2 Chronicles 15 – Ezra; John 12-21
We are approaching the half-way point in our Bible reading plan, and I am excited that you are sharing this journey with me. For many of us, these months have put us through quite a learning curve as we are making our way through the Old Testament.
The New Testament readings provide some comfort, because they are so much more familiar and make more sense. As you turn the pages of your Bibles everyday, I think that you are also asking yourself questions like “What is this book that I believe is an inspired word of God?” or “How do I read and interpret the parts of the Bible that I have never before had to wrestle with?” or “In so many ways, our world is just as broken and messed up as back then – so, what is God doing about it?”
Such questions are a sign that you are growing and deepening your relationship with God. I encourage you to not shy away from them, but instead bring them up to God in prayer.
Speaking of confusing texts, in 2 Chronicles 18:18-22 we get a glimpse into how God conducts business in heaven – and I bet, it’s nothing like we have imagined. A lying spirit works for God? How could that be?
I was reminded of the beginning of the book of Job (1:6) where a similar situation occurs with Satan. Now we have two examples in the Old Testament that the politics of heaven could be much more complicated than what we have assumed.
In 2 Chronicles 28:2-3, we come across the Ben-hinnom Valley near Jerusalem, where children were burned alive as sacrifices to gods. This place will be popping up in the Old Testament a few more times. Jesus refers to this place and calls in Gehenna (e.g. Matthew 5:22, 29, 30; Mark 9:43; Luke 12:5). Now you know why in the New Testament this place is associated with pain, suffering, and fiery hell.
The end of 2 Chronicles helps us identify when these books were written – at the end of the exile and beginning of the return from Babylon. The exile is briefly mentioned as “seventy years” in 36:21. We will read more about this part of history in the books of the prophets. Right now we are following the timeline and moving to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
When I read the book of Ezra, especially 3:10-13, I imagine how devastated and disrupted their lives were in the aftermath of a war and 70-year exile. I think this text captures the emotional toll that people carried at the time. And of course, it is hard to ignore the consequences of “cleansing” that led to mass divorces and sending away of innocent women and their children (Ezra 9-10).
In the Gospel of John, I encourage you to pay attention to chapter 14 – a beautiful description of God as Trinity. The word, “Trinity,” is not used in the Bible, but this chapter beautifully describes how the Trinity works.
Friends, I pray that you continue your daily (or almost daily) readings and complete this challenge with me. I welcome your thoughts and questions.
I want to share with you this prayer, that you could say each time before you open your Bible:
In every time and place, O God,
send forth your Spirit to teach me,
so the Scripture may come alive
as I read it and contemplate it
in thoughtful adoration.
Grant this in the name of Jesus.
Dr. Zhenya Gurina-Rodriguez
Associate Pastor of Grace Groups & Discipleship
Bible Challenge Meetups:
June 6, July 11, August 1, September 5, October 3, November 7, December 26, 2020
9:00 – 10:00 am
June 8, July 6, September 14, October 5, November 2, 2020
1:30 – 2:30 pm
Meeting ID: 817 336 7276