Wednesday's Word

What’s Next on Wednesday’s Word?

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Ladies-

Tomorrow we’ll be finishing up our study of the book of Ezra on Wednesday’s Word, so starting next week, September 7, it’s on to something new! What would you like to study?

A few suggestions:

1. We could continue on to Nehemiah and finish the current storyline.

2. We could do another Old Testament or New Testament book.

3. We could do a topical study on something like prayer, the Fruit of the Spirit, a particular Bible character, etc.

So, let’s hear it. What would you like to study next on Wednesday’s Word? Comment below with your thoughts.

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Zechariah 7

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Zechariah 7

In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Chislev. Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-melech and their men to entreat the favor of the Lord, saying to the priests of the house of the Lord of hosts and the prophets, “Should I weep and abstain in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?”

Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me: “Say to all the people of the land and the priests, When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves? Were not these the words that the Lord proclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous, with her cities around her, and the South and the lowland were inhabited?”

And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” 11 But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. 12 They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts. 13 “As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the Lord of hosts, 14 “and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Questions to Consider:

1. What is the theme or purpose of the book of Zechariah? Which other Old Testament, post-exilic prophet was a contemporary of Zechariah’s? What is the historical backdrop for the book of Zechariah?

2. What is the “weeping and abstaining in the fifth month” referred to by Sharezer and Regem-melech? (2-5) Instead of saying, “Yes, keep the fast,” or “No, forego the fast,” what does God say instead? (4-7) During the seventy years of exile, were the people keeping the fast out of love and reverence for God or simply as a self-pitying ritual? (5-6) Which is more important to God, the outward actions of obedience, or obedience from a heart of love for Him?

3. Examine your motives for going to church, worship, serving others, giving offerings, studying your Bible, and praying. Do you do these things out of rote obedience or because you love God? Pray and ask God to change your change your heart in any area in which you are not acting out of love for Him.

4. What instructions did God give the people in verses 9-10? What does the word “they,” the use of the past tense (refusED, turnED, etc.), and the phrase “former prophets” in verses 11-14 indicate about the previous recipients of these instructions? Who were these recipients? What was Israel’s response to God’s instructions before the exile? (11-12) What was God’s response to Israel’s disobedience? (13-14)

5. Why did God have Zechariah tell the people about Israel’s past disobedience and His punishment of that disobedience? (11-14) What can we, as Christians learn from this passage about the importance God places on obedience from the heart? Though verses 9-10 were written specifically to Israel, does God want Christians to carry out these same principles? How do you know? What are some examples of ways you can carry out the spirit of God’s instructions in verses 9-10?

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Haggai 1

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Haggai 1

In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest: “Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce.11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”

12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord. 13 Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord‘s message, “I am with you, declares the Lord.” 14 And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came andworked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 Questions to Consider:

1. What is the purpose of the book of Haggai? Which genre(s) of biblical literature (prophecy, epistle, narrative, wisdom, etc.) is the book of Haggai? What is the historical backdrop for this book?

2. What was the people’s position on rebuilding the temple? (2) Did God agree with them? What did God say about the priority of rebuilding the temple? (3-4) Read Acts 7:48-50. If God doesn’t need a building to live in, why was it so important to Him, and to the people, that they rebuild the temple? What are the two reasons God gave for rebuilding the temple? (8)

3. List the negative consequences the people experienced for neglecting to rebuild the temple. (6,9,10-11) What reason did God give for sending these negative consequences (9), and what was their intended purpose? What does God mean when He says, “Consider your ways,” in verse 5? In verse 7?

4. What were the two ways the people responded to the prophecy? (12) What were the two ways God responded back to them? (13-14) How is this similar to God’s response to our repentance? How would the words “restoration” and “reconciliation” apply in both this passage and in our repentance today?

5. What does this passage teach us about prioritizing our relationship with Christ, and our obedience to His word, above all other temporal concerns and activities? What can we learn about the negative consequences of sin? Has God ever used the negative consequences of sin to get your attention and draw you to repentance? What is God’s response to our repentance and obedience?

Wednesday's Word

Your input needed for the next phase of Wednesday’s Word.

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Ladies-

If you follow my Wednesday Bible Study on the blog (Wednesday’s Word), you may have noticed that, for the past year or so, I’ve been working my way through every book of the Bible, choosing a chapter from a different book each week.

Believe it or not, there really has been a method to my madness. My purpose was threefold:

  • To make sure readers got a taste of every single book of Scripture in hopes that you would discover a book you’d never given much thought to, and study it.
  • To demonstrate that every single book of Scripture is valuable and worth studying.
  • To encourage readers to delve more into the Old Testament in order to beef up familiarity with the broad overview of Scripture.

We’re just about to finish up this arc of Wednesday’s Word, and, starting June 1, it’s on to something new! We’re going to begin a study of a single book of Scripture, starting at the beginning and working our way through to the end. The only question is, which book will we study? The answer: You tell me!

The guidelines:

I’ve already written studies on Jonah and 1 John.

I’ve already covered all the “one chapter” books (Jude, Philemon, Obadiah, 2&3 John) during the last year of Wednesday’s Word.

I’d like to stay away from Daniel and Revelation for now.

And, if we’re going to do a numbered book (Kings, Timothy, Corinthians, etc.), I’d like to do the first one prior to subsequent ones.

So, let’s hear it. Which book of the Bible would you like to study on Wednesday’s Word? Comment below or head on over to Facebook and comment.

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Zephaniah 1

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Zephaniah 1

The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah the son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.

“I will utterly sweep away everything
    from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.
“I will sweep away man and beast;
    I will sweep away the birds of the heavens
    and the fish of the sea,
and the rubble with the wicked.
    I will cut off mankind
    from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.
“I will stretch out my hand against Judah
    and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal
    and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests,
those who bow down on the roofs
    to the host of the heavens,
those who bow down and swear to the Lord
    and yet swear by Milcom,
those who have turned back from following the Lord,
    who do not seek the Lord or inquire of him.”

Be silent before the Lord God!
    For the day of the Lord is near;
the Lord has prepared a sacrifice
    and consecrated his guests.
And on the day of the Lord‘s sacrifice—
“I will punish the officials and the king’s sons
    and all who array themselves in foreign attire.
On that day I will punish
    everyone who leaps over the threshold,
and those who fill their master’s house
    with violence and fraud.

10 “On that day,” declares the Lord,
    “a cry will be heard from the Fish Gate,
a wail from the Second Quarter,
    a loud crash from the hills.
11 Wail, O inhabitants of the Mortar!
    For all the traders are no more;
    all who weigh out silver are cut off.
12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
    and I will punish the men
who are complacent,
    those who say in their hearts,
‘The Lord will not do good,
    nor will he do ill.’
13 Their goods shall be plundered,
    and their houses laid waste.
Though they build houses,
    they shall not inhabit them;
though they plant vineyards,
    they shall not drink wine from them.”

14 The great day of the Lord is near,
    near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter;
    the mighty man cries aloud there.
15 A day of wrath is that day,
    a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
    a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
16     a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
against the fortified cities
    and against the lofty battlements.

17 I will bring distress on mankind,
    so that they shall walk like the blind,
    because they have sinned against the Lord;
their blood shall be poured out like dust,
    and their flesh like dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold
    shall be able to deliver them
    on the day of the wrath of the Lord.
In the fire of his jealousy,
    all the earth shall be consumed;
for a full and sudden end
    he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Questions to Consider:

1. Who wrote the book of Zephaniah? Which genre of biblical literature is this book? Who was the intended audience of the book? What is the theme or purposed of this book?

2. What is the theme of Zephaniah 1? Which aspect of God’s character does this chapter showcase? Sometimes people think of God as wrathful in the Old Testment and loving in the New Testament. Is this true? How can God be good, loving, and wrathful all at the same time? How does God’s wrath demonstrate His goodness?

3. During which king’s reign did Zephaniah prophesy? (1) What impact might his prophecy have had on the king, and, through the king’s actions, on the people?

4. What is the sin the priests are committing in verses 4-6? Verse 5 says the priests “bow down and swear to the Lord.” Who else does it say they bow and swear to? Why would this anger God? Which Scriptures are the priests violating?

5. How do verses 14-18 describe the “great day of the Lord” (the day of judgment)? List the descriptors following the phrase “a day of…” in verses 15-16. Why will God bring judgment on the earth? (17) Why do Christians not need to fear God’s judgment and wrath against sin?