Monthly Archives: January 2013

Ezekiel 17 — Breaking your word

Being able to trust someone is one of the most important things in a relationship.  I think it’s one reason why God looks for us to be honest, both in our relationship with him, and with others. In this passage, … Continue reading

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Ezekiel 16 — Adulterous

In many ways this passage reminds me of Hosea.  Hosea cast Israel as an adulterous wife, and Ezekiel here casts Jerusalem as the same. Ezekiel starts by showing the love that God had for Jerusalem.  That though it had been … Continue reading

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Ezekiel 15 — Fruitless

I’m not a farmer nor am I a carpenter, so I learned something about the wood from grapevines when reading this passage.  It’s absolutely useless for anything except for bearing fruit. Now that I think about it, I’ve never heard … Continue reading

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Ezekiel 14:12-23 — Saving ourselves, saving others

When I was younger, I remember reading a book that said that if we became Christians, it meant that God guaranteed that our families would be saved too, and they quoted Acts 16:31, where Paul said, Believe in the Lord … Continue reading

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Ezekiel 14:1-11 — Two-faced

Nobody likes a two-faced person.  Least of all God. And that’s what he addresses here when some elders of Israel came to find out if God had something to say to them.  He told Ezekiel, Son of man, these men … Continue reading

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Ezekiel 13 — Whitewashing the truth

”Do I really need to share the gospel with my grandma? Sure, she’s not a Christian, but she’s a really nice person. Surely God will accept her.” How often do we hear Christians say this? Or maybe they won’t say … Continue reading

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Ezekiel 12 — True to his word

In this passage, we see how true to his word God is.  He starts by talking about the exile of Jerusalem, and namely that of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah. God had Ezekiel do a little drama to show … Continue reading

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Ezekiel 10-11 — A true temple, a true people

One of the things that I learned way back in Sunday school was, “The church is not a building.  It’s people.”  That’s true, but not quite complete.  The church is a people whose hearts belong to God. Unfortunately, Israel’s heart … Continue reading

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Ezekiel 8-9 — He who sees what is hidden

Sometimes we wonder if God truly sees or cares about what we’re doing.  But in this passage, God makes very clear that he does see and that he does care. Ezekiel in this vision was taken to Jerusalem, and was … Continue reading

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Ezekiel 7 — The end

When I was a kid, there was a Japanese superhero show I used to always watch called Kikaida.  If you think he looks cheesy, you should’ve seen the monsters and special effects.  (I’m sure you can find this on youtube … Continue reading

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Ezekiel 4-6 — Finding out too late

I used to like playing with Lego sets when I was a kid, but I don’t think I’d like to do what Ezekiel had to do.  He had to build his own “Lego” set, with Jerusalem at the center, a … Continue reading

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Ezekiel 1-3 — Whether they listen or not

Hey, a chronological book!  What a unique concept!  And quite refreshing considering all the time jumping going on in Jeremiah. Ezekiel comes on to the scene at about this time of history.  It was the fifth year after Jehoiachin, the … Continue reading

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Jeremiah 50-51 — Run

In this passage God turns from pronouncing judgment on the conquered nations to pronouncing judgment on their conqueror Babylon.  Here, God tells them that their reign will come to a crashing end by nations from the North, that is, the … Continue reading

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Jeremiah 48-49; Obadiah — Reasons for judgment

I know.  At first glance, it seems a bit strange to combine Jeremiah and Obadiah.  But there is some method to my madness.  If you look at Obadiah, it actually has a lot in common with Jeremiah 49:7-22.  A lot … Continue reading

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Jeremiah 29 — While we’re still here

I’ve been thinking a lot of about life and death recently.  One of the pillars of my church here in Japan, a woman named Kathleen Benton, passed away last week due to cancer.  She wasn’t a pastor, but what she … Continue reading

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Jeremiah 27-29 — Testing the prophets

With the final king of Judah, Zedekiah now on the throne, Judah was on its last legs.  And Jeremiah had a very unpopular message to give them and the surrounding nations:  Submit to Babylon.  If you will submit to Babylon, … Continue reading

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II Kings 24:8-17; II Chronicles 36:9-10; Jeremiah 24 — God’s choice, our choice

The sovereignty of God and the free will of man is one of those things that has been a long-standing debate in the Christian world.  We see this tension in this passage, so we’ll discuss it a bit here, but … Continue reading

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Jeremiah 46-47 — Judgment and discipline

It was at this time in history that Nebuchadnezzar was really rattling the cages of the nations around.  He had already rattled the cage of Judah, and now he was rattling the cage of Egypt. In these two passages, we … Continue reading

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Jeremiah 23 — Who to listen to

None of us like to feel uncomfortable, especially when we’re listening to messages at church.  But a good pastor will not only give messages of comfort and encouragement, but will also give messages that challenge us to grow.  And for … Continue reading

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Jeremiah 45 — Seeking what’s temporary. Seeking what’s eternal

Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe, was throwing a pity party for himself.  He had delivered Jeremiah’s words to King Jehoiakim, but Jehoiakim merely took the scroll, cut it into pieces, and burned it. As a result, Baruch was totally discouraged, saying, Woe … Continue reading

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Jeremiah 35 — The blessing that comes from obedience

So many times we know what God says, but don’t obey him.  One reason is that we feel like we’ll “miss out on all the fun.”  Or that we’ll find more happiness if we do things our way instead of … Continue reading

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Daniel 3 — Even if…

You have to admire the faith and commitment Daniel and his friends had toward God.  To stand against the tide is no easy thing, especially when it threatens to crash down on you. I’m not sure, but I kind of … Continue reading

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Daniel 2 — The God who walks among men

Here we have one of the most famous prophetic passages in the Bible.  In this passage, God reveals to Nebuchadnezzar the future of his empire, as well as of the Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman empires. Ultimately, God makes clear to … Continue reading

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Daniel 1 — Resolved

I have to admit that trying to keep the chronology of Israel’s history is a bit like juggling balls.  There were so many books being written at about the same time, it’s difficult to keep every thing straight.  At the … Continue reading

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Jeremiah 25-26; 36 — Responding to hard words

Nobody likes discipline.  Nobody likes hearing hard words.  But how we respond to them can shape our lives for the good or the bad. Jeremiah had many hard words for the people of Judah, namely words of judgment for their … Continue reading

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Habakkuk — Trusting God in the midst of an evil world

We hit yet another minor prophet here.  Habakkuk probably prophesied during the time of Jeremiah, and this book was probably written sometime during the reign of king Jehoiakim the son of Josiah.  Jehoiakim came to power (so to speak) when … Continue reading

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II Kings 23-24; II Chronicles 36; Jeremiah 22 — To know God

The last four kings after Josiah can all be basically painted bad.  Jehoahaz (known as Shallum in Jeremiah 22), Jehoakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah all were miserable failures as kings.  We’ll take a closer look at the latter three later, but … Continue reading

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II Kings 23:29-30; II Chronicles 35:20-27 — One bad choice

Choice.  It is a gift.  And a responsibility.  Every day, we have choices in life that we face.  Some choices are mundane.  What to have for breakfast.  Whether to drive or take a bus or train to work. Other decisions … Continue reading

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Jeremiah 19-20 — A word like a fire

“Why don’t you just shut up?  All this preaching and prophesying ever does is get you in trouble.” Jeremiah’s own family probably asked him this question.  Jeremiah himself asked this question.  God told him to take a pot and break … Continue reading

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