Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Jonah 3

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Jonah 3

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.

The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”

10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.


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


Questions to Consider:

1. Jonah is officially considered a book of prophecy, but what other category of biblical literature (apocalyptic, epistle, wisdom, historical narrative, etc.) does it seem to fit into? What is the theme or purpose of the book of Jonah? Who are the main characters?

2. Verse 1 says this was the second time the word of the Lord came to Jonah. What was His word the first time, and what happened? How was Jonah’s response to God different this time? (3)

3. What was Jonah’s message to Ninevah? (4) Who were first to hear and respond to Jonah’s message, the people or the king? (5-6) Who initiated the fasting, sackcloth, and repentance? (5-6) Whom does verse 5 say the people believed?

4. What does verse 9 seem to indicate was the king’s primary motive for repentance, at least initially- avoiding the consequences of sin, or sorrow that he and his people had grieved God? Compare the king’s words with these passages. Explain the Bible’s emphasis on repentance from the heart.

5. In what ways does Jonah prefigure Christ? How was Jonah’s ministry in this passage similar to Jesus’ ministry? Compare the people they preached to and the message they preached. How does the mercy God showed the Ninevites (10) point ahead to His mercy toward us, through the cross, when we repent and place our faith in Christ?

Jonah is a fantastic little book. If you’d like to check out my 12 lesson, on line study of Jonah, click here.

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Jeremiah 23

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Jeremiah 23:

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord.Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord. Then I will gather the remnant of my flockout of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when they shall no longer say, ‘As theLord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ Then they shall dwell in their own land.”

Concerning the prophets:

My heart is broken within me;
    all my bones shake;
I am like a drunken man,
    like a man overcome by wine,
because of the Lord
    and because of his holy words.
10 For the land is full of adulterers;
    because of the curse the land mourns,
    and the pastures of the wilderness are dried up.
Their course is evil,
    and their might is not right.
11 “Both prophet and priest are ungodly;
    even in my house I have found their evil,
declares the Lord.
12 Therefore their way shall be to them
    like slippery paths in the darkness,
    into which they shall be driven and fall,
for I will bring disaster upon them
    in the year of their punishment,
declares the Lord.
13 In the prophets of Samaria
    I saw an unsavory thing:
they prophesied by Baal
    and led my people Israel astray.
14 But in the prophets of Jerusalem
    I have seen a horrible thing:
they commit adultery and walk in lies;
    they strengthen the hands of evildoers,
    so that no one turns from his evil;
all of them have become like Sodom to me,
    and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.”
15 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets:
“Behold, I will feed them with bitter food
    and give them poisoned water to drink,
for from the prophets of Jerusalem
    ungodliness has gone out into all the land.”

16 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”

18 For who among them has stood in the council of the Lord
    to see and to hear his word,
    or who has paid attention to his word and listened?
19 Behold, the storm of the Lord!
    Wrath has gone forth,
a whirling tempest;
    it will burst upon the head of the wicked.
20 The anger of the Lord will not turn back
    until he has executed and accomplished
    the intents of his heart.
In the latter days you will understand it clearly.

21 “I did not send the prophets,
    yet they ran;
I did not speak to them,
    yet they prophesied.
22 But if they had stood in my council,
    then they would have proclaimed my words to my people,
and they would have turned them from their evil way,
    and from the evil of their deeds.

23 “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? 24 Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord. 25 I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ 26 How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, 27 who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal? 28 Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the Lord. 29 Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? 30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares theLord, who steal my words from one another. 31 Behold, I am against the prophets, declares the Lord, who use their tongues and declare, ‘declares the Lord.’ 32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the Lord, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the Lord.

33 “When one of this people, or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the burden of the Lord?’ you shall say to them, ‘You are the burden, and I will cast you off, declares the Lord.’ 34 And as for the prophet, priest, or one of the people who says, ‘The burden of the Lord,’ I will punish that man and his household. 35 Thus shall you say, every one to his neighbor and every one to his brother, ‘What has theLord answered?’ or ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 36 But ‘the burden of the Lord’ you shall mention no more, for the burden is every man’s own word, and you pervert the words of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God. 37 Thus you shall say to the prophet, ‘What has the Lord answered you?’ or ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 38 But if you say, ‘The burden of the Lord,’ thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have said these words, “The burden of the Lord,” when I sent to you, saying, “You shall not say, ‘The burden of the Lord,’” 39 therefore, behold, I will surely lift you up and cast you away from my presence, you and the city that I gave to you and your fathers. 40 And I will bring upon you everlasting reproach andperpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.’”

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

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Isaiah 55

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Isaiah 55:

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
    hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
    my steadfast, sure love for David.
Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
    a leader and commander for the peoples.
Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
    and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has glorified you.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

12 “For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

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

Evangelism, Old Testament, Sunday School, Types and Shadows

Dem Bones ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 9-14-14

Dem BonesThese are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 37 ~ Sep. 7-13
Ezekiel 35-48, Joel
Dem Bones

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:27

The most beautiful thing about the Old Testament is that Jesus’ fingerprints are all over it. The imagery and symbolism displaying His life and the gospel pop out from the least expected places to surprise and delight us. And at the same time we see the “far,” New Testament application, of Old Testament passages, we can also see the “near,” or immediate application the passage has for the Bible characters the story is literally happening to. It’s like getting two lessons in one.

Ezekiel 37:1-14

Something Old
God sent this vision to Ezekiel the night before the messenger came with word of the fall of Jerusalem. The people of Israel were devastated and fearful, and this vision was meant to comfort and reassure them.

The valley (1) represented the areas of the world to which Israel and Judah had been (or would shortly be) exiled. As the skeletons were scattered all over the valley, so God’s people were scattered in various parts of the world.

The bones (2-3, 11) are a picture of death. With exile impending, Israel felt that all hope was dead and gone. The fact that the bones in the valley were “very dry” means that they had been there for quite a while, just as Israel would be in exile for seventy long years. It was the death of life as they knew it.

The prophecy (4-10, 12-14, Jeremiah 3:12, Isaiah 54:8, Psalm 30:5) this time, after so many prophecies of God’s coming wrath, was a prophecy of hope and restoration. God would breathe the breath of life and hope back into Israel. He would raise them up out of the grave of those pagan lands and resurrect them to a new life back in the Promised Land.

Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, “‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the Lord. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the Lord; I will not be angry forever. (Jer.)

In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer. (Is.)

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Ps.)

What a kind and compassionate God! He justly executes judgment, but graciously forgives sin when His people repent.

Something New
The first layer of our lesson today was the “near” application– the literal, immediate application to Israel. From that, we’ve learned that God will not tolerate idolatry, that He is patient with His children, but does discipline them, and that He is merciful and forgiving towards Israel.

The second layer of the story is the “far,” or New Testament layer. It takes those attributes of God and redemption that we’ve just learned about in Israel’s story and shows us how Jesus “fleshed them out.”

The valley (1) could be anywhere. People are scattered over the whole earth just the way the bones were scattered across the valley.

The bones (2-3, 11, Ephesians 2:1-2a, John 15:16; 6:44, Hebrews 11:6, Romans 6:23) are people who are still dead in sin and have never come to repentant faith in Jesus Christ.

Let’s take a look at Ephesians 2:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked.

Prior to salvation, we are spiritually dead. Just like a corpse can’t move, act, think, or decide, we can’t do anything to choose God (Jn. 15), or please Him (Heb.), or decide on our own to get saved (Jn. 6).

And not only are we spiritually dead during our time on earth, but eternal death awaits us when our earthly lives are over (Rom.). Without Christ, we are born dead, live dead, and die unto eternal death.

Gives you kind of a hopeless feeling (like the Israelites had) doesn’t it?

The prophecy (4-10, 12-14, Matthew 13:57, John 11:25-26; 3:6-7; 16:7; 20:22, 2 Timothy 3:16, Romans 6:4, Ephesians 2:4-7, 2 Corinthians 1:22)
Just like God sent the prophet Ezekiel -“Son of Man” (God calls him this 93 times)- to his people with the good news of the hope of new life, He sent His Son -also called the “Son of Man” (87 times in the New Testament)- the greatest prophet (Matt.), not just to proclaim the good news of new life, but to become that good news by giving His life on the cross so that we might not die, but live.

Verse 6 says: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

At Lazarus’ tomb, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (Jn. 11)

Just as Ezekiel prophesied to the bones (7-10) and they were born again from the dead, Jesus preached, “You must be born again.” (Jn. 3:7). And just as the bodies in verse 8 were fully fleshed out but had no spirit in them, Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (Jn. 3:6)

Ezekiel prophesied to the breath and it entered the dead bodies and brought them to life. You may have a footnote in your Bible on the word “breath” in verse 5, 6, 9, or 10 that says “or spirit.” The Hebrew (the Old Testament was written in Hebrew) word ruah is the same for “breath” or “spirit.”

In John 16, Jesus prophesied to His disciples that the Holy Spirit would come and fill them: “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”

And in John 20: “…he [Jesus] breathed on them [the disciples] and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Interestingly, the Greek (the New Testament was written in Greek) word pneuma means both “spirit” and “breath.” You probably recognize this Greek word as the root of our English word “pneumonia,” a disease of the lungs, or “breath.” The branch of theology that deals with the study of the Holy Spirit is called pneumatology. When 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God…” the word translated “inspired” is theopneustos, or God (theo) breathed (pneustos). It is not until the Holy Spirit, the breath of life, enters us that we are “raised to walk in newness of life.” (Rom.)

As God said to Israel in verses 13-14, “And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”

so He says to us in Ephesians 2, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

“and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Cor.)

Something Borrowed, Just for You
We have seen the “near” application to the Israelites, and the “far” application to the gospel, so what is the “now” application for us? What can we “borrow” from this passage to do in our own walk with the Lord?

We are to follow in the footsteps of Ezekiel and Jesus and preach (share) the gospel of the resurrection to new life to dry, dead bones, and pray God to do His mighty work of raising sinners from the dead.

Can these bones live? Oh, Lord God, You know.

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Jeremiah 14

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Jeremiah 14

The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:

“Judah mourns,
    and her gates languish;
her people lament on the ground,
    and the cry of Jerusalem goes up.
Her nobles send their servants for water;
    they come to the cisterns;
they find no water;
    they return with their vessels empty;
they are ashamed and confounded
    and cover their heads.
Because of the ground that is dismayed,
    since there is no rain on the land,
the farmers are ashamed;
    they cover their heads.
Even the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn
    because there is no grass.
The wild donkeys stand on the bare heights;
    they pant for air like jackals;
their eyes fail
    because there is no vegetation.

“Though our iniquities testify against us,
    act, O Lord, for your name’s sake;
for our backslidings are many;
    we have sinned against you.
O you hope of Israel,
    its savior in time of trouble,
why should you be like a stranger in the land,
    like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?
Why should you be like a man confused,
    like a mighty warrior who cannot save?
Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us,
    and we are called by your name;
    do not leave us.”

10 Thus says the Lord concerning this people:
“They have loved to wander thus;
    they have not restrained their feet;
therefore the Lord does not accept them;
    now he will remember their iniquity
    and punish their sins.”

11 The Lord said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people. 12 Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.”

13 Then I said: “Ah, Lord God, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’” 14 And the Lord said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. 15 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not come upon this land’: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed. 16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword, with none to bury them—them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their evil upon them.

17 “You shall say to them this word:
‘Let my eyes run down with tears night and day,
    and let them not cease,
for the virgin daughter of my people is shattered with a great wound,
    with a very grievous blow.
18 If I go out into the field,
    behold, those pierced by the sword!
And if I enter the city,
    behold, the diseases of famine!
For both prophet and priest ply their trade through the land
    and have no knowledge.’”

19 Have you utterly rejected Judah?
    Does your soul loathe Zion?
Why have you struck us down
    so that there is no healing for us?
We looked for peace, but no good came;
    for a time of healing, but behold, terror.
20 We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord,
    and the iniquity of our fathers,
    for we have sinned against you.
21 Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake;
    do not dishonor your glorious throne;
    remember and do not break your covenant with us.
22 Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain?
    Or can the heavens give showers?
Are you not he, O Lord our God?
    We set our hope on you,
    for you do all these things.

 

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