Category Archives: Old Testament
Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.
I love books. Books are amazing things. Each of us doubtlessly own many books on all sorts of topics. Our technological age has removed the necessity of having a book in the traditional book form. As a matter of fact, entire volumes of books may be stored on your home computer. I possess two cd-roms which contain hundreds of volumes of books. One disk contains an entire commentary set which extends over 22,000 pages! The other disk contains over 500 volumes. I have quite a few books on my tablet computer. Despite the technology which allows us to own an entire library in an extremely small space, I still like having the hard copy book open in front of me.
Why are books so amazing? The written word endures. Words written hundreds of years ago, like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, have a direct bearing on how you and I live today. The words of those 200 year old documents still possess power today. The written word has longevity and power. God made no mistake when he chose the medium of the written word to reveal to you and me His glorious nature and redemptive plan for mankind.
Malachi 3:16 and its context describes for us the few people of Israel who were faithful to Jehovah. The people who feared Jehovah spoke of Him to each other. God heard their speech and remembered them in a book. You must remember God in your speech, and God will remember you.
God pays close attention to those who speak lovingly of Him. Read the rest of this entry
16) In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp. 17) The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
Long ago, a girl named Elizabeth wrote forty-four sonnets to her lover. Eventually, the couple eloped to Italy and led a wonderful life of love and devotion to each other. Elizabeth’s poetry reflected the beautiful the love the couple shared. If you haven’t already guessed, the woman’s full name was Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and the poems she wrote were the famous Sonnets from the Portuguese. Even if you’ve never heard of the sonnets, you are probably familiar with the first line of Sonnet 43.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love seemed to lose
With my lost saints — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
What a tender picture of love! Our text tells a very similar story of love. Read the rest of this entry
I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. (ESV)
One childhood memory that I have is of my father taking me to a tractor pull. A tractor is attached to a weighted sled. The farther the tractor pulls the sled, the more resistance the sled gives to the tractor. The tractor which can pull the sled the farthest wins the event. I remember watching several tractors trying to pull the sled. Then a tractor drove to the line. A man had taken the engine from a surplus army tank and put it in his tractor. The tractor began to pull and the engine went to work. The engine roared, and the ground began to shake. The engine worked so hard that I remember as I stood watching that I felt my bones vibrate because of the sound of the laboring engine. What an odd and exciting sensation that was! It still gets my testosterone flowing.
Habakkuk uses a similar sensation to illustrate the greatness of God’s punishment upon those who hate Him. God will use His awesome power to destroy His enemies. Habakkuk encourages the people of Judah to worship Jehovah. Habakkuk desires for his audience to respond with reverent fear. God’s revelation of Himself is the basis for the worship. All worship is based in a revelation of God. Every instance of worship found in the Bible is closely connected with some aspect of God’s self-revelation. True worship can only be done when you are affected by some aspect of God’s revelation of Himself to you. You may respond physically to the worship of God. Read the rest of this entry
You have increased your traders more than the stars of heaven– The creeping locust strips and flies away.
Howard Hughes was the wealthiest man in the world in his day yet was a victim of his own success. The last twenty years of Hughes’ life were spent in self-exile in the penthouse apartment of the Xanadu condominium in the Bahamas, but he would not allow anyone to enter. Paranoia of everything gripped Hughes so that he could not enjoy the success he had earned. Believing germs were everywhere to make him sick, and believing others were trying to steal his money, Hughes’ self-imposed exile isolated him from reality.
Our text describes for us another, real illustration of the dangers of trust in wealth. Nahum became a prophet around 663 B.C. Incidentally, the city of No-Amon (v. 8) was captured by Assyrian king Assurbanipal in 663. No-Amon, also known as Thebes was the greatest city in Egypt. Now, why does Nahum refer to No-Amon, and why should we today take note? The city enjoyed a position of easy defense since it was located on a peninsula, defended on two sides by water. The city of Thebes, known for its great commerce, fell in spite of its defenses and immense wealth. Read the rest of this entry
The LORD roars from Zion And utters His voice from Jerusalem, And the heavens and the earth tremble. But the LORD is a refuge for His people And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.
A future event will happen in the Bible which has been ‘hyped’ for centuries. For thousands of years, the return of the Lord has been prophesied as a great and awesome event. One thing may be certain. The Lord’s return will not be anticlimactic; it will not be like my expectations of the ice festival as opposed to the reality. As a matter of fact, the Lord’s return will be greater and more awesome than man can imagine! Joel, writing around 830 B.C., tells us in chapter three of of the overwhelming return of the Lord; our text tells us specifically about one aspect of His return. When the Lord returns, He will roar, and He will be a refuge for His people. Joel 3:16 teaches us that the greatness of the Lord will not overwhelm His people. Christ will be a refuge for His people. Since Christ will be a refuge, you may trust Christ to protect you. Read the rest of this entry
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter.
Daniel tells us of three friends. These friends were placed in a seeming ‘no-win’ situation. If they broke the law, they would lose their lives. If they broke God’s law, they violated God’s love for them. The three friends were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, better known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. You may learn one simple truth from these three brave men. You cannot compromise what is right and please God. You must have the faith that when you do what is right, God will reward your faith. Read the rest of this entry
At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. (verses 16 & 17)
What sort of responsibility would a soldier bear if he were negligent in his guard duties? If he fell asleep and an enemy attacked, the guard would find himself paying the ultimate price for his negligence.
Ezekiel was a priest in the temple and a prophet of God. When King Jehoiakim surrendered the nation of Israel to the Babylonians, Ezekiel and thousands of his countrymen were taken in a mass deportation to the land of Babylon. The Book of Ezekiel begins as the Israelites are enroute to the land of their captors. God sent a vision to Ezekiel which completely astonished him. For seven days Ezekiel sat among his people in shock, much to the consternation of the people. Our text gives us God’s call upon Ezekiel. Ezekiel had a task, and God impressed upon Ezekiel the seriousness of the task to warn those who live in sin. You and I have the same task today. You must sound the warning of danger to a lost and dying world. Read the rest of this entry
He has broken my teeth with gravel; He has made me cower in the dust.
Because the nation of Israel worshiped Jehovah in the most perverted manners, He punished the nation for their sins. Jehovah brought the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar to ransack and destroy the Temple in 587 B.C. The pride of their nation, Jerusalem, had been destroyed, and the people were utterly humiliated. Imagine a muscle-bound guy pounding his chest and saying, ‘I am king of the world’. Imagine the same macho man if he were beaten in an arm-wrestling match by a little girl. Such humiliation would be considered light in comparison to Israel’s disgrace.
The message of Lamentations 3:16 is quite straightforward. God will humiliate any who reject Him, but He will be loving-kind to all who accept Him. If you take one truth from Lamentations 3.16, take the following: You must trust God and His faithfulness. Read the rest of this entry
It shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land, declares the LORD, they will no longer say, The ark of the covenant of the LORD. And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again.
Despite the fact that the Bible and Christianity in general is despised by the world, the legends concerning the Ark of the Covenant still capture the attention of many. To this day legends abound concerning the ark. One legend says that the ark was hidden by Jeremiah under the city of Jerusalem when Babylon invaded the city. Two other legends say that the ark is hidden in a mountain in Africa and in a special, secret building also in Africa. Some rabbis alive today claim to have seen the ark with their own eyes. Hollywood used its imagination to produce a film about a dashing and daring archaeologist who sought for the lost ark and its magical properties. The legends abound because the Ark seems simply to have disappeared quietly into history.
The Bible reveals little about the fate of the ark, but there is a possibility that it was taken by Nebuchadnezzar. Regardless of what happened to the ark, one fact is certain. As one studies the last years of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, one is struck with the fact that the people of Israel do not seem to miss the ark. No mention is made of the ark, but the people worshiped as if they did not realize that the presence of God had been removed from them.
The message of Jeremiah 3.16 is very simple. We need no outward symbol of God’s presence because His Holy Spirit resides in our hearts. We may worship God in spirit and in truth. Read the rest of this entry
Moreover, the LORD said, Because the daughters of Zion are proud And walk with heads held high and seductive eyes, And go along with mincing steps And tinkle the bangles on their feet,
Isaiah paints for us a society very similar to ours today. Isaiah paints the women of his day as vain and shallow. Our text describes some of the mannerisms of these superficial women. The purpose of our study is not to critique the shallowness of the desire to look good by cosmetic surgery or fashionable clothing. The point Isaiah makes is that the people were completely self-absorbed and conceited. They had a high view of themselves; they had an unrealistic view of themselves in light of what God thought of them. The message of Isaiah may be applied with equal power today as in his day. We must be concerned with our internal, spiritual appearance. Read the rest of this entry