causes. He then received counsel the magazines would continue to come into the hands of others and be a temptation and snare to whoever read them. So he personally started a fire and burned up every one of them, including the special cabinet.
    Please note that at the end of chapter 6 there is joyous celebration as the ark enters Jerusalem (an all out party with cake and dates for every single person). There is no penalty for excess celebration! Many times (and I often feel uncomfortable with my definition of what I consider too much emotional expression), there are occasions when we may feel like there is way too much leaping and dancing and playing of tambourines that does not fit our definition of the joy of the Lord! David’s wife Michal felt the same and confronts him and says he has been acting like a fool in public and not like a king. But note the last verse of chapter 6 that she is childless to the day of her death, possibly punishment?
    In the last verse of chapter 8 (as we noted earlier as well) we learn that David appointed some of his sons to be priests which was an error that previous leaders had also done. Since the time of Moses there had been a division of governing and priestly responsibilities (the separation actually initially is seen in Jacob’s blessings to his offspring in Genesis 49). We see the beginnings of the principles of division of church and state that we still struggle with in terms of balance and what constitutes proper separation.
    In chapter 14 we see some effects of a dysfunctional family. David has had many wives and thus children with different mothers and growing up differently.

    A side story in chapter 20:3 says the 10 concubines of David who were violated by Absalom are put in a separate house and cared for as widows until the time of their death.

    In chapter 21, there is a famine in the land for 3 years and some think it is because of Saul trying to kill the Gibeonites many years previous–in violation of the deceptive covenant the Gibeonites made with Joshua (Joshua 9). David seeks reconciliation with these Gibeonites who request that all of Saul’s heirs be found and killed. He does so, but spares Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan because of the covenant they had made.
    In chapters 23-24, some of many things that happen in David’s family (continuation of note of chapter 14 just above) are the effects of sin. One is the whole story about Absalom’s life and how it applies to us. Although David’s family is a very complicated, there are still principles that we need to see: an unhappy home often has unbalanced children. An undisciplined family breeds resentment, rebellion and insecurity which then continues to the following generations. Any unreconciled relationship can breed “sores” that never heal and can even lead to death.

    To finish this review, here is a listing of key people in this book that Gini compiled which we passed out separately for our Bible Read Through sessions of 2 Samuel.
    KEY (but confusing) PEOPLE IN DAVID’S REIGN (ref. From II Samuel unless noted)

    Military:
    I. Sons of Zeruiah (David’s half-sister) These men were brothers and were David’s nephews:
    A. Joab – commander of David’s army (victory over Ishbosheth, Edomites, Armaeans, Ammonites and Sheba) obeys David regarding Uriah; makes David favorable toward Absalom (14:1-33). Reproves David’s grief and David counting the people. Acted against David in killing Abner, Absalom, and Amasa. Supports Adonijah for king-I Kings 1:7. His crimes punished by Solomon – I Kings 2:28-34.
    B. Abishai- -Co-commander of David’s army. 16:9 Loyal to David during Absalom’s rebellion–wanted to behead Shimei for cursing David as they left Jerusalem
    –18:2 Commander of 1/3 of David’s troops along with Joab and Ittai at time of Absalom’s conspiracy.
    C. Asahel- 2:19-23. Fast runner. Pursued Abner and killed by butt of his spear.

    II. Abner – son of Ner and Saul’s cousin. Commander of Saul’s army. Unwillingly killed Asahel.
    Saved Saul’s son Ishbosheth and made him King. Rebuked by Ishbosheth for going into Saul’s concubine which angered Abner and he sided with David. David covenanting with Abner infuriated Joab, who was still angry about Abner killing Asahel, and he conspired against Abner and killed him.

    III. Amasa David’s nephew (son of David’s sister Abigail.) Commands Absalom’s rebels. Later made David’s commander replacing Joab for a time, but he didn’t return to David in appointed time to help snuff a rebellion (by Sheba) and Joab went after him and killed him. 20:9-12. Death avenged I Kings 2:28-34.

    IV. Benaiah – 23:20-23 Mighty man over David’s guard. I Kings 1:8 Loyal to David during Adonijah’s rebellion. I Kings 4:4 over Solomon’s army.

    Priests:
    V & VI were co-priests who sided with David, but when Absalom made his over-throw. They were told by David to return the ark to Jerusalem and stay there and act as spies and have their sons run to David with information.
    V. Zadok – Remained loyal to David during Absalom’s and Adonijah’s usurpation. Commanded by David to annoint Solomon as king.
    A. Ahimaaz-Zadok’s son. He warns David of Absalom’s plans and is the first to tell David of Absalom’s defeat.
    VI. Abiathar Son Of Ahimelech, the Priest Saul murdered at Nob for providing David with provisions and arms (I Sam. 22:9, 18-23). (Priest Ahimelech is not to be confused with Ahimelech the Hittite Warrior in I Sam. 26:6) Abiathar was loyal to David during Absalom’s rebellion, but supports Adonijah’s usurption. Deposed by Solomon-I Kings 2:26,27,35.
    A.. Jonathan- Abiathar’s son.

    Counselors:
    VII. Hushai – David’s friend whom David had return to Jerusalem during Absolom’s rebellion and thwart the counsel of Ahithophel.
    VIII. Ahithophel – probably Bathsheba’s grandfather (16:21,22; 23:34). His advice was as if one inquired of the word of God. David prayed for his counsel to be as foolishness to Absalom. Hushai countered Ahithophel’s counsel to Absalom and he took the former’s. Ahith.. then killed himself.

    David’s (key) Sons:
    IX. Amnon – raped Absalom’s sister (and his half-sister) Tamar
    X. Chileab (a.k.a. Daniel) probably died as a child.
    XI. Absalom – hated and killed Amnon—2 years after the rape. (Tamar may have lived in Absalom’s house indefinitely. He later had a daughter and named her Tamar). Lived in Geshur 3 yrs. (was grandson of king of Geshur-3:3). Returned to Jerusalem at David’s request but not allowed to see David’s face for 2 full years. He then gained audience to David (by getting Joab’s attention through burning his field) and it seemed that after that visit was when he planed his over-throw: 14:28-15:1) In 14:27 we see he had three sons and one daughter named Tamar, but 18:18 says he named a memorial for himself because he had no sons, so possibly they all died young? Very handsome. Long hair which caused his demise. He was probably next in line for the throne (by birthright) after Amnon’s death., and sought it by wooing the Israelites when he saw he wouldn’t get it by favor. Killed by Joab.
    XII. Adonijah – David’s fourth son & therefore next in line for the throne. Attempts to usurp throne before David’s death (and crowning Solomon.) **I Kings 2:15 Desires Abishag (the girl who kept David warm in his old age) as wife. Executed by Solomon’s orders to Benjamin, son of Jehoida.
    XIII. Solomon – son of Bathsheba
    XIV. 14 other sons – II Sam. 5:13-16 and I Chron. 3:1-9; 14:3-7.

    Other Rebels:

    XV. Shimei – Benjamite who cursed David as he was fleeing Jerusalem during Absalom’s rebellion. (Shimei MAY have been Michal’s husband – see 3:16 and 16:5). Pardoned but confined. Breaks parole; executed by Solomon
    XVI. Sheba – A Benjamite who leads a rebellion against David after Absalom’s defeat. David sent Amasa after him but Amasa didn’t return in the appointed time. David then sent Abishai. Joab went also, tricked Amasa, and killed him. Sheba, meanwhile, had taken refuge in a peace-loving city which beheaded him rather than have David’s army destroy their city.

    Lastly, let us turn to the covenant relationship principles of David and Jonathan and the interconnected story of covenant promises concerning Jonathan’s crippled son.
    As we go back to read chapter 9, we see David remembers his covenant with Jonathan and asks if there if there is anyone left of the house of Saul. Mephibosheth, the crippled child is found and is brought into the king’s palace, to always eat at his table. This probably has more than the meaning of just eating and implies staying in the palace with all provisions. We see that David restores all that was Saul’s to this crippled young man and Mephibosheth is to have Ziba, a former servant of Saul as manager of his property and to till the land.
    Ziba has 15 sons and is quite happy to occupy the land with his large family.
    Now turn to 2 Samuel 16:1–4. We have seen that the events in the intervening time now lead to a time of unrest and rebellion, and David had need to flee Jerusalem. He meets Ziba who has saddled donkeys with many supplies. David asks him what he is doing and his immediate and deceptive reply is that he has brought them for the king’s use in the desert. He also relates that Mephibosheth remained in Jerusalem to assume the kingship. David does not discern that this is a lie and gives all of the land and belongings of Mephibosheth to Ziba, who then says that he will honor David!
    Now turn to 19:24–30 and see that Mephibosheth immediately gives honor to the king on his return to Jerusalem. He is unkempt and relates Ziba left him, and he could not leave Jerusalem because of his crippled state. He is very glad that David is safely home. David wants to give him half of the land back, to which the reply is, “Oh, let him take it all, since my lord the king has come safely home”. Relationships are always much more important than possessions!

    2 Samuel Chapter Themes (remember, even just reading through these allows application)

    1- Amalikite Lies (and Gloats) About Killing Saul (then David has him killed)
    2- David, King over Judah; Ishbosheth, King over Israel; Abner Kills Asahel
    3- Joab and Abishai Kill Abner
    4- Ishbosheth Murdered; David Retaliates
    5- David Made King at Hebron—Family Enlarges
    6- Moving the Ark, Uzzah Dies
    7- David Plans to build a Temple-His Covenant-His Prayer
    8- David’s Triumphs
    9- David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth
    10- Ammon and Aram Defeated
    11- David and Bathsheba
    12- Nathan Rebukes David; Child Dies; Solomon Born
    13- Ammon and Tamar
    14- The Woman of Tekoa
    15- Absalom Conspires; David Flees
    16- Ziba, a False Servant; David is Cursed
    17- Hushai’s Counsel and Warning Saves David
    18- Absalom Slain; David Greif-stricken
    19- Joab Reproves David’s Lament
    20- Sheba’s Revolt
    21- Gibeonite Revenge
    22- David’s Psalm of Deliverance
    23- David’s Last Song
    24- Census Taken; Regret

  20. Many of you expect some Bible notes each week but the ones sent out midweek carry over for the rest of this week as you complete 1 Samuel. However, here is a note of encouragement that is representative of many I have received, and is not only to me, but it is appropriate for each of you! Keep reading and applying His Word into and through you.
    Dr. Baillie– I wanted you to know how very much I have enjoyed and appreciated your notes. I have never fully read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Having started many times and never completed it, I was encouraged by your initial email to make a point (and regular discipline) to read through the Bible each year!! The Lord has used your emails and notes to spur me on and keep me faithful in the readings and application of the Word!! What a great blessing it has been this year!!! I look forward to each email! Thanking God for directing our steps to be “neighbors”!
    These verses below echo how we appreciate and give Glory to God for your walk with Him, and how your faithfulness in sharing these Bible notes has helped me to grow in the knowledge of God:
    “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (‭Colossians‬ ‭1‬:‭3-14‬)

  21. 09 First Samuel
    1 Samuel 1-4

    First and second Samuel are named for the first prophet (3:20) who is also the last judge (7:15) in Israel. Samuel does not agree to cessation of the era of Judges, but will follow the Lord’s direction to anoint the first king of Israel, Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin.
    Saul will start a period of kings who will rule for about 500 years.
    First Samuel will concern the life of Samuel and Saul, the first king. Second Samuel is about the life of David who is the second king. 1 Kings will concentrate on the life of Solomon, the 3rd king.

    As 1 Samuel opens, we see that Samuel’s father, Elkanah, is from the tribal area of Ephraim but also a Levite (see 1 Chron 6:33-34 and 6:66). His father also has two wives, one who is able to bear children and the other named Hannah, who is not able to have children. Elkanah would go yearly to the temple in Shiloh to make the required sacrifices but would offer for and give a double portion to Hannah because he loved her.
    On one of the trips to Shiloh, Hannah prayed and vowed to the Lord that if He would provide for her a son, she would raise him and give him to the Lord all the days of his life and no razor would touch his head (a part of the Nazarite vow that was described in Num 6 and we saw in Samson’s life).
    Upon returning home, she becomes pregnant and delivers a son whom they name Samuel.
    Chapter 2 is Hannah’s prayer that includes thanksgiving. Please note that she had no regrets about her vow. She had not made it to try to “manipulate” God. She honestly wanted a baby to further God’s kingdom, not her own fulfillment.
    As a very young boy, she takes him to live and minister with Eli the priest. Each year she makes him a new linen robe or ephod that will fit him. 2:26 states “Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man.” (See Luke 2:52 regarding Jesus)
    In this chapter we also learn that the sons of Eli are using the office of priest to serve themselves for their own benefit and not following the dictates of the Lord. Eli is told that his two sons will die in a single day and that the Lord will raise a faithful priest who will do things according to what the Lord has in mind.
    In chapter 3, we find that this faithful priest who is going to be raised up is Samuel. The call of Samuel is described as he hears the Lord speaking to him at night. 3:19-21 tells us that Samuel knew the Lord was with him. All Israel knew that he was now a prophet of the Lord. Note the added phrase, “Dan to Beersheba”, means from the mountains at the extreme north of Israel to the desert of Beersheba in the south.
    Chapter 4 describes a battle with the Philistines and they defeat the Israelites, killing 4000 men. Back in camp, the Israelites make a decision to bring the ark of the covenant with the accompanying presence of the Lord to help them (they did not seek the Lord for this decision, but make it on their own). Although the Philistines are afraid and know that the God who also struck the Egyptians with plagues is now in the Israelite camp, they take courage and kill an additional 30,000 foot soldiers of Israel, capture the ark of God, and kill the two sons of Eli. When Eli hears of this he falls over, strikes his head and dies. Note that it is not when he hears of the defeat in battle, or that his sons died, but when he hears that the ark has been captured, that he falls over backward.
    I will refer to many of the psalms of David throughout the rest of these notes, related to specific verses or events. There are many more Psalms of David we will read as we go through the Psalms, and you will find additional cross references in most Bibles.

    1 Samuel 5-8

    The Philistines took the captured ark to Ashdod and set it beside their god Dagon. The next morning they find Dagon lying face down and they replace him properly. The second morning they now find Dagon with his head and hands broken off. Please note that since the parts of their god are found on the threshold, there is a superstition to not walk on the threshold. I remember growing up with such things as “don’t step on a crack (of the sidewalk), it will break your mother’s back” We too have many superstitions to deal with, whether we acknowledge them or not. The people then begin to develop tumors, are terrified, and say that the ark of God can no longer remain with them. The ark is moved to the city of Gath and there is great panic in the city because they also develop tumors. Then the ark is sent to Akron where it is also rejected by the people (now termed a deadly panic) who request it be sent back to his own place. (James 2:19 says even the demons believe and shudder at the presence of God—the Philistines know of this God as the cause of fear, terror and panic, but the difference is that they do not have a personal trust and submission to Him as their one and only Lord, with a righteous fear of the living God).
    Later, in 1 Samuel 17:54 we will see another instance where the head is cut off as a symbol of victory.

    In chapter 6 the decision is made to return the ark to Israel along with a guilt offering of five golden tumors and 5 golden mice according to the number of lords of the Philistines. They send the ark back on a cart drawn by 2 milk cows that have never pulled a cart before and also have young calves. Whether the ark will go to Israel is a test by the unbelieving Philistines whether chance (luck) or the God of Israel has done this. The cows immediately and speedily take the cart to the Israelite territory and after a sacrifice to God, the ark is moved to Kiriath-jearim for the next 20 years, until King David will bring it back to Jerusalem.
    Let us think for a moment about these events. The first question, “Why did the Philistines not destroy the ark when they captured it?” In battle, the enemy was often completely destroyed and all killed. I think it is of course first because of the plan and intention of our Sovereign God, but from their perspective, they knew this God had done great things, so they wanted to include this god in their bevy of gods, giving them those great benefits and taking away benefits from the Israelites. We might say they had a fearful fear of God. Secondly, “Why did they not destroy the ark when it seemed apparent things were going wrong and attributed the untoward events to the presence of God (and relocating to another of their cities did not help, and in fact confirmed that presence)?” Obviously the relocation testing was to make certain, but I think also because of this same fear of God, that something worse might happen. The end result also teaches us there is no such thing as luck. We can speak even of chance, as in the roll of dice, but every roll and its result is in the hands of the Lord! It appears as chance to us, but it is specifically known to God. (A personal comment here. I learned that the odds of an even number coming up on a roulette wheel 7 times in a row was over a million to one, so once I bet a small amount on the even numbers, and when it was actually 6 times in a row, I bet the max—and it came out a 7th even, and I lost $1000. Never have I bet again, and learned personally that the Lord is in charge of every roll of the dice!)

    A second observation to make concerning the return of the ark is that when sent back, the box of gold offerings is put beside the ark, not in it. When it arrives back in Israel territory, the Levites are sent to take down the ark from the cart. This was because the law of God was that only certain of the Levites could carry the ark on their shoulders with poles (we will see in 2 Samuel 6 the disastrous results of carrying the ark on a cart!). We are not told, but the ark was to be covered, because those that looked upon it were immediately struck dead.

    The remainder of chapter 7 describes Samuel taking leadership. In the next conflict with the Philistines, Samuel properly seeks the Lord first and they defeat the Philistines, retaking some of the cities. A stone of remembrance is established and named Ebenezer which means “stone of the help”.
    In chapter 8, Samuel has become older and makes his two sons judges over Israel. But they did not walk in the way of the Lord taking bribes and perverting justice. The elders of Israel request Samuel appoint for them a king instead of his sons as judges. Samuel does not believe that this is right and seeks the Lord who says that he should obey the voice of the people, but to warn the people of the result.
    Samuel gives a warning and says that a king will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and his house. He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and some to plow his ground and reap his harvest. He will take your daughters to be cooks and bakers and he will take the best of the fields, vineyards and olive fields. In addition, he will take a 10th of all that is yours.
    The people do not agree or obey the voice of Samuel and the Lord again tells Samuel to anoint for them a king.

    1 Samuel 9-11

    As chapter 9 opens, we see a description of Saul as a handsome young man and of the tribe of Benjamin. He is also described as a mighty man of valor and from his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people. (This is the origin of a term that we still use, “head and shoulders above the rest”)
    We are also told that his father is rich and some donkeys are lost. Saul is sent to find them along with a servant. They search several places and do not find them, so Saul says they need to go back. The servant says there is a man of God in this city that we can ask.
    And now we see God’s sovereign control over every detail as Saul and his servant find the man of God, who is going up to a high place to bless a sacrifice before the people eat. And the day before, the Lord had revealed to Samuel that a man from the tribe of Benjamin would meet him and should be anointed king.
    Saul is made a special guest at the head of the table and then is given a place to rest for the night. At the break of dawn he is summoned by Samuel to be on his way. Samuel asks that the servant go on a distance, and then Samuel anoints Saul with oil to be prince over the people Israel. (This is the first anointing of Saul as king and is private. A second or public presentation of the king is in 10:24 at Mizpah, and Saul is again confirmed as king a 3rd time at Gilgal in 12:13)
    Samuel further tells Saul that he will find his donkeys on his way back to his father. He is also told other specific details to include that he will have the Spirit of the Lord rush upon him and be turned into another man. See 10:6. He is also told to wait seven days and then Samuel will tell him what to do. His uncle asks what Samuel has told him and Saul only tells him that Samuel told him plainly about the donkeys.
    Beginning in 10:17 we see Samuel calls all the people together and repeats that they have rejected God who saves them from all their calamities and distresses, and have said to God, “set a king over us”.
    In dramatic fashion, Saul has hidden himself among the baggage. They find him, and bring him fourth, seeing that he is head and shoulders above all the people. He is presented to the people as king. (also somewhat interesting and a little humorous to me is that the word “asking” can be divided to produce the words “as king”. The people were “asking” and Saul is put over them “as king”)
    Chapter 11 begins with a conflict where Israel has a part of Gad (just across the Jordan River) that is besieged and those dwelling there are afraid and want to establish a treaty. The conditions are that they allow the right eye to be gouged out and therefore bring disgrace on all of Israel (it also may be that the right eye being absent would prevent them from being adequate soldiers as well—most being right handed and behind their shield they would not be able to see as well to fight with a sword).
    Please note also that Saul has gone back to farming and has to be summoned. Just as Saul hid in the baggage to avoid being made king, he now returns to the farm! When told, he becomes angry and leads all Israel to defeat the Ammonites. Chapter 11 closes with Samuel reestablishing and renewing Saul as king.

    1 Samuel 12-14

    Samuel now gives what most Bibles title his “farewell address”. However, this chapter is a farewell only in the sense that Samuel is telling the people that the period of the judges has ended and the period of the kings has begun. He tells the people that he has followed the Lord and also met their request for a king, one the Lord has approved. He then gives them a history lesson of what the Lord has done for the Israelites since the time of Jacob. Then he reminds them to not turn aside from following the Lord but to serve Him with all their heart. If they do not, but instead act wickedly, they will be swept away, both they and their king. And in verse 21 we see a caution that applies to us as well, as he likens turning to what they think will be better, as “turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty.”
    In chapter 13 we see some of the Philistines are overcome in a battle and then respond to muster 30,000 to come against Israel. The Israelites are frightened and hide. Saul has been instructed to wait seven days for Samuel to come, but when he does not show up exactly on time, Saul determines that he will provide the sacrifice himself. This is unlawful for the king to do; it must be done by the priest. As soon as the sacrifice is finished, Samuel arrives and confronts Saul who defends by saying the people were scattering from me, you did not arrive as appointed, and the Philistines were mustering against us.
    Samuel tells Saul his kingdom will not continue and the Lord will provide a man after His own heart to be a prince over His people. See 15:23 and also 1 Chron 10:13-14. Saul has the kingdom stripped, but physically will remain king until his death–just not king in the eyes of the Lord.
    As chapter 13 closes we see a statement that the Philistines did not allow blacksmiths in the land of Israel because they would make spears and swords out of plowshares, sickles, and goads. How can Israel confront and try to fight a battle without proper weapons?
    In chapter 14, Jonathan, the son of Saul, goes with his armor bearer-servant to the confront a garrison of the enemy camp. 14:6 says, “It may be that the Lord will work for us. for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.”
    Jonathan kills a few of the enemy Philistines and then a panic ensues in which there is widespread fighting of the Philistines as they kill one another. The Lord used Jonathan’s single foray to allow for the entire battle to be won!
    The Israelites now pick up the enemy weapons and proceed to rout the Philistines and then plunder their land.
    I will let you read the detail but there is a backstory of Saul making another rash decision and vow, telling the people not to eat until evening after the battle. Jonathan does not know about this and eats some honey and at evening the people immediately kill some of captured animals and eat them with the blood, a sin against God. Many suggest that Saul made a foolish order since the people were weary. There is a time for fasting, but also a time for proper and prepared action.
    In 14:41–42, the lot is cast to make a decision using Urim for a positive or yes and Thummim for negative or no.
    Chapter 14 ends with a brief account that Saul continues as king and is able to defeat many of the surrounding enemies of Israel and has established Abner as commander of his army.

    1 Samuel 15-16

    Chapters 15 and 16 describe Saul’s next disobedience of the command of the Lord, then Samuel’s rebuke, followed by a repeat confirmation that Saul has been rejected from being king, and Samuel anointing David as king in Bethlehem.
    First the episode leading to disobedience. Samuel tells Saul as king he is to utterly destroy the Amalekites and all that they have. (These are descendants of Esau who fought against the Israelite people as they came up from Egypt–go back and read Exodus 17:8–16)
    15:8-9 describes that Saul did defeat the Amalekites but not utterly. He and the people spared Agag the king and the best of the animals and all that was good, only destroying all that was despised or worthless.
    When this is told to Samuel, and also told that Saul has even set up a monument to himself, Samuel confronts Saul and listens for only a short time to Saul’s excuses before telling him to stop!
    Samuel’s rebuke includes “though you are little in your own eyes, are you not head of the tribes of Israel?” The Lord has anointed you as king and sent you on a mission, and you have failed.
    Saul again makes excuses and actually blames the people. I want you to read verses 22 and 23 that include the word “rebellion” as a sin. We need to understand that rebellion is complaining or challenging in words or deeds. The word presumption or insubordination is also used. This is a warning to us as we live out our lives not to be in rebellion or make presumptions about how the Lord is directing in our lives! This is a good time to stop and pray and read Romans 12:1–2, 1 Peter 1:13–15, and Ephesians 4:23 as these verses apply to each of us.
    Saul admits that he has sinned and pleads with Samuel to go with him and allow him to bow before the Lord. Samuel does so, but also tells Saul farewell, he will not see him again.
    As we now turn to chapter 16, we find Samuel is told by the Lord to go to Bethlehem to choose a king from the sons of Jesse. Samuel has some fear Saul will find out and kill him, so arranges that Jesse and his sons are invited to a sacrifice.
    When the first of the sons comes forward, Samuel is told by the Lord not to look at his appearance or height (remember that Saul was head and shoulders above all the people). As verse 7 continues we learn the Lord does not see as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.
    David, the youngest son of Jesse is found and comes to the sacrifice. (See also Ps 77:70-71). Samuel anoints him and the Spirit of the Lord immediately rushes upon David from that day forward. David however is not physically king until after Saul dies as we will see in 2 Samuel chapter 2. So, throughout the remainder of the book of 1 Samuel, until Saul dies, there will be conflict between Saul and David.
    David is not identified as king, but he knew he was and acted as a king. This applies to us, as we too may not be visibly identified as who we are, but we know we are Christians, and are to act in all settings and situations as a Christian, whether someone knows or not!
    As chapter 16 closes as we see that the Spirit of the Lord departs from Saul and an evil spirit then torments him. He then has David come as a servant to play music from the harp to soothe his evil episodes. We too are often are calmed by soothing music.

    1 Samuel 17

    As we look at chapter 17, this is a familiar passage to us and is about David killing the giant Goliath. But instead of the usual commentary for this chapter, I am going to go back to chapter 16 and also verses within chapter 17 which tell us who David was, some of his attributes, and how the Lord prepared him to kill a giant.
    Then we will apply this to our world and our lives as to how we are to kill “giants”.
    Look at the list of attributes in 16:12, 18, 21: David is youngest son of Jesse, ruddy, beautiful eyes, handsome appearance, skilled musician, mighty man of valor, warrior, prudent in speech, the Lord is with him, shepherd, loved by Saul, and Saul’s armor bearer. 17:20, David is faithful, did not delay, found a replacement for his duties as shepherd, obeyed his father.
    Now, let me describe through David, how we are to combat the enemies (giants) in our lives. See Ephesians 6:12 and remember that our giants aren’t always human, though often expressed by humans. We don’t choose our enemies (or we would pick ones we could beat). They are big and look even bigger the longer we delay. 17:16, the enemy is persistent and cannot be ignored, 17:20, 26 we are not to delay following God’s direction and we must defy God’s enemies. 17:28, the first attack is often from your family of what you are doing or propose to do, it is not right or is not important, or you are just curious. 17:33 Discouragement from others, such as, “you’ll never kill giants until you have faithfully conquered all the daily battles in your life”. Instead, if you fail, repent and try again in God’s power. Be faithful in little or in much. 17:39, don’t use unfamiliar (world’s) weapons, instead use what worked on the lions and bears, verse 40, be prepared, organized, then trust and obey. And, beware of the toothless old lions who are big talkers and roar to get you to run into the trap of waiting young lions (fear and depression). Finally, give God the glory for whatever the victory, even before the actual battle (verses 46,47)
    Lastly, let me put this into our world perspective of the Iraqi war and the Isis terror situation. In 1991 as well as in the Isis conflict, the enemy leaders wanted a hand to hand combat, but instead, just like David, there was first an aerial campaign. Both conflicts were of people of Islamic faith and said that their god, Allah was with them and they would win. But, their god was not the God of the Bible. Our God always wins in the end but there may be an enduring conflict for a long time as the Lord allows and uses it for our good and His glory.

    1 Samuel 18-20 (Psalm 59 with 19:11)

    After David’s success in killing Goliath and routing the Philistines, Saul will not let him return home but is to stay in the king’s house. As they are returning from the Philistine battle, there is joy and celebration with tambourines, singing and dancing. The words that they sing are, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands”. Saul is very angry about this and believes, “what more can David have but the kingdom?” So Saul has his eye on David from that day on to eliminate him.
    When Saul has an evil spirit again, he has David again play in his presence, and hurls a spear at David but David evades it twice. Since Saul is afraid of David, he has him depart from his presence and makes him a commander of 1000 men. One of Saul’s daughters, Michal, loves David and Saul determines that she should be David’s wife (to have more direct access to David’s thoughts and actions) but he must present 100 foreskins of the Philistines as a bride price–thinking the Philistines will kill him. Instead, David kills 200 of the Philistines. David and Michal are married. Another conflict with the Philistines results in David killing far more than any of Saul’s servants.
    As chapter 19 opens, we see that Saul now speaks to his son Jonathan that he should kill David, not knowing that David and Jonathan have a close relationship with one another and have established a covenant.
    At this point, return to 18:3–4 and see that this covenant included exchanging of robes to demonstrate a sharing with one another in terms of worldly goods, exchanging belts as a sign of strength, and exchanging weapons. And then in 20:15, 16 we see that Jonathan knows David will be king in place of his father, so if the covenant between them should be broken, Jonathan will die and the covenant also covers future generations. Please note that usually all of a king’s heirs would be wiped out as a new monarchy comes into power. See 2 Samuel 4:4.
    Chapter 19 tells us Saul sends messengers to David’s house, but his wife Michal knows that they are going to kill him. She warns him to escape that night, using a deception allowing David to get a head start.
    In 20:30-33, Saul is now very angry with Jonathan and attempts to kill his own son. This is followed by the episode with arrows in the field which is Jonathan’s coded message to David that Saul is going to kill him.

    1 Samuel 21-22
    For the remainder of the book of 1 Samuel we will see David avoids the constant pursuit of Saul to kill him. We will also tie in reference to many of David’s Psalms as they relate to passages. We begin to understand how the Psalms vary with many crying out to God to hear and why, while others give Him praise for who He is in saving and providing.
    In chapter 21 we see that David does not lie but does provide some level of deception as he requests food and weapons because the “king’s business required haste”. So, the grandson of Eli who is priest at Nob, gives him some of the holy bread that is regularly replaced. It is a bit ironic that David is fleeing from the presence of Saul and obtains the bread of presence! The sword that he used to kill Goliath has also been on display here, and he obtains that as well.
    But there is a man in the employ of Saul as herdsman, who tells Saul about the entire incident at Nob. Now turn to chapter 22:6 and see that Saul is told that David has been discovered. He laments that it seems that everyone is conspiring against him, including his own son who made a covenant with David! Now read Psalm 52 where you will see that the biblical title included for this psalm refers back to this incident at Nob. Saul instructs the priests and all that is theirs be killed, but his servants will not strike down the priests. Instead, Doeg, the herdsman who has related the story in the first place is the one who the King has kill them.
    Meanwhile, returning to chapter 21, we learn that David flees to Gath (we will see him flee here again in a later chapter) where he is seized by the Philistines who consider him king of the Israelites. Read Psalm 56 which is also corollary to this passage. David changes his behavior and pretends to be insane. The king of Gath then says to his servants, ” You see that this man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? Do I lack madness!” He does not want him anywhere near his house and releases him. Read Psalm 34 at this point, again to see the title for the psalm includes reference to this incident.
    As chapter 22 begins, we see the David escapes to cave and many of his family and other outcasts of the land join him. He leaves his mother and father in the land of Moab, presumably for their safety and then departs to hide in a forest. At this point read Psalm 57 and 140 which refer back to this time in a cave.

    1 Samuel 23-24
    David is told that the Philistines are fighting against a city in Judah and he takes his men and saves the city of Keilah. See Psalm 63. Saul finds out about it and pursues him again. David inquires of the Lord and understands that these people in the city will surrender him into the hand of Saul. David escapes to the wilderness area of Ziph and we are told in 23:14 Saul seeks him every day, but God would not give David into Saul’s hand. See Psalm 16:7 and 11:1
    In 23:19, the people of Ziph agree to search out David’s hiding places and turn him over to Saul. See Psalm 54.
    As Saul is pursuing David, there is an incident in 23:26 where David and his men are on one side of a mountain and Saul on the other side. See Psalm 17:8–9. Saul is very near to David, but is halted in his pursuit because a messenger tells him that there is a raid against their land by the Philistines. Saul must return back and fight with them. David then goes and lives in what is known as the “strongholds of Engedi”, a rugged place but also a place that had trees and water.
    In chapter 24, Saul returns from fighting with the Philistines and again seeks David in this new wilderness area. The king goes into a cave to relieve himself where David and his men have been sitting and hiding in the innermost part of the cave. They have the opportunity to kill Saul but David will not. Instead he arises and stealthily cuts a corner off Saul’s robe. See Psalm 57 and 142.
    The remainder of chapter 24 tells us that David calls after Saul and shows him the corner of his robe, meaning that he could have killed him in the cave. See Psalm 7.
    He then in 24:13 tells the king that out of the wicked comes wickedness. Saul then weeps and knows that David is more righteous than he has been. He tells David that he knows that the kingdom of Israel shall be established into his hand and asks David to swear that he will not cut off his offspring or destroy his name. Saul departs from pursuing David for that time. See Psalm 18:20.

    1 Samuel 25-30

    Chapter 25 opens with a simple statement that Samuel dies.
    David and his men are in the wilderness of Paran and the many shepherds in the area are protected by them and they do not take any of their sheep or supplies.
    A very rich man named Nabal comes into territory he controls and has his shepherds gather for shearing and to have a feast. David sends some messengers to request that he and his men be included in the time of feasting (it was a custom to share your food and even lodging with people journeying or passing through your area or city). Nabal, whose name can be translated as foolish, worthless or unteachable, says that he is not going to share any of the what he has worked hard for with people that he does not know or even where they come from.
    When the messengers return to David, he is angry and has an immediate response that they will band together and kill all of Nabal and his men by morning.
    Meanwhile, one of Nabal’s men tells Nabal’s wife Abigail about the foolish decision of their master. Abigail on her own, decides to take some of the feast preparations to David in order to prevent disaster.
    David thanks her and thanks the Lord in 25:33-34 for keeping David from his planned avenging, while also still providing for him and his men.
    Abigail returns but does not tell her husband that night because he is drunk. In the morning she relays the events. He has his “heart die within him and becomes as a stone” and dies in 10 days (this appears to be a stroke from his anger at what has been done)
    David hears of his death and offers to have Abigail be his wife.
    In chapter 26, we see that Saul again is up to his old ways and finds out that David is again in the wilderness of Ziph. He goes with Abner his commander and 3000 men to hunt down David. (See Psalm 54)
    David and one of his men go into Saul’s camp at night and take Saul’s spear and water jar. They then go to the top of a hill with a great space between themselves and the camp of Saul. David calls out to Abner and says, “Are you not a man? Who are you and why have you not kept watch over your lord the king? For one of the people came in to destroy the king.” David then shows him the spear and water jog. Saul realizes that he has again sinned. David reminds the king he has spared his life because Saul is the Lord’s anointed. He then says, “Behold as your life is precious this day in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord.” (Note capital L Lord–David does not want a return favor from Saul, instead from God, his true Protector.)
    In chapter 27, we see that David does not trust that Saul will keep this promise any better than he did the previous. So he escapes to the Philistines again and when Saul learns of this he no longer pursues David.
    The king in Gath named Achish allows David to reside in the tiny country town of Ziklag where David deceives the king by carrying out limited raids against towns and destroys them completely, reporting instead to the king that he has gone into the area of Judah and fought against his own people.
    In chapter 28 the Philistines are gathered together to fight against Israel and David is asked by the king to join them because the king now trusts him. However, in chapter 28 and 29 we learn others in the Philistine camp do not trust, so do not want David included. They think he would be an enemy within their camp.
    In chapter 30, David returns to Ziklag to find out his and his men’s wives and children have been taken captive by the Amalekites.
    David goes to the priest and together they seek the Lord as to what they should do.
    They then pursue them Amalekites and recover all of their families and goods. At the end of chapter 30 there’s a discussion about those who were in the actual fighting and recovery versus those that stayed behind to guard the baggage, as to who should have more of the captured animals and other booty. David makes the decision, there will be no difference in the sharing of the recovered goods. They are to share and share alike and is probably where we get the saying, in instances where we feel like we have done more or are more important, and therefore should have a greater reward.

    1 Samuel 28

    Returning to the remainder of chapter 28, beginning at verse 6, Saul now seeks the Lord through the Old Testament ways that God spoke (dreams, Urim, or prophets). When he does not get an answer, he seeks a medium (she is from Endor and this is necromancy or divination by the dead). Saul disguises himself and goes to her at night, but she recognizes him as laying a snare for her (he had forbidden mediums and spiritists). He asks she “get” Samuel to speak, and the message is that the kingdom has been torn from Saul and given to David. “Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me.” At this point, let us consider how we might view and deal with this event in light of similar people in our culture that “predict” or “read” the future. First, I believe all of this to be deceptive and of Satan. He can deceive and appear to be an “angel of light” and work through various avenues, but he is not God. Instead, God is directing and allowing what Satan can do (we will see this clearly in Job and also see Acts 16:16-18). Also, note the language that Saul uses, asking that Samuel be “brought up” (the same as crystal ball folks say today!). The medium also says, “I see a divine being coming up out of the earth.” Samuel was a believer and believers are not ”brought up” as their soul is in heaven with the Lord. Most of what is told to Saul the “witch of Endor” would already know (that David has already been anointed as king, the litany of failings of Saul, and her prediction that his death will result in Saul being with me). This last reference to “me” is meant to imply Samuel, but I consider it more of the satanic deception that means Saul’s death results in dwelling with the satanic impersonator which is really Satan himself. See also 1 Kings 22:20-23 where we see a sovereign God using false prophets to bring about His sovereign will.

    1 Samuel 31

    This last chapter tells of the death of Saul and three sons at the hands of the Philistines. Saul is badly wounded and asks his armor bearer to kill him, but he refuses, so Saul falls on his own sword. The people of Israel flee and the Philistines begin to live in the abandoned cities. As we finish First Samuel turn to First Chronicles and read chapter 10, the summary account in Chronicles about the death of Saul and his sons.

    1 Samuel Review

    In First Samuel, see that we have a God who in 1:19 God who listens, 2:1 God who saves, 2:2 God is strong and stable, 2:3 God knows, including all our actions, 2::5-8 God is our provision for every need and is the one that provides life, 2:9-10 God guards.
    In one of Gini’s Bibles she has a note at 1:28 that she has asked the Lord that her 3 daughters, Becky, Kim and Heather be dedicated to the Lord as long as they should live.
    2:4 is a concept of a problem that many of us have, to wit, we have plenty and yet we want more. We are “full”, yet not satisfied. See Ecclesiastes 5:10-11 also.
    In 2:25, note how thankful we should be that we have Jesus Christ as our mediator for sins we commit. Compare this verse with 1 John 1:9 and 1 John 5:16.
    Remember that this book is a transition from the period of the judges in Israel to the rule by kings. Samuel does not think it right to have an earthly king as substitute for the Lord as King, but obeys the Lord’s directions to him. He also has the Lord to guide his admonishment to the people of all the changes that will occur under kings.
    Let’s review a couple things about Saul. In chapter 10 we see that he was anointed and appointed king a total of three times. First is 10:1 privately at Ramah. Second in 10:17, he is anointed at Mizpah, then returns to his farm, and certain worthless men said, “how can this one deliver us?” Third is in 11:15 at Gilgal.
    The Lord provides three signs to Saul but he does not clearly see them. First, 10:2, he is to understand the past is behind and is to no longer to be a farmer in the future. He goes back to farming. Second, in 10:3-4 he is recognized and honored by the Israelites as “somebody” — the loaves that were given to him were to go to Bethel as an offering but instead are given to Saul. Third, 10:5–6 tells us that he will be changed and now has the gifts and ability necessary for leadership. See also 11:6. He fails at a major test by going beyond being a king to thinking he can be a priest also!
    In 11:7 Saul cut up a symbol of farming and sends pieces of oxen to each of the territories that causes all of Israel now to come out as “one man” against the enemy. (Remember a similar account concerning the Levite in Judges 19:29, 20:1-11.)
    Look back at chapter 12. After Samuel gives his “farewell address”, he tells the people that if they will fear the Lord, He will be with them, but to have an earthly king (instead of the Lord as King) and to follow after futile things that do not profit or deliver, will result in being swept away (which ultimately happens when they are taking away into captivity in Babylon). Note the application for us in verse 23 that even after we have given advice on what is the right and good way, we are not to cease to pray. The Lord’s plan is being accomplished and we have a responsibility to pray, whether we see the plan or agree with what is happening in our life or others.
    Chapter 15 is another instance of Saul’s disobedience and a confirmation that the Lord has removed him from being king over the people even though he physically is still king. These instances and the previous scripture that God would replace Saul with someone who had a whole heart for the Lord have resulted in some labeling Saul as having a half a heart for the Lord. We often use the term “half-hearted” in referring to situations or people, such as a half-hearted effort.
    In chapter 22, we see Ahimilech and his household are murdered for aiding David (giving him bread and his sword), even though they did not knowingly do wrong. I find it interesting to compare this account with 1 Samuel 10:3-4 when Saul is given bread that was on its way to Bethel (this bread was going to be used as part of worship to God in the temple there). One son, Abiathar escapes and we see David consult God through him in Ziklag (chapter 30:7-8)
    In the 23:16, we see that Jonathan seeks out David when he is in the wilderness to give him encouragement in God. This gets David’s eyes back on the Lord. We see this again in 30:6 when David once more “strengthened himself in the Lord his God”. This a reminder to us that when we are being pursued by various “enemies” that God allows as well as the trials in our lives, we must stop and turn to the Lord. He sometimes also provides others to give us comfort in our time of trial along with advice and counsel.
    Go back to 29:8 where David is denied joining with the Philistines to fight and says to Achish, the king of Gath, “But what have I done?.that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” This seems to be spoken about the king to whom he is speaking, but I think it is deceptive and refers instead to the enemies of his true lord, king Saul!
    In chapter 30:2, note that God kept the Amelikites from killing the families, 30:11-15 provided the Egyptian guide, and then gave them an incredible victory. But, David and his men had to get up, go, and fight in faith. So too must we do in the battles we face. We seek the Lord, but we don’t just sit and wait for Him to act. We proceed, praying our plan will be according to His will, and know He will direct our steps, sometimes with painful correction! God’s sovereignty and our responsibility (in faith). Remember, faith is not faith if the plan, actions, and results are known!

    If you desire a listing of more Psalms of David that have an association with 1 Samuel, they follow along with the book in roughly the following order:
    Psalm 11, 59 (with 1 Sam 18-20)
    Psalm, 7, 27,31, 52, 56, 120, 140-142 (with 1 Sam 21-24)
    Psalm 17, 35, 54, 63 (with 1 Sam 25-27)
    Psalm 18, 121, 123-125, 128-130 (with 1 Sam 28-31)

    Chapter Themes
    1- Samuel Born to Elkanal and Hannah
    2- Hannah’s Son, Eli’s Sons
    3- Prophetic Call of Samuel
    4- Philistines Take the Ark in Victory
    5- Capture of Ark Provokes God
    6- Ark Returned to Israel
    7- Deliverance from Philistines
    8- Israel Demands a King
    9- Saul Becomes King
    10- Saul Annointed as King
    11- Saul Defeats the Ammonites
    12- Samuel Addresses, Saul Confirmed
    13- Saul Assumes Priestly Role
    14- Jonathan’s Victory
    15- Saul’s Disobedience, Samuel’s Rebuke
    16- Samuel Anoints David in Bethlehem
    17- How to Kill Giants
    18- Jonathan-David-Saul
    19- David and Jonathan Covenant (see notes above in chapter 18)
    20- Covenant’s Ramifications
    21- David and His Men Eat Consecrated Bread
    22- Priest Ahimilech and Household Murdered
    23- Saul Sought David Every Day
    24- David Spares Saul’s Life
    25- Abigail and Nabal (fool)
    26- David Takes Saul’s Spear-Spares Saul’s Life
    27- David Flees to Philistines and Deceptively Marauds Against Them
    28- Samuel “Speaks” to Saul Through Medium
    29- Philistine Commander Distrusts David
    30- Amalekites Ravage Ziklag, David Pursues
    31- Saul and 3 Sons Killed in Battle with Philistines

  22. 08 Ruth Bible Notes
    As we turn to the book of Ruth, we see first, it is during a time of famine during the period of the judges. Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz are in contrast to the usual cycle we studied in Judges. Their walk is with integrity and they seek to follow the Lord completely, doing what is right in His eyes. Second, we will present a review that is different than you probably have studied or looked at in the past. We will use a chiastic or symmetric outline which builds to a central point of most importance in the book and then returns. This is a truly revealing way to study and look at certain passages, and in this case, an entire book. And, note the parallels with Jesus as our Redeemer.
    This chiastic (symmetric) structure was identified by Dr. George Schwab, Erskine Seminary
    A Genealogy (10 proper nouns listed). 1:1-5
    B Naomi is bereft of sons and despairs of future sons. 1:6-14
    C Ruth declares her intent – Naomi responds. 1:15-19a
    D Is this Naomi? (Naomi=Pleasant/Mara=Bitter) 1:19b-22
    E Ruth collects barley in Boaz’ field (see Lev. 19:10; 23:22) 2:1-7
    F Boaz and Ruth’s first meeting 2:8-13
    1 Boaz provides safety and security therefore remain here (don’t wander) vv 8, 9
    2 You’ve come to a people you do not know—Gentile and stranger vv 10, 11a
    3 Left her father, now finds shelter under the wings of the Lord. Vv. 11b, 12
    G Boaz’ provision and secret command 2:14-17
    **H Ruth reports the good news to Naomi. Naomi reveals the blessing of the Lord through
    Boaz, the kinsman redeemer. 2:18-23
    G Naomi’s provision (3: 1) and secret command 3:2-7.
    (Ezek. 16:4-7—preparation for the bride of Christ).
    F Boaz and Ruth’s second meeting 3:8-14a
    3 Ruth finds shelter under Boaz’ wing 3:9 (corner = kanaf = wing) Ezek. 16:8
    2 The people know you. 3:11
    1 Boaz provides safety and security, therefore remain here (don’t wander). I will redeem you. 3:13
    E Boaz collects barley into Ruth’s coat. 3:14b-18
    D Is this the Redeemer? Deut. 25:5-10 The name of Elimelech is restored. 4:1-8
    C Boaz declares his intent. Witnesses respond he is the “real” redeemer. 4:9-11
    B A son is born to Naomi. Famine ends; God provides. 4:12-17
    A Geneology. 10 Proper Nouns ending with David. A history of hope. 4:18-22
    ** There are 1296 Hebrew words in the book of Ruth.
    Ruth 2:20 is the exact center and pivotal point of the book,
    reinforcing the chiastic structure.
    Ruth Review / Application
    Because of a famine, Elimelech went with his wife Naomi and 2 sons to Moab (the Moabites are descendents of Lot and unbelievers). He died and her sons married Moabite women. Her 2 sons died also, so she needed to return to Judah to have family care for her (without family, an widowed woman did not have a means of support). Naomi tells her daughters-in-law that she is going back and they should stay in their land. 1:16 is Ruth’s response, often used as a verse in marriage ceremony as encouragement, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”
    On their return to Judah, the women said, “Is this Naomi?” (meaning pleasant). She replied, “Call me Mara” (meaning bitter), “I went out full, but the Lord has returned me empty.”
    In chapter 2, we see that they return at the time of the barley harvest and Ruth is directed by Naomi to go and glean (everyone was to leave some of the grain for the poor and needy to glean). Notice how God is in charge of every detail (as He is in our lives). The Lord provides that she glean in a field owned by Boaz, one of Naomi’s relatives. The Lord also had Boaz go to check on his field and notice Ruth there. He also provides her safety and security. When he asks about her, he finds out that he can offer to be her kinsman redeemer. The Lord provides that the one closer relative then refuses to accept the responsibility to care for both Ruth and Naomi.
    Naomi is also a part of the Lord’s plan throughout. She hears the report and recognizes that Boaz is kin, and directs Ruth to go to the threshing floor and lie down next to Boaz. (So, Ruth left the shelter and provision of her own father and came to a foreign land so that the Lord could provide shelter under His wings, and literally under the protection of Boaz, who then marries her.) The book closes with a review of the genealogy from Perez to David, (see Matthew 1 listing Ruth as one of four women named in the lineage of Jesus Christ).
    In 4:7-8, note that in addition to the witnesses to the redemption process, there is also the taking off of one sandal and passing it the other party to attest agreement (this is similar to our having both witnesses and ourselves sign agreements). The origin of this way of attesting is unknown, but consider it might be related in some way to Exodus 3:5 and Joshua 5:15 where the sandals were commanded to be removed because you were in the presence of the Lord, standing on holy (set apart) ground.
    Also, in Ruth 4:11, note the place called Ephrathah, and the city of Bethlehem, mentioned in the same verse. In other scriptures there is a suggestion that these are one and the same. It is considered that Ephrathah is either a place very near to Bethlehem (like we would consider a suburb part of the larger city) or it is the region in which Bethlehem is located (like our counties being the area in which a city is located). This latter is suggested in Micah 5:2. See also Psalm 132:6 in the context of Jesus being born in Bethlehem of Judea. 4:12 reminds the reader of the account of Tamar (Genesis 33), that again, even the non-Jews are blessed if they follow God’s plan.
    Chapter Themes
    1-Naomi Widowed-Ruth Loyal
    2- Ruth Gleans in Boaz’s Field
    3- Boaz Will Redeem Ruth
    4- Marriage of Ruth

  23. Here are the notes for the book of Judges for this week of reading.
    07 Judges
    The initial verses of the book of Judges relate much concerning the recurring accounts of the entire book. There is no continuity of leadership established by Joshua before he dies. 17:6 and the last verse of the book (21:25) sum up what happens repeatedly, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
    Many different leaders will arise throughout the book and we will see that they are from various tribes and have varied backgrounds and abilities. The accounts do not always appear to be chronological or necessarily apply to the entire nation, but they do show the repeated cycle of events of these limited areas or the entire nation. These events are, 1- a time of blessing or peace in the land or a portion of the land, 2- followed by disobedience or falling away from God (sin). 3- Then the Lord allows a time of outside oppression or chastening of the people, 4- followed by awakening and repentance. 5- They seek the Lord to provide someone to lead them and deliver them from the oppression they are suffering. 6- A time of peace and ease ensues and the cycle then repeats. So, Blessings, Disobedience, Chastening, Repentance, Delivery, Repeat. Gini summed this cycle as apathy (indifference), apostasy (departing from and failing to worship God), anarchy (lack of leadership, lawlessness), awareness (desire to be relieved of their circumstances) and appointing (God providing a deliverer / leader). Another sequence using the letter “S” is Sin, Spiral downward, Servitude, Supplication, Salvation.
    This book covers the first 350 years in the promised land. After the death of Joshua, we now see the next generation does not know war and ceases to intently follow the Lord, or even know what He has done for Israel. As we shall also see, it is a book of incomplete victories with failure to trust God’s word or to claim His power. The period of the judges will conclude with Samuel (as recorded in 1 Samuel)
    Judges 1-2
    Because there has not been a succession of leadership, 1:1-2 reveals a crisis of leadership that will occur over and over again. On this occasion, the specific crisis is who shall go first for Israel to fight. The Lord says, “Judah shall go up, behold I have given the land into his hand” (this is repeated again in 20:18) Remember in Gen 49:10, the tribe of Judah received the scepter and was given leadership responsibility. So Judah asks the tribe of Simeon to go and fight with them, however together they do not take all the territory, leaving some of the hill country unconquered within their territories.
    Likewise, the other tribes begin to conquer their own territories, and in nearly every case there are residual areas not conquered, leading to incomplete victories throughout the land. Many of the conquered peoples are put into forced labor but they are not driven out or subdued completely.
    In Chapter 2:1–3 and 2:22–23, we have a summary of God’s viewpoint with a description of the failure to obey and follow God’s directions, and in addition, they have not passed on the truths to coming generations. God will now allow testing and be part of a repeated cycle throughout the remainder of this book. We too need to be reminded that God allows enemies to be left in our lives to teach us how to battle for Him and to also test our obedience.
    Judges 3-5
    Chapter 3 again describes the repeated cycle in the account of the first two judges.
    Verse 1- nations are left to test Israel
    Verse 2- One purpose is to teach them war since they had not experienced it in their lifetime
    6- Now there is intermarrying and serving other gods
    8- God allows them to be subjected to the king of Mesopotamia
    9- When they cry out to the Lord, He provides Othiniel from Judah as their deliverer (judge). He is Caleb’s nephew.
    11- The land has rest for 40 years and then Othiniel dies
    The remainder of the chapter describes the next cycle with the king of Moab. Ehud from the tribe of Benjamin (and left-handed) is the deliverer (judge) who is raised up. Ehud has a sword on his right thigh (one possibility we are told this– because they might have had security for the king and searched his left side because most people would be right-handed). He delivers the required tribute to the king and then says he has a private message from God for the king. He kills the king with his sword, escapes, and then leads the people of Israel to defeat the Moabites, followed by rest for 80 years.
    The last verse of chapter 3 mentions Shangar (a Caananite name) as the next deliverer who kills the Philistines to save Israel.
    Chapter 4 has a more detailed description of the next cycle as the people of Israel suffered cruelty 20 years under the king of Canaan. Deborah has been established as a prophetess and is now the judge in Israel. She calls in Barak, her army commander, to go against the king’s army. He says he will only go if she goes with him and she replies that the Lord will then deliver the king’s commander into a woman’s hand.
    4:11 gives us an interesting side story that Heber (an Isrealite) has separated from his people and has moved into the Canaanite country and established his tent there.
    When the king’s army is decimated, the commander Sisera flees away and hides in the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber, who was at peace with their king. Seeming to be a perfect place to hide, he asked her for water and she gives him a little warm milk and he falls asleep. She then kills him by driving a tent peg into his head.
    Chapter 5 is a song of Deborah and Barak. It closes with a statement that the land had rest for 40 years
    Here is an appropriate place for Gini’s illustration of God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility: Note in the song of chapter 5 we see God’s sovereignty in giving them the victory, but yet the decisions of man in the entire endeavor. It is like a dad “teaching” his son to bat a ball. He holds his son with his arms around him and he puts his hands around the boy’s hands as he teaches him to swing the bat. The dad also is watching the ball and controls how and when the bat will swing. When the ball is hit and the son runs to base and is overjoyed at his success, the dad says, “Well done!”
    Judges 6-8
    The people of Israel again turn away from the Lord and “do evil”. God allows the Midianites to overpower them and continually take their crops and animals. In 6:13 Gideon is hiding and approached by an angel of the Lord to help his people. Gideon asks “Please sir, if the Lord is with us, why has all of this happened to us?” (applying this to ourselves, we often struggle to see God’s love through circumstances rather than seeing circumstances through His love. Hebrews 12:6 says those whom the Lord loves He disciplines…see also Psalm 103, especially verse 7 teaching us to be careful to teach our children God’s character and not just His acts)
    Continuing now with the account, after we noted a bit of discouragement in Gideon, he expresses inadequacy by saying that he is too weak, is from smallest and half tribe of Manasseh, and needs a sign. A sign is given, –the offering that he places on a rock is burned up by a fire that springs up. Gideon is directed to take his father’s bull and tear down the Asherah poles and altar of the Midianites but he is afraid to do it by day, so instead does it at night.
    Anger ensues and both sides begin to prepare for war and some of the other tribes join with Gideon, who has the Spirit of the Lord upon him. He wants another sign so the Lord gives the double sign of the fleece to him where in one instance the fleece is made wet while the ground is dry and in the second instance is made dry while the ground is wet. Then follows the account of the army Gideon leads. God instructs it be reduced from 32,000 to only 300 men. The first time I read how the last decision concerning men chosen was made by how they drank water at the river, I was confused (7:5-6). But, the distinction is between those that knelt down with their head to the water (two problems: to react, they have to regain their stance and they are looking only down while drinking), versus those that brought water up by their hand to lap, while continuing to be aware of all that was going on around them (sitting like a baseball catcher and bringing the water up to lap from their hand). Despite the seeming overwhelming ratio of 450:1 odds of fighters (8:10), they overcome the Midianites and then Gideon calls upon many of the nearby tribes to join the fight to take control again over a great deal of the country of Israel.
    Gideon has also been given the name of Jerubbaal and then is asked to be king over the nation. In chapter 8:22 we find that Gideon says “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you, the Lord will rule over you.” But he does ask them to collect gold from the spoils and with some they make an ephod for him which he places in his city.
    Although the land has rest for 40 years, the people begin to worship the ephod.
    Judges 9
    Since the people turn away from God after Gideon, the next cycle has a bit of an internal twist.
    Gideon had 70 sons from many wives and also one son from a concubine in neighboring Shechem. The son of the concubine was named Abimelech which means “my father is king”. He returns to his mother’s people in his hometown of Shechem (which, by the way is one of the cities of refuge) and asks the people if they would rather be ruled by the 70 sons or by himself. He then returns and kills all but one of his 70 half-brothers and then is anointed king. Within three years there is internal rebellion because of his cruel practices. Abimelech sets an ambush and destroys his own city of Shechem. This is followed by capture of another town whose people flee to their tower and as Abimelech is about to set it on fire, a woman throws a millstone from the rooftop and crushes his head. He calls quickly to his armor bearer to draw a sword and kill him lest the people would say “a woman killed him”.
    An interesting side note is the use of the first parable in the Bible where Abimelech likens different types of trees with their sweetness as a contrast to himself as a bramble from which fire will come out and consume and destroy. Some have termed him the “bramble king” since brambles are combustible and he used materials of wood to set various strongholds and towers on fire.
    Judges 10-12
    We now see oppression of God’s people by the Philistines and Ammonites with judges Tola from tribe of Issachar and then Jair from Manasseh are now leading in Israel. 10:6 lists the multiple gods the people have turned to and in 10:14 the Lord says, “Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your distress” (who are the “gods” in America that we are tempted to follow?–fortune, fame, physique, beauty, talent, academic achievement, even religious)
    In Chapter 11 we have the ninth judge Japhthah who comes from the people of Manasseh to arise and lead against the Ammonite domination. He is the son of a harlot and had been cast out from the family and forced to dwell in another town. When the Ammonites come against Israel however, they ask him to come back and lead them (seems they despised him for his illegitimacy, but loved him as a Robin Hood!). He then vows to the Lord that whatever crosses his threshold to welcome him on his return from defeating the Ammonites, he will offer to the Lord. That vow becomes tragic when he returns and his own daughter crosses the threshold to greet him!
    In chapter 12, additional difficulties arise when the Ephraimites (who are fellow Israelites) dispute why Japhthah has crossed over with his people into their territory to fight against the Ammonites. A Civil War results and we see the people of Ephraim are clearly identified by their different speech as they try to cross the river back to their country because they cannot say “Shibboleth” correctly. This appears to be the first use of a “password”!
    Chapter 12 closes with a short listing of three additional judges, Ibzan from Judah, Élan from Zebulon, and Abdon from Manasseh.
    Judges 13-15
    Right away in chapter 13, we learn the people again do evil and the Lord gives them over to the Philistines for 40 years. But in verse 2 we also see that the Lord is providing for a new judge to arise from the tribe of Dan and through a godly mother. As we shall see, this will be the only godly female relationship in the son that is born, Samson.
    She was instructed to follow the Nazirite vow to be separate, and her son would be set apart and grow up to deliver the people. See Numbers 6 for further details about the Nazarite vow, but basically there was to be nothing from the grape and no cutting of the hair.
    Her husband then asked for and received instruction as to what to do for the boy who is to be born. This is a reminder to us as parents to be praying for the Lord to give us wisdom in raising our children.
    As chapter 14 opens, we see that Samson is now an adult and goes to the neighboring Philistine country and sees a woman and his first words recorded are, “I saw a woman in Timnah” and then asks his father to get her for his wife. (we will see many times that Samson has great strength so is a “he” man, but with a “she” weakness and an “eye” or seeing problem!)
    His parents ask if there is not a woman of their own people that he would take his wife rather than from the uncircumcised Philistines. He replies that they to get her for him because she looks good (This is an appropriate time to note that our own culture has changed from more objective based on written and heard facts, to one that is more visual, or we might also say from left brain to right brain). But we are told Samson’s parents did not know that this was the Lord’s plan to provide an opportunity against the Philistines.
    Before they are married in Timnah, an interesting event occurs where Sampson tears a lion apart without using any weapon. He later returns and finds some honey in the dead carcass and scrapes out and eats some of the honey (he does not tell his mother because this would be against the Nazirite vow to come in contact with a something dead). He then proposes a riddle to the Philistines and promises a reward if it can be solved. His new wife entices him to reveal the answer and she gives it to some of the Philistine men. When Samson is given the answer, he becomes very angry, kills 30 of the men of the town and the result is that his new bride is given to his best man and later burned!
    This is the first of many insulting acts that Samson starts against the Philistines and ultimately there is a confrontation where there is a threat to the people of Judah to turn Sampson over to them. He is bound up and given to them and, as the Philistines come to take him away, he breaks his ropes and kills 1000 of the men with a jawbone of a donkey.
    Sampson has delivered his people and everyone fears him, but the Philistines are not removed. They continue to look for ways to destroy him.
    Judges 16
    Samson continues to have a lot of “eye” trouble, wanting women he sees!
    He goes to Gaza to a prostitute and an ambush is planned. But he arises during the night and at midnight he gets up and breaks down the closed gate of the city and carries it to the top of the hill!
    Then he meets and marries Delilah and a story follows we know quite well. Some of the Philistines come to her and say that she should seduce him and see where his great strength lies that they might overpower him. Delilah presses Samson daily to tell her the secret of his great strength. He gives her false answers on several occasions and each time when she says, “The Philistines are upon you”, he arises and breaks all his bonds.
    But then he tells her that a razor has never been used on his head because he has been a Nazerite from his mother’s womb. She has his hair shaved, and then as he is laying on her lap, she torments him and sees that his strength really has left him. The Philistines this time gouge out his eyes and he now has a totally different “eye” problem.
    He is put in prison where his hair begins to grow again. A great party is given to honor their god for his capture, and they call for Sampson to entertain them. As the house was full of men and women and he was blind, he was held by the hand and he requests to be put by the pillars of the house so that he could lean against them. He asks the Lord that he might regain strength just once more and allow him to die with the Philistines. He then grabs the pillars of the house causing the house to fall upon himself and on all the people, killing more on that occasion than Samson had killed during his life.
    Judges 17-18
    The remainder of the book of Judges has accounts of idolatry, continuing lack of leadership, and a civil war
    Micah (an Ephraimite) admits that he has stolen silver from his mother. When it is returned, she says that she is dedicating the silver to the Lord and then proceeds to have an idol made from a portion! Micah then sets up a shrine in her house. He even consecrated one of his sons to be his priest. The son of course was not a Levite. But there was also a Levite who came from the area of Bethlehem that Micah pays to stay and be his personal priest!
    In chapter 18 the tribe of Dan does not yet have their inheritance. They send men to inquire of Micah’s priest, and then take the priest and the carved image along as they capture territory. Afterwards, they set up the carved image in their new territory.
    Judges 19-21
    Chapter 19 is hard to read. There is a Levite who takes a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. It appears that he has rescued her from her life as a concubine, but soon she leaves him and returns to her family in Bethlehem. He goes back for her to speak kindly to her and stays with the family for a few days. When he is ready to go, his father-in-law urges him to stay for an additional day, and then really wants him to stay still another day. But the Levite insists that they must go. It is late in the day and they make it to the region of Jerusalem, but he does not want to go into this city of foreigners. Instead they proceed on and as it is getting close to dark, they press on to Gibeah, in the land of Benjamin. (Later in 1 Samuel, we will find that Saul, the first king of Israel, is from this same town.)
    It is ironic that they refuse to lodge with foreigners, to instead stay with people of Israel, but they are not extended hospitality as was expected (there was no such thing as a hotel or lodging place in that time, so you waited in the town square and someone who had room for you to stay would come by and offer that to you). Instead they are treated similar to the account in Gen 19 about Sodom and Gomorrah. An older man that is not from the city provides them a place where he is staying. Later, in a drunken frenzy, some of the young men want another man, but instead repeatedly ravage and abuse the Levite’s wife all night long. When he arises in the morning, she lies dead at the doorstep and he loads her on his donkey, takes her home and sends a portion of her body to each of the 12 tribes.
    In chapter 20, we see the first time in the book of Judges that all of Israel gathers together as one man. They question the Levite about what has happened. He says that they meant to kill him but instead violated his wife and she died. He challenges them to give their advice and counsel. 10 men from each tribe are chosen and go to Gibeah to get the men responsible and put them to death, but the Benjamites refuse.
    This leads to the nation of Israel going to Bethel and inquire of God and again are told that they should have Judah go first as the leader in the fight against the people of Benjamin. The war that ensues kills many of the Israelite man but also kills all of the men of Benjamin except for 600 who hide near a rock in the wilderness for four months.
    No one is allowed to provide a wife for these remaining men and it seems that the tribe of Benjamin will then cease to exist. However, it is also determined that no one came to fight in the battle from one of the small towns in the half tribe of Manasseh, so that town is punished by killing everyone except 400 virgins. These virgins are given to the men of Benjamin but there are still 200 lacking. So, as the time of a feast and celebration at Shiloh is observed, the remaining men of Benjamin are commanded to go out and wait in the vineyards and watch, and when one of the daughters goes to dance, they should catch her as a wife. This allows the tribe of Benjamin to be reestablished.
    Judges Review / Application
    With the repeated cycles throughout, there is one application that comes to the forefront. God allows enemies and sin to teach us to completely annihilate the sin, depending completely and only in Him as our deliverer, in whom we can trust. Name the sin, not just say “Oh, I am a sinner, please help me”. Instead, ask the Lord to help you completely rid every part of your being from that sin, and then purpose with His help to keep to the center of the walk you take, not deviating or straying from His directed steps.
    Or, using the account of Gideon as just one of several examples that apply to us, let us seek the Lord and see that, until we destroy the “Baal” in our own backyard, we cannot “build an altar” to worship God, and we cannot defeat “Midian”. It is God first we seek, God we continue to seek, and God that we depend on for absolutely everything of and for every moment of our lives.
    Let’s look a bit in detail about Gideon and his 300 men defeating nearly 120,000 Midianites. In 7:8 and following, notice Gideon goes into the enemy camp to overhear a man telling about a dream (7:13-14) and then Gideon leads his small band in the fight. Each fighter has a trumpet in one hand and a pitcher with a torch inside in the other hand. He divides them into 3 groups of 100 and as they come near the enemy camp at the change in watch in the middle of the night, they blow the trumpet and smash their pitchers with now visible lighted torches—They then just stand there blowing trumpet and holding their torch, they have no hand holding a sword, but the cry is, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” Panic ensues (I presume they would think that each of the trumpets and torches must be accompanied by many others with swords, when, in fact, in the darkness, the enemy killed a lot of their own). I relate this detail to remind us, we are to be in the Lord’s army, to preach (herald) the Lord’s coming and be His broken vessels allowing His light to shine through us. The sword is the Word of God, His truth proclaimed, leading to victory. When one of His enemies accepts the Lord, this former enemy now proclaims to another of the enemy! His truth is marching on!
    The “Battlehymn of the Republic” song written during the Civil War of the United States is appropriate, and you also may be reading this book of Judges near the Easter season.

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
    He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
    He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
    His truth is marching on.

    I have seen Him in the watchfires of a hundred circling camps;
    They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
    I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
    His day is marching on.

    I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel;
    “As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
    Let the hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
    Since God is marching on.”

    He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
    He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgement seat;
    Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!
    Our God is marching on.

    In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,
    With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
    As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
    While God is marching on.

    Glory, glory! Hallelujah!
    Glory, glory! Hallelujah!
    Glory, glory! Hallelujah!
    While God is marching on.

    We all know the account of Samson, but in addition to the notes above, there is another application that applies to us. Samson failed to recognize and act on his weakness (women was his-what is yours?). He trifled with God’s plan for his life and God’s gifts to him, he did not take God seriously (16:20), and he did not properly watch or defend his heart, revealing it inappropriately (see Proverbs 4:23).
    Now, let’s turn to chapter 17 and see Micah’s idolatry applied to us. He was worshiping the right God, but in the wrong way–a self made application of worship / religion that was self-seeking and self-serving.

    Chapter Themes
    1-Captured and Uncaptured cities
    2- Israel Fails the Tests
    3- Otheniel and Ehud
    4- Deborah and Barak deliver from Canaanites
    5- Song of Deborah and Barak
    6- Midian and Gideon
    7- 300 Chosen Men plus God
    8- Zeba and ZAlumna Routed
    9- Abimelech’s Conspiracy
    10- Opession of Philistines and Ammonites
    11- Jephthah, 9th Judge-Tragic Vow
    12- Jephthah and his Successors
    13- Samson and his Mother, his only godly female relationship
    14- Samson and his Bride
    15- Samson Burns Philistine Crops
    16- Samson and his Harlot and his Delilah
    17- Micah’s Idolatry
    18- Danites Seek Territory
    19- Levite’s Concubine Degraded
    20- Civil War with Benjamin
    21- Mourning and Providing to Save Benjamites

  24. Joshua notes
    Here are all of the notes for the book of Joshua. You should complete the reading of this book in about a week.
    Joshua 1-5
    Joshua opens with the Lord reminding the new leader of the commands and directions He had given through Moses including repeating 3 times to be strong and courageous (In the Hebrew language to repeat something means it is important, but this is one of only a few examples of three times. We will see another very important three-peat of a single word in Isaiah 6).
    See 1:11 as another clear example of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. The time in the wilderness is now ending and we change eras in the history of Israel as they will now go in and occupy their promised land.
    The final verses of chapter 1 remind them (and teach us) that people are to cooperate together, be available, have commitment and obedience, have loyalty, and give encouragement to the leader.

    In chapter 2, just as 40 years previous but at a different location, spies are sent into the new land to Jericho and lodge at the house of Rahab, the prostitute. In order to identify her house later, there is a cord of red placed in her window. See Genesis 38:27–30 as another example where a cord is a symbol. In this case, red is a symbol used down to our day. Rahab will later marry Salmon and is the mother of Boaz and David’s great grandmother.

    In chapter 3 Israel prepares and then crosses the Jordan River. It is at flood stage so it is very deep and very wide! Just as 40 years previously with the Red Sea, God holds the waters back so all the people can cross, as Joshua tells them that they thus know that the living God is among them. The priests stand with the ark in the middle of the river bed while the people cross. Note that one of the words we use for priest is pontifex which means bridge builder.

    In chapter 4, after they cross the Jordan they are to take 12 stones, one representing each tribe and erect a memorial to be a reminder to coming generations of how the Lord cut off the flow of the water so that they could cross on dry ground. In 4:19, notice that is the 10th of the first month, which is the day of preparation for the Passover. They are also to be circumcised as both Passover and circumcision had been forgotten most of their time in the wilderness.
    In 5:10–12, we see that they did observe the Passover and on the day after Passover they are eating the produce of the land. The manna that had been provided for them so many years in the wilderness immediately stops upon entering the land.
    As chapter 5 ends, we see that a man appears before Joshua with a sword in his hand and Joshua asks him whether he is for them or for their adversaries. “No” is the answer (as if to say, you instead are to be for Me) and some believe that this is a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ as captain of the Lord’s army. Then Joshua is a told to remove his sandals because the place where he is standing is holy ground (set apart to the Lord).
    Joshua 6-8
    Chapter 6 is the account of the fall of Jericho, a story familiar to most of us. The people were told to march around the city quietly once a day for six days and on the seventh day to march around the city seven times and then to give a great shout on command and upon hearing a long trumpet blast. On each of the days there was an armed guard of fighting men in front and in back of the priests carrying the ark and 7 priests who blew trumpets. (see Numbers 10 regarding the trumpets that sounded different sounds for gathering, alarm, war and the like.)
    This is probably a good time to mention the number seven is the biblical number for completion or perfection. The creation was completed in seven days and many other accounts in the Bible include the number seven indicating the completion of a time or event.
    All of the people are instructed through Joshua that nothing out of the city will be taken for themselves. Absolutely everything except gold and silver will be destroyed, and then only gold and silver removed will be placed only in the treasury of the house of the Lord.
    6:17-19 is a reminder of this ban as well as only Rahab and her household will be saved (her faith saved her and that too is a gift from God. God’s hand is not short that He cannot save a family, an entire city or a nation, as in the examples of Noah and Lot in Genesis.)

    In chapter 7 we see that after the successful downfall of Jericho, the people of Israel are defeated by the little city of Ai. In 7:12–13 we learn that the defeat is because the Lord knows that they have hidden some of the banned things of Jericho in their midst. This is a teaching that we must follow the Lord in all things great and small–we cannot stand against Satan until we are right before God (See Acts 5 concerning another account about Ananias and Sapphira attempting to hide their sin of misreporting). Some of the banned things are found within the tent of Achan, the result is he, his family and belongings are burnt up. This punishment is a not only a visual reminder regarding disobedience, but is in stark contrast to the usual direction of the Lord to bury the dead rather than cremate them.

    In chapter 8, we see that all the people of the city of Ai are now destroyed and the Lord allows all of the spoil to be divided among the people. (In 8:26, notice that devoted is the word used for the destroyed people. This appears to be in the sense to represent God setting apart for destruction certain people and things for His purposes and glory, something we cannot fully understand as we also see written that God desires that none should perish.)
    As chapter 8 closes, we find that stones are to have a copy of the law written on them. These are the same plastered stones and directions that were indicated in Deuteronomy 27.
    Joshua 9-11
    With all that has happened to the Israelites in the past, including the most recent events, one would think that they would follow the Lord in all ways, especially in seeking Him in all decisions. All the people that they are about to conquer in the land of Israel are frightened of them. But the Gibeonites proceed to deceive with a cunning plan to appear to be people coming from a distant country and have need to make a covenant with Joshua and the people of Israel. Why would Israel even think about doing this when they had been instructed not to intermix with any other people group, and at the very least to only have foreigners serve as servants? (See Deut 20:16) Joshua 9:14 says they did not ask counsel from the Lord and Joshua made peace with them. In a few days, they find out the Gibeonites are indeed neighbors and they now have a covenant to uphold; therefore they have them become servants as cutters of wood and drawers of water for all of the congregation. But now, turn to yourself and think of the weak, stumbling, and forgetful sinners we all are as well, desiring to follow the Lord, but failing many times.
    In chapter 10 we learn that there are kings who decide to attack Gibeon and see what will happen. Indeed, Joshua and Israelites are obligated to protect the people of Gibeon by covenant and the end result is the destruction of these five kings and their cities. 10:11 is an interesting verse stating more enemies died because of the hailstones the Lord sent than the sons of Israel killed with the sword, again clearly showing the people, the Lord is the one who gives a victory.
    The remainder of chapters 10 and 11 describe the conquests in southern and northern Canaan.
    Joshua 12-19
    Chapter 12 is a listing of the Kings that were defeated by Moses before entering the promised land, followed by the kings defeated by Joshua. Chapter 13 lists the land still remaining to be conquered and includes the area of the Philistines (some is in the area of the modern Gaza Strip) and various areas of hill country.
    It is now time for the land to be divided among the tribes. The land will be divided among the nine tribes and half of the tribe of Manasseh (remember that the other half of the tribe of Manasseh as well the tribes of Reuben and Gad have received promise of their inheritance from Moses east of the Jordan river—which is not part of the original promised land or modern-day Israel as determined in the 1948 establishment of the country of Israel).
    The land of Israel is to be divided into portions for each tribe selected by lot. Caleb reminds Joshua that he was told by Moses that he would inherit the land on which is feet stood when the spies originally went into Israel. So he receives the area near Hebron (in southern Israel below Jerusalem and Bethlehem). We’re also told that the Levites will not receive a specific inheritance because they will have land in each tribe’s allotment since there was to be a priestly presence in each area, in addition to cities of refuge. However, there still is a total of 12 allotments of land since Joseph’s portion was divided into Manasseh and Ephraim portions. Each tribe allotment includes a specific description of the boundaries and the cities that are contained within their area.
    Joshua 20-22
    Six cities are designated as cities of refuge. Three are west of the Jordan and three are east of the Jordan. They are spread out so that they are available reasonably to all regions. We learn an important truth about revenge or vengeance in this chapter, — it is to be left up to the Lord.
    Specifically, someone who kills another man without intent or unknowingly was allowed to flee to one of the cities of refuge, and stand at the entrance gate of the city and explain his case to the elders. If he had not hated the man in the past and the elders were satisfied with his account, then they would allow him to be in their city and would keep the one who was avenging the death from being able to have access to harm him.
    In chapter 21 we find it there are 48 additional cities that are allotted to the Levites. Remember that the tribe of Levi did not receive any inheritance of specific territory, so now are given cities and surrounding pasturelands within each of the other regions. Since the Levites were the clan including priests, this allows for the presence of the law and places of worship to function throughout the entire country (they were also the public health officers – review Leviticus 13).
    As chapter 22 opens, we find that the two and one-half tribes have met their obligation to help conquer the land. They are now allowed to return back to the east side of the Jordan with the command to observe the law and walk in the ways of the Lord. Before crossing the Jordan, they build an imposing altar near the river. When the remaining tribes find out about this, they come after them prepared for war. When asked why they have had this breach of faith that is considered similar to the sin of Peor (see Numbers 25 where 25,000 of the Israelites were killed because of false worship to Baal), the response is that they built the altar to remember and praise the Lord, not to be considered as a separate or unauthorized place of offering to Him, and not as an offense to God or their fellow Israelites. Instead it was to be memorial of witness that they were part of the Israelites.
    Joshua 23-24
    As a book of Joshua closes, Joshua charges the leadership to remember to keep and do all that is written in the law that was given to them through Moses and not to mix with the nations in any way. They are also reminded that God has not failed them in any of the good things that he promised.
    The verses in chapter 23 that follow are a covenant renewal ceremony that includes the following application to us as well:
    3–5 remember the past
    6–7 stay in the word
    8–10 cling to God
    11 love God–do not leave your first love (see Revelation 2:4)
    He also reminds them that if they do not follow the Lord, there are consequences and they will see the removal of God’s power in their lives, suffer misery as well as discord, and the transgressions will lead to disgrace.
    In chapter 24 Joshua reviews Israel’s heritage of following and failing the Lord. An interesting reminder in verse 12–the Lord sent hornets before them to drive out some of the people or kings–it was not by their own sword or bow.
    We too like to think that we are doing things in our own strength or ability, and often fail to give glory to God even for giving us the ability or strength! He has the plan and is the provider.
    Verse 15 completes his charge and notice that Joshua says that if it is disagreeable to serve the Lord, then the choice is between old paganism by going back to the gods they served before they crossed the river Jordan including those in Egypt, or new paganism to serve the gods in the land where they are now living. He encourages that they are to put away the foreign gods and incline their heart to the Lord and to make the right choice, which as Joshua says, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”
    Another verse to highlight is 27 where Joshua places a large stone underneath the tree and says that it will be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord. See Luke 19:40 where we are told even the stones cry will out. It’s interesting to have a reminder that even stones witness for the Lord (hear)!
    The last few paragraphs of the book tell us about Joshua’s death which was obviously written by a later author (as we discussed earlier regarding the connections of the books or scrolls) and describes how Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua as well as all the other elders who outlived him. We also see that Eleazar the chief priest and son of Aaron dies.
    Joshua review/application
    Some consider Ephesians in the New Testament a counterpart to Joshua. We have promised victory and blessings, but must go through conflict and trials as we have seen described in Joshua that illustrate a Christian’s conflict, victory and blessing. In Joshua, Egypt is a symbol of bondage, the Red Sea of salvation through Christ’s blood, wilderness is where many Christians stay, Jordan river as a place or example of humility or death to self, and the promised land representing victorious Christian living.
    Ask yourself, do I want to live a victorious Christian life?
    1:8-9 has been used in both Gini and my life, and also in our children as the basis of a charge as we went on mission trips. It should be on our minds and lips as we start each day in the mission field the Lord has placed us for each day.
    In chapter 6, what the Lord commands be done (in this case, marching around the city) appears to be foolishness in the eyes of the lost.
    Then in chapter 7, we are reminded that we must completely depend on God in every battle, small or large.
    Joshua is 80 years old when he leads the people into the promised land and he is 110 when he dies at the end of the Joshua record.
    There are seven stone memorials recorded in the book of Joshua.
    4:20 at Gilgal – a reminder of God’s faithfulness in bringing them safely across the Jordan
    7:26 over Achan – A reminder of dire consequences for disobeying the Lord
    8:28-29 over king of Ai – monument to a second chance and restoration
    8:30-32 copy of the law is engraved on stones – a reminder of duty to obey the law of God
    10:18,27 over Amorite kings because of the covenant with the Gibeonites – a reminder of God’s gracious action in defending Israel and the people of Gibeon
    22:34 witness of peace in the land of Gilead and the unity between the trans-Jordan tribes with the tribes west of the Jordan
    24:26-27 A covenant stone at Shechem as a witness and reminder to follow the words of God’s law and that the stone has witnessed and heard all that was said and promised

    Chapter Themes
    1 God’s charge to Joshua
    2 Rahab
    3 Israel crosses Jordan
    4 Memorial stones from Jordan
    5 Israel is circumcised – obedience and faith that God would protect them as they healed
    6 Conquest of Jericho
    7 Israel defeated at Ai
    8 Conquest of Ai
    9 Guile of Gibeonites
    10 5 kings attack Gibeon
    11 Northern territory taken
    12 Kings defeated by Israel
    13 Canaan divided among the tribes
    14 Caleb’s request
    15-19 Land allotted to tribes
    20 6 Cities of refuge
    21 48 Levitical cities
    22 Transjordan tribes return to allotted land
    23-24 Joshua farewell address and review of Israel’s history

  25. For the next 2 weeks, we will cover the book of Deuteronomy, the fifth book in the OT

    05 Deuteronomy

    Deuteronomy is the fifth book of Moses and the word means second law. This is in the sense of repeating what has been given before (second giving of the law). The book of Deuteronomy actually has three times that Moses will give an address to the people. The book is the last one written by Moses and ends with an account of his death which of course he could not have written. I find it interesting that many of the books in the Bible end with a few verses or a chapter supplied by the succeeding person who writes an additional closing or ending account. This not only provides a way of finishing the record of one era or time of leadership, but also ties together or connects with the next book recorded on the ancient scrolls.
    The book opens with the Israelite located in the wilderness in the 40th year, towards the end of that year. As you will remember, Moses will not be allowed to go into the promised land and he tells the people what they are to do as they go in and take possession of the promised land.
    So, let’s do an overview, followed by a section of a few key passages serving as our review section for this book.
    The first four chapters are an account of their time in the wilderness, the appointment of leaders, and an exhortation to follow the Lord’s law, ending with a specific warning against idolatry.
    Chapter 5 begins another address that begins with a repeat listing of the 10 Commandments (they were first described in Exodus 20), followed by a description of the various other laws, which are accompanied by a combination of direction, explanation and exhortation. The laws continue through chapter 26. Since much of this is repeat information (we do need repeated reminders, warnings, and encouragement too!), I am not going to go through these in detail and ask that you read through these chapters to glean whatever the Lord might show you—and apply to your heart and walk. Your Bible or other reference aids will provide you the cross references to any that you want to read again in books we already have covered. Some also provide NT cross references to help in applying the principles.
    Chapters 27 to 30 are usually termed the third or last address to the people. This address contains new and different information.
    In these chapters, Moses commands the people that on the day in which they enter the land by crossing the Jordan, they are to set up a large stones and plaster them (like whitewashing) and write on them all the words of the law (27:1-3).
    The stones with the laws written on them are to be placed on Mount Ebal along with an altar. Mount Gerizim was also in this area with a valley in between. The people were divided in half by tribes, with half to stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people as they faced Mount Ebal and the remainder to stand opposite on Mount Ebal. What follows is directions to have an echoing volley across the valley with curses for disobedience, followed by the echo of those from Mount Gerizim reciting blessings for obedience. See also Deuteronomy 11:26-29.
    29:2-4 teaches us a profound truth that, while we may observe (see) or hear all the things that the Lord has done; until the Lord has given you a new heart of understanding to see and to hear, you cannot truly “see” or “hear” His truth! Multiple times in the Bible we will read this truth explained as, “having eyes to see but not seeing”, and “having ears to hear, but not hearing”. Isaiah 50:4-5 states, “He awakens my ear to hear as those that are taught. The Lord has opened my ear…”
    The last verse of chapter 29 also relates a very neat and important truth, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever…”
    Deuteronomy Review / Application
    This second giving of the law and review for the people also reminds us that we too must have reviews and be reminded throughout our lives just how to live a godly life in our every thought, word and deed. Our review for this book will include important or key passages.
    Deuteronomy- Some key passages
    Because the book is mostly a repeat of what has been spoken, taught and recorded for and to the Israelites previously (and in our reading also), like the Israelites, let’s now also go fairly quickly through the book of Deuteronomy a second time to also be reminded, stopping at some key verses and chapter summaries.
    Chapter 1, After initially going to Horeb (Mount Sinai), Moses reminds them that it was only an eleven day journey to the edge of the promised land. Twelve men (one to represent each tribe) had been selected to explore the land and spy it out. This is the land the Lord has promised they will take for their own. (This is almost like you being told for absolutely certain you will get an A+ in a class you take as part of your requirements, that you should have no fear of any part, and you will certainly strive to do your best on the test). Moses reminds them the spies came back with some of the fruit of land but the people were afraid, and would not go up, but instead the people murmured in their tents (they flunked the test!).
    1:35-38 The result is 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. None of the men of that evil generation will see or go into the promised land, except Caleb and Joshua.
    2,3. These two chapters are a description of the wanderings in the wilderness and chapter 3 ends with a reminder that Moses has been forbidden to enter the land because of disobedience (that he also blames on the people!) and will instead look at the land from the top of Mount Pisgah. The people are also to uplift Joshua and encourage and strengthen him as he will be the one to go into the land as the head of the people.
    In 5:22-27, at the end of the repeating of the 10 Commandments, we are again reminded that the Lord spoke all of these words to the assembly and they ask Moses to hear the voice of the Lord in their place because they cannot hear more lest they die from His consuming fire.
    Chapters 6-8 stamp out important truths. 6:4-8, “hear O Israel the Lord our God the Lord is one and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. The words should be on your heart, teach them to your children and the word should be with you whenever you walk or lie down or rise. You are to bind them on your hand and head” (this was done by writing the words and placing them in a little box—called a phylactery– that you tied around your head or around your hand—probably the origin of our custom of saying to tie a string around your finger in order to remember something).
    Then Moses reminds the people that they are going in to claim a land in which they did not build or plant anything, but will reap the benefits. They are also to take over the land little by little and completely remove all of the people, and not be involved in any of their worship or to intermarry. (In chapter 8 the people are reminded as we should be reminded, that the Lord has provided for them and also has allowed them to be humbled, as well as be tested in keeping His commandments. He has provided all needs, 8:3, “… know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” See Matthew 6:25 about God’s provision)
    10:12-16, “… what does the Lord your God require of you, but fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul, and keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord…for your good… Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart…” (We are reminded in these verses that these things are for our good and I would add, are for Gods glory. See Jeremiah 17:9 reminding us our heart is deceitful and evil continually.) Micah 6:8 is also one of your cross reference verses regarding God’s requirements.
    12:32, Here and in some other areas of Scripture, the reminder to do all that the Lord commands, and not to add to or take from. We are prone to not only disobey, but also to add to or change the rules to fit our own desires! Besides God’s rules restraining our own or society evil, God’s directions in Scripture to us as Christians are also to guide our every thought, word and deed, as well as to mirror or reflect His perfect righteousness that has replaced our sin and failings.
    20:1-8 and again in Judges 7:2-3, the people are told (and we are reminded as well), that the Lord is with us in the battles we must face. Indeed, He has allowed the testing. The battle is not for the fainthearted, and in fact, fear can be contagious!
    Deut 30-34
    30:11-19 Moses tells the people he has written down all that God has commanded, and it is not too hard for them and neither is it far away. It is not in heaven and it is not beyond the sea that someone would have to go in obtain it, but instead it is very near to them. It is in their mouth and in their heart that they might do it.
    So, you too now read His commandments as it applies to each of us as well. We too have the choice of life or death.
    30:15-20, “I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God as I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in His ways, and by keeping His commandments and His statues and His rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord God will bless you…I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice, and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days…”
    In chapter 31 Moses again explains that he will not be going across the Jordan and Joshua will be their leader. He tells the people and also Joshua to be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of the people that they will encounter. The Lord will go with them.
    Moses then says that he wrote all these words that are now given to the priests (to be kept beside the Ark of the covenant) and the words are to be read to the people in their hearing once every seven years.
    Chapter 32 is a song that Moses tells the people he has written that they will remember to sing when they fail to follow the Lord properly, and have turned to other gods and broken the Lord’s covenant. In 32:4, we find the first Bible use of the word Rock for God (I guess you could say that this is the first instance of “Rock” music!) See too, the word rock is used many more times throughout the song.
    In verse 10 we find the phrase “apple of His eye”. Apple refers to the center or pupil of the eye, the most important part.
    Verse 11 describes the Lord’s protection and care for us to be like an eagle caring for its young. See Psalm 91 for a similar description and also other metaphors for God’s care of us.
    The last chapter, 34, tells us Moses went up to Mount Nebo opposite Jericho and the Lord showed him all of the land that he is not able to go into. He dies in this land of Moab but no one knows the place.

    Chapter Themes
    1- Israel’s History After Exodus
    2- Wanderings in the Wilderness
    3- Conquests Recounted
    4- Israel Urged to Obey God’s Law
    5- 10 Commandments Repeated for a New Generation
    6- Obey God and Prosper
    7- Warnings and Promises
    8- God’s Gracious Dealings
    9- Israel Provoked God
    10- The Tablets Rewritten
    11- Rewards for Obedience (contrast of pagans and believers in Egypt with the same in promised land)
    12- Laws of the Sanctuary (dangers of worldliness)
    13- Don’t be Spiritually Seduced
    14- Dietary Laws and Tithes (separate self from evil)
    15- The Sabbatical Year
    16- Feasts of Passover, Weeks, and Booths
    17- Administration of Justice
    18- Levites Portion, Spiritualism Forbidden
    19- Cities of Refuge
    20- Laws of Welfare
    21- Expiation of a Crime
    22- Morality and Sundry (various) Laws
    23- Persons Excluded from the Assembly
    24- Divorce and Sundry Laws
    25- More Sundry Laws
    26- Offering First Fruits
    27- The Curse of Ebal
    28- Blessings at Gerizim
    29- The Covenant of Moab
    30- Restoration Promised
    31- Moses Prophesies Israel Will Fall Away
    32- The Song of Moses
    33- The Blessing of Moses
    34- The Death of Moses

  26. Here are the Numbers notes in their entirety
    04 Numbers Notes (39 more years in the wilderness)

    Numbers starts where Exodus ended (See Ex 40:17 and Num 1:1)
    God is leading His people through the wilderness on the way to the promised land of Canaan (God’s rest). The wilderness wanderings are from Mt Sanai to the border of Canaan. In addition, we will see a summary of the places of their journey (“roll calls” listed in chapter 33). And, more murmuring as there continues to be a spirit of rebellion against God. Most of the events recorded are in the first and last year
    Chapter 1 Census and Instructions for the journey
    The census taken results in about the same numbers as when left Egypt. 603,550 men over age 20 (age of service) so estimated total population is around 2 million. Levites are not counted, and are to camp around tabernacle so no wrath comes upon the congregation.
    Chpt 2 Arranging the tribes in the camp and for travel: East (Judah, Issachar, Zebulun), South (Reuben, Simeon, Gad), then Levites (with tabernacle and furnishings), West (Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin), North (Dan, Asher, Naphtali)
    Chpt 3, 4 Taking care of the tabernacle
    Sons of Aaron are the anointed (and serve as) priests. Rest of Levites serve under them. The Levites are also instead of, and replace every firstborn of the rest of the Israelites (remember that the firstborn was dedicated or given over to God—see Exodus 13:2, but changed, see Numbers 3:2) and following. So, now the Levites are numbered 1 month and upward as redemption for the firstborns of all the other tribes. The Levites begin to serve from age 30 and up to 50 years of age (Christ annointed for priestly work at age 30 (Luke 3:21-23, 4:18)
    Gershonites- care of tabernacle and tent coverings, curtains, veils, screens, camp on West
    Kohathites- Moses and Aaron assigned supervision of entire tabernacle, Aaron and sons specifically assigned the proper preparation of the holy things of the tabernacle (set up and take down), camp on East,
    rest of Kohathites served in carrying the holy things (furnishings), but could not see, touch or prepare them, (they were to carry only, so no cart), camp on South
    Merarites- care of frames, equipment, camp on North
    Chpt 6 Law of Nazirites Made a special vow to dedicate yourself to the Lord. You set the days and then nothing related to the grape (even working in the vineyard), no razor, no contact or coming near a dead person. If something you did or encountered violated the vow before the days were completed, all the days of separation were void and you began again. When the vow days were completed, you made offerings and shaved your head with the “dedicated” hair now offered on the fire also.
    Chpt 9 Celebration of Passover (note this passage is 1st month of 2nd year so not chronological)
    Chpt 10 Various blasts on one or two trumpets in chapter 10 are to be used to signal people what to do. Move out 1st time in 10:11
    Chpt 11 People complain about manna and receive quail (3 feet deep!) followed by a plague. In 11:4, some translations use the word rabble to describe the rebellious, complaining people and we still use the term “rabble rouser”
    Chpt 12 Miriam speaks against Moses, becomes leprous, is put outside the camp, and they do not move until she is “received” again (probably the same “restoration” procedure as described in Lev 14)
    Chpt 13, 14 Journey from Mt Sinai to the wilderness of Paran (south of Israel). Spies are sent into Israel and come back with a bad report. This changes what was to be a brief journey into 39 more years in the wilderness (all men more than 20 years old will die–in addition to being the age of beginning to serve, this seems to be the age of accountability). The punishment is one year in the wilderness for each of the 40 days spent “spying” out the land of Israel (with credit for time already spent in the wilderness!).
    Joshua (of Ephraim) and Caleb (of Judah) are two of the spies that reported that Israel was an “exceedingly good land … we should by all means go up…their protection (shadow) has been removed” but the rest of the people disagreed and grumbled. The Lord is angry because He has shown them His glory and His signs, but instead, they have put God to the test 10 times! Therefore none over age 20 will go into the land, with a command in 14:25, “turn tomorrow and set out to the wilderness by way of the Red Sea.” The other 10 men sent as spies are struck down with a plague. The people mourn their decision and the next morning some decide they have erred and will go up to Israel anyway, and are struck down by Amalekites and Canaanites.
    Chpt 15:38-39 Honor Sabbath/Obey Commandments is symbolized with a reminder with blue cord. We get Sunday blue laws and the saying “true blue” from this, meaning someone who follows another (in this case God) and does not follow their own heart and desires.
    Chpt 16 Korah’s rebellion against leadership (these Levites felt entitled and wanted to be priests too). Moses instructs all the men to bring their censors with fire before the Lord to see if their request will be allowed. Korah’s whole family and some of the sons of Reuben following Korah’s leadership are swallowed up by ground (see 16:28-35). The 250 men with censors of fire are also killed by fire from God. Their censers were holy and were gathered and made into a bronze plate for altar. The very next day, the congregation again grumbles, a plague begins, and Aaron quickly runs to put fire into a censer with incense and stands between the dead and living, yet 14,700 are killed by God.
    Chpt 17 To again demonstrate that God is the one in charge and to follow the leaders, 12 rods are put before the Lord as a test of who is the leader. The next morning, Aaron’s rod has budded, flowered and has ripe almonds! In 18:7 we see the reminder that the privilege of serving the Lord is a gift. Applying this to our lives, we dare not complain about the responsibility of serving (it is also a gift from the Lord) or God may take away the privilege.
    Chpt 19 A red heifer is sacrificed and burned outside camp (including skin and blood). The ashes are used with water poured through them, this water is then used as “water of purification” from sin.
    Chpt 20 People again complain, including they have no water (see Ex 17:5 where Moses was to strike the rock in presence of God) Now he is told to speak to rock. Instead (probably because he is a little angry and frustrated with the people), he strikes the rock twice and also claims “we” will bring forth water. Because he did not treat God as holy in sight of the people, Moses will not be allowed to lead the people into the promised land. Miriam and Aaron’s deaths are also recorded in this chapter.
    Chpt 21 People told they will have to go around Edom and so they grumble again. God sends fiery serpents and the bite is death, but Moses holds up a bronze serpent and when people looked to it, then the bitten Israelite lived (this is the basis of the Caduceus, one of our medical or healing symbols today).
    Chpt 22 The people now return to the plains of Moab opposite Jericho (Transjordan region). Balak (king of Moab) sends for Balaam (a false prophet) to curse the Israelites but he cannot because God comes to instruct him at night. A donkey talks to Balaam after protecting him from death, then he blesses Israel.
    Chpt 25 and 31 People sin by following the Baal of Peor (idolatry and referred to later in the Bible as the sin of Peor) and then sin with foreign women. There follows a war with the Midianites.
    Chpt 26 Repeat census is taken and preparations are made to enter the land of Canaan (we will pick up the account again in Joshua) This census is an entirely different generation, but the census result again is about the same numbers as at the beginning of this book, but none of the previous men over 20 years old are now alive except for Joshua, Caleb, and Moses. We learn Joshua is to succeed Moses
    Chpt 32 Gad, Reuben and ½ tribe of Manasseh ask to stay on the east side (Transjordan region where they presently are), agreeing to come back to occupy after they subdue Caanan with the other tribes.
    Chpt 35 Cities for Levites and Cities of Refuge are described to be established.

    Review and Application

    Some have said Hebrews 3:7-19 applies Numbers to the Christian life and victorious living. Christ in us allows us to be right with God and enter His land (rest)—see Hebrews 4:11. See also Isaiah 62:4 (we are married to Christ and therefore live in Beulah (married) land.

    Numbers, chapters 1-10 cover less than a month and the rest of the book the remaining 38 plus years.

    In Chapter 2, some like to think of symbols or flags as the “standard” for each camp. Later we will see in Ezekiel four faces of “creatures”, so some have tried to attribute a “lion” to the east camp, since Judah is the leading tribe. For the south, Reuben as the “man”, the west, Ephraim as the “ox”, and finally, on the north, Dan as “eagle”. See Ezekiel 1:10

    We skipped over chapter 5 that includes an adultery test. Applying this to other lying situations that we all encounter, we had a physician friend who used to have his children hold out their hands and he would take their pulse as he asked them to tell him the truth (his version of a lie detector test!)

    The end of chapter 6 has verses we use in a benediction, and now you have these beautiful words in context. As you take vows before the Lord, it will now mean so much more to you and your relationship to our gracious Lord.

    8:24 can be confusing as other Bible verses state that the Levites began their work at 30. It seems that there was an apprenticeship period that this refers to. They also retired from active work at age 50, but of course did not retire (that is not a concept in the Bible to ever cease from doing the Lord’s work, you just change hats as I personally can attest to.

    13:6,8 Interesting to note that the 2 spies that give a good report are Joshua of the tribe of Ephraim, which received a part of the double blessing of inheritance reserved for the firstborn (which would have been the tribe of Reuben–but changed at the end of Genesis in the blessings of Jacob). So too with Caleb of the tribe of Judah which was given the rule (also in the change in the firstborn privilege).

    So, in chapter 13 about the spies’ report, we can have an observation and interpretation that leads us to believe that we cannot conquer. That is our view, absent God, and often can lead to the wrong application! So, Moses has to intercede for the people and in 14:18, again we are reminded to pray and let Him take over, and, in His power, do the thing He already has instructed us to do.

    18:1 instructs us that leadership given to us has its privileges and prestige, but also the responsibility before God.

    20:18 is a reference to Edom not letting Israel pass through and we will read later in Obadiah who writes to speak against this act.

    Chapter 22 is another example of God using Balaam, a pagan prophet, to bless Israel, even telling a prophesy in 24:17-19 about the coming Christ!

    30:4 reminds us that by not saying anything, we are many times affirming. We use this concept in our marriage ceremony before the vows are spoken, “speak now, or forever hold your peace.”

    As we end Numbers, there is one more concept regarding “salt”. See Numbers 18:19 for one reference referencing a covenant relationship. Salt was used to preserve and to purify as we saw symbolically with salt added to the grain offerings in Leviticus. It was also used to purify the water in one instance. Salt preserved against rot and decay, so we often use the term, “to be the salt of the earth”. We also use the term, “not worth his salt” as salt was even part of some wages. Salt of course is also a seasoning to give flavor and is needed in our bodies for life itself, so salt was a precious commodity. So, think about the separation and preservation of those that depart from evil and are no longer a part of the wicked; instead are separated and purified by the Lord. When we are preserved by the Lord, the fires of temptation and testing only strengthen us for better use. We are preserved and not burned up. We then get the best ending, eternal life with our Lord! Be salty. As we serve on earth, we are really serving our Lord and Savior (the one who has promised to preserve us eternally). Depart from sin, and do not rot! Read 2 Timothy 2:3-26

    Chapter Themes
    1- Census of Israel’s Warriors
    2- Arrangements of Camps
    3- Levites by Priesthood Assignment
    4- Aaron and Sons Cover Holy Objects
    5- On Defilement
    6- Law of Nazarites (see Judges 13:5)
    7- Each Tribe Brings Offerings to Tabernacle
    8- Cleansing the Levites
    9- The Passover
    10- The Silver Trumpets
    11- You Want Meat?
    12- Aaron and Miriam Murmur
    13- Spies View and Report
    14- The People Rebel
    15- Law for Cannan—Looking Forward, Eyes on God’s Promise
    16- Korah’s Rebellion
    17- Aaron’s Rod Buds
    18- Priests and Levites, Duties and Portions
    19- Ordinance of the Red Heifer
    20- Death of Miriam and Aaron
    21- Bronze Serpent
    22- Balak Sends for Balaam
    23- The Prophesies of Balaam
    24- Prophesy from Peor
    25- The Sin of Peor
    26- Census of a New Generation
    27- Joshua Succeeds Moses
    28- Laws of Offerings
    29- Offerings of the 7th Month
    30- The Law of Vows
    31- The Slaughter of Midian
    32- Reuben, Gad, ½ Tribe of Manassah to Settle in Gliead
    33- Review of Journey, Egypt to Jordan
    34- Apportioning Cannan
    35- Cities for Levites
    36- Inheritance by Marriage

  27. The Leviticus notes are formatted in a WORD document so they may be a little confusing here. If you want the formatted version, simply email me for a copy and mention Leviticus notes. We will have similar issues with the notes on the Kings and the book of Ruth later on as well. GeneBaillie@gmail.com is the email to use

    03 Leviticus (that which pertains to Levites)

    As I indicated when finishing Exodus, for this book we will take an outline approach and will be more review oriented to see the big picture. These notes also include application and how these sacrifices, rituals, and feasts apply to us as followers of Christ. Feel free to delve more deeply into any area, using commentaries or other aids. Or, as some of you already have done, send a question and I will try to answer or clarify.
    Many have a slowdown at this book, but we don’t want it to be a shutdown. Please just read over this summary and then read with a focus in on what the Lord would have you learn, not trying to comprehend the entirety. In just a few days, we will begin Numbers so this is a brief stop in the book of Leviticus. To put in another way, we are stopping to look at the flowers and even see some of the colors, but not learn now each of their names and how they grow! You might even hear a few birds singing, but we will not stop to find each of them in the trees.

    Many have written that this is a book of atonement based on 16:30-34. We will note 5 offerings or sacrifices which are for the purpose of “getting right” with God and then various feasts for “keeping right” with God.

    This book takes place the 2nd year in wilderness, the 1st month. Leviticus gives instructions on how to deal with sins so that the Lord can dwell in the midst of the people. It also describes what it means to be the people of God…how to act in private conduct and corporately as members of the people of God.
    Offerings Priesthood Day of Atonement Laws Holy Days
    Leviticus: Chpts 1-7 8-15 16 17-22 23-25

    A. 5 Offerings – (First 3 voluntary, last 2 mandatory)

    Leviticus verses NT verses
    instructions to laity instructions to priests showing Christ replaces the need for these offerings
    1) Burnt 1:3-17 6:8-13 Rom 6:2-7
    2) Meal 2:1-16 6:14-23 Heb 7:27
    3) Peace 3:1-17 7:11-34 John 6:54-58, 2Cor 3:18
    4) Sin 4: 1-5:13 6:24-30 1Pet 2:24, Is 53:5
    5) Trespass 5:14-6:7 7:1-10 (note: trespass is also guilt)
    Every animal offering was unblemished, put hand on head, in effect saying “this animal represents me” (in my place), representing transfer of my sins and redemption from death I deserve
    These over and over sacrifices provided an atonement (covering or shield from the holy wrath of God) for the unresolved problem of sin.
    1. Burnt. Most frequent. Blood sprinkled. Whole animal except skin burned on altar and thus the most costly offering, nothing left. Offered what you could afford: bull (most expensive), sheep or goats, turtledoves or pigeons.
    Symbolized total consecration of the worshiper to God’s service and offered to cover the sins committed
    2. Meal/Grain. Usually in conjunction with animal sacrifice. Flour mixed with olive oil, incense and salt. Only a portion was mixed this way (memorial portion) and baked, fried or cooked, the rest went to priests to eat. No leaven.
    Dedication of yourself to God
    * Priests had one too, but was required daily and all the offering was burned and none could be eaten.
    3. Peace/Fellowship/Covenant. Worshiper and family could eat much of the meat.
    Seeking God’s blessing or celebrating blessing received. No fat (the fat belonged to God), no blood b/c life is in the blood (Gen 9:4-6 and Lev 17:11). Symbolizes a communion meal between offeror and the Lord. Achieves/expresses peace and fellowship with the Lord. To remember and reaffirm covenant relationship with the Lord.
    4. Sin. Purifying both sinner and sanctuary since sin defiles both. For unintentional sin – for priests, congregation, and individuals. Fat and kidneys burned on altar. Skin, meat, head, legs and entrails all taken outside camp and burned where ashes are poured out. (when priest offered for his sin, then remainder was eaten-see 10:16 where “mistake” is made and burned up instead)
    5. Trespass/Guilt. Restitution sacrifice for: a) misuse of holy things of God,
    b) sin involving hidden things, c) trespass against neighbor’s rights or property. Generally, for a more serious offense than that which required a sin offering.

    B. Ordination of Aaron and sons in Chapter 8 as they carry out the Exodus 29 consecration – “filling” offering (part of the grain offering was put on top of the fat and thigh) and put into hands and presented (waved) before God, then burned as ordination offering. Blood and oil (separately) was placed on the right earlobe, right thumb, and right great toe of priests (as anointing and covering for what they allow into their mind, what their hands touch and where they go?). When priests emerged from the tent of meeting, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people.

    C. Priesthood duties regarding the sacrifices and as public health officer (Leviticus 8-15). The priests are to distinguish between the holy and the common, the clean and the unclean, declare all the Lord’s statues to the people. In 10:1-3 Nadab and Abihu did what was not commanded and immediately were killed by fire “from the presence of the Lord”.

    D. Atonement Leviticus 16
    Performed annually for the sins of the nation. Holiest day in OT when high priest entered the Holy of Holies and the Most Holy Place. 1) High priest washed and properly dressed 2) bull sacrificed for himself 3) entered Most Holy Place and sprinkled bull’s blood on ark (mercy seat = atonement covering, see Ex 25:17) 4) took 2 goats and chose one by lot to be scapegoat, other goat was a sin offering and again sprinkled the goat’s blood on ark (propitiation) 5) went to outer part of tabernacle, sprinkled blood on the altar in the courtyard 6) confessed the sins of all the Israelites as he laid hands on the head of scapegoat which then was led into the desert (expiation) 7) changed clothes and washed, then 8) burnt offering for himself and the people. Contrast with how Christ now has replaced this need once for all in Heb 9:6-28, 13:11-13. Also, see Levitcus 16:29 – anyone failing to observe the day could entail death. We cannot refuse Christ (John 6:44)

    E. Other laws — Leviticus 17-22
    We are to keep Sabbath, no idols. Leave edges of fields for the poor and sojourners, don’t strip vineyards. Don’t steal or lie. Don’t swear by God’s name falsely. Don’t rob your neighbor. Judge in righteousness. Honor the gray head. Love sojourners.

    F. Feasts Lev 23
    1. Passover First month (Abib/March,Apr); 14th day
    Ex 12:1-14; Lev 23:5; Num 9:1-14; 28:16; Deut 16:1-7
    This feast serves as a reminder of God’s deliverance by blood from slavery to Pharoah in Egypt.
    A picture of Christ, our Passover, sacrificed to free us from slavery to our sin. I Cor 5:7, John 1:29, 8:34
    2. *Unleavened Bread First month (Abib/March,Apr); Days 15-21
    Ex 12:15-20; 13:3-10; Lev 23:6-8; Num 28:17-25; Deut 16:3,4,8
    Purging of all leaven (symbol of sin).
    “Clean out old leaven…just as you are in fact unleavened.” 1Cor 5:6-8
    3. Firstfruits 1st month day 16; 3rd month (Sivan/May,June) day 6
    Lev 23:9-14; Num 28:26
    This feast is reminder of promise of harvest to come. Wave offering of sheaf of grain.
    “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” 1Cor 15:20-23
    4. *Weeks/Harvest/Pentecost 3rd month beginning on day 6 (50 days after barley harvest).
    Ex 23:16, 34:22; Lev 23:15-21; Num 28:26-31; Deut 16:9-12
    Wave offering of two loaves of bread.
    NT Pentecost is 50 days after Easter, Christ’s promised Holy Spirit; Also see the mystery of the church where both Jews and Gentiles are one body in Christ. Acts 2:1-4; 1Cor12:13; Eph 2:11-22.
    5. Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah 7th month (Tishi/Sept,Oct) First Day
    Lev 23:23-25; Num 29:1-6.
    Trumpet blown…holy convocation. Marks the end of one agricultural year and the beginning of another.
    Signaling Christ’s return. Matt 24:31, 1Cor 15:50-52, 1Thess 4:16-17
    6. Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur 7th month (Tishi/Sept,Oct) 10th day
    Lev 16:23; 26-32; Num 29:7-11
    The atonement of Christ Heb 9:8-28, 7:27
    7. *Tabernacles/Booths/Ingathering 7th month (Tishi/Sept,Oct) Days 15-22
    Ex 23:16; 34:22; Lev 23:33-36; 39-43; Num 29:12-38; Deut 16:13-15
    Harvest celebration, memorial of tabernacles in the wilderness. Weeklong feast celebrating the Lord’s salvation from Egypt.
    Perhaps a picture of our temporal and eternal dwelling place – 2Cor 5:1-9
    *The three major feasts for which all males of Israel were required to travel to the temple of Jerusalem. Ex. 23:14-19

    G. Other Sacred Times Leviticus 25 for first 3
    1. Sabbath Every seventh day was a solemn rest from all work. Ex 20:8-11; 31:12-17; Deut 5:12-15.
    2. Sabbath year Every seventh year was designated a “year of release” to allow the land to be fallow (rest).
    Ex 23:10, 11; Lev 25:1-7
    3. Year of Jubilee The 50th year, which followed seven Sabbath years, was to proclaim liberty to those who were servants because of debt, and to return lands to their former owners.
    The land fallows or rests for 2 years in a row (49th Sabbath year plus 50th Jubilee) Lev 25:8-55; 27:17-24; Ezek 46:17. Kinsman Redeemer…closest brother/relative/friend shall come and redeem the unpayable debt of one who has sold himself into slavery…paying full price of debt. Leviticus 27 has more concerning valuation.
    4. The New Moon (Lev 23:23-25) Although this reference is for the 7th month, each first day of the Hebrew month was a day of rest, special sacrifices, and the blowing of trumpets. Num 28:11-15; Ps. 81:3
    5. Dedication/Lights/Hanukkah An eight-day fast in the ninth month (Chislev) recorded in non-Biblical sources, that later also commemorates the cleansing of the temple from defilement by Syria, and its rededication. Referred to in John 10:22
    6. Purim/Lots A feast on the 14th or 15th of the 12th month (Adar). The name comes from Babylonian Pur, meaning “lot.” Esther 9:18-32

    H. Leviticus 26
    1. If you walk in My statutes and observe My commands and do them then I will…give your rain in season,… land shall yield its increase,… trees shall bear their fruit,…you shall eat your bread to the full,…dwell in your land securely,… I will give peace to the land,…make My dwelling among you… I will walk among you and be your God and you shall be My people… “I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.”
    2. See 14,18,21,27, “will not listen to Me”…(5 progressive stages of relentless pressure from the Lord to cause us to turn back to Him and restore fellowship/blessing… saying to the effect, because of THIS (reject My laws, act with hostility toward Me, do not obey Me) if you will not listen to Me (THEN)…
    1. Heartache, panic, wasting disease. Sow seed in vain, enemies will eat your harvest and rule over you.
    2. Discipline you 7 fold for your sins, break the pride of your power, your strength spent in vain, I will continue striking you.
    3. I will walk contrary to you
    4. I will destroy your high places, scatter you
    5. I will send faintness to your heart, you shall stumble over one another (“as those fleeing the sword”), you shall have no power to stand against your enemies
    3. IF THEY WILL CONFESS THEIR INIQUITY…then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham…that I might be their God. I am the Lord.

    Leviticus Review / Further Application

    In chapter 10, the “strange fire” offered by Nadab and Abihu always raises questions as to what and why. We do not know the details, but we do know it was not a proper offering. Incense is often a symbol of prayer and another reminder that our prayers are to be proper. For instance, we learn in Hebrews 7:25 that Jesus Christ is always interceding for us, so we know that our prayers are through Him, and thus the reason our prayers should be in and His name at the start, at the end, or at least in mind that we know the route of a proper prayer to the Lord.

    In chapters 13 and 14, we see the word leprosy used to include many categories of disease that were not true leprosy as we know it today. Instead, it most often referred to infectious disease and boils caused by bacteria, or fungus causing ringworm and loss of hair. And, houses or articles of various possessions could also have fungus expressed as mold. The priests were the public health officers/doctors.

    Many chapters contain laws that are the basis of our judicial system.

    Applying 26:11 personally, I am thankful the Lord has control of my heart. We know this when we believe in our hearts (our very core being) God raised Jesus from the dead. When we say we have Jesus in our heart, we are really saying our hearts have been changed by the work of the Holy Spirit, or Spirit of Christ, within our very core being.

    Did you notice all the sevens in Leviticus? Seven is considered the number related to completion, finishing. Every 7th day was Sabbath, every 7th year was Sabbatical year, every 7 x 7 years was followed by a year of Jubilee. Pentecost was 7 weeks after Passover, and in the 7th month are the feasts of trumpets and tabernacles. Lastly, most of the feasts lasted 7 days.

    One last comment: Leviticus definitely begins to teach us more about how we are to sacrifice, and in Romans 12:1-2, we are to be a living sacrifice. We also learn the walk with God is by separation. While it is true we are the “set apart” ones taught in the New Testament to be holy, this is in the sense of being in the world, but not of it. So, this separation is not the hiding away by yourself, but instead engaging the world and culture around us as a witness of what the Lord has done and continues to do through our every thought, word, and deed.

    Leviticus Chapter Themes

    1- Law of Burnt Offerings
    2- Law of Grain Offerings (meal, cereal)
    3- Law of Peace Offerings
    4- Law of Sin Offerings
    5- Law of Guilt (Trespass) Offerings
    6- Priest Burnt, Grain, Sin Offerings
    7- Priest Guilt and Peace Offerings
    8- Consecration of Aaron and Sons
    9- Aaron Offers Sacrifices
    10- Sin of Nadab and Abihu
    11- Laws About Animals for Food
    12- Laws of Motherhood
    13- Tests for Leprosy
    14- Law of Cleansing a Leper
    15- Cleansing Unhealthiness
    16- Law of Day of Atonement
    17- Blood for Atonement
    18- Laws on Immoral Relations
    19- Idolatry Forbidden
    20- Laws Against Human Sacrifice, Sorcery, Immorality
    21- Regulations Concerning Priests
    22- Sundry Laws for Priests
    23- Laws of Religious Festivals
    24- The Lamp and Bread of the Sanctuary
    25- Sabbatical Year and Year of Jubilee
    26- Blessings of Obedience / Curses of Disobedience
    27- Rules Concerning Valuations

  28. Remainder of Exodus notes
    As I said on Monday, I am now posting the notes for the remainder of Exodus to include review and chapter themes for those that are ready for these. This may seem long but much is review information with less reading. On Monday I will post again for those needing the next book for their chosen particular reading plan. BUT, please do not feel pressured, just keep at your own pace in reading and review. I am just trying to keep pace with as many as possible on their different read through plans, which all have the goal to complete in one year. Take whatever time you need for refreshing and seeking the Lord, just do not stop!
    Exodus 32
    This chapter opens with the people being concerned that Moses is too long delayed. As we also, they so easily turn away from God to their own devices, decisions, and opinions. Through the Egyptians, God has provided gold and all other blessings to meet their every need. Many of these provisions are to be used to build Him a tabernacle (We just read how Moses has been instructed in detail, but he has not yet revealed the plan to the people). They break their covenant promises and collect part of their gold to make a golden calf as an idol to replace God. This is idolatry in direct violation of the first 2 commandments. At this point, note that the Egyptians worshipped many animals and the chief may have been a bull.
    They cannot use the excuse that they did not read the rules, as remember, they all heard them in both senses of “fear” as they were spoken to Moses!
    It is also of note that God tells Moses what they have done, before he descends the mountain. He returns to listen to their excuses and even the “story” of Joshua. Moses is angry and “breaks” the tablets of commandments in front of them. Then he burns the calf and grinds the gold to powder, puts it on water, and makes them drink it, essentially saying, “take your god into you!” In verse 32, Moses asks the Lord to forgive the people, and, if not, then to blot him from the book that God has written. This “blotting” seems to be in the sense of the leader is responsible and Moses does not want to be remembered as leader.

    Exodus 33-40
    God now instructs Moses that they will leave the region of Sinai to go to Canaan. The people grumble again and we see now Moses meets with God in the “tent of meeting” (God is present in a descended cloud). Joshua is his assistant and stays by the tent. Moses pleads with God not to destroy the people. Although it seems God is changing His mind (32:14 uses the word relented), that is only our perspective and how we can best understand. Rather, God is only working out the necessary changes in Moses and the people. We must understand that even Moses’ intercession is a part of God’s will and purpose as wells as God showing His grace. (See also Numbers 23:19.)
    In Chapter 34 Moses is told to bring 2 tablets to God the next morning to again have God write the commandments. These will be placed in the ark of the covenant when it is completed (Deut 10:1-5).
    In 34:12-13 the covenant is again given and Moses is instructed to not make any covenants with any people they encounter, and to tear down their pagan worship idols. We will later find that under Joshua and later leaders, they will only abide with these commandments part of the time!
    They are also to celebrate the Passover each year and they fail at this also.
    We passed over the plans for the tabernacle in chapters 25-30 quickly. Now, the remainder of Exodus 35-40 explains the details for construction of the tabernacle, making the priest’s garments, the procedures, and the purpose of each. There are many study aids to explain these details and also correlate with the New Testament meanings. As we now review the meanings of the various parts and aspects of the tabernacle, please seek out other excellent commentaries for the many correlations to show us how we are to live our Christian lives before the Lord.
    Beginning in 35:5 we see that there is to be a contribution from a willing heart to the Lord for the building of the tabernacle.
    We have all heard the terms to use our time talent and treasure. We see that the people do contribute time as service, their talent as skill and their treasure as money and possessions.
    Several times in the remainder of this chapter we see that everyone made these contributions from a willing or moved heart and are stirred by the Lord to do so.
    Then see chapter 36:5-7 and realize that the giving was far more than was needed and they actually had to be told to stop contributing!
    The application to us it has several aspects. Are you jealous of someone else’s gift? Are you using your own gifts to God’s glory? We are gifted by God to work for God.
    2 Corinthians 9:7 challenges us to the same principle and needs to be read in the context of the entire 9th chapter.
    Chapter 35 and 36 describe the contributions made by the people and is followed by the specifics of the construction of the tabernacle itself. Refer back to chapters 25 through 30 as needed for other details of the plan.

    37:1-9 The ark is a symbol of the presence of God. On top was the mercy seat and the two cherubim. The ark is placed in the holy of holies part of the “tent of meeting” inside the entire tabernacle. There is a veiled curtain in front to separate this section. This area is entered into only once a year and is where God meets with the people through the high priest (day of atonement, Leviticus 16:14).
    The mercy seat on top of the ark has the meaning of a covering in that the Lord provides a covering for sins. Another aspect to remember is the symbolic presence of the Lord is often by a visible cloud, sometimes referred to as Shekinah glory (but Shekinah is not a word used in the Bible).
    37:10-16 Within the Holy Place just outside the Holy of Holies, there were three articles of furniture. The first is the table of showbread where 12 loaves of bread were placed and exchanged every week. This may have double significance to represent the 12 tribes of Israel and their continued presence before God, but it is also the reminder of the provisions for life from the Lord.
    37:17-24 Next described is the lampstand which is a symbol of the Lord as the Light of life, dispelling darkness. The description is of a candlestick structure (like the Jewish monora) with seven branches, each with almond flowers. Seven is the number of completeness and the almond was to represent the budding of the rod of Aaron.
    There are two senses that we have concerning light. One is that we need eyes to see light and we also need a mind to “see the light”. In the New Testament, God is light and specifically Jesus Christ is the Light of the world and He gives the light of life to men (John 1:4-5, 9, 8:12, 9:5, 12:46)
    37:25-29 The altar of incense symbolizes prayers going up to God. The incense was made of holy anointing oil as well as pure, fragrant spices. This altar was placed as the third article of furniture within the holy place right in front of the veil to the holy of holies.
    38:1-7 Outside, in the courtyard, but within the paneled and curtained area, the bronze altar was placed with horns on all four corners. This altar was just inside the East gate and the place for burnt offerings. I am so thankful for the reminder in Hebrews 9 and 10 and 13:10–15 that the death of Jesus on our behalf has provided for a once only, for all time, sacrifice, eliminating the need for daily animal sacrifices for our sins.
    38:8 (see also 30:17-21) The laver or bronze basin was where the priests washed their hands and feet before entering the tent of meeting (the name of the area of holy place and holy of holies). This physical cleansing conveyed spiritual cleansing.
    Chapter 39 describes in a detail the priestly garments that were put on in order to be set apart.
    Chapter 40 describes the setting up of the tabernacle with its outside paneling and curtains to separate the entire tabernacle area.

    Chapter 40 opens with the completed tabernacle being erected on the first day of the first month at the beginning of second year in the wilderness (this is also the day the book of Numbers begins). The glory of the Lord fills the tabernacle (a cloud covers the tent of meeting and tabernacle).
    When this cloud would rise, the people would know it was time to pack up and follow the cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night until they arrived at the next place the Lord had chosen and they saw the cloud remain stationary (the first move is recorded in Numbers 10:11). Likewise, we are to seek to follow the will of the Lord, asking that He show us the way and direct our steps (see Proverbs 16:9 and Psalm 119:105)
    Leviticus will now tell us the specifics of the work of the priests.
    We will see the way of God is by sacrifice, and the walk with God is by separation (I consider this concept of separation as a Psalm 1 principle, the total and absolute difference between the righteous and the wicked. We are not to stop, mingle, or dwell with sinful situations. As expressed before, we are to be in the world (as aliens and strangers on our earthly journey), but not of the world).
    Exodus Review / Further Application
    1:15 The meaning of the 2 midwives’ names are beauty and splendor. They feared God who used them to protect the people of God.
    In chapter 2, in the attempt to save Moses, his mother feared his crying but she did not fear Pharaoh (See Hebrews 11:23). He was indeed cast into the Nile, but in an ark—to escape the judgment of man. Thus Moses had a godly home, special education both secular and spiritual (Acts 7:22). But, when he was 40, he had a great failure in fighting man instead relying on God, using fleshly strength instead of spiritual, used the wrong weapon, and did not act in God’s timing.
    But in chapter 3 we learn of the faithfulness of God and His plan all along was to mightily use Moses. At the time of the burning bush event, Moses is now 80 years old (Acts 7:30). Finish reading through the teaching of Stephen in Acts 7 as an excellent review.
    In chapter 4, Moses is given powers, and God has given them to you. Moses did not do things of his own will and power, and we saw both success and failure in his life. Likewise, we cannot do anything in our own might or determination. What do you hold in your hand? Lay your “staff” down and see God work with it as a “rod of God”. He will use you, change situations, summon defense and help, give you the words to speak, and then help you signal His victory in whatever battle you face. And, it is often not the timing or kind of victory that you desire. In fact, just like the people of Israel under Moses in chapter 5, the way becomes harder and just does not seem right!
    God saves and delivers because He has a plan and purpose for each of us, not just to save us from hell and torment, but to worship and serve Him (Ephesians 2:10). One example–many of the world think Christians are lazy because they do not want to work on Sundays, just “using” the excuse of worshipping God.
    In 6:7 we see the first of a phrase we will see a myriad of times, “and then you shall know that I am the Lord”. It appears 8 more times in Exodus and at least 63 times in Ezekiel. God does all things so both believers and unbelievers will know His Lordship. Some will fall and worship, others will deny, but read this, as Gini quoted a Puritan, “There are no atheists in hell!” and “the same sun that melts ice hardens clay”. See also Philippians 2:10.
    In chapter 7-10 with all the plagues, we see that as Pharaoh refuses truth and light, not only is his heart hardened, but he is less and less able to “see”. His hatred and disobedience to God allows him to lose even his logical reasoning (“blindness”). See 2 Corinthians 4:2-6. One Almighty is far greater than all mighties! Anything short of doing God’s will, in God’s way, is compromise.
    In 8:22, we see that the land of Goshen is set apart and will not have any more of the plagues. Before this, apparently the whole of Egypt had the first plagues. Also note in 8:28 that Pharaoh again wants compromise—indeed, Moses is to stay close and to make supplication for him. This is like an unbeliever advising you, “Stay close to the world, don’t be a fanatic, but remember to pray for me too.”
    9:16 Even evil brings glory to God (see Romans 9:22-25) In Exodus 9:20-21, we see the grace of God extended to the Gentile Egyptians who fear the Lord and take shelter with their animals, and later, some of the Egyptians will depart Egypt with the Israelites.
    In chapter 12, see the lamb saved the Jews and sustained them for their journey. We “feed” on Jesus when we meditate on His Word and take His Truth into our inner being. Yeast (leaven) is a picture of sin. The Jews were not saved by getting rid of the leaven, they got rid of the leaven because they were saved (2 Corinthians 7:1 and 2 Timothy 2:19). We deserve the wrath of God just as much as the Egyptians, but God has graciously made a means of escape for His elect through the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29 and Philippians 2:5-8). As sin is always before us as we live in the world, we are to constantly avoid and remove the sin by the power of Jesus’ cleansing power within us.
    In chapter 13, we see that direction is given to remember, and to share with coming generations, what the Lord has done. We too need to pray that God, through us, will give future generations a heart to know Him, see what He has done and is doing in our life, and want to follow Him as they see our clear testimony of His faithfulness to us.
    14:15, sometimes we have to stop praying (as we attempt to wait on an answer we already have been given) and take action!
    16:8, Stop grumbling. God is Sovereign, we are not! 16:19-22, What God ordains and is part of His plan, He provides for. They could not stockpile the manna. We are to “eat” the provided Word of God in daily doses, and when a trial comes, the sustenance is already within you. In 16:32, a jar of manna is kept as a reminder to remember how God provided.
    18:20, teach, make known the way to walk, and what is the work to do (See 2 Timothy 3:16)
    19:4, see Isaiah 40:31 to see and learn another important verse about eagle’s wings.
    In chapter 20, it is time to realize who God is and what love is. Anything we love more than God is to make it a god. Pride, self, place, popularity just to start! We need to know and understand God in our attempt to love as He loves, or our love is reduced to sentiment and infatuation! We need to understand the exclusiveness of our relationship with God and put no other gods before Him (in both the sense of “in front of” and “anywhere in His presence”). Instead, we are to live our entire lives in the presence of, under the authority of, and before the one and only God.
    Chapter 22, now is a good time to mention the 3 kinds of law: ceremonial, civil, moral; the 3 uses of the law: bridle (restrains, directs), mirror (leads us to Christ, as in the law always indicts), sanctification (we are justified but yet sinners, the already but not yet concept); and the 3 dangers of the law: antinomianism, legalism and theonomy (I will not even attempt to define these last 3 dangers as each would take a whole book, so do a brief look up on Google or keep on reading through God’s Word and learn more next year).
    23:14-16 mentions the three feasts to be celebrated each year, Passover (feast of unleavened bread), First-fruits (also called feast of weeks or later feast of Pentecost), and Ingathering (at the end of the year when the fruit of the fields is gathered, also call feast of booths)
    In 34:29-30, the face of Moses shines but He does not know it. Aaron and others are afraid to come near, because they know this is a manifestation of part of the glory of God being present and passing on through Moses.
    The remainder of the book is about the construction of the tabernacle.
    As we finish Exodus, I want to mention contrasts with the Leviticus, our next book. By the way, Leviticus is the most common reason why a few of those reading the Bible with us over the years stopped. I do not want you to stop, so we will cover Leviticus more quickly and from a summary view. This allows any that want, to delve into more detail from various study aids and commentaries, from the aspects that interest. I am also available to answer questions or point you to a source.
    Exodus emphasizes: Pardon, God’s approach to mankind, Salvation, and the theme is “Let my people go”
    Leviticus emphasizes: Purity, Mankind’s approach to God, Sanctification, and the theme is “Be holy because, I the Lord your God, am Holy”

    Exodus Chapter Themes
    1- Israel Multiplies in Egypt; Pharaoh’s Mistreatment
    2- The Birth of Moses
    3- The Burning Bush
    4- Moses Given Powers
    5- Israel’s Labor Increased
    6- God Promises Action
    7- Aaron’s Rod Becomes Serpent; Blood
    8- Frogs in the Land, Gnats, Flies
    9- Cattle, Boils, Hail
    10- Locusts, Darkness
    11- The Last Plague, Killing of the Firstborn
    12- The Passover Lamb
    13- God Leads the People
    14- Pharaoh in Pursuit
    15- Singing, Bitter Water Made Sweet
    16- Manna (What is it?)
    17- Water From the Rock
    18- Jethro Counsels Moses
    19- Moses and God on Sinai
    20- Ten Commandments
    21- Further Laws, Personal Injuries
    22- Property Rights
    23- Sundry (Various) Laws
    24- People Affirm Covenant
    25- Ark of Covenant, Table of Showbread, Lampstand
    26- Curtains, Boards and Sockets, Veil
    27- Bronze Altar and Court
    28- Garments for Priests
    29- Consecration of Food for Priests
    30- Altar of Incense and Anointing Oil
    31- Sign of the Sabbath
    32- Golden Calf
    33- Moses, a Friend of God
    34- Two Tablets Replaced, Moses’ Face Shines
    35- Sabbath Emphasized
    36- Tabernacle Construction
    37- Construction Continued
    38- Tabernacle Completed
    39- Priestly Garments
    40- Tabernacle Erected

  29. Exodus 15-18

    Later this week I will send out the remainder of the book of Exodus for those that are needing it. Some are concerned that we are a little behind the usual assigned readings of yearly plans. While that is true, we will read not read through Leviticus in the detailed way we have proceeded so far.

    Moses and the people dance and sing a song called the song of Moses celebrating how the Lord has triumphed gloriously by casting each Egyptian horse and rider into the sea, followed by, “The Lord is my strength and my song, He has become my salvation. This is my God and I will praise Him, my father’s God and I will exalt Him”
    This song of Moses is also referred to in Revelation 15 and is sung along with the song of the Lamb. This Lamb is Jesus and in Matthew 1:21, we find that Jesus means “One who saves”. So, for Christians, Jesus is the one who provides salvation, is the way of escape, provides a ransom for us (we are bought by His shed blood), and He releases us from our bondage to sin.
    However, after only days in the desert and no water, the people begin the first of many times of grumbling. They then find water but it was bitter and undrinkable. Moses puts in a log the Lord provides which purifies the water to become sweet. We will see purification of and by water many times (see Numbers 19:9 for one example).
    In Chapter 16 the Lord provides manna (means, “what is this?”) for food. It is provided each morning except the Sabbath for 40 years! At this point, it is important to point out that they were only to collect enough manna for each day except for the Sabbath when there are two portions collected (a portion was a tenth of ephah or about 3 liters). When they attempt to hoard, the Lord allows the manna to rot. (See 16:21 and consider the context of Psalm 34:8, reminding us to make sure to properly take in our daily portion of God’s Word. Like they could not stockpile manna, we also cannot stockpile His grace).
    God then provides meat after there is more grumbling. The people are reminded that they are not grumbling against Moses and Aaron but against God!
    In Chapter 17 the people again are tested. There is no water and they begin to quarrel. Again, it seems that God is on trial concerning provision, protection, and His very presence. God provides water from the rock, through Moses following exact instructions given. We will see later that Moses, on his own, will strike another rock and suffer consequences for this disobedience of God’s specific instructions, thinking he can do at least some things on his own.
    Chapter 17 closes with the first conflict with a foreign king. Joshua, who will later become the leader of the people, is the commander of the army that fights. During the fighting, Moses holds up his hands to symbolize the Lord’s help so that they can prevail in the battle. Aaron and Hur, the priests, help hold up Moses’ hands.
    This is a reminder to us of our lifting holy hands symbolizing lifting Jesus as “high and lifted up”, as we recognize that the Lord is the mighty One to save. This is also to note the importance of intercessory prayer.
    At the end of the battle they also construct an altar, naming it “the Lord is my banner” which is like carrying or planting a flag to signify conquering, going forth in battle, and possession. We are also in God’s army to constantly fight a war defending God’s power and His principles.
    In chapter 18, Moses has been performing the duties of leadership, priest, and judge. Some of these duties are too much for him and he is advised to choose men to help with the judging duties.

    Exodus 19-23

    About three months into their wilderness journey, we find the Israelites in the area of Mount Sinai. The Lord repeats His covenant with them and its conditions. In 19:8, the people respond that they will do all that the Lord has spoken through Moses. In verse 9 the Lord told Moses that He will come down in a thick cloud and the people will hear when God speaks with Moses.
    We then come to an interesting point. Moses is told by God to come to the mountain and meet with God. As chapter 20 opens, we typically think of this passage of the 10 Commandments as God sending 2 tablets with Moses down the mountain; however, in verse 1, it says that God spoke all these words. God also instructs that the people go through a consecration service and are told not to get past a certain point at the base of the mountain. The entire mountain is trembling and has the sounds of thunder plus lightning. As the 10 Commandments are spoken and finished, the people are afraid and in verse 18 through 20 they tell Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us lest we die.”
    Moses replies that God has come to test them that they might have fear of Him and not sin. Then God speaks to Moses (and presumably the people hear) and says, “You have seen for yourselves that I have talked with you from heaven.” He then repeats they shall not have other gods or worship conditions other than for Him.
    The following chapters present many other laws given to Moses. One to note now is chapter 21:5-6, a part of the law about slaves. As we will see in other scriptures, when a slave had served out his term of duty, he was a free man. But if you loved your master and wanted to continue to serve him, you could be termed a bondservant. This was symbolized by having an awl piercing of your ear. This marked you out and identified you. Similarly, we use this concept when we talk about Christians being bondservants of Jesus Christ, being set aside or sanctified, and serving Him in the newness of life we have received, for His purposes and not those of the world.
    Chapter 22 and 23 then continue on with the laws that God has passed on to Moses and in 24:3, “Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules.” The people again answer with one voice that they will follow all these rules and then there is a time of offering and sacrifice by the priests on behalf and in front of all the people.
    There are a lot of commands and rules! The truth is, the people will fail, and we also cannot follow the commands of God ourselves, we too fail. So salvation is not possible for us by following perfectly the rules, because we cannot; thus we rely upon God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and His indwelling Holy Spirit.
    As chapter 24 closes, we see that Moses is told to come up to God on the mountain and wait there, that the Lord may give him tablets of stone with the law and commandments. (See also 31:18 repeating the Lord providing the tablets of the testimony written by the finger of God) Moses remains on the mountain for 40 days and nights.
    At this point, most of us have known that there are two tablets of stone. Both “copies” are sent with Moses and many interpret this as two original copies. We have adopted this same procedure. Any official contract or document has an original copy for each of the parties to retain. In this case God provides both copies be kept by Moses to place in the Ark of the Covenant, since that will be both His and the people’s place of safekeeping.

    Exodus 25-31

    While Moses is on the mountain for those 40 days and receiving the two tablets with the commandments written on them, he is also given verbal directions for himself and to give the people concerning the building of, and procedures for, the tabernacle.

    I want you to read through chapters 25 through 31:11 as general information as we will see this material again when the actual tabernacle is constructed. For now, get a general sense, or, if you have time now, seek out more study of the importance and application of each part on your own.

    At this time all communication was primarily that of speech and remembering, not having a written account. Moses will later write all this down, becoming the 5 books of Moses, the first 5 books in our Bibles–also known as the Pentateuch.
    As Moses comes down from the mountain the words of God end with a reminder that the Sabbath is to be kept holy and the two tablets (written on both sides by God- See Genesis 31:18 and 33:15-16) are given to Moses.

    Let us return to some of the law and tabernacle verses to dwell upon in another context, which will also prepare us for the upcoming book of Leviticus.

    When we read 19:23, the boundaries are set because they could not come into the Lord’s presence unless set apart as holy. Similarly, if you are a Christian, you can properly worship God only because He has set you apart by washing you clean with and by Jesus’ shed blood. We are to become holy as He is holy, only possible by the Spirit of Christ indwelling us.
    We will see in Leviticus that the chief priest was the only one allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, and then only once a year (Day of Atonement). He had to be dressed properly. He had to do this year after year because the blood of bulls and goats could not take away a person’s sins forever (see Hebrews 10:2-4).
    In the chapters describing the plan of the tabernacle and how to worship, we will note such things as the blue pomegranates along the hem of the priest’s robe that apparently signified holiness. This seems to be the basis of “blue laws” on Sunday mornings continuing into my young adult years, where stores were not open and other business was not conducted, allowing for all to attend worship.
    28:35 notes bells were also on the hem of the priest’s robe, so tinkling could be heard when he was in the Holy of Holies. See Luke 1 regarding Zechariah going in to this holy part of the temple.
    30:34 tells of incense use which will later will be referred to as a sweet aroma rising up to the Lord and compared to prayers being lifted up to the Lord. See Psalm 141:2

  30. Continuing our reading of Exodus this week
    Exodus 4-11
    In 3:11, 14 and in chapter 4:1, 10, we see that Moses does not want to be the leader saying, who am I, what is His name who sends me, they will not believe me or listen to me, and I am not eloquent, and we need to have someone else.
    God deals with all these objections and in addition, in 4:19 tells him that all the men who were seeking his life are dead.
    Moses is further instructed that, when he does go back to Egypt he is to go before Pharaoh and demonstrate all the miracles (plagues) God has given him the power to summon, and then God will harden Pharaoh’s heart so he will not let the people go. And Moses is to say, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Israel is my firstborn son and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me (God),” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’
    In the next few chapters we see that there is a progressive demonstration to Pharaoh of God’s wonders which are the 10 plagues. In each case Pharaoh initially agrees with Moses in order to stop the plague, then his heart is hardened, and he offers a compromise situation to Moses. (See examples in 8:25 to stay just in the land, 8:28, only a little way into the wilderness, 10:8-11 to allow the men to go into the wilderness, but the families would stay in Egypt.)
    Throughout these chapters, we also see that the conditions of God’s people deteriorates and they not only grumble to Moses, but Moses is also challenging God as to whether or not things will turn out the way He has directed. (See 5:21 where the people even tell Moses that God has allowed a sword to be placed in Egypt’s hand to kill the Israelites)
    Throughout these chapters, I believe that we see a message to Christians as well, that we have a God with a perfect plan who saves us for His purposes, a God whom we are to celebrate (a feast 5:1, 10:9), sacrifice to (5:3, 8:8, Rom 12:1), serve (7:16, 8:1, 9:13), worship (4:31), and obey His Word (spoken to and through Moses and now written for us).
    It is interesting that the first plague is that of water turned into blood and in 7:19 we see this blood is even in the vessels of wood and vessels of stone. The Egyptians believed that their gods inhabited wood and stone.
    10:21-29 describes the plague of darkness. Through Pharaoh’s hatred and disobedience, God allows him to lose even his logical reasoning. As we refuse truth and light, we become dimmer and dimmer and we too develop a blindness (“in the dark”, “in a dark place”).
    In Chapter 11, Moses is told there will be one more plaque and then Pharaoh will let the people go. And, he is to instruct the people to ask the Egyptians for gold and goods.
    Exodus12-14
    God’s sovereign plan and man’s responsibility is again seen as we start the chapter 12 and see that Moses instructs the people that they are to put blood of a lamb on their door posts and lintel so that the Lord will pass over their house and not kill their firstborn son.
    He then gives instructions for eating all of this lamb with unleavened bread. This is to be a memorial day so throughout the generations there will be an annual Passover feast to remember what the Lord has done for them. There are many more elements in the Passover celebration that you can study (look up Jewish seder and Christian Passover to see all the elements that have the message of Easter and Jesus). But for now, note leaven is a symbol of sin, and the Passover memorial has a strong connection with the communion service where we see a remembrance of what Jesus did for us with His body broken and blood shed as our Lamb of God. See Luke 22:15-20 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
    Go back to 12:3-5 and see a progression from “a lamb” to “the lamb” and finally “your lamb”. In John 1:29, Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God. A question for you, “Is Christ just a lamb or the lamb for you–or is He your Lamb?” See also 1 Peter 1:18-19.
    On that night, at midnight in the darkness, all the Egyptian firstborn in the land of Egypt are struck down and killed. Moses is summoned and told he and all the Israelites are to leave quickly. In Chapter 11 we saw that the people had asked for and already been given gold and other goods, so they actually take many riches out with them plus all the livestock they were in charge of. All the “plunder” will be used in the construction of the tabernacle in the wilderness. The animals will be used for food and sacrifice.
    In chapter 13 we see God leads the people with a pillar of cloud and fire, going south rather than directly across the land of the Philistines. 13:17, they are lead this way because there is fear that the people will change their minds when they see war (presumably with the Philistines) and will want to return to Egypt.
    They camp near the Red Sea and then there is again fear as they find out that Pharaoh and his army are coming to get them. Pharaoh has once again changed his mind and does not want the Israelites to leave.
    But God provided for an angel to stand between the Israelites and the army, as well as providing a cloud and darkness. I believe this was darkness on the side of the army as we are told that there was also light and this is probably on the side of the Israelites.
    Moses is told to hold out his staff and the Lord parts the sea, they cross over with over half a million people plus animals, then the Egyptians are drowned in the returning water!

  31. Exodus 1-2:10

    Many of you are now ready to start Exodus. If not, just save these notes until you are ready to begin. You may be studying and reflecting a bit more on Genesis and that is awesome! Some reading programs also include reading through Job in the middle of Genesis as the chronological placing for that book. We will not have notes for Job until later.

    When we finished Genesis, the book of beginnings, we find that the Israelite people are dwelling in Egypt in the land of Goshen and are quite prosperous. God also allowed this unique way for them to be protected from intermarrying and being dispersed. We also saw that the entire family of Israel that went down to Egypt numbered in the 70’s. This is a good time to look at what might seem to be a disparity within the Bible. Acts 7:14 says 75 went to Egypt but Exodus 1:5 says that there are 70 descendants. The difference is extra servants of the family who came to Egypt with them.

    Now in the book of Exodus, meaning exit or departure, we will see how the people of Israel will exit Egypt and then spend time in the wilderness of modern Sinai. The number Israelites who leave Egypt 430 years after first arriving is in the range of 600,000 (this may only count the men who are 20 years and older).

    The book of Exodus is also called the book of Moses in the New Testament (Mark 12:26). Our keyword for the book is redemption.

    1:8 Joseph has now died and a new Pharaoh or king arises who does not know Joseph. This word “know” is also in the sense of not knowing that Joseph had saved Egypt.

    1:22 The new king or Pharaoh sees that the people of Israel have multiplied greatly and they need to be dealt with shrewdly lest they escape from the land. Therefore they begin to treat them harshly as slaves and demand their male babies be cast into Nile river.

    The remainder of chapter 1 details how the Hebrew midwives are to accomplish this for the king, but they resist. Their answer is that the Hebrew women just deliver too quickly. The king counters by commanding all his people that they shall cast every son of the Hebrews into the Nile.

    In chapter 2, we have the account of the birth of Moses who is hid by his mother for three months and then, instead of casting in him into the Nile, he is placed into an ark like basket. (there is an interesting parallel between this ark-like basket and the ark Noah built, both being used to save from destruction by water)

    God provides that Pharaoh’s daughter will be bathing at the edge of the Nile and notice the basket among the reeds and asks that it be brought to her, opens up and sees the baby. She then asks for a Hebrew woman to nurse the child till he is about two years old, which of course is his mother! He is then returned to Pharaohs daughter and she takes him as a son and names him Moses (Moses means drawn out of the water).

    Moses is a descendent of Levi and he and his brother Aaron will be the first priests. We will see Moses lives 120 years. The first 40 years he is a son within the household of the king, his second 40 years are spent in the wilderness of Midian, and then the last 40 years are spent leading the people out of Egypt and through the time in the desert wilderness of Sinai.

  32. For this week, I am posting the remaining notes for Genesis, plus the review section and the Chapter Themes Gini wrote in one of her Bibles. You can proceed at your own pace as you now complete the book of Genesis and hopefully have time to review and apply.
    Genesis 38-40
    Judah (who is the fourth son of Leah) marries a Canaanite woman and has 3 sons. When Judah’s oldest son is grown, he is given a wife and her name is Tamar. The son dies and the second son is given to her who also dies. It was a custom to give the next son to a wife when her husband died. However Judah’s wife dies and he does not give the third son to his daughter-in-law. She then pretends to be a temple prostitute and Judah comes to her by the road, but has no payment. So Tamar demands he give her his signet ring instead of just a promise of a goat. She becomes pregnant by her father-in-law Judah. She has twins and one of them is Perez who is in the messianic lineage. See Ruth 4:18 and Matt 1:3
    In chapter 39 we return to Joseph who is now in Egypt and has been sold as slave to Potiphar. Because he finds favor with Potiphar, he is put in charge of his entire household. Because Joseph was handsome, Potiphar’s wife attempts repeatedly to seduce him but Joseph refuses, telling her, “How can I do this great evil, and sin against God?” On one occasion he leaves his robe as he flees. She accuses him to her husband and Potiphar puts him in prison. (Again, we see God’s sovereign protection as Potiphar must have had some question about her story, because he does not have Joseph killed. Also, see the first verses of Psalm 1 that remind us to keep on walking when confronted by sin. We are not to stop and certainly not to participate!)
    The Lord is with Joseph in the sight of the keeper of the prison and is put in charge of all prisoners. Two of the prisoners are the cupbearer and baker for the king. One night they both have a dream and find out that Joseph could interpret dreams. The cupbearer asks him to tell him what his dream means. Joseph explains that in three days Pharaoh will lift up his head and restore him to his office. The baker also wants to know, so Joseph tells him his dream means his head will also be lifted up in three days, but instead will be hung on a tree.
    Joseph asks the cupbearer to remember him to Pharaoh so he also can be released from prison.
    However, two years pass without mention, and Pharaoh has a dream of seven cows eaten up by 7 thin, ugly ones; and seven heads of grain that are plump and are swallowed up by seven ears or heads that are thin and blighted.
    No one could interpret the dreams and the cupbearer remembers, and tells the king about Joseph. The king sends for him. Joseph explains the dreams to indicate there will be seven years are plenty followed by seven years of famine in the land.
    Joseph is appointed as the second most powerful person in Egypt to control all of the land and produce for the next 14 years of plenty and famine.
    Joseph is given an Egyptian wife and has two sons, the first born named Manasseh and second born named Ephraim. Manasseh means amnesia, and Joseph says, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”
    Joseph is now 30 years old and is clothed in a linen robe (presumably with long sleeves!), and as we will see in the next few chapters, his brothers will indeed bow down to him without knowing who he is.
    (This is a good place to again tell you my translation of my life verse which is Proverbs 16:9, “In his heart or mind, man makes his plans, but the Lord guides and directs each step.” So, we can make our plans and have our dreams but the Lord is the one who guides and directs each step we take throughout our lives as we serve Him. He is teaching us it is not about us, instead everything is totally about our God!)
    Genesis 42-45
    Much like a play, we see God’s plan unfold with the famine also extending into the land of Canaan. Jacob instructs his sons to go down to Egypt because they heard there is grain there for sale. But he does not allow his youngest son Benjamin to go.
    Next we see that Joseph is now governor of the land. He recognizes them but they do not recognize Joseph. He asks them many questions and accuses them of being spies. They admit there is one brother that they did not bring along. He proposes that they be tested by sending one of them back to get the youngest brother. He confines them and on the third day decides that all but one of them should go back to get the youngest brother.
    They return to their father with grain, but Joseph instructs his steward to put all of their money into their sacks. They discover the money in their sacks when they empty them at home and are distressed, wondering why God has done this to them.
    When they present all of the facts to their father Jacob, Reuben tells his father that if he does not return with the brother who has been left in Egypt, then Jacob should kill his two sons. This is the same Reuben who prevented the killing of Joseph his brother, and reminded his brothers while they were in Egypt and in Joseph’s presence about how they had dealt with their brother (Joseph has an interpreter present at that time and they do not know that he is listening to everything they say and understanding).
    After their grain is exhausted, they need to return to Egypt buy more grain. Jacob does not want to send Benjamin but finally relents and allows them to take him along with choice fruits and the previous money plus additional money to buy grain.
    On arrival Joseph puts them through more testing and they are even more afraid of Joseph because of the previous circumstances.
    They are invited to have lunch with Joseph and are very afraid. Joseph is overwhelmed when he sees Benjamin but they are unaware of it as a Joseph leaves the room to weep. They also notice that Benjamin’s portion of food is five times as much as any of theirs.
    Again they are given grain and sent on their way, but Joseph again has his steward put money in the mouth of their bags and his silver cup in the mouth of the sack of Benjamin. When they are short distance away, Joseph sends his steward after them to ask why they have repaid evil for good by taking the cup from which his master drinks.
    When returned to Joseph’s presence, Judah represents them and pleads with Joseph that he cannot keep the youngest son as his slave because it would cause their father to die in his old age.
    Joseph can no longer control himself and reveals himself to his brothers and they are at first relieved and then concerned because of what they did to him when he was a boy, –that Joseph may take some sort of revenge. Although we do not know, some suggest that when Joseph says, “Please come closer to me”, Joseph may have shown them that he was circumcised.
    He then instructs them to go back home and get their father and come back and dwell in the land of Goshen in Egypt.
    When they return and tell their father he is numb with joy in his heart and is willing to go to Egypt to see Joseph his son before he dies.
    Genesis 46-50
    Jacob whom God has renamed Israel is told in a dream that he is to go to Egypt
    where he will be made into a great nation and his son Joseph’s hand will close
    his eyes. 66 persons travel to Egypt (and with Joseph’s family of 4) there are
    a total of 70 of Jacob’s descendants that settle in the land Goshen. Acts 7 says there are a total of 75 who travel to Egypt, so there must be some of the servants that are included in that higher number?
    They are allowed to be by themselves in this part of Egypt, because Joseph told them
    to tell Pharaoh that their occupation is that of a keeper of livestock, a disgusting occupation and an abomination to the Egyptians. The Israelite people gain possessions in Goshen and are fruitful and multiply greatly.
    As Israel is nearing the time of his death he has Joseph promise to carry his bones out of Egypt to
    the family burial place near Hebron. Israel also desires to bless Joseph’s two sons and asks that they be brought to him. His eyes were “dim” and he could not determine which child was which. Joseph tries to get his father to bless the older son with his right hand but Israel crosses his hands and blesses
    Ephraim the younger one with his right hand. Joseph tells Israel, but when corrected, he says that he does know and still blesses the Ephraim saying the younger will be the greater.
    It is important to note that this is the first blessing and provides for Joseph’s sons to receive the double portion which is usually reserved to the firstborn son.
    Genesis 49 has Israel’s blessings for his sons. Judah’s is in 49:8-12 and Judah is to be the ruler
    which was the other special portion the firstborn usually received. He bypassed the firstborn as well as Reuben, Simeon and Levi to choose Judah. 49:10, “The septer shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes…” Shiloh means rest and in Luke 3 and Hebrews 4 we see that Jesus is the Rest Giver.

    In 49:24–26 we see that there is a repeat blessing to Joseph that from his offspring there will be a Shepherd and Stone of Israel (see Deut 32:4 for the first use of another Hebrew word referring to God as Rock).
    During his blessing, Israel reminds Joseph that he was set apart from his brothers (this indicates to me God’s perfect plan to have Joseph removed and set apart for His special plan to be carried out through Joseph in Egypt.
    Israel then dies and is taking back to be buried beside Abraham and Sarah (as well as Rebekah and Leah).
    Genesis closes with Joseph’s words that his brothers should not fear him, further saying “As for
    you, you meant evil against me but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive as they are today” Meditate on Psalm 103 especially verse 5 regarding God’s goodness.

    Genesis Review / Further Application
    Genesis of course means beginnings. The first 3 Hebrew words are “beginning, God, created”. That really tells it all: Who God is, who man is not. When there was not anything else at all, there was God and He spoke! The book is the account of the beginning of the unfolding of God’s plan for a Savior through the Israelites. Although we have included application thoughts throughout the study of the chapters, we now have a section to cause us to review, think through what we have learned, and suggest additional connections and applications.
    Think of the Bible account as this: Genesis 1-2, generation; Genesis 3, degeneration, and the rest of the Bible as regeneration, seeing God provides for salvation and homecoming.
    When we hear the phrase, “in the likeness of God”, or “in His image”, we need to see He created man to be different than all the rest of His creation, to at least understand that as humans we are morally responsible and accountable to God, including all our relationships. We have a spirit that can hear and praise God as well as hear and understand His Word, and we can reason, think logically, make ethical decisions, develop a philosophy, and develop skills that go beyond our capabilities such as computers. All these and so many more aspects of our human pilgrimage on this earth make us know that we are set apart, which also includes the aspect of seeking holiness as God is holy.
    As we studied chapter 3 and original sin, we learned that Eve was deceived, but Adam was the one responsible. We also learn that Eve’s desire would be for her husband and the tension that results from the woman’s desire to control. Think about this possibility in this account that Adam was willing to lose his relationship with God rather than be separated from his wife through her death, and thus be apart from her. She was deceived, he chose. When a woman controls a man’s heart, she also controls his head (by the way, this paragraph was written by Gini and not by Gene. She counseled many wives and young women to follow God’s way in their relationship with the man they love. Simply put, the woman is to respect her husband and not try to control, letting him be in charge, and if she does not, he most often responds in one of two ways, either to be quiet, to which even more persistent demands of his wife will cause him to shrink away or leave; or else he will get angry and assert his manhood resulting in some kind of abuse. Either way, there can be ultimate male depression resulting in abandonment, drugs, alcohol, and absence of self-worth.) See Genesis16:2, and 39:19 as two Bible examples.
    In Genesis 4 we saw that the type of offering to God is important. What am I presenting to God as an offering in the areas of self, family, ministry? Is it what He desires? Quality and attitude also matter.
    In 8:20 we see that the extra clean animals and birds were spared destruction only to be sacrificed. So to, we have been spared from our being dead to sin, to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God (Rom 12:1-2).
    Chapter 12 begins a new section of Genesis and the covenant of God with His people is given and explained. The Covenant is confirmed many times and in different ways as it is progressively revealed to mankind through the Bible including our New Covenant relationship with Christ. In Genesis, we will see the covenant repeated in 13:14-17, 15:1-7 and circumcision commanded as a sign in chapter 17 where God reveals another of His names, El Shadai or God Almighty.
    In chapter 15:9 in the covenant confirmation, we see that all 5 of the sacrificial animals are used that we will learn about in Leviticus. Also, in 15:17, we see smoke and fire that will later be the symbol leading the people in the wilderness in Numbers. Although, it is easy to see God has chosen a people for His own in the Israelites, we also will see many “foreigners” included in the household of faith. Women in the human lineage of Jesus are one example, but the last verse of chapter 17 introduces the household or family concept that includes not only biological members. We are also considered sons of Abraham or adopted sons of God. In chapter 18:18-19, we learn that there is a personal and intimate covenant relationship with God that now includes us. We are saved because God chose us. We too are told to command (not just teach) our children so as to keep them under the law until such time as they come to know God.
    Chapter 19:14 says that Lot appears to be jesting to his sons-in-law. This is often how the lost view or perceive the Lord’s warnings in life. But, verse 16 shows the concept of God’s irresistible grace in His chosen as men (angels) seized the hand of Lot and his daughters, “for the compassion of the Lord was upon him (Lot)”
    In chapter 20 note that when Abraham again compromises with a “white lie” again, the Lord uses an unbeliever to rebuke him. This is not something any of us wants, but God’s sovereignty and His plan is not restricted to work only through those that recognize and fear Him. Rom 8:28 reminds us that “all things work together”. In Exodus, we will see God working through the unbelieving leader of Egypt. Gini and I experienced our first earthquake while visiting in Mexico many years ago. We had been talking about the Lord to an unbelieving hotel worker for several days; Gini was upset most of the day and it showed, but the unbelieving man in halting English asked her, “Can not your God take care of you?”
    Mount Moriah mentioned in chapter 22 is one of the 7 mounts on which the city of Jerusalem is built and many believe it is the future temple mount that is still in the city today.
    In chapter 25, the descendants of Esau are the Edomites that later will come with Nebuchednezer from Babylon when Jerusalem was destroyed (Ps 137:7-8). Herod is also a descendant of the Esau.
    31:7-9 teaches again about God’s sovereignty over our “wages”, He provides all our provisions that are needed.
    Chapter 34:13 and following, teaches us against promoting a holy cause in an unholy way and being motivated by hatred of the enemy rather than love for the truth. The end of the chapter also teaches that we are not to be concerned about our own reputation and safety, rather, concern for our conduct or the conduct of our children. Then in chapter 35, Jacob is reminded about God’s faithfulness previously in his life.
    In chapter 37:3-4 we learned about the special coat or tunic that Israel made and gave to Joseph. We do not know exactly how, but this coat was recognized as showing that Joseph was placed over them, was loved more than his brothers, and they hated him. In 2 Sam 13:18-19, we see that “varicolored” or “many colored” can also be translated “long sleeved” or “full length”. Some scholars suggest that workers in that time wore short coats or tunics without sleeves, while those ruling or in power wore longer garments (often called robes) with long sleeves. Regardless, there was something obvious about Joseph’s coat that, along with his prophetic pronouncements, again angered his brothers, resulting in his being sold into slavery, totally being the plan of God as we see in Genesis50:20.
    In this same chapter, there is the 20 pieces of silver paid, and that was the price of a boy slave. In Matthew 26:15 we see that there were 30 pieces of silver paid, the price of a man slave.
    In Genesis 39:5 notice how the covenant relationship is for the whole household to be blessed. This does not mean that the whole household believed in God. This covenant promise is a distinct part of the reformed Christian faith that we hold to. In this same chapter we see that the household includes Potipher’s wife who desires Joseph. We also see that he follows the Lord, knowing to do otherwise would be sin against God. This is what I term, “Keep on walking” based on Psalm 1. We need to be able to seek God and prepare in advance what we will do when confronted with sin. Look at Psalm 1:1 and see what I mean. It starts by says “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked”. This is where the temptation should immediately stop, but certainly not to go on to stop and stand in the way or path that the sinner is on, and you must not sit or join in and actually participate! Don’t even let sin enter your heart through any of your senses (see Genesis 3:6)
    In Genesis 41:16 note that we are not to use what God provides for our own glory or to vent the various injustices we or others are going through, but to give God the glory, knowing that all things are for our good and our maturity in faith and obedience. In verse, 38-40, we find that Joseph again is an example to us to do right and trust God in any result. He has gone from prisoner to prime minister. God’s timing in deliverance is perfect. Remember to praise Him even in the dungeon—don’t panic. See Phil 3:13 to not hold things against another, but instead live a fruitful life to the glory of God.
    In chapter 42, Joseph is now about 39 years old when the brothers come to Egypt. Note the various ways that Joseph tested them and their heart attitudes.
    In 45:5-9 Joseph summarizes why God has caused all this to happen. Know that God is working through your plans to direct every step. See Proverbs 16:9 which is Gene’s life verse. While I am saying this, Gini’s life verse is 3 John 4 which also speaks to these recent paragraphs, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children (she would add grandchildren and spiritual children) are walking in the truth.”
    Genesis Chapter Themes
    One of Gini’s Bibles was devoid of Chapter titles or themes and one year she added her interpretative theme to each. This was modified occasionally through succeeding years, but rarely with my input. So, for each book, I will include a listing of her chapter themes. She endeavored to limit the theme to no more than 5 words, but occasionally added an additional phrase, so I have put changes or additions in parenthesis, as they help us see the direction of her thoughts, which I pray will help you see and apply the truths in each chapter. As the wife of my life, the Lord certainly gave me a Wow! Woman as a helpmate to help me in my walk with the Lord during our 51 plus years of marriage. Together we were iron sharpening iron for each other, and attempted to sharpen others by in-depth study and application of the truths of God. Hopefully this endeavor to collate our notes from various Bibles will do the same for you—my prayer for sure. So, read the Bible diligently, with prayer, then seek to interpret, then seek the thoughts of other theologians and fellow Christians for direction, and finally apply all that you have learned to every thought, word and deed of your daily life.

    1- Creation (6 days of Creation)
    2- Adam and Eve in Eden (Adam get Ribbed, a Lady in the Making, Rest—then Woman!)
    3- The Fall – Spiritual Death (Original sin – Disobedience)
    4- Murder – Physical Death (Jealousy, then murder)
    5- Adam to Noah, “and he died”
    6- Noah Builds an Ark (build a what?)
    7- Destruction by Flood
    8- Flood Waters Recede (wait– then worship, A new day!)
    9- Rainbow – Sign of Covenant
    10- Descendants of Noah (Origins of the Nations)
    11- Babel – Abram Introduced (Scattering of the Nations)
    12- Abram’s Follows God and is Blessed to be a Blessing
    13- Abram and Lot Separate
    14- Abram Fights for Sodom and Lot
    15- God’s Covenant with Abram
    16- Sarai’s Impatience – Ishmael
    17- Abram Circumcised – Covenant Sign (Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah, each receives a portion of God’s name)
    18- Abram Pleads for Sodom
    19- Sodom Destroyed – Lot Spared – Salt — Incest
    20- Sarah and Abimilech (She’s my sister—again!–see Chapter 12)
    21- Isaac In, Ishmael Out
    22- God Will Provide the Sacrifice, the Lamb, my Son (God tests Abraham’s faith)
    23- Death and Burial of Sarah
    24- Rebekah and Isaac (he only had one wife)
    25- Abraham’s Death; Isaac’s Twins (Birthright for stew)
    26- God Blesses Isaac in Gerar (he does not go down to Egypt because of famine)
    27- Jacob’s Deception—Stolen Blessing (Rebekah and Jacob complete tricking Esau out of his blessing)
    28- Jacob Flees and Dreams
    29- The Deceiver gets Deceived (Leah and Rachel—the worm turns)
    30- The Sons of Jacob (Jacob’s bargain with Laban)
    31- Jacob Leaves Secretly (covenant with Laban)
    32- Jacob Strives with God (Between a rock-Laban, and a hard place-Esau)
    33- Jacob Meets Esau—Reconciliation
    34- Dinah Raped and Shechem Circumcised (Defilement, Deception, Disgrace)
    35- Jacob Named Israel—Rachel’s Death (God covenants with Jacob)
    36- Descendants of Esau (Edom)
    37- Joseph Sold into Slavery (Coat, dreams, jealousy, slavery)
    38- Judah and Tamar (1 of 4 women named in Matthew 1 in lineage of Jesus and none is an Israelite)
    39- Potipher’s Wife and Joseph
    40- Joseph in Prison (Cupbearer and baker dreams)
    41- Pharaoh’s Dream (from dreams to ruler)
    42- Brothers to Egypt — famine
    43- Brothers Return with Benjamin
    44- Benjamin Caught with Planted Cup
    45- Joseph Identifies Himself
    46- Jacob and Family to Egypt
    47- Joseph Works Trade Agreement
    48- Joseph Gives Joseph Double Portion (blessing Ephraim the second son first and then Manasseh)
    49- Jacob now Israel Prophecies of his 12 Sons
    50- Jacob Buried in Canaan—Joseph Dies

  33. Genesis 32-37
    I know that many of you are thinking already,–I purposed I would read through the Bible this year and I am already tired, struggling and just don’t think I am going to be able to do this. Just remember when you were a first grader and told your mom that you would never be able to read! She encouraged you as I am now. She knew that the letters of the alphabet you were so proud to memorize would begin to be recognized as words and then sentences that you would understand. This would then allow you to gain knowledge, understanding and even wisdom to communicate and interact with everyone around you in a whole new light. I am praying the same for you as you continue to read what sometimes just seems to be a “bunch of words”. I am praying that the Lord will use the words I type and the notes, to bring you closer to God and His plan for your life, as you take in and digest your daily “meal” of His Word, understanding a little more each day the truth of Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may behold the wondrous things of your law (Word).”
    Genesis 32-34
    Jacob now sends messengers before him on his way back to his own country. They are to find Esau and tell him that Jacob wants to have favor with him.
    The messengers return and tell him that Esau has 400 men with him and is coming their way.
    Jacob is afraid and divides much of his flocks into portions for each of his servants, and sends them ahead and separated by time and distance, with instructions that when Esau asks, “What are these and to whom do you belong”, that they are to say that they are a present and gift from his brother Jacob.
    After sending them, Jacob spends the night in camp and wrestles with God. Jacob’s hip joint is put out of place and he is renamed by God and called “Israel” instead of Jacob (we will still see the use of Jacob as his name on many occasions).
    Jacob arises and separates his family into two groups and then proceeds to meet Esau with himself first. Esau runs to meet his brother, embraces him, falls on his neck, kisses, and weeps. Israel bows down 7 times to the ground when he meets Esau (this was the custom when you met a ruler of an area). Esau does not want to accept Jacob’s gifts, but then does. Jacob says, “I see your face, as one sees the face of God, and you have received me favorably.” Esau wants Jacob to accompany him, but Jacob is still afraid and wary (we too often see God’s intervention, but still have reservations!). He claims that they are to weary from their journey and will come later.
    Jacob enters Caanan and buys a piece of land near Shechem.
    Genesis 34-35
    Dinah, daughter of Leah is defiled by Shechem who is one of the Hivites. His father wants to give a brideprice and have her for his son and have intermarriage between them and the Israelites. But Jacob’s sons are deceptive (who do you think they learned this from!) and say that they cannot do this thing for anyone who is uncircumcised. The Hivites agree to be circumcised and on the third day when they are most sore, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, take their swords and kill all of the males of the Hivites and then plunder their city.
    When Jacob is informed, he very concerned that the surrounding peoples will gather and destroy his family. God tells Jacob to arise and go back north from the Hebron area, back to Bethel and dwell there. They are to put away all the foreign gods among them, purify themselves, and change their garments. They do so and on the way all peoples surrounding them are frightened of them. (Here we see that Jacob is again reminded of God’s victory in Jacob’s time of fear.)
    God’s promise is renewed and then chapter 35 closes with the death of Rachel who is in labor with Benjamin. Benjamin means son of strong right hand, but most of the Benjamite men mentioned in the Bible are left-handed.
    We should also note that Rachel dies near Ephrath which is Bethlehem. See Ruth 4:11, Micah 5:2, and Psalm 132:6
    Reuben sins by laying with his father’s concubine (Leah’s maid and mother of Dan and Naphtali) and is later deprived of both his firstborn double portion of inheritance, and his leadership position.
    Genesis 36-37
    One paragraph of note in this chapter of Esau’s descendants describes that Esau took his wives and children and left his brother Jacob because, combined, their possessions were too great for them to dwell together. Esau settled in the hill country of Seir, also known as Edom (meaning red).
    Chapter 37 opens with an account of Joseph at age17. He is the favorite son of Isaac (firstborn of Rachael) because he was the son of his old age. We know the story pretty well in that he was made a coat of many colors (which also might be a special type of coat with long sleeves worn by someone who ruled and did not have to worry about sleeves in the way while working). His brothers hated hearing him and could not speak peacefully to him. Joseph has a dream that his wheat sheaf stands up and those of his brothers were bowing down to him. He told it to his brothers and then also had a second dream where there was the sun and the moon and 11 stars bowing down to Joseph as well. His father Israel, when he hears of the dream, also rebukes his son but does keep the saying in mind.
    Israel then sends Joseph to check on his brothers in enemy country near Shechem. He finds his brothers and they plot to kill him, but then Reuben as oldest prevails to put him into a dry well. While Reuben is away, the others sell Joseph for 20 pieces of silver (the price for a boy slave) to traders going to Egypt. The brothers then plot a cover-up of their sin. They tear his coat and kill a male goat and stain the coat with its blood. They take the coat back to their father. He is deceived and considers that Joseph must have been killed by a fierce animal.
    There are two interesting observations to make in this chapter. One is that this is now the reverse deception that we saw earlier in Israel’s life. In both goat’s hair and blood are used and clothing is a deception both times as well. See Genesis 27:15
    Second, Joseph is sold to the Ishmaelites for silver (the price of a boy slave). See Zachariah 11:12 and Genesis 26:15 in reference to prophecies about Jesus and then the actual fulfillment of betrayal of Jesus by Judas being paid 30 pieces of silver (the price of a man slave). Matthew 26:15

  34. Genesis 29-31

    Chapter 29 starts with Jacob not being deceived as he asks some shepherds, “Do you know Laban” and the answer is that Rachel, his daughter is coming with sheep. Likewise, Jacob does not deceive Rachael or Laban during their meet and greet, but Laban has deception in his mind later as the two men decide that Jacob’s wages for working 7 years will be Rachael his daughter as a bride. We are told that these 7 years seemed to Jacob but a few days. Gini has a Bible note here: “Love can always wait to give, but lust can never wait to get”. This is a very perceptive statement and admonition.
    But, as we shall soon see, Laban deceives Jacob because, after the seven years are up and a wedding feast, in the dark of night, he gives him Leah has older daughter because it was the custom to marry off the firstborn before any of the younger.
    Note that Jacob does have Rachel as his wife after just another one week and then promises to work another seven years.
    Jacob begins to father children and we learn that Leah and the maids of Leah and Rachel can have children but Rachael cannot, and this causes difficulties. It is interesting here to note that the first 3 sons of Leah have husband directed names and Judah, her fourth child, has a God directed name.
    Rachel finally has a son named Joseph and then, because Jacob wants to return to his home,
    Laban and Jacob agree that Jacob will remain and take care of Laban’s flocks for a period of time and only keep those that are speckled or spotted.
    Laban immediately removes all the animals that are spotted, striped and speckled!
    Jacob then immediately returns the deception by placing the animals in front of almond and striped poplar trees which produce spotted, striped and speckled animals.
    After some years, Jacob notices that Laban is not regarding him as before. Jacob decides that he must just flee, so he gathers his two wires, the two maids, all of his children all of his animals and begins his journey back, telling his wives that their father has cheated him all of these years. He is overtaken by Laban who is disappointed and even says to Jacob “What have you done, that you have tricked me and driven away my daughters as captives of the sword?”
    After a disagreement and Laban telling Jacob everything that he has really belongs to Laban, they agree to allow separation and Jacob goes on to his homeland where he will meet his brother Esau

  35. Genesis 25:18- 27

    The remainder of Genesis 25 is an account of Isaac at age 40 married to Rebekah. 20 years later she is pregnant with twins. The twins have a struggle within the womb and the Rebekah is told that the older will serve the younger. Esau is born first and is hairy and red and turns out to be more of an outdoors man whom his father Isaac loves (Esau is a word that means favored). Jacob is the second born of the twins and is more domestic, favored by his mother. The word Jacob means “deceiver” and we shall see throughout his life there are many times that he uses deception in order to gain an advantage, and to have any situation go his way. We will also see that Jacob will be deceived as well.
    We are told that one day Esau comes back from the field exhausted and notices his brother has cooked some stew. He asks Jacob for stew and the intense conversation is one of selling his birthright to gain a bowl of stew. He saw his birthright of no use to him at that moment and agrees. The chapter closes with an interesting phrase that Esau “despised his birthright”. The word despise means thought little of or underestimated. It is important to know that the birthright included two things. First there was a double portion of inheritance, which in this case would have meant a two thirds, one third split. Second, the birthright to the oldest son included leadership and spiritual authority.
    Chapter 26 opens with another famine in the land and Isaac is tempted to go to Egypt but the Lord tells him not to, that he will receive blessings, and God will care for him. Just as his father had, when he has a confrontation with a king, he tells the men of Gerar region where he is living, that his wife is his sister (she is his first cousin). This is followed by an account of God’s protection and provision–even in disputes over wells which were critical for water of the people and animals. The chapter closes was a short statement about Esau at age 40 marrying a woman from the Hittites.
    In chapter 27 we find that Rebekah overhears her husband Isaac tell Esau he would desire to have some delicious food made from some game. As Esau goes out hunting, Rebecca colludes with Jacob to cook some stew and prepare for Isaac. Jacob then deceives his father (who has poor eyesight) by putting on Esau’s clothes. Rebekah helps by putting hairy skin on his hands and neck so that Jacob will feel and smell like his brother. The deception is completed before Esau returns and Isaac blesses Jacob instead Esau. When Isaac finds out, he is distraught because he surely knows of the account of the sale of the birthright as well as knowing God had chosen Jacob, but it appears that he intended to bless and give to Esau the blessing of the firstborn. Esau pleads with his father for some kind of blessing and says that his brother Jacob came deceitfully.
    Esau hates Jacob and vows to kill him. Rebekah learns of this and tells Jacob that he must arise at once and flee to her brother Laban in Haran. She will send for him when things calm down. She then tells Isaac that it would not be good for Jacob to marry a Canaanite woman and he should bless Jacob and direct him to take a wife from his kinsmen. See also Hebrews 12:15-18.

    Genesis 28

    We closed last chapter with mention that Rebekah had used a loathing of the Hittite women to partially deceive her husband and we know that Jacob means deceiver. The word deceitful here is translated as a Hebrew word meaning to deceive things with blindness and being in darkness. How often we all tend to keep people from “seeing” the entire truth, or “keep them in the dark”.
    As chapter 28 opens, we see Isaac calls Jacob in and blesses him and directs him to not take a wife from the Canaanite woman but to go to his kinsman and take a wife from one of the daughters of Laban who is Rebekah’s brother.
    Esau hears this and we are again told that he goes to Ishmael (the son of Abraham who was excluded from the promises) and takes his daughter as a wife. The descendents of Esau are the Edomites. Later, we will see the Edomites will not let the Israelites pass through their country when the Israelites, under the leadership of Moses leave Egypt (Numbers 20:14-29). And, the Edomites will join others to attempt to conquer the Israelites (see 2 Chronicles 20 for one example where they join with Lot’s descendants, the Moabites and Ammonites); and the Edomites will again come with Nebuchadnezzar from Babylon when Jerusalem is destroyed. (Psalm 137 and Hebrews 12:15-17)
    Next we have the account of Jacob’s dream, which is also referred to as Jacobs ladder, where he dreams that there is a ladder that reaches up towards heaven and angels of God were ascending and descending. In the dream God conveys to Jacob that He is with him and will keep him wherever he goes and will bring him back to the land. Jacob awakes and says, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.” This is a verse that has been put to song and it is just a delight for us to ponder upon those words, as we know God is everywhere. Jacob renames the place Bethel and sets up a pillar as a symbol of God’s house and he promises to give a full 10th of everything to the Lord.

  36. Genesis 23-25:18

    Chapter 23 starts with the account of Sarah death and Abraham requests to buy a piece of land to have as a burial place in the region of Hebron where they are living. The owner of the field wants to give it to Abraham. They go back-and-forth and finally Abraham pays for the land and this is the only land he ever owns. The land includes a cave and that is where Sarah is buried.
    In chapter 24 Abraham is old and desires to have a wife for his son that is of their own people and not from any of the people of the land in which they are dwelling. We see a swearing or oath ceremony of his oldest (most loyal) servant by the placing of his hand underneath the thigh of Abraham. This is possibly where we get our word “testify” because the hand is placed near the area of the testicles and provides for a promise that is related to the very place of future life. This serious oath could not be changed, so
    the servant must go and find Isaac a wife from Abraham’s relatives, and must not take Isaac to that place.
    This is a good time to tell you that Proverbs 16:9 is Gene’s life verse. We see Abraham and his servant making plans and the servant departing to the land of Abraham’s kindred, but the Lord guides and directs each detail and each step. The servant stops by the well where, and at the time, the women of the city come out to draw water and he asks the Lord to let the young woman to whom he shall say “please let down your jar that I may drink” be the one that is to be chosen. There are more awesome details and the servant closes his request, “I shall know that you (the Lord) have shown steadfast love to my master.” Even before he had finished speaking in his heart with the Lord, Rebekah (whose name we learned at the end of chapter 22), is the young woman who does all of these things in his presence and after discerning and looking at her in silence, the servant gives her a gold ring and then asks her to take him to her father where he can spend the night.
    The remainder of the chapter is a beautiful account the confirmation from Abraham’s kindred that this is the woman who will then be presented to Isaac. She agrees and she leaves with the servant to return to become the bride of Isaac.
    The first part of the chapter 25 tells the account of Abraham’s death and that he is buried in the same cave has his wife Sarah

  37. Genesis 22
    Through the years I have been taught that if you teach or preach about Abraham you must include Genesis 22. The chapter opens with a statement that God is to test Abraham “after these things”. The “things” included the laughter and joy of the birth of his son Isaac after such a seeming long delay. Remember, the testing of God regarding a promised child is where Abraham has failed the most. The test is to obey God when he says “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there is a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” And, by the way, this is the first instance of the use of the word “love” in the Bible. And do you see God’s command now threatens His promise?
    At this point I have two questions, as we see God test each of us through adversity and hardship situations of our lives. Do we want a God who gives, but not a God who takes or tests? And do we hope in the gift, or the Giver of gifts? (See James 1:17)
    Abraham’s response was immediate and the next morning he takes his son and wood and they are off to the mountain that God will show them. When Isaac notices that there is no lamb for the burnt offering, he queries his father who says “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering my son.” We know the rest of this account of the teenage boy allowing himself to be bound on the pile of wood and Abraham raising the knife to provide for the sacrifice to include shedding of blood and then God stops him, saying, “I now know that you fear me and you have not withheld your son, your only son from me.” A lamb is provided by God and Abraham sacrifices the lamb on this mountain and says that the name of that place will be “the Lord will provide” and “on this mount of the Lord, it shall be provided.” This mount is one of 7 mounts or hill areas on which Jerusalem is built. Many scholars believe that this is actually the mount on which the temple is built in Jerusalem. And, it is important to note that a mount in Jerusalem is also called Golgotha, where Jesus is crucified, shedding His blood as a sacrifice for for us and our sins in conquering death and giving us the hope of eternal life through faith in Him. Two more notes:
    1- the lamb that is provided would have been an adult male ram, and we see in the New Testament that Jesus is called lamb of God (John 1:29)
    2- the chapter concludes with some names that are easily overlooked but if you look closely there is a record of Milcah, the wife of Nahor (one of Abraham’s brothers mentioned at the end of Genesis 11). Nahor did not accompany the family to Haran. Rebekah is the only female child listed, a granddaughter of Nahor.

  38. Gen 17-21 part 2

    Going back to chapter 18, we see 2 interwoven accounts. The first is Abraham having to intercede for the city of Sodom before the Lord, to have it spared on Lot”s account. Abraham asks the Lord, that if there can be found even ten righteous people in the city, it will be spared. God destroys the city but not before he has Lot, his wife and two daughters forcibly taken out by angels, with the admonition to “Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away”. We often hear that Lot’s wife was instructed not to look back, but the Bible does not say that. It simply says that she did look back and became a pillar of salt.
    Then, because the daughters wanted to preserve their offspring and lineage, each becomes pregnant by her father. The son born to one becomes the Moabites and the other daughter’s son becomes the Ammonites.
    The second account in this passage is in chapter 20 where Abraham journeys to the south (Negeb) and sojourns in Gezar (which is in the land of the Philistines). Just as in Egypt many years previous, Abraham has his wife Sarah tell king Abimelech that she is his sister.
    When presented with this presumed lie (after the truth was revealed to the king in a dream), Abraham explains carefully that she is indeed his sister, the daughter of his father though not the daughter of his mother.
    Abimelech gives Abraham much livestock and silver, and in what some say is mocking Abraham, “Behold I have given your brother…”. At the end of chapter 21 Abraham establishes a treaty with the king at a well in Beersheba which means well of oath.

  39. Genesis 17-21 part 1
    Part 2 will be on Monday. So read thru regarding these points and then we will review concerning others on Monday. Genesis 17 is a pivotal chapter in the Bible. Remember in chapter 15 Abraham believes the Lord and God counted it to him as righteousness. Abram is now 13 years older and God again (for the third time) repeats the covenant promises that explain what God as Almighty and “the One who hears” will do and what He commands Abram and his offspring to do.This time, as God repeats the covenant promises, He adds a portion of His own name (el) to each of theirs and re-names Abram, Abraham and Sarai, Sarah.God also commands that every male offspring shall be circumcised as a sign of the covenant between God and Abraham, a covenant that will be carried on through the generations that now includes us. In the New Testament, those Christians as reformed “Calvinists” like me believe there is a connection between this covenant relationship and baptism. But not all Christians agree on this, the foremost being Baptists who believe that you should not be baptized as an infant, but instead be baptized only after you have come to faith in Christ.Chapter 17 closes with the promise of Isaac’s birth, reminding Abraham that he is a child of promise (see Gal 4:22-23). The word Isaac means laughter. We will follow this theme of laughter in 18:15 and 21:3-8. In this first of these episodes of laughter, there are three men who appear to Abraham and Sarah. As she stays in her tent, she overhears that she will have a son in the next year. She laughs (presumably to herself) for later when Abraham is asked why she laughed, she denies it and is told, “No, but you did laugh.”In chapter 21, Sarah indeed does have a son and names him Isaac saying “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.”And then laughter causes a sudden turn of events! When there is a feast for Isaac the new son, Hagar is seen laughing and Sarah again is upset and demands that she should be sent away with her son Ishmael, who probably is now about 15 years old.

  40. Genesis 16 Notes
    Another time of testing now occurs. Just after God retells Abram His promise and shows him a physical example of cutting covenant, and again saying that His promise of offspring was already a done deal, Abram in chapter 16 now listens to the voice of his wife. They had been in the land for 10 years, waiting on God and not seeing how offspring through themselves is possible. They decided that they would not be able to have children since she was in her 70’s and Abram was 86 years old. She gives her maid Hagar to Abram and a child Ishmael is born who is the father of the lineage of the Arab people of the Middle East. Sarai, Abram’s wife looks on Hagar with contempt and Hagar flees to the desert and is met by the angel of the Lord who tells her that her son will live in hostility with all of his kinsman. Hagar calls on the name of the Lord, calling Him the “God of seeing”. This is the first time a woman gives a name to God and may be the only occurrence in the Bible.

  41. Genesis 12-15 Notes

    Genesis 12

    Genesis 12 is one of our favorite chapters with 3 commands in verse 1, and 6 promises in verse 2. In verses 1–3, we see two things. First there is the establishment by God of the Abrahamic covenant which is repeated in 13:14–17, 15:1-7 and 17:1–8. In the New Testament we see this further explained in Galatians 3:6–14 as well as Romans 4:1-4 and 21-5:1.
    Secondly, see that the Lord promises to bless Abraham and his offspring not only so that they can be blessed but that they can be a blessing! When I jot a note to people, I often refer to verses 12:2-3 in asking that the Lord bless them, so that they can be a blessing. This is my prayer for you this day as you read these verses and the corollary verses in the New Testament pointing the connection with the gospel message of faith given as a gift of the Lord.
    It is also important to point out that when Abram was called by the Lord he simply (and without question) responded to the Lord and went from his country and his kindred and his father’s house in Haran and proceeded to the land of Canaan without knowing anything else. We are to be the same way, responding to the Lord without question when he says “follow me”. We do not need to know where we are going or what will happen to us. This is why the faith is called faith!
    Upon arriving in Canaan, Abram makes an altar at a place called Shechem and gave thanks to the Lord.
    We then see an account of Abram exploring the land that had been given to him and then, because of a famine, he proceeds on to Egypt which was not part of the land that he was given. In fact, he is fearful when they are about to enter Egypt and tells his wife to say that she is his sister (technically she was a close relative).

    Genesis 13-15

    Adam returns from Egypt a rich man. He realizes that the entire family plus their animals cannot be supported by all of them continuing to live together. So Abram asks Lot to make a choice of where he wants to live. Abram is choosing by faith and Lot is choosing by sight. Lot chooses to settle in the Jordan valley that is more fertile and includes two cities of Sodom and Gomorah which have “wicked great sinners against the Lord”
    Abram has the remainder of the land of Canaan and settles in the area of Hebron, and as we mentioned when we were discussing chapter 10, this may be a source of the reason that we call the Jewish people Hebrews as specifically mentioned in 14:13.
    Abram has to rescue Lot when Sodom and Gomorah are taken captive in a war. This is followed by a meeting of Abram and Melchizedek who is called king of Salem which is probably an old term for Jerusalem. He is also called the priest of God most high so he is prophet, priest and king. Many feel that this is a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. After being blessed, Abram gave Melchizedek a 10th of everything, and is the beginning of our tithing principle. Notice that there are spoils of the war that are available to be distributed but Abram takes none of them, instead realizes that everything he has is from God’s hand and he returns a portion of all he has to the Lord. Some say that the spoils would have included the enemy shields, and provides an emphasis to 15:1 where God tells Abram, “Do not fear…I am a shield to you…”
    Chapter 15 continues with a repeat of God’s covenant relationship with Abram. Abram says to God “O Lord God, what will you give me for I continue childless” and God repeats his covenant promise telling Abram to look towards heaven and see the number stars if you are able– “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and God counted it to him as righteousness (this is the first mention of believe in the Bible–see also Rom 4 about the message of salvation and Gal 3:10-29). The remainder of chapter 15 describes the process of cutting covenant (we often use the slang, “cut a deal”) and it shows that God’s promises are already a done deal. See also Ephesians 1:3-7. This is a reminder to us again that God is Sovereign and in charge of all the details and not us! We are to do today what is necessary and not to worry about the future in any way.

  42. Genesis 11 Notes

    Chapter 11 is another familiar account concerning the Tower of Babel but pay attention to verse one stating the whole earth had one language and the same words.
    Most of the Bible scholars place Chapter 11 (or at least this first section) before chapter 10. So, go back and observe some verses in chapter 10 that indicate a dispersion (scattering) and varied languages, namely verses 3, 17, 20, and 31.
    Likewise, in Chapter 11 we are told that this is a tower in the city of Babel. If we again go back to chapter 10 verses 9 and 10, we see that Nimrod was a mighty hunter and the beginning of his kingdom was in Babel in the land of Shinar.
    This same plain of Shinar is described in chapter 11 as the site of the building of a tower out of bricks, using tar as mortar. This seems to be an attempt of a self-righteous and corporate people to find a way to bypass any need for God and even possibly to get to heaven on their own.
    God does come down and confuse their languages, disperses them and there is a stoppage of the building of the city.
    Chapter 11 ends with an account of the descendants of Noah through Shem down to Terah who is the father of Abram. We also learn that they are living in Ur of the Chaldeans (which is near modern Kuwait). A decision is made to move north to Haran which is at the other end of the Euphrates river near modern Turkey.

  43. Genesis 8-10 Notes
    It is hard to imagine how deep the waters were, but we are told that when the windows of the heavens above were closed and the fountains of the deep ceased–that after a time the tops of the mountains were again seen. After a while, a dove that Noah sends out returns with a freshly plucked olive leaf in her mouth. At the end of 371 days or about 53 weeks, Noah opens up the ark to dry ground and all of those on the ark go out.
    Noah immediately takes the clean animals and clean birds and offers them as a burnt offering on the altar he prepares before the Lord. (See Romans 12:1-2 that we too, are to be a living sacrifice) God’s response is that he will never again curse the earth with a worldwide flood.
    As chapter 9 begins, we find that God tells Noah that He is blessing him and that he is to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth just as he had instructed Adam. And, besides plants, now animals, birds and fish can be food.
    In verse 7 God further instructs Noah that he shall not eat flesh with the life that is in it, that is, it’s blood. For the lifeblood He will require a reckoning. And, if a man sheds the blood of another man, then his blood shall be shed, for God made man in His own image.
    Beginning at 9:11, we see described the Noahic covenant that God promises He will never again cut off all flesh by waters and will never have a flood destroy all the earth again. As a sign of this covenant, He places a bow in the cloud which is the rainbow that we see as a continuing reminder of God’s covenant with Noah and his descendants.
    The rest of chapters 9 and chapter 10 give us an account of the nations descended from Noah. He had three sons and there are many sources that show charts of the locations of his descendants on the earth, as well as telling us that they spread and developed their own languages. At this point, it is worthy of note that one son is Ham, the father of Nimrod, a mighty man who established Babel. Another son is Shem, who is the grandfather of Eber (one of the two possible sources of the word “Hebrew” for the Jewish people–see 13:18 regarding Hebron as the other possible source)

  44. Genesis 4-7 Notes
    Gen 4
    Violence on the earth begins and we see a separation of those that follow God and those who do not with the account of Cain and Abel. Abel gave the first and best share to God and is an example to us to give back to the Lord the first and best part of all that he has provided for us. We have no thing of our own. All is from God, something Abel understood. Cain, on the other hand also gave a sacrifice but it was not the firstfruits. What he had and kept for himself was more important. This teaches us to clearly see this distinction between those that follow God and those that follow themselves and the world. Our lives are not to be about ourselves, but rather to be about serving God and to determine His will for us. Some have said, “It’s not about us; it’s all about God.” Or another way to explain this is to have an understanding that our faith in and dependence upon God in and for all things, is to be placed first in our lives, not anything of ourselves.
    Just as God did not eliminate Satan, He does not remove Cain from the world for shedding his brother’s blood by killing him. Rather God allows for and sometimes even marks out the evil in the world as a constant reminder, and also a temptation or testing for those that are following Him. I think this is to constantly remind us that we cannot do any good of ourselves. We have to depend upon His mercy, grace and goodness to have any hope of walking His path and not our own. In the end, God wins!
    Psalm 1 last verse is important, “for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
    Gen 4-7
    As we continue in Genesis 4, in verse 23 we see is that one of the Cain’s descendants continues violence and has killed a man and a boy, and the words in chapter 6:5 follow, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intention (motive) of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Jeremiah 17:9 will again remind us of our heart condition.
    We should also note in chapter 5 there is a listing of the generations. We learn that the average age of the men chronicled is about 900 years. After the account of the flood in chapter 6 and beyond, we will see the age of mankind decreases rapidly after the flood to less than 200 years.
    Next in Chapter 6 we have the account of Noah which many of us have heard over and over again since childhood. Noah was considered a righteous man and blameless. God sees that the earth is now corrupt “for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth”
    Noah is instructed to build an ark that is about 500 feet long, and to have two of every kind of living things brought into the ark, male and female, along with needed food. He is to also take seven pairs of clean animals, the purpose being for sacrifice. Once he is safely in the ark with all of the animals, the rains begin (this is the first time it has rained on the earth). Many people think this allows for the removal of the canopy that could have been protecting mankind, and may be the reason for the earlier longer lives of mankind, because of the even temperature of the earth, even at the poles.
    It rained for 40 days and 40 nights and we are told in 7:22 that “everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life died”

  45. Genesis 2-3 notes
    As Genesis 2 opens, we see that the heavens and earth are finished and that God rests on the seventh day. This word rest is in sense of stop or cease. All of his creation has been completed in the sense of a foundation for all that follows. Man has been created and now is placed in a special garden within God’s creation and is given free will as well as some of God’s attributes in measured amounts such as part of His knowledge, creative abilities, love.
    At this point, is important to point out 2:16-17 where only Adam is commanded to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Thus, we understand that God’s plan included that the man would be responsible and have social and leadership responsibilities. We can see this is God’s plan throughout His Word and it is repeated over and over again. Next we are told that the man needed a companion or helpmeet suitable for him, so God created woman, a word in Hebrew which includes the aspects of “wow!” In Genesis 3:20, we see that she also has the name Eve meaning the mother of all of the living.. What a privilege, as her offspring will include Jesus Christ born to provide the way for us to be saved from our sins (salvation) and Jesus to be our Lord, knowing He is the way the truth and the life.
    Gen 3
    In Genesis 3 we have the account of what is called “original sin” and what each of us has inherited. The disobedience of Adam and Eve to the command that they could enjoy all the garden, except for one tree, resulted in spiritual death and banishment from the garden. We know the account pretty well. Satan is allowed on the scene by God and his tactics are to question God’s Word by saying, “Has God said”, –to which Eve’s response includes adding to the command that they were not touch the tree (the command was just not to eat!). Then Satan questions God’s authority and hints that God is being restrictive and holding back, saying “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”. Eve then eats and gives also to Adam and he ate. We know that Eve was deceived. Adam was not deceived, and he is the one responsible. In fact in 3:9 the pronoun “you” is singular male so God holds Adam responsible. See also 3:17. Their sin produced fear (10), shame (8), blame (12-13), consequences, and the need for shed blood to provide a covering (21). Curses follow. Eve was brought forth from Adam and her curse is pain in childbirth. Adam was brought forth from the earth and his curse involves the ground.
    There are two more things that are important in Genesis 3. Verse 15 is very important as it tells us that there are people who are going to believe and follow God (who later will be called Christians) and those that will follow Satan, the world or themselves, which is basically the humanistic part of our world. So this verse has its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ conquering Satan, conquering death and taking away our sin with the guarantee of eternal life with our Lord. Study protoevangelium for more detail on this verse.
    The second important verse is 21 where we see that God made for Adam and his wife garments made of animal skins and clothed their nakedness with them. This is the first instance of the requirement of blood being shed for a covering. This becomes more evident in the various sacrifices of the old testament, and then the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as explained in Hebrews 9 and 10. He shed His blood as a covering for sin for us.

  46. Genesis Chapter 1 Bible Notes from Gene and Gini Baillie
    These notes are compiled from 3 Bibles each that Gene and Gini used through more than 25 years of reading through the Bible together each year and sharing with accountability groups that met in their home and/or during Sunday School each year. The notes for Genesis and Exodus are considered foundational and thus will be a little more in depth than some of the other books of the Bible. Generally, a specific read through plan was followed, but it could be straight through reading as these notes, or chronological in nature. The format will also vary but for the most part there will be chapter(s) notes followed by a review and application section and then a listing of chapter themes. It is suggested that you pray, then read a passage, followed by reflection on what the Lord would have you observe, then read our notes or other theological sources, cross references, study notes in your particular Bible. Then seek to answer two questions, “What did I learn about God’s Word and Jesus?” and “What difference does that make in my life today and going forward?” Other questions might be “What do I observe and see that is something new that I never realized, what is something I am again reminded of, and what is something that I need to change in how I live?” Many ask what version of the Bible they should read. Whatever version that you can read and understand. Gini used the New American Standard because the actual words and word order are very close to the original Hebrew and Greek. Gene first read NIV, then NKJV, but mostly the English Standard Version, because it was easier for him to read and also followed closely the original language in interpretation of words and phrases. Other versions may have more interpretation leading to phrases using similar words and phrases to give us the proper meaning but less construction based on word order. So, the simple answer is, “Read whatever version the Lord leads, just read!” As you grow in your knowledge and discernment, He will lead you in many changes of how you live and if a change in the Bible version you read also is one of the results, that will only sharpen you as the “arrow” in His hand and in His quiver,– that He will use in His timing and in the way He desires. So, prepare to be whittled upon, straightened, and sharpened!
    Gen 1
    In the beginning God created are three Hebrew words, “beginning, God, created”. Some believe this means created “ex niliho” meaning “out of nothing” but it does not say that. He simply created. (Read Heb 11:3). Note that the Hebrew word here for God is Elohim and the ending is plural.
    In verse three we are told that God’s first words are “Let there be light” in the first few verses of John chapter 1 we see “God is light”. We need to understand that through His word written, the Word made flesh (Jesus Christ), and the work of His Holy Spirit in teaching, understanding, interpretation, and application to our lives–He is the one who enlightens us!
    In verse 2, we see that God created the heavens and the earth and then the statement that the earth is without form and void. Although we are tempted to think of this as nothing, it really is something because it is called the earth, just not yet defined as it will later be, a mighty work of God. Neither does formless and void imply chaos.
    Please also note that we see God the Father at work in creating, we see Christ as the Word, and in the last part of verse 2, God’s Holy Spirit is the power or the quivering (also sometimes the breath of God, like breathing in and out) or the hovering over the face of the waters. In verse 6, we see that God separates the waters by an expanse in the midst (which is interpreted as being our atmosphere or sky between the waters below and a canopy or cloud like covering that is above). There was no rain at this time, so this can be best thought of as a cloud cover (like rain clouds above) that are sometimes interpreted as giving a greenhouse effect over the whole world including the north pole and south pole aspects that were totally different than the way they are now.
    Gen 1:24-31
    After creating the fish in the sea and the birds of the air, in verse 24 we see creation of the animals. Then in verse 26, there is the plural word teaching that God as three in one “Let us make man in our image”. We then learn that God’s will and role for people is that they are created in His image and are to have dominion over the entire earth including by multiplying. Both of these Hebrew words have a meaning of filling the earth– dominion filling in the sense of subdue and second as fruitful and multiply filling. In the Lord’s prayer in the New Testament we find the phrase, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
    We are not God but are made in His image and that implies a reflection of Him to the extent that He allows and purposes. Although there are many opposing beliefs, we correlate these verses with 1 Cor 15:39 to understand that evolution is not a valid concept and Exodus 20:11 supports a belief in a literal 7 days of creation. Another listing to keep in mind is to review the order of the days that have initial and then completion features, day 1 is light, day 4 is luminaries of sun, moon, stars. Day 2 is water above and below the firmament, while day 5 is sea life and birds to fill the air and water. Day 3 is land and vegetation, day 6 is land animals and man.

  47. Lay Bible notes and application by Gene and Gini Baillie
    For many years, Gini and I not only read through the Bible each year, but we kept notes in our Bibles and also notes from accountability groups that met in our home. Many have asked for some way to get those notes, so I am compiling them and will share them as we read through the Bible in 2016. So, here is the first introductory comments that I will also post on caringbridge, FaceBook, and http://www.ReadGoodBooks.org. In all instances, you will have the opportunity to make comments and give me feedback and encouragement, editing, and/or questions.
    You can read at your own pace. Genesis will be a little slower, but some of the books will have more brief input from me. Following this email, I will send the Genesis 1 information to get us started and goes hand in hand with your reading the first chapter of the Bible.

    I want you to read through the Bible. These notes of Gini and myself are designed to encourage you to read through wonderful good news of God’s word completely and hopefully within a year’s time or less.
    With some success, we led accountability groups weekly either in our home or in Sunday school for almost 30 years. Our goal was to plant seeds and water, — and then know God would provide for the increase and harvest.
    Our desire and purpose is that you would read through God’s Word, not so that you would have a notch in your belt for completion, but rather that you would be a blessed as you apply truth to your own life, to be able to share God’s Word with others, and spread His good news.
    As in Genesis 12:1–2, this blessing that we ask the Lord to provide for you, is not so that you can be blessed only, but that you can be a blessing to others.
    These notes will be posted (and you can make comments) on our caringbridge.org/visit/ginibaillie site, Facebook Gene Baillie page, and as a blog on http://www.ReadGoodBooks.org You can also send an email to me at GeneBaillie@gmail.com if you prefer to receive the information by email.
    This collection of comments, notes and application is based on what Gene and Gini have written in their many Bibles used in reading through the Bible each year for more than 25 years, and comments expressed by both of them in weekly accountability meetings of their “Bible Read Thru” groups.
    What I desire be the only end point of any words written in these blogs, — that the reader might be able to more capably learn, understand, and apply God’s Truth of His Word to your minds and hearts. May the Lord open our eyes and ears to His Word. To any extent you wish, I invite comments, editing, additions, and any questions you desire. I cannot promise to answer them all, but I will read them all. If you do not want your writing to be public, you are also welcome to reply to me by email genebaillie@gmail.com
    Most Study Bible notes and Bible commentaries are excellent in helping with understanding the interpretation and meaning of the words, phrases and story line, and to instruct us (knowledge acquisition) as well as add to our understanding of the Scriptures. Many also help us to understand better the important part that is also the aim or goal of Bible study—the application of the Bible to our lives and how we live out our faith and the truths of the Bible that affect our worldview.
    This last is perhaps the least utilized and most necessary result of Bible study, one where the Holy Spirit helps us to take what we learn and understand—and applies it to our lives, as we seek to serve the Lord in the newness of life He has given to us.
    We are not our own, we were bought with a price.
    We are to lose our life, but in our new found relationship to Christ in salvation, we find our life.
    We are not to deny Him, but to stand for Him.
    There is no substitute for building our spiritual house on the Rock.
    Use all our energy and resources to gain what is already granted us—the God given free Gift or Treasure of Christ.
    How to start is the question for sure, and there are many reading plans. You do need to set a scheduled time (I think first thing in the morning is best, carving out a set time by getting up that much earlier, before the day’s distractions interrupt). Today, the day before you are going to begin reading through the Bible, starting with Genesis, I want you to read the short first chapter of the book of Daniel to demonstrate by example how we are to live in the world that is not our true home, rather is the place that the Lord has us for a season for our good and His glory. This world is a place of humanistic worldview, controlled by Satan as the Lord allows. That world condition is in direct contrast with the Christian worldview. We come face to face with the world around us every moment of every day with its temptations, laws, and idolatry. So, having a Guidebook and manual is one thing, but we have to study it to become knowledgeable and approved in applying the Bible principles to make headway on our earthly journey — really to accomplish anything. However, remember, we cannot do it in and of ourselves or even in a group accountability setting. Instead, any progress is made only with the Holy Spirit within us applying the truths to our very changed being. Therefore the first issue to be dealt with is whether or not we are an adopted child of our Lord. If you do not know or are not certain, just be open to reading and studying, and if God has you in His chosen and elect family, you will come to know and understand. And, maybe this writing will be one of the tools to lead you to the written Word, then acknowledging Jesus Christ as your Savior, Lord and very Gift of God.
    So, later today, I will post comments for the first chapter of Genesis, asking each day that you read the passage indicated, observing and seeing, then meditating its application to how you live. Then read what we have written down or other Bible aids. We will proceed daily at the start, but there will be other times we will have the notes cover several days of reading. If you get behind, simply join in at the current day and do any catch up when you have a day with more time (or get up earlier).

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