From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 6/12:

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 6/12:

After Israel’s defeat over the Syrians during the last battle, the servants of the king say to Ben-Hadad – “Their gods are gods of the hills. Therefore they were stronger than we; but if we fight against them in the plain, surely we will be stronger than they.” However they are wrong. The Lord says, “Because the Syrians have said, ‘The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,’ therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” The Lord once again provides victory for Israel, proving that He is the God of the hills and the valleys! 

Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria, surrenders to Ahab, and Ahab makes a treaty with him. The Lord rebukes Ahab for not destroying Ben-Hadad – “Thus says the Lord: ‘Because you have let slip out of your hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people.’” And this is exactly what will happen. Ahab will be killed in a battle against Syria (1 Kings 22:29-35), and the people will suffer at the hand of King Hazael, who will reign in Syria after he murders Ben-Hadad (2 Kings 8:7-15). “So the king of Israel went to his house sullen and displeased, and came to Samaria.”

“And it came to pass after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel, next to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.” Ahab sees the vineyard and he craves what his eyes behold. However, Naboth refuses to hand over his inheritance to Ahab in accordance with the word of God – “You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess” (Deuteronomy 19:14). So once again, “Ahab went to his house sullen and displeased.”

When Jezebel sees her husband pouting, she says to him – “You now exercise authority over Israel! Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” Then Jezebel takes matters into her own hands. She wickedly schemes and falsely accuses Naboth of speaking against the Lord and the king, which results in him being stoned to death. The news of Naboth’s death cheers Ahab right up, so he leaves to go and enjoy his newly acquired vineyard.

Now the Lord is displeased. So God sends Elijah to pronounce judgment against the house of Ahab and Jezebel for their murder of Naboth and their idolatry. Elijah says the Lord is going to cut off the house of Ahab and dogs will eat Jezebel –  “But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. And he behaved very abominably in following idols.” Soon in the story, the Lord will use the future king of Israel, Jehu, to accomplish all that he said regarding the destruction of the house of Ahab and Jezebel (2 Kings 9:14-37). 

The reading ends with an alliance between Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and Ahab, king of Israel, through marriage. Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram, marries Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter, Athaliah. When Ahab asks Jehoshaphat to unite with him in battle against Syria, Jehoshaphat says they will go to battle with Israel. However, Jehoshaphat requests that Ahab inquire of a prophet of the Lord instead of his four hundred false prophets who just tell Ahab what he wants to hear. Ahab responds, “There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.”

Ahab hates Micaiah because he speaks truth from the word of God. Therefore, Ahab’s real problem isn’t with Micaiah — it is with the Lord. As Christ followers, we are called to speak truth in love no matter the cost to ourselves, as we will see Micaiah do tomorrow, so keep reading. (1 Kings 20:23-22:9, 2 Chronicles 18:1-8)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 6/11:

Since the brook is now dry, the Lord sends Elijah to a Gentile widow in Zarephath. The Lord tells Elijah that He has commanded her to provide for him. And we see the widow shows great faith in the Lord as she feeds Elijah first from her last meal she was preparing for herself and her son before they die of starvation. The Lord rewards her faith by keeping her flour bin and oil jar full until the drought is over.

However, the widow’s faith waivers when her son dies. She blames his death on her own sin and asks Elijah if he came to kill her son. The Lord, who is always faithful, brings her child back to life when Elijah prays over the boy. Then the widow says to Elijah, “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.”

Later in the story, when Jesus is being rejected by His own people just as Elijah was rejected by the Israelites, He will use the story of Elijah going to a Gentile widow to rebuke the unbelieving Jews, and to illustrate that when they don’t believe, the Lord sends His prophets out to others, even to Gentiles – “But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow” (Luke 4:25-26). 

After three years and six months of drought, the Lord sends Elijah back to Ahab to tell him the drought is coming to an end. When Ahab sees Elijah he says, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” Ahab blames Elijah for their troubles instead of repenting of his wickedness and turning to the Lord for healing and restoration. Remember Solomon’s prayer after the temple was complete? Solomon specifically said, “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance” (1 Kings 8:35-36).  

Ahab and the people never repent, so the Lord throws down a challenge against Baal on Mount Carmel. Elijah asks the people whom they are going to serve, Baal or the Lord. The people do not respond. So the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and Elijah each build an altar on Mount Carmel. Elijah says, “the God who answers by fire, He is God!” The prophets of Baal go first, and they begin to call on their god to bring fire upon the offering, but Baal does not answer. In an attempt to get Baal to respond, they begin cutting themselves and shedding their own blood, but still nothing happens. Why does nothing happen? Because they are calling upon a god that has no power. Nothing happens because the prophets of Baal do not know the God who doesn’t require them to shed their own blood. They don’t know the God who is sending His own Son to shed His blood in order to provide salvation for anyone who has faith in Him. No, they don’t know that God, but Elijah does. So Elijah steps forward and prays, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” 

Then the Lord rains down fire and consumes the offering, and the people fall to the ground shouting “The Lord, He is God!” However, the people calling upon the name of the Lord is temporary, as they soon will turn back to idolatry. However, after the Lord responds, Elijah kills the prophets of Baal and then prays seven times for the Lord to send the rain. When Elijah sees a cloud as small as a man’s fist, he tells Ahab he better head home because Elijah knows the Lord is sending a powerful rain from that small cloud.

When Jezebel hears about the showdown on Mount Carmel, she seeks to kill Elijah. So Elijah flees into the wilderness, lies under a tree and says, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life.” Elijah went from a spiritual high on Mount Carmel to a spiritual low in the wilderness. He is so low that he wants the Lord to take his life. Remember when Moses felt the same way in the wilderness. Moses cried out to the Lord to kill him when he was overwhelmed and discouraged (Numbers 11:15). However, Elijah isn’t qualified to say when it is enough in his own life, just like Moses wasn’t. Only the Lord, our God and Creator, is qualified to know when it is enough — and He will take us home in His own timing after He has fulfilled all He has purposed for us. We saw that David believed this was true when he was on the run from Saul. David wrote – “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me” (Psalm 57:2).

Since the Lord still has plans for Elijah, the Lord refreshes him and sends him on a forty day journey to Mount Horeb where He gives Elijah exactly what he needs — an encounter with Him. On that mount, Elijah pours out his heart to the Lord saying, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” Then the Lord shows Elijah His power by passing by him in a strong wind, an earthquake, and a fire, but He speaks to him in a gentle voice. The Lord ensures Elijah that He is raising up men, Hazael and Jehu, to use as tools in His hand to take down the wicked, which we will read about soon. Then He tells Elijah that he isn’t alone because there are seven thousand others who did not bow down to Baal. In addition, the Lord gives Elijah a friend in ministry, Elisha, who will succeed Elijah when it finally is enough and the Lord takes Elijah home to be with Him for eternity.

We end the reading with the Lord giving Israel victory over the Syrians, but the Syrians attack again tomorrow, so reading. (1 Kings 17:8-20:22)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 6/10:

There is war between Baasha, king of Israel, and Asa, king of Judah. Instead of trusting the Lord, Asa makes a treaty with the king of Syria, and the Lord rebukes him saying that the Lord works on behalf of those who rely upon Him – “Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”

The Lord says against Baasha, because he walks in the ways of Jeroboam, “I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Baasha and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the fields.” And since the Lord always does what He says, when Zimri becomes the king of Northern Israel he kills the entire household of Baasha. However, Zimri only lasts seven days as king, and Omri becomes the next king of Israel – “Omri did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all who were before him. For he walked in all the ways of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin by which he had made Israel sin, provoking the Lord God of Israel to anger with their idols.” 

After Omari’s death, his son Ahab becomes king of Israel and he “did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.”  

Jezebel brings her false prophets of Baal and Asherah to Northern Israel by the hundreds. Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, isn’t interested in a blended religion like Jeroboam created — she is trying to completely kill off all of the Lord’s prophets. So the Lord sends the prophet Elijah to Ahab to declare His judgment upon him and Israel because of their wickedness. Elijah tells Ahab there will be a drought, no dew nor rain, which is a direct challenge to their false god Baal since Baal is their god of fertility, whom they believed made the earth produce crops. The judgment of no rain is also one of the consequences that the Lord told his people would happen when He was giving them the blessings for obedience and the curses for disobedience in the wilderness. The Lord said if they turned from Him – “The Lord will change the rain of your land to powder and dust; from the heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed” (Deuteronomy 28:24). We learn later in the story that it is through Elijah’s prayer that the Lord stops the rains and brings the rains – “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:17-18). 

Then the Lord sends Elijah to live in isolation by the Brook Cherith, where God will feed him by ravens. The Hebrew root meaning for Cherith is “cut off”. Elijah is cut off from society, having to fully trust in the Lord to miraculously provide for him through the ravens by the brook which is about to dry up. Elijah is cut off from being able to provide for himself or from being able to improve his situation. Elijah must rest in the Lord and wait on Him to act on his behalf. We end the reading with the brook drying up; however, the Lord will continue to care for Elijah. Tomorrow the Lord will send Elijah to a Gentile woman where once again He will provide in a miraculous way for those who have faith in Him.

Over in Judah, King Asa, who began well, did not end his life seeking the Lord – “Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians.” After Asa dies, his son Jehoshaphat becomes the next king of Judah. Jehoshaphat walks in the ways of the Lord, leads the people in Bible literacy by sending the Levites all throughout Judah with the Book of the Law to teach the people, and fortifies the cities in Judah. 

At this point in the story, Judah has returned to the Lord, but Israel is steeped in idolatry. Tomorrow the Lord sends Elijah back to Northern Israel to confront Ahab and the false prophets. There is about to be an exciting showdown between Baal and the Lord on Mount Carmel, so keep reading! (1 Kings 15:16-22, 2 Chronicles 16:1-10, 1 Kings 16:1-34, 1 Kings 15:23-24, 2 Chronicles 16:11-17:19, 1 Kings 17:1-7)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 6/9:

Today the Lord has two prophets tell Jeroboam of his coming demise and the future destruction of his kingdom because Jeroboam sinned and made all of Israel sin against the Lord. 

1) The first man of God says to Jeroboam – “Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men’s bones shall be burned on you.” About three hundred years later, we will meet a king of Judah, a descendant of David, named Josiah who will come and destroy Jeroboam’s altars just as the Lord said (2 Chronicles 34).

2) Jeroboam sends his wife to the prophet Ahijah to inquire about his sick son, Abijah. Ahijah gives a message from the Lord to Jeroboam’s wife for Jeroboam – “Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over my people Israel and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, and yet you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart… but you have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods… therefore behold, I will bring harm upon the house of Jeroboam and will cut off from Jeroboam every male, both bond and free in Israel, and will burn up the house of Jeroboam, as a man burns up dung until it is all gone.” However, God has “found something good toward the Lord” in the sick child. Therefore, the Lord says that Jeroboam’s child will mercifully die and be spared the judgment coming upon the wicked. As Isaiah will later say—“Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come” (Isaiah 57:1).

When Jeroboam dies, his son Nadab becomes king of Israel, “And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin by which he had made Israel sin.” Then a man named Baasha conspires against Nadab, kills him and becomes the next king of Israel. Baasha kills all in the house of Jeroboam, just as Ahijah prophesied. Baasha too does evil and walks in the ways of Jeroboam, as will all the following kings of Israel which will lead to Northern Israel’s downfall.

Over in Judah, the people are also doing evil in the sight of the Lord under the leadership of Rehoboam —“For they also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and wooden images on every high hill and under every green tree. And there were also perverted persons in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.” So the Lord allows the king of Egypt to come against Rehoboam and take away the treasures of the house of the Lord. When Rehoboam humbles himself before the Lord, the Lord relents from destroying him at that time.

After Rehoboam dies, his son Abijam becomes king of Judah and “he walked in all the sins of his father… his heart was not loyal to the Lord… Nevertheless for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, by setting up his son after him and by establishing Jerusalem.” 

Abijam’s son, Asa, is the next king of Judah, and he does what is good and right in the sight of the Lord. Asa leads a revival, turning the hearts of the people back to the Lord and clearing the land of idolatry. When Zeruah the Ethiopian comes against Asa and Judah, Asa responds by crying out to the Lord—“Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude.”

When we as Christians go through times of trouble, we are to call upon the name of the Lord, wait on God to act on our behalf, and trust that He will lead and guide us through the storm. No problem is too big for the Lord, as we see here with the battle against Egypt. The Lord hears the cry of Asa, He strikes the enemy and saves the oppressed, He leads Judah into victory, and He provides them with rest because God gives rest to those who rest in Him:

  • “And He said, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest’” (Exodus 33:14)
  • “Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses” (1 Kings 8:56).
  • “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm” (Psalm 37:5-8).
  • “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
  • “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it” (Hebrews 4:1-2).

Those who enter the rest are those who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Unfortunately there are so many who do not enter into the rest that only Christ can provide because they put their trust in themselves, in a system, in a movement, in an organization, in a religion, in a government, or in anything else apart from the Lord. The only way to enter this rest is through Christ – “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Tomorrow we meet more kings and the prophet Elijah arrives on the scene, so keep reading. (1 Kings 13:1-14:24, 2 Chronicles 12:13-14, 2 Chronicles 11:18-23, 2 Chronicles 12:1-12, 1 Kings 14:25-28, 2 Chronicles 12:15-16, 1 Kings 14:29-15:5, 2 Chronicles 13:1-22, 1 Kings 15:6-8, 2 Chronicles 14:1-8, 1 Kings 15:9-15, 1 Kings 14:19-20, 1 Kings 15:25-34, 2 Chronicles 14:9-15:19)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 6/8:

Today Solomon calls us to remember the Lord during our days on earth because one day we will stand before Him:

  • “but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment” (Ecclesiastes 11:9)
  • “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
  • “Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed…Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7)
  • “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

In Solomon’s later years, he chased after the lesser things in the world and turned from the Lord. However, at the end of the Book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon comes to the right conclusion – “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” Solomon left behind his wisdom writings to warn us of the emptiness that is found in the world, and to teach us about the fullness of life that is found in the Lord and in walking in His ways. Solomon wants us to remember that all is fleeting under the sun apart from a relationship with the Son, Jesus Christ. And that’s a wrap on the Kingdom Era. Next up is the Divided Kingdom Era. 

Today Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, becomes king of Israel. The people ask him to lighten the heavy labor load that his dad, Solomon, put on them. Instead of listening to the wise counsel of the elders when they said “If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever”, Rehoboam takes the terrible advice of his young buddies and says to the people “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke.”

“So the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of events was from the Lord, that He might fulfill His word, which the Lord had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.” When Jeroboam, Solomon’s former servant, returns from Egypt, he leads a revolt against Rehoboam. Rehoboam assembles the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to fight against the other ten tribes of Israel, but the Lord says they shall not fight their brothers “for this thing is from Me.” Therefore the kingdom divides, and Jeroboam becomes king over ten tribes of Israel. 

Did you notice that the Lord was sovereign over the revolt in the kingdom? The Bible said “the turn of events was from the Lord, that He might fulfill His word.” The Lord is sovereign over everything, the good and the evil, in order to accomplish His plans and His purposes by His word. We have seen His sovereignty throughout the story, from the beginning in the Creation Era to where we are today in the Divided Kingdom Era. And we will see it until He sends His Son Jesus Christ as the final atoning Sacrifice for all who believe in Him. The Lord will remain sovereign over this world until the day He sends Jesus back to redeem His people, abolish evil for good, and create a new heaven and earth (Revelation 21) because whatever God says, He always does.

However, instead of trusting in the Lord and in the promises the Lord made to Jeroboam, Jeroboam decides to trust in himself and his own plans. When Jeroboam becomes the new king of Northern Israel, he fears if he allows the people to go to Jerusalem, their hearts will turn back to God and to King Rehoboam. Then he fears that if they turn to Rehoboam, they may want to kill him. So in an effort to coerce the people into staying in Northern Israel, Jeroboam manipulates Israel by forming a new blended religion that looks similar to the way they have been worshiping the Lord; except Jeroboam takes two golden calves and says “Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!” Jeroboam then sets the calves up in Dan and Bethel, builds shrines on high places, and makes priests of every class instead of using the Levites, the sons of Aaron, as the Lord instructed. Jeroboam also changes the days for the corporate worship, “in the month which he had devised in his own heart.” The people fall for man’s manipulation because they were not seeking the Lord and obeying His word. Therefore, Jeroboam leads the entire nation of Israel into idolatry with this new religion of his imagination, which negatively impacts the Israelites for hundreds of years. 

Since the Levites are rejected by Jeroboam, they leave Northern Israel and go to Southern Judah and Jerusalem with all the others seeking to worship the Lord God of Israel. “So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong for three years, because they walked in the way of David and Solomon for three years.” 

Side note – There are 20 kings of Northern Israel (all evil) and 19 kings and 1 queen of Southern Judah (all from King David’s bloodline as the Lord promised and they are a mix of good, bad and in-between). The Lord will send prophet after prophet to each kingdom in an effort to get the people to turn from their idolatry and wicked ways back to the Lord. Unfortunately, the people will not heed the Lord’s warnings, and both kingdoms will eventually be overthrown. Northern Israel will last 209 years before they are overtaken by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. Southern Judah will last 345 years before they are taken over by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. 

Tomorrow the Lord uses two prophets to rebuke Jeroboam for his wickedness. Keep reading.  (Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14, 1 Kings 12:1-20, 2 Chronicles 10:1-19, 1 Kings 12:21-24, 2 Chronicles 11:1-4, 1 Kings 12:25-33, 2 Chronicles 11:5-17)

14 Eras: 

Creation Era (Gen 1:1-11:26) ✔️

Patriarch Era (Gen 11:27-50:26 and Job) ✔️

Exodus Era (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) ✔️

Conquest Era (Joshua) ✔️

Judges Era (Judges, Ruth) ✔️

Kingdom Era (1,2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles 1-9, 1 Kings 1-11, various Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon) ✔️

Divided Kingdom Era (2 Chronicles 10-36, 1 Kings 11-22, 2 Kings, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, and some of Jeremiah) is up now! 

Eras to follow:  

Captivity, Return, Silent, Gospel, Church, Missions, and End Times/New Beginnings

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 6/7:

“Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth” (Ecclesiastes 7:2-4).

What Solomon is saying sounds nothing like what the world teaches. The world teaches us that we deserve to be happy all of the time. However, Solomon says “Surely oppression destroys a wise man’s reason” (Ecclesiastes 7:7). This is because the Lord doesn’t want us to trust in our own capabilities. Instead, He wants us to trust in Him. God knows that when everything is going well and we are experiencing nothing but pleasure, we tend to forget our need for Him just like the Israelites did when they entered the promised land. Therefore, the Lord uses oppression in this world to draw people toward Him as we saw Him do in the Judges Era, and as He continues to do throughout the entire story, even today. Solomon explains how the Lord is sovereign over both our pleasure and pain:

  • “Consider the work of God; for who can make straight what He has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, so that man can find out nothing that will come after him” (Ecclesiastes 7:13-14).

The Lord desires for His people to walk by faith, trusting that He is good and His word is true, and He often uses pain and suffering to teach His people. At the end of the Israelites’ forty years of wandering in the wilderness, Moses said to the people – “And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3). 

Moses warned the people not to forget the Lord or His word when they enter the promised land and become prosperous – “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end— then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth’” (Deuteronomy 8-11-17).

“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 8:18-20).

Solomon, like Moses, also exhorts us to fear the Lord and walk in His ways so that it will go well for us – “Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God” (Ecclesiastes 8:12-13).

The Lord saved the Israelites out of Egypt and trained them in the wilderness to walk in His ways so that they would be set apart as His people. The Lord desires His children to live lives of hope in Him so that we might shine brightly in this dark world, drawing others into the light — into a relationship with Jesus Christ. God does not promise us a life without pain and trouble, but He does promise to be with us through the struggle just as He was with the Israelites through their difficult journey in the wilderness before He brought them into the promised land. And God also promises to bring us into a better land, the land of the living as David wrote about in his psalm – “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:13).

As Charles Spurgeon said, “In this land of the dying, it is our blessedness to be looking and longing for our fair portion in the land of the living, whence the goodness of God has banished the wickedness of man, and where holy spirits charm with their society those persecuted saints who were vilified and despised among men. We must believe to see, not see to believe; we must wait the appointed time, and stay our souls hunger with foretastes of the Lord’s eternal goodness which shall soon be our feast and our song.” 

Tomorrow concludes the Kingdom Era and we begin the Divided Kingdom Era, so keep reading. (Ecclesiastes 7:1-11:6)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 6/6:

“I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:12-14).

The Lord designed us to long for a relationship with Him. He never intended for anything in this world to fully satisfy us. That is why Solomon says it is a burdensome task trying to seek fulfillment in this world. Therefore, after his pursuits of searching for meaning through wisdom, pleasure, and wealth, Solomon concludes today that it is all “vanity and grasping for the wind”. If our eyes are on the physical and not the spiritual, then all is futile because nothing in the physical world has eternal value. But when Solomon raises his sights and focuses on the Lord, then he sees the eternal:

  • “I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God. I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of what is past” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-15).

If we live in light of eternity, we know there will be a day when the Lord will judge or require an account of our past deeds. If we are only focused on what we can see under the sun, it may appear that the wicked will never be held accountable for their evil acts. When Solomon looks at injustice and oppression under the sun, he finds no hope:

  • “Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun: and look! The tears of the oppressed, but they have no comforter— On the side of their oppressors there is power, but they have no comforter. Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead, more than the living who are still alive. Yet, better than both is he who has never existed, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 4:1-3).
  • “If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them” (Ecclesiastes 5:8-9).

There is no everlasting hope or pure justice to be found under the sun because we live in a fallen world where evil is rampant. However, there is always way more going on behind the scenes in the spiritual realm than the eye can see. Jesus Christ, the Son who is in control of everything under the sun, the ultimate High Official who watches over all, our Lord and Comforter, will one day serve justice to all just as Solomon says – “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work” (Ecclesiastes 3:17). 

The Lord sees all, and He will serve justice to the wicked and save the righteous through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus will be the judge who judges the nations in righteousness:

  • Jesus is Judge – “The father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).
  • Jesus judges the nations – “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:31-32).
  • Jesus judges righteously – “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

So when we see all the anger, hate, and injustice in the world, our hearts break. But we can hit our knees in prayer to the One who sees, to the One who is in control, to the One who changes hearts, and to the One who will ultimately serve justice to the wicked and save the righteous in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. 

Tomorrow Solomon teaches us that mourning is better than laughing. Keep reading to learn why. (Ecclesiastes 1:12-6:12)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 6/5:

“But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites— from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.’ Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David.”

Because of Solomon’s disobedience and unfaithfulness to the Lord, the Lord tells him that He is going to tear ten of the twelve tribes out of the hand of his son Rehoboam, whom we will meet soon, and give them to his servant Jeroboam – “However, I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”

When the prophet Ahijah approaches Jeroboam, he tells him that God is tearing ten tribes away from Solomon and giving them to him because Israel has forsaken the Lord. However, the Lord will give one tribe to Solomon’s son “that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.” Then the Lord gives the same promise to Jeroboam that he gave to David and Solomon – “So I will take you, and you shall reign over all your heart desires, and you shall be king over Israel. Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you. And I will afflict the descendants of David because of this, but not forever.”

When Solomon hears about the promises made to Jeroboam, he tries to kill Jeroboam. So Jeroboam flees to Egypt until the death of Solomon. Solomon dies in today’s reading. Jeroboam will soon return from Egypt now that Solomon is dead, leading us into the Divided Kingdom Era. But first we are going to read one of Solomon’s writings from his later years, the Book of Ecclesiastes. 

Now Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest person alive with endless amounts of resources, and he set out to find happiness in the best that the world could offer. Solomon looked for meaning and purpose through wisdom, wealth, accomplishments, labor, pleasure and possessions, and time after time he says it is meaningless, all is vanity. 

Solomon makes this statement – “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See, this is new’? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11).

Solomon is correct! Everything under the sun is fleeting and meaningless apart from a relationship with the Son, Jesus Christ. So where Solomon says there is nothing new under the sun, that is not true for those in Christ, for the Lord is the God of Creation and He makes all things new – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

And where Solomon says there is no remembrance of former things nor will there be remembrance of things to come, that is also not true for those in Christ. The Lord is later going to say – “remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’” (Isaiah 46:9-10). Nothing can stop the Lord’s plans and purposes, and they will stand the test of time just as we see throughout the Scriptures. So we can rest assured that the vision John has at the end of this story, the vision of the end of times when Jesus will one day return and make all things new, will also come true – “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more… And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ And He said to me, ‘It  is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death’” (Revelation 21:1,5-8 ).

This is why Solomon will come to the conclusion at the end of the Book of Ecclesiastes that all things are meaningless apart from the Lord – “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Choosing Christ as your Savior is the difference between life or death. We will all stand before the Lord one day. For those in Christ, you are a new creation and your sins have been paid for by the blood of Jesus. But what account will you give for how you spent your days? Wasting time chasing temporary happiness that the world has to offer, or living a life that is pleasing to the Lord by seeking truth through His word, drawing close to Him in prayer, walking by faith and not by sight, and being a light that shines bright in the darkness of our earthly days.

Keep reading. (1 Kings 11:1-43, 2 Chronicles 9:29-31, Ecclesiastes 1:1-11)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 6/4:

Today we read the Song of Solomon, also called the Song of Songs, indicating that this might be Solomon’s best song. This book has been debated over the years. Some say it is an allegory of God’s love for Israel. Others say an allegory of Christ’s love for the church. Some say it’s a love poem between either Solomon and his Shulamite bride, or between a shepherd and a shepherdess.

At face value, the song tells the story of a young man and woman looking forward to their marriage, and then the pleasure of a sexual relationship within the boundaries of marriage. The couple experiences separation in the story, but ultimately they are restored back to each other. Song of Solomon emphasizes that sex is meant for marriages between one man and one woman. Couples that honor sexual boundaries and the marriage covenant honor the Lord and reflect their love for Him to the world. God uses the image of marriage as an illustration of His relationship with His people throughout the Bible.

Later in the story, Malachi will say to the Jews who have returned from exile in Babylon regarding marriages – “the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. ‘For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence’” (Malachi 2:14-16). And Jesus will be questioned by the Pharisees about marriage and divorce in an attempt to get Him to misrepresent the law. Jesus will respond saying that the Lord allows divorce under certain circumstances (Deuteronomy 24) because of our hardened hearts, but it was never God’s intent for a married couple to separate – ”Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate… Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:6-8). 

In the beginning of the story, the Lord formed Eve and brought her to Adam saying that they should be joined together as one (Genesis 2:24). But then Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil bringing sin into the world. Now we are all born sinners, working to stay committed to another born sinner in our marriages for the rest of our lives. This is not possible without the Lord. 

God desires for us to show compassion, love, forgiveness, and restoration in our marriages, which displays the character of Christ to the world. Paul will later tell the Christians, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:22-33).

Marriage is hard, and the union only works well when both the husband and the wife are submitted to the Lord. It is easier for a wife to submit to a husband who is submitted to the Lord because she will trust his leadership. A man surrendered to Christ will seek His guidance in all aspects of his life, and he will cherish his wife as Christ cherishes her. Therefore, it is important for both the husband and the wife to draw close to God and pray for one another as they walk together in marriage with the purpose of displaying the love Christ has for the church.

Solomon’s life is not a great example of preserving the marriage union. Many commentaries said that Solomon probably wrote this song earlier in his life because in Solomon’s later years he defiles the Lord’s design for marriage by acquiring a thousand women across the nations. As a result of Solomon’s disobedience, the Lord is going to tear ten of the twelve tribes from the hand of Solomon’s son and give them to Solomon’s servant Jeroboam. That’s up tomorrow, so keep reading. (Song of Solomon 1:1-8:14)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 6/3:

“Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge; for it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips, so that your trust may be in the Lord; I have instructed you today, even you. Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, that I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you?” (Proverbs 22:17-21).

True wisdom comes from a correct view of the Lord, which can only be found in the Bible. Solomon tells us to apply ourselves in seeking wisdom so that our trust may be in the Lord. The more we seek to know truth through His word, the wiser we become. This leads to a greater dependency upon the Lord. 

Solomon also says that we are to know the truth so that we may answer to others. Having knowledge of the Scriptures gives us confidence to share our faith with the world. Later in the story, Peter is going to say “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). 

Our hope is found in Jesus Christ, and the truth is that we are all sinners in need of a Savior – “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Solomon says today that even “a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again” (Proverbs 24:16) because we can run to the Lord for restoration: 

  • “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (John 1:9)
  • “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it” (Philippians 1:6)
  • “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10)

Although Christians will stumble, we are not defined by our stumbling. We are defined as saints because Jesus’ bloodshed pays the price for our sins – “So then you are no longer strangers or aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). 

Therefore, Solomon tells us, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day; for surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:17-18). We aren’t to envy unrepentant sinners who appear to flourish in this world. We are to fear God by submitting our lives to Christ and walking in the ways of the Lord, trusting and depending upon Him since we know there is much more in store for us than what this world has to offer. Everything that our human eyes can see will one day be gone, but there is an eternal home awaiting those whose hope is in Christ. 

The Lord gave us His word so that we may know Him and walk in freedom, not fear, just as Jesus will later say- “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciple, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). Tomorrow we read the Song of Solomon, so keep reading. (Proverbs 22:17-24:34)