Is this the end? Malachi 4 ends not with finality but rather an expectation that more is to come.
Friday, December 30, 2016
In the penultimate chapter of the Old Testament, we read of a coming penultimate prophet, a messenger who will appear before the Lord Himself arrives: "See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts" (vs. 1).
Monday, December 26, 2016
Remember the covenant renewed in Nehemiah 10? While Nehemiah is away to see King Artaxerxes, the people quickly fall into their old habits and break the terms that they had so recently pledged to follow. When Nehemiah returns, he is NOT happy.
Nehemiah 10 recounts that moment in Israel's history after the exile when the Jews officially re-commit themselves to the covenant between the people and God. Signing and sealing a document, they "join with their kin, their nobles, and enter into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord and his ordinances and his statutes" (vs. 29).
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Friday, December 23, 2016
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Nehemiah 5 deals with some of the ethical issues going on in ancient Jerusalem at this point in history. Was it right to lay interest on fellow Jews who could not afford to pay? Should Nehemiah as governor exert all the privileges that came with his office? The answer to both questions was no.
Monday, December 19, 2016
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Friday, December 16, 2016
The Book of Nehemiah deals largely with the problems of Jerusalem after the return of the exiles. Its walls and gates have been left in ruins, and the city lies defenseless. Nehemiah, however, is not content to let this situation continue!
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Saturday, December 10, 2016
The Book of Esther ends with a report of how Mordecai is on top of the empire, alongside King Ahasuerus. He was well-regarded, being both powerful and popular, and served as a good second-in-command. Chapter 10 is only three verses long, and closes out the story of Esther with a happy ending.
Friday, December 9, 2016
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Have you ever seen a personal slight or petty offense grow into something much larger and more damaging? Something like that happened in the days of Queen Esther between her cousin Mordecai and King Ahasuerus' right hand man Haman.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
The Book of Esther begins with a royal banquet given by King Ahasuerus. At one point during the proceedings, Ahasuerus summons his wife, Queen Vashti, to appear at the party because he wants to show off her beauty before his officials. When she refuses to come at the king's bidding, she triggers a social crisis.