Showing posts from April, 2019

Our Story With God, Episode 18: The New Covenant

This week, we turn the page.  Was the Old Testament the story of how God's initial plan didn't work out?  No!  But so often, we don't fully realize what was being said until after a prophecy is fulfilled.  This is how God broke His silence - He enters our world to perfect a shattered relationship, just as He'd been telling us from the beginning.  When we broke our agreement with God, He fixed it by accepting the penalty for our faithlessness.  The next several weeks will focus on how Jesus was the answer to everything the Old Testament had set in place. Our Story With God, Episode 18

Our Story With God, Episode 17: When God Is Quiet

We've made it to the end of the Old Testament with the words of Malachi urging God's people to honor Him in their daily lives and worship.  And then there is silence.  For 400 years, there is no prophecy and the are no visions.  Life goes on, the Temple is busy, and Jerusalem falls under the control of various kingdoms.  Interestingly, many prophecies are fulfilled during this time (reference Daniel 2 and 7).  But the children of Israel may be left wondering if their faith has anything to compare with the wisdom of the Greeks or the might of the Romans. As we're about to see, however, all of history has been setting the stage for this moment.  The God who exists outside of time is nevertheless very interested in timing.  And now is when the main character is preparing to be revealed. Our Story With God, Episode 17

Holy Week

As we prepare to remember and celebrate all that Christ has done on our behalf, consider these prophetic words - written approximately 1,000 years before Jesus' crucifixion. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning?  Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads:  “He relies on the Lord ; let him save him; let the Lord rescue him, since he takes pleasure in him.”  I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed; my heart is like wax, melting within me.  My strength is dried up like baked clay; my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You put me into the dust of death.  For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers has closed in on me; they pierced my hands and my feet.  I can count all my bones; people look and stare at me.  They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing.  All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord . All the fam

Our Story With God, Episode 16: Return, Rebuild, Renew

Once the devastation of Jerusalem was over and the pain of exile had run its course, the remaining sons and daughters of Israel had to learn something new about their God.  He'd proven that He could conquer kingdoms and protect His people, but what about when everything has been destroyed?  He had promised "hope and a future" - could He provide?  And once they were able to return to Jerusalem, how would they live?  Daniel showed the way through prayer and repentance.  The returning exiles committed to proper worship by building a new altar.  Men like Ezra and Nehemiah led the people, while prophets like Haggai and Zechariah continued speaking God's Word.  The people began to find a new normal with the Lord that never changed. Our Story With God, Episode 16

Our Story With God, Episode 15: Life In Captivity

What happens when the worst thing that could happen actually happens?  Have you ever been stuck in a situation from which the was literally no way out?  Most of us have never dealt with the kind of hardship that the Jewish survivors experienced once Jerusalem was destroyed and a life of exile began.  And yet, just like Joseph had so many years before, many of them stayed committed to God during the worst times and He honored their faithfulness.  This week we'll look at the exile stories of Jeremiah, Daniel and his friends, and Mordecai and Hadassah.  What sustained them, and what can that teach us? Our Story With God, Episode 15

Fallen Kingdom - Map of Important Cities

In 722 BC, the capital city of the northern kingdom of Israel fell to the armies of Assyria. In 586 BC, the walls of Jerusalem in the southern kingdom of Judah were breached by the Babylonians.  King Zedekiah was captured as he attempted to escape, and was taken roughly 200 miles north to the city of Riblah, where his sons were executed and he was blinded before being taken to Babylon in chains. This map shows the historical locations of the major cities involved, compared to modern political boundaries - Assur and Samaria in blue (representing the fall of Israel), and Jerusalem, Babylon, and Riblah in red (representing the fall of Judah).

Our Story With God, Episode 14: Fallen Kingdom

After hundreds of years of ruling themselves (sometimes well, but most of the time poorly), the children of Israel were conquered by invading armies.  Israel to the north was the first to fail, as Assyria marched against them in 722 BC.  Then Judah was destroyed by Babylon in 586 BC.  The city of Jerusalem was torn down and burnt, including the magnificent Temple of Solomon.  Why did this happen?  Was God not strong enough to protect His people?  Were His promises to Abraham and David no longer valid?  Or were these the consequences of the warnings God had been sending all along? Our Story With God, Episode 14