9.28 Zechariah 3-4

Mireya Velarde

9.28.2020

Zechariah 3-4

Summarize:

Chapters 3 and 4 of Zechariah bring us into a new part of the dreams of the prophet, Zechariah. The vivid dreams are symmetrically related as we look at his dreams of Joshua, the high priest in Chapter 3, and then contrasting it to the dream about Zerubbabel, the royal heir of David, in Chapter 4.

 One key verse that stood out to me was in chapter 4, verse 10 which states:

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

This stood out to me because of how little things may seem to us, in dreams or visions we may have. But how significant they can be when we are certain that the Lord is working in them. 

What I read changes my vision of God in the sense of how much God loves us, by working through us in “small things” such as dreams.. He entrusts Zechariah with these bizarre dreams and visions to explain the current events or to point to the future. Dreams are so significant in the Bible. You can look back in Genesis and note the impact of dreams from Jacob, Joseph, and Pharaoh. This makes me remember how powerful our God is and how significant every movement he makes in our lives, is. 

What I read changes my vision of myself and others because we cannot look at anything as a coincidence, after truly knowing God. Nothing just happens, nothing “just” works out. It is all in the hands of God and it is all skillfully crafted in the ways that he wants. Going with this, it changes my vision of myself and others because it helps me be more aware of how different each of our lives should be, and to not strive to have similar lives (in the sense of wanting what others have.) This is how I believe God helped me understand in this own way. 

I will Go with God after this reading by being more patient and understanding with weird happenings! 2020 has been a bizarre year itself, but I know after reading this that I can confidently say that God is working and He gives us weird moments and weird dreams, so we can have opportunities to glorify Him through that. 

I thought of Jesus in these chapters by allowing my heart to see the peace that Jesus desires from us with one another. Especially in Chapter 3, verse 10 that says: “And on that day, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, each of you will invite your neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own grapevine and fig tree.” Prince of peace, mighty God, as the wonderful hymn sings – reminds me of the care that Jesus has for each of us children on Earth, and the strive for peace with one another. 

9.26 Zechariah 1-2

Lisa Streng

9.26.2020

Zechariah 1-2    

Summarize the day’s reading in one paragraph. 

Zechariah 1 and 2 is being spoken to the remnant of believers that have come out of exile in Babylon to rebuild the temple. Zechariah is reminding them to repent, learn from the mistakes of their ancestors, and stay the course of rebuilding God’s temple. Zechariah also explains that Jerusalem will be a city without walls that can be crushed by enemies.  God Himself will be the walls.  He will be the boundaries, the protection and the glory of His kingdom.

What is one key verse? Psalm 59:17

Zechariah 1:4-6 

 4 Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the Lord. 5 Where are your ancestors now? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 But did not my words and decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors?

Why? 

I chose these verses because of the time that we are in.  These verses provided a good reminder to me to repent, learn from the mistakes of our ancestors and to stay the course of building God’s kingdom and not get pulled off course by all that’s happening right now.

How does what you read change your vision of God?

This passage doesn’t change my vision of God, but it does deepen it. I’m just so amazed at how God’s word speaks to us through time and through circumstances. His word outlasts everything.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

It reminds me that as believers, we need to work together to build God’s kingdom.  We need each other, and we need to collectively seek His word, His wisdom and His ways!

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters?

I see Him in the plan of Salvation that brings us into the kingdom.

9.25 Haggai

Jeff Streng

9.25.2020

Haggai    

Summarize the day’s reading in one paragraph. 

The setting for the book of Haggai takes place ~70 years after the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and exiled the Israelites.  Now the Persians are in control and they allow some of the Israelites to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, but the people have misplaced priorities and focus on their own homes instead of rebuilding the temple. Haggai has to remind the Israelites of the importance of obedience, justice, repentance and God’s promise of His future kingdom (and the role the temple plays in that plan).

What is one key verse?

Haggai 2: 9

‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Why? 

The glory of ‘the present house’ will be greater than ‘the former house’ (i.e., Solomon’s temple) since Jesus will ultimately be present there.  The promised messiah is coming!

How does what you read change your vision of God?

It reminds me of the importance of obedience and repentance and of God’s justice.  It’s also very encouraging to my faith as we peak into this snapshot of history to see how God is ensuring the fulfillment of His promise to Abraham and of the coming of the promised Savior, Jesus.  It’s very encouraging to know that God’s promises MUST come true and CAN’T be prevented!

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others? /How will you Go With God because of this reading?

Again, it fortifies my faith to see how God’s promise is being played out in the book of Haggai and also when I consider how, over the centuries, He’s pursued a deeper relationship with His people.  We’re created in His image and He desires to be in relationship with us!

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters?

I’m reminded of Jesus when God says ‘the glory of the present house will be greater than the former house’ (since Jesus will be present there).

9.24 Zephaniah

Kim LeBrane-Sober

9.24.2020

Zephaniah

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

In Zephaniah, God warns of His coming judgement against Judah and Jerusalem due to the idolatry the people were committing by continuing to worship Baal and Molech. He calls them to repent before it’s too late. He also pronounces judgement on Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Cush and Assyria for their conduct. Zephaniah ends with God promising to leave a faithful remnant whose fortunes will be restored.

What is one key verse?

Zephaniah 1:4-6 (NLT)

 “I will crush Judah and Jerusalem with my fist and destroy every last trace of their Baal worship. I will put an end to all the idolatrous priests, so that even the memory of them will disappear. 

5 For they go up to their roofs and bow down to the sun, moon, and stars. They claim to follow the Lord, but then they worship Molech,too. 6 And I will destroy those who used to worship me but now no longer do They no longer ask for the Lord’s guidance or seek my blessings.”

Zephaniah 3:16-20 (NLT)

On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! 17 For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” 

18 “I will gather you who mourn for the appointed festivals; you will be disgraced no more.

19 And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones; I will bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory and fame to my former exiles, wherever they have been mocked and shamed. 20 On that day I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name, a name of distinction, among all the nations of the earth as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

How does what you read change your vision of God?

It reminds me of how seriously God takes not only the sin of idolatry but also people being complacent in dealing with sin in general. Zeph 1:12 (NLT) “I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem’s darkest corners to punish those who sit complacent in their sins. They think the Lord will do nothing to them, either good or bad.” It also reminds me of how much God looks to care for and bless those who do follow him wholeheartedly.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

It made me really stop and examine myself to see if I have let other things take the place of God in my heart. I had to ask myself: Am I devoting more time to career growth than I am to spiritual growth? Am I getting more security from my bank account than my relationship with God? Do my fears and emotions dictate my behavior more than the Word of God?

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

I really want to focus on being humble and letting other spiritual people help me in the areas that I need to grow so I can avoid being described by Zeph 3:2 (NIV): She obeys no one, she accepts no correction.She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God. I plan to ask both my husband and the women in my discipleship group for input this week and to make a more regular habit of asking for input going forward.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

Zeph 3:17 made me think of Jesus. “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears.” God’s love as shown through Jesus really does calm all my fears, because it helps me to understand how deeply He cares for me. Also, having relationships with other disciples who are living their faith by loving like Jesus has helped me maintain a sense of calm regardless of how crazy 2020 has been.

9.23 Habakkuk

Allan Katch

9.23.2020

Habakkuk 1-3

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

The book of Habakkuk is a book of prayer and discourse with God. The prophet is in anguish as he watches the wicked go on with their wickedness and the righteous being forgotten. What’s amazing about Habakkuk’s complaints is that God actually answers him. He explains that he has a plan and that we need only to live by our faith in Him. After that, Habakkuk gives an inspiring song of praise to God that echoes the Lord’s power and majesty. The prophet’s verses evoke both fear of God and trust in His power. Though the world may be crazy, God gives us so much to be joyful about.

What is one key verse?

Habakkuk 3:17-18

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,

though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the LORD,

I will be joyful in God my Savior.

How does what you read change your vision of God?

Suffering exists in this world. Evil people do evil things; righteous people stand by idly and watch. These chapters showed me how God is in control. He sees what’s going on and is bending it to His will (with our help!). There is never a point where God is surprised by what’s going on in the world or when he says, “Oh gee, I might need to do something about that.” He is in control, and He gives us SO much to be happy about. Every time we see one reason to despair, we have twice as many reasons to rejoice in God our Savior. 

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

It can be easy to think I need to fix things myself. When I see a problem in my life or the lives of those close to me, it’s instinct to try to solve it somehow. Habakkuk did a good job of showing me that reliance on God, as well as prayer, can positively impact my situation more than I ever could.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

To put these verses into action, I want to focus on Joy (a pretty awesome fruit of the Spirit). Throughout my walk with God, I never want to get to a point where I can’t rejoice in God, so to do that I want to focus on thanksgiving and praise in my prayer times. While brokenness and contrition have a special place in prayer, I believe God wants us to be joyful when we talk to him and when we proclaim the Good News to others.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

Jesus is the very reason we can rejoice. A lot of the reason Habakkuk was crying out to God was because he couldn’t see salvation from sin and evil in the world. Thanks be to God that we have that great Hope now and can rely wholly on Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

9.22 Nahum

Crystal Sanderson

9.22.2020

Nahum

Summary:

In these chapters the prophet Nahum describes the unavoidable destruction of the Assyrians. Remember those guys from the story of Jonah? Ninevah was their capital. They had initially repented, then slipped back into their old ways. About 150 years after Jonah had his encounter with them, Nahum spoke against them. Their cruelty was renowned and God’s people suffered heavily under their thumbs. By having Nahum prophesy against the Assyrians God also offered words of comfort for the people of Judah. God promised to never abandon them and to always rescue his people. The forthcoming destruction of their enemies and repayment for the cruelty endured was like a beacon of hope for the Israelites. Even though it took nearly another hundred years before God finally finished them off and the prophecy about Ninevah’s destruction did come to pass. 


Key verse: Nahum 1:7-8 “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness.”


How does what you read change your vision of God? 

This book changed my vision of God by reminding me of His role as parent. We parents love our kids but eventually their disobedience gets to a point where we have no choice but to hand out consequences. For Israel, it was living under the harsh treatment of the Assyrians. At the same time it broke God’s heart to punish them and it didn’t last forever. I imagine that reconciliation I have with my own kiddos after a time out- There is forgiveness, hugs and a restored relationship, just like God must have wanted with Israel.


How does what you read change your vision of others/yourself?

There have been many times in my life that I’ve felt punished and neglected by God. Verse 7 shines a new light on mylife by reminding me that even when things are dark and seem miserable and hopeless God is my refuge. I need to run to him when life sucks instead of facing it on my own. God cares about me even when I don’t deserve it, I just need to remember to trust Him.

How will you go with God because of this reading?

Nahum is a stark reminder that God is just, handing out punishment when it’s deserved. I will go WITH God because his side is always the winning one. Staying close to Him and listening to His voice in my life is how I’ll do it.

Where do you see Jesus in these chapters?

I see Jesus in chapter 1, at the beginning of verse 15: “Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace!” Jesus is our ultimate peace and the one who took God’s full wrath so we don’t have to. All the destruction that was poured out on the Assyrians was put onto Jesus so He could be the ultimate sacrifice for sin and bring us into peace with God.

9.21 Micah 6-7

Bill Sanders

9.21.2020

Micah 6-7

Summary: these chapters are an exchange between three parties: God, Israel (Judah) and Micah. God is pleading with Israel, reminding them of all He has done for them. Punishment is still due for their sin; however, God will forgive them. Israel is sorrowful for their sin, they confess and find comfort in God’s forgiveness. Micah is in the middle, acting a mediator.  He reminds Israel where they missed the mark: they showed outward religious acts, but they had no heart towards God. 

Key Verse: Micah 6:8. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

How does what you read change your vision of God?

Reading this, I get the impression God had an eye towards redeeming the other nations too. This was evidenced by Israel’s punishment, forgiveness and protection (Ch. 7:16-18) “the nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might,” and “they shall be afraid of the Lord our God and shall fear because of You.” Through Israel’s punishment, forgiveness and God’s protection, the other nations witness God’s power and realize they are powerless in comparison. They would fear God. Ultimately, God would fulfill His work to other nations through Jesus Christ. 

How does what you read change your vision of others/yourself? In chapter 7:19 it says “He will again have compassion on us and subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” The Lord’s Prayer, reminds us that as God forgives our trespasses, so should we forgive our neighbors. This analogy of casting sins into the depths of the sea is a great visual for how we should handle the wrongs our neighbors can commit against us.

How will you go with God because of this reading? These chapters were a reminder that we can fall into the trap of practicing these outward religious activities, but can miss the point. They are hollow if we don’t do what is good. If we don’t do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. 

Where do you see Jesus in these chapters?  I can see the Salvation story in these verses. Jesus lived by chapter 6:8 perfectly. Jesus, acting justly, never sinned; He knew there was a sacrifice for our sin, so, He took our place, mercy. And He walked humbling with God throughout. 

9.19 Micah 3-5

Steve and Kelli Saindon

9.19.2020

Micah 3-5

SUMMARY

The prophet Micah was a contemporary alongside of Isaiah. He preached in the late 700s BC. Like most of the other prophets Micah prophesies both judgment and hope ( Micah 4:10 ). He predicts the complete destruction of Samaria and the demise of Jerusalem at the hands of the Assyrians ( Micah 1:6, 12 ). Because God is loving, he gives his wayward people plenty of time to repent. However, because God is holy, he also must act in judgment when his people do not respond to his prophets. If God’s people plan and plot sin, God, with a heavy heart, will plan and plot heavy discipline ( Micah 2:1-3, Lamentations 3:33 ). Because Samaria was completely unresponsive, she was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BC. Jerusalem, barely escaped the Assyrians, but were later bulldozed over by the Babylonians in 587 BC ( Micah 3:12, 4:10 ). Like Jeremiah, Micah was a hated prophet because he lays most of the blame for the spiritual condition of both Israel and Judah upon its leaders ( Micah 3:5-12 ). The people were also responsible because of their gullibility ( Micah 2:11 ). But our relentless God has a plan through his promised Messiah to carve out a remnant of hope-filled people that will nourish the world back to health.

KEY VERSE- Micah 5:1-8

HOW THIS STUDY ADVANCES MY VISION OF GOD

Both Isaiah and Micah predicted the immediate destruction of Israel and the demise of and eventual destruction of Judah. All this happened because of sinful leaders and the people that followed them. God was orchestrating history according to the spiritual health of his people! Does most of history, or even all of history revolve around God’s people? Does God raise up kings and nations or bring them down according to our covenant faithfulness? It sure appears to be that way according to the prophets. With this in mind, is the COVID-19 pandemic first a wake up call for the people of God? Since “judgment begins with the household of God,” are we falling asleep spiritually or waking up during this challenging time? ( 1 Peter 4:17 )

HOW THIS STUDY ADVANCES MY VISION OF MYSELF AND OTHERS

Since I am a spiritual leader within the family of God I am filled with a good kind of trepidation because of what I have studied in Micah. Leaders are always more ( but not only ) responsible for the advancement or decline of God’s people. A simple solution for leaders it’s not quit and cave into fear, but rather graciously preach the unvarnished truths of the Bible ( 2 Timothy 3:16-4:5, 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 ). We leaders are responsible for serving healthy food to the members. It is their responsibility to eat it
up and digest it.

MY RESPONSE….HOW I WILL GO WITH GOD

Throughout history God always has created revival and carved out a willing remnant of people through Spirit filled preachers ( Micah 3:8 ). God NEVER throws down discipline without “revealing his plans to his prophets” who are then called a reveal both judgement and hope-truth and grace to the people ( Amos 3:7 ). My tendency as a younger preacher was to be to judgemental and my tendency as an older preacher is to be to gracious. This study has set off a healthy alarm in my heart to preach the truth unafraid.

MICAH AND THE MESSIAH

The promised messiah will be “struck on the cheek ( crucifixion ) with a rod” by the anemic leaders of his day ( Micah 5:1 ). After his death and resurrection he will “stand and shepherd his flock,” the church, “in the strength of the LORD” and they will live securely under his care. The remnant of the messiah will be “like dew from the LORD” that offers refreshment to our thirsty world ( Micah 5:4-8 ).

9.18 Micah 1-2

Lydia Knox

9.18.2020

Micah 1-2

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

Micah warning of God’s judgement on Israel 

Micah’s accusations

The first 2 chapters are of Micah’s accusations and warnings from God against Israel and its leaders. He announces that God’s justice is going to come down on Israel’s sin and covenant failure. But their sin was not the end. God’s love and faithfulness would make a new path/future on the other side of Israel’s sin and exile.

What is one key verse?

Micah 2: 12-13

“I will surely gather all of you, Jacob;
    I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel.
I will bring them together like sheep in a pen,
    like a flock in its pasture;
    the place will throng with people.
 The One who breaks open the way will go up before them;
    they will break through the gate and go out.
Their King will pass through before them,
    the Lord at their head.”

How does what you read change your vision of God?

It reminds me that no matter how much I mess up or how far I feel I’ve fallen from God, He still gives me a way back to Him. In the first 2 chapters of Micah, God told Micah what He was going to do regarding all that they had done against Him. But at the end of chapter two, He still provided a way out for them. God is so patient with us no matter how many times we mess up. Even after years and years of Israel’s sin and disobedience, God didn’t permanently leave them. He is the same way with us. With all that’s going on in the world: like the pandemic and other topics, it can really bring out our sinful nature. I obviously can’t speak for everybody but I know that I’ve had moments of struggle and have said things that have not been holy and pleasing to God. But even then, God has never left me and I know for a fact that His punishment for me was nothing compared to what Israel had to deal with. 

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

From this reading, I’ve learned that I need to make a more conscious effort to be patient and loving to others just like God did with Israel.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

I’m going to start thanking God more for His patience and love. For giving me a way out from my sin.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

God spoke directly to Micah at least a couple times in these two chapters. Anytime I read what God had spoken to Micah, it reminded me of the healthy fear of God that I need to have.