66 in 52 Challenge

Zechariah and Malachi – Week 33 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I am focusing in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will post a summary page with some thoughts about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey! Click here to see where we’ve been so far!

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Week 33 - Zechariah & Malachi

The Big Picture of Zechariah:

Zechariah was a prophet that came after God’s people had spent 70 years in exile in Babylon. In addition to being a prophet, he was also in the lineage of priests. This book was written around the same time as Haggai. Where Haggai spoke with caution and conviction, we see more encouragement in Zechariah’s tone as they struggled to rebuild. This book has perhaps the most prophecies about Jesus of any minor prophet.

The Big Picture of Malachi:

In Hebrew, the name Malachi comes from a word that means “messenger”. As the final prophet of the Old Testament, this is a very fitting name. I’m his book we get a glimpse at where the people of God are at during this time in history. By this time they had been back in Jerusalem for a hundred years after the 70 they were in exile. New generations had grown up and apathy was prevalent. The people struggled to believe God loved them and focused in on the hard things around them. Malachi steps onto the scene and calls them back to follow a merciful, faithful God who continues to pursue them!

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book(s) each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

Zechariah

  • “So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6)
    REFLECTION: How have you been working in your own night and power lately instead of by God’s spirit?
  • “Therefore, this is what the LORD says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the LORD Almighty.” (Zechariah 1:16)
    REFLECTION:  Where do you need God’s mercy this week?

Malachi

  • Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. ” (Malachi 3:10)
    REFLECTION: How have you seen God bless you (not necessarily financially) when you have been faithful to follow His heart and plan?
  • “I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” (Malachi 3:6)
    REFLECTION: Why is it important to your personally that our God does not change?
  • “Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?” (Malachi)
    REFLECTION: Who is a “brother” or “sister” that you need to spend some time loving this week, even if it’s hard?

Some Other Resources:

Zechariah

Malachi

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through each of the books. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

66 in 52 Challenge

Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai – Week 32 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I am focusing in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will post a summary page with some thoughts about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey! Click here to see where we’ve been so far!

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Week 32 - Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai

The Big Picture of Habakkuk:

Habakkuk is a unique book of prophecy. Whereas most prophets share a message for God’s people from God, this three chapter book simply narrates a conversation between God and Habakkuk. In the first two chapters, Habakkuk can’t understand how the God he knew let all the wickedness happen in the world, both among His people and those around them. It’s almost as if he says, “But you’re GOD! Surely these things won’t happen.” God replies, “Yes, they will happen.” He tells Habakkuk that the Babylonians really will overwhelm them, yet also makes it clear that in the end He wins. The book wins with a powerful declaration from Habakkuk that no matter what happens he will continue to trust and rejoice in God.

The Big Picture of Zephaniah:

Zephaniah prophesied while King Josiah was reigning (around the same time as Jeremiah, Nahum, and possibly Habakkuk). A key phrase we see over and over in Zephaniah’s book is “the day of the Lord”. He outlines the judgment on that day but also points to the beauty of salvation that comes with that day as well–that on that day God will gather all of His people and reign over everything. Even though Zephaniah is a minor prophet (meaning the book is shorter than some of the others like Isaiah and Jeremiah) he talks a great deal about Christ. It is a book of encouragement to the people to not give up on trusting God in the middle of their captivity. He reminds that a day is coming when a Savior will come and set everything right.

The Big Picture of Haggai:

Haggai shares the first prophecy after the captivity in Babylon. It sets the stage for rebuilding in the first chapter, calling people to rebuild the temple. In Chapter two God spoke to Haggai telling him that His spirit still remains among the people and they don’t need to be afraid. This book clearly shows the outcomes of obedience vs disobedience and speaks of the coming of the Messiah.

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book(s) each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

Habakkuk

  • “See he is puffed up; his desires are not upright–but the righteous will live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4)
    REFLECTION: What does it look like to live by faith for you this week?
  • “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” (Habakkuk 3:2)
    REFLECTION: How can you take time to stand in awe of God today?
  • “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.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
    REFLECTION: What would your “though”s be right now? How would you fill in this sentence: “Even though ______, yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”?

Zephaniah

  • “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.” (Zephaniah 2:3)
    REFLECTION: How can you seek righteousness and humility this week?
  • “Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail…” (Zephaniah 3:5)
    REFLECTION: What is a way you can remember these truths about God each morning? Why might the morning be a good time to recall them?
  • “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
    REFLECTION: Take some time to be still and ponder these truths: God delights in YOU, longs to quiet with you His great love, and sings over you.

Haggai

  • “Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: ‘I am with you,’ declares the Lord.” (Haggai 1:13)
    REFLECTION: Who could you encourage this week with the truth that God is with them?
  • “‘…and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord” (Haggai 2:23b)
    REFLECTION: How can you live as a chosen son or daughter of God this week?

Some Other Resources:

Habakkuk

Zephaniah

Haggai

 

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through each of the books. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

66 in 52 Challenge

Jonah, Micah, Nahum – Week 31 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I am focusing in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will post a summary page with some thoughts about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey! Click here to see where we’ve been so far!

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Week 31 - Jonah, Micah, Nahum

The Big Picture of Jonah:

Jonah is a fascinating book and one that helps me believe the Bible is true and God-inspired. These are the kinds of stories that if I, in my human nature, were trying to create a religion and put together a holy book, would just leave out. But God doesn’t. He includes the “bad” with the “good” and the crazy right along with it. While many of the prophets we’ve read so far were at times a little insecure in their calling, Jonah just downright denies it and runs the other direction. I’ve had to learn in my life as well that when God calls me to something, the best plan (and even the safest) is to follow. Another fascinating piece in Jonah is that he goes to call an evil people to repentance, yet when they actually do repent (something that seems rare in Scripture), Jonah gets mad at God for saving them. All throughout we see God’s grace and patience again and again and again.

The Big Picture of Micah:

Micah was a prophet in Judah during the time when King Jotham, King Ahaz, and King Hezekiah reigned. The book is aimed at both Samaria and Jerusalem. Many say that Micah’s prophecies are similar to those of Isaiah and around the same time too. The first five chapters explain the judgements for wicked nations. Chapter 5 also includes reference to where Christ would be born, Bethlehem. Chapters 6-7 are given as instructions for how God’s people were to live.

The Big Picture of Nahum:

About 120 years after Jonah spoke to the people of Nineveh calling them to repent, God sent a second prophet to that same people group. While they responded to Jonah’s message initially, shortly they returned to their wicked ways. This short 3-chapter book outlines first the reasons God was angry with the people (chapter 1), prophecies about those who would come to destroy them (chapter 2), and what it would be like when that happened (chapter 3). Fifty years later Nineveh was completely destroyed and the remains weren’t found until the 19th century.

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book(s) each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

Jonah

  • “He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” (Jonah 2:2)
    REFLECTION: What “distress” do you find yourself or someone you love in right now? Spend some time crying out from the “deep” today. Trust that God listens to your cry.
  • “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.” (Jonah 3:10)
    REFLECTION: When have you experienced God’s grace?

Micah

  • “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)
    REFLECTION: Where have you seen God bring “big things” out of “small” things?
  • “All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.” (Micah 4:5)
    REFLECTION: What does it look like to “walk in the name of the Lord our God”? Perhaps what does that look like in comparison to walking in the ways of other gods.
  • “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” (Micah  7:18)
    REFLECTION: Spend some time praising God for His mercy.

Nahum

  • “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him” (Nahum 1:7)
    REFLECTION: What is one area of your life where you need to trust God for His care today?
  • “Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away.” (Nahum 1:13)
    REFLECTION: What shackles do you need God to tear away in your life?

Some Other Resources:

Jonah

Micah

Nahum

 

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through each of the books. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

66 in 52 Challenge

Joel, Amos, & Obadiah – Week 30 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I am focusing in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will post a summary page with some thoughts about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey! Click here to see where we’ve been so far!

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Week 30 - Joel, Amos, Obadiah

The Big Picture of Joel:

When you first start reading Joel it might seem a little weird. By the forth verse we’re hearing about an invasion of different kinds of locust and it can leave us confused about what this book is even about. To give a little history, Joel is considered one of the minor prophets. This label (vs a major project) only references the length of the writings not the importance of the message.  As is the case with many of the prophets God was sending them to proclaim a message about what will happen to them if they don’t return to God. They’ve been wandering their own ways and God wants them back. The book of Joel has this call to repentance in chapter 1, talks about the Day of the Lord in chapter 2 (the first time in Scripture this phrase is used), and proclaims the restoration he will bring in chapter 3.

The Big Picture of Amos:

The first verses of Amos (another minor prophet) make it clear that he wouldn’t even consider himself a prophet. Rather he mentions that he lived “among the shepherds” (1:1) and calls himself a “herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs” (7:14-15). Just like each of us Amos was just an ordinary guy that God was using for extraordinary purposes. Amos was fed up with the way people who called themselves God’s people treated those around them, especially the oppressed. He was sick of it and wanted them to know it wasn’t okay and was evidence that they had walked away from God. It’s a pretty harsh book with only a few verses of consolation given at the end. However, this little nine chapter book hidden in the middle of Scripture seems pretty relevant in today’s world as I also look around and see people who call themselves God’s people treating others in ways that reflect the opposite of God’s love and compassion.

The Big Picture of Obadiah:

Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament coming in at only 21 verses, but again, we can’t miss the fact that God has it here for a reason. Sometimes clear, concise, and too the point has more power than pages and pages of content. Obadiah chooses to use most of his words to talk about Edom. Where many of the prophets are speaking messages against God’s people, Obadiah joins only Habakkuk and Nahum in proclaiming judgment on other nations.  Pride and humility seem to be contrasting themes in Obadiah, a reminder that humility is our proper attitude in the presence of the God of the universe.

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book(s) each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

Joel

  • “Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their generation and their children to another generation.” (Joel 1:3)
    REFLECTION: What messages do you hope pass down for generations after you? Are they only of the “good” things or do they include some warnings or challenges as well?
  • “Yet even now” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. (Joel 2:12-13)
    REFLECTION: How has shame kept you from returning, confessing, or repenting before our God? How could the truths we learn in this verse about God’s character help us take that hard step?
  • “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eating, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame.” (Joel 2:25-26)
    REFLECTION: What “years” or seasons in your life do you need God to restore?

Amos

  • “For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth–the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name! (Amos 4:13)
    REFLECTIONHow does a big view of God bring a right view to our current situation?
  • “Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, ‘I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, “Go prophesy to my people Israel.”‘” (Amos 7:14-15)
    REFLECTION: How might be calling you right in the middle of your ordinary life to speak up on behalf of the oppressed around you?

Obadiah

  • “The pride of your heart has deceved you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?'” (Obadiah 1:3)
    REFLECTION: Where do you feel invincible in life? How can you ask God to bring humility and dependence on Him to that area of your life?
  • “But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy…”
    REFLECTION: How can we be a holy place of refuge for those in need?

Some Other Resources:

Joel

Amos

Obadiah

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through each of the books. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

66 in 52 Challenge

Hosea – Week 29 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I am focusing in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will post a summary page with some thoughts about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey! Click here to see where we’ve been so far!

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Week 29 - Hosea

The Big Picture of Hosea:

Hosea was a prophet for the northern kingdom. His prophecies spanned 6 different kings over 45 years. The general summary of the book is that God asked Hosea to marry a prostitute. As Hosea continued to seek out Gomer and take her back despite the ways she ran away, God was showing His people that they are like a prostitute running after other gods, yet he pursues them still! We see that general storyline in the first few chapters. The last two thirds of the book goes through a cycle of unfaithfulness, some kind of correction, and then restoration. Ultimately the message is that God is faithful even when we are not!

Names in Hosea:

The names in Hosea have important meaning as God compares Hosea’s family to the people of God. Here are some of the names and meanings:

  • Hosea – Salvation
  • Gomer (Hosea’s wife) – Completion; complete wickedness
  • Jezreel (The First Born) – God scatters or sows
  • Lo-Ruhamah (The Middle Child) – not loved; no mercy
  • Lo-Ammi (The Baby) – Not my people

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

  • The Lord has brought charges against you, saying: “There is no faithfulness, no kindness, no knowledge of God in your land.” (Hosea 4:1)
    REFLECTION:  Where do you see this true in our culture today? What do you think our response is to be?
  • For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6)
    REFLECTION: What does it look like to offer mercy over sacrifice and knowing God over offerings?

  • “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.” (Hosea 14:4)
    REFLECTION: What does it look like for us to love freely despite anger being our first reaction to a situation or person?

Some Other Resources:

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

66 in 52 Challenge

Daniel – Week 28 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I am focusing in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will post a summary page with some thoughts about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey! Click here to see where we’ve been so far!

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The Big Picture of Daniel:

I bet when most of us think of the book of Daniel two main stories come to mind: Daniel & the Lions Den and The Fiery Furnace. Perhaps you’d add the feast with the hand writing on the wall (yes that’s where that phrase came from), but mostly narrative historical stories come to mind. It’s easy to forget that a whole chunk of this book is prophesy as well. In the bigger context, this book takes place during the Babylonian exile. Daniel and some of his friends are chosen basically to be indoctrinated into the ways and teachings of the culture at that time. They find ways to do this while still remaining true to God and He shows up in some pretty miraculous ways in the process. God continues to have favor on these faithful young men and others discover the One True God through them. The last have of the book includes many prophesies including some about the Messiah. Many of the prophecies in Daniel are echoed in Revelation.

Themes and Big Ideas in Daniel:

  • God’s got this! He’s in control and won’t let us down!
  • Even if things don’t go as we imagine, God is still good and we will still follow Him.
  • Suffering and persecution should be the expectation not the exception.
  • We don’t have to give in to culture or to fear in following God. He is bigger than all of that and will help us stand firm.
  • Jesus is coming and will make all things new!

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

  • “At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.” (Daniel 1:15)
    REFLECTION: Do you have any examples from your life where following God turned out to put you “ahead” in the game even if it didn’t seem to make sense on the surface?
  • If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[ from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 10:12)
    REFLECTION: Where in life are you at a moment that calls you to say “But even if he does not…”?
  • “Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” (Daniel 10:12)
    REFLECTION: Where have you been waiting for answer to prayer but the answer seems delayed? How can this story be an encouragement to you?
  • “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people – everyone whose name is found written in the book – will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:1-2)
    REFLECTION: Who are the people in your life who don’t yet know Jesus? Spend some time in prayer for the names of those you long to see written in the Book of Life.

Some Other Resources:

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

66 in 52 Challenge

Ezekiel – Week 27 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I am focusing in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will post a summary page with some thoughts about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey! Click here to see where we’ve been so far!

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Week 27 - Ezekiel.png

The Big Picture of Ezekiel:

Ezekiel (the person) was a prophet and a priest during a pretty hard time in Judah’s history. He was among the Jews that had been exiled to Babylon. At that time there was hope that perhaps they’d return soon and all would be well. As he lived among his fellow exiles Ezekiel was called by God to tell the people that was not the case. Jerusalem would indeed fall and be destroyed. Once that happened then Ezekiel’s message was able to shift to words of hope and peace.

Dates and Facts about Ezekiel:

  • Ezekiel’s call – 593 B.C. (1:1-2, 3:16)
  • Jerusalem’s destruction ~ 586 B.C.
  • Ezekiel’s last prophecy – 571 B.C.
  • While other prophets mainly talk about Israel’s sinful idolatry and all the ways they have fallen away. While some of that is in Ezekiel it seems he is more focused on reminding God’s people who they are, a people set apart and made holy by God. It’s almost as if He’s reminding the people who they really are beyond and behind the choices they’ve made.
  • Holiness is a big theme in this book, both the holiness and power of God and His need for His people to be holy.
  • From a literary standpoint Ezekiel is a fascinating book as it has many different genres involved including history, prophecy, apocalyptic sections, and even some parables.

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

  • “He said to me, ‘Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.’ As He spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard Him speaking to me.” (Ezekiel 2:1-2)
    REFLECTION: One fascinating thing about these two verses is that God commands something (to stand), but then He actually does it. Have you every seen this in your life, where God calls you to something but then also is the one providing whatever you need to actually do what He says? Where do you need Him to cause you to act this week?
  • “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19)
    REFLECTION: What seems to be “dividing” your heart? What is stealing your attention? Spend sometime in prayer asking God to UNdivide your heart and give you a new spirit that seeks Him and Him alone!
  • “I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak…” (Ezekiel 34:16)
    REFLECTION: God is and always has been on a search and rescue mission. He longs to bring healing and strength to His people. How might He be calling you to join in His work this week?
  • “He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ I said, ‘O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.'” (Ezekiel 37:3)
    REFLECTION: What feels dry and dead in your life? Where does renewal and restoration feel impossible? Where do you need God’s Spirit to breathe new life?

God’s Grace in Ezekiel:

I have always loved the story of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37. It also creeps me out a little but that’s beside the point. In this story God takes Ezekiel to this valley full of bones. He makes him walk throughout it as if to really grasp the deadness in that place. Then God poses a question: “Can these bones live?” I’m not sure how I would have responded, especially to God. It seems like a trick question almost. Ezekiel’s response is not only brilliant but also declares His faith and trust: “O Sovereign Lord, only You know.” He sure didn’t know. These weren’t just dead bodies, these people had been dead a while, everything has decayed all the way down to bones. From that place God lets Ezekiel be a part of His restoration as He invites Ezekiel to prophecy to the bones. As He does Scripture says, “… and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet–a vast army” (vs 10).

He did this as a representation of what He was going to do for the people of God in exile, yet this wasn’t just figurative… people really did rise that day in that valley. It would have been amazing just for one of those sets of bones to be restored to life, but God raised the whole group, a vast army. I think that’s such a great picture of God’s grace, always abundant, always going above and beyond. We often want him to fix this one little part of our life and He wants to overhaul it completely. We just want to feel a little less depressed and he wants to bring us deep and lasting joy. We would be okay with just a little fixing up and, as he mentions many places throughout the book, He wants to give us a complete heart transplant. Abundant grace indeed.

Some Other Resources:

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!