Names commemorating events (Session 1 – Week 4 – Day 4)

11 08 2006

Reading: Genesis 22:13-18

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”


What is the context of the incident?

Abraham had just gone up onto the mountaintop to sacrifice his only son, as the LORD had instructed him to. Just before he did, however, the angel of the LORD stopped him. In thanks to God, Abraham found a ram caught in a thicket and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.


Why was the name appropriate?

Abraham called that place Jehova-Jireh, The LORD Will Provide, because the LORD had provided Abraham with another sacrifice (the ram) in place of his son.


Is obedience important in the account? In what way?

Absolutely!! The LORD saw that Abraham truly feared Him and was willing to give back the only son that He had blessed them with. God had provided them with a son that was nothing short of a miracle, and then provided Abraham with a sacrifice to praise Him up on the mountaintop as well. Had Abraham not been obedient to God and had he tried to hide or run away with his only son, the LORD would not have provided him with another sacrifice, and he would have likely lost his son. (because, we all know that running and hiding from the LORD just doesn’t work. Go ask Jonah!)


Summarize what the incident teaches of God’s character and the way he showed his nature to humankind before we had the example of Jesus.

God shows us that He is our Jehova-Jireh by providing for us everything that we need. He gave Abraham a son with his wife, Sarah, and He gave Abraham a suitable sacrifice in place of that son upon the mountain top. Even in our times of greatest turmoil (and you know that Abraham wasn’t exactly excited about the thought of sacrificing his son!), God provides us with a way out. We just have to be obedient to Him so that He can show us that way out.


Reading: Judges 6:19-24

19 Gideon went in, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak. 20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. 21 With the tip of the staff that was in his hand, the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. 22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Ah, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” 23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” 24 So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.


What is the context of the incident?

Gideon had looked upon the face of the angel of the LORD, which is pretty much a death sentence for a sinful man. But the LORD said to Gideon, “Peace! Do not be afraid”. Gideon recognized the LORD there as Jehovah Shalom, The Lord Is Peace.


Why was the name appropriate?

The LORD is the bringer of peace. Without Him, lives are filled with turmoil, devoid of the peace and grace that only God can give us. Gideon knew that without that Peace, he would have been dead. Without that same peace, we are dead in our sins as well.


Is obedience important in the account? In what way?

Gideon had not quite been sure that it was the LORD that he was talking with (after all, he had just been told that he, being of the weakest clan in Manasseh and the least in his family, would save Israel from the Midianites). After bringing a sacrifice of food and unleavened bread to the LORD (which the LORD burned with the touch of His staff), Gideon knew that he was in the presence of the LORD. He was a God fearing man, and knew that it could mean death to him for looking upon the LORD as he had. But the LORD gave Gideon peace and strength to save Israel in return for his obedience.


Reading: Exodus 15:23-27

23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” 25 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the Lord made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” 27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.


What is the context of the incident?

The Israelites, while wandering in the desert, had come to Marah where the water was bitter and undrinkable. The Israelites, being the God fearing and trusting people that they were, asked Moses what he (Moses) was going to do for them, since there was no water to drink. Moses, being the one who actually knew that the LORD would take care of them, called upon Him for direction. The LORD showed Moses a piece of wood and told him to throw it into the water. After Moses did this, the waters became sweet and the people were able to drink.


Why was the name appropriate?

God showed himself to the Israelites as Jehova-Rapha, The Lord Who Heals. He took the poisonous water and made it drinkable for His people; He promised not to bring the diseases upon them that He had brought upon the Egyptians.


Is obedience important in the account? In what way?

When the LORD had told Moses what he needed to do to cleanse the waters, Moses was obedient to the LORD, there would have been no water to drink. On top of that, the decree that the LORD had made with them came with a catch – The LORD would keep the diseases that He brought upon the Egyptians away if Israel pays attention to His commands and keeps all of His decrees. So, unless they wanted some pretty nasty stuff to happen to them, obedience is of the essence here!


Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6

1 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. 2 Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. 3 “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord. 5 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.


What is the context of the incident?

The LORD is warning the nations who have scattered Israel and have not cared for them while under their “care” (or, more likely, their oppression) that He will punish them for what they have done. The LORD promises that He will gather his flock together, giving them a King who will reign over them and be the savior of Judah and Israel. He will call him Jehovah Tsidkenu, The LORD Our Righteousness.


Why was the name appropriate?

Righteousness was stripped away from man with The Fall. Our sins keep us from reaching that righteousness that is necessary for us to be in a relationship with God. Jehovah Tsidkenu would once again restore that righteousness to His people.


Is obedience important in the account? In what way?

Obedience, and in this case, more-so faith and believe in our Jehovah-Tsidkenu is of utmost importance. It is critical to our salvation that our faith is strong and our believe is firm in our savior!


Summarize what the incident teaches of God’s character and the way he showed his nature to humankind before we had the example of Jesus.

God was telling us that He was sending Jehovah-Tsidkenu to reign wisely and do what is right and just in the land. He would save Judah and let Israel to live in safety. This is the messiah that the Jews were looking for, and unfortunately missed when He (Jesus) came to be that savior for them.


Reading: Exodus 17:8-15

8The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9 Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” 10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner.


What is the context of the incident?

Israel, lead by Joshua, is fighting the Amalekites while Moses, Aaron and Hur watched from atop a hill. So long as Moses raised the staff of the LORD, the Israelites were winning. When he lowered his arms, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses arms got tired, Aaron and Hur held them up for him. The Israelites overcame the Amalakites. The LORD then told Moses to record this on a scroll and remember that He will blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. With that, Moses built an alter to the LORD, calling it Jehovah-Nissi, The Lord is my Banner.


Why was the name appropriate?

Jehovah-Nissi, The Lord is my Banner, was a reminder to all that as long as we keep the LORD in front of us, if He is the banner that we carry, we will prevail. In older times, the banner carriers in a war were the ones who troops could rally around. Seeing that banner held high would rejuvenate them and fill them with the energy and determination that they would prevail. By keeping the LORD as our banner, He becomes our rally point, the one that we can run to and know that we are surrounded by fellow believers, to reside in the safety and security that only the LORD can bring. Hold your banner high!


Is obedience important in the account? In what way?

Had Moses not been obedient to the LORD by holding the staff of God in his arms, the Israelites would have fallen to the Amalekites.


Summarize what the incident teaches of God’s character and the way he showed his nature to humankind before we had the example of Jesus.

I studied these names over the summer, so tonight’s reading really wraps up much of what I have learned about God over the past 12 (or so) weeks. I very clearly remember studying about Jehova-Nissi during my reading and group discussions. I remember talking with the other women about how Jesus is our banner that we hold high in order to assure ourselves victory over our enemies. God is, was and always will be Jehova-Nissi, the banner that we hold high. With Him in front of us, with Him as our rally point, with Him leading us, we are assured of His victory!


Reading: Ezekiel 48:15-35

15 “The remaining area, 5,000 cubits wide and 25,000 cubits long, will be for the common use of the city, for houses and for pastureland. The city will be in the center of it 16 and will have these measurements: the north side 4,500 cubits, the south side 4,500 cubits, the east side 4,500 cubits, and the west side 4,500 cubits. 17 The pastureland for the city will be 250 cubits on the north, 250 cubits on the south, 250 cubits on the east, and 250 cubits on the west. 18 What remains of the area, bordering on the sacred portion and running the length of it, will be 10,000 cubits on the east side and 10,000 cubits on the west side. Its produce will supply food for the workers of the city. 19 The workers from the city who farm it will come from all the tribes of Israel. 20 The entire portion will be a square, 25,000 cubits on each side. As a special gift you will set aside the sacred portion, along with the property of the city. 21 “What remains on both sides of the area formed by the sacred portion and the city property will belong to the prince. It will extend eastward from the 25,000 cubits of the sacred portion to the eastern border, and westward from the 25,000 cubits to the western border. Both these areas running the length of the tribal portions will belong to the prince, and the sacred portion with the temple sanctuary will be in the center of them. 22 So the property of the Levites and the property of the city will lie in the center of the area that belongs to the prince. The area belonging to the prince will lie between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin. 23 “As for the rest of the tribes: Benjamin will have one portion; it will extend from the east side to the west side. 24 “Simeon will have one portion; it will border the territory of Benjamin from east to west. 25 “Issachar will have one portion; it will border the territory of Simeon from east to west. 26 “Zebulun will have one portion; it will border the territory of Issachar from east to west. 27 “Gad will have one portion; it will border the territory of Zebulun from east to west. 28 “The southern boundary of Gad will run south from Tamar to the waters of Meribah Kadesh, then along the Wadi of Egypt to the Great Sea. 29 “This is the land you are to allot as an inheritance to the tribes of Israel, and these will be their portions,” declares the Sovereign Lord. 30 “These will be the exits of the city: Beginning on the north side, which is 4,500 cubits long, 31 the gates of the city will be named after the tribes of Israel. The three gates on the north side will be the gate of Reuben, the gate of Judah and the gate of Levi. 32 “On the east side, which is 4,500 cubits long, will be three gates: the gate of Joseph, the gate of Benjamin and the gate of Dan. 33 “On the south side, which measures 4,500 cubits, will be three gates: the gate of Simeon, the gate of Issachar and the gate of Zebulun. 34 “On the west side, which is 4,500 cubits long, will be three gates: the gate of Gad, the gate of Asher and the gate of Naphtali. 35 “The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits. “And the name of the city from that time on will be: ~the Lord is there.”


What is the context of the incident?


Why was the name appropriate?


Is obedience important in the account? In what way?


Summarize what the incident teaches of God’s character and the way he showed his nature to humankind before we had the example of Jesus.

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Session 1 – Week 4 – Day 4

11 08 2006

Reading: Genesis 22:13-18

What is the context of the incident?

Abraham has gone up to the mountain top to sacrifice his only son because the Lord God has instructed him to do so. Once he gets up there, he is prepared to sacrifice his only son the Lord when an angel of the Lord stops him. He finds a goat that he can offer to the Lord as sacrifice instead.


Why was the name appropriate?

Name: YHWH-Yireh (Yahweh-Yireh) — “The Lord will provide”

The Lord provided for Abraham what he thought he was going to have to do. He provided for Israel all of the years before Christ’s arrival and the Lord provides for us exactly what we need to do His will today.


Is obedience important in the account? In what way?

If Abraham was not obedient to the instructions of the Lord, the covenant established by the Lord would not have happened. Abraham’s obedience was an essential element. His obedience allowed the Lord to provide for him and to establish a covenant with Abraham.


Summarize what the incident teaches of God’s character and the way he showed his nature to humankind before we had the example of Jesus.

Abraham’s faith and obedience was tested. The Lord wanted to make sure that he was ready for what He had in mind for him. Once Abraham demonstrated his obedience to the Lord, God blessed Him greatly. Not only did He bless him, He blessed His offspring. God promised something to Abraham and He kept His promise.


Reading: Exodus 15:23-27

What is the context of the incident?

Moses is leading the Israelites away from Egypt and into the promised land of the Lord. They have stopped at a location where they cannot find anything to drink. Moses calls out to the Lord and He provides for all of the Israelites.


Why was the name appropriate?

Name: YHWH-Rapha” — “The Lord that heals”

God protected the Israelites from their surroundings and the journey. He healed them from their situation and their oppression. God closed the wounds that were open for the Israelites beforehand.


Is obedience important in the account? In what way?

God’s gift (healing) was conditional on their obedience. He tells them that if they listen to His voice, do that which is right in His eyes, listen to His commandments and keep all of His laws, then and only then will He keep diseases away from them. Their obedience, or lack thereof, will determine the gifts showered upon them by the Lord.


Summarize what the incident teaches of God’s character and the way he showed his nature to humankind before we had the example of Jesus.

God loves His people. He always provided for them — time and time again. This time, they needed water to drink and He provided for them. He then made them a promise — a promise that is contingent upon them obeying His command. He demands obedience in return for blessings and gifts.


Reading: Exodus 17:8-15

What is the context of the incident?

The Israelites are fighting against Amalek. Joshua went and fought while Moses stood on a hill top. When Moses raised the staff of the Lord, the Israelites would prevail. However, whenever he lowered the staff, Amalek would prevail.


Why was the name appropriate?

Name: YHWH-Niss”i (Yahweh-Nissi) — “The Lord our Banner”

God is the reason we are able to do anything good. He is our banner and our heart’s desire. We can only accomplish the things we hope to accomplish through Him.


Is obedience important in the account? In what way?

Whenever Moses lowered the staff, the Israelites would begin to lose the battle. Obedience was required from Moses or else they would not survive. Likewise, our obedience is required in order to realize the true blessings the Lord will give to us.


Summarize what the incident teaches of God’s character and the way he showed his nature to humankind before we had the example of Jesus.

God wanted the Israelites to realize that they were insignificant in this battle against Amalek. Only when they were obedient to His instructions could they win. It was only because He allowed it that they were able to defeat Amalek. He could have done it with an army of 100 or an army of 100,000.


Reading: Judges 6:19-24

What is the context of the incident?

The angel of the Lord just visited Gideon; however, He has not revealed Himself to Gideon yet in the story. Once Gideon is obedient to the instructions of the angel, He reveals Himself to Gideon. Gideon fears for his life since he has now seen the Lord face to face. However, the Lord offers him peace and protection.


Why was the name appropriate?

Name: YHWH-Shalom — “The Lord our Peace”

God blesses us with peace in our lives. He keeps us safe from tribulations and evil all of the time. He allows us to realize the greatness of His protection and solace.


Is obedience important in the account? In what way?

Gideon’s obedience was the reason the Lord revealed Himself and then blessed Gideon. His obedience became the very thing that allowed the Lord to reveal His nature and His message to Gideon.


Summarize what the incident teaches of God’s character and the way he showed his nature to humankind before we had the example of Jesus.

God loves His people. He will bless those who are obedient and trust in Him. Gideon did not realize that it was the Lord but showed the angel love and hospitality. This is what we are instructed to do with others in our life.


Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6

What is the context of the incident?

Jeremiah is speaking on behalf of the Lord to all of the people. At this point, he is explaining the role of the shepherd and the expectation that the Lord has of the shepherd. He then moves in to prophesy regarding the coming of Jesus Christ, the perfect shepherd.


Why was the name appropriate?

Name: YHWH-Tsidkenu — “The Lord our Righteousness”

God is perfect. He is righteous and we are not. He knows the right thing to do in every situation and does it. Even if we know the right thing, we don’t always do it. God loves His children and is going to send His Son to earth to demonstrate to fallen man righteousness.


Is obedience important in the account? In what way?

Obedience to Christ is the key message here. As the flock of Christ, if we do not follow Him, we will be lost all of the days of our life. Christ is righteousness. We are lawlessness. If we love another and tend to others as if they were our own children, our obedience will be recognized by the Lord.


Summarize what the incident teaches of God’s character and the way he showed his nature to humankind before we had the example of Jesus.

God loves His people. He wants to gather them together and protect them. In order to provide a way for them to be with Him one day, He knew that it would require His own son’s perfect blood to pay for our sins. He wants us to love one another and provide for each other, just as Christ modeled for us. By doing this, we are following His commands.


Reading: Ezekiel 48:15-35

What is the context of the incident?

The Lord is providing instructions to the tribes of Israel on how they should divide the lands that He has given to them. He has given them precise measurements and precise locations so that they know exactly what to do. He makes sure that they know that He will continue to be with them through all of this.


Why was the name appropriate?

Name: YHWH-Shammah — “The Lord is present”

The Lord is always there. He is always with us — He never leaves. He cares so much about us that He never wants to leave our side. Unfortunately, we don’t have that same mindset. We stray from the Lord and put our focus on earthly priorities, or false idols.


Is obedience important in the account? In what way?

By following His precise instructions, His will would be complete. He knew that the people could live there in harmony forever if only they would follow His instructions. Unfortunately, that is simply not something man is capable of doing most of the time.


Summarize what the incident teaches of God’s character and the way he showed his nature to humankind before we had the example of Jesus.

God had a very precise plan for everyone of us. He wants us to simply listen and obey. Our obedience will always bring about blessings from the Lord. When we do not listen, that is when we will find ourselves in greater struggles.





Session 1 – Week 4 – Day 3

10 08 2006

Reading: Jeremiah 10:1-16


On the left, list the reasons Jeremiah gave why idols were useless. By contrast, how was God portrayed? Write the answers on the right. Reflect on the two columns for a minute or two.

Why Idols Are Useless How God is portrayed
  • Cannot speak (v.5)
  • Must be carried, cannot walk (v.5)
  • No reason to fear them because they can do no harm, nor any good (v.5)
  • worthless (v.8)
  • Made by man (vv.3-4,9)
  • Weak and unbalanced (v.4)
  • Fraudulent (v.14)
  • Without the breath of life (v.14)
  • Objects of mockery (v.15)
  • Will perish at judgement (v.15)
  • Unique; there are none like Him (v.6)
  • Great (v.6)
  • Name is mighty in power (v.6)
  • Worthy and due of our reverence (v.7)
  • True, living and eternal (v.10)
  • Mighty and powerful (v.10)
  • Maker of heaven and earth (v.11-12)
  • Controller of weather (v.13)
  • Maker of all things (v.16)
  • The breath of life (v.14)
  • El Shaddai (Lord Almighty) (v.16)

What was one of the results of idol worship, described in v. 2?

We learn the ways of the nations (the ways of the world) and become terrified by the things that we see in the skies as the rest of the world is.

Looking at similarities between Jeremiah’s time and today, why are the Tarot, I Ching and other New Age divinations increasingly popular now?

They are the same kind of idols that were worshiped and turned to then, just wrapped up in a new packaging. In Jeremiah’s time, people turned to their idols to make sense of their lives, as if this piece of wood, adorned in silver and gold and made by man, could actually help them make decisions and sort out their lives.

Today, so many people look to these same types of mystic intervention (Tarot, I Ching, “fate”, other forms of divination) to try and give them a sense of direction in their lives. A deck of cards or sorting of symbols will never be able to give your life meaning. A deck of cards will not speak to you and tell you what the future holds for you. Today, people crave for meaning in their lives, a sense of purpose, worth and directions. They will grab at any branch available. These are the lowest branches, made readily available by the enemy.

What part can you play in directing your friends to the living God instead of, for example, mystics in newspapers and magazines, on the radio and TV breakfast shows?

While “fun and entertaining”, these things are still nothing more than false idols placed in front of us. The best way that I know how to redirect my friends away from these things and toward our living God is to live by example. To let them know how God is truly working in my life; to let them know the things that He is directing and leading me to.

What other idols do we have today, which in effect are substitutes for Israel’s wooden ones? Are any of these your idols?

Money. Television and movies. Celebrity worship. Addictions. They all feed us what we want – that sense that our lives aren’t as bad as they seem, that rush that gets us through the day and only leaves us empty at night. The craving of wanting more and never being satisfied.

Addiction is probably the one idol that I have the most problems with. While I’ve never had a physical addiction, I’ve certainly had mental and emotional addictions to people or activities (like being on my computer). Basically, it’s anything that takes my focus away from God and causes me to choose time spent with it than with God (like wanting to just veg out at the end of a hard day instead of doing my quiet time and turning my exhaustion over to Him).


Paul used “the living God” as a title when describing the conversion of the Thessalonian Christians. Look up 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10. What is the similarity between Paul’s usage of that of Jeremiah?

Paul was reminding the Thessalonians how they had turned away from idol worship to serve the true and living God. Even hundreds of years later, man was still struggling with idol worship. And thank the Lord that He was the same God to the Thessalonians that He was to the Israelites in the days of Jeremiah. And, for my own selfish reasons, thank God that He still hasn’t changed today, and that He still continues to help me turn away from my own false idols!





10 08 2006

Reading: Jeremiah 10:1-16

Draw a vertical line down your notebook. On the left, list the reasons Jeremiah gave why idols were useless. By contrast, how was God portrayed? Write the answers on the right. Reflect on the two columns for a minute or two.

Idols Living God
Cannot speak When he utters his voice, there is an explosion of waters in the heavens
Cannot walk Great and mighty
Can do no evil King of all nations
Can do no good None like God anywhere
Made of wood Living God
Work of craftsmen No one can endure his anger
False True God
Lifeless Made the earth by His power
Will perish Everlasting King
Breathless Established the world by His wisdom
Works of delusion Created the heavens by His understanding
Makes lightning for the rain
Brings forth wind from His storehouses
Formed all things

What was one of the results of idol worship, described in v. 2? Looking at similarities between Jeremiah’s time and today, why are the Tarot, I Ching and other New Age divinations increasingly popular now? What part can you play in directing your friends to the living God instead of, for example, mystics in newspapers and magazines, on the radio and TV breakfast shows. What other idols do we have today, which in effect are substitutes for Israel’s wooden ones? Are any of these your idols?

A result of idol worship was a lack of satisfaction and completion. The nations were “dismayed” for this reason. Just like today, we use things like Tarot cards, I Ching, etc. to prophesy. We want to know our future from these forms of divination. However, they are gimmicks established to please man. They appeal to our selfish side — our desire to know and control our own situation. These false idols remove all required obedience to the King of kings but allows a person to focus on themselves as the master of their domain. It is important to show others that our God is the true and living God. He does not rely on luck or chance to make things happen. God uses His providence. It is difficult to “prove” to people that our God is not a God of chance because they can’t validate that. They know that they can see the prophesy of the Tarot cards or I Ching or the like at that exact moment and then see the results and outcomes shortly. If they took the time, they could get to know the Lord and have a relationship with Him. He would reveal much more than they could possibly imagine. They just have to be willing to be obedient to His word and to give their personal life up to Him. We have hundreds of idols these days: money, cars, electronics, clothes, accessories, television, computers, alcohol, and the list goes on. I have my own fair share of false idols: computers, electronics, money and success come to mind.


Paul used “the living God” as a title when describing the conversion of the Thessalonian Christians. Look up 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10. What is the similarity between Paul’s usage and that of Jeremiah?

Both Jeremiah and Paul discuss God’s power and the fact that He is the true and living God. These people were not worshipping a piece of wood — they were worshipping the God who created the heavens and the earth.





Jeremiah 3,4

22 04 2006

reading: Jeremiah 3-4
what stood out: Jeremiah 4:18-21
personal thoughts:

These two chapters made me feel very sad. As I read through them, I ask myself how Israel and Judah could turn their backs upon God after seeing everything that he did / does for them. But then I remember just how fallible we are as humans. How many times we see (firsthand) how history repeats itself. Even as the Israelites wandered in the desert, they questioned God and worshiped false idols. How could they?! The same way that Judah and Israel did during Jeremiah’s prophetic times. They are sinful. Fallible. Completely unable to do good on their own. Just like me. How many times do I repeat my own stupid mistakes, bad choices, etc. just because it’s something fun to do (wasting time on frivolous things), because I’m just too tired or don’t feel like doing it? Will I truly ever be blessed (Jeremiah 4:2) until I have put my own idols out of His sight? (Jeremiah 4:1)

Jeremiah 4:18-21
18 “Your own conduct and actions have brought this upon you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!” 19 Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle cry. 20 Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins. In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment. 21 How long must I see the battle standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?

Reading on into Jeremiah 4:18-21, I begin to really relate to the other side of the situation. For how God feels and how much it hurts Him to have to discipline His children in that way. I know how much I hate to see my kids suffer for the bad choices that they make. But what would they learn without having to face those exact consequences of their actions? God knows exactly how the situation will unfold – even if I, as their earthly parent, do now. I must let them learn, just as God made Israel and Judah learn.





Jeremiah 1,2

21 04 2006

reading: Jeremiah 1-2
what stood out: Jeremiah 1:7-8, Jeremiah 2:13, Jeremiah 2:22, Jeremiah 2:26-28
personal thoughts:

Jeremiah 1:7-8
7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

There are times when the Lord calls me to task and I just don’t feel ready (willing?) to act upon it. I’m afraid of rejection, being an out-cast – the Lord says “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.”

Jeremiah 2:13
“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

How many times do I try to take on a task apart from God? Even now, I am thinking of other things that “need” to be done – even things that may further His kingdom, but I am making decisions about my involvement/time without first trying to discern God’s will. But – during those “stubborn independence” moments I think of how I have dug my cistern (v 13) and how I am utterly broken. I can not do anything apart from Him. All tasks are set up for failure if not done in His will.

Jeremiah 2:22
Although you wash yourself with soda and use an abundance of soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me,” declares the Sovereign Lord

Guilt. Something we all have plenty of. Even when I feel like I am dealing with my guilt areas pretty well, someone outside comes in to heap a little extra on my plate for me. I can try to wish the guilt away: counsel with friends or family; ignore it; dive into a project to keep me from thinking about it… whatever sin is behind it, it will always be there until it is washed away by the blood of Jesus!

Jeremiah 1:26-28
26 “As a thief is disgraced when he is caught, so the house of Israel is disgraced– they, their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets. 27 They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’ and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’ They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, ‘Come and save us!’ 28 Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you have as many gods as you have towns, O Judah.

Wow! I really feel for this verse…. how many people I know (myself included) who put our time / energy / worship into other areas of life. A job, kids, friends, money, materials, etc. None of it matters. So often we only come to God when we need something from Him. How incredibly wrong is that??

Lord, let me always remember you. You are my creator, my sustainer and the one that I praise. Let me always remember you first in everything I do. Amen!





Romans 1:11-13

10 08 2005
  • Paul longs to see the Romans. He doesn’t say that he wants to come and see them, but that he longs to see them. This has to be a deep, passionate, love for these people based on his background. He has heard so much about the great works that have been happening in Rome but he wants to see them with his own eyes.
  • Paul wants to encourage the Romans and be encouraged by the Romans. He has been spreading the Word among the Gentiles and he has heard that the Romans are sharing the gospel with others as well. This is encouraging to know that people will share the gospel regardless of what the devil will try to do in our world. God is in ultimate control – nothing happens without Him knowing or allowing it.
  • Paul called this “encouragement by faith�? a spiritual gift, which would help make them strong. Faith is certainly a spiritual gift, so I assume to see others in the faith would provide encouragement that the Lord God is allowing the Word to spread and is using others to accomplish this goal. The sharing of the gospel is through faith by the Holy Spirit so it becomes a very powerful spiritual gift.
  • Paul must have been concerned that the Romans thought he didn’t want to see them. He writes to them and tells them that he has tried to come to them several times before but each time he has been prevented, until now. God has stopped Paul from going back to Rome for some reason of which I am unsure. However, Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles in the other areas has been so incredibly fruitful, I wonder if it was for this reason alone.
  • Paul wanted to reach many more Romans. He wanted to “have a harvest�? among them. To me, this is more evidence of his passion for reaching the Romans. He wanted to share the great news with these people and have many of them find Christ. He was a Roman so it was all the more important to him. Paul had already created a great harvest among the Gentiles. He hoped to bring that same impact and work to the Romans.
  • Do I have a longing for anyone or anything? Am I as passionate about reaching people and loving people as Paul was? Why or why not?
  • I would say that I would like to help others but not that I have a longing for it. I love helping people and growing people, but I am not incredibly comfortable doing so spiritually yet as I am still an infant, myself. I want to share the good news with people, I just need t o make more of the opportunities the Lord has given me. I need to stop and pray in those situations and ask God to allow the Spirit to work inside of me at that time. I’m not convinced that I have the same hunger inside of me that Paul had for people… not yet, at least.