By Sunday Night I want you to be ready to read the New Testament for the next 3 months. Take tomorrow to prepare your heart as well as your schedule for this. Here are some ways you can get ready:
- Have a Bible and a schedule ready and in a good place to do this.
- More importantly, have an app on your phone to read the bible (and a copy of the schedule). You will find that waiting in the car, sitting in the Dr’s waiting room, sports practices, pick up lines, kids running late, dance practice…. will actually be carved out times to read! You will learn to love the times that usually annoy us as a waste to be our MOST productive this year.
- Listen to the Bible in your car! (or getting dressed or putting on makeup or walking around the block)
- It is ok to read ahead. If God prompts you to keep moving…keep moving OR even better dig deeper with a Commentary.
- Also, humble yourself to ask the obvious. Do we think so much of ourselves that we can’t say “What is that? Why? Who?” Be prepared to learn things you thought you knew.
Each day I want being in God’s Word to be a priority on our list. Not the last thing on our list. Getting on the correlated blog is NOT a priority, it is just a means for us to communicate our questions. Make sure that each morning you have an idea of “when” you might do your reading for that day. Of course, my first choice for you would be in the morning we all have different schedules. Try:
- Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier each day and read before you even get out of bed
- On your lunch time
- While the kids read after school, you do your read
- At night, if your kids read 30 minutes in bed…join them
- Eliminate 30 minutes of TV each night and read instead.
- If none of that works for you, delete your Facebook account, you will surly free up some time there!
The Temple was scarcely populated so they cast lots to bring in 1/10 of the people. Then we read in 13 some History and regulations (I loved remembering the talking donkey story from Numbers 22) and then my heart dropped as I am sure yours did when we read about the agreement they made is broken again.
Psalm 126 in NLT version says:
When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem,
it was like a dream!
We were filled with laughter,
and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said,
“What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”
Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!
What joy! Restore our fortunes, Lord,
as streams renew the desert.
Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest.
The Inter-testament time period is also called the “Silent” years. These years are referred to as “silent” because God did not raise up a Prophet with a Message. For 400 years the people heard NOTHING. However, when you study this time period you will see that God may have been Silent but very present!
The Babylonia’s captured Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple in 586 BC. God orchestrated the captivity and exporting of His people out of the Promise Land and into the hands of her enemies. Babylon falls to Persia and Cyrus, the king of Persia, released the Jews from captivity (Ezra 1) and allowed them to return to their cities. Under the leadership of Nehemiah and Ezra the Temple was rebuilt and a community was reestablished. Here the Old Testament ends and the New Testament begins.
The time period in between can be divided into 3 sections
- The Greek Period (327-167 B.C.)
- The Maccabean Period “Jewish Independence” (167-63 B.C.)
- The Roman Period (63 B.C.-135 A.D.)
Oh My Word! CHapter 8! Goosebumps (I call them Glorybumps)
Ezra the priest, is standing on a platform reading the first 5 books OF THE VERY Bible in your hand and explaining it to them in a way they can understand it, SO THAT they can follow God’s Ways!
Can you hear it…Reading Deuteronomy…just imagine:
“ Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”
THEN reading from Leviticus 23 about the Feasts they were supposed to be celebrating and in Nehemiah 17 it says they had not done this since the days of Joshua! The Feast called his people to live in booths to remember the protection during the Exodus. (Lev 23:36-40)
Chapter 9. WOW. Please read this out loud. Here is your recap classes.
Chapter 10. An agreement of the People. (How many times do you make an agreement to God? How long does it last?) Well the agreement was 6 things that they were told to obey in the Book of the Law and now 1000 years later they are going to recommit themselves to:
- The would not intermarry
- They will obey the Sabbath
- Observe the Sabbath Year (every seventh year)
- Pay their tithe to the Temple
- Supply wood for the offerings
- Give dues to the Temple
And the last verse was…….
I can’t get the click here button to work (so sorry friends) so click below
Did you skim? I needed a light read like this. But here is the deal, what is light to me (I am a Gentile) is a DEEP read for a Jew. See genealogy matters to the Jewish Nation. Jewish people MUST be able to prove that they are a descendant of Abraham.
Now let me fast forward to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus himself will rebuke the idea that just because you were BORN into His people does not guarantee you a spot in the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 8:10-12)
SO the walls of Jerusalem are complete in 52 days! ARE YOU KIDDING ME. Only with God on your team can a miracle like this occur.
The Overview for Nehemiah was posted this morning (under this blog)
Let’ s look at the big picture here. This is not about an ordinary man in a Bible Study on Wednesday night saying “We should do something…we should rebuild the walls of Jerusalem” and then every obstacle that comes his way finally gets him to say “Uggg I just don’t have the time for this, and it is totally eating into my budget and I think God is closing the door on the project anyway because if it were HIs will it would be so much easier”. Let’s look at Nehemiah for a minute.
He is the cupbearer to the King! VERY COMFY POSITION. I mean c’mon, his step-mother is Esther! And when he gets word that after 100 years of people being released from captivity, Jerusalem is still in shambles. Yes, there is a Temple but that is about all. Moral is low. The people are falling away from the Lord. There is a Famine in the Land!! AND THIS BREAKS HIS HEART. So much so, that he does something about it (now there is a thought). He MOURNS, FASTS, and PRAYS (chapter 1) and then GOES!!
Ezra has already been there 14 years teaching them the Scriptures, but Nehemiah comes in as a civil governor with the authority of Artaxerxes, the Persian King. There was so much controversy that much of the work was done at night, with one hand on material and one hand on a weapon.
I used to have a map here of Jerusalem, I will try to find it for you later. (Pray at the pole today so I am running late)
If you do google a map look at it carefully. First, I am always amazed that the walls look like a footprint from God. Look at a map in your Bible, so you see it? Anyway, recent excavations have found:
- The Broad Wall
- The Valley Gate
- The Pool of Siloam
- The Water Gate
Cool huh. Just thought you should know since one day God may take you to Israel to see all this in person.
This is the LAST historical account of God’s Chosen people before the Messiah is born. We are about 430 B.C. (and the last 400 years are “silent”). So what could it be about? The Jews were released from captivity, the temple was rebuilt despite the obstacles, the people survived a decree of annihilation through God’s use of Esther so now what? What is missing?
The Walls around the City of Jerusalem.
Walls were so important to a city during this time period. The walls protected the city and were used to see miles away to scout out visitors verse invaders. The walls were also the place where city fathers would gather to carry our business transactions or pass judgments on civil affairs. The condition of the walls were a big deal in these days. (By the way I skipped this book last year (rough week in 2009) so I am just learning that the walls were of the CITY not just the temple. WOW)
Nehemiah was a cup-bearer (prestigious position) to the King in the Persian Palace. He led the 3rd and final return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. His calling was to encourage and challenge the countrymen to rebuild the shattered walls of Jerusalem. Ins spite of opposition, the task was completed in only 52 days.
This book was originally written as one with Ezra but during the Latin translation it was divided. So dig deep into this book and read it from God’s perspective not ours. We only have one book left, and it is not a History book (Malachi is Prophecy).
As we end, here are a few things that might help put all this into a VISUAL THEME.