Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Ruth 1

I’m preparing to speak at a women’s retreat this weekend, so no new lesson in our Ruth Bible study this week. Use this week to catch up, or enjoy this Wednesday’s Word lesson from May 27, 2015 as a supplement to our current study.

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Ruth 1

In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.

Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” 11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, 13 would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.”14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return 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. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.

19 So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” 20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”

22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.


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


Questions to Consider:

1. Why did God include Ruth’s story in the Bible? Why would God allow a Moabite, who was not one of His chosen people of Israel, to have this position or be included in this way?

2. According to verse 5, what losses had Naomi suffered? Why did she encourage Ruth and Orpah to return home to Moab? (11-13) What does this tell us about Naomi’s character?

3. What do verses 16-17 show us about Ruth’s character and faith? Are these traits present in your own life and walk with the Lord? What are some strengths can you thank God for and some weaknesses you can ask Him to help you with?

4. In verses 13 and 20-21, how did Naomi respond to the loss of her husband and sons? Where does she lay the blame for her losses? Compare Naomi’s response to tragedy to Job’s response. How does God want believers to respond to tragedy? Do you need to repent for being bitter over, or blaming God for any tragedies in your own life?

5. Had God really abandoned Naomi, or was this just her own perception? If Naomi were your Christian friend, what Scriptures would you offer her as comfort?

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.